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G. W. WADE D.D. 





First published in 1925 




THE primary object of these Commentaries is to be exe- 
getical, to interpret the meaning of each book of the 
Bible in the light of modern knowledge to English readers. 
The Editors will not deal, except subordinately, with questions 
of textual criticism or philology ; but taking the English text 
in the Revised Version as their basis, they will aim at com- 
bining a hearty acceptance of critical principles with loyalty to 
the Catholic Faith. 

The series will be less elementary than the Cambridge Bible 
for Schools, less critical than the International Critical Com- 
mentary, less didactic than the Expositor's Bible ; and it is 
hoped that it may be of use both to theological students and to 
the clergy, as well as to the growing number of educated laymen 
and laywomen who wish to read the Bible intelligently and 
Each commentary will therefore have 

(i) An Introduction stating the bearing of modern criticism 
and research upon the historical character of the book, and 
drawing out the contribution which the book, as a whole, makes 
to the body of religious truth. 

(ii) A careful paraphrase of the text with notes on the 
more difficult passages and, if need be, excursuses on any 
points of special importance either for doctrine, or ecclesiastical 
organization, or spiritual life. 

But the books of the Bible are so varied in character that 
considerable latitude is needed, as to the proportion which the 
various parts should hold to each other. The General Editor 
will therefore only endeavour to secure a general uniformity in 

Tiii NOTE 

scope and character: but the exact method adopted in each 
case and the final responsibility for the statements made will 
rest with the individual contributors. 

By permission of the Delegates of the Oxford University 
Press and of the Syndics of the Cambridge University Press 
the Text used in this Series of Commentaries is the Revised 
Version of the Holy Scriptures. 



THE existence of so many excellent books relating to the 
Minor Prophets, collectively or singly, may be thought to 
render the production of another work on the same subject super- 
fluous. But a series of commentaries on the whole Bible, when once 
started, calls for completion ; and this is perhaps sufficient justi- 
fication for the present volume. Nevertheless its writer has not 
been content merely to preserve what in previous commentators 
appeared most worth preservation, but has endeavoured to sup- 
plement it, wherever expansion or addition seemed desirable. 
Possibly an apology is required for the sections in the Introduc- 
tion dealing with Messianic Prophecy and Hebrew Versification. 
But Christology is attracting renewed attention now, so that a 
review of the Old Testament passages connected with it cannot 
be deemed altogether untimely or out of place ; whilst the inclu- 
sion of a slight sketch of the principles of Hebrew poetic rhythm 
has its utility in a book which takes some account of the textual 
criticism of such of the prophetic writings as are here included. 

In the preparation of the volume the writer has consulted the 
works of older scholars like Maurer, Caspari, Ewald, Pusey, Hen- 
derson, and various contributors to the Speaker's Commentary ; 
but he is mainly indebted to more recent critics, such as Marti, 
Nowack, Sellin, Van Hoonacker, and Wellhausen on the Conti- 
nent, and Bewer, Cheyne, Driver, Horton,Kirkpatrick, Lanchester, 
G. Adam Smith, J. M. Powis Smith, and W. Robertson Smith in 
this country or in America. Whilst, however, he has derived from 
his predecessors much of his material, he has sought (as in a pre- 
vious work) to exercise an independent judgment in drawing con- 
clusions from the data that have been collected. 

For great assistance in the preparation of the manuscript the 
writer wishes to express his deep indebtedness to his wife. The 
book has been read in MS. and in proof by Dr Lock, the General 
Editor, and his meticulous care has caused the author, who fondly 
imagined himself to be something of an adept in condensation, to 


feel that, after all, he is but a mere novice in the art. Dr Lock, 
however, has done far more than recommend omissions ; he has 
contributed a number of very valuable suggestions, for which the 
warmest thanks are due. Help with the proofs has also been 
received from the Rev. D. D. Bartlett, B.A., Lecturer in Theology 
at Lampeter College. His scrutiny of them has resulted in the 
discovery and removal of many oversights and blemishes which 
had previously escaped detection, and his kindly service calls 
for most grateful acknowledgment. 





CHAPTER I. The Title and Contents xv 

CHAPTER II. The Disputed Unity of the Book .... xxii 
Chronological Table of the Prophecies in the Book 

of Micah xxvi 

CHAPTER III. The Conditions of Micah's Age and the Tenor of his 

Teaching xxvi 


CHAPTER I. The Title, Contents, and Structure .... xxxii 

CHAPTER II. The Passage Common to Obadiah and Jeremiah . xxxiv 

CHAPTER III. The Date xxxviii 

CHAPTER IV. Edom and the Edomites xliv 


CHAPTER I. The Title and Contents li 

CHAPTER II. The Interpretation of the Book .... liv 

CHAPTER III. The Unity of the Book Ivi 

CHAPTER IV. The Date of the Book Ixi 

CHAPTER V. Joel and Eschatology Ixxii 

Note on Locusts Ixxvi 


CHAPTER I. The Title, Contents, and Purpose .... Ixxviii 

CHAPTER II. The Date Ixxxii 

CHAPTER III. The Defective Unity of the Book .... Ixxxv 

CHAPTER IV. The Character of the Narrative .... xci 


CHAPTER I. The Theology of the Books of Micah, Obadiah, Joel, 

and Jonah c 

CHAPTER II. Messianic Prophecy cvii 

CHAPTER III. Hebrew Versification cxxxiv 





APPENDIX. The Oracle quoted in common by Obadiah and 

Jeremiah 87 



ADDITIONAL NOTE by the General Editor 142 

APPENDIX I. The Psalm in ch. ii. rendered in the Rhythm of the 

Original 143 

APPENDIX II. Critical Analysis of Jonah 144 

INDEX . 147 


Aq. Aquila's Greek Translation of the Old Testament (in field's Hexaplorum 

quae supersunt). 

A.V. Authorized Version of the Bible, 1611. 
Bewer. Bower's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Obadiah, Joel, and 

Jonah (I.C.C.), 1912. 
C.B. Century Bible. 
Camb.B. Cambridge Bible. 

Caspari. C. P. Caspari's Der Prophet Obadja, 1842. 

Cheyne. T. K. Cheyne's Micah, with Notes and Introduction (Camb.B.), 1882. 
Driver. S. R. Driver's The Books of Joel and Amos (Camb.B.), 1897. 

Gen. S. R. Driver's The Book of Genesis (WestC.). 

LOT. S. R. Driver's Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testa- 
ment, 1891 and later editions. 
E.B. Expositor's Bible. 

Enc.Bib. Cheyne and Black's Encyclopaedia Biblica, 18991903. 
Ewald. H. Ewald's The Prophets of the Old Testament (E.T.). 
Expos. The Expositor. 

Hastings, DB. J. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible, 18981904. 
Henderson. E. Henderson's The Book of the Twelve Prophets, 1858. 
Horton. R. F. Horton's The Minor Propfots Hosea... Micah (C.B.). 
I.C.C. International Critical Commentary. 
JE. The Prophetic Document of the Pentateuch. 
JTS. The Journal of Theological Studies. 

Kirkpatrick. A. F. Kirkpatrick's The Doctrine of the Prophets, 2nd ed., 1897. 
Lanchester. H. C. 0. Lanchester's Obadiah and Jonah (Camb.B.), 1918. 
LXX. The Septuagint Translation of the Old Testament, ed. Swete, 1894. 
Marti. D. K. Marti's Das Dodekapropheton, 1904. 
Maurer. F. J. V. Maurer's Commentarius Grammaticus criticus in Vetus 

Testamentum, vol. IL, 1838. 

Nowack. W. Nowack's Die Kleinen Propheten, 1903. 

Old Latin. The Old Latin Version (cited from JTS. vol. v. 247 f., 378 f., VL 67 f.). 
P. The Priestly Document of the Pentateuch. 
Pusey. E. B. Pusey's The Minor Prophets, 1860. 
R.V. The Revised Version of the Bible, 1884. 

Sayce, HCM. A. H. Sayce's The Higher Criticism and the Monuments, 1894. 
Schrader, CO T. Schroder's The Cuneiform Inscriptions and the O.T. (B.T.). 
Sellin, 10 T. E. Sellin's Introduction to the O.T. (E.T.). 

Smith, G. A. Sir George Adam Smith's The Book of the XII Prophets (E.B.). 
HGHL., Sir G. A. Smith's Historical Geography of the Holy 


Smith, J. M. P. J. M. Powis Smith's Critical and Historical Commentary on 
Micah (I.C.C.), 1912. 


Smith, W. R. W. Robertson Smith's The Prophets of Israel, 1895. 

"Speaker's Bible" (The). The Holy Bible, with a Commentary etc., 1871 6. 

Sym. Syrnmachus's Greek Translation of the Old Testament (in Field). 

Syr. The Syriac Translation of the O.T. 

Th. Theodotion's Translation of the O.T. (in Field). 

Van Hoonacker. A. Van Hoonacker's Les Douze Petits Prophetes. 

Vulg. Biblia Sacra Vulgatee Editionis. 

Wellhausen. J. Wellhausen's Die Kleine Propheten, 1898. 

West.C. Westminster Commentaries, edited by W. Lock, D.D. 

*** The use of Hebrew characters has been avoided, and Hebrew words and 
phrases, when reference to the original has been found necessary, have been 
transliterated. Readers who are unacquainted with Hebrew should observe 
(1) that all Hebrew letters are consonants, the accompanying vowels being 
originally transmitted by oral tradition only, and when eventually written down, 
being marked merely by "points"; (2) that the difference between several of 
the consonants is small, those which can be most easily mistaken for one another 
being d and r, b and c, v and y, h and kh, b and m, g and n, n and c; (3) that the 
same symbol served for s and sh; (4) that in the unpointed text doubled letters 
were indistinguishable from single letters, and aspirated labials, gutturals and 
dentals were indistinguishable from the corresponding unaspirated letters. 
Knowledge of these facts will enable the plausibility of various emendations of 
the Hebrew text to be more fairly estimated than might otherwise be the case. 
In the present work for the sake of convenience no distinction in transliterating 
has been made between the letters he and kheth (both alike being represented, 
as in the English Bible, by h\ between samech and sin (the substitute for both 
being s\ or between teth and tav (both appearing as i). The letters aleph and 
ay in are indicated by (') and (') respectively. 




WITHIN the volume which is entitled The Book of the XII Prophets 
the writings that are ascribed to Micah occupy in the Hebrew Scriptures 
the sixth place, following after Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, and Jonah; 
but the internal evidence of several of these books makes it probable 
that the order in which they are arranged departs widely from the true 
historical succession of the prophets whose names they bear. In the 
LXX. the order in two cases is different, Micah being placed third 
(after Amos) and Joel being transposed to the fourth position, imme- 
diately next to Micah. This rearrangement, though still failing to 
correspond to the chronological order (so far as it is ascertainable), has 
at least the advantage of putting Micah in his right place by bringing 
his book into closer relation with those of Hosea and Amos. For that 
Micah's activity fell within the same century as theirs appears not only 
from the heading of his book (which may owe its origin to an editor, 
p. 1) but from Jer. xxvi. 18, where it is expressly stated that the 
prediction contained in Mic. iii. 12 was uttered in the reign of Hezekiah 
(727 (or 720) 692). 

In the opening verse of the book Micah's prophetic career is repre- 
sented as beginning in the reign of Jotham and extending through that 
of Ahaz into that of Hezekiah. The limits thus implied cannot be 
decided with any certainty, for calculations based on the duration of 
the reigns of the rulers of Judah, as given in the books of Kings, lead 
to results regarding the accession-years of the three sovereigns named 
in Mic. i. 1 which are mutually inconsistent, according as the reckoning 
is made backwards from (a) the capture of Samaria by Sargon in 722, 
(b) the invasion of Judah by Sennacherib in 701, (c) the capture of 
Jerusalem by Nebuchadrezzar in 587; and consequently some or all of 
the figures upon which the calculations are based must be erroneous. 
In the following tables, which give the Biblical figures, the years for the 
duration of each king's reign are reduced by one, since the Hebrew 
historians generally, though not quite uniformly, reckoned inclusively 1 , 

1 See, for instance, 1 Kgs. xv. 25 and 28, xvi. 8 and 15. 



so that the year of a king's death and of his successor's accession was 
by them comprised within the reign of each and, in the sum of the 
years of two consecutive reigns, was counted twice over. 

() (6) (c) 

Jotham (15) 757 Jotham (15) 

Ahaz (15) ... 742 Ahaz (15) ... 

Hezekiah (28) 727 Hezekiah (28) 

Fall of Samaria] -^o Sennacherib's \ 

in H.'s Qth year } ' " Invasion in H.'s(- 701 
llth year ) 


Jotham (15) 



Ahaz (15) ... 



Hezekiah (28) 


Manasseh (54) 



Amon (1) ... 


Josiah (30) 


Jehoahaz (J) 


Jehoiakim (10) 


Jehoiachin (j) 


Zedekiah (10) 


Fall of Jerusalem 


It will be seen from these tables (a) that if, according to 2 Kgs. xviii. 10, 
the Fall of Samaria occurred in 722 in Hezekiah's 6th year, the invasion 
of Judah by Sennacherib in 701 must have happened in his 27th year 
and not (as stated in 2 Kgs. xviii. 13) in his 14th; (b) that if Sen- 
nacherib's invasion took place in Hezekiah's 14th year, Samaria must 
have fallen, not in that king's 6th year, but in the 8th year of his father 
Ahaz; (c) that if Hezekiah came to the throne in 720 (the figure reached 
by calculating from the Fall of Jerusalem in 587), the Fall of Samaria 
must have occurred in Ahaz's 14th year, and Sennacherib's invasion in 
Hezekiah's 20th year. In view of these inconsistencies, it is only possible 
to form a more or less conjectural scheme of chronology for the reigns 
of the sovereigns mentioned; and one which is perhaps as plausible as 
any other is the following, which assigns to each king a length of reign 
differing, indeed, from that given in 2 Kings, but at least consistent with 
the dates fixed in the Assyrian inscriptions for certain events that hap- 
pened within the reigns in question 1 : 

Jotham (3) 738 

Ahaz (8) ... 735 

Hezekiah (35) 727692 

The view that Ahaz was succeeded by Hezekiah in 727 may perhaps 
derive some confirmation from an oracle addressed to the Philistines, 
contained in Is. xiv. 28 32, which is assigned to the year of Ahaz's 

1 The events referred to are (a) the payment of tribute by Ahaz to Tiglath-Pileser, 
who died in 727 ; (b) the capture of Samaria in 722 by Sargon, who reigned from 
723 to 705 ; (c) the invasion of Judah in 701 by Sennacherib, whose reign lasted 
from 705 to 681. See Schrader, COT. i. pp. 249, 264, 286. 

MICAH xvii 

death; for it was in 727 that there occurred the death of the Assyrian 
king Tiglath-Pileser, and it is very probable that Tiglath-Pileser is 
the "rod" alluded to in v. 29 which had smitten Philistia, but was 
then "broken." The scheme given above adopts the statement of 2 Kings 
that Samaria was destroyed in Hezekiah's 6th year ; but from this it 
follows that Sennacherib's invasion occurred in Hezekiah's 27th, so 
that the statement in 2 Kings that it took place in his 14th year must 
be rejected as an error. It has been suggested that the figure 14 has 
been mistakenly deduced from the fact that Hezekiah's illness recorded 
in 2 Kgs. xx is represented as following close upon Sennacherib's in- 
vasion and occurring 15 years before the end of Hezekiah's reign, which 
lasted 29 years 1 . Some of the discrepancies between the dates given or 
implied by the historian of the books of Kings in connection with Heze- 
kiah may be reduced, though not removed, by the supposition (lacking 
explicit support in the O.T.) that during the latter part of his father's 
reign he acted as regent for Ahaz, or was associated with him in the 
government: if so, 727 may be the beginning of his joint reign with 
Ahaz and 720 that of his rule as sole sovereign. If this supposition 
commends itself, the last table must be amended thus : 

Jotham(3) ...... 738 

Ahaz (15) ...... 735 

Hezekiah sole king (28) 720692 

According to the scheme suggested above, Micah's prophetic activity 
(if the statement in i. 1 be accepted) began before 735, and lasted at 
least until after 722, for though some of the contents of ch. i. must date 
from before the overthrow of Samaria in 722 (perhaps between 725 
and 723), the use of Israel to denote Judah in ch. iii. proves that when 
the oracles which this later chapter contains were delivered, the 
Northern kingdom must have come to an end. It is, however, not easy 
to feel much confidence in the assertion in i. 1 that the prophet began 
his ministry in the reign of Jotham (738 735 ?), for the earliest of his 
oracles seems to have in view the impending destruction of Samaria in 
722. And inasmuch as there is no allusion in his writings to the Syro- 
Israelite alliance against Judah at the beginning of Ahaz's reign (2 Kgs. 
xvi. 5, Is. vii. 1 f.), or to the Assyrian invasion of the district of Galilee 
in 734 (2 Kgs. xvi. 9), it seems unlikely that any of his surviving 

1 See Van Hoonacker, Les Douze Petits PropJietes, p. 343. 


prophecies dates from the reign of that king either (unless the Fall of 
Samaria really occurred whilst Ahaz was still on the throne). The only 
internal argument for assigning part of the book to the reign of Ahaz 
must be based on the belief that the passage iv. 1 3, which appears 
also in Is. ii. 2 4, was borrowed by Isaiah from Micah, and that since 
Is. ii. 5 21 (22) belongs to the time of Ahaz, the preceding passage 
common to both prophets must have been composed by Micah in that 
king's reign at latest. But since it is far more probable that the passage 
in question proceeds from neither prophet (p. 28), it follows that this 
argument falls to the ground. The contents of ch. iii. are shewn by 
Jer. xxvi. 18 to be contemporary with Hezekiah, and the utterances in 
chs. i., ii. are so similar in tenor that they are not likely to be far re- 
moved in point of time. Accordingly it may be affirmed without much 
hesitation that the reign of Hezekiah is alone known for certain to 
have included within it a considerable portion of Micah' s prophetic 
ministry. As to how far into that reign his career lasted, it is impos- 
sible to form any trustworthy conclusion. 

Of the personal history of Micah nothing is recorded, or capable of 
being inferred, beyond an allusion to his home (i. 1) and some more or 
less plausible deductions about him drawn from the contents of his 
prophecies. His name was apparently a shortened form of Micaiah 
(Michayahu, Michayhu, Michdyah), another variation being Mica 
(Michd'): the equivalents in the LXX. are Metxatas and Mt^a. The 
appellation was not uncommon, a dozen other instances of it occurring 
in the Hebrew O.T. and in the Apocrypha 1 . In one passage (2 Ch. 
xiii. 2) it appears to be feminine, but here the name is probably an 
error for Maacah (see 2 Ch. xi. 20). Its signification is "Who is like 
Jehovah ? " (cf. Ex. xv. 1 1), so that it resembles in sense the name Michael, 
"Who is like God?" Analogous formations are found in Assyrian, 
e.g. Manna-M-du-rabu 2 . The abbreviation Micah or Mica is paralleled 
by Abda for Abdiah. As has been seen, the prophet began his activity 
later than his contemporary Isaiah (who received his prophetic call as 
early as the end of Uzziah's reign). He was a native of, or a resident 
in, Moresheth-gath, a small town or hamlet in the Lowland (con- 
stituting the south and south-west of Judah), and usually identified 
with the modern Beit-Jibrin. According to tradition the locality was 
not only his birthplace but his place of burial also. His home was 

1 See Jud. xvii., xviii., 1 Kgs. xxii., 2 Kgs. xxii. 12, 1 Ch. v. 5, viii. 34, xxiii. 20, 
2 Ch. xvii. 7, xxxiv. 20, Neh. xii. 35, 41, Jer. xxxvi. 11, Judith vi. 15. 

2 See Gray, Hebrew Proper Names, p. 157. 

MICAH xix 

thus in a rural district, and not, like that of Isaiah, in the capital. As 
a dweller in the country and probably occupying a humble position (it 
is noteworthy that his father's name is not mentioned 1 ) he was not 
likely to be in touch with state policy in the same degree as Isaiah ; 
and there are no references in his book to any advice proffered by him 
to the king and his council similar to that given by Isaiah, first to 
Ahaz, and secondly to Hezekiah. Nevertheless he must have been 
acquainted with the capital, to the inhabitants of which several of his 
denunciations are expressly addressed (i. 5, iii. 9). His oracles had 
in view solely the defective religious and moral conditions of the time ; 
and though he asserted that the sins which he denounced would, if not 
repented of, bring about the political subversion of the country, he did 
not intimate the name of the power which was to be the agent of the 
Divine judgment. It is true that in one prophecy included in his book 
(v. 5, 6) there are allusions to Assyria and the Assyrian; but these 
occur in a section which appears to be of later date than Micah's time 
(p. 39). In another oracle (iv. 10) mention is made of Babylon as a 
place whither the people for their offences were to be deported, and 
Babylon in the last quarter of the 8th century was subject to Assyria ; 
but there are reasons rendering it probable that this section, too, is 
not by Micah (p. 35). 

Micah's literary qualities must be judged by those parts of the book 
which alone can be indisputably regarded as proceeding from him (see 
pp. 1, 28). His style is forceful and impetuous, and is marked by the 
frequent use of rhetorical questions and commands (i. 5, 11, 13, 16, 
iii. 1); and like most Hebrew writers, he employs a number of vivid 
figures of speech (ii. 3, iii. 2, 3, 10), and is fond of alliteration and 
assonance. The last feature is especially noteworthy in a passage 
(i. 10 15) where he plays upon the appellations of various localities 
which he expected to be overrun by an enemy, and finds in their 
names allusions to occurrences which are soon to happen in connection 
with them. 

The contents of the book fall into three divisions: i. iii., iv. v., 
vi. vii. The first three chapters, with the exception of a very small 
section in ch. ii. (w. 12, 13), consist of denunciations of iniquities 
marking both branches of the Hebrew people, and announcements 
of the fate destined to befall them by way of penalty; though the 

1 This is the case with Amos, Obadiah, Nahum, and Habakkuk, but not with 
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, and some other prophets. 



prophet's attention is concentrated chiefly upon the many forms of 
social wickedness abounding in his own country of Judah, and upon 
the vengeance impending over the offenders in it. From ch. iv. 
onwards the contents are very mixed, though chs. iv. and v. are 
distinguished from chs. vi. and vii. by the fact that in the former 
there predominate prophecies of future dignity and felicity in store for 
the Jewish people after a period of humiliation and affliction, deliver- 
ance from which is to be followed by external triumphs accompanied 
by internal purification. In the final pair of chapters the prevailing 
tone is more subdued, though the general sombreness of them is not 
unrelieved. A remonstrance against a misapprehension of what God 
desires from men is succeeded by a renewed denunciation of social 
offences and an announcement of the retribution which will overtake 
them; and this is followed by a confession of sin from the community 
already enduring the penalty of its wickedness, but nevertheless con- 
fident of eventually experiencing God's mercy. It will be seen from 
this that the book as a whole lacks any systematic structure ; that its 
contents comprise a number of sections of which many stand in no 
logical or orderly relation to one another ; that various oracles included 
within it must have been delivered on distinct occasions ; and that the 
situations implied in several of them appear to be so widely sundered 
in respect of time that the book must contain the utterances of several 

A clearer comprehension of the contents of the book and of the 
problems to which they give rise will be gained through a somewhat 
fuller analysis : 

I. (a) i. 2 16. A description of the descent of Jehovah in judgment, 
and a declaration in general terms that the transgressions of Israel 
and Judah occasioning it are concentrated in their respective capitals. 
Samaria is to be punished with the demolition of its buildings and the 
destruction of its idols; but retribution (seemingly through the same 
agent) will extend to Jerusalem also, and distress and despair are to 
befall numerous towns in the Lowland of Judah. 

(b) ii. 1 11. A denunciation of the specific sin of Judah the 
deliberate and violent spoliation of the weak by the powerful; and an 
announcement (received with incredulity by those addressed) of a corre- 
sponding nemesis planned by Jehovah for the spoilers, whose lands will 
be divided by foreign enemies and who will themselves be driven into 

(c) ii. 1213. A declaration of Jehovah's purpose to re-assemble 

MICAH xxi 

the remnant of His people, and to lead them forth from the place within 
which they are confined. 

(d) i\i. 1 12. A description, parallel to that of ii. 1 11, of the 
devouring of the people by their rulers, who abuse their authority, and 
whose appeals to Jehovah, when vengeance reaches them, will be un- 
heeded; a warning to mercenary prophets that there will be withdrawn 
, from them all prophetic faculty to which they lay claim; and a pre- 
diction that the perversion of justice by corrupt judges and self-com- 
placent priests will be avenged by the razing of Zion to the ground. 

II. (e) iv. 1 5. An announcement of the future elevation of mount 
Zion above all other heights; of the convergence thither of many 
peoples to seek from thence knowledge about Jehovah; and of their 
acceptance, in disputes, of His arbitration in lieu of war. 

(/) iv. 6 8. A prediction of the re-assembling of dispersed Jews, 
and the restoration to Zion of the dominion that had formerly been hers. 

(g] iv. 9 10. A derisive address to the inhabitants of Zion (here 
conceived as distressed and resourceless) who must evacuate their city 
and experience deportation to Babylon, whence they will be eventually 

(h) iv. 11 13. A passage breathing a different spirit from the 
preceding Zion being represented as assaulted by many nations, but 
receiving an assurance from Jehovah that He will enable her to destroy 
them, and to consecrate their spoil to Him. 

(i) v. 1 6. The standpoint again changing, an ironical command is 
addressed to the populace of Jerusalem to raid as they had been wont 
to do 1 , followed by an announcement that Jehovah's abandonment of 
the city to siege and her king to humiliation will last only until the 
emergence from Bethlehem of a Ruler, who, through Divine help, will 
ensure his people's security from future invasion. 

(j) v - ? 9. A prophecy of the superiority which (through the power 
of God) the remnant of Israel is to manifest over other peoples. 

(k) v. 10 15. An announcement of Jehovah's purpose to remove 
from among His people their military resources, their superstitious 
devices, and their idolatrous emblems. 

III. (/) vi. 1 8. A controversy between Jehovah and His people, 
in which the former explains to the latter what His real requirements 
from them are namely, not costly sacrifices but the practice of justice, 
mercy, and humility. 

1 The reading and meaning are very doubtful. 


(m) vi. 9 vii. 6. A charge against the people of dishonesty, violence, 
and deceit ; a prophecy of retribution inflicted through the ravage of the 
land by invaders ; and a lament over the extinction of the good, and the 
universal prevalence of bloodshed, treachery, corruption, and domestic 

(n) vii. 7 13. A humble confession, by the collective community 
(the true Israel), unprotected and distressed, that its affliction has 
been deserved by its offences; followed by an announcement from God 
of an approaching day for the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, and 
for the return of its members still in exile. 

(0) vii. 14 20. An entreaty to God from the prophet to tend His 
people and to enlarge their narrow boundaries; and an expression of 
confidence that, through His mercy, relief will come. 

The sections marked (a), (b), and (d) are together of a tenor that 
creates no suspicion of their genuineness as utterances of Micah; and 
in sections (&) and (m) there is nothing incompatible with his authorship, 
though the conditions described were not peculiar to his age. But it is 
otherwise with regard to the remaining sections. Several, to all appear- 
ance, imply situations which were not realized until long after the 8th 
century had closed, and the impression produced by such sections is 
not adequately explained by the supposition that the book, whilst 
proceeding from a single prophet living in the 8th century, contains 
discourses delivered in a variety of circumstances falling within one 
man's lifetime, and calling now for threatenings and now for conso- 
lation. For though there are instances in prophetic literature of a 
remarkable capacity of prevision on the part of the Hebrew prophets, 
yet these sections of the book of Micah seem to presuppose conditions 
belonging to an age later than that prophet's, and not to predict their 
occurrence ; so that doubts about his authorship of them are inevitably 
occasioned. An examination of such will be undertaken in the course 
of the commentary, whilst some general considerations bearing on the 
subject will occupy the next chapter. 



BEFORE an attempt can be made to describe in some detail the pur- 
port of Micah's prophecies, it is necessary to determine whether all 
portions of the book designated by his name are his ; and if not, what 
parts can be reasonably regarded as proceeding from him, and what 

MICAH xxiii 

must, in all probability, be assigned to another or others. The review 
of the contents just furnished shews that there is much diversity of 
subject-matter; that, whilst some chapters denounce prevalent sins and 
foretell retribution for such, certain others assume that chastisement has 
already fallen, and that the chastened people need comfort and consola- 
tion, so that these latter are full of encouraging promises of deliverance. 
In considering whether the chapters, or sections of chapters, distinguished 
in this way are of different origin from those arraigning the people for 
numerous forms of crime, and foretelling their punishment, account 
must be taken of the fact that the predictions of ill, since they were 
designed as warnings, tended, so far as they produced an impression upon 
their hearers' consciences, to bring about their own non-fulfilment. Such 
predictions, though often absolute in form, were usually in essence con- 
ditional ; and it was implied that the penalties announced in them could 
be averted by the repentance of the offenders. That this happened in the 
case of one of Micah's prophecies appears from Jer. xxvi. 17 19, where 
it is expressly stated that Micah's declaration that Jerusalem would be 
reduced to complete desolation caused the king (Hezekiah) to fear Jehovah 
and entreat His favour; and that a change of disposition on the part of 
sovereign and people led God to relent. It is therefore intelligible that 
prophets, who at one time prophesied evil, should at another, when 
signs of reformation became manifest, deliver oracles of quite a different 
tone; or, since they believed their race to be Jehovah's chosen people, 
should, even when affirming the certainty of Divine vengeance, yet hold 
out hopes of ultimate mercy. Brief summaries of such diverse prophecies, 
if they were copied on the same roll, or became otherwise united, would 
inevitably, since the circumstances in which they were originally de- 
livered were not preserved, appear mutually contradictory. In view of 
this, it cannot immediately be inferred that a striking unlikeness in the 
contents of two contiguous passages involves difference of authorship : 
it is necessary to enquire whether the unlikeness can be sufficiently 
accounted for by a changed situation within the limits of a single 
prophet's ministry, or by an alteration in his attitude and outlook ; or 
whether the matter and manner of the passages in question are so 
different as to render this explanation inadequate. 

The passages which most acutely raise the question whether they pro- 
ceed from Micah are those in which announcements about the future 
presume the existence of conditions very different from those of Micah's 
time, without any explanation of the way in which these conditions have 
been brought about. Thus in the case of the prophecy in iv. 1 5, 


which foretells that the Temple hill is to enjoy pre-eminence over all 
other hills and to become the seat of religious instruction for the heathen 
nations, it may be observed that it follows a prediction of doom for 
Jerusalem and (necessarily) of death or captivity for its inhabitants 
(iii. 12). But the sequel (in iv. 1 5) of this prediction of over- 
whelming disaster does not announce first a return of Jewish captives 
from exile and then their exaltation to a position of dignity among the 
surrounding peoples, but presupposes that they are already re-established 
in their own land. There is nothing in the earlier part of the book to 
explain this change of situation, except the short section ii. 12 13, 
which is isolated in its present context ; and even this, though it predicts 
a re-assembling of a remnant of the people (seemingly from captivity), 
says nothing about the impression produced, by the restoration of the 
Jews, upon the heathen who witness it, or hear of it, leading them to seek 
to learn about the God who had effected it. A second prophecy out of 
harmony with its preceding context occurs in vii. 7 20. The previous 
section vii. 1 6 deplores the disappearance of the righteous from the 
land, and the prevalence of violence and strife, whilst intimating (v. 4 b ) 
that a judgment from God is imminent. But the passage that follows 
(vii. 7 20) consists partly of penitential utterances from a community 
already experiencing grievous adversity, and partly of consolatory pre- 
dictions from a prophet that the walls of Jerusalem are to be rebuilt, that 
the limits checking the expansion of its people are to be removed, and 
that there is to be a return of numbers that are still in exile. The passage 
plainly takes for granted that the offending land has already endured 
punishment through the dismantling of its capital and the deportation 
of many of its citizens : it assumes that chastisement has induced peni- 
tence; but that the city's walls are still in the condition to which foreign 
conquerors had reduced them : what it predicts is the reconstruction of 
the walls, and an augmentation of the community's territory and popula- 
tion. If the section proceeds from Micah, it must be supposed that besides 
foretelling his countrymen's exile, he foresaw both their rescue from it 
and the circumstance that Jerusalem, after the return of its citizens to 
their own soil, would long remain un walled, and the re-occupied land 
would be circumscribed in area; but that he did not explicitly foretell 
the occurrence of these conditions, leaving this to be inferred from a pre- 
diction that in such conditions (the existence of which is presumed) a 
change for the better would eventually take place. This is so violent an 
assumption that it is preferable to conclude that the section really 
originated with a prophet who lived some 70 or 80 years after the 

MICAH xxv 

Return, was acquainted with the small numbers and defenceless situation 
of the repatriated exiles, and delivered the oracle contained in this 
section in order to cheer them with the prospect of relief. 

The high probability that at least two sections of the book are not the 
authentic productions of Micah prepares us to entertain with less hesi- 
tation doubts that prima facie may arise respecting the genuineness 
of others also. Those which, next to iv. 1 5 and vii. 7 20, create 
suspicion are ii. 12 13, the remainder of ch. iv., and large parts of 
chs. v. and vi. The grounds for questioning their genuineness are not 
quite so cogent as those which have been adduced in disproof of the 
authenticity of iv. 1 5 and vii. 7 20, though they have considerable 
weight, for the evidence is cumulative, and the reasons advanced for 
denying to Micah other sections beside those just cited, if not very con- 
clusive when taken by themselves, appear in a different light and 
assume greater importance when once it is seen that the book contains 
at least two passages of which the later origin is fairly patent. 

If it appears probable that all or most of these sections did not 
originate with Micah in the 8th century, various explanations suggest 
themselves to account for their presence in a collection of his prophecies. 
One is the possibility that more than one prophet whose utterances 
have been preserved bore the name of Micah ; if so, then there would 
inevitably be some risk of confusion, and oracles really emanating from 
two or more persons would come to be ascribed to a single prophet. 
Another is the circumstance that rolls of leather or papyrus were valu- 
able enough to make it desirable that, if one were begun, it should be 
filled ; so that any blank space in a roll only partially occupied by the 
oracles of Micah would readily be utilized for recording some delivered 
by other prophets, without any mark being appended to testify to their 
separate origin. For in this connection it has to be remembered that 
amongst the Hebrews little or no care was taken to preserve the names 
of the authors of literary compositions. They had no sense of the value 
of literary property or literary reputation, such as prevails amongst 
ourselves. Almost all the historical works of the O.T. are of unknown 
authorship. The poem of Job is anonymous ; Ecclesiastes is pseudony- 
mous ; and among the prophetical writings a large part of the book of 
Isaiah (including chs. xl. Iv. and Ivi. Ixvi.) and the last six chapters 
of the book of Zechariah have been shewn by internal evidence to 
proceed from writers of whose names we are absolutely ignorant. 
Accordingly, the hypothesis, to which various facts point, that within the 
book of Micah there have been included a number of isolated oracles 


delivered by some unknown writers living at different times is not an 
extreme one, but is justified by parallels forthcoming from other 


() ch. i. 8th cent, (second half, shortly before 722), Micah's. 

8th cent (between 722 and 701), Micah's. 

8th cent, (perhaps Micah's) or 7th cent. 
7th cent, (second half). 

7th cent, (end) or 6th cent, (beginning). 

6th cent, (middle, 587537). 

6th cent, (second half, after 537). 
5th cent, (first half). 



MICAH'S authorship of the opening oracles (i. iii. , apart from ii. 1 2 13) 
cannot be questioned; but though he was a prophet of Judah, these 
utterances include a denunciation of Northern Israel and its capital 
Samaria, as well as of Judah and its capital Jerusalem. It soon, how- 
ever, becomes apparent that the prophet's thoughts were chiefly centred 
upon the conditions and destiny of his own country; and that he 
alluded to Samaria merely, or at least principally, because its impending 
fate conveyed a warning to Jerusalem. Consequently it is upon the 
internal situation of Judah that the contents of the first three chapters 
really throw light and focus attention. 

Independent evidence for the religious and social state of that country 
is furnished by Micah's elder contemporary Isaiah. The prophetic 
activity of Isaiah much exceeded in length (so far as can be judged) 
that of Micah, for it extended (according to Is. i. 1, vi. 1) from the last 
year of Uzziah, through the reigns of Jotham and Ahaz, into the middle, 
at least, of the reign of Hezekiah; and the statements prefixed to 
chs. i. and vi. are confirmed by the internal evidence of the book; 
whereas it seems probable that Micah's ministry was confined to the 
reign of Hezekiah (p. xviii). And the circumstance that some of the 

MICAH xxvii 

former prophet's utterances were delivered during the lifetime of Jotham 
and Ahaz, both of whom in character were inferior to Ahaz's successor, 
and that by the latter king much-needed reforms were instituted, may 
suggest, at first sight, that the conditions subsisting in Judah under 
Hezekiah cannot have been quite so bad as Micah describes. In point 
of fact, however, though Hezekiah made an effort to put an end to 
religious and moral disorder, yet there is enough evidence to shew that 
the reformation effected was more tardy and superficial than might be 
concluded from the representation of the historian in 2 Kgs. xviii. 4. 
Various statements in the writings of Isaiah imply that much that was 
corrupt continued to exist even as late as the Assyrian invasion of 701, 
so that in using the testimony of Isaiah generally to substantiate the 
assertions of his younger contemporary, there is no need to discriminate 
very narrowly between statements applying to different reigns. All 
alike shew that the sombre colours in which Micah depicted the condi- 
tions of the country in his days were not darker in hue than the facts 
justified ; and that no erroneous inferences will be deduced, if his account 
of the superstitions, injustices and disorders rife under Hezekiah is 
supported and illustrated by passages from Isaiah dating not only from 
that king's reign but also from the reigns of his two immediate 

Since reasons have already been given for concluding that two 
sections of the book of Micah are not the work of that prophet, and 
since arguments will be furnished later for thinking that various others 
are likewise not among his genuine productions, it is important, in 
considering his strictures upon the contemporary situation in Judah, 
and in summarizing his announcements about its people's future, to 
draw testimony only from those portions of the book of which his 
authorship is undisputed. These are confined to chs. i. iii. (except 
ii. 12 13); but since a few passages in the rest of the book are not 
inconsistent with the conditions implied in the first three chapters and 
may come from Micah these will also be taken into account. 

Isaiah's indictment of his countrymen included charges of idolatrous 
and superstitious practices (i. 29, ii. 8, 20, xxx. 22), of oppression, 
violence, and bloodshed (i. 15, 17, iii. 14, 15, v. 7, 8, xxx. 12, xxxiii. 
15), of widespread intemperance (v. 11, 12, 22, xxviii. 7), of insubordi- 
nation to authority (iii. 5), of venality among the classes most re- 
sponsible for upholding morality, order, and justice (i. 23, v. 23), and 
of arrogant reliance upon material resources and political intrigues 
(xviii., xx., xxii. 9 11, xxx. 1 3, xxxi. 1). As Isaiah was a states- 


man, he included in his censures not only social crimes and delin- 
quencies, but also various features of the foreign policy of his country; 
and he attributed many of the evils, of which he complained in his 
early utterances, to the character of the reigning king and his court. 
Micah's outlook was far less comprehensive. As he belonged perhaps 
to the yeoman class, and, at any rate, was a resident in a small pro- 
vincial town (though not unacquainted with the capital), his obser- 
vations and reflections were confined to the ills from which the poorer 
and weaker ranks of the population were suffering at the hands of 
their social superiors (see especially iii. 1 3): questions of foreign 
alliances and entanglements were beyond his range, and he did not 
seek to influence the external relations of the state. But apart from 
this difference distinguishing the two prophets, there is a singular 
agreement between them as regards alike the worship of idols, the 
wrongs inflicted upon the poor by the opulent, the dishonesty of the 
judicial authorities, enabling evil-doers to escape human justice, and 
the self-delusion (based on the belief that Jehovah and Israel were 
indissolubly united) that led them to deem themselves safe from Divine 
justice also. In the minds of the prophets as a body, from the earliest 
to the latest, religion and social morality were solidly bound together. 
Thus Micah denounced, just as Isaiah did, the seizure of houses and 
lands by the rich and powerful, who in this way gratified their pride 
and covetousness where they were able to do so. Robbery by violence 
was committed on the highways, peaceful travellers being stripped 
even of the garments they wore 1 . Women and children were evicted 
from their homes and driven to seek refuge outside their own country, 
which was Jehovah's land. The upper classes lived on the lower, either 
through oppressive exactions of money and produce, through the con- 
scription of their labour, or through the unrelieved pressure of economic 
conditions; so that they are represented by the prophet as plucking 
the skin from the flesh and the flesh from the bone. By such as did 
not resort to open violence, dishonest gains were acquired through the 
use of false weights and measures, and by fraudulent representations 
(vi. 10, 11). And the exploitation of one class by another was accom- 
panied by distrust, disunion, and strife amongst the members of the 
same household, where the authority of the elders over the younger 
was defied, and the loyalty expected from servants towards their 
masters was replaced by open hostility (vii. 5 6). Nor was redress, or 

1 The passage (ii. 8) is possibly corrupt. 

MICAH xxix 

even a hearing, for their grievances obtainable from those the magis- 
trates, priests, and prophets who were expressly commissioned by God 
to afford justice to the wronged, for their decisions about the com- 
plaints made to them were determined not by equity but by self- 
interest; judgment was wrested and the oracles of God perverted in 
favour of such as paid them best. All apprehension of Divine resentment 
for such conduct was removed by the reflection that no ill could befall 
those who had Jehovah and His Temple in their midst (cf. Jer. vii. 4) ; 
and the only prophets popularly deemed to be His spokesmen were 
persons whose utterances encouraged the magnates to indulge their 

Some of the causes that produced among the higher ranks of Judah, 
during the times of Ahaz and Hezekiah, a pride in luxury, a love of 
display, and a passion for the expansion of estates, which could only 
be gratified through the unscrupulous exercise of power and influence, 
are traceable without much difficulty. One was the return of prosperity 
to the Southern kingdom in the reign of Uzziah. In particular, there 
had probably been a renewal of maritime trade through the re-acquisi- 
tion of Elath, the seaport on the gulf of Akaba (2 Kgs. xiv. 22) 1 . 
Though it was lost again under Ahaz (2 Kgs. xvi. 6, mg.), it must, 
during the period of its retention, have fostered considerably the de- 
velopment of commerce with the East; and the resultant introduction 
into the country of unfamiliar products from Arabia and elsewhere was 
calculated to create among the classes who profited by the promotion 
of such traffic a materialistic spirit and self-indulgent habits. More- 
over Uzziah is also credited by the author of Chronicles with successes 
obtained over the Philistines, the Arabians, and the Meunim (or 
Minseans), and with the receiving of tribute from the Ammonites ; so 
that if these representations have any truth behind them, an attitude 
of self-confidence was likely to be engendered in Judsean statesmen. 
A second cause also tending to bring about the conditions of which 
Micah and his contemporary Isaiah complained may be discovered in 
the closer relations which Judah was now entering upon with the 
empires that lay to the N.E. and S.W. of it. Hitherto the nations 
with which the two Hebrew kingdoms had been most nearly associated, 
either in peace or war, were the Moabites, the Edomites, and the 
Syrians (Arameans) of Damascus. But the danger with which the last- 

1 It must have been lost when Edom threw off the control of Judah in the reign 
of Jehoram (2 Kgs. viii. 20, 22). 


named people, in alliance with Northern Israel, threatened Judah in 
the time of Ahaz, had led the Judsean king to seek help from Assyria 
(2 Kgs. xvi. 7); and envoys sent to Nineveh must have brought back 
reports of its greatness and splendour calculated to stir the imagi- 
nations of the chief citizens of Jerusalem. And rather later, from a 
different quarter, Egypt, which was the chief antagonist of Assyria, no 
doubt exerted similar influence, for, having motives of her own for 
desiring to detach Judah from the side of her rival, she both despatched 
to Hezekiah, and received from him, embassies (see Is. xviii., xxx. 1 6, 
xxxi. 1 3), which must likewise have contributed to stimulate tastes 
and aspirations that rapidly corrupted the simplicity of life that had 
previously prevailed. The propensities thus fostered were accompanied 
by a lowered sense of social duty and a decay of considerateness 
towards the poor and needy; so that injuries of the worst kind were 
perpetrated upon them without interference or relief from the officials 
who should have been the protectors of the defenceless. 

It is reasonable to conjecture that the intense and concentrated 
indignation of Micah was fanned by scenes he had actually witnessed 
in country places. So far as can be judged from his utterances, he was 
a man of impressionable character and strong emotions, whose in- 
dignation was easily roused by the sight of hardship and wrong. Isaiah, 
too, no doubt, uttered his denunciations of contemporary iniquities from 
fulness of knowledge ; but as he was a dweller in Jerusalem, his feelings 
of resentment could hardly have been as acute as those of a native of 
Moresheth-gath, who had personally seen the cruelty committed on 
the helpless peasantry by the avaricious and tyrannical. In affirming 
that chastisement awaited such offences, Micah refrained from speci- 
fying the agency by which it was to be inflicted : at least in those 
prophecies which can be confidently attributed to him, there is no 
express mention of Assyria, the mighty empire on the Tigris that 
menaced the independence of the small Palestinian states, as is the 
case with Isaiah (see x. 5, 24 f., xiv. 24 27). Nevertheless his de- 
claration that the fatal blow impending over Samaria threatened Jeru- 
salem also could only point to Assyria as God's instrument for the 
chastisement of Judah. The prospect of the speedy overthrow of the 
Northern kingdom, having (as it seemed) its certain sequel in the 
invasion of his own land, filled him with the profoundest distress (i. 8, 
9). His anticipations of retribution for both countries were definite 
and precise. The sites of the offending capitals of Israel and Judah 
were to become unoccupied ground; the buildings of the two cities 

MICAH xxxi 

were to be demolished, and reduced to scattered heaps of stones; 
whilst the summit of Zion upon which the Temple of Jehovah stood 
was to be made as bare as the top of a forest-clad hill, where ground 
had been cleared for a "high place." The objects of false worship, the 
numerous idols of wood and stone, were to be destroyed; the classes 
that had driven others from their homes in order to augment their 
own possessions would themselves be carried into exile in foreign lands ; 
and in the time of their distress Jehovah would be as deaf to their 
appeals to Him as they had been callous to the appeals of their 
victims. The law of equivalent retaliation would be imposed upon 
them: the evictions which they had enforced would be avenged by 
their own deportation. If some of the predictions of the book fore- 
telling in the end a brighter future for the nation are really Micah's, 
the realization of such was only looked for after the moral evils of the 
state had been purged out by a chastisement of the most drastic kind. 
The activity of the Hebrew prophets often paved the road to 
organized reforms set on foot by secular or religious administrators, 
who could embody in statutes 'and institutions the principles affirmed 
in prophetic oracles. Jeremiah's utterances promoted the religious re- 
formation carried out by Josiah ; and the teaching of Ezekiel laid the 
ground-plan of the system of law and ritual embodied in the Priestly 
code of the Pentateuch. In the same way it is reasonable to suppose 
that in an earlier age Micah and Isaiah were potent influences in 
leading Hezekiah to undertake in the course of his reign the abolition 
of some of the worst of contemporary corruptions prevailing amongst 
his subjects, which is briefly recorded by the historian of the books of 
Kings (2 Kgs. xviii. 4). 




THE book of Obadiah (unlike the books of Hosea, Amos, Micah, and 
some others of the Minor Prophets) has no superscription, explaining 
when it was composed. It stands in the Hebrew Bible fourth in the 
order of the Twelve, being next to Amos and followed by Jonah, though 
in the LXX. it occupies the fifth place between Joel and Jonah (the book 
of Micah following immediately upon Amos); and its position in the 
Hebrew Canon has been appealed to as evidence of its date, it being 
supposed that the Minor Prophets have been arranged in approximately 
chronological order, and that consequently Obadiah in point of time 
cannot be far removed from Amos. But since both Joel, which precedes 
Obadiah in the Canon, and Jonah, which succeeds it, are probably later 
than Haggai (520B.C.), standing tenth among the Twelve (pp. Ixxii, 
Ixxxv), any such inference is precarious. The circumstance that Obadiah 
in the Hebrew is put next to Amos is perhaps due to the fact that it 
relates to the doom of Edom, the occupation of which country by Israel 
is predicted in the concluding section of Amos (ix. 12). The book pre- 
sumably derives its title from the name of the writer (if it is a unity) 
or of one of the writers (if it is composite). The name Obadiah (which 
migbt be merely a description, "servant of Jehovah") occurs as a 
designation of at least twelve individuals mentioned in the O.T. 1 , 
though of only three are any particulars given. Of these the most 
notable was the steward of Ahab's household (1 Kgs. xviii.), who pre- 
served the lives of a hundred prophets of Jehovah, when they were 
persecuted by Jezebel ; but there is nothing to connect the book with 
him or any of the other Obadiahs elsewhere mentioned. Even the form 
of the name which serves as its title is not quite certain. The Heb. 
text of Ob. 1 has 'Obhadhyak; and this is the way in which the name 
is written everywhere in the Heb. except in 1 Kgs. xviii., 1 Ch. xxvii. 
19, and 2 Ch. xxxiv. 12, where it is pointed 'Obhadhyahu*. But whilst 

1 1 Kgs. xviii. 3f., 1 Ch. iii. 21, vii. 3, viii. 38 ( = ix. 44), ix. 16, xii. 9, xxvii. 19, 
2 Ch. xvii. 7, xxxiv. 12, Ez. viii. 9, Neh. x. 5 (6), xii. 25. 

2 Similar variations are found in connection with the names Amaziah, Elijah, 
Hezekiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc. 

OBADIAH xxxiii 

in Ob. 1 the Vatican codex of the LXX. has 'O/3&Yov (cf. 1 Ch. iii. 21), 
the Alexandrine codex has 'AySStov, as also in 1 Kgs. xviii. 3 f., 
1 Ch. xxvii. 19; and since in other cases the LXX. generally represents 
the name by 'A/28ia? or 'A/38ia, it is possible that the title of the book 
should be written Abdiah 1 (cf. Abdiel, 1 Ch. v. 15, and the Arabic 
Abdullah) instead of Obadiah. 

The theme of the book is the pride and self-confidence of Edom, the 
malice shewn by it towards the Jewish people (in spite of ties of blood) 
on the occasion of a great calamity sustained by the latter, the deserved 
retribution it has already undergone at the hands of its own allies (ir* 
accordance with an earlier prophecy which is quoted in whole or in 
part), and the prospective vengeance which is to overtake it from those 
whom it has wronged, when the expatriated Jews, restored to their 
former possessions, will enlarge their territory at the cost of the Edom- 
ites and other heathen neighbours. The fact that the book is thus 
almost wholly concentrated upon a single subject, and its limited 
extent (it is the shortest of all in the O.T.), create the expectation 
that the questions presented by it will be confined to discovering what 
the occasion was on which the Edomites exhibited the malice com- 
plained of, and whether the book was written prior to it or after it. But 
its simplicity is illusory, and the problems to which it gives rise are both 
more numerous and more involved than at first sight appears. Thus : 

(1) The circumstance that a portion of Ob. (w. 1 5) is almost 
identical with a passage in Jer. (xlix. 14 16, 9) makes it necessary 
to determine the relation between them, and to settle whether the 
writer of Obadiah has borrowed from the author of Jeremiah or the 
reverse, or whether both are indebted to an earlier oracle. 

(2) The fact that there is a sudden transition in v. 15 from the topic 
of a judgment upon Edom alone to that of a judgment upon all the 
heathen renders it questionable whether such an abrupt change of 
subject-matter is compatible with unity of authorship. 

(3) The variation in the use of the tenses (themselves susceptible 
of more than one meaning) makes it uncertain whether the book is 
consistently a prophecy, or, if not, to what extent it is partly a prophecy 
of the future and partly a description of the past. 

The small compass of Obadiah naturally creates an antecedent pre- 
sumption that it is the production of a single mind. But in view of the fact 
that so many of the prophetical writings are composite, the possibility 

1 In 1 Kgs. iv. 6, Neh. xi. 17 Abda stands for Abdiah (as Mica does for Micaiah). 


that the book contains the work of more than one writer cannot be 
disregarded. The assumption that it is a unity may involve putting an 
unnatural interpretation upon certain passages in it, in order to bring 
them into harmony with the rest ; and if the hypothesis of a composite 
origin affords the best solution of the questions which its contents 
occasion, its small size becomes a negligible consideration. Some of the 
problems which arise especially in connection with the concluding portion 
of the book are rendered all the harder by the state of the text, which 
in one or two places appears to be too corrupt to be interpreted or cor- 
rected with any confidence. 

The sharp transition at w. 15 a , 16 f. from the subject of Edom singly 
to that of the nations at large (the 2nd pers. sing, giving place to the 
2nd pers. plur., and the predicted retribution embracing other peoples 
beside the Edomites) divides the book into two distinct parts. Of these 
the first describes an overthrow of Edom which is either impending in 
the near future or is in process of happening; whilst the second is a 
prediction of calamities yet to come upon the oppressors of Israel, 
including, but not confined to, the Edomites. But within the first 
fifteen verses are a certain number (w. 1 5) which occur also in 
Jer. xlix. ; and if, as will appear presently, these verses are probably 
derived by both prophets from an earlier source, there are three sections of 
the book, of which the origin and date require independent investigation. 



THE relations subsisting between several verses of Ob. and Jer. xlix. 
create a problem of some difficulty and no little interest. 

The opening verses of Ob. (1 5) so closely resemble Jer. xlix. 14 16, 
and 9, not only in substance but in actual phraseology, that it is im- 
possible to suppose that the two passages are independent. Either, then, 
(i) Ob. has borrowed from Jer., or (ii) Jer. has borrowed from Ob., or, if 
neither of these alternatives proves admissible, then (iii) both are in- 
debted to an earlier oracle. 

(i) The prophecy against Edom in Jer. xlix., in which the verses 
common to both Jer. and Ob. are included, is not dated 1 ; but since v. 12 

1 Within the group of chapters xlvi. xlix. the prophecy against Egypt (xlvi. ) 
was delivered in 604 B.C.; but this alone is precisely dated, and the occasion of some 
of the remaining predictions comprised in these chapters is disputed (see Driver, Jer. 
pp. 270, 271, note; Binns, Jer. pp. 318, 319 (West.C.)). 


of that chapter seems to imply that the cup of suffering had not yet been 
drunk by Jehovah's people, it is probable that the prophecy was uttered 
before the Fall of Jerusalem in 587 ; and since Ob. was almost certainly 
written after that date (p. xliii), the possibility of borrowing on the part 
of the latter is manifest. Nevertheless against the conclusion that Jer. 
is the original source of the verses that appear in both there are two 
considerations of much weight. 

(a) In Ob. the consecutiveness of the verses is less interrupted, and 
the sequence of thought is better observed, than in Jer. In Ob. these 
verses constitute a well-organized whole. The only break in the con- 
nection is a parenthetic exclamation, whilst the opening verse is an 
appropriate introduction to the verses which follow. On the other hand, 
the verse which so aptly begins the prophecy in Ob. is in Jer. preceded 
at some distance by a verse which in Ob. is the last of the five; whilst 
of the verses which in Jer. are peculiar to that book and come between 
this verse and the rest that are common to the two prophets, some 
relate to a distinct subject. There is thus a presumption that, if one of 
the two prophets has borrowed from the other, it is not the author of Ob. 
who is the borrower, since in his pages the verses in question are more 
coherent than in the other work which contains them. 

A comparison of the two passages in Ob. and Jer., arranged in parallel 
columns, and rendered literally, will shew clearly both the divergence in the 
order of the verses and the resemblance in matter and wording. 

Ob. Jer. 

1 A communication have we (LXX. 14 A communication have I heard 
I) heard from Jehovah, and a messen- from Jehovah, and a messenger is 
ger has been sent among the nations, being sent among the nations, 'Gather 
'Rise ye, and let us rise against her yourselves, and go against her, and 
to war.' rise to war.' 

2 "Lo, I make thee small among 15 "For, lo, I make thee small 
the nations: thou art despised greatly, among the nations, despised among 


3 The pride of thine heart hath 16 Thy terribleness hath deceived 
deceived thee 1 , dweller in the clefts thee 1 , the pride of thine heart, dweller 
of (the) rock, the height of his abode ; in the clefts of the rock, holder of the 
saying in his heart, 'Who will bring height of the hill : 

me down to the earth?' 

4 If thou makest on high as a though thou makest on high as a 
vulture, and if thy nest is set (LXX. vulture thy nest, 

if thou settest thy nest) among the 

1 There is a slight difference in the Hebrew here. 



Ob, Jer. 

from thence will I bring thee down," from thence will I bring thee down," 

is the utterance of Jehovah. is the utterance of Jehovah. 

5 If thieves came to thee, if ma- 9 If vintagers come to thee, 
rauders of the night 
(How art thou brought to naught!), 

would they not steal (only) till satisfied ? they will not leave gleanings ; 

if vintagers came to thee, if thieves by night, 

would they not leave gleanings ? they will destroy till satisfied. 

(b) In the verses common to both writers there are none of the turns 
of speech to which Jeremiah is partial, whereas these are found in the 
immediate context in which the verses in question appear in his book. 

Thus within the ten verses included in Jeremiah's prophecy against Edom 
(xlix. 7 22) that have no equivalent in Ob. 1 5, the following contain features 
which are met with elsewhere in Jer. : 

v. 8, flee.. .turn back', the same verbs are conjoined in xlvi. 5, 21, xlix. 24: 

the time that I shall visit (or the time of visitation); see vi. 15, x. 15, xlvi. 
21, 1. 27, 31, cf. also xlviii. 44: 

v. 13, accumulated synonyms expressive of conditions provoking contempt 
and scorn; see xxiv. 9, xxv. 9, 11, 18, xxix. 18, xlii. 18: 

v. 17, be astonished... hiss; see xviii. 16, xix. 8, 1. 13: 

v. 18, the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah; see 1. 40: 

no man shall dwell therein; see xlix. 33, 1. 40, li 43: 

v. 19, the pride of Jordan; see xii. 5, 1. 44 : 

v. 20, to purpose purposes (or its equivalent); see xi. 19, xviii. 11, 18, xxix. 
11, xlix. 30, L 45: 

the little ones of the flock; see 1. 45: 

v. 22, fly as the eagle and spread out his wings ; see xlviii. 40. 

This circumstance is even more decisive against the view that the 
verses in Ob. have been borrowed from Jer. than the one noticed under (a) ; 
for it is extremely improbable that a writer, in drawing upon another's 
work, should have selected from a single chapter just those verses which 
contain none of the original author's favourite expressions. If borrowing 
has occurred between the two writers, the fact that the verses in dispute 
do not exhibit any of Jeremiah's phrases amid a context which has 
several is only consistent with the supposition that they have been 
derived by Jeremiah from Obadiah. 

(ii) It is, however, almost equally clear that Ob. is not the original 
source of the verses in question. This conclusion is suggested, to begin 
with, by the fact that only these five verses recur in Jer., although the 
subject-matter of them (the sin of Edom and its retribution) is further 
pursued by Obadiah ; and the remainder of his book would have afforded 
material for additional borrowing if he had been previously drawn upon. 

OBADIAH xxxvii 

But it is decisively confirmed by an investigation of the metre in which 
the verses common to the two writers are composed. The passage Jer. 
xlix. 14 16, 9 consists of almost perfect elegiac (or Kinati) lines (see 
p. cxlii). So slight are the departures from this rhythm that it is reason- 
able to infer that the original passage was constructed according to this 
metrical scheme, and that any irregularities discernible in the existing 
text are due to some slight corruption. In the corresponding passage in 
Ob. the same metrical system can be detected here and there (see v. 5 H ) ; 
but in various places it is disorganized, partly by the absence of words 
needed to complete the metre, partly by the presence of words that are 
metrically superfluous, and are not required by the sense. Comparison 
between the two parallel sections affords means of reconstructing with 
much plausibility the original passage; and from such reconstruction it 
becomes tolerably clear that the version in Ob., though preserving more 
closely than the version of Jer. the probable order of the verses as they 
were at first arranged (p. xxxv), reproduces less accurately than Jer. the 
authentic form of the separate verses, and that consequently Ob. cannot 
be the source from which Jeremiah has borrowed. 

(iii) There remains, then, the alternative that the writers have drawn 
upon a third source, namely an oracle by an earlier prophet. Of the use 
of portions of earlier prophecies by later writers there are several 
probable examples in the O.T. Apart from short quotations (such as 
Num. xxi. 28, 29, included in Jer. xlviii. 45, 46), instances of the in- 
corporation of comparatively long passages are furnished by the identity 
of Is. ii. 2 4 with Mic. iv. 1 3, and the identity of Is. xv. 2 6 and 
xvi. 6 11 with Jer. xlviii. 29 34, 36, and in each of these cases the 
passage common to the two writers named has almost certainly been de- 
rived by both of them from a prior author 1 . A reason for the use by 
Obadiah of the work of a preceding prophet may be readily suggested. 
He witnessed, as he believed, the fulfilment of the earlier prediction, and 
quoted it in connection with his own description of the event which 
confirmed its truth. 

1 In the N.T. an instance of the use of an earlier work by two later writers is 
furnished by the appropriation of Mk. in whole or in part by both Mt. and Lk., 
though they have handled it with great freedom. 




THE book of Obadiah having been provisionally analysed into the 
three sections (I) w. 15; (II) wo. 614, 15 b ; (III) w. 15 a , 1621, 
of which (I) has been shewn to be derived in all probability by the 
author of (II) from an earlier writer, it remains to consider more at 
length the justification of this analysis, and the date to which the 
several sections can most plausibly be assigned. 

(I) In w. 1 5, an oracle from Jehovah announces, at a time when 
a confederacy is being organized against Edom, that it is the Divine 
purpose to humiliate that nation ; that its pride in its security among 
inaccessible rocks is ill-grounded ; and that its spoliation and destruc- 
tion will be complete. The tenses vary between perfects and futures; 
but future tenses are predominant ; and the general impression produced 
by the passage is that it is not a description of events that have already 
happened but a prophecy relating to the future. Owing to the vagueness 
of the language, there is no positive indication of the time when it was 
written ; but there is some negative evidence which seems to exclude a 
post-exilic date. The self-confident attitude attributed to Edom suggests 
that the country was at the time unmolested and prosperous ; and the 
fact that a Hebrew prophet was prompted to predict for it disaster seems 
most naturally explained by assuming that some success had recently 
been gained by the Edomites to the prejudice of its neighbour, but the 
prophecy does not breathe the feeling of bitter resentment marking the 
rest of the verses down to v. 15, and evoked by the conduct of the 
Edomites on the occasion of the overthrow of Jerusalem in 587. The 
situation implied would correspond to the condition produced through 
the Edomites' re-acquisition of their independence in the reign of 
Jehoram (2 Kgs. viii. 20 22) 1 ; or by their recovery, in the reign of 
Ahaz, of the harbour of Elath, which had so far remained in Jewish 
hands, but was then restored to Edom by Rezin of Syria (2 Kgs. xvi. 6, 
marg.), on which occasion, according to 2 Ch. xxviii. 17, the Edomites 
entered Judah and carried off some of its inhabitants as prisoners. 
Consequently, though the precise date of the prophecy must be a 
matter of conjecture, it may be regarded with some confidence as 

1 Some have thought that the Edomites may have participated in the raid made 
by the Philistines and the Arabians related in 2 Ch. xxi. 16, 17. 



(II) The section comprised in w. 6 15 (or, in strictness, 6 14, 
15 b , for 15 a belongs to the succeeding section) must have been composed 
at a date subsequent to the later of two events : (1) the forcible entry 
made into Jerusalem by an unnamed foreign people on an occasion when 
the Edomites had exulted at the capture of the city and taken part in 
the accompanying rapine and slaughter (w. 11 14); (2) the ravage of 
Edom at a later period by an inroad of tribes previously friendly, in 
which the Jews (as represented by the writer) saw a meet recompense 
for the wrong previously perpetrated by the Edomites on themselves. 
The first of these two events is generally identified with the capture of 
Jerusalem by the Babylonians, when the Edomites exhibited the utmost 
delight at the calamity sustained by their kinsmen, and in consequence 
created in the Jews feelings of the most intense indignation. Jerusalem, 
indeed, is recorded in the O.T. to have been entered by an enemy no 
less than five times 1 ; but the only occasions on which Edomites 
are known to have participated in, or rejoiced at, the assault were the 
last two the siege and capture of the city by the Babylonians, first in 
597 and again in 587, as related in 2 Kgs. xxiv., xxv. Both times the 
capital was plundered, and numbers of the citizens deported ; but 
manifestly it is the second of these occasions, rather than the first, that 
suits the language of Obadiah best. The account in 2 Kings, indeed, does 
not enumerate Edomites in connection with the overthrow of the Jewish 
capital; but their presence and the malicious satisfaction which they 
expressed are attested by Ps. cxxxvii. 7, Ezek. xxxv. 5 (cf. xxv. 12, 
Lam. iv. 21, 22). The magnitude of the disaster, and the bitter resent- 
ment felt by the Jews to wards the Edomites for the malevolence which they 
then displayed, answer sufficiently closely to the description in Obadiah 
(especially the expressions in w. 12, 13) for this event to be accepted 
as the one which the writer had in mind when he discerned in the 
Edomites' conduct towards his countrymen an explanation of their own 
subsequent misfortune. 

But though there is a general agreement that this section of Obadiah 
has in view the events of 587, it has not been universally admitted 
that it was written after them. Caspari, for instance, holds that it is a 
prediction of the fall of Jerusalem (the past tenses in w. 11, 16 being 
explained as prophetic perfects). He is led to this conclusion partly by 
the position of Obadiah in the Canon after Joel and Amos (see p. xxxii), 

1 See (a) 1 Kgs. xiv. 25, 26, 2 Ch. xii. 29; (6) 2 Ch. xxi. 16, 17; (c) 2 Egg. xiv. 
814, 2 Ch. xxv. 1724; (d) 2 Kgs. xxiv. 1016; (e) 2 Kgs. xxv. 121. 


by the supposed use of Obadiah by Jeremiah (see p. xxxv), and by the 
absence of any indebtedness to confessedly post-exilic writings like 
Is. xxxiv. and 3 Is. Ixiii. But he lays most stress on the two facts 
(a) that warnings to the Edomites (such as those contained in w. 
12 14) to refrain from a certain line of conduct are unintelligible if 
the deeds against which they are cautioned had already been committed 
by them ; and (b) that the denunciation of the Edomites alone for their 
crime against Judah is irreconcilable with the supposition that the 
passage was written after the Fall of Jerusalem, it being inconceivable 
that the writer could then have ignored the Babylonians, the chief per- 
petrators of his country's ruin, or confined his attention to those who took 
only a subordinate part in the tragedy. In connection with the latter 
of these two contentions, it is argued that, if the writer lived before 
587, the features manifested by the prophecy are natural enough; for 
whereas prophetic foresight might not enable him long beforehand to 
specify the destined chastisers of his country except by the vague 
description of "strangers," he could easily anticipate the attitude of 
the Edomites on the occasion, owing to the hostility which they had 
displayed towards the Jews previously (cf. Am. i. 11). With regard to 
the argument based on the imperatives in w. 12 14, though the use 
of them may be admitted to be remarkable, it can be fairly accounted 
for by the writer's imaginative power : he transports himself into the 
past, envisages the scene of the city's capture, and dramatically 
addresses the Edomites as though he saw them in the act of doing what 
he knew they actually had done. In respect of the omission of all men- 
tion of the Babylonians, the argument is of still less weight. Even in a 
writing composed shortly after 587 there would be nothing surprising if, 
in a denunciation of Edom for participating with foreigners in despoiling 
a kindred people, the foreigners in question should not be alluded to 
by name, for the guilt of the accomplices was independent of that of 
the principals in the crime, and it could occupy the writer's thoughts 
to the exclusion of anything else (cf. Ezek. xxv. 12 14, xxxv., Lam. iv.). 
But the circumstance becomes perfectly natural if (as is probable for 
reasons given below) the composition of this section of Ob. was separ- 
ated from the events of 587 by a considerable interval, during which 
the Babylonian empire had perished, whereas the Edomites had still 
a country. 

The occasion of the Edomites' display of malice towards the Jews is 
easier to determine than the later occasion which brought a nemesis 
upon them for their misconduct and upon which the writer looks back 


with satisfaction (v. 7). A conquest of Edom shortly after 587 by the 
Babylonians with whom the Edomites had co-operated previously would 
satisfy Obadiah's language in v. 7, and cannot be dismissed as impossible. 
Not long before 587 Edom was seemingly leagued with Moab, Ammon, 
Tyre, and Zidon (see Jer. xxvii. 3, 6) ; and since, according to Josephus 
(Ant. x. 9, 7), Moab and Ammon were subdued by the Babylonian 
Nebuchadrezzar when he invaded Egypt in 582, five years after his 
subjugation of Judah, Edom may have undergone the same fate. The 
absence, however, of any explicit historic evidence that Nebuchadrezzar 
invaded and spoiled Edom on the occasion alluded to renders this 
explanation very doubtful. Much more may be said in favour of the 
view which identifies the calamity suffered by Edom with some phase 
in the dispossession of its people by the Nabatseans, who were in occu- 
pation of Edom in 312 B.C. (see Diod. Sic. xix. 94). The Nabatseans are 
described as Arabs by Josephus (Ant. i. 12, 4, xin. 1, 2, cf. Strabo, 
xvi. 2, 34, 4, 2, 21); and the terms applied in Ob. 7 to the assailants 
of Edom would probably be as appropriate to them as to the Baby- 
lonians. Their establishment at Petra, the Edomite capital, at the date 
mentioned is likely to have involved the expulsion of large numbers of 
the native inhabitants. At the time when the book of Malachi was 
composed (circ. 450B.C.) Edom had already undergone desolation (see 
Mai. i. 3, 4) ; and though the devastators of the country are not named, 
it is probable that they were the Arabian people just referred to. If 
this identification is correct, it is clear that the Edomites had already 
suffered from the inroads of the Nabataeans by the middle of the 5th 
century. And the condition which raids would produce seems adequate 
to explain the language in which the calamity experienced by the 
Edomites is described by Obadiah. If his words are not unduly pressed, 
and allowance is made for rhetoric, his description is scarcely too dark 
for the state of a land ravaged by marauders, even though it had not 
permanently passed into their hands. How early the Nabataeans had 
begun to raid Edom cannot be ascertained ; but there are indications 
that the Edomites were pushing northwards into Judah shortly after 
587 (see Ezek. xxxv. 10, xxxvi. 5). This movement may have been due to 
hostile pressure already driving some of the inhabitants of Edom to 
seek a new abode. Knowledge of the cause that forced the Edomites 
to leave their own country could not fail to become disseminated among 
the neighbouring peoples; and to a Jewish prophet their expulsion from 
their homes would seem a fit requital for the injury which no long 
while before they had inflicted on their neighbours. There thus seems 


to be no serious difficulty in the way of assigning the heart of the book 
to the interval between 587 and the date of Malachi (the middle of the 
5th century), though it is quite possible that it may have been com- 
posed during the half-century following Malachi. 

(Ill) The final section (w. 15% 16 21) predicts renewed calamity 
for Edom. But the passage differs in tenor from what has gone before. 
In the previous part of the book Edom alone is in mind, but here the 
punishment of the Edomites is viewed as an episode in a Divine visi- 
tation upon the nations at large, who are all represented as destined 
to drain the cup of Jehovah's vengeance. And this change of outlook, 
coupled with the circumstance that the 2nd pers. sing, is here replaced 
by the 2nd pers. plural, suggests the work of another author. This 
conclusion is confirmed by a difference in style. The vigorous and 
varied diction of the anterior portion of the book gives place to a 
much less impressive phraseology ; the tone is less animated and the 
figures of speech are trite. The spirit in which the author writes is 
less that of a Prophet than of an Apocalyptist. The situation, too, 
in which the section was written differs to some extent from that 
implied previously. When it was composed, the Edomites were ap- 
parently settled in the Negeb (or South) of Judah and were a source 
of annoyance to their Jewish neighbours. But there is no expectation 
of punishment impending over the Edomite wrongdoers from any 
contemporary power : the writer looks for retribution to fall upon them 
in a general judgment which will come on the whole heathen world 
from Jehovah, and after which the exiles of both branches of Israel 
will regain their former possessions, and consume, like a fire, their 
injurious neighbours. Any precise determination of the date is un- 
fortunately precluded by the absence of all references to contemporary 
conditions admitting of definite identification. The one supplied by 
the mention of Sepharad as a locality where there was a body of Jewish 
exiles is useless, since the place intended is extremely doubtful. The 
view that the writer has in mind a settlement of Jews in Lydia and 
Phrygia established by Antiochus the Great (224 187), as related by 
Josephus (Ant. xn. 3, 4), and that the section consequently was 
written at a comparatively late date in the Greek period is difficult 
to reconcile with the inclusion of the book among the Twelve Minor 
Prophets, for allusion is made to these in Ecclus. xlix. 10, so that the 
collection must have been completed before 180 B.C. and the separate 
books in it written still earlier. And a further fact opposed to this late 
origin is the circumstance that Ob. is probably quoted in Joel, for in 

OBADIAH xliii 

Joel ii. 32 (Heb. iii. 5) the words "In mount Zion and in Jerusalem there 
shall be those that escape, as Jehovah hath said" seem to be a citation 
of the prediction in Ob. 17, "In mount Zion there shall be those that 
escape." If really so, then a date in the latter half of the Persian 
period, perhaps between 450 and 400 B.C., will be the latest to which 
this part of the book can with any plausibility be attributed. The 
writer appears to include himself among, or at least to be in contact 
with, a body of Israelites referred to in v. 20 (this host or fortress), 
though who they are is quite obscure. 

Little or no light is thrown upon the date of Ob. by the language 
in which it is written; and though there is some difference of style 
between the various parts of it, there are virtually no indications, in 
the words or forms used in them, that they were composed at widely 
separated periods. There are, indeed, certain words that occur only 
here, or are very rare, or are used here in a sense not found elsewhere. 
Such are (rocky) clefts (haghdvim), hidden treasures (matsponim), snare 
(mdzor), slaughter (ketel), disaster (noc/ier), crossway (perek), swallow 
down (lu'). But a7ra Aeyo/zeva are met with in most books of the O.T. ; 
and of the rare words enumerated above ketel is the only one that is at 
all suggestive of a late period in the Hebrew language. 

It will be convenient to summarize here the conclusions reached in 
regard to the probable dates of the several divisions of the book. 

I. Verses 1 5, eighth century? 

II. 6 14, 15 b , middle of the fifth century. 

III. 15 a , 1621, last half of the fifth century. 

As the book comprises sections seemingly proceeding from three 
distinct writers separated in point of time, it is uncertain to which of 
them the name Obadiah properly belongs. If it is worth while to hazard 
a conjecture, it is perhaps most likely that the book is called after the 
prophet who composed the portion of it comprised in w. 6 14, 15 b and 
who incorporated the prophecy (w. 1 5) of a predecessor; and to whose 
own work there was afterwards appended an oracle delivered at a sub- 
sequent date, perhaps by a Judsean prophet resident somewhere within 
the former territory of the Ten Tribes, if not in the actual neighbourhood 
of Samaria (see p. 85). 




THE region to which the name Edom was especially applied was the 
mountain-ridge, red in colour, called Seir, on the east side of the 
Arabah, i.e. the deep gorge that extends from the southern extremity of 
the Dead Sea to the gulf of Akaba (see Gen. xxxii. 3, xxxvi. 8). But 
at the time of the Exodus and the Wanderings of Israel the Edomites 
also occupied the plateau on the west side of the Arabah, as far as 
Kadesh (which is described as being on the border of Edom (Num. 
xx. 16, JE)). Hence Edom stood in the way of any approach from the 
Sinai tic peninsula to wards the country east of the Jordan ; and accordingly 
the Israelites collectively, or at least some of the tribes, had to compass 
the Edomite territory. On the north Edom was contiguous to Moab, 
being separated from it probably by the Wddy-el-Ahsa, which is usually, 
though not with certainty, identified with the torrent Zered (Dt. ii. 13). 
On the south it extended to the northern end of the gulf of Akaba, 
where Elath served as a port. In length it did not exceed 100 miles; in 
breadth its limits are less easily defined, but its greatest extent from east 
to west probably fell considerably short of 50 miles, and it doubtless 
varied at different periods. Its physical features are diversified. 
Though Seir consists in the main of bare cliffs, which rise to an average 
elevation of 2000 ft., these are cut by glens and ravines capable of pro- 
ducing abundant vegetation; and the name itself ("hairy") is probably 
due to the brushwood covering it. "The country (writes Professor 
Palmer) is extremely fertile, and presents a favourable contrast to the 
sterile region on the opposite side of the Arabah. Goodly streams flow 
through the valleys, which are filled with trees and flowers ; while on the 
uplands to the east, rich pasture lands and cornfields may everywhere 
be seen. With a peaceful and industrious population it might become 
one of the wealthiest, as it is certainly one of the most picturesque, 
countries in the world 1 ." Hence it is possible that the ambiguous 
language of Isaac's Blessing upon Esau in Gen. xxvii. 39 40, which is 
generally regarded as descriptive of Edom, is to be understood in a sense 
as favourable as that of v. 28; and there still exist many traces of 
former cultivation. On the other hand, at the present day the con- 
dition of the country exhibits the inevitable result of insecurity and 

1 Quoted in Harper, The Bible and Modern Discoveries, p. 343. 


neglect. " The gifts of nature are lavished in vain, and what little corn 
the half-savage Fellahin can produce serves scarcely any other purpose 
than to excite the cupidity of the Bedawin." In ancient times the 
principal towns were Sela (or Petra) and Bozrah (the modern Busairah), 
whilst others that are mentioned are Dinhabah and Avith. 

The people that inhabited the country before the occupation of it by 
the Edomites were the Horites (Gen. xiv. 6, Dt. ii. 12). The name is 
generally taken to mean " cave-dwellers," from kor, " a hole," though 
Sayce 1 connects it with the root hdvar, "to be white," and supposes that 
it designated a white race in contrast to the "red "-skinned Edomites 
who succeeded them. The cliffs, which are a conspicuous feature of 
mount Seir, abound in caves ; and the Horites were presumably an 
aboriginal race that had in these their dwellings. They were subse- 
quently dispossessed or absorbed by the Edomites, whom Hebrew 
traditions represent as descended from Esau, a brother of their own 
eponymous ancestor Israel or Jacob, the father of the brothers being 
Isaac, the son of Abraham. It is not necessary to consider here whether 
any historic personalities lie behind these names; but it is generally 
agreed that the relationship represented as subsisting between the 
patriarchs that figure in early Hebrew tradition reflects current beliefs 
respecting the ties of kinship, near or remote, uniting the tribes or 
peoples reputed to have sprung from them. On this principle the 
Israelites were more closely connected with the Edomites than with the 
Moabites and Ammonites, for whereas the two latter peoples are depicted 
as sprung from Lot, Abraham's nephew, Israel and Edom are both 
described as descended from Abraham's son Isaac. Of Isaac's children, 
Esau, the traditional progenitor of the Edomites, is represented as the 
elder, a circumstance probably embodying the conviction that the 
Edomites were firmly established in their historic home in mount Seir 
before the Israelites were settled in Canaan. The belief implied in the 
traditions preserved in the book of Genesis that Edom was more nearly 
related to Israel than either Moab or Ammon finds confirmation in the 
fact that, although all three nations were generally hostile to the 
Israelites, yet it was Edom which by its conduct on the occasion of the 
Fall of Jerusalem evoked the bitterest resentment. The view that the 
tradition, by describing Esau as the elder brother, meant to imply that 
the Edomites were the older nation, is borne out by the notices of their 
early history. They were in possession of mount Seir and the adjoining 

1 See HCM. p. 204. 


district on the west of the Arabah when the Israelites were yet in a 
nomadic stage of civilization; and they were in the enjoyment of a 
settled form of government before their kinsmen attained to such. 
They appear to have been ruled first by tribal or clan chiefs (termed in 
the R. V. dukes, from the Vulg. duces\ and subsequently by kings. These 
kings can scarcely have reigned by hereditary right, since, in the list of 
them given in Gen. xxxvi. (if this is trustworthy), none is represented 
as the son of his predecessor ; and it is possible that the monarchy was 
elective. But in view of the fact that a succession of chiefs both pre- 
ceded and followed the kings, it seems more likely that the rule of a 
single sovereign was dependent upon the ability of some particular chief 
to become paramount over the rest. The beginnings of monarchy in 
Edom seem to have occurred when Israel was still wandering in the 
desert, if importance can be attached to the circumstance that in the 
"Song of Miriam," on the occasion of the Exodus, allusion is made to 
the " chiefs " of Edom, whereas when the Israelites were preparing to 
enter Canaan, it was to a king that application was made for leave to 
traverse the Edomite territory. But though Edom reached a settled con- 
dition before Israel, the ancient blessing of Isaac, predicting that Esau 
should live by his sword, probably reflects the warlike and predatory 
habits of the people, who depended largely for their support upon the 
chase and upon plunder. 

As regards the language of Edom the only evidence is that supplied 
by the few names of persons and places that have been preserved. 
These confirm the inference, drawn from the traditional relationship 
subsisting between Edom and Israel, that it resembled Hebrew, since 
most of the names admit of being interpreted from Hebrew roots. 

Of the religion of Edom little is known. Among the names of 
Edomite gods mentioned in inscriptions or deduced from other sources 
are Hadad (not definitely known as an Edomite deity, but inferred to 
have been such from the royal names Hadad and Benhadad (cf. 
Benaiah}), Kaush (occurring in certain seemingly theophoric names 
like Kaush-malak, Kaush-gabr) and Koze (Jos. Ant. xv. 7, 9). From 
the proper name Obed-edom, it may be concluded with some plausi- 
bility that Edom was also the appellation of a deity, who was pre- 
sumably worshipped by the Edomites; but there appears to be no 
independent evidence to corroborate the conclusion. The occurrence of 
various animal names amongst the Edomites in Gen. xxxvi., such as 
Aiah (vulture), Achbor (mouse), and Zibeon (hyaena), suggests that 
there once prevailed in Edom a totemistic stage of culture, in which 

OBADIAH xlvii 

families and clans were believed to be akin to certain animals after 
which they were called (see p. 120). 

As has been already said, the occupation of mount Seir by the 
Edomites barred the way of Israel when the latter, either in whole or 
in part, attempted to enter Canaan from the east. The sources of the 
Pentateuch give conflicting accounts of the relations between the two 
peoples on the occasion. According to the principal narrative, the 
Israelites asked for leave to cross Edom, but being refused, avoided 
any violation of it by making a devour to the south, traversing its 
western border as far as the head of the gulf of Akaba, and then turning 
northward along its eastern frontier (Num. xx. 14 21, xxi. 4, JE). 
But there are other passages which imply no such circuit, but repre- 
sent the Israelites as crossing the intervening country from mount Hor 
(probably Jebel Madurah, N. W. of Ain Kadis) to the borders of Moab (see 
Num. xxxiii. 37 f., P, cf. xxi. 4 a , 10, 11, P), though there is nothing 
to decide whether they are conceived as having done this by permis- 
sion of the Edomites or whether they pursued a route which at the 
time was outside the Edomite territory. During the conquest of 
Canaan and the period of the Judges nothing is recorded of the re- 
lations between the two peoples. But there are not lacking indications 
that there was some intermingling between them. Othniel, one of the 
earliest Judges, is described as a son of Kenaz, and the latter is repre- 
sented as a grandson of Esau. The Kenizzites were settled in Judah, 
the Chronicler appearing to reckon Kenaz among the descendants of 
Judah (1 Ch. iv. 13, 15); and as there is reason to think that Judah 
entered Canaan not from the east but from the south, it is probable 
that there was some intermixture between Israelite and Edomite clans 
during the wanderings of the former in the wilderness. After kingly 
government was established in Israel and the people began to increase 
in strength and to extend their borders, it was inevitable that grounds 
of quarrel should arise between them and their neighbours. The Medi- 
terranean seaboard was closed by the Philistines (p. 82) ; and if the 
Israelites were to possess a port, it was on the Red Sea littoral that 
they had to find it. Hence a protracted struggle, marked by varying 
fortune, ensued between the two nations. Saul is recorded to have 
been successful over Edom (1 Sam. xiv. 47); and the country was sub- 
jugated by his successor David (2 Sam. viii. 13, mg., 1 Ch. xviii. 11, 12). 
A great victory was obtained in the Valley of Salt (presumably the 
plain immediately to the south of the Dead Sea) and the country was 
garrisoned. But the success of Joab, David's general, cannot have 


been as great as is represented in 1 Kgs. xi. 15, 16, where he is 
alleged to have exterminated the Edomite male population; for the 
Edomites even in the next reign seem to have given much trouble to 
the conquerors. Hadad, of the Edomite royal house, who had married 
an Egyptian princess, after having taken refuge in Egypt during the 
invasion of his country in David's reign, returned when Solomon 
ascended the Israelite throne, and (according to 1 Kgs. xi. 25, LXX.) 
became king of Edom. But Solomon (who included Edomite women 
in his harem) was able to retain Ezion-geber, a port on the gulf of 
Akaba, and was then in a position to take part in the profitable trade 
to Ophir (variously considered to have been situated on the east coast 
of Africa, in S.E. Arabia (cf. Gen. x. 29), in India, or even in the 
Malay peninsula) ; and it seems probable that Hadad's restoration to 
the throne of Edom did not secure for the country complete independ- 
ence. After the disruption of the Hebrew kingdom, Judah succeeded 
in maintaining suzerainty over Edom for some period. According to 
1 Kgs. xxii. 47 there was no king in Edom during the reign of Jeho- 
shaphat (who, like Solomon, made use of Ezion-geber) and the land 
was governed by a deputy. In the reign of Jehoram, however, Edom 
seems once more to have had a native ruler, for an Edomite king took 
part in the war conducted by Ahab of Israel and Jehoram against 
Moab (2 Kgs. iii. 9); but he was probably at the time a vassal. Later 
in Jehoram's reign the Edomites recovered their independence (2 Kgs. 
viii. 20 22), but they seem to have been unable to eject the Judasans 
from Elath, a port a little to the south of Ezion-geber ; and it was not 
until the reign of Ahaz that it was regained for them by Rezin of 
Syria (2 Kgs. xvi. 6 b mg.). According to the Chronicler (2 Ch. xxviii. 17), 
the Edomites took advantage of the attack of Rezin upon Ahaz to 
invade the southern borders of Judah and carry away captives. The 
struggle for national freedom which this history implies was doubtless 
marked by much savagery, and the prophet Amos denounces Edom 
for its relentlessness (Am. i. 11). The Edomites not only pursued their 
own wars mercilessly, but bought captive Judaean slaves from the 
neighbouring Philistines (Am. i. 6). Their conflict with Judah did 
not cease with the acquisition of their independence in the reign of 
Jehoram, for the Judaean king Amaziah, about fifty years later, 
attempted to reconquer the country, inflicted a severe defeat upon its 
people, and captured Sela, which he called Joktheel. Elath, as has been 
said, still remained in Judsean hands and must have been accessible 
from Judah by a secure road, if it was to be of any value; so that 


possibly the part of Edom which had effectually thrown off Judsean 
authority was small. But with the loss of Elath in the reign of Ahaz 
Judaean sovereignty over Edom seems to have come to an end; and 
even Hezekiah, though he was stronger than his father, is not recorded 
to have attempted the re- subjugation of the country. In point of fact 
all the small Palestinian states were now menaced by Assyria ; and the 
names of Edomite kings appear with those of others in the cuneiform 
inscriptions who paid tribute to Assyrian rulers. Kaush-malak was 
tributary to Tiglath-Pileser III (744727), Malik-ram to Sennacherib 
(705681), and Kaush-gabr to Esarhaddon (681668) and Asshur- 
banipal (668626). 

It might have been expected that a common danger would have 
lessened the animosity prevailing between two nearly-allied peoples; 
but such was not the case when the Babylonians, having aided in the 
destruction of the Assyrian empire in 612, attacked Judah early in 
the following century. Although the menace from Babylon led for a 
moment to an attempt on the part of Edom and others of the states 
bordering on Judah to form a coalition with the latter for combined 
defence (Jer. xxvii. 3), nothing was effected; and when in 587 Nebu- 
chadrezzar, the king of Babylon, took Jerusalem, the Edomites not 
only manifested the utmost satisfaction at the overthrow of their 
neighbours, but, according to the statements of Judaean writers, behaved 
with great barbarity to the unhappy Jews, sharing both in the plunder 
of the city and in the slaughter of its citizens. Their conduct on this 
occasion made an abiding impression on the surviving Jewish people ; 
predictions of calamity for Edom and the Edomites are frequent in 
post-exilic prophecies (3 Is. Ixiii. 1 6, Joel iii. 19, Mai. i. 4); and even 
the author of Ecclus., writing about 180 B.C., displays his hatred for 
them, if the Heb. of 1. 26 (see mg.) preserves a correct reading. And 
not only did the Edomites exult over the Fall of Jerusalem, but they 
occupied part of the territory of Judah, settling in the Negeb (or 
South) and taking possession of Hebron, which remained in their hands 
(whether continuously or not, does not appear) until the time of 
the Maccabees. Their inroad into the south of Judah, however, was 
probably due to disasters of their own. The Nabatseans (see p. xli) 
are related by Diodorus Siculus (xix. 98) to have been in occupation of 
Petra in 312 B.C. ; and this seizure of their capital must have resulted 
in the withdrawal of numbers of Edomites from their own country into 
neighbouring lands; amongst which Judah, now thinly populated, 
would offer many advantages as a place of refuge. Here they remained 

w. d 


until the rise of the Maccabees and the renewal of a warlike spirit 
among the Jews, when they were expelled from the places which they 
had seized. Judas Maccabeus inflicted a severe defeat upon them at 
Akrabattine (in the neighbourhood of the ascent of Akrabbim, south 
of the Dead Sea) and likewise attacked them successfully at Hebron 
(1 Mace. v. 3, 65). John Hyrcanus in 128 B.C. drove them from Adora 
and Mareshah (Jos. Ant. xm. 9, 1, B. J. I. 2, 6), and so completely 
subjugated them that he was able to impose upon them acceptance of 
the Jewish Law and the rite of circumcision. Edom thus became 
amalgamated with Judah; and it was by a family of Edomite origin 
that the Jews were eventually ruled. This was the house of Herod, 
which first became prominent under Antipater, who was made governor 
of Edom (called in Greek Idumcea) by Alexander Jannseus (104 78). 
His son, likewise named Antipater, was appointed procurator of Judaea 
by Julius Csesar, and was the father of Herod the Great. The latter 
was made king of Judsea by the Roman senate; and after Actium 
(39 B.C.) received from Octavianus an extension of his dominions by 
the inclusion of Trachonitis. One of his sons, Herod Antipas, became, 
under his father's will, tetrarch of Galilee and Persea, and married a 
daughter of Aretas, king of Arabia Petrcea (the title by which the 
kingdom of Edom was known to the Romans). The country was de- 
vastated by Simon of Gerasa shortly before the siege of Jerusalem by 
Titus (Jos. Ant. xvi. 8, 5 ; 14, 4 ; xvm. 2, 1 ; B. J. iv. 9, 7). Its 
independence came to an end in 105A.D., when the Roman emperor 
Trajan reduced it to a province, its capital Petra being re-named 
Hadriana (after Hadrian, the general who captured it, and who became 
Trajan's successor). 




THE book of Joel affords little information respecting its author. 
The name is not rare 1 , and is usually interpreted to mean "Jehovah is 
God," being related to Elijah ("My God is Jehovah") as Joab ("Je- 
hovah is father") is to Abijah. But though the name must have had 
for Jews the significance stated, it is questionable whether this was its 
original meaning, since the occurrence of it in certain Phoenician inscrip- 
tions throws some doubt on its connection with Jehovah 2 . Nothing is 
known concerning the prophet; and the only information obtainable 
about the period in Hebrew history which witnessed his prophetic 
activity has to be inferred from the internal evidence of the book. 
Even the precise form of his father's name is uncertain, since the Hebrew 
gives it as Pethuel, whereas the Versions have Bethuel* or Bathuel 
(see p. 88). He is said by Epiphauius to have belonged to the tribe 
of Reuben ; but he must in any case have been a resident at Jerusalem, 
and was identified with its interests (ii. 1, 15, 23, iii. 1, 16, 17, 20), 
since he not only repeatedly refers to that city, but also speaks of the 
offerings made in the Temple, and of the ministrations of the priests 
there. Where the term Israel occurs in the book (as in ii. 27, iii. 2, 16), 
it clearly refers to Judah. 

The occasion of the prophecy which the book contains was the 
appearance in the land of extensive flights of locusts, accompanied by 
extreme drought, the two together involving an unprecedented destruc- 
tion of vegetation, and consequent scarcity and distress for both man 
and beast. Through the ravages of the locusts the harvest, the vintage, 
and the other products of the soil were consumed; the supply of food 
for the support of life, and of cereal and wine offerings for the service 
of religion, was cut off ; and the devastation of the crops, the trees, and 
the herbage caused by successive swarms of the insects for several years 

1 It is the appellation of at least a dozen different persons in the O.T.: see 
(1) 1 Sam. viii. 2 (1 Ch. vi. 33), (2) 1 Ch. iv. 35, (3) 1 Ch. v. 4, (4) 1 Ch. v. 12, 
(5) 1 Ch. vii. 3, (6) 1 Ch. xi. 38, (7) 1 Ch. xxvii. 20, (8) Ezra x. 43, (9) Neh. xi. 9, 
(10) 1 Ch. vi. 36, but see mg., (11) 1 Ch. xv. 7, 11, (12) 2 Ch. xxix. 12. 

2 See Oxford Heb. Lex. p. 222: cf. Gray, Heb. Proper Names, p. 153. 
8 Cf. Gen. xxii. 23. 


(ii. 25) had been augmented by a deficiency of the usual rain. This 
calamitous situation drew from the prophet counsel for the people's 
need. Interpreting the visitation as a prelude to, or perhaps as a phase 
of, Jehovah's Judgment Day, he urged his countrymen to seek, by sincere 
repentance and every token of contrition, to prevail upon their God to 
save them from the worst, and so preserve His worshippers from becoming 
the scorn of the heathen (ii. 17, mg.). 

The book falls into three parts. The first section (i. 2 ii. 17) consists 
of a description of the sufferings of the country and of the resistless 
advance of the locusts, followed by the appeal of the prophet to both 
priests and people to make supplication to Jehovah to spare them. 
This first section is separated from the next by a brief narrative (ii. 18, 
19 a ), which is followed by a second address from the prophet (ii. 19 b 27). 
Between ii. 17 and the succeeding verse an interval of time must be 
supposed to have elapsed, during which Jehovah's acceptance of His 
people's prayer has been manifested by a turn for the better in their 
position. He has already sent rain : and in the second section (ii. 19 b 27) 
the prophet conveys God's promise that the locusts will be removed, 
and comforts the afflicted community with the prospect of such ample 
upplies of corn and other fruits of the earth as will make good what 
the insects had devoured. Upon this second section, which is limited 
to assurances of physical blessings, there ensues a third (ii. 28 iii. 21 
(Heb. iii. 1 iv. 21)) containing predictions that at some later date 
Jehovah's material bounty will be followed by the gift of His Spirit, in 
virtue of which all classes of the people will become prophets. This will 
be a sign, amongst others, of the imminence of the judgment, from 
which those who shall invoke His name (i.e. the Jews) are to be saved 
in Jerusalem, but which will be executed upon the heathen. After the 
recall of those Jews who are still in exile, all nations will be brought 
together and be judged by God in the vicinity of Jerusalem for their 
treatment of Judah and its population. The Phoenicians and Philistines, 
in particular, because they have sold Jewish captives as slaves, will them- 
selves be enslaved. The nations in general, assembled in the valley of 
Jehoshaphat, will there be trampled by Jehovah's hosts like grapes in a 
winepress. Such an issue will confirm the faith of the Jews in their 
God and in the future inviolability of their country. The fertility of its 
most barren localities will be ensured; Egypt and Edom are to be 
doomed to desolation for violence committed on the Jews ; and Zion 
will become Jehovah's dwelling-place. With this section the book 

JOEL liii 

Though there is a break after ii. 17 which implies the lapse of 
an interval, the most important division of the book occurs at ii. 27, 
where there is a change of subject-matter, so that the book falls into 
two main halves, each with an interest of its own. The first half, 
i. 2 ii. 27, is concerned solely with the disasters occasioned by the 
locusts, with Jehovah's promise to remove the plague, and with His 
assurance of renewed fertility for the land, and material blessings for 
its people. But in ii. 28 iii. 21 the subject is exclusively a universal 
judgment, resulting in the deliverance and felicity of the Jews and the 
punishment of the heathen who have maltreated them. But though the 
two halves are thus contrasted in respect of their subject-matter, there 
is no real severance between them. The spiritual endowment of the 
Jews pre-announced in ii. 28 29 is the counterpart of the material 
plenty foretold in ii. 1927 (note afterward, v. 28). And all through 
the section relating to the locust-plague (i. 2 ii. 17) the locusts are 
represented as forerunners of the Judgment Day, and their devastation 
of the land of Israel is described as accompanied by all the terrifying 
portents in nature that are destined to attend the predicted annihila- 
tion of the heathen (cf. ii. l b , 2, 10, 11 with ii. 31, iii. 15, 16). Such 
portents in the account of the locusts cannot be satisfactorily explained 
as due to features noticeable in connection with the actual movements 
of these insects, for though they constitute a very serious plague, they 
are not an unusual one in Palestine (cf. Dt. xxviii. 38, 1 Kgs. viii. 37, 
Am. iv. 9). There are, indeed, present in the prophet's narrative traits 
which, though startling, doubtless reflect a real experience of a locust- 
plague (e.g. ii. 3, 5, 6). Travellers relate that flights of locusts are 
sometimes so extensive that they even obscure the sky. But the shaking 
of earth and heaven, the pealing of thunder, and the withdrawal of the 
light of the sun, moon, and stars cannot be thus explained. And the fact 
that the same features figure both in a description of a destructive swarm 
of locusts and in a prediction of a comprehensive judgment executed 
upon the assembled heathen nations, thus bringing into relation with 
one another two events which to modern minds are incommensurate, 
has occasioned a very serious difficulty in the interpretation of the book, 
of which a solution has been sought in various ways. 




OF the two subjects with which the book is concerned, a disastrous 
plague of locusts in Palestine, and a Divine judgment upon the whole 
heathen world, the first is represented as actually being experienced 
when the work opens, and is looked back upon as past, as the book 
proceeds, whilst the second is still in the future, and its occurrence 
only predicted; yet the two are described in such similar language, 
that they appear to be successive stages of one process, the first as well 
as the second realizing the terrors of the day of Jehovah. From the 
terms used in ii. 1, 2, indeed, the locusts might be taken to be mere 
precursors of the Day of Jehovah, with its accompaniment of gloom and 
darkness, thunder and earthquake; but in ii. 10, 11 the same portentous 
signs in nature attend the locusts as are manifest when the heathen are 
gathered for their doom in the Valley of Decision (iii. 15, 16, cf. ii. 31). 
The fact that two events seemingly so different in character and im- 
portance are thus co-ordinated and treated as though they were on the 
same plane has been accounted for in different ways. 

Formerly attempts were made to lessen the unnaturalness of painting 
in the same colours a destructive locust-plague and the final judgment 
upon the heathen, by interpreting the locusts allegorically. The suc- 
cessive swarms of locusts were explained as denoting successive invasions 
of heathen enemies; and since four distinct names are used for the 
locusts, they were taken to represent either assaults upon Palestine by 
four different nations 1 , or four assaults at different times by the same 
nation 2 . Support for this view that the locusts are figures for hostile 
hosts was obtained from (a) the circumstance that the locusts are 
actually described as a nation and a people (i. 6, ii. 2) ; (b) the fact 
that they are termed Jehovah's army and camp (ii. 11, 25); (c) the 
charge preferred against them of overweening conduct, with its implica- 
tion of moral accountability (ii. 20, end) ; (d) the epithet the northerner 
(ii. 20) applied to them, for whereas locusts rarely come to Palestine 
from a northerly direction (since the chief breeding-ground of the 

1 In the margin of Codex Marchalianus (6th century) of the LXX. there is a note 
to ii. 25 explaining the four names for locusts there given as standing for Alytiimot, 
Ea.pv\6viot,'A.<T<rijp<.oi,"E\\'r]Vs,*PutJ(.aioi,ibe Assyrians and Babylonians being perhaps 
reckoned together. 

3 Hilgenfeld took the four swarms to represent Persian invasions (1) under 
Cambyses, 525 ; (2) under Xerxes, 484 ; (3) and (4) under Artaxerxes I, 460458 
(see Van Hoonacker, Les Dome Petits Prophetes, p. 133). 


swarms that devastate Western Asia is Arabia, whence they are carried 
to Palestine by southerly winds), it was from the north that the expected 
advance of the nations hostile to Israel was looked for (Jer. i. 14, Ezek. 
xxxviii. 6, 15, xxxix. 2); (e) a possible translation of ii. 17 as given in 
the R.V. text, which interprets it as a prayer that the nations may not 
rule over Jehovah's people ; (/) the magnitude of the terror and destruc- 
tion caused by them, exceeding the results produced by real locusts ; 
(g) the connection of the scourge with the day of Jehovah, which else- 
where is often associated with the invasion of Israel by hostile forces. 
But such an allegorical explanation is totally inconsistent with the 
natural significance of the writer's language. That the locusts are 
meant to be understood as real locusts and not as human invaders 
appears from the facts (a) that they are compared to an invading army, 
and therefore must be really distinct from such ; (b) that the damage 
which they inflict is wrought solely through the destruction of vege- 
tation; (c) that the comparison of their entry into the city to that of 
a thief, though suitable for a swarm of locusts penetrating into houses 
through the windows, is inappropriate for a victorious host; (d) that 
the manner of their destruction (ii. 20) is one which is not uncommon 
in the case of locusts (cf. Ex. x. 19), but is unnatural in the case of 
soldiers; (e) that the calamity occasioned by them is repaired by the 
revival of vegetation and the renewal of bountiful harvests; (./ ) that 
the Hebrew of ii. 17 admits of a different rendering (see mg.). The 
writer, indeed, depicting them poetically, invests them with certain 
human qualities, and even (if the last clause of ii. 20 is genuine, see 
p. 105) ascribes to them human responsibility. But human qualities are 
often attributed to the lower creatures by Hebrew writers (as well as 
by others), see Job xxxix. 7, 22, xl. 23; and it cannot seriously be 
doubted that Joel has in his mind not men but insects, which, though 
personified and likened to warriors, are meant to be understood literally. 
And though there is an element of hyperbole in his language, yet much 
of it is extraordinarily true to experience. Accordingly, the violence 
that is felt to be done to the plain sense of the book by the allegorical 
interpretation has led to another view, which maintains that whilst the 
locusts are intended to signify insects, they signify not ordinary but 
supernatural locusts, agents designed to take part in the execution of 
the Divine judgment in the Day of Jehovah (cf. Rev. ix. 3 11). But 
this explanation is a desperate expedient, and can only be justified if 
failure attends all other methods of rendering intelligible the relation 
of the locusts to the great and terrible Day. 


More recently it has been sought to cut the knot by a process of 
critical analysis. One solution dissects the book into two different 
works occupied with distinct subjects, each part being the production 
of a separate author. A second solution is found in the hypothesis 
that the book consists of two originally disconnected parts of a single 
work, both proceeding, in the main, from the author whose name the 
book bears, but differing in subject-matter; and that the first has been 
assimilated to the second by a number of interpolations designed to 
interpret the locust-plague, which it describes, in the light of the com- 
prehensive judgment predicted in the latter half of the book. Instances 
of such supposed interpolations are i. 15, ii. l b , 2 a , 6, 10, 11 (cf. iii. 
14 16). These verses or parts of verses contain parallels with other 
books ; and this fact has also been held to favour the view that they 
are insertions. 

The question whether the features of the work really require either 
its partition, or the less disruptive hypothesis of extensive interpolation, 
is considered in the next chapter. The parallels between Joel and other 
O.T. writings, with the inferences to be drawn from them with regard 
to priority, are reserved for discussion in ch. iv. in connection with the 
date. If it can be shewn that the priority probably rests not with Joel 
but with the other writings that are compared with it, it need not 
follow that the passages in Joel have been introduced by an editor; 
they may reflect the influence of the earlier compositions upon the 
author himself. There is, however, in the book one group of verses, 
viz. iii. 4 8 (Heb. iv. 4 8), the authenticity of which is suspected 
for reasons of a special nature ; and the arguments against its genuine- 
ness have considerable weight (see p. Ix). 



THE disparity in importance between the subjects of the two halves 
of the book, and the occurrence in i. 2 ii. 27 (where the main interest 
is the scarcity caused by the locusts) of expressions which appear 
appropriate only to the catastrophe that is to overtake the heathen 
nations as predicted in ii. 28 iii. 21, have led (as has been seen) to 
the denial of its unity (i. 2 ii. 27 being the original work by a pre-exilic 
author and ii. 28 iii. 21 being a supplement by a post-exilic writer 1 ), 

1 See Driver, LOT. 6 p. 311, note. 


or to a theory of interpolations. Consideration, however, of the place 
which dearth occupies amongst Divine judgments in the O.T., and of 
the way in which the term the day of Jehovah is employed in the pro- 
phetic writings, will shew that the two sections of the book are not as 
irreconcilable as is represented. The similarity in the treatment of the 
subject-matter of the two parts becomes intelligible if the conditions of 
Eastern life at the time are adequately appreciated, and if the writer's 
language is not interpreted in too prosaic and literal a fashion. 

In a country and in an age in which external trade cannot have been 
highly developed, and in which facilities for the transport of commodities 
from abroad must have been meagre, any occurrence which diminished 
or destroyed the harvest was bound to wear a serious aspect. Amongst 
a people to whom anything unusual presented itself as a direct interven- 
tion of the Deity, a succession of locust swarms, occasioning complete 
failure of the crops, must have inevitably appeared to be a Divine 
judgment upon the nation for its offences. And the light in which such 
a chastisement was regarded, and the gravity of the affliction which it 
involved, can be judged not only by the prominence given to instances 
of dearth in the historical books (Gen. xli. 54, 2 Kgs. iv. 38, Neh. v. 3), 
but also from the inclusion of it in the list of Jehovah's four sore 
judgments in Ezek. xiv. 12 23. From all of these sword, famine, wild 
beasts, and pestilence the land of Judah was liable to suffer during the 
period prior to the Exile. But from that event onwards Judah for many 
centuries enjoyed no national independence, being incorporated within 
the dominions of a great empire, first Babylon, and afterwards Persia, 
under whose rule, though it was humiliated, it was practically free from 
hostile ravage. Accordingly the sword was no longer to be feared in 
the same degree as during the pre-exilic age ; and by the diminution, 
if not the elimination, of this source of danger, with its attendant evils 
of carnage and rapine, the calamities of famine and pestilence to which 
the country continued to be exposed, would become proportionately more 
impressive. And it is noteworthy that in the prophetic writings of the 
Persian period, like Haggai and Malachi, it is dearth which is represented 
as the penalty that punishes the Jews for their offences (Hag. i. 6 f., 
Mai. ii. 3). And if, as will be seen, Joel is not earlier than the Persian 
period, it is to be expected that the destruction of the harvest and 
vintage by an exceptionally severe visitation of locusts would inspire 
intense alarm, as indicating a terrible outbreak of Divine wrath against 
the people. 

It was such a manifestation of Divine resentment that the day of 


Jehovah was conceived by the prophets to usher in. In their expecta- 
tion the Day was some decisive event bringing to a close the contemporary 
age which was so distressful to the pious among their countrymen, and 
introducing another age fraught with felicity for such as were deemed 
worthy to survive the impending crisis. But whilst the expression con- 
veyed the idea of a conclusive judgment, settling, as it were, the long- 
standing account which Jehovah had with the sinful both within and 
outside Israel, its significance was not limited to a single experience. 
If the people, by opportune repentance, averted for a while the punishment 
that had threatened them, a relapse into sin might revive forebodings 
that had passed into the background. Moreover, a calamity that had 
already overtaken the nation for earlier transgressions could then be 
regarded by the conscience-stricken as a mere instalment of a retribution 
which in its full severity was still to come. And it is from this point 
of view that the references to the day of Jehovah in Joel i. 2 ii. 27 are 
to be understood. The acute distress caused by the plague of locusts 
was a symptom of the Divine anger, and a premonition of worse disasters 
yet in store. But the intensity of Jehovah's indignation was not, in fact, 
experienced. In consequence of the response to the prophet's summons 
to repentance, the destruction that menaced the people was removed ; 
the fruits of the earth were once more granted to them ; and the signs 
of the Day's approach, which had worn such a threatening aspect to 
Israel, disappeared. It was then predicted that these tokens would be 
succeeded by others, heralding the annihilation of Israel's enemies. 
For Jehovah's chastisement of His people did not terminate His relations 
with them. He remained their God ; and now that they had amended 
their ways, their wrongs required to be redressed. The Day would 
therefore reach its consummation in vengeance upon the heathen who 
had so long exercised domination over them. The circumstance that 
the conception of the Day has a place in each of the two halves of the 
book is explained by its having two aspects ; and the fact that in the 
second half it is regarded as finally to be realized in a future overthrow of 
all the heathen nations in the valley of Jehoshaphat is not inconsistent 
with an earlier phase being thought of as exemplified in the impoverish- 
ment of Israel through swarms of locusts. The view which considers the 
account of the plague of locusts and the prediction of the universal 
judgment upon the nations to proceed from the same author, but seeks 
to remove from the former all reference to the Day of Jehovah, does so 
because of the celestial portents represented as accompanying the locust 
swarms. In an imaginative picture of the destruction, by Jehovah 

JOEL lix 

in Person, of the heathen hosts, disturbances and convulsions of nature, 
the darkening of the luminaries, the quaking of the earth, and the 
trembling of the heavens, are deemed to be features which are not 
inappropriate; but their presence in even a poetic description of so 
ordinary an occurrence as a plague of locusts (though of abnormal 
proportions) is, it is contended, out of place. But this contention ignores 
the evidence for hyperbolical diction, inspired by religious emotion, 
which is supplied by Hebrew literature in general. Other prophets, in 
their representation of events as familiar as a locust-plague, or at least, 
of events not greatly transcending common experiences, afford ample 
parallels to the phrases used in Joel. The event, for instance, which is 
anticipated in Amos v. 20 is an invasion of the land by Assyria, and 
the deportation of its people to another country (v. 27); but the lan- 
guage used in connection with it suggests, if it is interpreted literally, 
an accompanying obscuration of the sky "Shall not the day of Jehovah 
be darkness and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it 1 ?" 
(v. 20, cf. Joel ii. 1, 2.) The writer of the prophecy contained in 
Is. xiii. 1 xiv. 23 has in view the overthrow of Babylon by the Medes; 
but he leads up to his account of the massacre of its inhabitants, in 
which neither age nor sex will be spared (probably no unprecedented 
feature in the sack of a hostile capital), by declaring "The stars of heaven 
and the constellations thereof shall not give their light : the sun shall 
be darkened in his going forth and the moon shall not cause her light 
to shine... I (Jehovah) will make the heavens to tremble, and the earth 
shall be shaken out of her place" (xiii. 10, 13). And, again, it is 
generally thought that the occasion which evoked Zephaniah's prophecy 
was the irruption into Asia of hordes of Scythians 1 , but though the 
prophet anticipates a judgment for Judah through the instrumentality 
of such human agents, he describes it as "a day of darkness and 
gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness" (i. 15). There is thus 
in the language of Joel nothing that is seriously out of keeping with 
the habits of thought and modes of expression common amongst the 
prophetic writers generally. The celestial manifestations which are 
represented as attending certain disasters of no uncommon nature, 
though it may be of uncommon magnitude, are obviously figures of 
speech which were never meant by their authors to be interpreted with 
prosaic literalness. 

Metaphors derived from gloom and darkness to express calamitous 

1 See Driver, Minor Prophets, n. p. 106 (C.B.). 


and terrifying conditions are, indeed, so instinctive that the use of them 
by the prophets in connection with evils brought about by physical 
causes or human agents does not need to be enlarged upon. But it is 
not unlikely that the metaphors in question may also have had their 
source in eclipses, which, in an age ignorant of their origin, were calcu- 
lated to be very alarming. The association, indeed, of the trembling of 
earth and heaven with darkness, in some of the passages just cited, may 
point to a further source from which the latter metaphor may come. 
The idea of a convulsion of the physical world is clearly drawn from 
the experience of an earthquake ; and the memory of one which occurred 
in the reign of Uzziah of Judah was long preserved (Am. i. 1, 2 Zech. 
xiv. 5). And the clouds of dust raised by falling buildings, filling the 
atmosphere and discolouring the light of the sun, would add an addi- 
tional element of horror; so that into mental pictures conjured up by 
the thought of an earthquake the obscuration of the luminaries might 
naturally enter. The purpose of these and similar figures cf speech was to 
create in the mind of the hearer or reader conceptions of fear and agony, 
independently of any particular occasion. This is apparent from the 
analogous introduction of allusions to storm and hurricane into descrip- 
tions of martial conflict, as in Am. i. 14, 15 "I will kindle a fire in... 
Rabbah, and it shall devour the palaces thereof, with shouting in the day 
of battle, with a tempest in the day of the whirlwind : and their (the 
Ammonites') king shall go into captivity, he and his princes together." 
It is plain from such an example that there is nothing singular in the 
reference to the shaking of the earth and the darkening of the sky in 
Joel even in connection with the plague of locusts. The presence of 
these features in the prophet's description is designed merely to heighten 
the impression which he wishes to produce of the terrible nature of the 
calamity. The writer does not mean that the devastation caused by 
the locusts was actually accompanied by earthquake or eclipse, but that 
it was of a magnitude calculated to inspire alarm comparable to that 
arising from the latter causes, the expressions employed by him being 
customary, almost stereotyped, symbols of fearful conditions. 

The only passage for the rejection of which as an insertion plausible 
reasons can be urged is iii. 48 (Heb. iv. 48). The passage is a 
denunciation of injuries committed upon the Jews by the people of 
Tyre, Zidon, and Philistia, and an assurance that such injuries will be 
avenged. The grounds for questioning its authenticity are as follows. 
(a) The passage is written in prose, whereas the context on either side 
is in verse, (b) It is a digression, interrupting the connection between 


the subject-matter of iii. 3 and of iii. 9 f. In these groups of verses the 
subject is the prediction of vengeance against all the nations ; and the 
singling out, in the intervening section, of Phoenicians and Philistines 
for special denunciation disturbs the current of thought very awkwardly. 
(c) The statement that these people had sold Jews as slaves (v. 6) repeats 
a charge already directed in general terms against the nations at large 
(v. 3). (d) The retribution which is to overtake them differs from that 
which awaits the collective heathen nations. These are to be extermin- 
ated by Jehovah and His celestial hosts; whereas the two peoples who 
are the subjects of consideration in w. 4 8 are to be sold into slavery, 
thereby undergoing the same experience which they had inflicted on 
others. The date of the interpolation need not be much later than that 
of the rest of the book : a suggestion as to the occasion which produced 
it is offered on p. 1 14. 



OF the time when the book was written there is given in the opening 
verse no indication, such as occurs in Isaiah and Jeremiah among the 
Major prophets, and Hosea, Amos, Micah, Zephaniah, Haggai, and 
Zechariah among the Minor. Nor is there any reference to the writer in 
the historical books, for though the name Joel occurs in them not in- 
frequently (see p. li), there is nothing to identify the prophet with 
any of the individuals elsewhere mentioned. The circumstance that the 
prophecy is placed in the Canon between Hosea and Amos, which were 
both written in the 8th century, has been held to favour an early date ; 
but the forward position amongst the Twelve occupied by certain pro- 
phetic works which for cogent reasons have come to be regarded as of 
relatively late origin (e.g. the book of Jonah) deprives the consideration 
of any importance. Moreover the arrangement by which Joel is followed 
by Amos can be explained by certain features in the two books ; for Joel 
ends with the announcement of a comprehensive judgment upon all 
heathen nations, specific mention being made of Tyre, Zidon, Philistia, 
Egypt, and Edom; whilst Amos begins with a series of predictions 
against a number of heathen powers including Tyre, Philistia, and 
Edom ; and moreover the phrase " Jehovah shall roar from Zion, and utter 
his voice from Jerusalem " occurs near the conclusion of Joel (iii. 16), 
and forms the opening of Amos. Consequently the date of the book has 
to be determined indirectly from internal evidence. This consists of 


(i) the historical allusions found in the work, and the social and religious 
condition of the people which is implied ; (ii) the parallels offered to its 
more distinctive ideas by other prophecies of more or less certain date ; 
(iii) the literary relations between it and other writings, as either quoting 
or quoted ; (iv) the style and diction. 

(i) The occurrence which evoked the prophet's utterances was (as has 
been seen) a calamitous plague of locusts, productive of extreme dearth, 
an incident too common in the East to afford any clue. The places 
and peoples named in the course of the book are Tyre and Zidon, 
Philistia, the Greeks, the Sabeans, Egypt, and Edom ; but the allusions 
are vague, nor are the references to contemporary internal conditions 
very illuminating. The relevant criteria may be conveniently divided 
into positive and negative. 


(a) The population of Judah is represented as scattered among the 
nations, who have parted among them its lands. One phrase, indeed, as 
commonly rendered, refers to the "captivity of Judah and Jerusalem," 
which Jehovah purposes "to bring again" (iii. 1); but as the expression 
is of somewhat doubtful significance, it cannot by itself be deemed 
decisively to imply the Exile or to predict the Return. But that the 
country had been occupied by invaders and its inhabitants (wholly 
or in part) had been despoiled and enslaved is clearly stated (iii. 

(b) Tyre, Zidon, and Philistia are described as having taken away 
Jehovah's silver and gold (an expression which may mean the spoliation 
of the country in general or of the Temple in particular), and as having 
sold Jewish slaves to the Greeks (iii. 4 6). 

(c) Egypt and Edom are threatened with desolation because they 
have done violence to the people of Judah and have shed innocent 
blood in their land. 

(d) Mention is made of a locality called the valley of Jehoshaphat, 
recalling the king of that name who reigned circ. 876 851. 

(e) The due maintenance of the Temple worship is a matter of deep 
concern, with which the prophet appears to sympathize (i. 9, 16); and 
the prospect of the suspension of the meal offering and the drink 
offering through the ravages of the locusts occasions great distress. 

(/) In the national appeal to Jehovah for deliverance from the 
plague, the priests are described as taking the leading place. 

(g) To render the appeal more effectual the prophet exhorts the 
people to hold a public fast. 

JOEL Ixiii 


(a) The kingdom of Northern Israel (the Ten Tribes) is not mentioned. 
The name Israel, indeed, occurs in the book (ii. 27, iii. 16), but the 
context makes it plain that the word is only a title for Judah (cf. 
p. 107). 

(b) There is no allusion to the Syrians, the Moabites, the Ammonites, 
the Assyrians, the Babylonians, or the Persians. 

(c) There is an absence of references to any special national vices. 
That the people are sinful, and that the locusts are viewed as a judg- 
ment for their sins, is implied by the exhortation to repentance ; but 
neither idolatry, nor social injustice, nor gross sensuality is specified as 
having provoked Jehovah's anger. 

(d) No mention is made of a contemporary king or of princes, the 
only officials alluded to (besides the priests) being perhaps elders 
(i. 14 mg., ii. 15 mg., though see p. 88). 

Of the positive criteria here enumerated all, with one exception, 
can be shewn to be indecisive. The Phoenicians, who constituted the 
population of Tyre and Zidon, are nowhere recorded in the O.T. to 
have actually invaded Judsean territory (which their situation did not 
render easy), though in Jud. x. 12 the Zidonians are reckoned among 
the nations who had oppressed Israel before the time of Jephthah; 
so that the reference to them is most naturally interpreted to mean 
not that they had themselves participated in the robbery and en- 
slavement of Judah, but that they had bought valuables and slaves 
from some unnamed despoilers and enslavers of the Jews, and dis- 
posed of them to more remote purchasers. The Phoenicians were known 
to the Hebrews as active traders as early as the reign of Solomon; 
and they were doubtless at all times ready to engage in the slave 
traffic. Tyre was expressly denounced in the 8th century by Amos 
(i. 9, 10), apparently for selling slaves (though not necessarily Jewish 
slaves) to Edom ; and in the 6th cent, was described by Ezekiel (xxvii. 13) 
as purchasing "the persons of men and vessels of brass" in exchange 
for its own wares. Prophecies against both Tyre and Zidon also occur 
in Is. xxiii. 1 , Jer. xxv. 22 2 , 2 Zech. ix. 2 4 s . The Philistines, on the 
other hand, were close neighbours of Judah, and a constant source of 
injury and annoyance from the time of the Judges onwards; and their 
successful raids were sure to have resulted in the enslaving of captives. 

1 Perhaps between 597 and 587 B.C. 

2 Between 626 and 586 B.C. 

3 Probably later than 333 B.C. 


Their wars with Judah in the reigns of Saul and David before the Dis- 
ruption, and in those of Jehoram and Ahaz after it, during the 9th 
and 8th centuries, are related in the books of Samuel and Kings. The 
people of Gaza, one of their cities, were denounced by Amos in the 
8th cent, for carrying away captives from Jewish border towns and 
delivering them up (doubtless as slaves) to Edom, in the same manner 
as the Tyrians ; the inhabitants of Ashdod took part in the hostility of 
Sanballat against Jerusalem in the time (5th century) of Nehemiah 
(Neh. iv. 7) ; and Philistines participated in attacks upon Judah as late 
as the 2nd century (1 Mace. iii. 41). Oracles against them were uttered 
by Isaiah (xiv. 28 32), Jeremiah (xlvii.), Zephaniah (ii. 4 5), Ezekiel 
(xxv. 15 17), Deutero-Zechariah (ix. 5 7), and the author of Is. xi. 
11 14. Even the reference to the Greeks (Javan, the lonians) cannot 
be regarded as pointing conclusively to a particular period, though it 
suggests a late rather than an early date. They are not named, indeed, 
in the O.T., before the time of Ezekiel (xxvii. 13, 19); but the early 
intercourse between Judah and Phoenicia makes it quite possible that 
the Jews were acquainted with the name of the Ionian Greeks long 
before the date when it is first found in their Scriptures. The Sabeans 
(Heb. Shebhaim, a people of S. Arabia), mentioned as a distant nation 
to whom Phoenicians and Philistines in retaliation are to be sold into 
slavery, were known to the Hebrews in the time of Solomon; and 
allusions to them or to their country occur in Jer. vi. 20, Ezek. xxvii. 22, 
xxxviii. 13, 3 Is. Ix. 6, Job i. 15, vi. 19. Egypt came into relation with 
Judah both at an early and at a late period. The memory of the 
oppression in Egypt was never erased from Jewish minds (cf. Mic. vi. 4, 
Ps. cv., cvi., cxiv.), and the Egyptians had invaded Judah both in the 
reign of Rehoboam (about the close of the 10th century) and in the time 
of Josiah (at the end of the 7th). Utterances against Egypt appear 
in Is. xxx., xxxi., Jer. xlvi., Ezek. xxix. xxxi., and Is. xix. Edom, 
like Philistia, was continually hostile to Judah, and for some period was 
subject to it. The Edomites were conquered by David, revolted in the 
reign of Jehoram (851 843), carried away captives in the reign of Ahaz 
(according to 2 Ch. xxviii. 17), and earned the unrelenting hatred 
of the Jews by their malicious satisfaction on the occasion of the Fall 
of Jerusalem in 587 (p. xxxix). They are denounced in Am. i. 11, 12, 
Jer. xlix. 7 22, Ezek. xxv. 12 14, xxxv., Ob. 8 14, Is. xxxiv. 5, Ixiii. 
1 f., Mai. i. 2 4, Ps. cxxxvii. 7. Mention of the Valley of Jehoshaphai, 
even if it was originally named after that king, only proves that the 
book was written later than his reign, which has never been questioned ; 


whilst it is probable that in reality the name has only a symbolic 
sense. In regard to the reference to the Temple and its worship, there 
is nothing to determine whether the temple in the prophet's thoughts 
is the first or the second. And if his attitude towards ritual obser- 
vances contrasts with that of the First Isaiah (8th century), it likewise 
contrasts with that of the Third Isaiah (5th century). Public fasting, too, 
was a religious practice amongst the Hebrews in both early and late times 
(1 Sam. vii. 6, 1 Kgs. xxi. 9, Neh. ix. 1). Nor were meal offerings and 
drink offerings exclusively of late institution; for they are mentioned 
together in the account of the sacrifices of Ahaz whose reign fell within 
the 8th century (see 2 Kgs. xvi. 13). 

The negative evidence is equally ambiguous. Inferences from silence 
are generally precarious, and in regard to the kingdom of Northern 
Israel, to Syria, to Moab, and to Ammon the writer of the book may 
have had, from the immediate circumstances of his time, no occasion 
to mention them. The case is rather different with his silence respecting 
Assyria and Babylon. Each of these two states during its period of 
supremacy in Western Asia so completely dominated the political 
situation that it represented for contemporary Hebrew prophets the 
hostile world-power of the age ; and it is difficult to suppose that Joel 
could fail to refer to one or the other if either was, at the time that 
he wrote, prominent. But his silence is compatible with one of two 
alternatives; he may have written before the rise of Assyria (circ. 850) 
or after the fall of Babylon in 538. On the other hand, omission of all 
reference to Persia is not inconsistent with the hypothesis that the 
book was written during the period of Persian predominance, since the 
Persians, from the seventh decade of the 6th century (when they re- 
placed the Babylonians as Israel's lords) to about the middle of the 
4th century, usually treated the Jews with leniency. The circumstance 
that the prophet, though exhorting his countrymen to repent and 
turn to their God, does not charge them with specific sins is note- 
worthy; but if it is an exception to the general practice of the pro- 
phets, it does not point to one age more than to another. But his 
silence respecting any individual ruler of the country, in connection 
with the appeal to Jehovah, really seems to exclude as a possible date 
for the book every period in pre-exilic times save one. The only 
occasion before the Exile when the absence of all reference to the king 
is intelligible is the comparatively short interval in the 9th century 
when the de jure ruler of Judah was a minor. 

This occurred in the reign of Joash, the son of Ahaziah, who was 
w. * 


7 years old at his accession (2 Kgs. xi. 21); and it is to this date 
(a few years following 836) that the book has been assigned by many 
scholars, who thus regard it as the earliest of the prophetical writings. 
If this view is correct, the prominence given to the priests and the 
absence of all mention of the sovereign is fairly accounted for, since 
the chief authority during the minority of Joash rested with the high 
priest Jehoiada. On the same assumption some other features of the 
book likewise receive an explanation. Prior to the reign of Joash there 
had taken place in the reign of Rehoboam the invasion of Judah by 
the Egyptian Shishak (1 Kgs. xiv. 25, 26), which can be regarded as 
occasioning the prediction of Egypt's desolation and the promise that 
foreigners should pass through the land no more (iii. 17). Moreover, 
although before the time of Joash Assyria had so far become a danger 
to the Northern kingdom that Jehu paid tribute to it in 842, yet it 
had not begun to menace Judah; and though the Syrians spoiled 
Judah and Jerusalem in the reign of Joash himself, this was seemingly 
after he had taken the control of the kingdom into his own hands, and 
the event would thus befall later than the origin of the book, if this 
was composed shortly after his accession. The revolt of Edom from 
Judah in the reign of Jehoram (2 Kgs. viii. 20 22), in the course of 
which, no doubt, many Jews were killed, would account for the re- 
tribution declared to be in store for the Edomites. Moreover in the 
reign of Jehoram (according to 2 Ch. xxi. 16, 17) Philistines and 
Arabians had raided Judah, despoiled the royal possessions, and carried 
away as prisoners the king's wives and sons; and it is natural to 
assume that many of these captives were sold as slaves. 

But whilst this view satisfies many of the conditions of the problem, 
there is one feature in the book which is sufficient to negative the 
hypothesis of a pre-exilic date. This is the representation (iii. 2) that 
Jehovah's people had been scattered amongst the nations, and that His 
land had been parted by lot. Such a statement cannot be adequately 
explained by any event except the overthrow of Judah by the Baby- 
lonians in 587, the destruction of its independence, the occupation of 
its territory, and the dispersal of its people. The language is not satis- 
fied by the sale of slaves, following upon a raid, and plainly implies 
more than a temporary inroad, like that made by the Philistines and 
Arabians. And confirmation of this is supplied by the real significance 
of the ambiguous words when I shall bring again the captivity (or turn 
the fortune) of Judah and Jerusalem (iii. 1). Though the words can 
be used of recovery from disaster other than expatriation (see Ezek. 

JOEL Ixvii 

xvi. 53, Job xlii. 10), they are employed only of restoration from great 
disaster ; and, in relation to Israel, customarily mean restoration from 
exile (see Jer. xxix. 14, xxx. 3, 18, xxxii. 44, xxxiii. 7, 11, Am. ix. 14, 
Dt. xxx. 3). And whilst the remaining features of the book are com- 
patible with a pre-exilic date, some are quite as intelligible, and others 
are more natural, on the assumption that the book was composed after 
the Exile. Silence respecting Northern Israel and Damascus, and the 
empires of Assyria and Babylon, with the omission of all mention of a 
king or princes of Judah, is most simply explained by the hypothesis 
that the four kingdoms or empires just enumerated, together with 
Judah, had, as independent nationalities, all come to an end. Although 
allusion is made to particular heathen peoples (iii. 4, 19) as destined 
objects of Jehovah's vengeance, the general tone of the book suggests 
that the writer's countrymen regarded as their foes the heathen world 
at large, an attitude most intelligible after they had experienced a 
long term of uninterrupted subordination to successive heathen powers. 
The animosity displayed against Edom is most fully accounted for by 
the delight manifested by the Edornites on the occasion of the Fall of 
Jerusalem in 587. The Egyptians, under Pharaoh Necho, had killed 
one Jewish king in battle and dethroned another (2 Kgs. xxiii. 29, 33) 
shortly before the close of the 7th century. The allusion to the Greeks, 
though it is admittedly possible that they were known by name to the 
Hebrews in pre-exilic times, is paralleled within the O.T. only in exilic 
and post-exilic writings (see on iii. 6). The gathering of the Jewish 
people by the sound of a trumpet blown in Zion (ii. 1, 15) suggests 
the small post-exilic community, rather than the larger pre-exilic 
kingdom (contrast Jer. iv. 5). The importance of the priests (ii. 16, 17) 1 
is also more in keeping with a post-exilic than with a pre-exilic date. 
The prominence given to the Temple offerings and the distress 
occasioned by the cessation of them through the locusts are consistent 
with the care displayed about them in the age of Nehemiah (see Neh. 
x. 32, 33). And the absence, in the prophet's exhortation to repent- 
ance (ii. 13), of any sense of disloyalty on the people's part to Jehovah 
in the immediate past through idolatry, and the omission of any 
warning against that particular sin (such as appears not only in the 
prophetical writings of the 8th century, but even in Deuteronomy, a 
book of probably 7th century date) are more in accordance with an 
age when the inclination to idol worship had been more or less eradi- 

1 Of. Is. xxiv. 2, a passage probably not earlier than the 4th century. 


cated from the people than with one in which it was constantly ex- 

(ii) The resemblance between certain peculiar conceptions that are 
common to Joel and some other prophets raises questions of priority, 
though such are difficult to settle with much confidence. The con- 
ceptions referred to are those relating to (a) Jehovah's gathering of 
all nations to the vicinity of Jerusalem to fight, and His destruction 
of them there; and (b) the issuing from the Temple of a fountain 
which is designed to water an unfertile valley in the neighbourhood, 
and (by implication) to render it fruitful. Parallels to the first occur 
in Ezek. chs. xxxviii., xxxix., and 2 Zech. xii. 1 9, xiv. 1 7 (cf. also 
3 Is. Ixvi. 18); and to the second in Ezek. xlvii. 1 12 and 2 Zech. xiv. 8. 
The date of the concluding chs. of 2 Zech. (xii. xiv.) is debated; but 
there is much plausibility in the view that they were composed in the 
4th century 1 ; and certainly Ezekiel did not write earlier than the 
beginning of the 6th century, after the first deportation of Jews to 
Babylonia. The nations whose hosts Ezekiel represents as destined to 
be gathered against Judah after it has been restored from exile are 
arrayed under Gog, of the land of Magog, and include the Persians and 
a number of distant peoples dwelling in Western Asia and Northern 
Africa. The similar passage in Joel does not specify any particular 
peoples, but describes all nations as brought down into the valley of 
Jehoshaphat. It seems most likely that Ezekiel is the more original of 
the two parallel passages, and that in Joel, the more detailed represen- 
tation of the other prophet has been compressed and generalized. If 
so, this determines the posteriority of Joel to Ezekiel. The same con- 
clusion is favoured by a comparison of their respective predictions of 
the stream of water that is to issue from the Temple. The purpose 
which the stream is to serve is in Ezekiel clearly explained; the water is 
to flow into the Dead Sea and to heal its saltness, whilst upon the banks 
are to grow all manner of useful and health-giving fruit-trees. In Joel 
the stream is doubtless meant to promote a similar end, but its purpose 
is expressed obscurely and enigmatically. Hence the author of the latter 
book is likely to have written for readers who were familiar with the 
idea and would understand his meaning in spite of the obscurity of his 
words. The chronological relation which is thus established between 
the two prophets confirms for Joel the post-exilic date probable on other 

1 See Driver, Minor Prophets, n. p. 230 f. (C.B.). 



(iii) The parallels in phraseology and expression which subsist between 
Joel and other O.T. writings are extremely numerous. If those which 
may be regarded as mere coincidences are left out of account, there still 
remain enough to shew that "either Joel was greatly influenced by 
earlier writers, or, himself living early, his prophecy was remarkably 
influential over a large number of other writers 1 ." The following are the 
most striking parallels : 

Joel i. 15, For near is the day of 
Jehovah, and as destruction from the 
Destroyer (Shaddai) shall it come. 

Joel ii. 2, A day of darkness and 
gloominess, a day of clouds and thick 

Joel ii. 6, All faces gather colour. 

Joel ii. 27, And ye shall know that 
I am in the midst of Israel, and that 
I am Jehovah your God, and there is 
none else. 

Joel ii. 28, I will pour out my spirit 
upon all flesh. 

Joel ii. 31, Before the great and 
terrible day of Jehovah come. 

Joel ii. 32, For in mount Zion and 
in Jerusalem shall be they that escape, 
as Jehovah hath said. 

Joel iii. 2, And I will plead with 
them ('immdm) there. 

Joel iii. 3, And for ('el) my people 
they cast lots. 

Joel iii. 10, Beat your mattocks (or 
coulters) into swords and yourpruning- 
hooks into lances. 

Joel iii. 16, And Jehovah shall roar 
from Zion and utter his voice from 

Joel iii. 18, The mountains shall 

Is. xiii. 6, For near is the day of 
Jehovah, and as destruction from the 
Destroyer (Shaddai) shall it come. 

Zeph. i. 15, A day of darkness and 
gloominess, a day of clouds and thick 

Nah. ii. 10 (11), The faces of all of 
them gather colour. 

Ezek. xxxvi. 11, And ye shall know 
that I am Jehovah. 

Ezek. xxxix. 28, And they shall know 
that I am Jehovah their God. 

2 Is. xlv. 5, 1 am Jehovah and there 
is none else. 

Ezek. xxxix. 29, When I have poured 
out my spirit upon the house of Israel. 

Mai. iv. 5, Before the great and ter- 
rible day of Jehovah come. 

Ob. 17, And in mount Zion shall be 
they that escape. 

Ezek. xxxviii. 22, And I will plead 
with him ('itto\ i.e. with Gog (p. Ixviii). 

Ob. 11, And upon ('a/) Jerusalem 
they cast lots 2 . 

Mic. iv. 3 ( = Is. ii. 4), They shall 
beat their swords into mattocks (or 
coulters) andtheir spears into pruning - 
hooks 3 . 

Am. i. 2, Jehovah shall roar from 
Zion and utter his voice from Jeru- 

Am. ix. 13, And the mountains shall 

1 See G. B. Gray, Critical Int. to the O.T. p. 209, and Expositor, Sept. 1893, 
p. 208 f.; Driver, Joel and Amos, pp. 1922 (Camb.B.). 

2 Cp. also Nah. iii. 10. 

3 A similar inversion of a phrase occurring in other prophetic writings is found 
in Joel ii. 3 compared with Ezek. xxxvi. 35, 2 Is. Ii. 3. 


drop sweet wine, and the hills shall cause sweet wine to drop, and all hills 

run with milk. shall be dissolved. 

Joel iii. 19, For the violence done Ob. 10, For the violence done (by 

(by Edom) to the children of Judah. Edom) to thy brother Jacob. 

Further instances where there is identity or close resemblance be- 
tween Joel and other O.T. books are cited in the commentary. The 
above are selected because they are parallels between Joel and a number 
of prophetic oracles all of which except Amos probably originated 
not earlier than the second half of the 7th century and several after 
587. It is clearly more likely that the author of Joel lived late enough 
to be familiar with, and to draw upon, the writings enumerated above 
than that he lived before their authors, who all made use of his small 
book. An examination in detail of some of the parallel passages con- 
firms the conclusion that Joel is the borrower. Thus in Joel ii. 32, if 
placed by the side of Ob. 17, the writer seems expressly to refer the 
words he uses to another by attaching to the passage common to him- 
self and Obadiah the addition a as Jehovah hath said." And similarly 
Joel iii. 10 is more likely to be modelled on Mic. iv. 3 (=Is. ii. 4) than 
the reverse ; as Van Hoonacker remarks, though the transformation of 
weapons of war into implements of labour is an appropriate charac- 
terization of a reign of peace, the converse idea would only be natural 
to a people lacking arms (cf. 1 Sam. xiii. 20 22). And this conclusion 
becomes the more convincing from the fact that in certain cases the 
phrases common to both hirn and other writers are almost frequent 
enough in the latter to be styled characteristic. Thus, for example, 
Ye shall know that I am Jehovah recurs constantly in Ezekiel, whilst 
/ am Jehovah and there is none else occurs three times in 2 Isaiah. It 
is manifestly improbable in the extreme that each of these two writers 
should have derived a favourite expression from one and the same 
work. Hence an examination of Joel and other prophetic writers in 
respect of the phraseology which they employ in common corroborates 
the inference already reached that the former did not live before the 
Exile ; and if he has borrowed from Malachi, whose prophecy belongs 
to the age of Ezra and Nehemiah, he cannot have been earlier than the 
middle of the 5th century. 

(iv) There is little, it is true, in Joel's style to suggest that he is 
not a writer belonging to the best period : his syntax is distinctive of 
good Hebrew. But in his vocabulary he shews affinity with writings 
composed comparatively late in Hebrew literary history; and some of 
the words he uses are rare in Hebrew but common in Aramaic. 

JOEL Ixxi 

The following is a list of words occurring in Joel but found else- 
where in the O.T. only in writings not earlier than Jeremiah, or in 
passages of uncertain but probably late date. The importance of these 
varies, since the absence of some from early books may be due to the 
fact that the subject-matter of such books afforded no occasion for 
their use ; but on the whole, the list confirms the assignment of Joel 
to a post-exilic date. The English equivalents are those that are given 
in the R.V. : jaw teeth (methall'oth, i. 6 1 ) ; the LORD'S ministers (meshd- 
rethe Yehovah, i. 9, ii. 17); apple tree (tappuah, i. 12); groan ('dnah, 
i. 18); be perplexed (buck, i. 18 2 ); weapon (shelah, ii. 8 3 ); hinder part 
(soph, ii. 20 4 ); spring up (ddsha, ii. 22 6 ); spear (rdmah, iii. 10 6 ); 
sickle (maggdl, iii. 13). 

The following occur in Heb. only in Joel : barked, literally a splinter 
(ketsdphah, i. 7); lament ( } dlah, i. 8); seed (perudhah, i. 17); rot ('dbhash 
i. 17); clod (meghrdphah, i. 17); barn (mamgkurah, i. 17); break or 
entangle ('dbhat, ii. 7); ill savour (tsahdnah, ii. 20); haste ( ( ush, iii. 11). 
Joel, like late writers in general, uses the pronoun 'am instead of 
'dnochl; and in disjunctive questions (i. 2) follows late and not early 
practice. He has the combinations generation and generation (ii. 2, 
iii. 20) and all flesh (ii. 28), which occur first in Deut., but are only 
frequent in exilic and post-exilic writings ; and he employs the sons of 
the Greeks (iii. 6), where the Greeks or the sons of Greece might be ex- 
pected, his usage being paralleled only in Chron. He likewise inverts 
(ii. 13) after the fashion of post-exilic writers the order of the epithets 
full of compassion and gracious, occurring in Ex. xxxiv. 6. 

The circumstance that Joel uses a number of late words and phrases 
and yet writes for the most part in the manner of the best Hebrew 
authors finds a satisfactory explanation in the assumption that he was 
very familiar with the earlier literature of his country. He absorbed 
sufficient of its spirit to enable him to write in the smooth and flowing 
style of the best of his predecessors, whilst the linguistic usage of his 
own age here and there coloured his diction. It is observable that 
even in expressions and phrases which appear to be borrowed from, or 
at least influenced by, earlier models, words employed in the parallel 
passages are sometimes replaced by others that are characteristic of a 

1 Elsewhere only in Job and Prov. (xxx. 14). 

2 Elsewhere only in Ex. xiv. 3 (P) and Esth. iii. 15. 

3 See note on ii. 8. 

4 Elsewhere only in Ch. and Eccles. and the Aramaic of Daniel. 

5 Elsewhere only in Gen. i. 11 (P), in a causative form. 

6 See note on iii. 10. 


late period (see notes, pp. 100, 115). This would occur all the more 
naturally if his reproductions of earlier writers were due not so much 
to direct quotation as to the impressions left upon his mind by con- 
stant reading 1 . 

The conclusion to which the preceding lines of investigation point is 
that the book of Joel cannot have been written before the Exile ; and 
as its writer plainly lived in Jerusalem, it follows that his work must 
have been composed after the Return. Since it is implied that the 
(second) Temple was in existence, the book must be later than Haggai 
and Zechariah (circ. 520) ; and since it also seems to be implied that 
the city was walled, it is probably later than the erection of the 
fortifications of Nehemiah (circ. 444). On the other hand, there is no 
suggestion in it of suffering caused by the rigour of an oppressive 
power; so that it is scarcely likely to have been written during or 
after the reign of Artaxerxes Ochus (358 337), who was the first 
Persian king to ill-treat his Jewish subjects. On the whole, the date 
of it (apart from iii. 4 8) may be conjecturally fixed at about 400 B.c. 2 . 

If the section iii. 4 8 is really an insertion (see p. Ix), it must be 
later than its context. Nothing is known from other O.T. sources of 
any action by Phosnicians or Philistines in connection with the Fall of 
Jerusalem in 587 to justify the charge here brought against them. It 
has been suggested that these two peoples may have taken advantage 
of the punishment inflicted on the Jews by Artaxerxes Ochus to make 
purchases of treasure and slaves. Whatever may have been the occasion 
which caused the writer's complaint against them, a fulfilment of his 
prediction about them may be seen in the capture of Tyre and Gaza 
and the enslavement of their populations by Alexander in 322, unless, 
indeed, this prophecy is a reflection of those events. 



THE conclusion just reached that Joel was composed after the Return 
of the Jews from exile obtains additional corroboration from the fact 
that a relatively late origin accounts best for a certain element in it which 
would otherwise be difficult to explain. This element is the element of 
Apocalyptic. Apocalyptic prophecy is linked to the prophecy current in 

1 See G. B. Gray, Expositor, I.e., p. 223 f. 

3 "The book as a whole is later than Malachi," Sellin, IOT. p. 164. 

JOEL Ixxiii 

the ages of Assyrian and Babylonian supremacy by the common idea 
of an approaching day of Jehovah, for though the actual phrase is not 
always employed, the thought of a Divine judgment is never far from 
the minds of most of the prophetic writers, both early and late. But 
there is a significant difference in the emphasis which is placed by the 
late writers upon the two sides which a Divine judgment, as explained 
by their predecessors, presented. The term the day of Jehovah, which 
had been prevalent in Israel before the time of Amos to describe the 
desired intervention of Jehovah in the perennial struggle between Israel 
and its foes, was taken up by that prophet and declared to involve 
a crisis which would be determined by ethical principles. When it came, 
it would set on foot a process of discrimination between the righteous 
and the unrighteous which would begin with Israel itself. The elimina- 
tion from the latter of all the corrupt and corrupting elements in it 
would, indeed, be followed by the removal, or the destruction, of the 
foreign agencies employed in the work of purification ; but the principal 
stress was laid upon the chastisement merited by the sins of the people 
and not upon the eventual blessings which were in store for a humbled 
and repentant remnant. When the prophets saw the religious and moral 
evils that were rife among their countrymen, it was natural that, in 
order to awaken them to a sense of their guilt and to bring about their 
amendment, they should insist more upon the threatening, than upon 
the cheering, aspect of the Day of Jehovah. With their successors after 
the Exile it was largely the reverse. The capture of Jerusalem, the 
overthrow of the Jewish state, and the deportation of the flower of its 
people by a nation which was devoted to idolatry, inevitably had the 
effect of altering, in the minds of Hebrew contemporary thinkers, the 
balance of national deserts and fortune. The return of a section of the 
exiles to their former homes did not redress the balance. Judah and 
Jerusalem still remained under alien rule, and the material conditions of 
the people failed to correspond to the prospects that had been held out by 
Deutero-Isaiah and other prophets of the exilic period, and were, indeed, 
the more depressing by the force of contrast. Accordingly, the post- 
exilic writers were led to emphasize less the retribution deserved by their 
countrymen for their repeated offences than the retribution merited by 
the heathen for their prolonged supremacy over God's own people. 

The external situation of Israel in the post-exilic age would not have 
exerted upon the spiritual leaders of the nation the particular influence 
it did apart from the fact that monotheism had by this time acquired 
a firm hold over the people at large. That Jehovah alone controlled the 


forces of nature and the fortunes of men had been a doctrine urged by the 
prophets ever since the 8th century. But it was only after a considerable 
interval that this monotheistic belief came to prevail generally. So far as 
can be judged, it was the experience of the Exile that alone detached the 
bulk of the people finally from idolatry : at any rate, a section that did 
not undergo that experience but remained on the soil of Palestine con- 
tinued to be addicted to it 1 . With those, however, who had shared the 
Exile in Babylon, and who preserved its memories, monotheism became 
a settled religious conviction. The elaboration of the sacrificial system 
by Ezekiel and the codification of the Law by Ezra and other scribes 
must have deepened, even for many who were fully alive to the moral 
deficiencies of the nation, their consciousness of the religious gulf 
separating Israel from the rest of the world. But the belief that they 
alone of all the peoples of the earth worshipped the one true God became, 
in the circumstances in which they were placed, a source of painful per- 
plexity. As the recollection of their past apostasies faded, their mono- 
theistic faith rendered their continued subordination to Gentile powers 
the more unintelligible and intolerable. Hence refuge was sought in the 
consideration that God was bound in the end to avenge His people, 
and that the overthrow of the heathen world would be all the more 
complete in proportion to its long postponement. Apocalyptic prophecy 
was thus the product of a particular age and situation; and the presence 
of Apocalyptic features in a prophetical writing is almost incompre- 
hensible apart from an exilic or post-exilic date. 

The fact that Apocalyptic prophecy resulted from the reaction of the 
Hebrew mind, not to some temporary calamity, but to a protracted 
period of national humiliation, affected the form which it assumed. The 
hopes which at the Return had attached to Zerubbabel had come to 
nothing (cf. p. cxxiii) ; and there was no longer anything to encourage 
the expectation that there would emerge from the nation a great leader 
destined to right all wrong (although, as appears from the Psalms of 
Solomon, the expectation survived in certain circles until the 1st 
century B.C. (p. cxxvi)). Whatever anticipations were entertained of a 
retrieval of the national fortunes tended to be independent of contem- 
porary circumstances, and to be moulded exclusively by theological 
considerations. They did not reproduce in an idealized shape past 
history and experience, but represented what the imagination deemed 
to be most appropriate to the power and majesty of the Almighty. In 

i See 3 Is. Ivii. 

JOEL Ixxv 

consequence, the descriptions of the future which was to make amends 
for the unhappy present were more than ordinarily out of touch with 
mundane reality. Instead of the overthrow of some single oppressive 
power to whom retribution might seem due either for actual aggression, 
or, if the power in question could be viewed as commissioned by Jehovah 
to chastise Israel, for exceeding His mandate, there was predicted the 
extermination of the whole, or the greater portion, of the Gentile world. 
The heathen were depicted as moved by Jehovah to muster against 
Israel, and to court the destruction designed for them. Sometimes 
Israel was represented as taking part in the slaughter of them ; but more 
commonly their annihilation was thought of as effected by Jehovah 
alone, or by Him in company with His celestial armies. In the details 
of the descriptions alike of the catastrophe in store for the heathen and 
of the subsequent felicity of Israel the exuberance of Hebrew rhetoric 
reached its climax, and the imagery became weird and bizarre in an 
unusual degree. 

The time when the hoped-for redress would be realized was left vague 
and undefined, though in this respect Apocalyptic prophecy did not 
depart from the usage of Hebrew prophecy in general. The expression 
in the latter days (literally, in the sequel of days, see Mic. iv. 1), which 
was sometimes employed to denote the period when the depressing 
conditions of the present were to be replaced by happier circumstances, 
is apt to suggest associations which do not properly belong to it. It 
marks relative finality only, introducing a phase of the future which is 
.final only in the sense that the speaker's thoughts at the time do not 
extend beyond it. It is, in fact, little more than an equivalent for 
aftenvards (see Hos. iii. 5 and cf. Jer. xlviii. 47 with xlix. 6); and it 
is this latter term which is used by Joel in connection with the out- 
pouring of the Spirit, which is the prelude to the Apocalyptic scene 
with which his book ends. His closing prophecies are consequently 
eschatological only in a relative sense. There is nothing to suggest that 
either the Prophets or the Apocalyptists of the O.T. expected that what 
they announced was far distant in point of time ; the date at which 
their prophecies were to be fulfilled was left undefined, and their 
ruling tendency was greatly to foreshorten the interval separating that 
fulfilment (so far as it occurred) from their own age. And there is 
equally little reason to suppose that the conditions to which they looked 
forward were regarded by them as fixed and absolute. The future which 
the Hebrew prophets were wont to describe was a constantly shifting 
future, as each successive generation of them found the anticipations of 


their predecessors to be only imperfectly realized ; and they cannot have 
credited their own representations about the consummation that was 
yet in store for God's people with any greater quality of finality than 
marked those of earlier days, however much their language seems to us 
to convey that impression. What was really permanent and unvarying 
was their religious faith, to which they gave concrete embodiment 
through the transient creations of their imagination. 


According to the classification of insects by reference to their wings or their 
lack of wings, locusts belong to the order Orthoptera, in which the wings 
are four in number, the anterior pair being small and straight and the posterior 
large, and, when at rest, folded under the others. This order embraces two 
divisions, Cursoria and Saltatoria; and the latter division comprises three 
families, the Gryllidae (represented by crickets), the Locustidae (exemplified 
by grasshoppers), and the Acridiidae, which include the various kinds of true 
locusts. Only those species are usually accounted true locusts which are both 
migratory and destructive. Of these there are several varieties, but here it is 
unnecessary to mention any except those that are most common in Palestine. 
These are the Oedipoda migratoria (or Pachytylus migratorius) and the 
Acridium peregrinum. The first of these is grey or green in colour, and varies 
in length from l to 2 inches. The second is yellow or reddish, and is rather 
larger than the first-named. Both of these varieties ravage Asia, but only the 
Oedipoda migratoria extends its devastations to Europe, being very destructive 
in S. Russia. The extent of their migrations, their numbers, and their voracity 
make them one of the greatest of scourges to the lands which they infest. 
Of the distance that their flights may cover, a thousand miles is said to be a 
moderate calculation. The size to which their swarms can attain may be 
estimated from the accounts of observers, modern as well as ancient, when 
they describe their approach as sometimes darkening the sky, compare the 
rustling of their wings to the sound of many waters, or of wind-tossed trees, 
and state that they often advance in clouds (if in the air) or in columns (if on 
the ground) that stretch for several miles. Their voracity is not confined to 
any one of the three stages of development through which they pass (the larva, 
the pupa, and the perfect insect) but is equally conspicuous in all of these. 
The destruction which they cause is such that, when a large swarm settles in 
any neighbourhood, all vegetation quickly disappears; and not only is the 
foliage of the trees (like the herbage of the fields) devoured, but even the very 
bark is attacked. The distress resulting to the population of the districts 
affected is very serious, owing to the ruin of the crops, and preventive measures 
appear to be attended with but indifferent success. 

In the Hebrew of the O.T. there are nine names for locusts or insects similar 
to them. These are (1) \irbeh, (2) sol'dm, (3) hargol, (4) haghdbh, (5) gazdm, 
(6) yelek, (7) hasil, (8) gobh, (9) tselatsal. It is not likely that all these denote 

JOEL Ixxvii 

different varieties, or, indeed, that they all denote true locusts. The only passage 
in which kinds are expressly distinguished is Lev. xi. 22, where the first four 
of those enumerated above are mentioned; but since they are given as species 
of leaping insects, some of them may be crickets or grasshoppers. The name 
in commonest use is 'arbeh (see Ex. x. 4, Dt. xxviii. 38, Prov. xxx. 27, Nah. iii. 15, 
etc.), and this is included in the list of four names occurring in Joel i. 4 (where 
it is represented in the LXX. by aKpi'y). Joel manifestly describes true locusts, 
for he dwells upon their numbers, their onward movements, and their destruc- 
tiveness; and inasmuch as Acridium peregrinum is the locust most frequent 
in Palestine, it is the one for which 'arbeh seems the most appropriate term *. 
It cannot, however, be assumed that all or any of the names in Joel are meant 
to designate distinct species ; and even if they are so meant, it is quite impossible 
to identify them with any confidence. It has been suggested that Jidsil is 
Oedipoda migratoria ; but there are really no data for attaching to it this 
name rather than one of the others. 

Etymologically it is usually taken to mean "the multitudinous." 




THE book of Jonah, though included among the prophetical writings 
(being the fifth according to the Heb., the sixth according to the LXX., 
of the Minor Prophets) is, in form, an historical narrative, relating an 
episode in the life of the prophet whose name it bears. There is nothing 
in the contents to suggest that the prophet was the writer of it, and 
much to negative such a conclusion 1 . Probably, then, like Joshua, 
Ruth, and Esther, it derives its title from the character who is the 
subject of it, and of whom mention is made in 2 Kgs. xiv. 25. Jonah, 
the son of Amittai, was, like Hosea and Amos, a contemporary of 
Jeroboam IL, king of Israel from 782 to 741 B.C., and belonged to 
Gath-hepher (or Gittah-hepher, Josh. xix. 13) in Zebulun, within the 
district of Galilee 2 ; he was therefore not a Judaean but a Northern 
Israelite. The site of Gath-hepher is generally identified with El Meshhed, 
a village 3 miles N.E. of Nazareth, where a tomb of the prophet, accord- 
ing to tradition, still exists. All that is stated about him in 2 Kgs. is 
that he predicted the success of Jeroboam II. in recovering the lands 
taken from his predecessor Joash, and in restoring the borders of the 
Northern kingdom from the gorge between Lebanon and Hermon to the 
gulf of Akaba. In the book of Jonah there is no reference to this pre- 
diction, or to any circumstance connected with the reign of Jeroboam ; 
, but that the prophet whose experiences are described in it (see i. 1) is 
meant to be identified with the prophet named in 2 Kgs. xiv. 25 cannot 
reasonably be questioned in view of the fact that his own name and 
that of his father are found in combination only in these two passages 3 . 

1 The mere fact that the prophet is referred to throughout in the 3rd person is, 
of course, no disproof that he was the author (as the Commentaries of Caesar and 
the Anabasis of Xenophon shew). 

2 This circumstance contradicts the statement attributed to the Jews in Job. vii. 
52. Possibly, however, the true reading in this passage is preserved in the Egyptian 
Sahidic Version, "The prophet ariseth not out of Galilee" (Peake, Comm. on the 
Bible, p. 753). 

3 It has been maintained by Winckler that in 2 Kgs. xiv. 25 the words son of 
Amittai are a later addition, on the ground that, since mention is made of the 
prophet's home, mention of his father likewise is against usage. But, as Bewer 
points out, a parallel is furnished by 1 Kgs. xix. 16. 

JONAH Ixxix 

The book in its present shape narrates that Jonah was directed by 
Jehovah to go to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, and warn its people 
that its destruction was imminent because of its wickedness ; that he, 
believing that, if it repented, it would be spared, sought to evade the 
command by taking ship from Joppa to Tarshish, a distant port ; that 
Jehovah caused the ship to be overtaken by a violent storm, leading the 
seamen to supplicate their gods for the preservation of their lives; that it 
was inferred by the crew that the storm was occasioned by the sin of some- 
one on board ; that lots were drawn to decide who was the offender, and 
that, when the lot fell upon Jonah, he admitted his guilt; that after the 
sailors had vainly tried to reach the land, he, at his own suggestion, was 
thrown into the sea, which at once became calm ; that he was saved from 
drowning by being swallowed by a great fish ; that in the fish's belly, 
where he remained three days and nights, he prayed to Jehovah, giving 
thanks in a psalm for his preservation ; that after Jehovah had directed 
the fish to disgorge him on to dry land, he was again commanded to 
proceed to Nineveh, and obeyed ; and that in consequence of his 
announcement of the impending overthrow of the city, its people, before 
a prescribed period of respite expired, repented of their evil ways with 
every sign of sorrow; that God accordingly withheld the threatened 
vengeance, and that this clemency displeased Jonah, who from dis- 
appointment prayed for death; that, whilst he waited, under a booth 
which he had constructed, to see what would happen to the city, God 
made a shady plant to spring up in a night to shield him from the sun's 
heat, and then as speedily caused it to decay ; that Jonah felt pity for 
it, thus dying, and was thereupon bidden by God to reflect whether He 
Himself had not more reason to feel pity for the vast number of human 
beings and cattle in the great city, whose preservation had offended 

But though the book is thus in form a history, comparable with the 
histories of Elijah and Elisha (1 Kgs. xvii. xix., 2 Kgs. i. ix., xiii.), and 
alluding, like these, to various historical localities, it is clear that its 
author did not relate the incidents recorded therein in the spirit, or with 
the aim, of an historian, but that he narrated them with a didactic 
purpose, and was only concerned with them so far as they served that 
purpose. This is apparent from his failure to furnish information upon 
a number of matters which for an historian could not but have interest ; 
and from his omission to bring his narrative to a proper conclusion. 
Thus, in addition to the absence of other details, nothing is said of 
(a) the time when Jonah lived, or the place where he received his 


instructions to go to Nineveh ; (b) the name of the contemporary king 
of Nineveh, who figures in the narrative; (c) the prophet's return to his 
own country. The book ends with Jehovah's address, conveying His 
rebuke to Jonah ; and when the author has indicated the religious lesson 
which he sought to impart, he brings his recital to a close, leaving 
Jonah outside the walls of Nineveh. Hence the historical interest is 
altogether subordinated to the ethical and spiritual; and the work, 
though superficially a history and containing only one short oracle 
(iii. 4), finds its proper place among the prophetical writings. 

The central object of the book manifestly is to reprove the spirit of 
religious exclusiveness and vindictiveness evinced by the Jewish race 
(personified by Jonah) towards the Gentiles. Along with this principal 
aim the narrative illustrates various religious conceptions; and some of 
these may have been consciously kept in view by the writer. Human 
inability to frustrate the Divine purposes ; the control exercised by God 
over the physical forces of nature and the animate creation, and His 
utilization of them to further His ends ; His desire to give to all men an 
opportunity of turning from their errors ; the response which a Divine 
warning can evoke even from heathen hearts; the power of prayer and 
the efficacy of sincere repentance to influence the Deity and to avert His 
anger ; the conditional character of prophetic predictions all these are 
exemplified in the course of the history. But the illustration of none 
of these last conceptions constitutes the real intention of the book. 
This is to throw into relief and expose the hard and grudging disposition 
of those Jews who regarded with jealousy any mercy shewn by the God 
of Israel to the heathen world. Such an unlovely trait is exhibited in 
the person of one of their own prophets ; it is represented as the motive 
of his avoidance, by flight, of his commission in the first chapter, and 
of his displeasure and complaints in the last; and it is set in effective 
contrast to the humaneness of the Almighty towards all His creatures 
alike, including even cattle (iv. 11). That God was not indifferent to the 
fate of the heathen, but cared for the Gentiles as well as for Israel, was 
not, indeed, a truth here presented to the Jewish people for the first 
time. Monotheism, when, by degrees, it had replaced henotheism in 
Israel, involved as a corollary the belief that Jehovah stood in the same 
relation to all mankind, and that the repentance which had repeatedly 
saved Israel from the destruction which its offences merited could avail 
to save the Gentiles also. Under these circumstances it was impossible 
for thinkers of a sympathetic and generous temper not to presume in 
the Deity a desire to induce repentance in all offenders alike, in order 

JONAH Ixxxi 

that all alike might be spared. And if, as history appeared to shew, 
Israel had been privileged to know the true God sooner than others, such 
a prerogative could only involve a corresponding responsibility to extend 
that knowledge to the rest of mankind. The idea that Israel was 
designed to be God's agent in making Him more fully and intimately 
known to the heathen was one which, on the assumption that Jonah is 
not of earlier date than the 5th or 4th century (p. Ixxxv), had already 
been pressed upon the national conscience by prophets like the Second 
Isaiah and the writer of the " Servant Songs," whose compositions are 
incorporated in 2 Is. 1 . But the conviction that this was the national 
function was far from being universally held by the people. The 
experience of racial suffering and humiliation had embittered them ; and 
the writings of some of their prophets had enhanced this bitterness, and 
had fostered the hope that retribution would eventually overtake the 
nations which had trampled them underfoot 2 . Belief, too, in a perma- 
nent distinction between Israel and the rest of the world had been much 
strengthened by the influence of the legalistic circle of Ezra and his 
successors. It was the popular spirit which could not tolerate the 
thought that God should grant to the heathen repentance and pardon 
that constituted the theme of the book of Jonah. The writer shews to 
his countrymen their own attitude mirrored in the conduct of the 
prophet, who, having received a Divine injunction to warn a heathen 
city of coming doom, with a view to inducing penitence, seeks to escape 
the execution of the command; and then, when he has at last performed 
it, grieves that God accepts the repentance which his own preaching has 
elicited. He appears all the more repellent by the side both of the 
heathen sailors (whose religious instincts are manifest alike in suppli- 
cation and in thanksgiving for their rescue, and who, though believing 
it to be the Divine will that they should expose Jonah to destruction, 
do so with reluctance), and of the citizens of Nineveh (who respond so 
readily to the Divine summons to amend their lives). And the self- 
centred disposition of the prophet, and the lack of all sense of proportion 
in his estimate of things, are thrown into the boldest relief when he 
complains of God's pity in sparing thousands of human beings of whom 
He is the Creator, whilst his own pity is restricted to a plant upon the 
growth of which he had spent neither thought nor labour. The book of 
Jonah, in its protest against Israel's religious narrowness, and in its 

1 2 Is. xlii. 14, xlix. 16, 1. 49, Hi. 13 liii. 12. 

2 See Ob. 118, Is. xiii. 1 xiv. 23, 3 Is. Ixiii. 16, Ps. cxxxvii. 79, Jer. 
xlvi. xlix. 


effort to instil into the people a spirit of good will towards the Gentile 
world, does not (as has been pointed out) stand altogether alone in the 
O.T. (its closest parallel, in certain aspects, being the book of Ruth). 
But its teaching is certainly on a level with the most elevated that is 
found in the Hebrew Scriptures ; and in breadth of view and generosity 
of temper it approaches as nearly as any, and nearer than most of them, 
to the comprehensive attitude of Christianity. 



LIGHT is thrown upon the date of the book by the traces in it of the 
influence of other writings and by the character of its language. 

The writer seems to have been acquainted with the story of Elijah in 
1 Kgs. xix., for some of the utterances attributed to Jonah bear a curious 
resemblance to those of the earlier prophet (see on iv. 3, 8). The 
peculiar combination of the names Jehovah God (in iv. 6) appears to 
betray knowledge of Gen. ii., iii. (where the addition of God to Jehovah 
is best explained as due to the compiler who united the Priestly and 
Prophetic narratives out of which Genesis has been constituted). And 
finally, use is made of quotations from the book of Joel (in iii. 9, iv. 2), 
which are also reminiscences of Ex. xxxiv. 6, and Ps. Ixxxvi. 15. Of 
these several writings the history of Elijah may have been in existence 
for some time before the Exile; but even if the Priestly narrative of the 
Pentateuch dates from the Exilic period 1 , the editor who combined it 
with the Prophetic narrative probably lived after the Exile. The date 
of Joel is disputed, but the probabilities are strongly in favour of its 
being a post-exilic work (see p. Ixxii). Hence the use in Jonah of the 
writings cited points to the conclusion that, like the latest of them, it, 
too, was written in post-exilic times. 

Again, the attitude of the writer to the Gentile world, as represented 
by Nineveh, is more natural in a comparatively late period of Hebrew 
history than at an earlier era. If his purpose was to create in his 
countrymen a kindlier and more generous feeling towards the heathen, 
such a sympathetic spirit is most intelligible in one who lived after, 
rather than before, the Exile. The broad humanity of the book has, 
within the O.T., a parallel, as already remarked, in the "Servant Songs" 
included in Deutero-Isaiah. In these the "Servant of Jehovah" most 

1 See Driver, LOT.e, pp. 135159. 

JONAH Ixxxiii 

probably personifies Israel, viewed from an ideal standpoint ; and it is 
expressly affirmed that it is the mission of the "Servant" to be a source 
of religious enlightenment to the Gentile peoples (see especially xlix. 6). 
It is difficult not to think that the author of Jonah not only shared the 
temper of the writer of these "Songs," but had been influenced by them. 
The same inference about the comparatively late origin of the book 
is deducible from its language. The diction of the narrative differs 
considerably from that which characterizes the prophetic writings of the 
8th century (the age in which the historic Jonah lived), and a number 
of words, expressions, or meanings found in it occur elsewhere only or 
cbiefly in works known, or reasonably believed, to be of post-exilic date, 
and to have originated in the 5th, or some still later, century (such as 
Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Daniel, The Song of Songs, and certain 
Psalms). The following are the principal instances : 

(a) 'dskatk, "to think" (i. 6), recurs only in Dan. vi. 4. 

(b) shathak, "to be calm, at rest" (i. 11, 12), is found again only 
in Ps. cvii. 30, Prov. xxvi. 20. 

(c) minnah, "to appoint, prepare" (i. 17 (ii. 1), iv. 6, 7, 8), does not 
recur in this sense anywhere in the O.T. except in Job vii. 3, Ps. Ixi. 7 (8), 
Dan. i. 5, 10, 11, and (in the passive) 1 Ch. ix. 29; though the form 
mdnah has a signification approximating to it in 2 Is. liii. 12, 3 Is. Ixv. 12. 

(d) ta'am, "a decree, command" (iii. 7), is found with this meaning 
nowhere else, though the Aramaic te'em occurs with the same sense in 
Dan. iii. 10, Ez. iv. 19, 21, vi. 14, vii. 23, etc. 1 . 

(e) 'dmal, "to labour, toil" (iv. 10), occurs in Eccles. i. 3, ii. 11, 19, 
20, 21, etc., Ps. cxxvii. 1, Prov. xvi. 26, but not elsewhere. 

(/) ribbo, "myriad" (iv. 11), is found in Hos. viii. 12 (text as 
written, not read), Ps. Ixviii. 17 (18), but otherwise only in late 
writings like 1 Ch. (xxix. 7), Ezra (ii. 64, 69), Nehemiah (vii. 66, etc.), 
Daniel (vii. 10, xi. 12). Three other features which are rather more 
characteristic of late than of early writings are the following : 

(a) A slight preponderance of 'dm over 'anuchl. (The former is 
predominant in late books like Ezek., Lam., Chr., Ez., Esth., Eccles.) 

(b) The employment of le for the accus. (iv. 6, if the text is sound). 
The use of it "occurs... rarely in the early and middle periods of the 
language, and with greater frequency in exilic and post-exilic writings " 
(Driver, Heb. Text of Sam. p. 146). 

(c) The use of she for 'asher (i. 7, 12, iv. 10). This, though common 

1 Pusey considers that this Aramaic word (used at Nineveh) has been given by the 
author of the book a Hebrew pronunciation. 


in late writings, is neither uniformly characteristic of, nor exclusively 
confined to, these. Amongst late compositions in which it is very 
frequent are Cant, and Eccles. ; but it does not occur in Dan., Neh., or 
Esth. It is found only once in Ezra (viii. 20), and only twice in 
Chronicles, probably once in Job (xix. 29), and nineteen times in the 
Fifth book of the Psalms. In the earlier writings of the O.T. it occurs 
in Jud. v. 7 (The Song of Deborah), vi. 17, vii. 12, viii. 26, 2 Kgs. vi. 11, 
Lam. ii. 15, 16, iv. 9, v. 18 ; perhaps in Gen. vi. 3, xlix. 10 (LXX.); and 
probably in the names Methushael and Miskael. The range of its use 
seems best accounted for by the supposition that it did not become 
prevalent until a late period in Hebrew literary history, but existed as 
a dialectic peculiarity (probably North Palestinian) at a much earlier 
date 1 . 

Reference is sometimes made to the occurrence, in this book only, of 
the words sephmah "decked ship" (i. 5) and kerl'ah "proclamation" 
(iii. 2), and to the circumstance that mallah "mariner" (i. 5) recurs 
only in Ezek. ; but these facts throw little light on the time of the book's 
origin. In the case of the first and third, their presence here and their 
rarity elsewhere are sufficiently explained by the subject-matter of the 
work and the differing nature of the contents of most other O.T. 

The diction of the psalm in ch. ii. is not remarkable. The numerous 
resemblances, however, which it presents to various other psalms of 
different dates, some seemingly of late origin, render it likely that it 
is a late composition : the author, who appears to be distinct from the 
writer of the rest of the book (p. Ixxxv), must have lived at a time 
when a considerable body of literature of this kind existed, and pre- 
sumably drew upon it. 

From this review of the literary allusions in Jonah and of its phrase- 
ology it is plain that both combine to support the belief that the book 
is not earlier than the post-exilic period of Ezra and Nehemiah (i.e. the 
5th century B.C.). On the other hand, the mention of the twelve prophets 
in Ecclus. xlix. 10 shews that the composition of Jonah cannot be sub- 
sequent to the close of the 3rd century, since Ecclus. probably dates 
from the beginning of the 2nd century (circ. 180 B.C.). Mention is 
likewise made of the book in Tobit (xiv. 4), which is also, in all likeli- 
hood, a 2nd century work 2 . These limits give the period between the 

1 See Driver, LOT. 6 , p. 322, cf. p. 188, note. 

2 See Hastings, DB. iv. p. 788. 

JONAH Ixxxv 

end of the 5th and the end of the 3rd century as the extreme interval 
within which Jonah must have been written. If the book of Joel is a 
4th century production, the limits will be somewhat narrower (between 
350 and 200); but the almost complete absence in Jonah of refer- 
ences to historic persons or events of known date renders greater 
precision impossible. 



THE unity of the book has been questioned by several scholars. 
Perhaps the gravest doubts are raised by the psalm in ch. ii. This is 
really a thanksgiving, not a prayer; and in its existing position is 
meant to be understood as an expression of gratitude to God on the 
part of Jonah for his being preserved from drowning. The reasons for 
doubting its authenticity as an original constituent of the work are 
substantial ; and it seems probable that it was neither composed by the 
author of the book nor inserted by him from another source. It appears 
too little suited to the prophet's case to be easily accepted as the com- 
position of the author of Jonah, for it contains not even the remotest 
allusion to the peculiar way in which the prophet had been rescued; 
and its language might serve as a thanksgiving for anyone saved by 
the most ordinary means from a death by drowning, or might even 
voice the emotions of the collective Hebrew people in or after a time 
of national affliction 1 . Nor is its unsuitability as a thanksgiving com- 
posed for Jonah of an exclusively negative character, for the allusion 
to the Temple (v. 4) is inappropriate in the mouth of a prophet of the 
Northern Kingdom. These objections to its proceeding from the 
author of the book are perhaps not absolutely fatal to its being an 
integral part of it, since it is possible to suppose that, though it was 
not written by the author of Jonah, yet it was taken by him from 
another source, and inserted in his own work as being the best avail- 
able for his requirements. Although intended for a different situation, 
and perhaps meant as a thanksgiving to God from one who on dry 
land expresses his gratitude for having been saved from perishing in 
the waters, it may have been deemed fit, faute de mieux, to be attri- 
buted to the prophet whilst he was in the belly of the fish, since the 
fish figures in the story as the agent of his deliverance from drowning. 

1 Cf. Cheyne, Origin of the Psalter, p. 127. 


But the writer of Jonah in the rest of his book is so brief and com- 
pressed, and confines himself so closely to the object which he has in 
view (not even bestowing a thought upon the prophet's return from 
Nineveh as soon as, in the course of the narrative, the heart of its 
teaching is reached), that it seems extremely unlikely that he would 
have inserted a psalm in the middle of so concentrated a piece of work. 
Moreover, although the prophet is depicted in ii. 2 as conscience- 
stricken, the rest of the book does not present him in a favourable light, 
so that it is improbable that the writer of it would have depicted him as 
full of gratitude to God for the rescue which he had experienced. The 
most natural explanation of the psalm, therefore, is that it was inter- 
polated in its present position by an editor or a reader who missed the 
prayer alluded to in ii. 1 ; though to modern minds a more appropriate 
place for a thanksgiving (such as the psalm is) would appear to be 
after v. 10. Before it was inserted, the verb prayed in v. 1 must have 
signified an actual petition for deliverance, to which v. 10, following imme- 
diately upon it, describes the response. Parallel instances of psalms being 
interpolated in narratives to which they are certainly or probably alien 
are the Song of Hannah (1 Sam. ii. 110, see Driver, LOT. 6 p. 174), 
and the "Writing" of Hezekiah (Is. xxxviii. 9 20); cf. also the Song 
of the Three Children (inserted by the LXX. in Dan. iii.). 

In the narrative portion of the book there are certain inconsistencies 
of representation, of greater or less importance, which require to be 
accounted for. It is possible that they are due to additions that have 
been made to the text, or to some dislocation which it has undergone ; 
and they can be at least partly remedied by excision or transposition. 
But another explanation suggests itself, namely, that the book is com- 
posite, and has been constructed out of two versions of a single story. 
This explanation at first glance seems improbable in view of the 
brevity of the work ; but the facts that countenance it at least deserve 
consideration. The principal are as follows : 

(a) In i. 3 aa Jonah flees of set purpose to Tarshish ; but in i. 3 a his 
going there seems due to the circumstance that the place was the desti- 
nation of the ship which he happened to find at Joppa. In this v. the 
words from the presence of Jehovah appear twice (once in each half- 
verse). The conjunction beginning the second half-verse can mean but. 

(b) In i. 7 lots are cast to decide to whose sin the storm is due; but 
in i. 8 Jonah himself is asked to tell the sailors on whose account the 
trouble had happened. 

(c) In i. 13 mention of the efforts of the sailors to bring back the 



ship to shore seems out of place after the appeal to the lot (v. 7), and 
after Jonah's direction to them to throw him overboard (v. 12). The 
nevertheless of the R.V. is not the only meaning of the Heb.; it can 
signify and. The last clause of this v. differs slightly from the similar 
clause in v. 11, 

(d) In iii. 4 the Heb. text represents the respite granted to Nineveh 
as being forty days, but the LXX. B has three days ; and both of these 
representations receive some support from the sequel (see infra). 

(e) In iii. 5 the fast and other signs of repentance at Nineveh pro- 
ceed from the spontaneous action of the people, and information of 
Jonah's preaching does not reach the king till afterwards (v. 6). This 
is unnatural, and looks as though two variant representations had 
been combined, v. 5 constituting one, and w. 6 9 constituting the 
other. This is confirmed by a slight difference of phraseology between 
v. 5 and v. 6. 

(/) In iv. 1 4 Jonah is at once aware of God's purpose not to 
destroy Nineveh; but in iv. 5 he is described as sitting outside the 
city (under a booth which he had made) in order to see what would 
become of it. The latter account is consistent only with the reading of 
the Heb. text in iii. 4 ; but the former is compatible with, if it does 
not actually demand, that of the LXX. 

(g) In iv. 5 Jonah builds himself a booth to shield himself from the 
sun; but in iv. 6 God makes a shrub to spring up to afford him shelter. 
The booth and the shrub look like variant devices, derived from 
parallel accounts, for securing the same result. 

(h) In iv. 8 the distress occasioned to Jonah through the heat 
striking his undefended head leads the reader to expect from him re- 
pinings on account of his own suffering; but in iv. 9 10 his complaints 
appear disinterested, and caused by a sentiment of pity for the sudden 
destruction of the shrub. 

In some places there are repetitions, in different contexts, of the 
same phrase (i. ll b and i. 13 b , iv. 3 and iv. 8, iv. 4 and iv. 9); whilst 
one verse seems to contain a doublet varying in phraseology (i. 14), 
though whether significance attaches to these facts depends upon other 
features with which they are combined. 

Of the inconsistencies enumerated some are not very serious. But 
there remain a sufficient number of substantial discrepancies to render 
the theory that the narrative is composite more plausible than it 
appears at first sight. Several critics who are sensible of them have 
sought to remove them by textual alteration. But in the light of the 


composite origin of so many Hebrew writings, the view that this book 
is also compiled from more than one version of the same story cannot 
be dismissed as fanciful ; and in short it seems to afford a simpler solu- 
tion of some real difficulties than the supposition of interpolation or 
displacement. The advantage of such a view is that by a single hypo- 
thesis numerous phenomena are accounted for, which otherwise have 
to be explained by a number of separate assumptions. Its chief defect 
is the absence of strongly confirmatory evidence from the phraseology 
(such as helps to establish the documentary analysis of the Pentateuch). 
No assistance, for example, is derivable from the fluctuations in the 
use of the Divine names Jehovah and God ('Elohim). In i. 6, iii. 5, 
8 10, God is appropriately put into the mouth of, or used in con- 
nection with, the heathen: in i. 14, 16 Jehovah is equally fittingly 
employed where the heathen are represented as praying and making 
vows to the God of the Hebrews; but in iv. 7 9 the use of God 
cannot be thus explained, and here it is manifest from the contents of 
vv. 1 and 9 that these verses must proceed from the same hand that 
wrote vv. 10, 11 (where Jehovah occurs). It is this circumstance that 
renders precarious any attempt to disentangle in minute detail the 
strands from which the narrative has, ex hypotkesi, been woven. Never- 
theless it may be expedient to outline a scheme of analysis here, if 
with no other aim than to illustrate the kind of solution which the 
literary problem of the book seems to require. The following scheme 
assumes that the constituent sources are two; and these are dis- 
tinguished as A and B, wherever sufficient criteria appear to be present. 
Where such fail, it is inferred that the two sources were of one tenor ; 
and this common matter is printed between them. See also p. 144. 

i.3 a 

i.5 b 

i. 7 

A Common 

i. 12 

i. 4 

i. 3 b 
i. 5 a 

i. 5 C 6 

L 8 10 a 

A Common B 

i. 14 a 
i. 14 b i. 14 C 

i. 14 d iii. 4 a 
iii. 4 b LXX. iii.4 b Heb. 

iii. 5 

iii. 10 iv. 4 

iv. 67 

iii. 69 
iv. 5 

i. 10 b iv. 8 a 

i. 1112 iv. 8 b 11 

i. 13 

The distinctive features of the two supposed sources are as follows : 
According to A Jonah, on being sent to Nineveh, went by design to 

JONAH Ixxxix 

Tarshish. In the storm the mariners first threw overboard the gear 
(or the cargo) of the ship, to lighten it; and then cast lots to discover 
on whose account the trouble had befallen them, that they might get 
rid of him. The lot falling on Jonah, they realized the significance of 
a previous confession made by him that he had fled from the presence 
of Jehovah ; and they sought to return to the shore in order to land 
him. But since they could not do so owing to the storm, then, with a 
prayer to Jehovah, they threw the prophet into the sea. The episodes 
of the fish, of Jonah's journey to Nineveh, and of his announcement 
there were told on common lines by both sources; but in A the period 
of grace granted to Nineveh by Jehovah was three days (as stated by 
the LXX.). The people fasted and repented, and God spared the city, 
but Jonah was indignant and begged to die. To afford him shade in 
the heat, God caused to grow in a single night a shrub which He de- 
stroyed next day; and Jonah being angry through pity for the shrub, 
God asked Him whether He Himself had not more reason to pity the 
vast number of living creatures contained in .Nineveh. 

According to B, Jonah, being sent to Nineveh, went to Joppa and 
chanced to find there a ship bound for Tarshish. In the storm the 
mariners prayed to their gods, and Jonah, who had gone below to 
sleep, was bidden by the captain to pray to his God likewise. The 
prophet's withdrawal having directed attention to him, the crew put 
questions to him about himself, and on his declaring that he was a 
worshipper of Jehovah, the Creator of the sea and land, they were 
afraid. Asking him what they should do to him, that the sea might 
become calm, they were told by the prophet to cast him overboard, for 
he knew that the storm had occurred on his account. So, praying that 
they might not be guilty of innocent blood, they threw him into the 
sea. As already stated, this source recounted the incidents of the fish, 
Jonah's journey to Nineveh, and his announcement there in the same 
way as A, but it represented Nineveh's term of grace as 40 days. In- 
formation about Jonah's warning having reached the king, he issued a 
proclamation, urging his people to repent. Jonah went outside the 
city to await the issue, which would not be known until after an 
interval of more than a month, and built a booth to shelter him in the 
meanwhile. God caused an east wind to rise [and it destroyed the 
booth]. Probably this version ended with a description of Jonah's 
distress, similar to that in iv. 8 b , and a comment from God upon his 

The statement in iv. 8 that God prepared an east wind is an incom- 


plete one, for nothing is said about the purpose for which it was 
intended. But it is a plausible suggestion that it served a similar end 
to that served by the worm (v. 7) in the companion version, and tore 
down Jonah's booth as the worm destroyed the shrub. The con- 
struction of the booth clearly had in view a long interval of waiting, so 
that the source (B) which contained the account of it must have had 
in iii. 4 the forty days of the Heb. text. On the other hand, it seems 
not improbable that the parallel source (A) had the three days of the 
LXX., and that it supposed that Jonah became aware that Nineveh's 
repentance had averted its destruction by the time he had crossed the 
city from one side to the other (which he would spend three days in 
doing). In these circumstances there was no necessity for the prophet 
to build a booth ; his departure for home would be almost immediate, 
and such relief as he needed would be appropriately supplied by the 
springing up of the shrub in a night. 

The termination of the hypothetical version indicated by B seems 
not to have been incorporated. In the book as we have it B ends 
abruptly, and the tenor of God's final speech to Jonah, as contained in 
it, can only be conjectured. Possibly the concluding speech of the 
Almighty contrasted Jonah's selfish concern for his own individual dis- 
tress, consequent upon the demolition of the booth, with the concern 
which He Himself had for the prospective suffering of the vast population 
of the threatened city (without specific reference to children or cattle). 

It has been contended that, in the case of a book of so pronounced a 
didactic aim as Jonah, a composite origin is improbable; and that its 
scheme, in which details are so inconspicuous and so carefully sub- 
ordinated to the special purpose of the work, bears the impress of a 
single mind. But this criticism does not seem fatal to the compara- 
tively simple theory here sketched. No doubt the general plan really 
proceeded from a single mind; but it is not unlikely that the story, 
when once originated, became circulated in more than one form. So 
interesting a narrative could scarcely fail to be popular; and varia- 
tions would tend to appear in it in the course of transmission. Sub- 
sequently, two versions of it were combined, most, though probably 
not quite all, of the variations in them being retained ; and the result 
is the work in the condition in which we possess it. 

JONAH xci 



WHILST a didactic purpose is visible throughout the book, and there 
is a general agreement respecting the lesson which it is intended 
to convey (though the different features in its teaching have been 
variously emphasized by different commentators), there has been much 
diversity of view regarding the character of its contents. The historical 
form in which it is couched is not necessarily any proof that it is, or 
was intended by its writer to be considered, an actual history, but is 
consistent alike with its being meant either as a record of real events 
or as a work of fancy. A writer with a moral or religious end to serve 
may select and adopt, for his purpose of illustrating by analogy a 
spiritual truth, an account of some action or experience either familiarly 
occurring, or reported to have once occurred, or else he may invent, 
with the same object, a purely imaginary history. And in estimating 
the character of the contents of the book of Jonah, and in determining 
whether it is meant as a history or as a parable, it is not sufficient to 
decide whether or not it is a history according to modern notions of 
what is credible : it is necessary to consider whether it contains anything 
that would be deemed incredible as history in the age which saw it 
produced, and for which it was designed, since alleged experiences appear 
probable or improbable according to the acquaintance with nature and 
natural processes that prevails at different epochs. Should it be con- 
cluded, however, on good grounds that the narrative is not a history 
and was not intended for such, but was invented simply with a religious 
purpose in view, there will remain the further question whether it is a 
parable or an allegory. In an allegory all, or at least most, of the details 
have a symbolic meaning ; in a parable the symbolism is to be sought in 
the general purport of the story, the incidental details only helping to 
bring out the desired significance or to render the representation more 

That the contents of the book of Jonah are not as a whole historical 
if judged by modern ideas of what is intrinsically likely, ought not to 
require to be argued at length. The book has been classed by Budde 
with Midrashim, a Midrash being "an imaginative development of a 
thought or theme suggested by Scripture 1 "; and examples of such are 

1 Driver, LOT. p. 497. 


the stories of Tobit and Susanna preserved in the Apocrypha. The 
writer of Chronicles refers to Midrashim (R.V. commentary) containing 
accounts of the actions and sayings of various Israelite kings (2 Ch. 
xiii. 22, xxiv. 27); and Budde regards the book of Jonah as a Midrash 
on 2 Kgs. xiv. 25, which included the record of Jonah's prediction there 
related, and followed it (after v. 27) with the narrative of the prophet's 
mission to Nineveh (the conjunction And with which, in the Heb., 
the book begins linking the two l ). The suggested connection, however, 
with 2 Kgs. xiv. 27 is not really close enough to be plausible. Though 
Israel had come into contact with Assyria before Jonah's time (Jehu, the 
great-grandfather of Jeroboam II, being an Assyrian vassal 2 ), and though 
the supposition that the book was once part of some larger whole accounts 
very well for the absence in it of any particulars respecting the prophet's 
home or date, there is no allusion in the history of Jeroboam II (2 Kgs. 
xiv. 23 29) to Assyria; whilst the first mention of Nineveh in the 
books of Kings does not occur until much later (xix. 36). Nevertheless 
whether the book belongs to the class of Midrashim or not, the estimate 
of it as, in the main, a creation of the imagination is sound. It is not 
impossible, indeed, that tradition actually attributed to Jonah a journey 
to Nineveh, and that around him and his experiences legends had 
accumulated. Indeed, in the absence of a satisfactory explanation 
afforded by the meaning of his name (see p. 120), it is difficult to 
understand why a prophet living at a definite time and place, but not 
otherwise very distinguished (as, for instance, Elijah and Elisha were), 
and not connected, in the books of Kings, with Nineveh, should have 
been selected by the writer to illustrate the purpose which he had in 
,. mind, unless some incident traditionally associated with him rendered 
the choice appropriate. Elisha is recorded to have gone to Damascus, 
the capital of Aram (or Syria) (2 Kgs. viii. 7) ; and it is not incredible 
that a prophet living in the Assyrian period of Hebrew history may, on 
some occasion, have travelled, or been conveyed, to a city as remote as 
the Assyrian capital. But that of such a journey, if any really took 
place, the book presents a true account is eminently improbable. The 
long interval separating the date at which the work was composed (see 
p. Ixxxv) from the date of the events which it professes to record would 
impair its value as an authority for detailed occurrences, even if they 
were of a less miraculous character than those actually recounted. The 

1 But see note on i. 1. 

2 This is shewn by the inscription of Shalmaneser II on the Black Obelisk now 
in the British Museum. 

JONAH xciii 

title "king of Nineveh," to designate the king of Assyria, is said to be 
one which could never have been applied to him in Assyria itself 1 . 
There is no parallel in the historical books of the O.T. for a mission 
like that on which Jonah is represented as having been sent; and the 
success described as attending his preaching lacks plausibility 2 . Though 
a foreigner in Assyria and quite unaccompanied, he is represented as 
bringing to repentance the population of a city depicted as so large that 
it required three days' journey to cross. And the record of so extra- 
ordinary an achievement is accompanied by the recital of other wonders 
which are even more astonishing. Such marvels as Jonah's living for 
three days and nights within the belly of a fish, his ejection by the fish 
on to dry land, and the growth of a tree (or shrub) within a single night 
to a size sufficient to shield him from the sun, invest the narrative with 
an atmosphere like that of wonderland. These physical marvels consti- 
tute at the present day an insurmountable obstacle to a general belief 
in the book as a record of actual facts. The abstract possibility of the 
miraculous (admitted by most theists who hold that the uniformities 
of nature are only the expression of a Divine will, which has the power 
to vary them at pleasure) cannot, in the light of our long experience of 
the regularity of nature, render plausible the particular miracles here 
related. The credibility of a reported miracle has to be estimated by 
the weighing of testimony and a balancing of probabilities ; and in the 
case of alleged occurrences so abnormal as those here in question, 
attested as they are by no evidence which is even approximately con- 
temporary, there can be only one verdict. 

Some theologians, indeed, in order to make the miracle connected 
with the fish easier of belief, have adduced examples, first of monsters 
capable of swallowing a man, and secondly of men being actually 
swallowed and afterwards disgorged alive. The fish that figures in the 
story is not necessarily to be identified with a whale; but there are 
even whales that are able to swallow a man. For instance, the gullet 
of the spermaceti whale or cachalot, a creature which has a length of 
55 or 60 feet, is capacious enough to take down a man without diffi- 
culty 3 . Again it has been pointed out that the rorqual, the largest 
variety of which (the "blue whale") sometimes attains a length of 

1 See Sayce, H CM. p. 487. 

2 Assyriologists, however, have drawn attention to the circumstance that in the 
reign of Eamman-nirari III a monotheistic reform is represented to have occurred 
at Nineveh. 

3 F. T. Bullen, speaking of the sperm whale, says that it "can swallow morsels 
of truly heroic size, at least 6 ft. cube." 


85 feet, though it has a gullet too small for a man to pass through, yet 
possesses longitudinal folds beneath its jaws and throat within which 
a man could lie at full length. Since, however, the Heb. expression 
is perfectly vague, and the Greek equivalent employed in the LXX. and 
the N.T. (K^TOS) is applied to various marine creatures of large size, a 
more likely monster to seize and swallow a human being is some variety 
of shark. Some specimens of the genus Carcharias reach a length of 
25 feet, whilst of the genus Carcharodon, a native of tropical and sub- 
tropical seas, instances have been found with a length of 40 feet. One 
of the latter, measuring 36 J feet, had a jaw 20 inches wide (measured 
transversely). And examples are cited of sailors who have actually been 
swallowed by sharks and disgorged alive. But such examples, so far as 
they are genuine, do not really meet the difficulties involved in the 
narrative. For the prophet is not only represented as having been 
swallowed by the great fish ; he is described as having remained alive 
and conscious within it for three days and nights ; and as having been, 
at the close of that period, thrown up on the shore in a condition sound 
enough to allow him eventually to proceed on his mission to Nineveh. 
Consequently instances of "escapes" like those referred to could, even 
if authentic, do little to render the story more credible to modern 

Pusey (Minor Prophets, p. 258) quotes the following incident from Miiller, 
Vollstdndige Natur system des Ritters Karl von Linne, Th. in. p. 268. "In 
1758 in stormy weather a sailor fell overboard from a frigate in the Mediter- 
ranean. A shark was close by, which, as he was swimming and crying for help, 
took him in his wide throat, so that he forthwith disappeared. Other sailors 
had leapt into the sloop to help their comrade while yet swimming : the captain 
had a gun, which stood on the deck, discharged at the fish, which struck it so 
that it cast out the sailor which it had in its throat, who was taken up, alive 
and little injured, by the sloop which had now come up. The fish was harpooned, 
taken up on the frigate, and dried. The captain made a present of the fish to 
the sailor, who by God's Providence had been so wonderfully preserved. The 
sailor went around Europe exhibiting it.... The dried fish was 20 ft. long, and, 
with expanded fins, 9 ft. wide, and weighed 3924 pounds." 

Konig (Hastings, DB. n. p. 750, citing the Neue Luth. Kirchenzeitung, 
1895, p. 303 f.) relates that a whale-hunter named James Bartley was in Feb. 
1891 swallowed by a whale, and that on the following day when the animal was 
killed, was taken alive out of its stomach. But Lukyn Williams, investigating 
the story, learnt that neither the owners of the ship nor the widow of the 
captain had ever heard of it: see Exp. Times, Aug. 1906, Jan. 1907. 

It is sometimes urged, however, that belief both in the historical 
truth of the book as a whole and in the physical miracle of the fish is 

JONAH xcv 

necessitated for Christians by Christ's allusions to them in the Gospels. 
It is contended that our Lord's declaration, that in the Judgment the 
men of Nineveh would rise up and condemn the Jews of His own genera- 
tion (Mt. xii. 39, 41 =Lk. xi. 29, 30, 32), implies His own acceptance of 
the story of Jonah's mission; whilst His comparison of the prophet's 
imprisonment in the fish's belly to His own entombment in the earth 
(Mt. xii. 40) is evidence that He likewise regarded as true the narrative 
about the fish (which may have been the Scripture to which He referred 
as foreshadowing His rising again on the third day (Lk. xviii. 31 33, 
cf. 1 Cor. xv. 4)) 1 . But the issue is not quite so plain as this suggests. 
His reference to the Ninevites, indeed, has good support behind it, 
occurring as it does both in Mt. and in Lk. 2 ; but even so, it does not 
necessarily place the literal truth of the account in the book of Jonah 
beyond question. His treatment of the narrative as historical may have 
been a consequence inseparable from the conditions of His incarnation. 
Limitations of knowledge, equally with physical weakness and infirmity 
appear to be inevitable concomitants of a true humanity, and were 
manifested by our Lord on several occasions 3 ; and the fact that He (in 
common with His countrymen at large) treated the book of Jonah as a 
record of actual facts can reasonably be considered a natural result of 
His being bom a Jew at a particular era. His allusion to Jonah's deten- 
tion in tbe belly of the fish for three days and nights, if a genuine 
utterance, admits of being accounted for on the same lines. But the 
authenticity of the statement thus attributed to Him is open to grave 
suspicion. It is found in Mt. alone, being absent from the parallel in 
Lk. xi. 29, 30, 32 ; and where it occurs in the First Gospel, it is out of 
keeping with its context. For the purport of our Lord's answer to those 
who requested a sign was that no sign of the nature desired, immediate 
and visible, should be granted. The sole sign that should be given to them 
was such as was involved in His preaching, of which Jonah's preaching 
at Nineveh was a counterpart. Only when the sign of Jonah in Mt. 
xii. 39 is thus understood to be the prophet's proclamation to the Ninevites 
does the argument that follows in v. 41 (= Lk. xi. 32) become intelligible ; 
the Ninevites repented in response to Jonah's warnings, whereas the Jewish 
contemporaries of Jesus paid no heed to One among them who was greater 

1 More probably the Scripture in question is Hos. vi. 2. 

2 Certain narratives and discourses common to the First and Third Gospels but 
peculiar to them appear to be derived from an earlier source usually designated by 
the symbol Q. 

3 See Mk. v. 9, 30, vi. 38, ix. 16, 33, xi. 13. 


than Jonah. It seems probable, therefore, that the allusion in v. 40 to 
Jonah's imprisonment in the belly of the fish was not really our Lord's, 
but originated after His Resurrection. When a belief in the physical 
resuscitation of His body from the grave had grown prevalent, a com- 
parison between the Resurrection after a three days' entombment 1 and 
Jonah's release after spending three days and three nights within the 
fish became natural, and a corresponding interpretation of Christ's 
reference to the sign of Jonah seems to have been introduced into the 
latest of the Synoptic Gospels. 

But whilst there is every reason for concluding that the marvels 
related in the book of Jonah are really unhistorical, there is no reason 
for classing the narrative amongst JaUes (like that contained in Jud. ix. 
7 15). A fable, in contrast to a parable, is a story in which things 
happen that transcend the limits of what contemporary belief regards 
as possible in the place, or at the time, supposed ; whereas in a parable 
these limits are respected. And such is the case here, for none of the 
incidents narrated in the book overstep the range of wonders deemed 
credible by Hebrew writers, as will be realized if only a few of the 
marvels that figure in the historical books of the Hebrew Scriptures be 
recalled 2 . The acquaintance which the Hebrews had with nature was 
not sufficiently wide and exact, and their ideas about natural law were 
not sufficiently thought out, to prevent them from imagining the occur- 
rence of extraordinary and abnormal incidents through the interposition 
of God in the interest of His people or of His prophets. Moreover, such 
marvels are generally attributed to a distant past, and tend to secure a 
greater degree of credence than would be accorded to them if they were 
reported of a more recent age 3 . This is as true of the miracles narrated 
in the book of Jonah as of most others in the O.T. Jonah was a prophet 
who lived some three or four hundred years before the writer who here 
gives an account of him; and since he was "a man of God," represented 
as entrusted with a commission from the Almighty, who could not allow 
His purposes to be foiled by any act of man, no improbability would 
attach to a current tradition (if such was in circulation) ascribing such 
strange experiences to the prophet; nor would a Hebrew writer hesitate 

1 According to the Gospel narrative our Lord's Body lay in the grave only one 
whole day and parts of two others ; but on the third day and after three days are 
regarded as equivalent expressions (Mt. xvi. 21, Mk. viii. 31). 

2 See Num. xvii. 8, xxii. 28, Josh. iii. 1417, vi. 120, x. 13, 14, 2 Kgs. ii. 8, 
iv. 17, 4244, vi. 17, etc. 

3 Cp. Verg. Aen. x. 792, Si quafidem tanto est open latura vetustas. 

JONAH xcvii 

to introduce them as credible incidents into an edifying story of his own 
invention 1 . 

But whilst it is tolerably certain that there is nothing recorded in the 
book of Jonah which either its author, or the majority of his contem- 
poraries, would find any difficulty in believing, so that the narrative is 
not a fable but a parable, it is not easy to determine whether the author, 
in seeking to convey a desired religious lesson, really utilized traditions 
associating Jonah with Nineveh, and availed himself of legends that had 
gathered round the prophet, or whether the story is altogether the 
product of his fancy. The narrative is certainly a parable in intention ; 
and if there are actual traditions behind it, the historical interest is so 
subordinated that it is almost a parable in form. But the supposition 
that there previously existed a traditional nucleus of which the writer 
made use has the advantage of accounting for the choice of Jonah as 
the figure round which the story moves (see p. xcii). In the absence of 
such an explanation, it seems necessary to treat the narrative not as a 
parable but as a deliberate and elaborate allegory 2 . If it is regarded 
simply as a parable, the only real symbolic element in it is Jonah 
himself. The prophet is typical of the Israelite people, and his un- 
willingness to become the agent in saving Nineveh from destruction 
illustrates Jewish ill-will towards the heathen world. But to the other 
features in it no symbolism attaches; they are only the circumstances 
against which Jonah's character is displayed, or by which the develop- 
ment of the Divine purpose is helped forward. On the other hand, if 
the story is treated as an allegory, then the names of Jonah and his 
father Amittai, the stormy sea, the great fish, Nineveh, and the tree 
(or shrub) that sprang up in a night, all have a symbolic value. Jonah 
represents Israel ; but the choice of him rather than of another prophet 
to typify his countrymen is accounted for by his name. The word Jonah 
signifies "a dove," a bird to which the Israelite nation is more than 
once likened, whilst Amittai, the name of the prophet's father, means 
"truthful" or "man of truth." Hence there would be some appropriate- 
ness in symbolizing Israel, the nation entrusted with the truth of God, 
by Jonah the son of Amittai. Jonah is naturally represented as a 

1 The miracles related in the book of Daniel, a work of the 2nd century, are 
associated with characters represented as living in the 6th century. 

2 The distinction between a parable and an allegory adopted in what follows is 
that of Jiilicher: see JTS. Jan. 1900, p. 162 f. Examples of allegories occur in 
2 Esd. ix. 38 x. 59 and xiii. In the N.T. the "parables" of the Sower and of the 
Wheat and Tares are allegorical in character; see Mk. iv. 3 8, 1420, Mt xiii 
2430, 3742. 



prophet, inasmuch as Israel, in the writings of the Second Isaiah and 

elsewhere, was regarded as having a prophetic vocation amongst man- 

kind (p. Ixxxi). Nineveh, the capital of the greatest empire known to the 

Israelites in the age of the historic Jonah, was a fitting type of the 

heathen world, which Israel, personified by Jonah, was designed by God 

to bring to repentance. But Israel disregarded its duty, and whilst thus 

evading its true mission, was swallowed up by a hostile world-power 

(the Babylonian empire) 1 . Even the casting of Jonah into the sea could 

represent the overthrow of Israel as a nation, and its submergence 

beneath heathen domination. But no doubt the great fish that swallowed 

Jonah may be regarded as more decidedly typical of the empire that 

absorbed Israel. Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon, the power that 

extinguished Israel's national existence, is expressly likened by Jeremiah 

to a sea-monster; and Israel, in being carried into captivity, is figura- 

tively declared to have been devoured and swallowed up ( Jer. li. 34) ; 

whilst 'God in restoring Israel is similarly represented as bringing forth 

out of the mouth of Bel (the god of Babylon) that which he had 

swallowed (Jer. li. 44). It was only after the Captivity that Israel 

recognized that it had a duty to the Gentiles ; but even then it had in 

general little sympathy with God's merciful purposes towards them, and 

its attitude is reflected in the conduct and temper of Jonah subsequent 

to his release from his imprisonment in the fish. The plant which raised 

in Jonah hopes that were quickly blighted has been taken as an emblem 

of Zerubbabel, designated by Zechariah as the Shoot or Sprout (iii. 8, 

vi. 12), of whom great expectations were at one time entertained, but 

who failed to fulfil them (p. cxxiii). This allegorical interpretation of 

the book is open to some serious objections. In the first place, there is 

comparatively little evidence within the O.T. itself that Israel was ever 

symbolized by a dove. It is often, indeed, from various points of view 

compared to one (Hos. vii. 11, xi. 11, 2 Is. lix. 11, Ix. 8, Ps. Ixviii. 13, 

see also Ps. Iv. 6 2 ), but so are other peoples (Jer. xlviii. 28, Nah. ii. 7 3 ); 

and the only instance of a dove being treated as a symbol of the Israelite 

nation (perhaps in contrast to heathen powers, conceived as birds of 

prey) seems to be the title of Ps. Ivi., where Yonath 'elem rekoMm, "the 

silent dove of them that are far off" (apparently the air to which the 

1 See G. A. Smith, Book of the XII Prophets, n. p. 523 foil. 

2 By Jewish interpreters Cant. ii. 14 (0 my dove), iv. 1 (thine eyes are as doves), 
were applied to Israel (Enc. Bib. n. 2567). In Ps. Ixxiv. 19 Israel is figuratively 
designated Jehovah's turtle-dove (tor). 

3 Here Huzzab, if a title, probably denotes either the Assyrian queen, or the city 
of Nineveh. 

JONAH xcix 

psalm was to be sung) is rendered in the LXX. by virep TOV Xaov aVo TWV 
dyiW /Ae/xaKpv//,/xeVov ("on behalf of the people removed to a distance 
from the sanctuary"). Next, there is a decided lack of consistency in 
an allegory in which one heathen empire is symbolized by a sea-monster, 
whilst the rest of the heathen world is represented by an historical city 
that once formed part of that world. Thirdly, to explain the great fish 
as an emblem of Babylon, the destroyer of Israel's independence, is to 
misconceive the part played by it in the story ; the fish is an agent not 
of destruction but of preservation, its function being to save Jonah from 
drowning, not to injure him. Fourthly, the explanation of the plant as 
an emblem of Zerubbabel is forced; for there is no verbal expression 
employed in the account of its growth which is suggestive of the term 
(tsemah) applied to Zerubbabel by Zechariah, although the cognate verb 
was available, if the writer had had the supposed signification in his 
mind (see Gen. ii. 5, 9). And finally, the effectiveness of the lesson 
which the book is designed to enforce is seriously impaired by the 
allegorical interpretation. Consideration of the import of the subor- 
dinate features in the story distracts attention from the two principal 
figures in it, the Almighty and Jonah; and the contrast between the 
compassionateness of God and the inhumanity of the Jewish people in 
the person of one of their prophets becomes obscured. 




SOME account of the message conveyed by the prophet Micah to his 
contemporaries has already been given, and attention will be drawn in 
the commentary to the teaching of the other oracles and prophecies that 
are comprised in this volume. Nevertheless it will not be inexpedient 
to treat collectively all the writings that are here united, and to bring 
under review their main theological and religious conceptions. As they 
all belong to a period when the prophetic order in Israel had arrived at 
a belief in Jehovah as the only existing God, whose exalted nature and 
character demanded a proportionately elevated standard of conduct and 
worship from His servants, it will be most convenient to begin by sum- 
marizing the principal attributes ascribed to God in the 8th and two or 
three following centuries, and then to consider how far these writings 
illustrate, enlarge, or modify the view of God by this time attained. 
The enquiry is best divided into three parts, relating to (I) the Being of 
God; (II) His dealings with mankind; (III) the duties of men towards 

I. No systematic or coherent exposition of the Divine nature is found 
in the O.T. ; the ideas entertained about God have to be collected from 
incidental statements or implications occurring in writings of various 
dates, and reflecting lower and higher stages of intuition and inspiration, 
which are incapable of being fully harmonized. But if attention be con- 
centrated on the teaching of the writing prophets, to the exclusion of 
the immature phases of belief prevailing in earlier times, some common 
religious convictions can be clearly discerned. The chief qualities 
ascribed to God which emerge from this teaching are Unity, Spirit, 
Wisdom, Goodness, and Power 1 . All these are inseparable from Per- 
sonality ; and it is obvious that by the Hebrews God was regarded as a 
Person. The Divine nature was conceived after the analogy of human 
nature, but was deemed to be free from the limitations that accompany 

1 Another quality is Holiness (see Otto, The Idea of the Holy) ; but this is not 
conspicuously illustrated in the Prophets here considered. 


humanity. The ideas formed about God's attributes of mind and 
character had a history, primitive fancies about Him being shed in 
course of time as unworthy and untrue. But to trace the gradual dis- 
appearance of such primitive fancies is unnecessary here: what is 
important for the present purpose is to consider the conceptions about 
God cherished by the Hebrews when their religious progress during the 
period covered by the O.T. reached its culmination. 

(a) The Divine Unity, belief in which only by degrees replaced a 
phase of thought that took the existence of a plurality of gods for 
granted, came to be the most fundamental conviction of Hebrew religious 
thinkers. It finds most emphatic expression in Dt. vi. 4, Jehovah our 
God is one Jehovah. The best rendering, however, of this passage and 
its true meaning are rather doubtful (as the variety of translations given 
in the R.V. mg. shews), for it may imply either that Jehovah is single 
and indivisible, in contrast to the multiplicity and variety of the gods 
of the heathen, or that He is unique and incomparable. Probably it 
combines the two ideas that He is intrinsically one and self-consistent ; 
and that He exists without a rival, all other spiritual powers being 
subordinate to Him 1 . That Jehovah is the only existing Deity is not 
asserted as explicitly by any of the prophets with whom we are here 
concerned as it is (for example) by Deutero-Isaiah (see 2 Is. xliii. 10, 
xliv. 6, xlv. 14, 21, etc.), but the idea is implicitly present. He is the 
God of heaven, the maker of the sea and the dry land (Jon. i. 9) ; He 
controls the forces and agencies of nature, using them both to punish 
men, and to bring them relief and prosperity (Joel ii. 11, 19, 23 25, 
iii. 18, Jonah i. 4, 17, ii. 10) ; He is the Judge of all peoples (Mic. i. 2), 
and calls all nations to account for the wrongs done by them to Israel 
(Ob. 15, Joel iii. 2, 11). If His sole Godhead is not expressly affirmed 
by these prophets, the ascription to Him of such authority over the 
physical world and the races of men adequately attests their belief in it. 

(b) That Jehovah was Spirit and not flesh was implied by Isaiah when 
he declared the Egyptians to be men and not God, and their horses flesh 
and not spirit (Is. xxxi. 3); and the desire to preserve (even at the 
cost of discouraging all graphic and plastic art) the belief in Jehovah as 
a spirit lacking corporeal form was one of the motives that led to the 
prohibition by the religious teachers of Israel of all material symbols of 
Him (cf. Mic. v. 13, 14, and see notes ad loc.}. Nevertheless the Hebrews 
seem to have found great difficulty in conceiving God to be altogether 

1 Gf. Driver, Deut. pp. 89, 90. 


immaterial, and it looks as if they were inclined to think of spirit as 
merely an extremely tenuous and impalpable form of matter 1 . The 
importance of safeguarding the belief that God in His nature is only 
spirit and not, like man, spirit and body lay in its connection with the 
belief in His omnipresence. From the limitations inseparable from a 
solid bodily frame a spiritual Being could be deemed to be free ; so that 
if God were spirit only, His presence everywhere would be the more 
easily intelligible. Jehovah's ubiquity is implied in several passages of 
these prophets. He observes and punishes evil that is committed in 
Judah and Jerusalem (Mic. ii. 1 11); but with equal facility He 
gathers and redeems His chastened people from the distant lands where 
they have been dispersed (Mic. ii. 12 13, iv. 6). He requites wrong- 
doers alike in Tyre, in Zidon, in Edom and in Egypt (Joel iii. 4 8, 19). 
Perhaps the book of Jonah illustrates most vividly the conviction enter- 
tained of His omnipresence. He commands the prophet, whilst in the 
Holy Land, to depart on a mission to Nineveh ; when His messenger 
disobeys and crosses the sea, He raises a storm ; and when Jonah is 
thrown overboard from the ship conveying him, He causes a monster of 
the deep first to swallow and then to disgorge him ; and when at last 
the prophet goes to Nineveh, God's activity there is manifested by the 
miraculous growth and equally miraculous destruction of the gourd. 
Nevertheless, though the Lord's omnipresence is thus conspicuously 
brought into mind, it is regarded as not incompatible with His having, 
in a special sense, His dwelling in Zion (Joel iii. 17, 21). It is thence 
that He roars against His adversaries (Joel iii. 16); thither heathen 
peoples, impressed by His might, will ultimately resort to be instructed 
about Him (Mic. iv. 2); and there the centre of His kingdom is to be 
(Ob. 21). The explanation of this seeming incongruity is to be found 
in the thought that, though God is nowhere absent from the world, yet 
He is most intimately present in the hearts of His servants and wor- 
shippers, and these were to be found chiefly, though not exclusively, in 
the Jewish capital. 

(c) The greatness of God's Intelligence and Wisdom does not receive 
abstract emphasis in these prophecies as it does in some other of the 
O.T. books (Prov. iii. 19, Jer. x. 12, Job xxxvi. 5), but there is ample 
evidence therein of a belief in the boundless resources of His under- 
standing. He devises evil against evil-doers, from which they can find 
no escape (Mic. ii. 3). He foils the plans of Zion's foes, and disappoints 

1 Cf. p. 108. 


their expectations (ib. iv. 1 1, 1 2). He humbles the pride of the Edomites 
amid their inaccessible cliffs (Ob. 3); and threatens with destruction 
the great city of Nineveh (Jon. i. 2, iii. 2). That the fortunes of peoples 
are under His control is tacitly but none the less plainly affirmed 
wherever one nation, in the fancied pursuit of its own designs, is repre- 
sented as being really the agent of Jehovah for chastising the offences 
of another (Ob. 714, Mic. i. 5f., iii. 912). And equally impressive 
does the working of Divine Providence appear (though the fact is not 
explicitly proclaimed by the prophets but left to be read between the 
lines they have written) when the deportation of the Jewish race into a 
remote region and their subsequent wonderful restoration to their own 
home are seen to be events resulting in the bringing of heathen peoples 
to a knowledge of the God of Israel (Mic. iv. 1 4, vii. 16 17). 

(d) God's Ethical Character is perhaps that aspect of Him which is 
most prominently thrown into relief by the Hebrew prophetic writers in 
general. The qualities entering into their conception of it are principally 
His justice, His compassion, His forgivingness, and His faithfulness. The 
first of these attributes is accentuated by the resentment represented as 
provoked in Him by the social wickedness prevalent in Judah the 
oppression and spoliation of the poor, the corruptness of the governing 
classes, and the dishonesty practised in trade (Mic. ii. 1, 2, 8, 9, iii. 1 3, 
9 11, vi. 10 12, vii. 1 4); and not less by His wrath against the 
Edomites for their unbrotherly conduct to Judah on the occasion of the 
latter's overthrow (Ob. 10 14). For all such iniquity retribution swift 
and heavy is predicted. But Jehovah's justice does not exclude com- 
passion when due chastisement has been inflicted : from the exile which 
is destined to purify the Jewish people they are ultimately to be 
rescued ; and from the humiliating conditions which continue to beset 
them even after their repatriation they are to be relieved (Mic. ii. 12 
13, iv. 6 8, v. 2 9, vii. 11 12). Repentance for misdeeds speedily 
evokes the Divine pardon, and leads to alleviation of the troubles that 
have demonstrated the Divine wrath (Joel ii. 18 f.). Nor is His com- 
passionateness confined to Israel. He manifests interest in the heathen; 
sends a prophet to warn the people of Nineveh of the destruction that 
their sins have provoked; spares them when they are penitent; and, 
rebuking Jonah for his displeasure at the city's reprieve, intimates His 
concern for its innocent children and even its cattle (Jon. i. 2 f., iv. 11). 

It is observable that the prophets here under review regarded the 
existing world as the exclusive field for the retribution and the recom- 
pense meted out by God to the evil and the good respectively. And 


since they could not believe that God failed to govern His world with 
equity, they looked for wrongdoing to be requited without fail in this 
life (unless requital was averted by timely repentance) ; and when 
vengeance did not overtake the actual wrongdoers during their own 
lifetime, they supposed that it would eventually befall their posterity 
(the responsibility which we consider to attach to individual offenders 
being regarded by the early Hebrews as embracing their households and 
their descendants). Similarly when the innocent seemed to miss their 
reward, the apparent miscarriage of Divine justice was accounted for by 
the existence of some ancestral guilt which had escaped detection by 
man but was known to God. It was, however, recognized at last that 
this view was not really satisfactory ; and so some Hebrew thinkers in 
the long run came to believe that the vindication of the righteous and 
the punishment of the unrighteous would be consummated in another 
sphere of life, though the scene and manner of the same were differently 
conceived by various minds (see Ps. xvi., xvii., xlix., Ixxiii., Job xxv. 27, 
Dan. xii. 2, 3, Wisd. iii. 1 9). But this hope lay beyond the range of 
thought of our four prophets, in whose writings there is no hint of 
human immortality. 

(e) That the prophets to whom these books are due considered that 
Jehovah possessed all the Power necessary for the execution of His 
designs is evinced by their attributing to Him as Author both present 
and past national catastrophes and deliverances (Joel ii. 11, Mic. iv. 6, 
7, vi. 4, 5) and by their confident predictions about what He would 
accomplish both of good and of ill in the future. But there is a difference 
between the ancient and the modern conceptions of the Divine method 
of working in the natural world which here calls for brief notice. 

The Hebrews so far emphasized the distinction between God and His 
universe that they were prone to represent Him as acting upon it from 
without. Concentrating their thoughts upon His transcendence in 
respect of nature, and having little interest in the scientific investigation 
of physical phenomena, they felt no difficulty in crediting marvellous 
stories of departures from common experience through the immediate 
intervention of God. Modem thought, on the other hand, accentuating 
the Divine immanence in natural processes, systematic and regular in 
their operation, finds it difficult to accept as historic many of the 
miracles recorded in the O.T., of which notable examples occur in Jonah 
(p. xciii). The Hebrew writers, of course, could not be blind to some of 
the regularities observable in nature. But they were more interested in 
the purposes which nature's Creator appeared to have in view than in 


the chain of secondary causes by which He brought results to pass ; and 
in the study of the O.T. this difference of mental attitude between its 
authors and their modern readers has constantly to be kept in mind. 

II. Jehovah was originally the God of Israel (or of some of the tribes 
that constituted Israel) just as Chemosh was the god of Moab, Milconi 
the god of Ammon, and Asshur the god of Assyria ; and it was not 
until the 8th century that He was affirmed by the prophets of Israel to 
be the only God. It might have been antecedently expected that when 
a purely national god came to be declared the sole and supreme divinity 
in heaven and earth it would be likewise contended that He was not in 
any exclusive or peculiar sense the God of Israel merely, but was the 
God of all peoples alike, impartially interested in the welfare of the 
whole of mankind. This step, however, the prophets (including those 
here under discussion) did not fully take : whilst asserting that Jehovah 
directed the fortunes of Israel's neighbours as well as of Israel itself, and 
that He was the Judge of all nations equally, they continued to foster 
in their countrymen the conviction that He felt special concern for 
them, and gave them the foremost place in His love and care. They 
were His people and His heritage (Joel ii. 17, iii. 2), and Zion, their 
capital, was His holy mountain (ib. iii. 17, Ob. 16). The bond between 
Him and them went back to the age of their forefathers ; and in their 
distress they could appeal trustfully to the sworn promise which He 
had made to the patriarchs Abraham and Jacob (Mic. vii. 20). The 
truth underlying this conception of a bond and covenant subsisting 
between Israel and the Almighty is to be sought in the signal privileges 
which certain races and nationalities seem to enjoy in comparison with 
others in regard to intellectual faculties and aptitudes, or to qualities 
of disposition and character. Familiar examples in antiquity of such 
gifted peoples are furnished by the Greeks and Romans, who were so 
remarkably endowed, the one with a genius for art and literature, and 
the other with a singular ability for government and organization, the 
artistic creativeness and the instinct for political order, which respectively 
characterized them, witnessing to the presence in them of an exceptional 
degree of what may reasonably be called inspiration. Capacities of 
another kind have been equally distinctive of certain other peoples. 
The Hebrews, if their prophets may be looked upon as the flower of 
their race, were pre-eminently distinguished by a special measure of 
insight into religious truth, which, at the same time, from a theological 
standpoint, implies, and can justly be represented to be, a unique 
revelation, imparted to them by God, of His moral attributes (according 


as we accentuate the human or the Divine factor co-operating in 
human history). It was from Israel, too, that our Lord Himself drew 
His human lineage, crowning the line of the prophets and likewise, as 
the Christ or Messiah, realizing the ideal of filial conduct in relation 
to God which a national king, concentrating in his own person the 
vocation of his race, had long been expected, but expected in vain, to 
fulfil (p. cxxx). But whilst the prophets believed themselves to be the 
channels of Divine oracles to their people, who were regarded by them 
as standing in an exceptional relation to the one true God, they recog- 
nized (though not all equally) that this privileged position carried with 
it certain responsibilities, and that if Israel was the depository of Divine 
revelations, it was entrusted with them for the eventual good of man- 
kind. This conception of their race's function in the world takes more 
than one form. In many prophetic passages (2 Is. xlii. 6, xlix. 6, Zech. 
viii. 23, etc.), and not least conspicuously in Mic. iv. 1 3 ( = Is. ii. 
2 4), the prevalent idea is that Israel through its wonderful experiences 
of national extinction and subsequent revival would attract the attention 
of a multitude of peoples to the God of Israel who had wrought so 
marvellously for His votaries, and would induce the heathen to seek at 
Jerusalem for knowledge about so potent a Deity. But in one of the 
four books included in this volume, namely Jonah, this idea assumes a 
different shape. It is presupposed that Israel had a direct mission 
towards the rest of the world which it was its duty to execute. The 
chief character in the book is a personification of Israel; and the 
prophet is represented as expressly charged by God to warn the people 
of the heathen city of Nineveh (symbolizing the Gentile world) of their 
imminent doom unless they would repent and secure their pardon. The 
author thus illustrated what he took to be the vocation of Israel amongst 
mankind, whilst at the same time by depicting Jonah as first of all 
trying to evade his commission, and then as being displeased at the 
mercy shewn by God to the Ninevites when penitent, he held up a 
mirror to those of his countrymen who grudged to their Gentile neigh- 
bours any share in God's compassion, instead of lending themselves 
gladly to promote His saving purposes. 

III. Since Jehovah was believed to be bound to Israel by a per- 
manent and inviolable tie, since He was regarded as the owner of the 
land and as its people's Divine king, and since He was supposed, like 
human sovereigns, to take pleasure in honorific oblations and other 
tokens of homage, which in general there was no unwillingness on the 
part of the people to render (the mass of men at all times being ready 


to perform religious ceremonies), the early prophets (such as Elijah) 
found little to censure in their nation, save when a^disposition was 
manifested by a contemporary ruler, followed by a section of his sub- 
jects, either to represent Jehovah by some material symbol, or else to 
abandon the exclusive worship of Him and to pay adoration to the 
god of a neighbouring state. But the deeper insight into the nature of 
God marking the prophets who appeared in the 8th century and their 
successors caused these to contend that no formal service of Jehovah, 
divorced from the discharge of moral duties, could ensure the retention 
of His favour ; and that the multiplication of sacrifices by those who 
were guilty of social offences could only aggravate the Divine dis- 
pleasure. Of the four prophets here dealt with Micah in Jehovah's 
name denounced with the utmost vehemence the violence and cor- 
ruption of the more powerful classes among his contemporaries ; and 
declared that under such conditions the trust reposed in the presence 
of Jehovah amongst them was a fatal delusion. In his surviving oracles, 
indeed, he does not, like Amos and Isaiah, directly assail the folly of 
imagining that God would be content with sacrificial offerings in lieu 
of social righteousness ; but by a later prophet, whose utterances are 
included in the book bearing Micah's name, there is repudiated most 
impressively the thought that sin can be expiated by sacrifices however 
costly, since God's essential requirements from man are justice, mercy, 
and humility before his Maker. 



THE occurrence in Mic. v. 2 6 of a prediction of the kind usually 
designated Messianic, and the citation of part of it in the New Testament 
(Mt. ii. 6), render it desirable to bring this oracle into relation with 
other prophecies of the same class. It is not proposed, indeed, to take 
account in detail of the whole field of Messianic prophecy; but it will 
be useful to review briefly such predictions as appear to be of earlier 
date than Mic. v. 2 6, and to distinguish in these certain common or 
contrasted features ; whilst it will contribute to a better comprehension 
of the whole subject if some attention is paid to the directions in which 
prophetic anticipations developed during the centuries subsequent to 
the probable date of Mic. v. 2 6, and the realization which these 
received in our Lord Jesus Christ. 


The term Messiah is a title meaning " anointed"; and, when not used 
as an adjective, is followed in the O.T. by the genitive of the Divine 
name Jehovah or an equivalent possessive pronoun (my, thy, his). It is 
applied to various classes of persons, including Israelite kings (1 Sam. 
ii. 10, xii. 3, xxiv. 6, 10, etc., 2 Sam. xix. 21, Lam. iv. 20), high priests 
(Lev. iv. 3, 5, 16, vi. 22 (15), 2 Mace. i. 10, and perhaps Ps. Ixxxiv. 9 
(10)), the patriarchs (Ps. cv. 15), and collective Israel (Hab. iii. 13, 
Ps. xxviii. 8). It was perhaps also applicable to prophets, for these 
were sometimes anointed (1 Kgs. xix. 16); and though the term is not 
actually employed in the O.T. in connection with them, yet it is probable 
that the Hebrew patriarchs were denominated by the writer of Ps. cv. 
Jehovah's anointed in virtue of their being accounted prophets (cf. 
Gen. xx. 7). In one instance it is also used of a foreign ruler (Cyrus), re- 
garded as an accredited agent to carry out Jehovah's designs (2 Is. xlv. 1). 
The practice of anointing persons by way of investing them with 
authority is perhaps a survival from a totemistic stage of religion, when 
some animal or plant was taken to be the divine ancestor of a particular 
tribe or clan, which, in consequence, bore its name (see p. 120), and 
when its blood or fat (if the totem was an animal) or the oil obtained 
from it (if it was a berry-bearing plant like the olive) was deemed, where 
smeared upon a member of the tribe or clan, to be a means of imparting 
to him some of the qualities of the sacred ancestor. Later, when the 
totemistic stage of thought was outgrown and replaced by a more 
enlightened form of religious belief, the ceremony of anointing and the 
use of the term naturally became purely symbolical (see 3 Is. Ixi. 1). 

Although, as has been seen, the title Messiah was applied to more 
than one class of official, it was predominantly used of kings. Both 
Saul and David, as well as some of their successors, are severally termed 
the Messiah of Jehovah (I Sam. xxiv. 6, 2 Sam. xix. 21, Ps. ii. 2, xviii. 
50, etc.); and the rite of consecration by means of oil is expressly 
mentioned in connection with them (1 Sam. x. 1, xvi. 13, 1 Kgs. i. 39, 
xix. 16, Ps. Ixxxix. 20)/ It is the association of the term with the function 
of kingship that has caused the epithet Messianic to be employed to 
describe certain predictions, delivered by the prophets on occasions of 
national disaster or depression, which foretold the advent of a king 
destined to put an end to the distress of his people and to restore them 
to greatness and glory (though to such an expected king the title 
Messiah is not actually applied). But the term Messianic is also loosely 
used to denote prophecies predicting for Israel conditions of peace and 
prosperity without any reference to a human ruler; and it is likewise 


applied to passages in the prophetic writings, wherein announcement is 
made of a future line of kings under whom the nation is to enjoy 
felicity, but without stress being laid upon any pre-eminent individual 
amongst them/ Hence the nature of the prophecy in Mic. v. renders it 
expedient to confine detailed attention to those prophecies only which 
pre-announce, or appear to pre-announce, the advent of an individual 
prince of consummate qualities ; but before considering these it will be 
desirable to begin with a more general survey, and to trace, as far as 
possible, the genesis of this expectation, in times of adversity, of a 
happier future, in descriptions of which a king of exceptional parts 
occasionally but not uniformly figures. 

Some of the peoples of antiquity, in contrasting contemporary evils 
under which they suffered with a better time that their fancy painted, 
placed the latter in the prehistoric past, from which they supposed that 
there had been a continuous declension down to their own day. Thus 
the Greek poet Hesiod begins his account of the history of mankind with 
a Golden race, when the primitive god Kronos (the equivalent of the 
Latin Saturnus) held sway ; and traces growing deterioration through 
the races of Silver, Bronze, and the Heroes until he comes to his own, 
which he calls the race of Iron, the last and worst. The retrospect 
is shared by the Roman Vergil, though in a less sombre spirit (G. I. 
125 f.) ; and even when the latter (after the peace of Brundisium 
in B.C. 40) looked forward to the dawning, in the near future, of a 
happier age than that with which he had been familiar, he conceived it 
to be a return to the conditions of the earth's infancy : 

Magnus ab integro sceclorum nascitur or do. 

lam redit et Virgo (Astrsea), redeunt Saturnia regna. 

But this was not the outlook of the Hebrews. For them the future 
held something better than there had ever been before ; and so far as 
they drew upon the past in giving shape to their hopes, they did not 
recur to the myths current concerning the primaeval world, but to a 
phase in their own historical experience, enhanced and magnified by a 
glowing imagination. 

The confidence in its future which Israel retained throughout longer 
or shorter periods of affliction and humiliation, and which eventually 
took form in the Messianic hope, had its foundation in religion. Israel's 
religion, however, in its early character did not differ greatly from 
that of kindred and surrounding peoples. Like other nations the 
Israelites started with monolatry a belief in, and the worship of, a 


single deity, without any accompanying disbelief in the existence of 
other divinities to whom their neighbours rendered allegiance, and who, 
in times of warfare, were the antagonists of their own God Jehovah. 
Their thoughts about Jehovah and their feelings towards Him were not 
dissimilar to those which the Moabites, for example, cherished con- 
cerning Chemosh. They were individually Jehovah's sons and daughters, 
or the collective community was His son (Hos. xi. 1, Dt. xxxii. 6), as the 
Moabites were the sons and daughters of Chemosh (Num. xxi. 29) ; in the 
conduct of their wars Jehovah took part ; and He was as much concerned 
as they in the issue, since their success or failure in them redounded to 
His reputation or to His discredit (Ex. xv. 3, 4, Jud. iv. 14, v. 23, vii. 20, 
2 Sam. v. 24, Ps. Ixxix. 10). 

In the case of the Semitic races generally triumph in war tended not 
only to foster national pride but also to develope a conviction that the 
national divinity was superior to rival gods. And in the instance of 
Israel the belief which came to be entertained about Jehovah's exceptional 
power in comparison with that of other deities can be traced to two 
definite events in their history. The first of these was the deliverance 
from bondage in Egypt, followed, as it was, by the conquest of Canaan. 
It was the escape from their Egyptian task-masters, through occurrences 
which seemed to be due to the providence of Jehovah, that especially 
caused the Israelites to deem themselves the objects of His paternal 
care, and to judge Him to be mightier than all the gods of Egypt (see 
Hos. xi. 1, xii. 9, Am. ii. 10, iii. 1, 2, Ex. xii. 12, Num. xxxiii. 4); and 
His graciousness and His strength were shortly afterwards as signally 
manifested by His ejection from before them of the tribes of Canaan 
and the bestowal upon His worshippers of the possessions of its in- 
habitants (Neh. ix. 24, Ps. xliv. 2, Ixxviii. 55, Ixxx. 8, cxxxvi. 17 22). 
A subsequent age sought to demonstrate that these wonderful experiences 
were the outcome of Jehovah's benevolent purposes towards their 
nation by representing them as having been predicted by Him long 
before to their ancestors when these were but lonely wanderers (see 
Gen. xii. 13, xiii. 14 17, xv. 1316, 2 Sam. vii. 23, 24). The second 
event which made a deep impression on the national mind as attesting 
alike Jehovah's interest in, and love for, Israel, and His ability to give 
proof of both in the promotion of its fortunes, was the establishment of 
the monarchy. The need of a king to weld a loose aggregate of quarrel- 
some tribes into a nation became manifest when serious danger 
threatened from the Philistines (p. 82). The reign of the first sovereign, 
Saul, ended, indeed, in disaster ; but his successor David shewed himself 


capable of consolidating his subjects into a unity, which lasted to the 
end of his own life and that of his son Solomon, and enabled the people 
not merely to defend themselves against aggression but to extend their 
territories in various directions. That the institution of the monarchy 
in Israel, with the resultant triumphs over peoples like Moab and Edom, 
obtained in the reign of David, was also regarded as predetermined in 
the counsels of Jehovah appears from a prophecy of it which is attributed 
to the seer Balaam and represented as delivered by him whilst Israel 
was yet in the wilderness (see Num. xxiv. 1519), though the precision 
of it suggests that it is really a vaticinium post eventum, and originated 
after the monarchy had come into existence 1 . 

In this connection it is desirable to discuss here a passage which has often 
been deemed Messianic in the sense denned above, though probably erroneously. 
This is Genesis xlix. 10, part of the prediction about Judah included among 
the "Blessings" represented as pronounced by the patriarch Jacob upon all his 
sons 2 . These "blessings," in general, appear to date from the period of the 
Judges ; but v. 10 may reasonably be suspected to be of post-Davidic origin. 
As will be seen from the various renderings of the passage offered in the text 
and margin of the R.V., both the meaning and the originality of the existing 
Hebrew are doubtful. The most obvious translation of the present text is the 
following (cf. the R.V. margin) : 

" The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, 
Nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, 
Until he come to Shiloh, 
And unto him shall the obedience of the peoples be." 

This is supported by the fact that everywhere else in the O.T. Shiloh is a place- 
name, and denotes the locality where all the congregation of Israel is recorded 
to have assembled after the invasion of Canaan by Joshua, in order to determine 
by lot what parts of the country should belong to each of the seven tribes that 
had not previously received their portions (Josh, xviii.). But historically it is 
very unlikely that the tribe of Judah gathered at Shiloh in the time of Joshua, 
even if there was an assembly of other tribes there (Judah and Simeon appear 
to have entered Canaan from the south 3 ); and certainly nothing happened at 
Shiloh affecting the fortunes or position of Judah, as suggested in the verse 
under consideration. An alternative rendering of the existing Hebrew of the 
third line is that which is given in the text of the R.V., "Until Shiloh come"; 
and it has been widely assumed that by Shiloh is meant the Messiah ; and the 
passage is taken as a real prediction that the regal associations attaching to 
the tribe of Judah, through the circumstance that the dynasty of David belonged 
to that tribe, would last until the Messiah's advent ; and that He, at His coming, 
would receive the allegiance of the world. If this were really a probable inter- 

1 See Gray, Numbers, pp. 313, 314 (I.C.C.); Kennedy, Numbers, p. 332 (C.B.). 

2 See Driver, Gen. pp. 385, 386, 410415 (West.G.). 

3 See Burney, Judges, pp. cv, 46. 


pretation, the passage would be Messianic in the strict sense. But Shiloh is- 
not a name elsewhere in the Bible applied to the Messiah, and it does not 
connote a meaning which would be appropriate to him, for the Hebrew root 
with which it seems to be connected signifies "to be quiet," "to be at ease," or 
even "to be easy-going," but not "to be peaceful" (in the proper sense). In 
these circumstances, it appears necessary to conclude that the traditional 
Hebrew text is faulty, and that the authentic text is preserved in the LXX. 
and other Greek versions, in the Syriac, and in several of the Targums. All 
these translations and paraphrases were made from a text that, instead of 
Shiloh, had Shelloh, which can signify (as the R.V. notices in the margin) 
either "that which is his" or "he whose it (the sceptre) is." But the first 
of these significations, yielding the rendering "until that which is his shall 
come," makes poor sense, for it is not easy to see how Judah's acquisition of its 
own would mark the cessation of its previous authority. The second possible 
signification "until he shall come whose it (the sceptre) is" has likewise 
been taken to have the Messiah in view. It is assumed that the sceptre must 
be an emblem of royal authority ; and the passage has been understood to be 
a prediction that a succession of kings belonging to the tribe of Judah would 
not terminate until the coming of the Messiah, through whom the limited realm 
possessed by previous sovereigns would be transformed into one of world- wide 
extent. But a similar objection to that attaching to the alternative translation 
presents itself here, for Judah, as the tribe of the reigning dynasty, would 
acquire enhanced eminence through the replacement of a line of ordinary kings 
by the Messiah himself, and would not experience a loss of importance (as the 
word until suggests). These objections, however, are avoided if the passage be 
interpreted of the termination of Judah's tribal independence through the firm 
establishment of monarchical authority in the hands of David. When the 
collective tribes became united into a kingdom under a single ruler, the 
authority previously exercised by each tribe over its own members passed to 
the king, and Judah would lose this, equally with the rest of the tribes. If such 
be the right explanation (and though it is not free from difficulty, it seems 
more plausible than the others) the import of the passage appears to be a 
prophecy of the advent, not of the Messiah, but of the first sovereign springing 
from the tribe of Judah ; though it is perhaps less likely to be a real prediction 
of that event, and to date from a time prior to it, than to be an oracle 
composed after the occasion which it purports to foretell, originating either in 
the reign of David himself or in that of Solomon, but put into the mouth of the 
patriarch Jacob 1 . 

The success which, in spite of internal troubles, marked David's 
reign his expulsion of the Philistines from Israelite territory, his 
capture of Jerusalem from the Jebusites, his conversion of it into a 
capital for the nation which he had consolidated, and his victories over 
Moab, Ammon, Edom, and other peoples profoundly impressed the 

1 The passage seems to be referred to in Ezek. xxi. 27, where it appears to be 
invested with a Messianic significance. 


minds of his countrymen. His house came to be viewed as the nerve-centre 
of the state, the seat and mainspring of its activities, and the channel 
through which God had chosen to glorify Israel. In David and his line 
the filial relation which Israel was believed to occupy towards Jehovah 
(p. ex) was held to be concentrated. If the nation was Jehovah's son, 
as evidenced by the marvellous favour which it had enjoyed, the suc- 
cessive sovereigns of David's lineage could be deemed to represent in 
this respect their collective subjects; and in virtue of the fact that they 
were individual personalities, they were qualified to realize this concep- 
tion the more vividly and effectually (see 2 Sam. vii. 12 16, Ps. Ixxxix. 
26, 27). Many Judsean kings, of course, in their character and conduct 
fell far below the ideal which such relationship involved, disregarding; 
the administration of justice to their subjects, and fancying that formal 
acts of worship would satisfy Jehovah. Nevertheless repeated failures 
on the part of one monarch after another to exhibit the disposition, or to 
experience the fortune, appropriate to a ruler whom Jehovah graciously 
styled His son, could not destroy the conviction entertained by the 
prophets that it was through a descendant of David that the high 
destiny believed to be designed for Israel would be fulfilled. The 
retribution which was bound to follow moral and religious offences could 
not (it was thought) cancel Jehovah's promises. Consequently the 
national hope, if often disappointed, continually revived, for Jehovah 
would be faithful to His covenant. He was permanently Israel's 
spiritual King (1 Sam. xii. 12, Is. xxxiii. 22, Ps. xliv. 4, Ixxiv. 12, 
xcviii. 6, 2 Is. xliii. 15), and it was through a human king, deriving his 
ancestry from the son of Jesse, and acting as Jehovah's vicegerent, 
that the Divine goodness towards Israel would finally be consummated. 
For the purpose of reviewing the nature of the assurances respecting 
a glorious future with which the prophets sought to relieve the despond- 
ency of their fellow-countrymen in times of calamity, it is proposed here 
to divide them into classes according to their tenor, without respect to 
chronology, though within these classes regard will be paid to chronological 
order, so far as this is clearly ascertainable. In the first class will be 
included prophecies wherein no mention is made of a human king in 
connection with the felicity promised to the people. In the next there 
will be comprised those predictions in which the restoration of happy 
national conditions is associated with the rule of righteous kings be- 
longing to David's house. The third will contain certain oracles which 
appear to announce with more or less definiteness the birth of an 
individual king of pre-eminent attributes, whose function it will be to 
w. ;. 


ensure for his people both external security and internal integrity. The 
oracles constituting this last class, and alone properly deserving the 
title Messianic, will require to be considered at greater length than the 
others, which can be dismissed without much discussion. 

1. Of the class of passages from which all stress upon, or even 
mention of, a king or kings of David's line is absent and in which 
Jehovah Himself is represented as being in Person His people's Protector 
and Ruler, illustrations may be taken from Is. iv. 2 6, xxxiii. 20 24, 
3 Is. Ix. 1 . Of these passages the first is probably Isaianic in origin (with 
the exception of vv. 5, 6, which contain some late features) but the 
other two are most likely post-exilic. Is. iv. 2 6 is a prediction that, 
after a severe judgment shall have eradicated impenitent offenders from 
the nation, the land will be clothed with luxuriant vegetation and will 
produce abundant crops, supplying the needs of, and reflecting glory 
upon, the surviving inhabitants, who will all be holy and pious in 
character, and who will be screened by Jehovah Himself from all distress 
arising from injurious conditions. In Is. xxxiii. 20 24 (seemingly a 
late conclusion appended to an Isaianic oracle) it is declared that 
Jehovah will abide with Israel, encompassing and safeguarding them 
in virtue of His being their Judge, their Lawgiver, and their King. 
3 Is. Ix., an oracle designed to comfort the Jews during the depressing 
years following their return from exile, when they were a small com- 
munity impoverished and harassed, assures them of a speedy increase 
in their numbers and wealth, and predicts that violence and devastation 
will cease from the land, arid that Jehovah Himself will be there to 
illumine and glorify His people. In prophecies like these the writers are 
content to emphasize Jehovah's loving care for Israel, notwithstanding 
its earlier offences, and do not concern themselves with explaining the 
agencies by which He will accomplish His gracious purposes. 

2. But in another class of prophecies the contrast, material and moral, 
which it is anticipated that the future will offer to the unhappy present 
is associated with the rule of a royal dynasty that will ensure among the 
people the maintenance of justice, order, and true religion; and the 
restoration of the national fortunes is generally connected with the 
revival of the Davidic house, the traditions of David's reign being 
idealized by distance. An oracle looking to the authority of a righteous 
sovereign and just ministers as a condition of the attainment by the 
people of the standard of conduct required from them by Jehovah occurs 

1 See also Mic. iv. 7. 


in Is. xxxii. 1 8. In the books of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, the authors 
of which witnessed the destruction of the Judsean monarchy, there are 
contained definite anticipations of the re-establishment of David's line 
on the throne, as God's destined agency for safeguarding the people from 
any relapse into the sins which had been so severely punished. To 
comfort their countrymen, confronted with captivity in a foreign land, 
these prophets, at the end of the 7th and the beginning of the 6th century, 
held out to them promises that the period of their servitude would be 
limited, that in the end they should return to their own soil with their 
proneness to apostasy eradicated by the bestowal of a new heart and 
spirit, and that in their former home they should dwell in safety, 
protected and wisely governed by a righteous descendant of David. The 
expected king is spoken of in the singular (as "a scion of David" or as 
"David"); but both prophets doubtless had in mind a succession of 
rulers who should reproduce the virtues, and renew the achievements, 
of their illustrious ancestor (see Jer. xxiii. 5, 6, xxx. 9, Ezek. xxxiv. 23). 
The use of the title David to designate a restored Davidic dynasty 
appears likewise in a passage which is probably an interpolation in the 
book of Hosea (iii. 4, 5) ; and an oracle added to the book of Amos 
(ix. 11 f.) after the termination of the Davidic monarchy announces in 
somewhat similar terms that Jehovah "will raise up the tabernacle of 
David that is fallen." 

3. In the prophetic passages just considered, which contemplate the 
renewal of the monarchy after a period of affliction, there is nothing 
suggesting that the king, or the succession of kings, that the prophets 
had in mind, would be characterized by extraordinary attributes to which 
only unusual titles could do justice. But there are a few oracles in which 
a king whose advent is anticipated is portrayed in terms of a remarkable 
and startling kind; and though the import of them is not beyond doubt, 
they call for fuller notice. They occur in the book of Isaiah, and it is 
with these that the prophecy of Micah v. 2 6 falls into line. 

Isaiah discharged his prophetic ministry in the kingdom of Judah 
during the reign of Ahaz (circ. 735 720 B.C.); and the occasion of the 
first of his prophecies (vii. 14 17) that must be here discussed was a 
coalition formed against his country by the kingdom of Northern Israel 
(or Ephraim) and the Syrians of Damascus. The leaders of these hostile 
powers were respectively Pekah and Rezin. The two allies had probably 
combined together with the view of forcing Judah to join them against 
Assyria, or of deposing Ahaz if compliance was refused. The Syrian 
army, after encamping on Ephraimite territory and drawing reinforce- 


ments from it, advanced to invest Jerusalem, causing the utmost 
consternation to both its king and its people. To reassure Ahaz the 
prophet Isaiah went to meet him, and bade him lay aside his fear. 
Neither of the two confederates (he declared) was really formidable : 
both were only like smouldering embers, more smoke than flame ; and 
their threat of deposing the king and replacing him by a minion of the 
Syrian sovereign could be disregarded. But the condition of deliverance 
was tranquil faith in Jehovah, not the adoption of some political device, 
such as an appeal to Assyria for help. And to encourage Ahaz to 
repose trust in Jehovah Isaiah felt empowered to offer a sign, the 
occurrence of which would be an assurance that the prophet spoke by 
Divine authority. The sign might be anything that the king liked to 
choose, since Jehovah's power was universal. But Ahaz, having presum- 
ably decided to seek foreign aid, refused the offer: he would not (he 
said) put Jehovah to the test. Whereupon the prophet affirmed that 
Jehovah Himself would, unsolicited, indicate a sign, which is described 
in the three verses vii. 14 16, but of which the precise nature is the 
subject of some uncertainty. The word rendered in the R.V. by virgin 
means a woman of marriageable age whether actually married or not 
(for it is the feminine of a word denoting a youth or stripling), and 
does not connote virginity, a condition which would be expressed in 
Heb. by another term; and accordingly the word virgin would be 
better replaced by damsel. But the Hebrew of the passage admits of 
being rendered by both "a damsel 1 " and "the damsel"; and two diver- 
gent interpretations become possible. If the former translation be 
adopted, the sign consists in the bestowal in the near future by any 
young woman, pregnant at the time of the prophet's utterance, of the 
name Immanuel ("God is with us") upon her baby (when born) as a 
recognition of God's presence with His people, evinced by the with- 
drawal from Jerusalem of the menacing hosts of Syria and Northern 
Israel, as predicted by the prophet. Such an intervention by Jehovah, 
reflected in the name given to one, or more than one, infant born just 
after the people's experience of relief from their peril would be calculated 
to convince the king of Isaiah's authority to speak in Jehovah's name, 
and induce him to believe in the further prediction that the power of 
Judah's enemies to do subsequent injury would be crippled or wholly 
destroyed within a few years. This interpretation implies that by the 
"sign" is meant an occurrence in the near future likely to recall and 

1 See Davidson, Heb. Syntax, 21 (e). 


confirm a previous assertion, the truth of which had been doubted ; and 
this explanation of it can be supported by the parallel in Ex. iii. 12 
(where, before Israel's escape from Egypt, Jehovah affirms that the 
eventual safe arrival of the people at Horeb will be a sign that He had 
been with Moses in bringing that escape to pass). This interpretation, 
however, fails to account for the use of the word "a damsel" or "a 
young woman" ( l almah) instead of "a woman" ('is/ishak) ', for such a 
term suggests that the child who is to be named Immanuel will be his 
mother's first-born ; whereas on this theory of the sign the name might 
be easily given, in the circumstances supposed, by any mother to her 
recently born child, whether she had previously had offspring or not. On 
the other hand, if the second possible rendering of the ambiguous term 
hd'almak be adopted and it be translated "the damsel," the prediction 
must refer to some particular birth already much in the thoughts and 
hopes of the people, and the sign must consist in the fact that the young 
woman predestined to be the mother of a wonderful child designed by 
God for sovereignty and high achievement will bear him very shortly, 
some marvel attending his entrance into the world marking him out a3 
the fulfilment of the popular anticipations, and leading to the bestowal 
upon him, by his mother, of the name Immanuel 1 . This suggestion has 
in its favour (a) that it is not out of proportion to the range of choice 
submitted to Ahaz when bidden to ask a sign (for if the limits named 
are the height of heaven above and the world of the dead beneath, some 
marvellous event might be looked for as the sign proffered by the 
prophet in consequence of Ahaz's refusal to choose one) ; (b) that it 
accounts for the application of the term hci'almak to the mother of the 
child, who would naturally be expected to be her first-born ; (c) that in 
viii. 8 the Hebrew text as pointed most obviously implies that the 
prophet there apostrophizes the as yet unborn Immanuel as being the 
lord of the land. Nevertheless this explanation, like the preceding, is 
not free from difficulty, (a) The currency in Israel of such an anticipa- 
tion as is here described is an assumption lacking independent evidence 
to support it. (/?) The passage in viii. 8 admits of being slightly 
modified so as to be rendered, not the breadth of thy land, Immanuel, 
but the breadth of the land. For God is with us. (y) About any cir- 
cumstances destined to attend the child's birth and calculated to 
identify him with the looked-for king or deliverer, causing his mother 
to name him Immanuel, the narrative contains not a word. In the case 

1 See JTS. vol. x. pp. 580584. 


of various distinguished personalities figuring in earlier Hebrew history, 
certain unusual features are recorded to have been predicted about, and 
to have accompanied, their conception or their birth (e.g. Isaac, Samson, 
Samuel); but the present pre-announcement is silent concerning any 
corresponding marvel in connection with the birth of Immanuel. And 
although the term 'almak, which is applicable to both married and 
unmarried women still in the flower of their youth, is expressly trans- 
lated in the LXX. by TmpfleVos (reproduced in the account of our Lord's 
birth in Mt. i. 23), the other Greek translations represent it more 
correctly by i/eavis, so that the inference that Isaiah had in his mind 
the idea that the child whose advent he predicted would be the offspring 
of a virgin-mother cannot reasonably be drawn from the Hebrew text. 
In view, then, of the obscurity investing the prophecy, it would be 
indefensible to give to the passage a Messianic import if it stood in 

This, however, is not the case. For, some 33 years after this, Isaiah 
uttered another oracle in which he, on a second occasion when the for- 
tunes of his country were at a low ebb, again assured his fellow-country- 
men that Jehovah would raise up for them a king of remarkable qualities 
of intellect and character, who, though he was not to be their actual 
deliverer from the danger encompassing them (that would be averted 
otherwise by God), would be their security in the future against any 
renewal of either external or internal ills. 

The oracle in question was delivered, so far as can be judged, in 701, 
when, in the reign of Hezekiah, the son and successor of Ahaz, Judah 
was ravaged by the Assyrian king Sennacherib ; and the prophet's words, 
contained in ix. 2 7, are marked by the parallelism characteristic of 
Hebrew poetry 1 . The language of the prophecy is for the most part 
couched in past tenses, as though the prophet was narrating occurrences 
that had already happened; but this is a feature often found in Hebrew 
descriptions of future events, the speaker or writer, in the fulness of 
his conviction that what he predicts will really take place, representing 
it as already realized. 

The centre of interest lies in w. 6, 7, the preceding part of the passage 
depicting the intensity of the satisfaction occasioned by the birth of the 

1 To the prophet's utterance has been prefixed a note in prose (constituting the 
first verse of the chapter) apparently emanating from a later scribe, who, being 
perhaps a native of Galilee and resident in exile, thought of the devastation brought, 
long before, upon his home by Tiglath-Pileser in 734, and who applied to his own 
land the consolatory prospect which was really intended by Isaiah for his fellow- 



ideal king, the relief from all oppression which will soon be experienced, 
and the destruction of the weapons and accoutrements of the hostile 
soldiery. After describing the removal of every trace of the occupation 
of the land by the Assyrian troops, the prophet announces the birth of 
a king, who is designated by a fourfold name, expressing his qualifica- 
tions for the high functions which he is to discharge Wonderful 
Counsellor, Divine Warrior, Perpetual Father, Prince of Peace. His 
destiny is to sit on the throne of David as sovereign, possessing in 
exceptional measure sagacity and military prowess, and ruling with 
paternal care and in unbroken tranquillity an extensive dominion. 

It is obvious that the oracle depicts a monarch of consummate attri- 
butes, but none of the epithets applied to him which on the surface 
suggest that he is to be of superhuman nature really convey that 
meaning. The two that appear to do so are the second and third. Of 
these the former (Heb. 'El Gibbor) could be rendered by Mighty God 
as well as by Divine Warrior, and is actually used of Jehovah in x. 21; 
but in the light of the phrase which, though translated above by Won- 
derful Counsellor, yet strictly means "a wonder of a counsellor," it 
seems better to turn it by Divine Warrior, literally "a god of a warrior." 
In Hebrew certain words meaning "God," namely 'El and its equivalent 
} Eldhim,&rQ not infrequently employed to designate men eminent through 
the possession of power or authority. In Ezek. xxxi. 11 the heathen 
king Nebuchadrezzar is styled "the god (El) of the nations," whilst in 
Ps. xlv. 6 a Jewish king is called " God" and in Ex. xxi. 6, xxii. 8, Ps. Ixxxii. 
1, 6 "judges" are termed "gods" (eldhim), as being in virtue of their 
office Jehovah's representatives. These words thus seem to have been 
used of human beings endowed with god-like qualities or invested 
with god-like functions, much in the same way as the Latin deus occa- 
sionally was (cf. Cic. Att. iv. 16, 3, deus itte noster Plato). The latter 
of the two epithets under consideration Perpetual Father (Heb. 
'abhi l adh, literally "father of everlastingness") still less involves the 
conclusion that the person so described, though of extraordinary endow- 
ments, is more than human. The word l adh can be employed of continued 
existence or activity up to the limits imposed by human nature (see 
Ps. xxi. 4, xxii. 26, Prov. xii. 19) '. Hence "father of everlastingness 2 " 

1 The synonymous l ulam can similarly be used to describe not only an indefinite 
period of long, though not necessarily endless, duration, but even a defined period 
(Ex. xxi. 6, Dt. xv. 17, and Jer. xxv. 9 compared with v. 11). 

2 The alternative rendering "father (i.e. bestower and distributor) of spoil" is 
incongruous with the general drift of the passage, which stresses the righteous and 
peaceful character of the promised king's rule. 


only means that the king described will be the protector and benefactor 
of his people (cf. Gen. xlv. 8, Job xxix. 16, Is. xxii. 21) uninterruptedly 
throughout an extended lifetime, but does not imply that he will be 
exempt from mortality. The statement that the promised ruler will 
occupy the throne of David suggests that he will be of Davidic descent 
and will succeed to the sovereignty by natural right. 

It is the existence of this prophecy that inclines the balance of 
probability in the case of the oracle in vii. 14 16 towards the second 
of the two explanations considered above, and renders more plausible 
than would otherwise be the case the interpretation that sees in the 
predicted Immanuel the expected Messiah. If so, it is, of course, obvious 
that the anticipation expressed in 735 that the Messiah would be born 
within a few months was disappointed; and it seems, at first sight, 
unnatural to suppose that Isaiah, after his prediction on that occasion 
had been falsified, should have committed himself to a repetition of it 
a generation later. But, as will be seen, successive disillusionments 
did not prevent successive Hebrew prophets from renewing the predic- 
tions of their predecessors, and "projecting upon the shifting future" 
the figure of an ideal king whom they expected to confirm his countrymen 
in the ways of God, and in the felicity attendant thereon. Consequently 
there is nothing strained in the supposition that Isaiah himself in the 
course of his prophetic ministry foretold on two occasions the near 
advent of such a king, the non-fulfilment of his earlier prediction not 
restraining him from repeating it at a later date. And it appears probable 
that he did not originate the idea of the emergence in Israel of a won- 
derful Prince but that he took up, and lent his authority to, an antici- 
pation popularly current ; and expressly asserted, at different periods 
separated by a long interval, that the birth of the expected ruler was 
close at hand. 

It is of these two predictions of Isaiah that the prophecy in Mic. v. 2 6 
appears to be a re-affirmation. The second of the older prophet's oracles 
was fulfilled, within the time expected, as little as the first; but the 
failure of it did not prevent a subsequent prophet from uttering another 
of similar tenor, which, by the terms in which it is couched, seems to 
have direct reference to Is. vii. 14. The oracle in question can scarcely 
be Micah's, but must proceed from a prophet living in the reign of one 
or other of the last two kings of Judah (see p. 39). The occasion was a 
time when Jerusalem was beleaguered, probably by the forces of Babylon ; 
and the Judsean king was exposed to the insults (or worse) which in 
antiquity a cruel foe was wont to inflict upon a defeated enemy. But 


in the midst of the calamities with which his countrymen were surrounded 
the prophet alluded to came forward to comfort them with hopes and 
assurances of a brighter future. In spite of the merited retribution 
due to national offences, they could still trust Jehovah not to abandon 
His people finally. To the humiliation of the reigning king, and to the 
chastisement which the people had yet to endure, there would succeed a 
time of security, order, and happiness under a subsequent ruler, sprung 
from the same stock as David himself. The prophet did not intimate 
clearly whether the relief would come in the near or in a more distant 
future ; but the period of the nation's surrender to its foes would last, 
at any rate, until the moment was ripe for the mother of the coming 
king to give him birth. With his advent the fortunes of the people would 
change. A David redimvus, he would draw his strain from Bethlehem. 
Under him would be re-united the severed branches of the house of 
Jacob. His government of his subjects would be marked by all the care 
and tenderness bestowed by a shepherd upon his flock ; in the discharge 
of his duties he would be supported by the plenitude of the Divine favour; 
and his people would abide undisturbed, since the resources at their 
king's disposal would render him superior to all possible foes, so that, 
if hostile forces should renew their inroads upon the land, they would 
be successfully repelled. 

The Messianic character of this prophecy must be judged by its 
resemblance to the tenor of the two that have just been examined. The 
import of Is. vii. 14 16 is, as has been seen, ambiguous; but it can 
scarcely be doubted that v. 14 was in the thoughts of the writer of 
Mic. v. 3, for the words "until the time that she which travaileth hath 
brought forth" at once recall the announcement " Behold, the damsel 
shall conceive and bear a son." The two passages, in fact, mutually 
throw light upon one another ; at least, the words of the later prophet 
shew how he understood the oracle of his predecessor. But there is a 
conspicuous feature of difference between the outlook of the one and 
that of the other. By the author of Mic. v. 2 6 the birth of the 
Messiah, the occurrence of which Isaiah, nearly 150 years previously, 
expected within a year, is relegated to a future considerably in advance 
of the prophet's own time, for there lies immediately before the nation 
an interval during which God's favour will be withdrawn from them. 

This Messianic prophecy, included in the book of Micah, appears to 
date from some year shortly before the Exile : the next that calls for 
notice is one which probably originated during the Exile. This is con- 
tained in Is. xi. 1 9, and seems to have been delivered after the Fall 


of the Jewish kingdom, for the opening words "And there shall come 
forth a shoot from the stock of Jesse, and a scion out of his roots shall 
bear fruit" point to a time when Judah had ceased to be independent 
and when the succession of Davidic kings had terminated, though the 
family from which David himself had sprung was not extinct. The 
word rendered stock by the R. V. really means stump, that part of a tree 
which remains in the earth after the trunk has been felled (Job xiv. 7, 8), 
and would be inappropriate to the house of Jesse so long as a descendant 
of it was still on the throne. The promised king, through the presence 
in him of the spirit of God, will be endowed with the intellectual and 
practical faculties needed for a consummate judge and ruler. Similar 
features to these have been noticed in previous portrayals of the Messiah; 
but a novel element in this prophecy is a predicted transformation of 
the animal world. The suppression of evil amongst men will be accom- 
panied by a change in the habits of carnivorous beasts, which, abandon- 
ing their natural food, will browse like cattle upon herbs and grass. 
Pictures of peaceful conditions prevailing among mankind enter into 
other accounts of the Messianic age (see Is. ii. 4 (= Mic. iv. 3), 2 Zech. 
ix. 10, Ps. Ixxii. 7, Hos. ii. 18, Ezek. xxxiv. 25), but here the reign of 
peace extends to the lower animals, so that the most savage beasts and 
most deadly reptiles lose their noxious qualities and associate harmlessly 
with the creatures that have previously formed their prey. The scene 
of this marvellous change, however, is probably conceived by the prophet 
to be Judaea or Palestine only (Jehovah's "holy mountain"), not the 
world at large. Parallel ideal descriptions of past or future felicity occur 
in various Greek and Latin authors, as is well known : amongst such may 
be cited Theocritus (Id. xxiv. 86, 87), Vergil (Georg. i. 125 f., Ed. iv. 
1825, v. 60, 61), and Horace (Epod. xvi. 53, 54). 

The coming Prince who is the subject of the prophecies just discussed 
was doubtless regarded by the prophets who spoke of him as being of 
human origin and nature, though endowed with god-like qualities and 
intended to be God's agent for ensuring His people's permanent welfare. 
And probably, if they had been interrogated, they would have admitted 
that he was mortal like other men, and in the course of nature would 
die, and be followed on the throne by a successor. But in the intensity 
of their longing for him, and in the exuberance of the hopes that circled 
around him, his mortality passed out of view, their thoughts being con- 
centrated solely upon the amelioration which he was to effect in his 
country's condition and fortunes. And so deep was the impression which 
they produced upon the minds of their countrymen that the expectation 


of such a Messiah continued to survive repeated disillusionment, and 
lasted into the early Christian centuries. 

In the course of the Exile, however, the Messianic idea momentarily 
underwent a strange metamorphosis. When about the year 538 the 
Elamite Cyrus threatened, and finally destroyed, the power of Babylon, 
he raised in the hearts of some of the Jewish exiles high hopes that he 
would not only overthrow the tyrant city but also liberate those whom 
it detained in captivity. And a contemporary prophet who sought to 
sustain the spirits of his countrymen with this prospect actually applied 
to Cyrus the title of Jehovah's Messiah (2 Is. xlv. 1) as being God's 
agent, raised up to fulfil His design of releasing His people from their 
detention and restoring them to their own land. As the term etymo- 
logically only means "Jehovah's anointed, or consecrated, one," it could, 
of course, be employed in more than one connection (p. cviii) ; never- 
theless the use of it by Deutero- Isaiah to designate a foreign potentate 
lacks a parallel elsewhere. 

When Cyrus, after his overthrow of Babylon, allowed the Jewish 
exiles confined within his newly-acquired dominions to return to their 
native soil, a large body availed themselves of the permission. At their 
head, or at least included among them, was Zerubbabel, variously 
represented as the son of Shealtiel or of Pedaiah (Ez. iii. 8, 1 Ch. iii. 
19), and being presumably the real son of the one, and the legal son 
of the other (through a Levirate marriage). Both Shealtiel and Pedaiah 
appear in the O.T. as sons of Jehoiachin; but in Lk. iii. 27 the former 
(here called Salathiel) is enumerated among the descendants of David 
through Nathan and not through Solomon, so that he may have been 
adopted by Jehoiachin. In any case, Zerubbabel drew his lineage from 
David ; and it was natural that on such a happy occasion as the Return 
from Babylon high hopes should centre in him. The expectations raised 
found expression in an oracle uttered by the prophet Zechariah (iii. 8, 
vi. 12), who declared him to be the scion of David's house that had been 
the subject of Jeremiah's prophecy (p. cxv). But though Zerubbabel 
rebuilt the temple at Jerusalem which had been destroyed by Nebu- 
chadrezzar, no renewal of Jewish independence was humanly possible 
under the Persian kings; so that the fulfilment of the Messianic 
prophecies, which their restoration from exile had led the Jewish people 
to anticipate, was still deferred. 

Nevertheless the confident hope that the Jewish race would again 
have a king of their own survived the depressing experiences which 
prevailed for so many years after the Return ; and a renewed prediction 


that this hope would be realized was conveyed to his countrymen by a 
prophet whose writings have been included in the book of Zechariah 
(ix. 9, 10), but who appears to have lived at some date subsequent to 
the destruction of the Persian empire by the Greeks (in 333). The 
circumstances which were to render possible so desired a consummation 
would (it was implied) be brought about by God : the king would not 
achieve independence for himself and his country, but would be vindicated 
and saved by the Almighty, and would enter his capital not mounted 
on a war-horse but riding upon an ass, the beast of burden used in 
times of peace. Under his rule all the agencies of war were to disappear 
and peacefulness was to pervade his dominions, which would be world- 
wide (as the world was then known to the Hebrews). The epithet 
"lowly," which the R.V. employs to represent one of the attributes of 
the king, and which suggests a meek and submissive disposition, is mis- 
leading, for the Hebrew word has reference to condition, and describes 
the Messiah as belonging to a community that had hitherto been held 
in subjection by some dominant power. This passage from Deutero- 
Zechariah is all the more noteworthy through the fact that our Lord, on 
the occasion of His entry into Jerusalem shortly before His arrest and 
death, deliberately took steps to enact the scene depicted by the prophet. 
The only remaining passages in the O.T. which it is desirable to 
notice here occur in certain psalms. Of these Ps. ii. purports to be 
written on some occasion when a ruler styled "Jehovah's Messiah" is 
confronted by a confederacy of rebellious subject-nations. In face of 
this menace encouragement comes to him, through the psalmist, from 
Jehovah, Who declares that the king is His Son, and that He will 
subdue under him the revolting peoples ; whereupon the poet admonishes- 
the latter to submit in time, lest they should be overtaken by complete 
destruction. The date of the psalm has been much disputed, for its 
origin has been placed as early as the time of Solomon in the tenth 
century B.C., and as late as that of the Maccabsean sovereigns at the 
end of the second or the beginning of the first. It probably has in view 
some historic ruler, and a combination of enemies against him at the 
beginning of his reign (as suggested by Jehovah's words " This day have 
I begotten thee," i.e. recognized thee as my Son). The privilege of son- 
ship which God is represented as bestowing upon the king is doubtless 
to be regarded as official : each successive Jewish sovereign in virtue 
of his office embodied and concentrated in himself the filial relationship 
towards Jehovah which properly belonged to the whole collective people 
(cf. p. ex). But as the king here addressed fell short, like all his pre- 


decessors, either in his qualities, or in his experiences, or in both, of 
what might be expected of one invested with so great a distinction, the 
utterance of the poet came later to be applied to the ideal Messiah who 
was still to come; and in the N.T., w. 1, 2, and 7 are expressly viewed 
as Messianic in the sense in which this term is commonly used (see 
Acts iv. 25, 26, xiii. 33, Rom. i. 4, Heb. i. 5, v. 5). 

In Ps. Ixxxix., obviously written in circumstances of grievous national 
distress, the writer is deeply moved by the humiliation of his country 
and its king, in spite of the promises made in the past to David's house. 
God (through His prophets) had affirmed that He would constitute the 
king His first-born, the highest of earthly potentates ; but notwith- 
standing this, the contemporary heir of David's sovereignty had been 
dethroned and covered with dishonour. The date of the psalm is 
probably shortly before the fall of the Jewish monarchy; and it has 
been plausibly conjectured that the king whose abasement is deplored 
is Jehoiachin, who was carried into captivity by Nebuchadrezzar in 597. 
If so, the poem must have been composed within a few years of the 
prophetic passage contained in Mic. v. 1 6. 

The only other psalm requiring attention is Ps. ex. There the term 
Messiah does not occur, but the psalm is regarded as Messianic in the 
N.T., and may be included here. In it the poet conveys to one whom 
he styles his Lord ('adhonai) a communication from Jehovah to the 
effect that he has been chosen by God to share His throne ; is assured 
of victory over his enemies ; and has been appointed a priest, so that he 
will unite in himself, like Melchizedek of old (Gen. xiv. 18), the functions 
of both the kingship and the priesthood 1 . The psalm is, to all appear- 
ance, addressed by its author to some historical ruler or national chief; 
but in the title it is attributed to David, who both by our Lord and by 
others was assumed to have had in mind the Messiah (see Mk. xii. 36, 
Acts ii. 34, 35, Heb. i. 13). The person whom the psalmist had in 
his thoughts was probably Simon Maccabseus (143 135 B.C.). For, in 
the first place, it can scarcely be an accident that w. 1, 2, 3, and 4 
(apart from the prefatory words "The LORD saith unto my lord") each 

1 An anticipation of the union in the same person of both royal and sacerdotal 
functions appears at first sight in Zech. vi. 13; but instead of the words "and he 
(the "scion" of Jer. xxiii. 5, see p. cxv)... shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he 
shall be a priest upon his throne ; and the counsel of peace shall be between them 
both," the LXX. has Kal Kadteirai Kal Kardp^ei eirl TOV dpbvov atToO, Kal &TTCU 6 lepevs 
(i.e. Joshua) e/c 5eiwi/ avrov, Kal (3ov\r) elprjviKrj &TTCU dva utaov d^or^puv. This 
reading, or something like it, alone explains the concluding sentence "and the 
counsel of peace shall be between them both." In the existing Heb. text there 
is clearly some defect. 


begins with one of the letters composing the name Simon 1 ; and secondly, 
Simon Maccabseus was made by his countrymen both leader and high 
priest. The objection urged against this conclusion, that certain of the 
Maccabees were first priests and then princes, cannot be considered 
serious, since the historian of 1 Mace, more than once speaks of Simon 
as leader and high priest in this order (see xiv. 35, 41). He proved 
an able ruler; but his achievements did not exhaust his country- 
men's ideals; and so after his death a poem, which originally seems to 
have had him in view, came to be treated by the Jews as prophetic of a 
still greater personality, and by our Lord's contemporaries was applied 
to the Messiah (as is presupposed by the argument in Mk. xii. 36). 

The survival of the Messianic hope after the Canon of the O.T. was 
closed is evidenced by the occurrence of it in two Jewish productions 
emanating, the one from Egypt, the other from Palestine. The first of 
these was a work based on a collection of oracles passing as Sibylline, 
which was expanded by a Jew (probably of Alexandria) who wrote in 
Greek during (it is supposed) the last quarter of the 2nd century B.C. 
The relevant passage is found in in. 652 656, and runs as follows : 
"And then shall God send from the sun a king, who shall cause the 
whole world to cease from baleful war, killing some, and with others 
making trusty compacts. And he will do all these things not through 
his own counsels, but in obedience to the good ordinances of the great 
God." This prophecy merely reproduces in very general terms previous 
predictions of the advent of a king possessing universal sway, enforcing 
peace, and obeying in all things the Divine will. The second work 
proceeds not from a Jew of the Dispersion but from a resident or resi- 
dents in Palestine, probably belonging to the sect of the Pharisees. It 
is known as the Psalms of Solomon, and consists of a collection of poems 
inferred to have been composed between 70 and 40 B.C. At present the 
poems are extant in Greek, not in Hebrew ; but it is probable that the 
Greek text is a translation of a Hebrew original. In. Ps. xvii., after a 
lament over the past calamitous experiences of the Jewish people, there 
occurs a prayer for the speedy advent of a king, who is obviously the 
Messiah of earlier hopes : "Behold, Lord, and raise up unto them 
their king, the son of David, in the time which thou, God, knowest, 
that he may reign over Israel thy servant ; and gird him with strength 
that he may break in pieces them that rule unjustly.... He shall possess 
the nations of the heathen to serve him beneath his yoke, and he shall 

1 In Heb. StiiH'oN. 


glorify the Lord in a place to be seen of the whole earth ; and he shall 
purge Jerusalem to make it holy, even as it was in the days of old. . . . 
And there shall be no iniquity in his days in their midst; for all shall 
be holy, and their king is the Lord Messiah." This poet, like the last- 
mentioned, repeats, for the most part, ideas which occur in various O.T. 
prophecies, including the descent of the king from David; and the only 
novel feature calling for remark is the phrase the Lord Messiah (Xpto-ro? 
Kv'ptos). As Kvptos was a title applied by pagans to many of their deities, 
it is possible that it is here used of the Messiah through the infection 
of contemporary heathen custom ; but it is more probable that the ex- 
pression is a copyist's mistake for the Lord's Messiah (X/aio-ros KV/HOV), 
since this error actually occurs in the LXX. of Lam. iv. 20, where the 
Hebrew has the Anointed of Jehovah 1 (designating thereby king Zede- 

It is unnecessary here to trace further the expectation of a Messiah 
as it is presented in all the other writings of the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C. 
It may, however, be observed in passing that in one of these, known as 
The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, the Messiah is represented as 
springing not from Judah but from Levi, and as combining in his single 
person both the sovereignty and the priesthood (Test. Reub. vi. 7). 

In the passages from the O.T. that have come under review the 
Messiah is a mundane ruler, wonderfully empowered by God to establish 
conditions of peace, piety, and prosperity among His own people, and 
to diffuse a benignant influence over the adjoining nations. But in an 
Apocalypse comprised in a composite work attributed to the patriarch 
Enoch, and produced perhaps a quarter of a century before the Psalms 
of Solomon, the title Messiah is twice applied to a personality who is 
not of terrestrial, but of celestial, origin. This heavenly Messiah, who is 
prevailingly designated in this Apocalypse by the name Son of man 2 , is 
described as having the appearance of a man (being like one of the holy 
angels), as having been present with God ("the Lord of Spirits") before 
the creation of the luminaries, as being endowed with wisdom and 
understanding and might (cf. Is. xi. 2), and as being destined to judge 
the world, to reveal all secrets (bringing hidden good and evil to light), 
and to support and vindicate the righteous. The title "Son of man" 
is derived from Dan. vii. 3 , where, in a series of visions in which four 

1 See Ryle and James, The Psalms of Solomon, pp. 137141. 

2 Other titles applied to him are The Righteous One and The Elect One. 

3 The probable date of the book of Daniel is between 168 and 165 B.C. 


successive heathen empires are symbolized by beasts of prey, there 
finally appears, coming with the clouds of heaven, a figure "like unto a 
son of man" (i.e. man-like, instead of beast-like), which represents the 
Jewish people, who, in contrast to the nations that have preceded them, 
are to enjoy perpetual dominion. But whereas in Daniel the expression 
"son of man" is only & personification of the collective Jewish race, in 
Enoch it denotes a person. How the transition from the one to the 
other occurred is a matter of speculation. The circumstance that in 
Daniel the human figure symbolizing Israel comes with the clouds of 
heaven is only meant to indicate that the people represented have the 
sanction and favour of God, as contrasted with the other nations 
symbolized by beasts, which are depicted as rising from the sea and 
thereby are marked as worldly powers alien to God. But it would be 
tolerably easy for prosaic minds to take the representation literally, 
and to understand the figure "like unto a son of man" to be not a mere 
symbol, but a heavenly counterpart, of the Jewish people abiding from 
eternity with God. This would be facilitated by a tendency in post- 
exilic times for earthly entities to be conceived as subsisting with God 
in heaven prior to their manifestation upon earth: for instance, in 
Ex. xxv. 40 the furniture of the Tabernacle is described as being made 
by Moses after the pattern (obviously supposed to be pre-existent) 
shewn to him by God in mount Sinai (cf. also Heb. viii. 5, Rev. xxi. 2). 
And as the historic Jewish people were considered to be represented by, 
and, in a sense, summed up in, their successive individual rulers, in the 
series of whom one, of pre-eminent gifts, was expected to rectify finally 
all the evils committed or sustained by his countrymen, so, when the 
hope of such an earthly Messiah grew faint, the heavenly counterpart 
of the collective nation became transmuted into a celestial Messiah who 
was to descend from heaven as Jehovah's vicegerent in order to bring 
about the overthrow of the heathen without, and the impious within, 
Israel, and to avenge the pious people of God who had suffered from 
both 1 . This development of the Messianic hope, however, was probably 
peculiar to a narrow circle of thinkers, for the book of Enoch does not 
seem to have been widely known ; and amongst the mass of the people 
the earlier idea of a terrestrial Messiah, the son of David, held its 
ground (cf. Lk. i. 32, 33, Acts i. 6). 

1 Since, however, Messiah merely means "consecrated," and consecration could 
be used in connection with different functions (p. cviii), the application of the term 
in Enoch to the celestial " Son of man" may be unconnected with its employment 
as a title for the terrestrial "Son of David." 


From what has been said, it is clear that during that period which is 
covered by the O.T. Scriptures and for a century later the realization of 
the Messianic hope ever eluded the prophets and apocalyptists who 
entertained it. The Anointed king of extraordinary endowments, who 
was expected to deliver his people both from national sinfulness and 
from foreign tyranny, and whose near advent was predicted at intervals 
during seven hundred years, never appeared within that long period; 
or, if ever for a brief moment some conspicuous figure was identified 
with him, the impression produced upon his contemporaries speedily 
faded. It was Jesus of Nazareth who first applied to Himself the titles 
of The Christ, The Son of God (or The Son), and The Son of man, thereby 
claiming that in some sense He fulfilled the predictions occurring in 
the sacred books of His race, and who first succeeded in convincing a 
number (even though only a small minority) of His countrymen that 
His claim was well founded. Accordingly it will be worth while to con- 
sider very shortly both how (from the standpoint of His humanity) He 
came to believe Himself to be the Personality designated by these titles, 
and in what respects the fulfilment, which He contended that the 
Scriptures received in Him, answered to, or departed from, the original 
import of the prophecies which He had in mind. 

It was merely as a prophet that Jesus began His ministry, proclaiming 
the nearness of the hoped-for kingdom of God 1 and urging repentance 
as the necessary condition of escaping the judgment which would 
previously sift those who were worthy to enter the kingdom from those 
who were unworthy. He was deemed a prophet by the people to whom 
His first discourses were addressed (Mk. vi. 15); and He applied the 
same description to Himself (Mk. vi. 4). He claimed to heal the afflicted 
through His possession of the Holy Spirit (Mt. xii. 28 = Lk. xi. 20); and 
it was the presence of the spirit of God with men that constituted them 
prophets (Num. xi. 29, 2 Is. xlviii. 16, 3 Is. Ixi. 1, Joel ii. 28; see also 
1 Cor. xii. 10, II) 2 . 

But at Caesarea Philippi, not long before He departed from Galilee to 

1 Though the idea of Jehovah's sovereignty first over Israel and then eventually 
over all the earth (1 Sam. viii. 7, xii. 12, Zeph. iii. 15, Ps. xlvii. 2, 7, 2 Zech. xiv. 9) 
is found in the O.T., the actual phrase the kingdom of God or its equivalent the 
kingdom of heaven does not occur there. 

2 Jesus' disciples after His death identified Him with the prophet like Moses who 
was expected to appear in fulfilment of the prediction in Dt. xviii. 15, 18 (see 
Acts iii. 22, vii. 37, cf. Joh. i. 21). But this prediction in reality had in view not 
the emergence from within Israel of a single prophet but of a succession of prophets, 
who should exercise the influence which amongst heathen people was exercised by 
diviners (see vv. 10 14). 


go to Jerusalem, He intimated to His disciples that He really was what 
they acknowledged they had come to think Him to be the Christ l ; 
and on another occasion (in an utterance recorded in a document 
which is prior in date to the Gospels of Mt. and Lk. and probably to 
that of Mk. also, and so is a good authority) He spoke of Himself as 
"the Son" (i.e. of God) in a pre-eminent and unique sense 2 . Again, 
when He declared that whosoever should give a cup of water to His 
disciples because they were Christ's should have his reward, He clearly 
applied "Christ" to Himself 3 . Once more, when He was questioned about 
the time of the End, and replied that of the day and hour neither the 
angels nor the Son had any knowledge, He similarly distinguished 
Himself by the title "Son" (Mk. xiii. 32). And, finally, when He was 
being tried before the High Priest, and was asked whether He was the 
Christ, the Son of the Blessed, He publicly avowed that He was 4 . 
Yet though it was only near the close of His ministry that He thus 
openly affirmed Himself to be the Christ, it is plain that (if the earliest 
report of His life is of any value) He must have been convinced in His 
own mind, before He began His ministry, that He was in truth all that 
He afterwards explicitly claimed to be. For the story of the Temptation 
(an experience that preceded that ministry) obviously depicts in 
symbolic form certain inward doubts and debates arising in Him, after 
His baptism by John, about the powers which He, if really the Son of 
God, was endowed with, and free to use; about the risks He might 
presume to run in reliance upon God as His Father; and about the 
kind of career He, as Messiah, was meant by God to embark on. In 
the last temptation (according to Mt.'s order) there seems to have 
come before Him the thought of the wordly ambitions which might 
possibly absorb Him (luring Him to worship Satan, the prince of this 
world), if He, in pursuance of His Messianic mission, were to seek to 
bring deliverance and triumph to his countrymen through force of arms 
and the acquisition of dominion. His repulse of the Tempter must 
symbolize His final rejection of such aspects of the Messiah's prerogative 
and r61e as first occurred to Him, and His decision that His duty lay 
in quite other directions. 

Jesus' inward conviction concerning His Sonship, which is pre- 
supposed in the record of the Temptation, appears to have been first 
fully reached on the occasion of His Baptism, where it is represented 

1 Mk. viii. 27 f. 2 Mt. xi. 2527 ( = Lk. x. 21, 22); cf. also Mk. xii. 6. 

3 Mk. ix. 41. 4 Mk. xiv. 61, 62. 


under sensible imagery and described as a Voice from heaven addressing 
Him and declaring, "Thou art my Son, the Beloved, in whom I am well 
pleased"; whilst at the same time the Divine Spirit in the form of a 
dove descended upon Him. The words ascribed to the voice loosely 
combine parts of two O.T. passages: (1) Ps. ii. 7, Yto's /MOV e! <, eyoi 

ytytvvqKa. (re; (2) 2 Is. xlii. 1, 'iSov, 6 Trats ^uov, 6V jjpeTKra.' 6 

/txov, 6V evSoV^o-ev tj $'VXTJ fj.ov l . The first refers expressly to the 
Messiah (p. cxxiv), whereas the second has in view collective Israel ; and 
in these circumstances it seems rather more reasonable to look for the 
source of the words in Ps. ii. than in 2 Is. xlii., in spite of the slightly 
greater divergence. However this may be, some of the steps whereby 
Jesus in His human consciousness attained the momentous conviction 
which in the Evangelist's narrative is externalized as an utterance from 
heaven may perhaps with reverence be conjectured. His Davidic descent 
(Rom. i. 3, 2 Tim. ii. 8) can, indeed, have counted for little or nothing, 
since there must have been many who could claim the same. But we 
cannot seriously err, if we include among the grounds of His beliet 
about Himself as the Son of God a profound apprehension of what 
perfect spiritual Sonship involves, and a singular sense of harmony 
between His own will and the Father's, pointing to unique relations 
between them 2 . Such a conclusion concerning Himself and God was 
presumably not unconnected with the relations believed to subsist 
between His race and Jehovah : if He was individually the "Son of God," 
it was because the collective nation was God's Son; and He was its 
representative in an ideal and pre-eminent degree through knowing 
Himself to have that full understanding of the Divine requirements and 
that complete submissiveness to them which were looked for, though 
vainly, from Israel. And the persuasion that He was endued in full 
measure with the Spirit of God (cf. Joh. iii. 34) must have become 
confirmed in Him as soon as He discovered that He possessed in an 
exceptional degree mysterious psychic faculties enabling Him to produce 
upon the minds, and through the mind, upon the bodies, of the afflicted 
marvellous cures. Such cures, whilst related to have been wrought by 
the prophets of old, had not been performed by John the Baptist, though 
he was accounted a prophet (Mk. xi. 32); and John had announced 
that One was appointed to succeed him, who was mightier than he 

1 This Greek does not occur in the LXX. of 2 Is. xlii. 1, but comes from a version 
quoted in Mt. xii. 18. 

2 In Wisd. ii. 13, 18 the righteous man is represented as calling himself the 
"child (or "servant") of the Lord" (TCUS Kvplov) and the "son of Grod" (vibs deod). 


(Mk. i. 7). The relief of physical infirmities was traditionally associated 
with the Messianic age; and Jesus' consciousness of the presence in 
Himself of extraordinary powers to effect such relief was calculated to 
reinforce His conviction that He was the long-anticipated embodiment 
of the true relationship between Israel and its God 1 . 

All that now remains to be done here, for the purpose of this sketch, 
is to compare very succinctly the traditional Messianic expectation 
with such realization as it obtained in our Saviour. The differences are 
striking, though the prophetic conception of the Messiah was very far 
from an ignoble one. The hoped-for king was thought of as one who 
would be endowed with the Spirit of Jehovah (Is. xi. 2), enabling him 
to suppress iniquity among his subjects, to terminate their subjection to 
foreign control, and to promote and maintain universal peace. As being 
a sovereign, it would be through the authority and the methods of a 
ruler that he would further the aims of God for the good of his people ; 
and it was expected that, if need required, he would ensure right and 
justice by an appeal to force (Is. xi. 4). Now the first feature of unlike- 
ness presented by Jesus, the Christ, to the Messiah of popular Jewish 
anticipation was that of station. Jesus was an artisan ; it was amongst 
the labouring classes, ignorant of the Law, and despised by those who 
were learned in it, that He principally conducted His ministry; and 
His emissaries were drawn from such people as fishermen and tax- 
collectors. A second feature of dissimilarity was the means He used to 
effect among His countrymen that amendment of life which God 
demanded. The authoritative tone which marked His utterances 
(Mk. i. 22) was no more than that of a prophet. His authority was not 
of an official character, and it was not supported by any compulsion ; and 
though on one occasion Jesus, by the manner in which He entered 
Jerusalem, recalled to those who were acquainted with the Scriptures 
the description of the Messianic King contained in the book of Zechariah 
(p. cxxiv), yet He refrained altogether from participating in political 
agitation. His humble position in life need not have precluded Him 
from this, had He been disposed to pursue it; for there must have been 
numbers of those who afterwards were known as the Zealots who would 
have followed Him if, as the Messiah, He had summoned them to a war 
of emancipation from the control of Borne. But the redemption which 
He sought to bring about was redemption from sin; and so different 
were His methods from those to which rulers commonly have recourse 

1 Cf. McNeile, N.T. Teaching in the Light of St Paul's, p. 26. 


in dealing with such as oppose them, that He actually directed His 
followers not to resist those who ill-treated them 1 . And a third 
divergence from the prophetic conception of the Messiah was even 
more profound than the other two. Among the attributes of the 
promised King an earthly life of endless duration (as has been already 
observed) was probably not included; but if so, the thought of his 
mortality was naturally kept in the background; and any idea of his 
undergoing a death by violence in the discharge of the duties committed 
to him by God is nowhere found. Such an idea, indeed, was wholly 
repugnant to the current belief concerning him. But Jesus, in the 
course of His ministry, became convinced that there awaited Him a 
violent end in consequence of the antagonism which His teaching aroused 
in the ecclesiastical officials of His nation ; and from such a fate He 
did not shrink. His own conception of the Anointed Son of God, 
therefore, included the endurance of suffering and death, provided 
thereby He could promote the purposes of the Father. In order to find 
in the Scriptures a prediction of such a destiny He put a Messianic 
construction upon the passage in 2 Is. lii. 13 liii. 12 (see Mk. x. 45), 
though the Figure whose extinction is there described and whose 
revival is there foretold appears to have represented in the prophet's 
thoughts the Jewish people whose national existence had come to a close 
through exile in Babylon. Thus our Lord, whilst not breaking altogether 
with the traditional notion that the Messiah must be a King (see Mk. 
xv. 2), was in the highest degree original and independent in His ideas 
concerning the way in which the Messianic King was to fulfil God's 
designs for the salvation of Israel 2 . Born in a humble station, He based 
His Messianic claims upon a consciousness of Son ship rooted in profound 
spiritual intuitions and perfect obedience ; in pursuing His mission of 
bringing the people into right relations with God He confined Himself 
exclusively to instruction and example ; and in fulfilling His ministry 
to the end He submitted patiently to an agonizing death. 

It has been already noticed that the title Messiah was not only 
popularly applied to the king of Davidic descent expected by many 

1 It was no doubt because of the contrast between His own conception of the 
Messiah's character and office and that of the populace that He did not publicly 
disclose, until near the end of His life, His belief about Himself. It was not until 
His most intimate disciples had become familiar with His ideas and His ideals that 
He could venture to avow even to them that He was the Messiah. Their faith in 
His Messiahship, impaired by the Crucifixion, was restored by the Resurrection 
visions and the gift of the Spirit (Acts ii. 22 36). 

2 Of. Joh. xviii. 37. 


of the O.T. prophets, but is likewise used, though rarely, in the book of 
Enoch in connection with the celestial "Son of man" whose office as 
Judge of all mankind is described by the Apocalyptist. The designation 
"Son of man " was one which (as previously remarked) Jesus sometimes 
employed of Himself 1 ; and by declaring that He was destined to come 
in the glory of His Father (Mk. viii. 38, cf. xiv. 62) He seems to have 
identified Himself with the Figure portrayed in Enoch. But here 
again Jesus modified the conception of which He made use, for the 
Apocalyptic writer nowhere hints that the Being whom he represents as 
commissioned in heaven by God to pass final judgment upon men was, 
before that, to appear on earth to bring sinners to repentance ; whereas 
Jesus, though affirming that the same function of judgment was to be 
His in the future, yet laboured, during a brief earthly ministry marked 
by lowliness, sympathy, and self-surrender even to death, to seek and 
to save those who were in danger of being lost 2 . 



INASMUCH as some acquaintance with the principles of Hebrew 
versification contributes not only to a better appreciation of the 
prophetic writings, but also to a clearer understanding of the conditions 
which must be taken into account where it is sought to emend suspected 
corruptions of the text, it seems expedient to notice the subject here, 
though the treatment of it must necessarily be brief 3 . 

The poetry of national literatures is distinguished from their prose 
not in spirit merely but likewise in form ; and the formal differences are 
of diverse kinds. In Latin and Greek, for instance, verse is marked by 
a succession of groups of long and short syllables, so arranged that the 

1 In the following passages in the Gospels it is not unlikely that the title has 
been substituted by the Evangelists for a different phrase : Mk. ii. 10, 28, Mt. xi. 19 
(=Lk. vii. 34), x. 23, xii. 32 ( = Lk. xii. 10), xiii. 37, 41, Lk. vi. 22 (contrast Mt. v. 
11), xii. 8 (contrast Mt. x. 32): possibly, too, Mt. viii. 20 ( = Lk. ix. 58), though 
this utterance probably occurred on the way to Jerusalem as Lk. represents. The 
title has been arbitrarily inserted in Mt. xvi. 13 (contrast Mk. viii. 27, Lk. ix. 20). 

2 The thought that the " Son of man" should suffer was strange and unintelligible 
to Peter and the other Apostles (see Mk. viii. 29 32). In this passage, as in Mk. xiv. 
61, 62, the titles "the Christ" and "the Son of man" are treated as equivalent. 

* Further information will be found in G. B. Gray, The Forms of Hebrew Poetry ; 
and some considerations of importance are emphasized in Sir G. A. Smith's 
Jeremiah, p. 30 foil. See also an article by T. H. Robinson in the Expositor, 
Ap. 1924. 


regular recurrence of them in a definite order constitutes a rhythmical 
system, which is lacking in continuous prose. In modern languages a like 
rhythmical effect is produced by the recurrence in a series of lines (more 
or less uniform in length) of words characterized by particular accents 
or stresses, together with (in most varieties of verse) the rhyming of the 
terminations of certain of the lines. But in Hebrew, though regularity 
in respect of accentual beats (as will appear) is a factor in poetic 
structure, the dominating feature is some measure of correspondence in 
meaning, and not merely in sound, between two or more consecutive 
clauses or sentences terminated by a pause. It is this sense-corre- 
spondence between successive lines which is most distinctive of Hebrew 
verse. Groups of lines related to one another in this way compose a unity 
in themselves, independent of their immediate context, for through the 
response which the second of two lines makes to the first (or, in the case 
of quatrains, the third makes to the first and the fourth to the second 1 , 
or more rarely the fourth to the first and the third to the second 2 ), an 
interruption is caused in the natural sequence of the writer's thought, 
his train of reflection not being carried forward until the idea contained 
in one line or pair of lines has been reiterated or otherwise thrown into 
relief by a second line or pair. The meaning of the two lines or 
couplets is by no means invariably identical or even similar; but 
whether the second reproduces more or less closely the sense of the 
first, or presents a direct contrast to it, there is an unmistakable 
symmetry between them in regard to contents and structure. In many 
cases the symmetry extends to the number and arrangement of the 
words, term answering term, though more often it subsists less between 
individual words than between groups of words. This correspondence 
in significance and form is designated parallelism. The use of it serves 
more than one end ; for not only does the echo of the first line, produced 
by the purport or the construction of the second, yield an aesthetic 
gratification to the ear, but it helps to elucidate the thought, either 
through repeating the same sentiment in other words or through the 
expression of an opposite idea. By its aid the truth which it is desired 
to convey can be enforced without the monotony which would result 
from a mere reiteration of it in identical terms. 

As has been already implied, there is a good deal of variety in the 
quality and the closeness of the parallelism which is so prominent a 
feature of Hebrew poetry. Not only may the correspondence consist in 

1 See Mic. i. 4. 2 See Mt< vii . 6> 


contrast as well as in repetition, but it is often incomplete; the second 
line of a couplet, if duplicating in some degree the signification of the 
first, may reproduce only part of it, appending to it some additional 
notion not present in the other. The nature of parallelism, however, is 
most clearly apprehended when the correspondence is complete; and 
some illustrations of complete parallelism may with advantage be sup- 
plied here. Two main varieties can be discerned. (1) The first has been 
styled synonymous parallelism, in which the tenor of the first line is 
reproduced by the second in equivalent or proportionate terms. The 
following are examples wherein, though they are given in English, the 
various words required to represent a single Hebrew term are united by 
hyphens, and the order of the original is, as far as possible, observed : 

(a) 2 Sam. i. 20 b , 

"Lest-rejoice-should the-daughters-of tlio- Philistines, 
Lest-triumph-should the-daughters-of the-uncircumcised." 

(6) Ps. cv. 6, 

"0-secd-of Abraham his-servant, 
0-children-of Jacob his-choscn." 

(c) Ps. cxlii. 1 (2), 

" With-my-voice to- Jehovah I-cry, 
With-my-voice to-Jchovah I-makc-supplication." 

In the foregoing instances the arrangement of the words within both 
lines is the same; but this is not a constant rule: more often the order 
varies, with the result that the tendency to monotony is further relieved. 
This occurs in the following: 

(a) Ps. lix. 2 (:*), 

" I )oliver-me from-the-workers-of iniquity, 
And-from-the-men-of blood save-me." 

(6) Ps. xviii. 14 (15), 

"Ile-sent-forth his-arrows and-scattered-them, 
And-his-lightnings he-shot-forth and-dispersed-them." 

Synonymous parallelism appears not only in couplets but likewise in 
quatrains, as may be illustrated by the ensuing instance: 

Ps. ciii. 11, 12, 

"As-high-as-is the-heaven above- the- earth, 
So-grcat-is his-mercy upon-those-that-fear-him ; 
As-far-as-is thc-oast from-the-west, 
So-far-hath-he-removed from-us our-transgressions." 

See also Mt. vi. 19, 20, vii. 13 b , 14. 


(2) The second variety of parallelism is distinguished as antitln'tn-, 
wherein the sentiment conveyed by the first line is confronted by a 
contrast in the second. This kind is illustrated by the following 
examples : 

(a) Ps. xviii. 26 (27), 

" With-the-pure thou-wilt-shew-thyself-pure, 
Aiul-with-tho-porvorso thou-wilt-shew-thyself-froward." 

(b) Ps. xx. 8 (9), 

"They are-bowed-down and-fallcn, 
But-wo are-risen and-stand-upright." 

By its nature it is particularly adapted for giving expression to the sharp 
contrasts observable in human dispositions or destinies which proverbial 
sayings and aphorisms summarize ; and instances are abundant in the 
book of Proverbs. It will be needless to cite here more than one : 

Prov. xi. 3, 

"Tho-integrity-of tho-upright shall-guide-thoni, 

But-thc-crookediK'ss-of the-treiichc'i-ous shall-di\stroy-thoin." 

The correspondence, however, of many parallel clauses is by no means 
as perfect as this ; and it is desirable to exemplify incomplete parallelism 
as well as the variety just considered. In couplets which exhibit incom- 
plete parallelism, one line lacks a constituent contained in the other, 
and the want of this is sometimes made good by an expansion of one 
of the remaining constituents, though oftener it is left without any 
compensation. A couplet wherein the verbal correspondence is defective, 
but symmetry is maintained by the enlargement of one of the terms is 
found in Jud. v. 4, 

"Jehovah, \vhen-thou-weiitest-forth out-of-Soir, 
Wheii-thou -inarchcdst out-of-the-field-of IMoni." 

Here the absence, in the second line, of any equivalent for the name 
Jehovah in the first is supplied by the occurrence of the compound 
expression the-field-of Edom in response to Seir. On the other hand, 
in Ps. vi. 1 (2), where the name Jehovah similarly appears only in the 
first line of the couplet, it will be seen that there is no equivalent for 
it in the second, 

"Jehovah, in-thine-anger rebuke-me-not, 
And-in-thy-displeasure chasten-me-not." 

Other examples of incomplete parallelism where some term, present 
in only one of the lines, is balanced by the expansion, in the second line, 
of some other of the constituent terms are Ps. xlvi. 1 (2), xlvii. 3 (4), 


ciii. 7, Prov. v. 1 and ix. 1 ; whilst instances of incomplete parallelism 
without such compensation are found in Ps. v. 1 (2), xxv. 4, Ixxii. 2, 
cviii. 3 (4), cxiv. 2, Prov. xi. 9, Is. i. 26 a . 

Sense-parallelism, however, in all its varieties is by no means a 
universal feature of Hebrew poetry, as two or three examples will suffice 
to shew : 

(a) Ps. xxxix. 13 (14), 

"Look-away from-me that-I-may-brighten-up, 
Before I -go-hence and-be-no-more." 

(b) Prov. xxv. 19, 

"A-broken tooth and-a-tottering foot, 
(Such is) confidence in-a-traitor in-a-day-of trouble." 

(c) Prov. xxix. 13, 

"A-poor-man and-a-man-of violence meet: 
Jehovah lighteneth the-eyes-of both." 

In all these cases the second line of each pair is neither synonymous 
with, nor antithetic to, the first : it only completes the writer's train of 
thought and does not repeat it or present a contrast to it. Couplets of 
this kind were classed by Bp. Lowth under the term synthetic or con- 
structive parallelism 1 ', but the designation is obviously inappropriate, 
for there is no parallelism of import at all 2 . Nevertheless, in spite of 
the absence of this, a balance between the lines is clearly discernible, 
and this calls for fuller notice. 

At first sight this balance or parity between the two halves of each 
couplet may appear to be secured by the inclusion, in each line, of an 
equivalent number of words (as is the case with many of the above 
examples). But it very frequently happens that this numerical equi- 
valence is lacking, and though the inequality is often slight, yet in some 
instances (both where parallelism of thought is present and also where 
it is absent) the disproportion in the length of the lines of a couplet, or 
in the length of both lines as compared with that of the rest of the series 
in which they are included, is considerable. For example, the couplet in 
Prov. x. 12 has only three words in the first line, but five in the second; 
whilst conversely that in Prov. xii. 21 has five in the first but only three 
in the second. The treatment, however, of these uneven lines in the 
Massoretic text points to a clue which explains several of the peculiarities 
of Hebrew versification; for in the case of Prov. x. 12 the first three words 

1 See his Lectures on the Sacred Poetry of the Hebrews (tr. by Gregory), n. p. 49. 

2 See Gray, op. cit. pp. 49, 50. 


of the second line, and in the case of Prov. xii. 21 two pairs of words 
in the first line, are severally grouped and united together by a sign 
called Makkeph which has the effect of causing each of these groups to 
have the value of only a single word, with one rhythmical beat. It will 
thus be seen that each line of the two verses cited above has only three 
stresses or beats, and so are rhythmically equivalent to one another. 
In English the effect may be roughly represented thus : 

(a) Prov. x. 12, 

"Hatred stirreth strifes, 

(But) over all transgression covereth love." 
(6) Prov. xii. 21, 

"There-happeneth not to-the-righteous any mischief, 

/ / / 

But-the-wicked incur evil." 

From this it becomes tolerably clear that in Hebrew poetry the length 
of the lines composing a couplet or a series of couplets may be determined 
not simply by the number of separate words comprised in them but by 
the number of stresses; so that in a system of verses the lines may be 
equal, if measured by the stressed words or groups of words which they 
contain, though very unequal if every word in them is counted indepen- 
dently 1 . 

In the Hebrew text of the poetic books of the O.T. the part played 
by makkeph in the production of the intended rhythm can easily be 
discerned by an attentive reader ; but at the same time it is difficult to 
avoid the conclusion that by the Hebrew copyists to whom we owe the 
present text it has been used carelessly, and that they have on some 
occasions inserted it where it is not needed and, more frequently, have 
omitted it where the prevailing rhythm of a passage seems to require it. 
For example, in Mic. vi. 1 3 the metre obviously consists of a suc- 
cession of lines of three beats (or trimeters); but they are not perfectly 
regular, since here and there in the Massoretic text a makkeph is either 
lacking or redundant. It is possible, of course, if not probable, that 
the Hebrew poets, like others, conceded to themselves some licence; 
and numerous passages are found where, though the predominant rhythm 
is produced by a series of couplets, severally composed of two trimeters, 
yet there occur at intervals couplets of which only the first line contains 

1 Further illustrations of the use of makkeph occur in Dt. xxxii. vv. 1, 13, 22, 41. 


three stressed words, or groups of words, the other having but two, 
these not admitting of being converted into trimeters by the omission 
of a makkeph. Some instances have already come under notice (see 
p. cxxxvii), and others are afforded by Mic. i. 4 a , Ps. cv. 22, cvii. 29. 
Occasionally, too, there are interspersed in a system of trimeters couplets 
of the form 2 : 3 (see Ps. ciii. 18, cvi. 42, cxix. 16) ; nor are these the only 
irregularities met with in such a system, for there also occur couplets of 
the form 4 : 3 (see Ps. cv. 1, 41, 44, cvii. 26) and perhaps 4 : 2 (Ps. cv. 25, 
cvi. 4). In view of these facts it is likely that the Hebrew writers were 
not consistently rigorous in their observance of metrical regularity 
throughout a poem or a poetic passage. Nevertheless, they may have been 
really stricter than appears on the surface, for it can scarcely be doubted 
that in some instances the original structure of a verse has been dis- 
torted by insertions. This is certainly the case in Mic. iv. 3, for this 
passage is found also in Is. ii. 4, and there the words for many and afar 
off, which disturb the metre in Micah, are absent. See also p. 31. 

In attempts to recognize or recover the metrical structure of various 
poetical passages, which in the present Hebrew text seem irregular, there 
must be taken into account, besides the possibility of a misuse of makkeph 
by the Hebrew scribes, two other considerations. One is the fact that 
a series of metrical couplets is often preceded by an introductory, or 
followed by a concluding, word or phrase which is not comprised within 
the metre: for example in Joel ii. 28 (= Heb. iii. 1), the words "And 
it shall come to pass afterward that" are extra metrum, the rest of the 
verse constituting four trimeters. The other is the likelihood that the 
original text of a passage is sometimes better preserved in the LXX. 
than in the Hebrew, so that in the former there can be detected the 
rhythm which in the latter is obscured. Such seems to be the case in 
Mic. v. 2 (Heb. v. 1), where the symmetry of the opening clauses 
(tetrameters) is evident in the Greek Version, which begins with Kal-o-v, 

oucos 'E</>pa$a (answered by 6A.tyo(TTOS-eT Tov-etvcu i/-^tXtacrii/ 

, whereas the Heb. has merely But-thou Bethlehem Ephrathah. On 
the other hand, in Mic. i. 3 (where the introductory words For behold 
are not included in the metre) the LXX. does not contain the words 
and tread which occur in the Heb.; and the verb thus translated maybe 
suspected to be an insertion, though the Massoretes have conserved the 
trimeter rhythm by giving to the words upon the high places of the earth 
(through the use of makkeph) a single stress instead of two. 

The elevated passages, then, contained in the O.T. Scriptures, and 
exhibiting poetical structure, are distinguished either by parallelism 


of thought, or by a series of uniform (or nearly uniform) rhythmic beast 
or by both these features together 1 . Their writers, like other poets, 
subjected themselves to rules, though perhaps not very exigent rules, 
and produced their works under restrictions of form which, whilst 
limiting in some measure their freedom, gave to what they wrote greater 
effectiveness. Their words, through being uttered in rhythmical cadence, 
not only gained in force or sublimity but were more easily remembered 
and transmitted with accuracy by those who heard them : and it will 
be recalled that the utterances of the Greek oracles were generally 
couched in hexameters. It is not necessary to pursue the subject now 
at any length, as the principal object of the brief treatment of it here 
is to render intelligible the discussion of some of the textual emendations 
which will come under notice in the ensuing pages. The contents of the 
Prophetic books in general, of the book of Psalms, and of the composi- 
tions comprised in what is commonly known as "Wisdom" literature 
(e.g. Proverbs), are largely metrical in the sense explained; so that where 
corruption of the text is suspected, the attempted correction of it cannot 
always be independent of metrical considerations; and suggested emenda- 
tions of many passages suspected to be faulty ought, if they are to 
commend themselves, to conform to the dominant rhythm of the imme- 
diate context. Even in cases where the existing text presents no serious 
difficulties, the metre of a passage may be a factor in deciding upon the 
relative merits of two competing readings. For example, if in the 
Massoretic text a line marked by three rhythmical beats be followed by 
a parallel line of only two, and if one or more of the Versions should 
point to the existence of a parallel line having the normal three beats, 
there is a strong probability that the reading implied by the Versions 
is original. On the other hand, there must not be overlooked the likeli- 
hood that there may have been (as already observed) some laxity in 
requiring corresponding lines to be in all cases rhythmically equivalent 
to one another: our knowledge of Hebrew metrical rules is scarcely 
exact enough to justify disregard of documentary evidence, save in 
exceptional instances. Accordingly where neither the desired sense nor 
the evidence of the Versions favours the conclusion that something has 
been lost from, or added to, the current text, the occurrence, in a verse- 
system, of a line of irregular length does not appear to afford sufficient 
ground for emending the line by mere conjecture. 

1 Intermingled, of course, with passages having the rhythm of poetry there occur 
others which are in prose: see, for instance, Jer. vii., where v. 29 is metrical, but 
the verses that follow are not. 


The commonest metres used in Hebrew poetic compositions are the 
dimeter (with two beats) and the trimeter (with three) ; whilst tetra- 
meters (with four beats) are not rare (see Ps. xxix. 1, 2, Ixxxix. 11 16, 
cxliv. 15, Joel iii. 3, Am. ix. 14, Job iv. 2). After what has been said 
these do not call for further remark, yet it may be well to subjoin an 
illustration of all in combination, though some have been exemplified 
separately already. In many poems there occur rapid transitions from 
one metrical form to another; and an instance of the three metres just 
enumerated is found within narrow compass in Is. ix. 2 3 (Heb. 1 2). 
Here the first verse is in trimeters ; the first half of the second is in 
dimeters ; whilst the last half is in tetrameters. In the translation, the 
English words that represent a single Hebrew term are, as before, joined 
by hyphens, whilst such insertions as the English idiom requires are 
placed in brackets : 

2(1) " The-people that- walked in-darkness 

Have-seen (a) great light ; 
Dwellers in-a-land-of gloom, 
Light hath-shone upon-them. 

3 a (2) Thou-hast-multiplied the-rejoicing 1 , 

Thou-hast-increased the-joy : 

3 b They-joy before-thee as-with-the-joy in-harvest, 

Like-as (men) rej6ice when-dividing spoil." 

Rather more must be said about another metre, in which the lines are 
not usually arranged in couplets (though see p. 143), so that there 
is an absence of the balanced cadence observable in the varieties pre- 
viously considered, but every line is commonly divided into two unequal 
parts, producing the effect of & falling cadence. This is generally known 
by a Hebrew name, Kinah, meaning "lamentation" (especially for the 
dead), see 2 Sam. i. 17, 2 Ch. xxxv. 25, Ezek. xix. 1, Am. v. 1. Whilst, 
however, the term seems to have denoted specifically the wailing of 
women employed as professional mourners "keening" women (see 
Jer. ix. 20), and was then extended to songs and poems of a plaintive 
tone, the rhythm designated by it was also used in other compositions, 
and particularly in satiric taunt-songs. The metre is marked in general 
by five accentual beats with a pause after the first three 2 , though in 

1 This is the rendering of an emendation: the present Hebrew text makes 
nonsense of the next line and destroys the parallelism. 

2 Instances of isolated couplets exhibiting this rhythm occur in Mic. ii. 2, v. 9, 
10, 13, Am. iii. 3, Ps. ii. 11, Is. i. 21. In Mic. vii. 1421 a series of Kinah lines 
seem spoilt by insertions (see pp. 63, 66). 


some instances the pause occurs after the first two (see Mic. vii. 14, 
Lam. ii. 4 b ), whilst lines are occasionally found where there are only 
four beats, with the pause similarly after the first two; and still more 
rarely there are encountered lines of six beats, with the pause after the 
first four (see Is. xiv. 16 b ). As in the case of other metres, the charac- 
teristic rhythm of the Kinah is sometimes disguised in the present Heb. 
text through the absence or intrusion of makkeph. In the following 
illustrative passage from Is. xiv. 4 8, makkeph has been inserted in a 
few places and one or two plausible emendations have been adopted : 

How there-is-stilled (the) oppressor, | stilled (the proud) vaunting 1 ! 
Jehovah hath-broken the-staff-of the- wicked, | the-rod-of (the) rulers, 
Which-struck-at (the) peoples in-anger I with-str6ke unremitted, 
Which-ruled (all the) nations in-fury | with-rule a unrelenting. 
In-peace, in-repose all-the-earth ! | (They) burst into-shouting. 
At-thee e'en-the-fir-trees rejoice, | the-cedars-of Lebanon : 
"Now thou-art-prone, there-ariseth | no feller agaiust-us." 

The verses quoted exemplify, as far as possible in English, not only 
the ordinary cadence of the Kinah* but also one of the rarer rhythms 
which it sometimes admits. More extensive illustration is afforded by 
the book of Lamentations ; and other instances of poems constructed in 
this metre will be found, within this volume, on pp. 87, 143. Here 
exhaustive treatment of it or of other varieties of Hebrew metrical 
systems is unnecessary for reasons already explained. 

1 Here madhhebhah (B.V. the golden city) is replaced by marhebhah. 

2 Here murdaph (R.V. persecution) is replaced by mirdath. 

3 An interesting parallel to the Kinah is offered in Latin by the Saturnian metre, 
which was also regulated by accent and not by quantity : each line consisted of two 
divisions, marked respectively by three accents and two, though certain departures 
from this norm were permitted. The following is an illustration : 

Ddbunt mdlum Metelli \ Navio poetce. 



It is generally recognized that these chapters (with the exception of ii. 1213, 
see p. 20) consist of genuine utterances of Micah. They are prophecies of 
a judgment awaiting each of the Hebrew sister-kingdoms ; but though the 
predictions of impending disaster are unqualified by any suggestion that it can 
be averted by repentance, they were doubtless designed to induce reformation 
(p. xxiii.); and in the case of Judah, the prophet's purpose was not wholly 
a failure (p. xxxi.). The cause of the Divine resentment is in ch. i. idol worship, 
in chs. ii. and iii. social oppression and corruption. 


This ch. is an announcement that Jehovah is about to judge His people for 
their sins of idolatry. Samaria will be demolished ; and the enemy that is to 
bring about its overthrow will sweep onward into Judah, and overwhelm the 
towns of the Lowland. 

I. 1 THE word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morashtite 

I. 1. This prefatory verse, in ascribing by implication the whole book 
to Micah, is shown, by the nature of various sections, to be only 
partially correct; see pp. xxii. f., 28 f. The resemblance which the verse 
bears to the opening of the books of Hosea and Isaiah renders it not 
unlikely that all these prefatory notices are of editorial origin. 

The word of the LORD. The original has The word of Jehovah, the 
English substitute for the Divine Name being adopted from the LXX., 
which has Aoyos KvpiW From motives of reverence the Jews avoided 
pronouncing the personal name by which the God of Israel was known. 
This in historic times was JAHVEH (pronounced Yahweh), an appella- 
tion which, since it coincides with a dialectic form of the ordinary 
Hebrew for He will be, is probably an adaptation (perhaps a popular 
etymology) of a prehistoric name which is irrecoverable. JAHVEH was 
seemingly interpreted to be an abbreviation of He will be what He will 
be (cf. Ex. iii. 14, 15, mg.), the phrase conveying both a belief in the 
activity of the national God and an acknowledgment of the inscrutability 
of His nature and purposes. Fear of infringing the sanctity of this 
Divine Name caused, in practice, the replacement of its vowels by those 
of the title 'Adhonai, "my Lord" (represented by the Greek Kvpios) 
whilst the consonants were retained, this modification resulting in the 
form JEHOVAH 1 . Other reverential substitutes were the Name (Lev. 

1 The a and the e in the first syllable of 'Adhonai and Jehovah respectively are 
equivalent, the difference being due to the initial consonants of the two, which 
require dissimilar vowels. 

w. 1 

2 MICAH [i. i 

in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, 
which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem. 

xxiv. 11), the Heavens (Dan. iv. 26), the Blessed (Mk. xiv. 61), the 
Power (Mk. xiv. 62). A title like 'Adhonai or Kvpios had, for the 
development of religion, a great advantage over a proper name like 
Jehovah, since the latter was only appropriate to a deity who was 
believed to be one of a large number, whereas the former was not un- 
suitable for a national divinity when such came to be regarded as the 
only existing God. 

In general, phrases such as The loord of the Lord hath come unto me ( Jer. 
xxv. 3), Thus saith the LORD (passim), and the like, only expressed the 
conviction of the prophet using them that what he said was God's truth ; 
but it is not improbable that they had their origin in the experiences of 
religious ecstasy. Persons subject to such, in moments of psychic 
exaltation (sometimes stimulated by music (1 Sam. x. 5 13, cf. 2 Kgs. 
iii. 15) and doubtless by dancing also), believed that they heard a Voice 
from heaven addressing them (see Num. xxiv. 3, 4, 15, 16). In the 
case of men of reflection and insight, the thoughts expressed may well 
have been long in their minds; but as they were probably subject to 
strong emotions and at intervals lost their self-control, the ideas that 
filled them were likely to find utterance without the speakers being 
conscious of any intermediate step of reasoning or inference, so that the 
thoughts to which they gave expression would appear to come to them 
at the moment, and to be received by them directly from God through 
ecstatic audition 1 . Possibly in the phrase saith the LORD (iv. 6, v. 10, 
vi. 1, etc.) and its equivalents, the present tense should be replaced by 
the past said, alluding to the occasion when the prophet believed that 
he had heard God addressing him 2 . 

Micah. In Jer. xxvi. 18 the prophet is called Micaiah, which is pro- 
bably the true form of his name: the LXX. in both places has MctgoMf. 

the Morashtite. I.e. a native of Moresheth-gath, see p. xviii. Similar 
local designations are appended to the names of Elijah, Elisha, Jonah, 
Jeremiah, and Nahum (1 Kgs. xvii. 1 (LXX.), xix. 16, 2 Kgs. xiv. 25, 
Jer. i. 1, Nah. i. 1). 

in the days of Jotham, etc. The period covered by the reigns of the 
kings enumerated may have amounted to forty-six years (738 692); 
but there is no internal evidence pointing to the conclusion that any 
part of the book dates from the time of the first-mentioned king. The 
earliest prediction in it was certainly prior to the destruction of Samaria 
(i. 6); but the expression her (Samaria's) wounds are incurable (v. 9) 
suggests that the prophecy was uttered when the fate of the city and 
kingdom was virtually sealed (i.e. very shortly before 722). It is some- 
what uncertain who was the contemporary king of Judah (see p. xvi.). 

which he saw. The Heb. verb is hdzah (see on iii. 7). No visions are 
recorded in the book as having been seen by Micah; and the word 

1 Cf. Joyce, Inspiration of Prophecy y p. 74 f. 

2 See T. H. Robinson, Prophecy and the Prophets in Ancient Israel, pp. 43 45. 

i. 2] MICAH 3 

2 Hear, ye peoples, all of you ; hearken, earth, and all 1 that 

1 Heb. the fulness thereof. 

saw here used may be conventional (cf. Hab. i. 1) and equivalent to 
"received from God." Even in some cases where actual "visions" appear 
at first sight to be described (Am. vii. 1, 4, 7, viii. 1, Jer. i. 11 13), 
such do not necessarily imply abnormal visual experiences ; the object 
shewn or seen may have been something that happened at the time to 
be under the prophet's eyes, and suggested to him thoughts which could 
be ascribed to God as their source. The visions related in Zech. i. vi., 
which are much more complex, are also probably literary devices 
"conscious and artistic allegories 1 ." On the other hand, those related 
to have been witnessed by Jsaiah (ch. vi.) and by Ezekiel (ch. i.) can 
with more plausibility be explained as seen by the prophets under 
conditions of trance 2 . At an early period in Israel's religious history it 
was believed that the Deity Himself could be visible to man, since He 
had a corporeal form, though the sight of the face of God was fatal to 
the beholder (see Ex. xxxiii. 2023). 

concerning Samaria and Jerusalem. The only portion of the book 
relating with certainty to Samaria is i. 5 9, though some scholars hare 
thought vi. 9 16 to have the Northern kingdom in view (p. 53). 

2 7. The descent of Jehovah, the universal Judge, from His heavenly 
temple to punish the offences of Israel and Judah, and the sentence 
pronounced upon Samaria. 

2. Jehovah is regarded by the prophet as coming to arraign the 
heathen for their sins equally with the two Hebrew kingdoms; but the 
only "case" here gone into is that of the latter, at whose trial the other 
nations, as being in the like situation, are bidden to attend. There is 
no good reason for considering w. 2 5 a to be unoriginal (and supplied 
by a subsequent editor) just because in these Jehovah is represented as 
judging heathen peoples and it is implied that His temple is in heaven. 
The Lord appears as the judge of the heathen in Am. i. 3 ii. 3, Is. iii. 
13 (both a little earlier than Micah); and though the passages where 
Jehovah's temple is explicitly identified with heaven (Ps. xi. 4, xviii. 
6, 9) are certainly or probably later than the 8th century, yet heaven is 
the locality from which God descends upon Sinai in Ex. xix. ll b , 18, 20 
(derived from the early source J) and from which His angel calls to 
Abraham in Gen. xxii. 11 (from the almost equally early source E). It 
is nearly incredible that Micah's prophecy should ever have begun with 
so abrupt a question (v. 5 b ) as What is the transgression of Jacob? 

The prophet bids the peoples attend to his announcement of Jehovah's 
imminent approach. The sentence has been attached quite uniutelli- 
gently in 1 Kgs. xxii. 28 (Heb.) to an utterance of another Micaiah with 
whom the prophet of Moresheth was confused; the addition is absent 
from the LXX. 

earth... therein is. In Ezek. xxx. 12 the same words (in the Heb.) 

1 G. A. Smith, Book of the XII Prophets, n. p. 274. 
* See Joyce, Inspiration of Prophecy, pp. 9f. f 110 f. 


4 MICAH [i. 2-4 

therein is: and let the Lord GOD be witness 1 against you, the 
Lord from his holy temple. 3 For, behold, the LORD cometh 
forth out of his place, and will come down, and tread upon the 
high places of the earth. 4 And the mountains shall be molten 
under him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, 

1 Or, among 

are used of a single country (Egypt) ; but here the reference is to the 
world at large, and its human inhabitants (LXX. KOL Travre? ot Iv avrfi). 

the Lord GOD. Better, the Lord JEHO VAH. As the vowels of 'A dhonai 
were used in the vocalization of Jehovah (p. 1), it became necessary, 
when 'Adhonai (literally, my Lord) was prefixed to the latter, to adopt 
in connection with the consonants JHVH the vowels ofMoMm, "God." 
Here LXX. B has Kvptos Kvptos but in Ob. 1 Kvpios 6 Ocos. Similar to 
the prefixing of the title my Lord to the name Jehovah was the employ- 
ment by the heathen peoples of Lord ( } Adhon) in association with the 
names of their own divinities } Adhon 'Eshmun, 'Adhon Shalman, etc. 
Here, however, the occurrence of the title impairs the rhythm of tbe v. ; 
and it is absent from the Alexandrine codex of the LXX. : there is much 
evidence tbat it was frequently inserted by copyists (see Am. i. 8, iv. 2, 
v. 1 6, vi. 8, where, though present in the Hebrew, it is absent from the 

be witness. God is similarly a witness against men in Jer. xxix. 23, 
as being "He that knoweth" their most secret deeds : cf. also Mai. iii. 5. 

his holy temple. God's heavenly abode (1 Kgs. viii. 30, Ps. xi. 4), 
whence He is about to descend to the earth (v. 3, cf. Is. xxvi. 21), is 
similarly called "the sanctuary" (6 vaos) in Rev. xvi. 17. 

3. For, behold, etc. Verses 3 and 4 describe a Theophany, wherein 
the Divine activity is described through the medium of physical imagery. 

and tread. This is absent from the LXX. ; and tbe rhythm of the v. 
is improved by its omission (though see p. cxl.). The verb resembles 
the preceding word closely enough to be an accidental dittograph ; or it 
may have been inserted by a copyist who recalled Am. iv. 13. 

the high places. Better, the heights (to avoid the religious associations 
(see on v. 5) attaching to the other phrase). The conception is inspired 
by the movement, along the mountain tops, of the storm clouds with 
which the Almighty was believed to screen the brightness of His 
Presence: cf. Ps. xviii. 10, 11. 

4. And the mountains, etc. God's descent is thought of as accom- 
panied by a violent thunderstorm (cf. Ex. xix. 18), causing landslides 
on the hills (like the melting of wax, cf. Ps. xcvii. 5, 3 Is. Ixiv. 1, 3) and 
rifts in the valleys (like the effects of a cataract 1 ). Similar descriptions 
of the results produced on nature by a Theophany occur in Jud. v. 5, 
Nab. i. 5, Hab. iii. 6. 

1 The strict sense of the last clause of v. 4 is the valleys shall be cleft... by the like 
of waters that are poured down a steep place : cf. Is. i. 25 (I will purge away. ..with 
the like of lye). 

i. 4, s] MICAH 5 

as waters that are poured down a steep place. 5 For the trans- 
gression of Jacob is all this, and for the sins of the house of 
Israel. What is the transgression of Jacob ? is it not Samaria ? 
and what are the high places of Judah? are they not Jerusalem? 

5. For the transgression, etc. I.e. in retribution for the transgression 
of Jacob (Northern Israel) and Judah Jehovah's resentment is mani- 
fested thus. If the text is sound and the names employed are intended 
to be distinct, Israel must stand for the Southern kingdom, but this is 
natural only in passages written after the destruction of the sister- 
kingdom, or where ambiguity is impossible. Here it is too equivocal to 
be probable, and it should be replaced by Judah (this clause being 
assimilated to the next). Although Micah was a Judaean prophet, the 
sin and approaching punishment of the kingdom of which Samaria was 
the capital were first in his thoughts, since that realm was more exposed 
than its neighbour to the assault of an enemy (Assyria) advancing from 
the north. For the sins the LXX. has the sin ; which makes the 
parallelism closer. 

What is the transgression, etc. Strictly, Who is the transgression! 
i.e. what group of people is the living embodiment of the corruption 
infecting the rest of the nation? In each case the answer is, the citizens 
of the capital. Amos refers to the idolatry of Samaria (viii. 14), and 
Isaiah to the idols of both cities (x. 10). 

the high places. The term designates the sites of sacrificial worship 
on the summits of hills, positions enabling the smoke of the sacrifices 
to disperse easily, and so to convey the savour of the burnt offerings to 
the heavenly deities whom it was desired to gratify. In early times in 
Hebrew history "high places" were consecrated to the worship of 
Jehovah (1 Sam. ix. 12, 1 Kgs. iii. 3, 4, xviii. 20) no less than to that 
of other divinities (1 Kgs. xi. 7, Jer. xxxii. 35); and mount Zion, where 
the Temple was erected by Solomon, must have been of the nature of 
a "high place," one among several others in the land (cf. 1 Kgs. xv. 14, 
2 Kgs. xii. 3). Eventually, however, in the 7th century this was con- 
stituted the sole locality where sacrifice to Jehovah was permitted 
(Dt. xii. 4 f., 2 Kgs. xxiii. 3), the reason for this limitation being 
doubtless the pollution of the worship of Israel's God by the licentious 
practices associated with the cult of Canaanite deities, which was like- 
wise conducted at "high places." In the present passage the LXX., 
instead of what are the high places of Judah ? has what is the sin of the 
house of Judah? which is preferable, since not only does harmony with 
the rest of the v. require this, but it is difficult to see how "high places" 
could exist in Jerusalem side by side with the Temple. It has been 
suggested that the word for house-of (beyth] has been corrupted into that 
for high places (bdmotk), since the letters for y and m in the early Heb. 
alphabet were less dissimilar than in the later, and that the word for 
sin (hattath) has been accidentally lost. (The questions and answers as 
here re-constructed seem to form two lines in the Kinah metre (p. cxlii.), 

6 MICAH [i. 6, 7 

6 Therefore I will make Samaria as an heap of the field, and as 
the plantings of a vineyard : and I will pour down the stones 
thereof into the valley, and I will discover the foundations 
thereof. 7 And all her graven images shall be beaten to pieces, 
and all her hires shall be burned with fire, and all her idols will 

whereas in the existing Heb. text they appear to constitute four 

6. as an heap of the field. Better, into a heap (of stones) in a field 
(cf. the Vulgate, quasi acervum lapidum in agro). The Assyrian king 
Tiglath-Pileser similarly speaks of changing an enemy's territory "into 
a rubbish mound and fields" (Schrader, COT. I. p. 227, ii. p. 148). 
For the rendering a heap in a field, where the Hebrew is literally "a 
heap of a field," cf. the similar use of the objective genitive in Gen. iii. 
24, the way^ of (i.e. to) the tree of life, Prov. vii. 27, the way of (i.e. to) 
Sheol. So in Latin, abaci vasa is used for "vessels on a sideboard." 
Many critics propose the omission of the word for a heap and would 
render, into a field, so as to bring the statement into harmony with 
iii. 12 ; and Wellhausen would substitute (by a slight change) into a 
forest of the field (i.e. a wild forest), comparing Ezek. xx. 46 (xxi. 2 
Heb.). But Micah need not be suspected of limiting himself to stereo- 
typed phrases, and tbe text is supported by the parallel in the second 
half of the v. The predicted demolition of Samaria, which lay on a 
hill (1 Kgs. xvi. 24, Am. iv. 1, vi. 1), is thought of as causing its stones 
to be piled in the valley below. For the fulfilment of the prediction, 
at least so far as the capture of Samaria is concerned, see 2 Kgs. xviii. 

as the plantings, etc. Better, into the plantings, etc. The writer's 
thought is that the foundations of Samaria, after its ruin, will be 
thoroughly cleared away in order that the good soil needed for vines 
may be reached. 

discover. Better, uncover or expose. 

7. all her graven images. The destruction that is to overtake the 
city will extend to the symbols of the deities to whom it ascribes its 
blessings (cf. Hos. ii. 5) and renders worship. 

beaten to pieces. This implies that the graven images were constructed 
of stone or marble. 

all her hires. This, if the text is sound, must mean the gold and 
silver given' to and for the idol-gods by their votaries (Hos. viii. 4, 
xiii. 2) in the hope of procuring from them in fuller measure the fruits 
of the earth and of the flock. But the term hire is applied in Hos. ii. 12, 
ix. 1 to the bounty believed to be given by the idol-gods (Israel's lovers) 
who thereby seduced Israel from the worship of Jehovah ; and what is 
wanted here is a plain designation for objects of idolatry like those on 
either side, viz. graven images and idols. J. M. P. Smith and others 
seek to retain the term thus translated, and to bring it into harmony 
with the context by assigning it not to the root meaning "to give," "to 

I. 7-9] 


1 lay desolate : for of the hire of an harlot hath she gathered 
them, and unto the hire of an harlot shall they return. 8 For 
this will I wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked : I will 
make a wailing like the jackals, and a mourning like the ostriches. 
9 For her wounds are incurable : for it is come even unto Judah; 
it reacheth unto the gate of my people, even to Jerusalem. 

hire," but to another (for which support is found in Arabic) signifying 
"to resemble," and by supposing that the noun here employed has the 
sense of "images." But it is eminently unlikely that there should here 
be used for "images" a word identical in form with another occurring 
twice in the rest of the v. in the sense of "hire": the only resource is 
to assume that the text is corrupt. As the objects which the writer had 
in mind were such as could be burnt, they mast have been of wood, and 
Wellhausen conjectures all her Asherim (see on v. 14); cf. Dt. xii. 3, 

2 Kgs. xxiii. 15. But the noun suggested is fern., whereas the verb is 
masc., and a more plausible emendation is sun-images (hammdnim): 
cf. Is. xvii. 8, xxvii. 9. 

the hire of an harlot. The term harlot seems to be used here in 
connection with religious prostitution (Dt. xxiii. 17, 18, Hos. iv. 13, 14, 
Baruch vi. 43) the proceeds of which were devoted to the adornment 
of the idol-gods (cf. Bar. vi. 9 11). The valuables decorating Samaria's 
idols are destined to be carried away by her destroyers and used by 
them for impure purposes similar to those in connection with which 
they were originally procured (cf. Hdt. I. 199). 

hath she gathered them. The Syr. and Vulg. have they were gathered, 
which suits best the parallel shall they return. 

8 9. Micah's anguish in consequence of the doom foreseen by him, 
inasmuch as the fall of Samaria presages that of his own country. 

8. stripped and naked. Better, barefoot (LXX. di/wrdSeTos) and 
stripped (i.e. lacking an outer garment, cf. Job xxii. 6, Joh. xxi. 7). 
This was a token of mourning; cf. Is. xx. 2 4 (though the word for 
barefoot is not the same), 2 Sam. xv. 30. 

like the jackals... like the ostriches. Cf. Job xxx. 29. The howling of 
the jackal, which is prolonged and mournful, is alluded to in Is. xiii. 
22 ; whilst the Heb. word for ostrich in Job xxxix. 13 comes from a root 
meaning "to raise a piercing screech"; and the bird's cry has been 
described as fearful and affrighting. 

9. her wounds are incurable. Since the adj. and the verb come are in 
the sing., and the LXX. has rf TrXrjyij avr/Js, the text should be altered 
to her wound is incurable : for the last expression cf. Jer. xxx. 15. 

it reacheth unto the gate of my people. Perhaps better, he reacheth, for 
the subject of this verb (which is masc., not fern., so that it cannot, like 
the preceding, refer to wound} is probably "the enemy." By the gate of 
my people the prophet designates Jerusalem, which is so called because 
it was the principal centre of population, since it was in the gateway of 
a town that its inhabitants chiefly assembled for traffic (2 Kgs. vii. 1), 

8 MICAH [i. 10 

10 Tell it not in Gath, weep not at all : at ^eth-le-Aphrah 2 have 

1 That is, A house of dust. 2 Another reading is, roll thyself. 

for judicial proceedings (Dt. xxi. 19), or for social converse (Ruth iv. 11, 
Proy. xxiv. 7). From this point onward Micah's prophecies are ex- 
clusively concerned with the destiny of his own country, which he 
anticipates will be the invader's next victim. If w. 5 9 date from 
just before 722, the expected approach of the conquerors of Samaria 
against Jerusalem did not occur till more than 20 years later (701), and 
then came not from the direction of Samaria (in the N.) but from Lachish 
in the S.W. (Is. xxxvi. 2). It has been inferred by some that the date 
of this prophecy must be later than 722 because the tribute paid to 
Assyria by Ahaz (2 Kgs. xvi. 7, 8) was doubtless continued by Hezekiah 
during the early part of his reign, so that in 722 there could be no real 
danger to Judah from Assyria. And as the city of Samaria was not 
destroyed in that year by the overthrow of the kingdom of which it was 
the capital (Samaria is named as joining in 720 a coalition of Syrian 
states against Assyria), it has been argued that the present prophecy 
dates from a later time, when Hezekiah was intriguing with Philistia (as 
he did in 713 711) or with Egypt (as shortly before 701), occasions when 
measures may have been taken by the Assyrians to dismantle Samaria. 
Nevertheless it is difficult to think that Micah could have produced 
this prophecy, containing a reference to Jacob ( - Israel) in v. 5, after 
the Northern kingdom had come to an end, without a word to intimate 
that such a catastrophe had occurred; and it seems most likely that 
this oracle was uttered just before 722, but that the prophet had no 
clear grasp of the political relations between Judah and Assyria, and 
expected the impending overthrow of one of the Hebrew states to be 
but a prelude to that of the other. 

10 16. In these verses the prophet visualizes Jerusalem as compassed 
by a foe who overruns Judah and occupies a number of small towns 
which were less strongly defended than the capital. Micah apostrophizes 
these places or their inhabitants in turn, playing upon the etymologies 
of the names, and using in his addresses to them words that produce 
assonances, so that their appellations appear prophetic of their fate or 
else offer a pathetic contrast to it. The effect of the paronomasias in the 
original may in some measure be illustrated by substituting the names 
of certain English towns or villages yielding similar assonances : 
"Tell it not in Tellisford"; "cry not (see note on v. 10) in Crynant"; 
"at Duston have I rolled myself (or "roll yourselves") in dust" ; "pass 
ye away, inhabitant of Fairford, in foulness and shame"; "the 
inhabitant of March hath not marched forth" ; "the wailing of Knighton 
shall take from you the near support thereof"; "the inhabitant of 
Bitterley waiteth anxiously for fortune's sweets"; "bind the chariot to 
the horse, inhabitant of Horsham" ; "thou shalt give a parting dowry 
to Bridekirk"; "the houses of Diss shall be a disappointment to the 
kings of Israel" ; "I will yet bring unto thee, inhabitant of Herriard, 
him that shall inherit thee." It may seem surprising that the prophet, 

i. 10] MICAH 9 

in his state of distress, should thus indulge in puns ; but Isaiah, under 
like conditions of strong emotion (indignation or grief), made similar 
use of paronomasia (v. 7, vii. 9, x. 28 32): cf. also Am. v. 5, Zeph. ii. 4. 

10. Tell it not in Gath. Hebrew, Be-Ghath'altaggldhu. The prophet, 
borrowing a phrase from David's lament over Saul and Jonathan (2 Sam. 
i. 20), deprecates the carrying of news about Jerusalem's perilous 
situation to other Palestinian towns where it might be received with 
malicious satisfaction. Gath was originally a Philistine city, variously 
identified with Tell el Sdfi near the Wddy es Sunt (the ancient "valley 
of Elah"), some 18 miles from the coast, and with the later Eleuthero- 
polis, the modern Beit-Jibrin, 8 miles further south, and about 24 miles 
from the sea. It had been taken by Uzziah (according to 2 Ch. xxvi. 6) ; 
and as it is not mentioned among other Philistine cities in Am. i. 7, 8, 
it may no longer have been in Philistine occupation. Some critics, in 
order to obtain mention here of a Judsean, instead of a Philistine, town, 
propose Rejoice not ('al tdghllu) in Giloh (Josh. xv. 51), or in Gilgal 
(Josh. v. 9), the suggested change in the verb having some support in 
the Syriac. The LXX. has /^ fuyaA.v'i/o-0e (i.e. 'al taghdilu), magnify 
not yourselves. 

weep not at all The Heb. is bdcko 'al tibhcu, which the English of 
the R.V. represents. This, if the authentic text (it is supported by Aq., 
Sym. and the Vulg.), must mean "suppress all outward signs of grief 
that might betray to unfriendly neighbours your inward distress." But 
the circumstance that the exhortation occurs in a context full of word- 
plays upon various place-names raises the expectation of a place-name 
here, as in the first and third clauses of the verse. The Vatican codex 
of the LXX. for bdcho has 01 cV 'A/cet/x, where the /u. may be a dittograph 
of the initial of the next word /XT/. If ot lv 'A*ei' be the original reading 
of the Greek, it points to the conclusion that bdcho represents be- 1 Acco, 
and the translation of this will be, in Acco weep not (for the suppression 
of the initial letter of 'A ceo cf. (in the Heb.) Josh. xix. 3 (Balah) 
with Josh. xv. 29 (Ba'alah) and the name Bel for Ba'al). Acco, the 
later Ptolemais, is the modern Acre, a city situated at the N. angle of 
a bay near mount Carmel. Though included in the tribe of Asher, it 
was very imperfectly subjugated by the Israelites at the Conquest, and 
remained largely Canaanite (Jud. i. 31). Since the place was not near 
enough to Jerusalem for its name to occur readily to a Judean prophet 
as a place where, as at Gath, the report of Jerusalem's danger might 
soon spread and arouse malicious joy, it was probably chosen because 
of the assonance which, when the preposition be was prefixed to it, was 
afforded with the verb "to weep" (bdchah)\ and (as has been noted) it 
retained a native element in the population which was probably not 
very friendly to the Hebrews. Some critics, however, thinking the name 
of a locality near Jerusalem to be required, replace bdcho by be-Bhochim 
"in Bochim" (Jud. ii. 1), orbe-Bhdchd' "in Baca" ("Balsam (or Mulberry) 
vale ") (Ps. Ixxxiv. 6 mg., 2 Sam. v. 23 and mg.) ; and one codex (Q) of the 
LXX. has in the margin er Ba^ei/x, which favours the first emendation. 

Beth-le-Aphrah. This place (the name of which means "House of 

10 MICAH [i. 

I rolled myself in the dust. 11 Pass ye away, * inhabitant of 
Shaphir, in nakedness and shame: the Mnhabitant of Zaanan 
is not come forth; the wailing of Beth-ezel shall take from 
you the 2 stay thereof. 12 For the l inhabitant of Maroth 3 waiteth 

1 Heb. inhabitress. 2 Or, standing place 3 Or, is in travail 

Dust") is nowhere else mentioned, and as Theodotion has Ophrah, some 
scholars would substitute Beth-Ophrah. There was an Ophrah in Ben- 
jamin (Josh, xviii. 23) and another in Manasseh (Jud. vi. 11, 24, viii. 
27) ; whilst a Wady called el Ghufr seems to point to a third town of 
the same name, situated in the Lowland of Judah. The last may be the 
one here intended. 

have I rolled myself. This, the reading of the Heb. text (hith- 
pallashti), which seems to be intended as a play upon the word for 
"Philistine" (Pelishti), is replaced in the Heb. mg. by an imperative, 
roll thyself; whilst the LXX. and Vulg. imply the plural, roll yourselves, 
which agrees best with the plural imperative in the next verse. 

in the dust. The Heb. for dust ( l dphdr) echoes the sound and signi- 
ficance of Beth-le-Aphrah (see above). To roll, or wallow, in dust and 
ashes was a habit that marked mourners; see Jer. vi. 26, Ezek. xxvii. 30; 
cf. also 2 Sam. xiii. 19 and p. 136. 

11. Pass ye away, inhabitant of Shaphir. The sing, inhabitant 
(literally, inhabitress) is used collectively, and the Heb. has a pron. in 
the masc. plural. Shaphir is possibly the same as Shamir mentioned as 
a town of Judah in Josh. xv. 48, where the Alexandrine MS. of the LXX. 
has 2<a<f>cip. The site has been plausibly identified with Suafir, about 
4 miles S.E. of Ashdod, and rather more than that distance N.E. of 
Ascalon. There was also a Shamir in Epbraim (Jud. x. 1). The name 
Shaphir (? whence the Greek cra7r<eipos, "sapphire") means "beauty" 
(expressed by the LXX.'s (KaroiKouo-a) /caAok and the Vulg.'s (habitatio) 
Pulchra), and so offers a contrast to the miserable plight of its in- 
habitants, who, on the approach of the enemy, will have to leave it 

Zaanan. This is generally identified with the Zenan (Tsenari) of 
Josh. xv. 37, a town in the Lowland of Judah. The paronomasia here 
arises from the occurrence, both in the place-name (Heb. Tsa'andn) and 
in the verb ydtsd\ "to come (or "go") forth," of the group of sounds 
tsa. The inhabitants of Zaanan will not go forth to succour the fugitives 
from other places, lest they themselves should be cut off by the foe. 

Beth-ezel. This town, the name of which signifies "House of 
proximity" (cf. the Vulg. domus vicina), and which from its nearness 
should be a refuge (cf. mg.) for those flying from their own homes, will 
be too panic-stricken to afford relief ; and the wail arising from it will 
announce, to such as may look to it for help, the failure of their hopes. 
Beth-ezel is perhaps the same as the Azel of 2 Zech. xiv. 5, its situation 
being unknown. 

12. For. The conjunction repeats the for in v. 9, explaining, like it, 
the prophet's distress (v. 8). 

i. ri-i 4 ] MICAH 11 

anxiously for good: because evil is come down from the 
LORD unto the gate of Jerusalem. 13 Bind the chariot to the 
swift steed, a inhabitant of Lachish : she was the beginning 
of sin to the daughter of Zion ; for the transgressions of Israel 
were found in thee. 14 Therefore shalt thou give a parting gift 
to Moresheth-gath : the houses of Achzib shall be 2 a deceitful 

1 Heb. inhdbitress. 2 Heb. achzab. 

Maroth. The site is unknown, for Ewald's identification of it with 
Maaratk in the hill country of Judah (Josh. xv. 59) is unlikely. The 
meaning of its name, "bitterness" (cf. Sym. ij Tra/DaTrtKpcuVovo-a), affords 
a contrast to the good fortune for which its people vainly hope. The 
root-meaning of the verb rendered wait anxiously J or is "writhe," and 
can be used of throes of pain, both mental and physical (see mg.). 

13. Bind the chariot, etc. The people of Lachish are bidden to attach 
their swiftest steed (Heb. rechesh) to their chariot (for the inversion 
cf. Gen. xlvi. 29 (literally made fast his chariot to the horses)) in order 
to escape, if possible, the pursuit of the invader. Lachish was originally 
an Amorite city, situated in the Lowland (Josh. xv. 39) : it was fortified 
by Rehoboam, and to it king Amaziah tied from before a conspiracy 
(2 Kgs. xiv. 19). Its site is thought to be Tell-el-Hesy, 16 m. E. of 
Gaza. Instead of the present Heb. text the LXX. seems to have had 
before it A multitude of chariots and swift steeds (i.e. of an invader), 
inhabitant of Lachish! perhaps with reference to the "evil" men- 
tioned in the preceding v. 

she was the beginning of sin, etc. The most obvious explanation of 
this statement is that from Lachish some idolatrous cult had been 
introduced into the Jewish capital, though G. A. Smith thinks that, 
owing to its situation between Jerusalem and Egypt, it was the first 
town to receive the contingents of Egyptian cavalry on which Hezekiah 
placed reliance (Is. xxxi. 1). For the parenthetic use of the 3rd pers., 
where the 2nd might be expected, cf. Is. xxii. 16, 17. 

the transgressions of Israel. If the sin derived from Lachish was some 
form of idolatry, Israel here probably denotes the Ephraimite kingdom, 
where such may have originated (cf. vi. 16); but if the alternative ex- 
planation of the sin be accepted, the national name stands for Judah 
(as in v. 14). 

14. thou. I.e. Judah. 

a parting gift to Moresheth-gath. There is an assonance between the 
name Moresheth and the Heb. for "a betrothed woman" (moreseth). 
Judah, which is expected to lose the town through the success of an 
enemy, is bidden to give a dowry to it, as a parent might do to a 
daughter about to marry and pass permanently into the possession of 
another (cf. 1 Kgs. ix. 16). The town was Micah's home (v. 1). 

Achzib. The place here meant (the Chezib of Gen. xxxviii. 5) was in 
the Lowland (Josh. xv. 44), and is plausibly identified with Ain Kozbeh, 
a little N. of the valley of Elah. 

12 MICAH [I. 14-16 

thing unto the kings of Israel. 15 I will yet bring unto thee, O 

1 inhabitant of Mareshah, him that shall possess thee : the glory 
of Israel shall come even unto Adullam. 16 Make thee bald, and 

1 Heb. inhabitress. 

a deceitful thing. Heb. 'achzdbh, a term used in Jer. xv. 18 of a brook 
that runs dry, and so disappoints a traveller who has hoped to quench 
his thirst at it. The relief anticipated from Achzib is to prove equally 
delusive, the town justifying its name (which the Vulg. renders by 
domus Mendacii). 

the kings of Israel. The plural kings should perhaps be replaced by 
king, the plur. suffix being a dittograph of the initial of the next word. 
Here Israel must certainly be a synonym for Judah : cf. 2 Kgs. xviii. 4, 

2 Ch. xxviii. 19. 

15. Mareshah. This also was in the Lowland (Josh. xv. 44), and 
among the towns represented in 2 Ch. xi. 5 10 as fortified by Reho- 
boam. There is a locality still called Mer'ash, 2 m. S.W. of Beit-Jibrin. 
Between the place-name and the words him that shall possess thee (Heb. 
yoresh, the Assyrian invader being meant) there is a slight assonance. 
Normal Heb. syntax would be better preserved by a change of points, 
so as to produce (instead of the rendering of the R.V.) the translation 
I will bring thee... unto him that shall possess thee ( l odh hayyoresh 'dbhi 
Idch being replaced by ( adh hayyoresh 'obhilech). In the English, yet 
must then be omitted. 

the glory of Israel... Adullam. Possibly the glory of Israel may 
describe the Ark (cf. 1 Sam. iv. 21), which will have to be carried for 
safety to Adullam, a town in the Lowland (the modern Id-'el-md), 
fortified by Rehoboam, and famous for its caves (Josh. xii. 15, 2 Ch. 
xi. 7, 1 Sam. xxii. 1). But the true meaning seems to be that the men 
of rank among the Jewish people (for this sense of glory see Is. v. 13, 
viii. 7, xvii. 3) will be compelled to take refuge there just as David 
did. Pusey (with the A.V.) renders he (the invader) shall come unto 
Adullam, the glory of Israel; but there is nothing to account for such 
a high estimate of Adullam. An ingenious emendation ( l adh 'Adullam 
being replaced by l adh l oldm) yields the sense the glory of Israel shall 
go down (i.e. set, the verb being used in this sense in iii. 6 and else- 
where) for ever. 

16. Make thee bald. Judah is here addressed. To pluck off, or 
shave, the hair was a usage practised in antiquity by mourners (Is. 
xxii. 12, Jer. vii. 29, Am. viii. 10, Job i. 20, Ez. ix. 3), the custom 
perhaps originating with the presentation to the dead of offerings of 
hair which were placed on the corpse or laid on the tomb (cf. Horn. H. 
xxm. 1356, Soph. El. 448451). The custom of making the head 
bald in token of grief for the departed survived among several peoples. 
Herodotus, for instance, states (iv. 71) that the Scythians, amongst 
other ceremonies at the burial of a king, used to shave their hair; 
and Suetonius relates ( Vit. Col. v.) that on the occasion of the death 

I. 16-11. l] 



poll thee for the children of thy delight : enlarge thy baldness 
as the l eagle; for they are gone into captivity from thee. 

1 Or, vulture 

of Germanicus regulos barbam posuisse et uxorum capita rasisse ad 
indicium maximi luctus. The practice of the rite in connection with 
the cult of the dead was forbidden amongst the Hebrew people at 
any rate by the later codes of the Law ; but Judah is here directed to 
observe it merely as a token of mourning, since her children are to be 
taken from her by her enemies. 

as the eagle. Better, as the vulture. The Hebrew term is applicable to 
both birds; but it is the latter alone that can be meant here since only 
certain varieties of vulture, notably the griffon vulture (a bird abundant 
in Palestine), have the head and neck bare of feathers. The same bird, 
which feeds on carrion, must be designated in Job xxxix. 30, Mt. xxiv. 
28 (=Lk. xvii. 37). 


In the first eleven verses of this ch. a return is made from the announcement 
of the coming doom of Judah, on account of its wickedness, to an invective 
against the perpetrators of the heinous sins calling for retribution. The offences 
which the prophet here denounces are anti-social the seizure of lands and 
houses by those who covet them, the practice of highway robbery, and the ex- 
pulsion of families from their homes; and the prophet declares that the authors 
of such spoliation shall themselves be despoiled and deported by a heathen foe. 
Unfortunately the text of this ch. is extremely obscure and probably corrupt ; 
and to render parts of it intelligible recourse has to be made oftener than usual 
to emendation. 

II. 1 Woe to them that devise iniquity and work evil upon their 

II. 1 2. A denunciation of those whose greed leads them to rob their 
weaker neighbours of their property in order to augment their own estates. 
Like charges of rapacity were brought by Isaiah (v. 8) against wealthy 
and grasping landowners, who sought to extend their possessions by ex- 
propriating the smaller freeholders (cf. also Hos. v. 10, of Israel). They 
possessed the power to do so, and deemed might the equivalent of right. 
The methods adopted were seemingly not acts of open violence, but de- 
vices which, though violations of morality, could be brought within the 
limits of law, for they required to be thought out in the stillness of the 
night hours before being put into operation in the day-time. One such 
would be the harsh foreclosing of a mortgage before the owner was in a 
position to redeem it; for what took place after the Return from the Exile 
in the time of Nehemiah (v. 3 f.) is likely to have occurred also in bad 
periods prior to the Exile. Another would be the enforcement of false 
claims to property through the suborning of unprincipled witnesses and 
the bribing of venal judges. 

1. and work evil. These words have been pronounced to be an insertion 

14 MICAH [ii. !- 3 

beds! when the morning is light, they practise it, because it 
is in the power of their hand. 2 And they covet fields, and 
seize them ; and houses, and take them away : and they oppress 
a man and his house, even a man and his heritage. 3 Therefore 
thus saith the LORD : Behold, against this family do I devise an 

because upon the "bed" evil could only be planned, not executed; but 
in the context they may reasonably be understood to mean the mental 
working out of the means for accomplishing the meditated iniquity. For 
the use of the verb "to work" in the sense of "to devise" or "to project" 
see Ps. Iviii. 2 (3) ; and for upon their beds cf. Ps. xxxvi. 4. The phrase 
it is in the power of (their) hand occurs in Gen. xxxi. 29, Prov. iii. 27. 

2. fields... houses. The loss of ancestral lands was more deeply felt 
in ancient than in modern communities, where manufactures and 
commerce offer numerous alternatives to an agricultural life ; and the 
verb here rendered seize is used of tearing away from a man his skin 
(iii. 2) and from a woman's bosom her fatherless child (Job xxiv. 9). 
The Mosaic Law sought to prevent the permanent alienation of landed 
property from its original owners or their kindred by various enact- 
ments, such as those which enjoined the restoration of estates (lost by 
purchase) every fiftieth year (Lev. xxv. 10), and the right of daughters, 
brothers, and uncles to inherit, when a man died without male issue 
(Num. xxvii. 1 11, cf. xxxiii. 54). It was assumed that the land, at 
its conquest, had been divided by Jehovah between the various tribes 
and families which then entered upon its occupation, so that the 
retention of patrimonies was tenaciously defended; cf. 1 Kgs. xxi. 4. 
In this and some other chapters Micah "speaks as a man of the people, 
and reveals to us as no other prophet does, the feelings of the common- 
alty towards their oppressors. To the peasantry the nobles seemed to 
have no object but plunder." W. R. Smith (The Prophets of Israel, 
p. 289). 

they oppress a man and his house. If the word house is taken literally, 
then the dwelling is represented as sensible of the oppression to which 
the dweller in it is subject: cf. Hab. ii. 11, Job xxxi. 38. But house may 
be used in the sense of household, including wife and servants (as in 
Dt. vi. 22, etc.; see JTS. vol. xxv. p. 80 f.). 

3 5. The retribution destined to fall upon the wrongdoers. 

3. against this family. I.e. against Israel (= Judah, see i. 5, 15 and 
cf. Jer. v. 15) which, out of all the families of the earth, was the one 
which Jehovah had admitted to His intimacy (Am. iii. 1, 2). The 
application of the term family to a nation seems to have originated 
with the belief that all peoples had descended from the three sons of 
Noah and their households (see Gen. x.). 

/ devise an evil. Jehovah requites the devisers of iniquity by devices 
of His own, which aim at their inevitable ruin. The word evil, used in 
v. 1 of iniquitous conduct, is here employed of retributive punishment: 
cf. 2 Is. xlv. 7, Am. iii. 6. 

II. 3, 4 ] MICAH 15 

evil, from which ye shall not remove your necks, neither shall 
ye walk haughtily ; for it is an evil time. 4 In that day shall they 
take up a parable against you, and lament x with a doleful 
lamentation, and say, We be utterly spoiled: he changeth the 

1 Or, with the lamentation, It is done; and say &c. 

remove your necks. The evil predicted is compared to a yoke on the 
neck of a beast of burden: cf. Dt. xxviii. 48, Jer. xxvii. 12. 

haughtily. Perhaps better, erect (LXX. opQoC) : under the yoke of a 
foreign master they will walk bent, like cattle. 

it is an evil time. The same phrase occurs in Am. v. 13, but whereas 
there it refers to the internal corruption of the State, here it has in view 
the external calamities menacing the country. 

4. take up. I.e. take upon the lips or tongue; cf. Num. xxiii. 7. A 
derivative of the verb was employed to denote a prophetic utterance or 
oracle, rendered in the English Bible by burden (see Is. xiii. 1, Nah. i. 1, 
Hab. i. 1, etc.). The similar English word, meaning the refrain of a song, 
is of different origin and comes from the Latin burdo, the hum of a bee 
or the drone of bagpipes. 

a parable. Better here, a taunt song. The word used signifies, in 
general, any utterance marked by correspondence between two things, 
whether two objects of thought which are compared or contrasted to- 
gether, or two sentences which are parallel in form. "Similitude" or 
"parable" is, in strictness, its best equivalent (the LXX. has Trapa/JoXrJ), 
but according to the character of what is expressed, it acquired the 
meaning of "proverb," "by-word," "didactic poem," or "derisive song" 
(see Is. xiv. 4, Hab. ii. 6). It is in this last sense that it is used in the 
present context, where it describes the character of the lamentation 
with which the enemies of the Jewish people travesty their sorrowful 
plaint and ridicule their woe. 

doleful. The Heb. term (nihyah) thus rendered is taken by some 
scholars as part of the verb "to be," and regarded as the beginning of 
the lamentation, and the passage has been translated (cf. mg.), "It is 
done 1 " (or "It has been 2 "), one saith, "we be utterly spoiled" etc. But 
the word in question appears to be due to dittography and should be 
omitted ; the rendering will then be and lament with a lamentation and 
say, We, etc. The substantive employed denotes a funeral dirge over 
such as are actually dead or such as are about to die (Jer. xxxi. 15, 
cf. Ezek. xxxii. 18). 

and say. The verb, if the text is sound, has an indefinite subject 
one saith, and (if the previous word (nihyah) is retained and translated 
It is done, as in the R.V. mg.) must be used like the Latin inquit. But 
this is not in accord with the Hebrew idiom, and probably a letter has 
been lost, the true reading being not 'dmar but lemur saying; the 

T W 1- \ ' 

LXX. has Xtyuv. 

1 Cf. Rev. xvi. 17, Vtyover. 8 Cf. Fait Ilium. 

16 MICAH [ii. 4 , 5 

portion of my people: how doth he Remove it from me! to the 
rebellious he divideth our fields. 5 Therefore thou shalt have 

1 Or, depart from 

We be, etc. The words from here to the end of the verse doubtless 
compose the parody with which their captors travesty the wailing of 
the captives. 

he changeth, etc. As the text stands, the subject of the verb is God, 
the ultimate Author of Judah's calamity. The procedure which occurred 
at the Conquest (it is complained) is reversed : the land which He once 
allotted to the Hebrew people is now withdrawn from them, and trans- 
ferred to, and divided among, those the heathen who have been 
rebellious in the sense that they have not obeyed His laws, as made 
known to them through reason and conscience (cf. Rom. ii. 15). But 
the absence of any expressed subject for the verb is strange, and the 
rebellious (lit. a rebel, Heb. shobhebh), a term suitable enough when 
applied to Israel, as in Jer. iii. 14, xxxi. 22, is not very appropriate to 
describe the heathen (though it is used of the children of Ammon in 
Jer. xlix. 4). A different text is suggested by the LXX. which has 

ToAcuTrcopia eraXatTrcop^cra/Aei/ /xept? Aaot) JJLOV Kare/JitTpijOr) tv (r^oivta), 
icat OVK -rfv 6 KaraXvcrcov avrov rov aTrocrrpe^af 01 aypot rj^v Sie/xeptcr^trav. 

The Heb. underlying this has been conjecturally reconstructed in various 
ways ; and the most plausible emendation, involving a transposition of 
the first clause, is, The portion of my people is measured out by line 
(ydmlr being replaced by yimmadh, followed by the insertion of behebhel) 
and there is none to restore it (eych ydmlsh Ii being replaced by ve'eyn 
meshibh) : to those who lead us captive (leshdbhebh replaced by leshdbhenu) 
our fields are divided (yehallech re-pointed yehullach) : we are utterly 
spoiled. This re-construction yields the Kinah metre in which taunt- 
songs are usually composed (see p. cxlii.). 

5. Therefore, etc. This is a very difficult verse, and has been di- 
versely translated and interpreted. In view of the singular pronoun 
thou, it has been deemed by some to be an indignant reply to Micah 
from the classes that he reproaches : they are supposed to declare that 
in consequence of his words no representative of his shall participate 
in any casting of lots (cf. Josh. xiv. 1, 2) for the division of parcels of 
ground (delimited by the measuring line) among the Hebrew community 
{Jehovah's congregation). But the pronoun thou may denote some 
individual representative of the offending classes denounced in w. 1 2, 
or else the singular may be an accidental error for the plur. you (the 
final m of the Heb. plural suffix being lost before the initial m of the 
following word). In any case, the passage is best taken as a continuation 
of the sentence pronounced by the prophet upon those who oppress 
their social inferiors, the therefore of this v. resuming the therefore of 
v. 3. Those who have wronged the weak by robbing them of their 
patrimonies will have no posterity (cf. Jer. xxix. 32) to cast the lot 
for a share in the apportionment of lands when, after the predicted 
chastisement has been undergone, there occurs in Israel a redistribution 

ii. 5-7] MICAH 17 

none that shall cast the line by lot in the congregation of the 
LORD. 6 a Prophesy ye not, thus they prophesy. They shall not 
prophesy 2 to these: reproaches shall not depart. 7 3 Shall it be 

1 Or, Prophesy ye not, they are ever prophesying, say they. Heb. Drop &c. See 
Amos vii. 16. 2 Or. of these things : their reproaches never cease 

3 Or, thou that art named the house of Jacob 

of the soil. Some doubt has been thrown upon the authenticity of the 
v. through the presence in it of the expression the congregation (or 
assembly) of^ Jehovah, since elsewhere this is found almost exclusively 
in comparatively late writings (like Dt., the Priestly code of the Penta- 
teuch, Neh., and Chron.). Nevertheless the phrase that excites suspicion 
occurs in Num. xx. 4 (which may be from JE). 

6 7. These verses, admitting various explanations in detail, contain 
protests uttered by the classes whom Micah has just denounced, and 
the extinction of whose posterity he has predicted. For similar protests 
against other prophets see Am. ii. 12, vii. 10 f., Is. xxviii. 9, 10. 

6. Prophesy ye not. The R.V. appears rightly to consider these 
opening words of the v. to be addressed by false prophets supporting 
the oppressors, or (if the mg. be adopted) by the latter themselves, to 
Micah and other true prophets, whom it is sought to hinder from 
prophesying woe. The verb here rendered to prophesy is literally to 
drop (see St. xxxii. 2, Am. vii. 16, cf. Ezek. xx. 46, xxi. 2), and the 
phrase may originally have had reference to the froth and foam which 
dripped from the lips of the prophets when tbey raved in a state of 
religious ecstasy. The next clause must be an announcement that 
steps will be taken to prevent by force tbe true prophets from speaking 
further They shall not prophesy to these people (Aq. eis TOVTOVS), or, as 
in the mg., of these things (i.e. of impending retribution); and the 
concluding words should probably be rendered, reproaches do not de- 
part (i.e. never cease), or shall not reproaches depart f (i.e. be put an 
end to ?). Another possible way of translating the first half of the v. 
(if the Heb. accents are disregarded) is, Prophesy not: they only shall 
prophesy who will not prophesy of these things. Kirkpatrick * distributes 
the clauses between the two parties thus: Prophesy ye not is the 
utterance of the false prophets, and Micah's rejoinder is, They (the 
true prophets) shall prophesy. To this the others reply, They shall not 
(at any rate) prophesy of these (evils) ; and Micah's defiant retort is, 
.Reproaches shall not depart (i.e. shall not be discontinued). But the 
text of this last clause is not above suspicion, for whereas the noun is 
fern, plur., the verb is in the masc. sing. The word rendered reproaches 
also means (in the singular) humiliation or ignominy and as the Vulg. 
has non comprehendet confusio, and Aq. renders the verb by ov icaraAi^, 
there is some support for the conjectural emendation lo' tassigh* 
celimmah (for lo' yissagh* celimmoth), ignominy shall not overtake us. 

7. Shall it be said, house of Jacob. The R.V., both in the text 

1 See The Doctrine of the Prophets, p. 222, note. 

2 These verbs in the Heb. have different sibilants. 

18 MICAH [ii. 7, 8 

said, house of Jacob, Is the spirit of the LORD Straitened? 
are these his doings? Do not my words do good to him that 
walketh uprightly? 8 But 2 of late my people is risen up as an 

1 Or, impatient Heb. shortened. 2 Heb. yesterday. 

and in the mg., assumes that Micah's opponents in this v. address their 
fellow-countrymen (Jacob standing for Judah, cf. iii. 1, 8, 9, v. 7, 8, 
Ps. Lxxvii. 15), though the rendering of the mg. (for which cf. 2 Is. 
xlviii. 1) implies a different vocalization of the consonants of the first 
word. But the LXX. arid the Vulg. (6 Ae'ywv, dicit) both regard this 
verb as active (not passive); and this has suggested an emendation 
giving the translation Hath the house of Israel said ...? or Doth the 
house of Israel say ...? the enquiry being put by Micah. 

Is the spirit of the LORD straitened? The question expresses the in- 
credulity, entertained by those who are denounced by Micah, that 
Jehovah can really be angry with them, as represented by the prophet. 
The verb rendered to be straitened is literally to be short] and the 
questioners mean, " Is Jehovah's temper short (or impatient ; for this 
sense cf. Num. xxi. 4, mg., Prov. xiv. 17, Heb.)?" 

are these his doings? I.e. does the vengeance with which we are 
threatened resemble His usual bearing towards us ? 

Do not my words, etc. If the text be retained, Jehovah must be 
supposed to speak here, correcting the idea, implied in the question 
just cited, that He does not resent the deeds of the wicked. But the 
LXX. has ov\ ot Ao'yoi avrov, K.T.\., Do not His words, etc., the question 
being put, like the preceding, by the evil-doers, who are unconscious 
that they are otherwise than righteous in their proceedings, and feel 
quite assured of Jehovah's favour. 

8. But of late, etc. This and the following three vv. are uttered by 
Jehovah speaking through His prophet, and if in the preceding v. the 
reading of the LXX. be adopted (as is done above), His answer to the 
evil-doers begins here. The strong and unscrupulous are charged with 
committing robbery by violence, stripping from peaceable wayfarers 
their robe (an outer mantle enveloping the garment, which was worn 
next the skin, Ex. xxii. 27, Dt. xxiv. 13). But it is impossible not to 
suspect that the text is corrupt, (a) There is nothing elsewhere to 
indicate that the wickedness complained of is only a very recent 
development (the word translated of late literally means yesterday}, 
(b) The phrase my people is here used of those who perpetrate violence, 
whereas in v. 9 (cf. iii. 3) it is employed, more suitably, of those who 
suffer from it. (c) The person (or persons) against whom the people 
is risen up as an enemy is (or are) left unexplained, (d) The preposition 
rendered from off means off (or in) the front of a person or thing. Of 
various proposed emendations one which departs but little from the 
existing text whilst yielding a superior sense, is that advocated by 
W. R. Smith (Prophets of Israel, p. 429), But ye are to my people (w$- 
'attem le 'ammi for we-ethmul l ammi) as an enemy that rises up (ydkum 

ii. s-i i] MICAH 19 

enemy : ye strip the robe from off the garment from them that 
pass by securely as men averse from war. 9 The women of my 
people ye cast out from their pleasant houses ; from their young 
children ye take away my glory for ever. 10 Arise ye, and depart ; 
for this is not your rest : because of uncleanness Hhat de- 
stroyeth, even with a grievous destruction. 11 If a man walking 
2 in wind and falsehood do lie, saying, I will prophesy unto thee 
of wine and of strong drink ; he shall even be the prophet of 
this people. 

1 The Sept. has, ye shall be destroyed with <&c. 2 Or, in a spirit of falsehood 

for yekdmem) in front of him that is at peace with him (the LXX.'s 
Ka.riva.vrL rfjs eip^vr/s points to sholemoh for salmah) : ye strip the robe 
from them that pass by securely, averse from (i.e. not thinking of) war. 

9. The women, etc. In this v. the charge preferred against the upper 
classes seems to be the merciless eviction of poor women (probably 
widows, cf. Is. x. 2), motived by a boundless desire for extensive estates 
(see v. 2). The R.V., in rendering the original by from their pleasant 
houses .. .from their young children, silently emends the Heb. (which is 
ungrammatical) by the LXX. 

my glory. This must mean the glory which Jehovah had bestowed ; 
and probably refers to the fertility of Judah's country, and the beauty 
of its capital: cf. Ezek. xvi. 14 (where my majesty represents the same 
Heb.) and see Dan. viii. 9, xi. 16, Ps. xlviii. 2. This glorious inheritance 
the children of the poor, through the exactions of the powerful, have to 
abandon. The LXX., however, here has mountains; and it may be 
suggested that my glory should be replaced by my mountain, i.e. the 
hilly ground constituting the territory of Judah (hardri for hadhari). 

10. God's sentence upon the sinners they are to be treated as they 
have treated their victims. 

for this is not your rest. The land, though originally given to the 
people as their permanent resting-place after the wanderings in the 
wilderness (for this sense of rest see Num. x. 33, Dt. xii. 9, cf. Josh. i. 
13, xxiii. 1), must be forfeited, and they are to depart from it into 
captivity because of their moral pollution. 

that destroyeth. Instead of the active verb (attached as a relative 
clause to uncleanness} the LXX. has, preferably, the passive, ye shall be 
destroyed (the following word even being omitted). 

11. A description of the kind of prophet acceptable to the people 
who would silence Micah. The verse would be more in place after v. 6, 
conveying the conclusion drawn by Micah from what is there said by 
his opponents. 

walking in wind and falsehood. The word rendered wind also means 
spirit, and a preferable translation (the two nouns constituting a hen- 
diadys) is walking in a spirit of falsehood (cf. 1 Kgs. xxii. 22). For the 
construction cf. Prov. vi. 12 (walketh in frowardness of mouth). A 


20 MICAH [ii. n 

prophet who was indifferent to moral truth and was content by his 
utterances to pander to the sensual cravings of his hearers would stand 
high in their estimation. For the prevalence of drunken habits in Judah 
see Is. v. 11, 12, 22; and for intoxication among prophets see Is. 
xxviii. 7. 

CHAPTER II. 12 13. 

These two verses are obviously not an immediate continuation of the pre- 
ceding passage. They declare that those addressed are to be concentrated 
within some city, whence they are soon to issue forth ; but the situation implied 
has been diversely explained. Some critics (e.g. W. E. Barnes) consider that 
the section is wholly menacing in tone, and that it predicts that the Jewish 
people will be herded within their capital, through invasion, and that this will 
be preliminary to their deportation into exile 1 . But this view is inconsistent 
with the idea conveyed by the phrase as a flock in the midst of their pasture, 
which suggests care and protection, and by the words the breaker is gone up 
before them, which are less suggestive of an enemy assaulting a besieged city 
than of a pioneer in an escape from a place of durance. Van Hoonacker, 
sensible of some of these considerations, seeks to obtain a similar interpretation 
by changing (of) Bozrah (botsrah) into in distress (batstsdrah) (after the LXX. 
ev QXfyci), by replacing in the midst of their pasture (haddobhero 2 ) by in the 
midst of plague (haddebher) and by omitting the final clause of v. 13, which 
W. E. Barnes retains but would render and Jehovah is on high above them 
(seated in judgment). Others (including apparently Sellin, 1OT. p. 176) 
suppose that the purport of the passage is consolatory in a time of trial prior 
to the exile, affirming that the remnant of Judah are to be concentrated in 
Jerusalem for their preservation, when the surrounding country is occupied by 
an invader ; and that they will be enabled to sally forth from it again through 
his retirement. Both these views leave the verses to Micah. But the situation 
which the section most clearly presumes is that of a body of Jews detained in 
exile, whence it is announced that they are to be shortly delivered ; and if this 
is correct, the passage probably does not proceed from Micah. It is true that 
predictions of exile, such as appear in i. 16, ii 4, 10, are sometimes accompanied 
by prophecies of a return from it (see Jer. xxxii 2844, Ezek. vi., xi. 1620), 
yet here the transition from an announcement of deportation into a foreign 
land to a promise of restoration is exceptionally abrupt; and the writer's 
language conveys the impression that his fellow-countrymen are actually 
dispersed in a land of captivity from which he is empowered to predict their 
return. Moreover the representation that Jehovah will shepherd His flock 
resembles that of the exilic prophet Deutero-Isaiah (see 2 Is. xl. 11), whilst the 
reference to the breaker and the departure of the people through the gate of 
their oppressors' capital recalls 2 Is. xlv. 2. It is therefore probable that this 
small section is an independent oracle of exilic date, addressed to the captives 
in Babylonia, who had been taken thither about 130 years after Micah's time, 
and who are to be assembled by God preparatory to repatriation. 

1 See JTS. xxv. p. 81. 

a This is ungrammatical, so that there must be some error. 

ii. 12, 1 3 ] MICAH 21 

12 I will surely assemble, Jacob, all of thee; I will surely 
gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as 
the sheep of Bozrah : as a flock in the midst of their pasture, 
they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude 0/men. 
13 The breaker is gone up before them : they have broken forth 
and passed on to the gate, and are gone out thereat : and their 
king is passed on before them, and the LORD at the head of them. 

12. I will... all of thee. Perhaps better (as suggested by the LXX.) 
/ will surely assemble Jacob, all of him. Cf. iv. 6, Is. xi. 12. 

the remnant of Israel. The precise phrase occurs only in the relatively 
late prophets Jeremiah (xxxi. 7), Ezekiel (ix. 8, xi. 13), and Zephaniah 
(iii. 13). 

as the sheep of Bozrah. The best known Bozrah was in Edom (1 Ch. 
i. 44, Am. i. 12, Is. xxxiv. 6, 3 Is. Ixiii. 1, Jer. xlix. 13): and the reason 
for alluding to it in connection with flocks of sheep is obscure. There 
was, however, also a Bozrah in Moab (see Jer. xlviii. 24), and Moab was 
famous as a pastoral country (see 2 Kgs. iii. 4). But a parallel to clause 
b, in the midst of their pasture, is desirable, and the Oxford Heb. Lex. 
takes botsrah here to be a common noun meaning enclosure (Sym. and 
Th. have cV o^vptu/xart) ; whilst many scholars conjecture batstslrah for 
botsrah, in the sheepfold (the Vulg. has in ovili), it being assumed, from 
comparison with the Arabic, that there existed in Heb. a word tslrah 
meaning "encampment" or "enclosure." For the conception of exiled 
Israel as a scattered flock re-assembled by God, their Shepherd, cf. 
Ezek. xxxiv. 12f. 

they shall... men. Better (with G. A. Smith), and they shall hum with 
men (the conjunction and being obtained from the suffix ungrammatically 
attached to the preceding word). The metaphor of a flock of sheep is, 
in this last clause, blended with a reference to the human beings of whom 
the sheep are a figure (Ezek. xxxvi. 38). For the promise to the exiled 
people of a multiplication of their numbers on tneir return home cf. 
Ezek. xxxvi. 10. 

13. The breaker. The fences behind which the exiles are confined 
will be breached, the breaker probably being Jehovah, though the 
allusion may possibly be to Jehovah's agent, Cyrus the Elamite, who 
captured Babylon and restored the Jews to their own land. The writer 
of this passage may, like Deutero-Isaiah, have watched with deep 
interest the advance of Cyrus against Babylon. 

is gone up. The verb is frequently employed of those who return to 
their native soil; cf. Ez. ii. 1, Neh. vii. 6, Hos. i. 11. Jerusalem, in the 
thoughts of the exiles, was still their capital. 

their king. On the occasion of the Return the representative of 
Judah's royal house was Zerubbabel or Sheshbazzar (if these are rightly 
identified, cf. Ezra ii. 2 with i. 11). But the parallel clause suggests 
that the title king designates Jehovah: cf. 1 Sam. xii. 12, Dt. xxxiii. 5, 
2 Is. xli. 21, xliii. 15, xliv. 6, Hi. 12. 

22 MICAH [in. 1-3 


The contents of this chapter consist of further utterances of Micah, and 
maintain the denunciatory tone of the foregoing chapters ending with ii. 11. 
Though the opening words (Hear, I pray you, etc.) indicate that it is an 
address separate from that comprised in ii. 1 11, the general tenor is similar, 
including both the arraignment of sins committed, and the prediction of 
calamities that will punish them. But whereas those who are the objects 
of invective in ch. ii. are the influential and powerful classes without precise 
definition, those for whom a nemesis is foretold here are specified as the rulers, 
the prophets, and the priests. The date of the oracle is determined by the 
reference to it in Jer. xxvi. 18, where it is stated that Micah delivered it in 
the reign of Hezekiah (727 (or 720) 692 B.C.). 

III. 1 And I said, Hear, I pray you, ye heads of Jacob, and 
rulers of the house of Israel : is it not for you to know judgement? 
2 who hate the good, and love the evil ; who pluck off their skin 
from off them, and their flesh from off their bones ; 3 who also 
eat the flesh of my people ; and they flay their skin from off them, 
and break their bones : yea, they chop them in pieces, as for the 

1 4. An expostulation and a warning to the governing classes for 
their rapacious treatment of the governed. 

1. And I said. These words do not appear to connect the present 
passage immediately with ii. 11 (no personal pronoun is expressed in 
the Heb., marking an antithesis between the speaker here and the false 
but popular prophets referred to there), but they suggest that there 
once preceded it some account of the circumstances in which the prophet 
felt constrained to speak. 

ye heads of Jacob, and rulers of the house of Israel. The officials of the 
state were similarly denounced by Isaiah (i. 10). Instead of ye heads of 
Jacob the LXX. has at dpxal oucov 'la/cwft cf. v. 9. The names Jacob and 
Israel are synonyms for Judah, as in ii. 12. 

to know judgement. An essential requirement for those in authority 
was both a knowledge of the principles of justice and a sense of obligation 
to administer it to suitors : cf. Am. v. 15. 

their skin... their flesh. The pronouns must refer to my people, 
mentioned in tbe following verse: cf. the similar anticipatory use of 
the personal pronoun in Is. xiii. 2. 

3. eat the flesh, etc. For the phraseology cf. Ps. xiv. 4. The people 
are likened to sheep who are devoured by the shepherds (a figure for 
the rulers) who should protect them : cf. Ezek. xxxiv. 2 4. 

break their bones. The verb seems to mean literally "to cause to 
break forth " ; so perhaps the rendering should be, lay bare (to sight) 
their bones. 

chop them in pieces. The verb appears to be another form of a com- 
moner word meaning "to divide for distribution"; cf. 3 Is. Iviii. 7 (and 
see next note) : LX 

in. 3-5] MICAH 23 

pot, and as flesh within the caldron. 4 Then shall they cry unto 
the LORD, but he will not answer them : yea, he will hide his 
face from them at that time, according as they have wrought 
evil in their doings. 5 Thus saith the LORD concerning the 
prophets that make my people to err ; that bite with their teeth 
and cry, Peace ; and whoso putteth not into their mouths, they 

as for the pot. The rendering for is unnatural. The Vulg. rightly 
has in lebete, whilst the LXX. has ws crap/cas et? Ae'/fyra; and a re- 
arrangement of the consonants of the word translated as gives the 
reading (which the LXX. supports and the parallelism demands) they 
deal them out like meat in the pot. For the last word cf. 1 Sam. ii. 14. 
The prophet's complaint against the rulers seems to be that they sub- 
ordinate equity to the promotion of their own interest, or that of their 
class, the weak and helpless being brought under the operation of 
oppressive ordinances, designed to extract from them their money or 
other possessions, in order to swell the fortunes, or minister to the 
enjoyment, of those who should be their protectors. 

4. Then shall they cry, etc. To the oppressors there will come 
a time of retribution ; and then they who have been deaf to entreaties 
will find their own prayers to Jehovah disregarded : cf. Job xxvii. 9. 

he will hide his face. To do this was to manifest displeasure; see 
Dt. xxxi. 17, Ps. xiii. 1, xxx. 7, xliv. 24, and cf. Is. i. 15. Conversely, 
Divine satisfaction was indicated when God turned, or lifted, upon 
His servants the light of His countenance; see Ps. iv. 6, xxxi. 16, 
Ixvii. 1, Ixxx. 3, etc. To " see the face " of a king was a privilege 
which migbt be granted or refused to a subject (2 Sam. xiv. 24, 2 Kgs. 
xxv. 19); and to "see the face" of God figuratively, through happy 
experiences, was a still higher privilege. The words at that time spoil 
tbe balance of the clauses, and should probably be omitted. 

according as. The LXX. has dvP w, because (a meaning which the 
Heb. admits: cf. 1 Sam. xxviii. 18, 2 Kgs. xvii. 26 (end)). 

5 8. Here transition is made to the false prophets who, indifferent 
to moral and religious truth, make the favourable or unfavourable 
purport of their utterances to depend upon what they can exact from 
those who consult them. For such conduct requital will come through 
the withdrawal, in the hour of their need, of all Divine illumination. 

5. that make my people to err. Contemporary prophets are similarly 
charged with being deceivers in Is. ix. 15, Jer. v. 31, xiv. 14, xxiii. 13, 
Ezek. xiii. 9. 

that bite with their teeth and cry, Peace. The verb bite is commonly 
employed in connection with venomous serpents (Gen. xlix. 17, Num. 
xxi. 6, 9, Am. v. 19, Eccles. x. 8, 11) or used figuratively of the effects 
of wine (Prov. xxiii. 32); but here it must refer to the satisfaction, by 
the prophets, of their bodily needs. The second clause is conditional 
on the first; and the meaning is only when their appetites are grati- 
fied by enquirers consulting them do they utter favourable oracles (cf. 

24 MICAH [in. 5-7 

even prepare war against him : 6 Therefore it shall be night unto 
you, that ye shall have no vision ; and it shall be dark unto you, 
that ye shall not divine ; and the sun shall go down upon the 
prophets, and the day shall be black over them. 7 And the seers 

1 Heb. sanctify. 

Jer. vi. 13, 14): if they fail to get what they want, their utterances 
become menacing. 

prepare war against him. The words are not to be taken in a literal 
sense, What the false prophets did was to pronounce anyone, who 
would not feed and support them, to be an enemy of God and the 
state, and so, by exposing him to suspicion and persecution, to ac- 
complish his ruin. To prepare war is literally "to consecrate (or, as 
in the mg., "sanctify") war" (cf. Jer. vi. 4, Joel iii. 9); and soldiers 
were consecrated men (Is. xiii. 3, cf. Jer. xxii. 7). In primitive times 
among Semitic peoples war was not a struggle merely between human 
antagonists but between the gods of the combatant nations (cf. p. ex.), 
and so had a religious aspect: the two sides, before the campaign 
opened, offered sacrifices to their respective deities and sought and 
received their directions for the conduct of it ; and after it, if success- 
ful, they devoted to them the lives and possessions of the defeated 
enemy: see for the Hebrews 1 Sam. vii. 9, xiii. 9, 2 Sam. v. 19, Josh, 
vi. 17; and for the Moabites the inscription of Mesha 1 (where the 
king relates how Chemosh, the Moabite deity, bade him go and take 
Nebo, and when he had captured it, he devoted it to his god). How 
completely in the early history of Israel the cause of the nation was 
deemed the cause of its Deity appears from the fact that the Israelites' 
wars were called "the wars of Jehovah" (Num. xxi. 14), that His Ark 
accompanied their armies (Num. x. 35, 36), and tbat the prophetess 
Deborah, when the city of Meroz held aloof from Israel's revolt against 
the Canaanites, cursed it because it came not to the help of Jehovah. 

6. Therefore, etc. The false prophets, whose predictions have been 
dictated by their self-interest, will be deprived of all their pretended 
faculties of insight and prevision when God's judgment is executed (cf. 
Ezek. xiii. 2 f., Is. xxix. 10, 11). Their ostensible ability to counsel or 
console will disappear just when most needed, and in place of basking 
in the sunlight of prosperity, as hitherto, they will be plunged in the 
gloom of calamity. For the figures of speech cf. Am. v. 18, viii. 9. 
Instead of the verb it shall be dark the LXX. and Vulg. have nouns 
(cTKoria, tenebrai), which preserve the parallelism better. 

7. the seers. It would seem that the individuals who were denoted 
by tbe term seer (which is used to translate two Hebrew synonyms, ro'eh 
and hozeh) actually were, or were believed to be, endowed by God with 
a faculty of clairvoyance or second-sight, which caused them to be 

1 See Hastings, DB. in. pp. 404408. 

HI. 7, 8] MICAH 25 

shall be ashamed, and the diviners confounded ; yea, they shall 
all cover their lips : for there is no answer of God. 8 But I truly 

consulted by persons in perplexity. A narrative throwing light upon 
the reputation which they enjoyed in early times for abnormal powers 
of mental vision, upon the nature of the enquiries put to them, and 
upon the remuneration which was offered to them is contained in 1 Sam. 
ix. 1 x. 16. In this account it is explained that the term (roeh), there 
applied to Samuel (cf. 1 Ch. ix. 22), was an ancient one, afterwards 
supplanted by the term "prophet" (ndbhi') which, if derived from the 
root ndbha', " to bubble up," denoted one who was thought to exhibit the 
influence of God within him not through clairvoyance but through 
outbursts of ecstatic speech 1 . But though "prophet" became the pre- 
vailing title, yet seer was retained in use: see 2 Sam. xv. 27, 2 Ch. 
xvi. 7, Is. xxx. 10 (instances ofro'eh) and 2 Kgs. xvii. 13, 2 Ch. ix. 29, 
xix. 2, Am. vii. 12 (instances of hozeh). 

ashamed. I.e. overwhelmed with disappointment at the failure of 
their hopes and predictions. The combination of the verb with con- 
founded recurs in Jer. xv. 9, Ps. xxxv. 26, xl. 14, etc. 

diviners. These were a class of persons whose presence in Israel was 
probably due to foreign influence, for they are associated with the 
Philistines (1 Sam. vi. 2), Canaanites (Dt. xviii. 14, 1 Sam. xxviii. 8), 
Ammonites (Ezek. xxi. 29 (34)), and Babylonians (2 Is. xliv. 25). ^ They 
were perhaps addicted to necromancy and magic arts, for which, in 
Israel, the intellectual and spiritual illumination marking the true 
prophets of Jehovah was (according to Dt. xviii. 10) to be the substitute. 
shall all cover their lips. This was a sign of distress displayed especially 
by mourners for the dead (Ezek. xxiv. 17, 22). The word rendered lips 
is literally "moustache" (the LXX. in 2 Sam. xix. 25 translates it by 
pva-Tag, from which the English term is derived); and the practice of 
covering the hair of the chin and upper lip on occasions of mourning 
was perhaps a substitute for the removal of it. This custom of removing 
or concealing the hair of the lips, on the part of the relatives of a dead 
person, may have been originally designed to alter the appearance of 
the face, and so prevent recognition by the ghost of the deceased, who 
might otherwise haunt them. (The adoption, by mourners, of a special 
garb, dissimilar to that worn at other times, may have the same ex- 
planation.) Eventually, the covering of the lips became a mere conven- 
tional token of wretchedness, for the practice was observed by lepers 
(Lev. xiii. 45). 

8. But I truly, etc. Micah, in distinction from the prophets just 
described by him (v. 5), claims to be divinely enabled to denounce with 
courage the sins prevalent in the nation. By power is meant the excep- 
tional capacity conferred upon him for the discharge of his mission; 

1 Another derivation connects ndbhi 1 with Arabic and Assyrian words meaning 
to "announce," "proclaim," which would imply that the prophet got his Heb. 
name because he was regarded as God's spokesman. 

26 MICAH [in. 8-10 

am full of power *by the spirit of the LORD, and of judgement, 
and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to 
Israel his sin. 9 Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of 
Jacob, and rulers of the house of Israel, that abhor judgement, 
and pervert all equity. 10 They build up Zion with blood, and 

1 Or, even the spirit 

judgment stands for the decisions he has to pronounce; whilst might 
describes the resolution and fortitude with which he will face opposition 
in the discharge of his duty. 

by the spirit of the LORD. To the spirit of God was ascribed the 
origin of any extraordinary force, physical or psychical, by which a man 
felt himself to be empowered beyond the normal limits of human ability 
(cf. Acts i. 8), or which carried him away on some irresistible tide of 
emotion. This sense, which the prophets had, of being subject to some 
influence constraining them to act, against their inclination, in a certain 
way finds expression in vivid metaphors: see 1 Kgs. xviii. 12 (cf. 2 Kgs. 
ii. 16), Jer. xx. 79, Ezek. ii. 2, iii. 12, 14, xi. 1. The feeling of ex- 
ternal compulsion exerted by the spirit caused it sometimes to be 
described as "Jehovah's hand" (1 Kgs. xviii. 46, Ezek. viii. 1). The 
Heb. of the phrase by the spirit of the LORD is peculiar, though the 
meaning by given to the preposition here used may perhaps be defended 
by Gen. iv. 1, xlix. 25 (but see Driver, ad toe.). The phrase, however, 
seriously disturbs the rhythm of the v., and it is probably the correct 
but unnecessary comment of a copyist or reader, which has become 
inserted in the text. 

declare... transgression. Cf. 3 Is. Iviii. 1. 

9 11. In these w. there is a resumption of the arraignment of the 
civil magistrates contained in w. 1 4 ; but on this occasion the priests 
are joined with them, and both classes are charged with venality in 
connection with their decisions upon civil and religious matters. 

9. this. I.e. the announcement of merited doom (v. 12). 

10. They build. Better (continuing the preceding sentence), building : 
the Heb. has the sing., which requires correction to the plur., after the 
LXX. 01 otKoSo/xowTss, Vulg. qui cedificatis. The prophet's meaning 
seems to be that the wealth which enabled the ruling classes to erect 
imposing mansions and so to enlarge and beautify the capital was 
amassed through judicial murders (the property of innocent victims 
being confiscated (cf. Is. i. 15, Hab. ii. 12)), or through a system of 
forced labour (whereby they compelled the poor to work for them without 
remuneration (Jer. xxii. 13 19)). 

Zion. This, in primitive times, was only part of the larger area after- 
wards included in Jerusalem. It was the name belonging to the Jebusite 
fortress (2 Sam. v. 7) which was captured by David and made the 
capital of his kingdom. The later Jerusalem occupied two adjacent hills 
separated from the adjoining country on the east and west respectively 

in. io, 1 1] MICAH 27 

Jerusalem with iniquity. 11 The heads thereof judge for reward, 
and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof 
divine for money : yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, 

by the valley of the Kidron 1 and the valley of the son of Hinnom 2 , and 
divided from one another by a shallow depression 3 ; and the Jebusite 
fortress was in all probability situated on the eastern hill. Though the 
name Zion came to be given later to the western hill, which is the more 
extensive and the more commanding of the two heights, yet the eastern 
must have been the one occupied by the Jebusite community, since it 
alone has a water supply (in the Kidron valley). The southern end of 
this hill was known as the Ophel (cf. iv. 8), and was the original site of 
Zion : the northern extremity, which was of higher elevation, was the 
site of the Temple, this being, at first, outside of Zion (1 Kgs. viii. 1). 

11. judge for reward. For other allusions to judicial corruption in 
Judah see vii. 3, Is. i. 23, Ezek. xxii. 12. Warnings against it occur in 
the Law (Ex. xxiii. 1, Dt. xvi. 19). 

the priests. The misconduct of the sacerdotal order is dwelt upon by 
other prophetic writers (see Is. xxviii. 7, Hos. iv. 6, v. 1, Jer. ii. 26, 
v. 31, etc.). The accusation against them here is that in expounding 
the Divine Law (which was one of their functions (see Lev. x. 11, Dt. 
xvii. 8 13, Mai. ii. 7)) when application was made to them for the 
solution of perplexing questions of conduct, wherever the codes included 
in the Pentateuch (so far as they were in existence at this time) did not 
afford guidance, they delivered as decisions of Jehovah such answers as 
the enquirers made it worth their while to furnish. 

the prophets. These, as well as the priests, were channels of Divine 
instruction; and were intended to occupy in Israel the place of the 
augurs, sorcerers, wizards, and necromancers to whom the heathen 
resorted (Dt. xviii. 10 f): cf. p. 25. 

divine. Though the verb and the corresponding noun (divination) are 
generally used in connection with methods of ascertaining the will of 
heaven practised by heathen peoples and forbidden in Israel (cf. Ezek. 
xxi. 21, 1 Sam. xv. 23 (where witchcraft is properly divination}), and 
commonly carried with them associations of falsehood and lying (see 
Jer. xiv. 14, Ezek. xiii. 6, 9, xxii. 28, 2 Zech. x. 2), yet the substantive 
is employed in a good sense in Prov. xvi. 10 (mg.). 

yet will they lean upon the LORD. The magistrates, priests, and 
prophets, whom Micah condemns were worshippers of Jehovah, as the 
national divinity, but were so little sensible of His moral character that, 
whilst committing all kinds of iniquity, they reposed serene confidence 
in His protection, not recognizing that this was conditional upon their 
right-dealing (cf. Am. v. 14). The source of their confidence was the 

1 Now called Wady Sittna Mariam (Valley of our Lady Mary). 

2 Now Wddy er Eabdbi. 

3 Formerly known as the Tyropceon (Valley of the cheese-makers), but now as 
El Wad (the Valley). 

28 MIC AH [m. n, 12 

Is not the LORD in the midst of us? no evil shall come upon us. 
12 Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and 
Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house 
as the high places of a forest. 

bond thought by Semitic peoples to subsist between a god and the nation 
which offered to him the sacrifices and ceremonial homage that he was 
believed to value. They reflected that in Jerusalem was Jehovah's 
Temple (cf. Jer. vii. 4), and within the Temple was the Ark (cf. Jer. 
iii. 16), with which His presence and glory were peculiarly associated 
(see Num. xiv. 42, 44, 1 Sam. iv. 3, 21, Ps. Ixxviii. 61). In the time of 
our Lord similar trust was placed by the Pharisees and Sadducees in 
their descent from Abraham (Mt. iii. 9). 

12. Therefore, etc. The prediction contained in this v. was not ful- 
filled for more than a century; and a subsequent generation recognized 
that the fulfilment had been deferred in consequence of the repentance 
of the king and his people (Jer. xxvi. 19). But the religious and moral 
collapse that occurred under later kings brought at last the judgment 
foretold; and in 587 Jerusalem was captured by the Babylonians, its 
walls dismantled, and its principal citizens deported. 

for your sake. I.e. in consequence of your misconduct: cf. Dt. i. 37. 

heaps. I.e. heaps of ruins (as in i. 6). 

the mountain of the house. I.e. mount Zion, the site of the Temple 
(p. 27). 

the high places of a forest. The LXX., Sym. and Th. all represent 
high places by a singular (aA<ros, t^os and /3owos respectively). The 
notion here conveyed is that of a clearing (like the Latin lucus) on the 
summit of a wooded hill. To such a bare and lonely condition would 
the city, with its splendid fane, be reduced: cf. Lam. v. 18. 


With ch. iii. there ends all of the book that can with confidence be assigned 
to Micah (prophesying in the 8th century), though there are two other passages 
which may also proceed from him (see pp. 52, 56). The rest of it would seem 
to be of later origin. These two chapters, in particular, consist of several 
oracles some very short apparently having in view diverse situations, and 
probably composed by various writers living at separate periods of Hebrew 
history, but all subsequent to the 8th century. 


In this section the tone of menace towards Jerusalem marking chs. i. iii 
gives place to an utterance of different spirit, predicting for mount Zion pre- 
eminence over other heights, and the dignity of becoming a centre for the 
diffusion of a knowledge of Jehovah's requirements among the nations of 
the world, who will resort thither for instruction, and will submit their disputes 
to Jehovah's arbitrament Its contents, when compared with those of the 

iv.] MICAH 29 

preceding ch., suggest for it quite other authorship (cf. p. xxiii. f.). Thus (1) the 
assumption made in it that the Temple at Jerusalem is the sole seat of 
the worship of Jehovah would be impossible in Micah's time, and presupposes 
the abolition of the country sanctuaries by Josiah (2 Kgs. xxiii.), circ. 620 B.C. 
(2) There is a complete lack of connection between it and its immediate context 
(ii. 12 13 is remote), for the initial assertion that Jerusalem will become the 
seat of religious instruction for the heathen world involves a situation which 
is unexplained, since nothing is said to account for the circumstance that after 
the city has been doomed to destruction (iii. 12), and its populace, by im- 
plication, slaughtered or enslaved, it is once more the home of Jews and the 
site of Jehovah's house : contrast Jer. iii. 6 25. (3) The idea that the heathen 
will spontaneously make pilgrimages to Jerusalem to obtain there some know- 
ledge of Jehovah presupposes a wonderful intervention by Him in the fortunes 
of the Jews, attracting attention to their God; but no light is here thrown on 
the nature of the occurrence: contrast vii. 15 16, Ezek. xx. 41, xxviii. 25, 
xxxvii. 2128, 2 Is. xlv. 16, 14, 2224, xlix. 7. These features in combination 
render it tolerably certain that the passage does not proceed from Micah. 
The greater part of the section occurs also in Is. ii. 2 4 ; and the reasons that 
cause Micah's authorship to be questioned are likewise obstacles in the way of 
believing it to be a genuine prophecy of Isaiah, or to be derived by both 
prophets from an earlier source. The character of the passage points to its 
being of post-exilic origin, and inserted in both of the books wherein it is now 
included. The passage in Is. xi. 10 which is sometimes cited as a pre-exilic 
parallel is probably itself post-exilic *. Certain small variations are discernible 
in the two versions when compared ; and that in Micah contains a verse that 
is absent from Isaiah. This will be apparent if they are placed side by side in 
a translation a little more exact than that of the R.T. 

Isaiah ii, Micah iv. 

2 And it shall come to pass in the 1 And it shall come to pass in the 
sequel of days that established shall sequel of days that the mountain of 
be the mountain of Jehovah's house Jehovah's house shall be established 
on the top of the mountains, and shall on the top of the mountains and it 
be lifted up above the hills, and unto shall be lifted up above the hills, and 
it shall all the nations stream. on to it shall peoples stream. 

3 And many peoples shall go and 2 And many nations shall go and 
say, Come ye, and let us go up to the say, Come ye, and let us go up to the 
mountain of Jehovah, to the house of mountain of Jehovah, and to the house 
the God of Jacob, that He may teach of the God of Jacob, that He may 
us out of His ways, and that we may teach us out of His ways, and that we 
walk in His paths, for out of Zion may walk in His paths, for out of Zion 
shall go forth instruction, and the shall go forth instruction, and the 
word of Jehovah from Jerusalem. word of Jehovah from Jerusalem. 

1 See the commentary on Isaiah in this series, p. 86, or Gray, Isaiah, p. 223 

30 MICAH [iv. r 

Isaiah ii. Micah iv. 

4 And He shall judge between the 3 And He shall judge between 

nations and shall give decisions for great peoples and shall give decisions 

great peoples; and they shall beat for strong nations afar off; and they 

the swords of them into coulters and shall beat their swords into coulters 

their spears into pruning hooks ; na- and their spears into pruning hooks ; 

tion shall not lift up sword against nation shall not lift up sword against 

nation, neither shall they any more nation, neither shall they any more 

learn war. learn war. 

4 But they shall sit every man 
under his vine and under his fig tree, 
none making them afraid; for the 
mouth of JEHOVAH of hosts hath 
spoken it. 

IV. 1 l Eut in the latter days it shall come to pass, that the 
mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established 2 in the top of 

1 See Is. ii. 24. 2 Or, at the head 

1. in the latter days. Better, in the sequel^ of days, an expression 
which denotes a future period varying in connotation with the outlook 
of the successive speakers or writers who employ it. It is generally 
used in connection with predictions of good fortune, and " designates 
the period when the hopes, whatever they are, that relieve a dis- 
satisfying present will be fulfilled." In Gen. xlix. 1 the range of the 
prospect signified by it does not extend beyond the conquest of Canaan ; 
in Num. xxiv. 14 it is the time of the monarchy and the mastery by 
Israel of the surrounding countries of Moab and Edom ; in Hos. iii. 5 
(end) and Dt. iv. 30 it is the restoration of Israel from conditions of 
tribulation and distress ; whilst in Dan. ii. 28 it is the emergence of the 
kingdoms destined to succeed to the empire of the Babylonians under 
Nebuchadrezzar. In the present passage it denotes an ideal age sub- 
sequent to the restoration of Israel to its own land. The N.T. equiva- 
lents are ew* tcr^arou TWV xpovw (1 Pet. i. 20), TT' ar\aTov TOV ^povov 
(Jude 18), and r* eo-xarov TWJ/ ^//.epwv TOVTWV (Heb. i. 2). 

the mountain, etc. I.e. the Temple hill (see on p. 27), which, at the 
point where the Temple was built, reaches an altitude of 2400 ft. above 
the sea. 

established in the top. Better, established on the top (cf. Ex. xxiv. 17, 
Ps. Ixxii. 16). The writer conceives mount Zion not merely as being at 
the head of all other heights (as in the mg.), but as elevated upon them, 
this not only marking its superior rank as the site of Jehovah's sanc- 
tuary, but also enabling it to be descried from a distance by those who 

1 The term rendered sequel sometimes means the end of a period as distinguished 
from its beginning (2 Is. xlvi. 10), or the end of an individual life, or of a phase in 
a nation's career (Prov. v. 4, Jer. xxxi. 17). 

iv. i- 3 ] MICAH 31 

the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills ; and 
peoples shall flow unto it. 2 And many nations shall go and say, 
Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and 
to the house of the God of Jacob ; and he will teach us of his 
ways, and we will walk in his paths : for out of Zion shall go 
forth Hhe law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 3 And 
he shall judge 2 between 3 many peoples, and shall 4 reprove strong 
nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, 

1 Or, instruction 2 Or, among 3 Or, great 

4 Or, decide concerning 

wish to reach it. In the parallel passage in Isaiah the order of the 
words has been disturbed, and the metre impaired. 

it. The pronoun is here expressed in the Heb., preserving the 
rhythm : in Is. it is absent. 

peoples. Is. has all the nations. 

flow. Or stream-, cf. Jer. xxxi. 12, li. 44. 

2. And many nations shall, etc. Cf. Zech. viii. 21, 22. 

the God of Jacob. The name Jacob here describes the people of 
Judah only, as in iii. 1, 8. 

teach us of his ways. Literally, teach us out of his ways, i.e. impart 
from His unlimited store of spiritual illumination such amount as is 
essential and sufficient for the course of life He requires from men. 

the law. Better (as in the mg.), instruction : the noun corresponds 
to the verb teach in the previous clause. In the N.T. a counterpart of 
the statement here made may be found in Lk. xxiv. 47 : cf. also 1 Cor. 
xiv. 24, 25. 

3. And he shall judge, etc. The utterance of the nations ceases with 
the end of v. 2, and the speaker here is the propbet. 

many peoples. Better (as in the mg.), great peoples (parallel with 
strong nations, cf. Dt. iv. 38). The clause, however, is too long to be 
in keeping with the prevailing rhythm, and Is., where there is no adj. 
with peoples, has preserved tbe better text. 

reprove. Better, give decisions for (note mg.); cf. Is. xi. 4. Where 
Jehovah is universally accepted as arbitrator in international disputes, 
there will be no more occasion for appeals to the sword. 

afar off. This is in all probability an interpolation: it is absent 
from Isaiah and spoils the balance of the clauses. 

plowshares. Perhaps better, coulters (the blade fixed in front of 
the ploughshare), into which swords could be more easily converted. 
Sym., however (on 1 Sam. xiii. 20), gives as its equivalent the Greek 
o-Ka^etov, " a spade " or " mattock." The abolition of military weapons 
from among both houses of Israel, and the proclamation of universal 
peace amongst the surrounding nations, is predicted for the Messianic 
Age in 2 Zech. ix. 10, Ps. xlvi. 9, Is. xi. 9. 

32 MICAH [iv. 3-5 

and their spears into pruninghooks : nation shall not lift up 
sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 
4 But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig 
tree ; and none shall make them afraid : for the mouth of the 
LORD of hosts hath spoken it. 5 For all the peoples 1 will walk 
every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name 
of the LORD our God for ever and ever. 

1 Or, walk 

pruninghooks. Compare Martial's epigram (Falx ex ense) : Pax 
me certa duds placidos curvavit in usus; Agricolce nunc sum, militis 
ante fui (xiv. 34). 

4. This v. is not contained in Is., and is probably an expansion in 
prose of the preceding oracle. Vines and fig trees were characteristic 
products of Palestine (Dt. viii. 8, Hos. ii. 12). Similar descriptions of 
peace and plenty are found in 1 Kgs. iv. 25, 2 Kgs. xviii. 31, Zech. iii. 
10 : for the second clause cf. Is. xvii. 2, Jer. xxx. 10, xlvi. 27, etc. 

the LOED of hosts. It has been debated whether, in the phrases 
JEHOVAH of hosts and God of hosts (Am. iii. 13, v. 27), the hosts are 
terrestrial, or celestial, armies. If the former, the forces of Israel 
(called the hosts of JEHOVAH in Ex. vii. 4, cf. 1 Sam. xvii. 36) must be 
meant ; but probably the term really has reference to armies of angels ; 
cf. Dt. xxxiii. 2, Joel iii. II 1 . 

5. For all the peoples, etc. Better, Though all the peoples walk (cf. mg. ) 
each in the name of his god, yet we will walk in the name of JEHOVAH, 
our God, for ever and ever. For the translation though (or although) 
cf. Ps. xlix. 18 (19), Ex. xiii. 17, Dt. xxix. 19 (18), Josh. xvii. 18. 
This v. places in contrast to the ideal future depicted in the foregoing 
vv. the contemporary condition of the surrounding world, wherein 
idolatry still prevails; but the writer, notwithstanding, voices his own 
and his countrymen's resolve to be unfalteringly loyal to Jehovah. To 
walk in the name of Jehovah probably means to behave according to the 
revelation of Himself which God has granted. Though the name of 
Jehovah is occasionally used to denote a Theophany (Is. xxx. 27), it 
more commonly expresses a disclosure of His character; so that 
Jerusalem, with its temple, which was the locality where God's moral 
and spiritual nature was pre-eminently revealed through the Mosaic 
Law and Prophetic instruction, was styled the place where Jehovah 
had put His name (see Dt. xii. 11, and cf. 1 Kgs. viii. 20, 29). 

1 See further, The Book of Isaiah (in this series), pp. 12, 13. 

iv. 6, 7 ] MICAH 33 


That these three verses originated at a time distinct from that which 
witnessed the composition of the previous five is suggested by the different 
situation of the Jewish people. Whereas in vv. 1 5 it is assumed that the 
people are already restored to their own land, and the predictive element 
relates to the future dignity which they are to enjoy, here it is presupposed 
that, having undergone rejection by Jehovah, they are still in exile, and the 
prediction which the passage contains foretells their return to their former 
homes, and the restoration to them of the dominion which was once theirs. 
The most natural conclusion to which the interna evidence points is that this 
oracle is neither by Micah nor by the author of the preceding section, but 
(like that in ii. 12 13) proceeds from a prophet living in exilic times amongst 
the captives in Babylon, and was designed to console and encourage them with 
a near prospect of deliverance. (Note the occurrence of the verbs / will 
assemble and I will gather in both ii. 12 and iv. 6.) A pre-exilic date, however, 
becomes possible if these verses and verses 9 10 are transposed, as suggested 
by J. M. P. Smith, though the century in which they were written must have 
been not the 8th (when Micah lived) but the 6th, or not earlier than the very 
end of the 7th ; see p. 35. 

6 In that day, saith the LORD, will I assemble her that halteth, 
and I will gather her that is driven away, and her that I have 
afflicted ; 7 and I will make her that halted a remnant, and her 
that was cast far off a strong nation : and the LORD shall reign 

6. In that day. I.e. the coming Day of Jehovah, which, in the mind 
of the pre-exilic prophets, was generally conceived to be a time of 
judgment and disaster for the sinful people, but which during and after 
the Exile was increasingly regarded as an occasion fraught with re- 
demption for those who had already undergone retribution for their 
offences; see Is. xi. 11, xii. 1, Am. ix. 11, and contrast Am. v. 18. 

her that halteth. A figure for an afflicted community: cf. Zeph. iii. 19. 

and her that I have afflicted. The presence of this clause disturbs the 
parallelism between the rest of the v. and 7 a ; it is probably a prosaic 
explanation of the preceding metaphorical term. 

7. a remnant. In this context the word must signify a germ from 
which the nation can be renewed: cf. v. 7. For the promise cf. 3 Is. 
Ix. 22. 

her that was cast off. The Vulg. has earn qua; labor aver at (i.e. "her 
that was distressed"), apparently reading hannildjah for hannahala } ah. 

the LORD shall reign over them. In prophetic descriptions of the 
happy future in store for Jehovah's people sometimes the sovereign 
who is to rule them is a king of human descent, endowed with Divine 
qualities (Is. viii. 8, ix. 6 f.); at other times he is Jehovah Himself 
(Is. xxiv. 23, Ob. 21) : see p. cxiv. 

34 MICAH [iv. 7, 8 

over them in mount Zion from henceforth even for ever. 8 And 
thou, tower of Hhe flock, 2 the hill of the daughter of Zion, 
unto thee shall it come ; yea, the former dominion shall come, 
the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem. 

i Or, Eder See Gen. xxxv. 21. 2 Heb. Ophel. 

from henceforth. Better, from thenceforth. 

8. tower of the flock. The term likens Jerusalem to a solitary 
watch-tower, such as might be constructed by shepherds to protect 
them, whilst guarding their sheep on lonely pasture grounds, from 
marauders or beasts of prey (cf. 2 Ch. xxvi. 10, 2 Kgs. xvii. 9); and 
consequently it implies that the city apostrophized by the prophet is 
situated amid solitude and desolation, its surviving buildings being no 
better than temporary shelters. The Heb. for the phrase is Migdal 
'Edher, identical with the name of a place (according to Jerome, a mile 
from Bethlehem) mentioned in the history of the patriarch Jacob (Gen. 
xxxv. 21); but here the term is only symbolical. 

the hill. Heb. the 'Ophel, a word meaning "a swelling" (cf. the Latin 
tumulus) and so applicable to several heights. There was an ophel 
within the territory of the Northern Kingdom (2 Kgs. v. 24), and the 
Moabite king Mesha mentions in his inscription "the wall of the Ophel" 
in connection with a place variously vocalized as Korhah or Kerehoh : 
but the term was used especially of the southern extremity of the Temple 
hill (see 2 Ch. xxvii. 3, xxxiii. 14, Neh. iii. 26, 27), as here. 

shall it come.. .shall come, etc. The text has probably undergone some 
slight dislocation: one of the verbs lacks a subject, one of the nouns 
(the kingdom) wants a verb, and the rhythm is faulty. A plausible re- 
arrangement is, unto thee shall come the former dominion, and there shall 
arrive (the verb here differs from the preceding) the kingdom of the 
daughter of Jerusalem. The verb rendered come ('dthah) is one which 
appears comparatively late in Hebrew literature, and seems to be used 
first in Deuteronomy (seven times), unless Is. xxi. 12, 14 are earlier 
instances, so that its occurrence here favours for this section a date 
later than Micah's age. By the former dominion is meant the extensive 
authority which was possessed by David, Solomon, and their more 
powerful successors on the throne of Judah (such as Uzziah). In the 

Second clause the LXX. has /3acriAeia CK Ba/3vA<j3vos ry Ovyarpl 'lepovo-aXyiJi, 

the name of Babylon being probably an insertion suggested by v. 10. 
CHAPTERS IV. 9 V. 15. 

This large section is by some critics treated as a single whole : whether it 
can reasonably be regarded as a unity can best be determined after the several 
divisions into which it naturally falls have been surveyed in detail. If a plausible 
conclusion as to origin can be reached in regard to the first group of verses 
(w. 9 10), it can be reconsidered whether the contents of the succeeding groups, 
prima facie rather discrepant, allow them to be viewed as emanating from the 
same period. 

IV. 9, io] MICAH 35 


These two verses appear to be distinct from the preceding context. They 
imply that Jerusalem, at a time when it still had a king, was in a desperate 
plight, its citizens being penned within it by a hostile army at its gates, and 
exile being in prospect for some or all of them. The mention of Babylon in 
v. 10 as the destined place of exile precludes the reign of Hezekiah as the date 
of the oracle unless the words even unto Babylon be omitted as a mistaken 
gloss. The hypothesis which best suits the situation is that the prophecy was 
uttered near the close of the reign of Zedekiah. The armies of Babylon had 
beleaguered Jerusalem for nearly 18 months (2 Kgs. xxv. 1 3, Jer. Hi. 1 6). 
At the termination of that period a breach in the fortifications was made by 
the enemy; and Zedekiah, with his chief officers, fled by night, leaving the 
kingdom and its capital without a head. This will explain the question asked 
mockingly by the prophet in v. 9. The city was soon captured and the king 
taken, and both he and the flower of his people were carried to Babylon. 

9 Now why dost thou cry out aloud? Is there no king in thee, 
is thy counsellor perished, that pangs have taken hold of thee 
as of a woman in travail ? 10 Be in pain, and labour to bring 
forth, daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now 
shalt thou go forth out of the city, and shalt dwell in the field, 

9. Now why dost thou cry, etc. If this passage could be referred to 
Micah as its author, the situation which the prophet had in mind would 
be the advance upon Jerusalem of Sennacherib's forces, as described in 
2 Kgs. xviii. 17, and the king and counsellor might be taken to be 
Jehovah (the question, Is there no king in thee? implying that the 
people need not despair as though God had altogether forsaken them 
He was not finally estranged). But this view is rendered impossible by 
v. 10 unless it is emended; and the occasion must be the flight of 
Zedekiah during the siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. It may be 
assumed that tidings have just spread among the populace that the king 
and his nobles have deserted them ; and the prophet tauntingly asks 
the terrified citizens (who for the most part had supported the senseless 
revolt against Babylon) whether they have not a ruler or counsellor to 
direct them in the defence of the city. 

as of a woman, etc. The same simile to express acute suffering occurs 
frequently (cf. Jer. vi. 24, xxii. 23, etc.). 

10. Be in pain, etc. The prophet here drops his taunting tone, and 
declares that there is real cause for anguish : the population of Jeru- 
salem must leave their homes, and be carried captive to Babylon ; and 
only after exile there will deliverance come. 

labour to bring forth. Literally, thrust forth, though this sense is rare 
(cf. Ps. Ixxi. 6 a ). 

shalt thou... the city. I.e. thou must surrender and evacuate it: cf. 
2 Kgs. xxiv. 12. 

shalt dwell in the field. Outside the city walls the captives would be 


36 MICAH [iv. 10 

and shalt come even unto Babylon ; there shalt thou be rescued ; 
there shall the LOUD redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies. 

herded together by the conquerors in preparation for removal to Babylon, 
more than 500 miles away as the crow flies. 

even unto Babylon. If this section is assigned to an occasion just 
before the Fall of Jerusalem in 587, the mention of Babylon as the 
destined place of exile is perfectly natural (cf. Jer. xx. 4 f., xxii. 25, 
xxvii. 12), but in the time of Micah Assyria was Judah's most menacing 
enemy, and Babylon was merely one of Assyria's subject states 1 ; so 
that if Micah's authorship of the section be defended, these words must 
be omitted as an interpolation (for 2 Kgs. xvii. 24 is not a real parallel), 
due to a misunderstanding as to the scene of the promised rescue, which 
in Micah's thoughts was the field (i.e. the open country outside Jeru- 
salem, where the invading Assyrians would meet with disaster), but 
was taken by a post-captivity reader to be Babylon, and an explanation 
inserted in the nig., whence it was introduced into the text. But the 
view adopted above, that the prediction really has in view the Baby- 
lonian captivity seems more plausible. It was not until the overthrow 
of the Assyrian empire by the Medes and the capture of Nineveh in 
607 (later investigations point to 612 as the correct date) that Babylon 
attained independence under Nabopolassar, who aided the Medes in 
their assault upon Nineveh. The predominance in W. Asia previously 
enjoyed by Assyria was grasped at by Egypt; but the Egyptian forces 
were defeated at Carchemish (on the Euphrates) in 605 by Nebu- 
chadrezzar, son of Nabopolassar; and in consequence the Babylonian 
king had Palestine at his mercy, and proceeded to overrun Judah and 
to besiege Jerusalem. 

CHAPTER IV. 11-13. 

In these verses Jerusalem, after its rescue from Babylon, is again thought of 
as surrounded by enemies bent on its overthrow. Their hostile efforts, however, 
are not destined to result in the city's destruction : on the contrary, Jehovah 
designs the assailants to be slaughtered by those whom they attack, and their 
spoil to be devoted to Him. There is here no allusion to any particular enemy, 
such as the Assyrians or the Babylonians, but to a multitude of hostile nations, 
such as are represented in Ezekiel xxxviii., xxxix. as mustering to fight against 
Jerusalem, and there is a striking contrast between the predictions of the 
overthrow of the city in iii. 12 and in iv. 10 and the present announcement of 
its inviolability and of the annihilation of its foes. The latter anticipation occurs 
in various post-exilic writers, but as it is also found in Ezekiel, whose ministry 
began a few years before the Fall of Jerusalem, the presence of the same idea 
here does not altogether preclude for this prophecy an origin just preceding 
the Exile, though a confident opinion about its date is impossible. 

1 On Is. xxxix. 6 see the commentary on Isaiah in this series, p. 246. 

iv. ii-i 3 ] MICAH 37 

11 And now many nations are assembled against thee, that 
say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye *see its desire upon Zion. 
12 But they know not the thoughts of the LORD, neither under- 
stand they his counsel: for he hath gathered them as the sheaves 
to the threshing-floor. 13 Arise and thresh, daughter of 
Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy 
hoofs brass : and thou shalt beat in pieces many peoples : and 

1 Or, gaze upon 

11. And now. This appears to indicate an occasion distinct from the 
nmv of v. 9. 

many nations, etc. Though Isaiah in the 8th century could speak of 
many nations as assailing Jerusalem (xvii. 12, 13, xxix. 1, cf. xxii. 6), 
the various subject nationalities included in the Assyrian hosts being 
in his mind 1 , yet in various passages of his prophecies he names the 
enemy that in his day imperilled the Jewish capital ; and he looked for 
the defeat of that enemy to be effected not through the Jewish people 
themselves but through tbe direct interposition of Jehovah (Is. xxxvii. 
2i 35). Here the writer's conception more nearly resembles that in 
2 Zech. xii. 2 f. 

Let her be defiled. I.e. let her be desecrated. The prophet makes the 
enemy speak from the standpoint of an inhabitant of Jehovah's land, 
who would regard its occupation by a heathen foe as a pollution : cf. 
Joel iii. 17. 

let our eye see, etc. The phrase in the original is merely let our eyes 
look (or gaze) upon Zion] but when the object looked upon was an 
enemy, it carried with it tbe implication of satisfaction at tbe sight, and 
so became equivalent to "gloating over" : cf. (though the verb used is 
different) Ezek. xxviii. 17, Ob. 12, 13, Ps. xxii. 17. 

12. they know not, etc. The foe, in pursuit of their own purposes, 
unconsciously fulfil Jehovah's : the mustering of their forces to assail 
Zion only paves the way for their own wholesale destruction. 

13. Arise and thresh. For the metaphor cf. 2 Kgs. xiii. 7, Am. i. 3, 
Hab.iii. 12, Jer. li. 33, Is. xxi. 10,2 Is.xli. 15. The processes of threshing 
adopted by the Hebrews with different kinds of cereals and pulse are 
described in Is. xxviii. 27, 28 mg. 

thine horn... thy hoofs. Oxen were used to separate the grain from tbe 
husk by treading upon it (Dt. xxv. 4, Hos. x. 11, 1 Cor. ix. 9), so that 
the mention of the hoofs is appropriate ; but tbe reference to the horn 
seems to introduce the alien idea of goring and tossing an adversary 
(1 Kgs. xxii. 11, Dt. xxxiii. 17 b ). Hebrew writers were specially prone 
to mix their metaphors (see, for example, Is. xiv. 29, xxviii. 18 b , xxx. 
28); but possibly here the figure is merely meant to suggest power and 

1 Cf. also Is. viii. 9, where the reference is to the allied forces of Syria and 
Northern Israel. 

38 MICAH [iv. 13 

Hhou shalt devote their gain unto the LORD, and their substance 
unto the Lord of the whole earth. 

1 So the ancient versions. The Hebrew text as pointed reads, I will devote. 

thou shalt devote their gain, etc. Though the Heb. text has a form 
which is the regular one for the first person (I will devote], the Versions 
(as the mg. notes) have the second person (e.g. LXX. ava^Veis) and are 
followed by the E/.V. The verb rendered devote means to "seclude" or 
"withdraw" something from common use (the root being the same as 
that of harem). Such separation, in the case of enemy persons or 
possessions previously associated with the worship of alien gods, was 
designed to prevent the infection of a foreign cult from spreading 
amongst those whose loyalty to their own God it was desired to safe- 
guard. Human beings who were thus devoted were destroyed, and total 
destruction was sometimes extended to cattle and other kinds of booty 
(hence the Vulg. here has interftcies) ; whilst if they were spared, they 
were dedicated to the service of the national sanctuary; see Dt. ii. 34, 
35, Josh. vi. 17 19, 1 Sam. xv. 3. The custom was not peculiar to the 
Hebrews, but was practised by the Moabites likewise (see p. 24). By 
gain is meant acquisitions obtained by violence : the Vulg. has rapinas. 

the Lord of the whole earth. When the word Lord is not printed in 
capitals, it is a title, 'Adhdn (cf. p. 4), and does not represent the 
personal name JEHOVAH (see p. 1): cf. Josh. iii. 11, Zech. iv. 14, vi. 5, 
Ps. xcvii. 5. 


This section, when compared with the preceding, manifestly has in view 
quite another situation. In iv. 1 1 13, Jerusalem, though attacked by numerous 
foes, is enabled by Jehovah to destroy them. But here, in the first place, 
Jerusalem is depicted as besieged and its ruler insulted; and next, it is 
announced that, after a period of national humiliation, there will emerge from 
David's birthplace, Bethlehem, a ruler who will be invested with world-wide 
dominion, and under whom the land will be safe from hostile invasion; and the 
remnant of the people surviving the period of depression will become as 
formidable to their enemies as a lion is to sheep. If all these nine verses are 
grouped together, the data for settling the time of their origin are, on the 
surface, conflicting. Verse 1 points to the time of the monarchy, for the judge 
of Israel must signify the king; but the only occasions when the Judean king 
was exposed to personal indignity at the hands of foreign enemies occurred 
towards the close of the monarchical period, first when Jehoahaz was taken 
prisoner by the Egyptian Necho, and next when Jehoiachin and Zedekiah 
were successively captured and deported by the Babylonian Nebuchadrezzar 
in the first quarter of the 6th century. It accords with this that the appearance 
of the great ruler who is to be his people's permanent safeguard is placed 
after a period of national subjection to foreign foes, a condition which is most 
intelligible if explained by the Babylonian captivity. On the other hand, the 

v. i] MIC AH 39 

enemy from whom the promised ruler is to secure his people is called the 
Assyrian, this people being the dominant power in the second half of the 
8th century, but losing its imperial position at the end of the 7th century. 
There is evidence, however, that the name Assyria was applied to the various 
peoples who succeeded in turn to the empire of the Assyrians, viz. the Baby- 
lonians (Lam. v. 6), the Persians (Bz. vi. 22, Is. xxvii. 13?), the Greeks of 
Alexander's Age (2 Zech. x. 10, note the mention of Greece in ix. 13), and 
perhaps the Syrians of Maccabaean times (Ps. Ixxxiii. 8?); so that there is 
nothing unreasonable in taking Assyria in v. 6 to designate Babylonia. The 
prophet from whom the oracle proceeds may (unlike Deutero-Isaiah) have 
expected his countrymen to be restored to independence and greatness other- 
wise than through the total destruction of the Babylonian empire, and to need 
protection against renewed assaults by the same power. Accordingly the 
simplest solution of the problem of date seems to be the assignment of the 
section to some period within the last 20 (or preferably the last 10) years prior 
to the Fall of Jerusalem in 587. 

These nine verses are here treated as a single oracle; but several critics 
(e.g. J. M. P. Smith) deny their unity and consider that v. 1 stands in isolation 
from the verses that follow ; and that w. 5, 6 are distinct from the context on 
either side of them ; and it must be allowed that of the problem presented no 
solution is very satisfying. 

V. 1 Now shalt thou gather thyself in troops, O daughter of 

1. Now shalt thou... troops, etc. Better, Now shalt thou gather thy- 
self for a foray, daughter of forays. The time here indicated by now 
seeins to be the same as that of iv. 9, 10. The word (gedhudh), rendered 
troops by the R.V., is generally used of bands of marauders (1 Sam. 
xxx. 8, 2 Kgs. v. 2, xxiv. 2, Hos. vi. 9, vii. 1), though occasionally of 
regular divisions of the Israelite armies (2 Oh. xxvi. 11), as well as 
of the hosts of God (Job xxv. 3). It seems not improbable that the 
prophet, in calling Jerusalem daughter of forays, has in mind highway 
robberies, like those alluded to by Micah (ii. 8) as rife in his time. 
Such disorders, if frequent in the 8th century under Hezekiah, are 
not likely to have been less common in the 7th and 6th under such 
rulers as Manasseh, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, or Zedekiah ; and the 
term gedhudh in the plural occurs in Hos. vi. 9 in reference to troops of 
robbers who seemingly raided unprotected homesteads outside Samaria. 
If so, then the address, Now shalt thou gather thyself for a foray may 
be a sarcastic command to the lawless population of Jerusalem, penned 
in by a powerful enemy, to act under such circumstances as they had 
previously been wont to do when at large. The verb employed (gddhadh) 
is that occurring in Ps. xciv. 21 (of those who combine against the 
righteous) and in Jer. v. 7 (of the throngs of profligates who in that 
prophet's time gathered at the houses of loose women). In the phrase 
daughter of forays (the Heb. has the sing.) the gen. is descriptive (cf. 
Num. xvii. 10, sons of rebellion}. The Vulg. h&sfilia latronis. In the 

LXX. the Opening sentence is Nw e/x^pa^^crcrac Ovydr-^p e/x^pay/xa), im- 

40 MIC AH [v. i, 2 

troops : he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge 
of Israel with a rod upon the cheek. 

2 But thou, Beth-lehem Ephrathah, which art little to be 

plying the noun gddher and the verb gddhar-, and if the 2 pers. imper. 
be substituted for the 3 pers. fut., the rendering will be Now fence 
thyself, daughter of fences (i.e. defences), and the command can be 
understood as an ironical exhortation to Jerusalem to put in order her 
fortifications, if she contemplates defiance of Babylon, as happened in 
the reigns of both Jehoiachin and Zedekiah (2 Kgs. xxiv. 10 12, 20). 
This reading seems preferable to that of the present Heb. text, though 
the particular form of the verb implied does not occur elsewhere. 
Wellhausen, followed by many scholars, corrects the text to Now cut 
thyself severely (one meaning of gadhadh}, the command being a mocking 
direction to the people of Jerusalem to gash themselves after the 
manner of the heathen, for this was a practice customary in appeals 
to their divinities for help (1 Kgs. xviii. 28). 

the judge of Israel. The word judge appears to be used in place of 
king (cf. Am. ii. 3) for the sake of an assonance with the word rod 
(shophet and shebhet). 

2. But thou, Beth-lehem Ephrathah. The prophet relieves the gloom 
of the distressful present by placing before his beleaguered and humi- 
liated countrymen the prospect of a happier time to follow, when from 
Bethlehem there will come forth a ruler who will repeat on a grander 
scale the services rendered to bis people by David. The representation 
that the promised ruler is to arise from Bethlehem possibly implies 
that he is not to be a descendant of David though he is to spring from 
Jesse's family: the prophet may have anticipated the extinction of 
the seed royal of Davidic origin ; cf. Jer. xxii. 28 30. But more 
probably the expression is chosen in order to suggest that the destined 
sovereign will be a second David. 

Ephrathah. This appears to have been the name of the district in 
which the Bethlehem here intended was situated (see Ruth iv. 11 and 
cf. i. 2, 1 Sam. xvii. 12), for there was another Bethlehem in the 
territory of Zebulun (Josh. xix. 15), from which it was sometimes 
distinguished as Bethlehem Judah (Jud. xvii. 7). The Ephrath where 
Rachel died (Gen. xxxv. 19, xlviii. 7) was near Bethel (in Benjamin, 
not Judah, 1 Sam. x. 2), and its identification with Bethlehem (in 
Gen. 1. c.) seems to be an erroneous gloss. The Ephrathah of Ps. cxxxii. 6 
is probably the same as that here mentioned, for Kiriath-Jearim, with 
which it is associated by the Psalmist, is placed by Eusebius 9 or 10 
miles W. of Jerusalem, and so may have been included in the same 
district as Bethlehem. Van Hoonacker thinks that the name is here 
introduced because of the assonance with the root pdrdh, "to produce," 
with allusion to Bethlehem as the birthplace of the Messianic prince. 
The LXX. has B^Ae'e/x ol/cos 'EcfrpdOa, which probably points to the 
true text of the Heb. original (p. cxl.). 

v. 2, 3 ] MICAH 41 

among the l thousands of Judah, out of thee shall one come 
forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel ; whose goings forth 
are from of old, 2 from everlasting. 3 Therefore will he give them 

1 Or, families See Judg. vi. 15. 2 Or, from ancient days 

little to be among. I.e. barely populous enough to be included 
among. Bethlehem does not figure among the cities of Judah enu- 
merated in Josh. xv. 20 63 ; and it is called a village in Joh. vii. 42. 
It is situated 6 miles south by west of Jerusalem. 

the thousands of Judah. The term thousand was applied to a division 
of an army (Ex. xviii. 21, Num. xxxi. 14), a division of a tribe (Jud. 
vi. 15, mg., 1 Sam. x. 19), and apparently an area within the territory 
of a tribe. 

unto me. The speaker is Jehovah, whose purposes the predicted 
ruler will carry out. 

This v., down to Israel, is quoted in Mt. ii. 6, where the numerous 
divergences from the LXX. (which appear when the passages are 
placed side by side) point to the employment by the Evangelist of an 
independent translation made from a Heb. text not exactly the same 
as ours, and included in a collection of O.T. passages "regarded as 
prophecies of events in the life of the Messiah 1 ." 

LXX. Mt. 

KOI <TV, BTj0\fcp, OIKOS 'E(ppa$a, dXt- KOI <rv, BrjffXft^ yij 'lovSa, ovdapws 

yoo~Tos ft TOV flvai cv ^iXiaariv 'loJda ' f\a)(iaTTj ft ev rots rjye/^oo'ti/ 'louSa etc. 

f ov pot f\(v<r(Tai TOV flvai is (rov yap e^eXeucrerai rjyovpfvos o<rris 

TOV 'lo-parjX. Troipavd TOV Xaov pov TOV 'l0-par;X 2 . 

whose goings forth, etc. Some take the expression goings forth to 
refer to the origin of the Messianic king in the eternal purposes of God. 
But more probably it is an allusion to the promised ruler's lineage, 
which was of great antiquity, his line of descent reaching back to the 
distant past. If the oracle dates from near the end of the monarchy 
(circ. 587), something like 400 years must have elapsed since the time 
of David the son of Jesse the Bethlehemite. 

from everlasting. Better (as in the mg.),from ancient days] cf. vii. 
14, 20, Mai. iii. 4, 3 Is. Ixiii. 11, Am. ix. 11. 

3. Therefore will he give them up, until, etc. This seems to imply that 
Judah is to be surrendered by God to its foes for no more than a limited 
period. Since a David redivivus is destined to appear, the surrender 
will last only until the mother of the promised ruler gives birth to him 
(cf. Is. vii. 14, a passage which the prophet probably had in mind). 
The words she^ which travaileth have been taken by some to refer to the 
collective nation. By certain scholars the whole v. is regarded as a later 
insertion ; but this is a needless supposition, since Jeremiah, with whom 

1 Box, St Matt. p. 76 (C.B.). Cf. 2 Sam. v. 2. 

42 MICAH [v. 3-5 

up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: 
then the residue of his brethren shall return x unto the children 
of Israel. 4 And he shall stand, and shall feed his flock in the 
strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD 
his God : and they shall abide ; for now shall he be great unto 
the ends of the earth. 5 And this man shall be our peace : when 
the Assyrian shall come into our land, and when he shall tread 

1 Or, with 

the writer of the present passage was probably contemporary, anticipated 
for his countrymen a period of subjection under a foreign power, to be 
followed by subsequent deliverance. 

the residue of his brethren. It is not clear whether the allusion is to 
the exiles of Judah, or to those of the Northern Kingdom : probably 
the latter, Israel standing for Judah (representing the true Israel). 
The re-union of both branches of the Hebrew people is a feature of 
many prophecies : see Hos. iii. 5, Is. xi. 12, Jer. iii. 18, Ezek. xxxvii. 
16 f. 

4. shall feed his flock. The relation of a ruler to his subjects is 
likened to that of a shepherd to his flock hardly less frequently in the 
O.T. than in the poems of Homer (who regularly styles the Greek chiefs 
shepherds of their people); see 2 Sam. v. 2, Jer. iii. 15, Ezek. xxxiv. 
23, xxxvii. 24. 

in the strength of the LOUD. Cf. the endowments of the sovereign 
whose advent is foretold in Is. xi. 2. 

in the majesty of the name. The name of Jehovah was a summary 
expression for the disclosure of His character (p. 32), and by this the 
future ruler would be enlightened and supported in his task. 

they shall abide. I.e. shall continue in security; cf. iv. 4. 

for now. Better, for then : cf. vii. 4. 

great unto the ends of the earth. Cf. the description of the king in 
Ps. ii. 8, Ixxii. 8 ; also Lk. i. 32. 

5. And this man shall be our peace, etc. If this is rightly taken (as 
by the Vulg., iste) to mean "this man" (cf. Gen. v. 29 Rob.), peace must 
stand for "peacemaker" (cf. Eph. ii. 14, which was perhaps suggested 
to St Paul by this passage, and the title Jehovah-Shalom in Jud. vi. 24), 
or possibly "protector" (cf. Zech. viii. 10, where peace stands for 
"protection"). This function of the Messiah is emphasized in Is. ix. 6 
(cf. Lk. ii. 14). Nevertheless the Heb., which is literally And this shall 
be peace (cf. the LXX. co-rat avrvj dpyvr)), admits of a different and 
perhaps preferable interpretation "And in this way (as explained in 
the rest of the v.} will peace be ensured." For the pronoun in this kind 
of connection cf. Gen. xx. 13. 

the Assyrian. If the prophecy has been correctly dated (see p. 38), 
the Babylonians must be designated by this term. 

v. 5, 6] MICAH 43 

in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, 
and eight 1 principal men. 6 And they shall 2 waste the land of 
Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances 
thereof: and he shall deliver us from the Assyrian, when he 

1 Or, princes among men 3 Or, eat up Or, be shepherds over 

in our palaces. The LXX. has CTT! TTJV xwpav rf^v, and as the entry 
of the foe into Judah's palaces would mean their presence in the heart 
of the country, the text should probably be emended to on our soil: 
cf. v. 6. 

then shall we raise, etc. At first sigbt, this v. seems to represent the 
security of the land as being ensured by a plurality of defenders rather 
than by tbe single ruler and shepherd described in w. 2 4; and some 
critics (e.g. Van Hoonacker) have concluded that this v., together with 
6 a , is too little in accord with its context to be of the same origin. But 
the seven shepherds and eight principal (literally anointed, cf. Josh. xiii. 
21, Ezek. xxxii. 30 Heb.) men may denote the subordinates of the Ruler, 
who, like David of old, will have his chieftains and officers for the exe- 
cution of his plans of defence. The combination seven and eight where 
we should say "seven or eight" (the use in Heb. of and as equivalent 
to or may be illustrated by Lev. xxii. 23, Job xxxi. 26) * merely ex- 
presses a considerable but indefinite number ; cf. Am. i. 3, Eccles. xi. 2, 
Job v. 19, Ecclus. xxv. 7. 

6. waste. Literally, pasture on, and so consume : see Jer. vi. 3, and 
cf. Num. xxii. 4. 

the land of Nimrod. The kingdom of Nimrod, as described in Heb. 
legend, was at first the land of Shinar, i.e. Babylonia; but was subse- 
quently extended so as to include Assyria (Gen. x. 9 11). The figure 
of Nimrod himself is usually identified with the Gilgamesh mentioned 
in the cuneiform inscriptions, who, though differing from Nimrod in 
name, is depicted, like him, as a great hunter, and as having saved the 
city of Erech, one of the places included in Nimrod's dominions (Gen. I.e.). 

in the entrances thereof. The word entrances is more suitable to a 
city (Is. iii. 26) than to a country (though cf. Nah. iii. 13, the gates of 
thy land (of Nineveh), and the pass through the Taurus mountains, 
called the Cilician gates} ; and the parallelism suggests that the true 
reading and rendering is with drawn (literally opened) blade (biphthihah 
for biphthdheha) ; cf. Ps. Iv. 21 (22). Reference here to a weapon is 
favoured by Aq.'s V t/3wcus ("spears" or "pikes") and the Vulg.'s in 
lanceis eius (though the particular weapon meant must have been mis- 
understood). The verb "to open" (pdthah) is used of drawing swords 
in Ezek. xxi. 28 (33), Ps. xxxvii. 14. 

he shall deliver us. Strictly he shall effect deliverance, there being no 
us in the Heb. The pronoun he refers to the promised ruler. Some 

1 Cf. the Greek T/HJ xai rerpd/cts and the Latin ter quaterque. 

44 MICAH [v. 6-9 

cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our border. 
7 And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many peoples 
as dew from the LORD, as showers upon the grass ; that tarrieth 
not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men. 8 And the remnant 
of Jacob shall be among the nations, in the midst of many 
peoples, as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion 
among the flocks of sheep : who, if he go through, treadeth down 
and teareth in pieces, and there is none to deliver. 9 Let thine 
hand be lifted up above thine adversaries, and let all thine enemies 
be cut off. 

critics, who think that w. 5, 6 together contain an oracle distinct from 
that in w. 2 4, change the sing, into the plur., they shall deliver us. 

7. And the remnant of Jacob. Cf. ii. 12 (the remnant of Israel). The 
title Jacob is used of Judah, as in ii. 12, iii. 9. 

as dew. . .as showers. At first sight the point of the comparison would 
seem to be the numbers of the dewdrpps and raindrops (cf. Ps. Ix. 3), 
but the verbs tarrieth and waiteth are in the singular and must belong 
to the grass, to which the relative that in the next clause refers. Con- 
sequently the increase which Israel is to experience must be likened to 
the innumerable blades of the herbage, watered by the dew and rain 
(cf. Dt. xxxii. 2), and thus owing their multiplication to God and not 
to man : cf. Job v. 25, Ps. Ixxii. 16. The writer here tbinks of the rem- 
nant of tbe Jews not as exercising a gentle and beneficent influence 
amongst mankind but as possessing, through augmented numbers, 
great powers of offence. 

8. as a lion. a young lion. Israel by reason of its increase through 
Divine help will prevail over, and annihilate, its enemies ; it will be 
comparable to a lion among other wild animals or among still more 
defenceless sheep, able to destroy them without resistance. 

the beasts of the forest must here include the weaker beasts of prey 
(Dt. xxviii. 26, Is. xviii. 6), though tbe word rendered beasts usually 
means "cattle." 

9. Let thine hand, etc. In tbe Heb. this verse appears to be a prayer 
to Jehovah (cf. Is. xxvi. 11) to promote the triumph of the remnant 
over its foes, the prophet assuming that Israel's enemies are God's 
enemies. But the LXX. and Vulg. have future tenses instead of jussives, 
and presumably consider Israel to be addressed: cf. 3 Is. Ix. 12. 

Tbe three verses 7 9 by certain scholars are assigned to some date 
in the Persian period, on the ground that they imply a widespread 
dispersion of the Jews throughout tbe world, such as did not obtain in 
the 6th century. 

v. io, n] MICAH 45 

CHAPTER V. 1015. 

These verses consist of an announcement of Jehovah's decision to remove 
from the nation both the material resources and the superstitious symbols and 
practices in which trust had been placed instead of in Himself. The passage 
has been very widely attributed to the 8th century, with Micah as its author; 
but its contents are equally suitable to a later period. It is true that reliance 
upon chariots and horses obtained from Egypt was a feature in the state-policy 
of Judah during the reign of Hezekiah, which was denounced by Isaiah (xxx. 
16, xxxi. 1); and the worship of graven images, of Asherim, and of pillars, and 
the practice of soothsaying prevailed amongst the people (Is. ii. 6, 8, x. 10, 
xvii. 8, xxx. 22, xxxi. 7). Nevertheless reference to all or almost all the objects 
and usages here mentioned as sources of confidence occurs in writings of, or 
relating to, the 7th century see Dt. xvii. 16 (horses), xviii. 10, Jer. xxvii. 9 
(sorcerers and soothsayers), Dt. vii. 5, Jer. viii. 19 (graven images), 2 Kgs. xxiii. 
14 (pillars and Asherim); so that there is nothing to prevent the section from 
dating from the end of that century or from the beginning of the next A post- 
exilic origin for the section is discountenanced by the allusions to military 
forces and (fortified) cities : the Jews were then for several centuries in 
a position of subjection to one or other foreign power. 

From a review of the several groups of verses (iv. 9 v. 15) that have just 
been considered, it becomes apparent that, as the references to contemporary 
conditions in each of them point to, or are compatible with, a date just before 
the close of the 7th century or early in the 6th, save for the mention of the 
Assyrian in v. 5, whilst this name admits of being understood of the Baby- 
lonians, there is no insuperable obstacle preventing all these oracles from being 
regarded as proceeding, if not from a single prophet writing during the reign 
of Zedekiah, at least from prophets of that period, though in the ideas or the 
spirit of certain passages (especially iv. 11 13) there is a suggestion of the 
atmosphere of post-exilic times. 

10 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD, that 
I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and will destroy 
thy chariots : 11 and I will cut off the cities of thy land, and will 

10. thy horses. These, in war, were employed for drawing chariots. 
In the reign of Solomon they were procured from Muzri (south of the 
Taurus mountains) and Cue (Cilicia, north of the same chain) 1 , but at 
a later date were obtained from Egypt. In the future here contemplated 
the people will no longer trust for security to military defences but to 
the protection of Jehovah. 

11. the cities of thy land. I.e. fortresses, which might foster in the 
nation feelings of self-sufficiency : the overthrow of such strongholds is 
predicted in Is. ii. 15, Hos. viii. 14, Jer. iv. 7, ix. 11, Ezek. vi. 6. In 
lieu of such defences, Israel, though dwelling in the open country, will 
have her safety ensured by God : cf. Zech. ii. 4, 5. 

1 See Burney, Heb. Text of Kings, p. 151. 

46 MICAH [v. ri-i 4 

throw down all thy strong holds : 12 and I will cut off witchcrafts 
out of thine hand ; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers : 
13 and I will cut off thy graven images and thy l pillars out of 
the midst of thee ; and thou shalt no more worship the work of 
thine hands. 14 And I will pluck up thine 2 Asherim out of the 

1 Or, obelisks 2 See Ex. xxxiv. 13. 

12. witchcrafts. Perhaps better, sorceries (the rendering of the R. V. 
in 2 Is. xlvii. 9). The verb (cut off... out of thine hand} suggests that 
the sorcerers employed something material, such as drugs or berbs (cf. 
LXX. 4> L P/ JLaKa , vnlg. malejlcia), to cause the magical effects which they 
professed ability to produce. 

soothsayers. These were prevalent in Judah during Isaiah's time (see 
Is. ii. 6). The Heb. term which in the R. V. is sometimes translated one 
that practiseth augury, and was formerly thought to be connected with 
a Heb. root meaning "a cloud," is now considered to refer to tbe 
humming or crooning noise which marked the utterances of such 
diviners. The LXX. here renders it by a-n-o^^eyyo/ACj/ot. 

13. pillars. These were upright stones or obelisks (cf. mg.) which, 
being probably at first unhewn boulders (the Celtic meini hirion), were 
regarded as the abodes of deities in consequence of some noteworthy 
occurrence that had happened in proximity to them. They were wont 
to be smeared with fat or oil, in order that such offerings might be 
thereby conveyed to the spirits thought to dwell in them, or to be 
connected with them (cf. Gen. xxxv. 14, 15). Subsequently artificial 
columns were erected near altars, or in front of temples, probably aa 
symbols of the divinity to whom worship was offered. Such pillars must 
at one time have been associated with JEHOVAH (as the story of Jacob 
at Bethel implies, cf. also Is. xix. 19) as well as with other gods (2 Kgs. 
iii. 2, x. 26, 27, cf. Dt. vii. 5, xii. 3), and the two columns reared in 
front of the Temple (1 Kgs. vii. 15) were presumably of similar signi- 
ficance. As the religion of Israel became more spiritual under the 
influence of the prophets, the erection of pillars was discountenanced by 
them; and in the legislation of Deuteronomy they were directed to be 

the work of thine hands. Cf. Is. ii. 8, Jer. xxv. 6, 7, 2 Kgs. xxii. 17. 

14. Asherim. The singular is Asherah, and in addition to Asherim 
there is a rarer plur. Asheroth (2 Ch. xix. 3, xxxiii. 3). The objects 
denoted by the name were tree-trunks or wooden poles (Jud. vi. 26), 
which could be plucked up, cut down, or burnt (Ex. xxxiv. 13, 2 Kgs. 
xviii. 4, xxiii. 15, 2 Ch. xiv. 3); and, like the pillars, were raised beside 
altars, both of Jehovah (as implied by the prohibition in Dt. xvi. 21, 
cf. Jer. xvii. 2) and of the Baalim (Dt. vii. 5, xii. 3). They were 
probably survivals of tree worship; for trees in primitive times were 
thought to be animated by spirits, whose activities were manifested in 
the movements and rustle of the leaves (cf. Is. i. 29, Ivii. 5, Ezek. vi. 
13). There is, however, some evidence (derived from inscriptions) that 

v. i 4 , is] MICAH 47 

midst of thee : and I will destroy thy Cities. 15 And I will execute 
vengeance in anger and fury upon the nations 2 which hearkened 

1 Or, enemies 2 Or, such as they have not heard 

Asherah was also the name of an Amorite and Babylonian goddess ; and 
this is confirmed by passages in the O.T. which speak of the prophets of 
the Baal and of the Asherah (1 Kgs. xviii. 19), of a graven image of the 
Asherah (2 Kgs. xxi. 7), and of houses (shrines) of the Asherah (2 Kgs. 
xxiii. 7, mg.). If the name were originally a divine appellation, the 
deity so designated was perhaps a deity of "good fortune" (dshar is the 
root whence come the Heb. words for "happiness"), like the masculine 
Gad (see 3 Is. Ixv. 11, mg.). Of such a goddess the pole which the word 
usually denotes must have been a symbol 1 . 

cities. This word, l drim, as a parallel here to the Asherim, is in- 
appropriate, if rendered as usual by cities-, and still more so, if translated 
adversaries (cf. 1 Sam. xxviii. 16, Ps. cxxxix. 20), or replaced by tsdrim, 
enemies; for the rest of the objects mentioned are sources of Judah's 
self-confidence. Some other term meaning "images" is wanted, and an 
emendation with this signification, approved by many, is 'atsabbim 
(coupled with 'Asherim in 2 Ch. xxiv. 18), whilst Van Hoonacker 
proposes the substitution of l etsim, trees, comparing Dt. xvi. 21. But it 
may be suggested that a correction closer to the existing text would be 
ts'trim, a word occurring with the required sense of idols in 2 Is. xlv. 16. 

15. And I will execute, etc. This v. seems to be an announcement 
of vengeance upon the heathen guilty of idolatry. The connection, 
however, with the preceding v. is obscure; and this has possibly been 
added by someone who could not suppose that idols were to be abolished 
in Israel, without any reference to their extinction among foreign 
nations, or to the punishment that would overtake those who should 
retain them. 

which hearkened not. I.e. which shall not have hearkened to the 
Divine command to abandon idolatry. (For the perf. in the sense of a 
future perf. cf., in the Heb., Gen. xlviii. 6.) The LXX. has because (for 
this sense of 'dsher cf. Num. xx. 13) they hearkened not. The relative 
pronoun, however, may be taken, as in the mg., to refer to the Divine 
vengeance, and the rendering will then be, such as they have not pre- 
viously heard of, i.e. unprecedented. 


These two chapters are clearly marked off by their contents from those that 
precede ; but there are sufficient differences between various parts of them to 
render it desirable to examine each of these parts separately, with a view to 
collecting the evidence throwing light upon the circumstances of its origin, 
as this will decide whether all are assignable or not to a single period or 

1 See Burney, Judges, p. 195 f. 

48 MICAH [vi. i, * 


This section is not a continuation of any in the preceding chapter. It conveys 
an address from Jehovah to Israel, explaining to His people (who feel that He 
is estranged from them, but are at a loss to know how to satisfy Him) the 
nature of the service which He really requires. Presumably some disappointing 
experience had caused them to infer that God was angry with them ; and in 
order to propitiate Him, they had had recourse to more numerous or more 
costly sacrifices than the ordinary, but with no satisfactory result. Accordingly, 
the prophet, commissioned to be God's spokesman, enters into argument with 
his countrymen and seeks to disabuse them of certain mistaken ideas about 
what God desires. The general drift of his contention that God values in 
man justice and mercy towards fellow-men and a humble bearing towards 
Himself, and not material oblations resembles that of several other prophetic 
writers (see p. 52) ; but there is a calmness and tenderness in this expostulation 
which is distinctive ; and the concluding definition of the Divine requirements 
is as profound as it is concise. The tone of the passage is unlike that which 
marks the parts of the book most confidently assignable to Micah ; but there 
is not much evidence to enable the date of its origin to be determined with 
anything like precision. The sacrifice of children is mentioned in connection 
with the reigns both of Ahaz (2 Kgs. xvi. 3) and of Manasseh (2 Kgs. xxi. 6 f., 
cf. Jer. vii. 31, xix. 5, Ezek. xx. 26). The presence in it, however, of phrases 
(v. 4) characteristic of the book of Deuteronomy points to the conclusion that 
it is not earlier than the probable date of that work, viz. the reign of Manasseh, 
692 638 (see Driver, Dt. p. xliv f.). On the other hand, the allusion to burnt 
offerings (o. 6) as the sacrifices thought to be needed for expiating offences 
against God suggests that the passage is earlier than the time of Ezekiel 
or the Exile, for then sin-offerings, specifically so designated, were ordained 
(Ezek. xliii. 19, xlv. 17). Hence the time of composition may be the age of 
Jeremiah (second half of the 7th century). With this agrees the individualizing 
address, man (v. 8), for it was in this age that a sense of the importance of 
the individual, independently of the family or the community, began to make 
itself felt 

VI. 1 Hear ye now what the LORD saith : Arise, contend 
thou before the mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice. 
2 Hear, ye mountains, the LORD'S controversy, and ye endur- 

1. Hear. . .saith. The prophet declares the commission he has received 
from JEHOVAH (Arise, contend thou, etc.) to act as His advocate in the 
controversy between Him and Israel. 

contend thou before the mountains. The physical world, the abiding 
scene and witness of human history, is to hear the pleadings (as in Is. 
i. 2, Jer. ii. 12, Ps. 1. 1, 4, Dt. xxxii. 1). In connection with the verb 
here employed the preposition 'eth commonly signifies with (i.e. against), 
see Num. xx. 13, Jud. viii. 1, 2 Is. 1. 8; but it has the meaning before 
(i.e. in the presence of) in Gen. xx. 16 end (mg.), Is. xxx. 8. 

2. ye enduring foundations of the earth. The order of the Heb. which 

vi. 2 - 5 ] MICAH 49 

ing foundations of the earth : for the LORD hath a controversy 
with his people, and he will plead with Israel. 3 my people, 
what have I done unto thee ? and wherein have I wearied thee ? 
testify against me. 4 For I brought thee up out of the land of 
Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of bondage ; and I 
sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. 5 my people, re- 
member now what Balak king of Moab consulted, and what 
Balaam the son of Beor answered him ; remember from Shittim 

is thus rendered is irregular, and many critics favour the conjectural 
emendation, Give ear, ye foundations of the earth (the same verb being 
used as a parallel to hear in Joel i. 2, Dt. xxxii. 1, Is. i. 2). 
Israel. Judah must be meant, as in v. 1. 

3. what have I done unto thee? Jehovah, instead of proceeding with 
His charge against Israel, leaves it to the latter to state their complaint 
against Him: cf. Jer. ii. 5. 

wherein have I wearied thee? I.e. in what respects have My demands 
been so onerous as to palliate thy misconduct towards Me 1 ? Cf. 2 Is. xliii. 
23, Mai. i. 13. 

4. For I brought thee up, etc. Jehovah forestalls any complaint from 
Israel that He was exacting in His requirements by referring to His care 
for them, from their sojourn in Egypt to their arrival in Canaan (v. 5). 

redeemed ...bondage. The phrases to redeem (in connection with the 
deliverance from Egypt) and the house of bondage (literally, of bondmen) 
recur frequently in Dt. (vii. 8, xiii. 5, xxiv. 18), but are rare elsewhere 
(see Driver, Dt. pp. Ixxix, Ixxxii). 

and Miriam. This association of Miriam with Moses and Aaron in 
a prominent capacity on tbe occasion of the Exodus finds no parallel 
elsewhere, though she is represented as leading the women's triumph 
song (Ex. xv. 20, 21) and as claiming (in conjunction with Aaron) to 
be an agent of Divine communications equal to Moses (Num. xii. 2 f.), 
her self-assertion being punished with leprosy. 

5. consulted. Better, planned, see Num. xxii. 4 6. Balak, in desiring 
Balaam to curse Israel, believed that an imprecation, once uttered, ful- 
filled itself automatically (cf. Zech. v. 3, 4). The Moabite king's design 
was foiled through Balaam's substitution (by Jehovah's direction) of a 
blessing, which was similarly thought to be irreversible (cf. Gen. xxvii. 33, 
Mt. x. 13 = Lk. x. 6 1 ). Maurer compares Horn. H. ix. 453 457, and Hor. 
Epod. v. 89 90, Diris agam vos: dira detestatio nulla expiatur victima. 

Balaam. For his replies to Balak see Num. xxii. 8, 13, 18, xxiii. 11 f. 
Though he was used by Jehovah as a channel of revelation, he was not 
an Israelite by race, but is variously represented as living either in 
Pethor (Mesopotamia) near the Euphrates, or amongst the Ammonites 
(see Num. xxii. 5 Vulg., Dt. xxiii. 4). 

from Shittim unto Gilgal. Before these words there seems to have been 

1 Here your peace means "your blessing" (or "salutation"). 
w. 4 

50 MICAH [vi. 5-7 

unto Gilgal, that ye may know the righteous acts of the LORD. 
6 Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before 
the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with 
calves of a year old ? 7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands 
of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil ? shall I give my 

lost some expression like and the passage, the allusion being to the 
crossing of the Jordan (subsequent to the incident in which Balak and 
Balaam figured); for Shittim was the site of the camp on the E. bank, 
whence the Israelites started for the river, and Gilgal was the spot 
where they first encamped on the W. bank after the crossing : see Josh, 
iii. 1, iv. 19, v. 9. 

the righteous acts. Literally, the righteousnesses ; cf. Jud. v. 11, 1 Sam. 
xii. 7, Ps. ciii. 6. The word in these passages has the special connotation 
of actions wrought by God in vindication of His people (cf. vii. 9, Ps. 
xxxvi. 10, li. 14), such being demonstrations of His faithfulness to His 
covenant with Israel. 

6. Wherewith, etc. The speaker (a representative Israelite) assumes 
that Jehovab can be appeased, like other divinities, by material offerings, 
if these are sufficiently valuable ; but is in doubt as to what will content 

the high God. I.e. the God who dwells on high: cf. Is. xxxiii. 5, 3 Is. 
Ivii. 15. 

with burnt offerings. For the expiation of sin by offerings see 1 Sam. 
xxvi. 19. Animal sacrifices, specifically designated burnt offerings, were 
wholly consumed by fire, the victims being (it was thought) thereby 
conveyed (through the smoke and savour) to the Deity in their entirety ; 
but in peace offerings only portions of the victims were burnt, the rest 
being consumed partly by the offerer and his household and partly by 
the priests, the idea being that they were feasts of communion between 
the worshipper and the Deity, whose representatives the priests were. 

calves of a year old. According to the Law, this age was a require- 
ment in the case of the Passover sacrifice (Ex. xii. 5) and of certain 
offerings enjoined in Lev. ix. 3, Num. xv. 27. 

7. thousands of rams... rivers of oil. Both expressions are highly 
rhetorical; similar rhetoric occurs in Job xx. 17, xxix. 6. The word 
rendered rivers is literally torrents, answering to the modern wddies, 
channels that are dry in summer, but swollen with rain in the winter. 
Oil in small quantities was an accompaniment of several sacrifices 
prescribed in the Mosaic Law; but in primitive times it may have been 
offered independently of other things (cf. Gen. xxviii. 18). In a pastoral 
stage of civilization it was probably the melted fat of animals, since 
vegetable oil could only come into use after an agricultural phase of life 
was reached. The Vulg. instead of ten thousands of rivers of oil has 
many thousands of fat goats (multis millibus hircoi-um pinguium), a 
rendering which may be either a deliberate substitution for the sake of 
improving the parallelism, or an attempt to make sense of a depraved 

vi. 7 ] MICAH 51 

firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin 

reading, x t / x "PP wv ("winter streams") having been corrupted into 
Xt/xapo)]/ ("goats"). LXX. B has XM<WWV irtovw 1 , but codex A replaces 
the noun by apvwv. 

my firstborn. Human sacrifices were practised in Israel during the 
monarchy by kings who imitated the barbarous usages of their neigh- 
bours (see 2 Kgs. xxi. 6 f., Jer. vii. 31, xix. 5, xxxii. 35, 3 Is. Ivii. 5; 
and cf. 2 Kgs. iii. 27), but it is clear from the instance of Jephthah that 
in still earlier times they were not regarded by religious minds as re- 
pugnant to Jehovah, if occasion appeared to call for them; and the 
execution of captives and others "before Jehovah" must have been 
survivals of such sacrifices (1 Sam. xv. 33, 2 Sam. xxi. 9). The story 
of Abraham's offering of Isaac, for whom a ram was substituted before 
the sacrifice was completed (just as in one form of the Greek legend of 
Iphigenia, the maiden, when about to be sacrificed to Artemis, was 
replaced by a hind, Eur. /. A. 1578 1589), probably reflects the 
transition from human sacrifices in honour of Jehovah to a less repulsive 
rite (Jephthah's offering of his daughter at a later period being accounted 
for by the circumstances of his vow). It is, however, unlikely that, in 
the age when the present passage was written, such were still thought 
by any but the most unethical characters to be compatible with the 
worship of Jehovah ; the expression is an hyperbole, the sacrifice of the 
firstborn son being the costliest conceivable. The idea behind the kind 
of sacrifice here imagined is plainly that atonement for sin could be 
made by the sinner through some self-inflicted mortification or loss; 
but this is not the only principle that can be traced in the piacular 
sacrifices of the Hebrews. There are two others: (1) the satisfaction 
imparted by a gift, which (it was thought) would dispose the offended 
deity to overlook the sinner's offence (cf. 1 Sam. xxvi. 19); (2) the 
substitution, for the offender's forfeited life, of the life of another, 
though innocent (see 2 Sam. xxi. 1 14, xxiv. 10, 17, 2 Is. liii. 5, 6, 10, 
4 Mace. vi. 29). A contrast to these beliefs was presented by the ethical 
principle, asserted by most of the Hebrew prophets, that reconciliation 
with God (at-one-ment) could only be effected by the repentance of the 
sinner, followed by his reformation. Nevertheless, for bringing about 
such repentance and reformation the suffering or death of a person or 
persons other than the sinner has often proved a most potent agency. 
Such a result may ensue (a) from the knowledge of a better ideal of 
conduct, which the relatively righteous, through involuntary misfortune 
patiently borne, may become the means of diffusing among the un- 
righteous (as exemplified by the Jews, who, through their dispersion 
among the Gentiles, acquainted the latter with a monotheistic faith 2 ); 
(b) from the appeal which the voluntary self-sacrifice of the righteous on 
behalf of the unrighteous is calculated to make to the latter (as illus- 

1 Aq. has \tL\j.a.pp<av f\atov. 

2 This seems to have been in the mind of the writer of 2 Is. Hi. 13 liii. 12. 


52 MICAH [VI. 7, 8 

of my soul? 8 He hath shewed thee, man, what is good; and 
what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love 
mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? 

trated by our Lord's surrender of Himself to death for the redemption 
of "many" (Mk. x. 45)). 

8. He hath shewed. The subject of the verb, if the latter is correctly 
vocalized, is JEHOVAH, but the Vulg. has indicabo and the LXX. tbe 
passive aV^yyeX^. 

what doth the LORD, etc. Contrary to the popular belief that God 
could be placated or conciliated in one or other of the ways explained 
above, it is here affirmed that the Divine favour could only be gained 
or regained by the discharge of moral obligations to fellow-men, and by 
a right attitude of heart towards the Almighty. That the requirements 
of God from man consist not in ceremonial worship and material offerings 
(though these may be aids to spiritual religion) but in tbe practice of 
the social duties of justice and mercy and in the religious virtue of 
humility is asserted in various terms by other prophets (see Is. i. 11, 19, 
Am. v. 2124, Hos. vi. 6, Jer. vii. 47, 2123, Zech. vii. 9, 10) and 
by several of the psalmists and other O.T. writers (Ps. xl. 6, 7, 1. 7 15, 
li. 1617, Dt. x. 12 f., Prov. xv. 8, xxi. 3, 27, 1 Sam. xv. 22); and is 
re-affirmed in tbe N.T. (Mk. ii. 2328, iii. 16, xii. 33, 34, Mt. ix. 13, 
xii. 7, xviii. 4, xxiii. 23 (=Lk. xi. 42), Lk. xiv. 16, James i. 27, ii. 13, 
iv. 10, 1 Pet. v. 6). 

to walk humbly. The word represented by humbly only occurs else- 
where in Prov. xi. 2, where the LXX. for the corresponding adjective 
uses TttTretvos. Jehovah's demands for justice and mercy had been 
affirmed before (see above) ; but the third requirement is stressed for 
the first time here (though both Amos and Hosea condemned the pride 
of Israel (Am. vi. 8 mg., Hos. v. 5, vii. 10)). To bear oneself humbly 
with God involves not merely submission to His will, as indicated in the 
circumstances and events of life, but also a spirit of teachableness, 
responsive to intimations of His wishes conveyed through ideas and 
ideals whether originating from within or imparted from without. This 
quality of docility, indeed, is a more essential part of true humility than 
resignation, for adverse circumstances may be designed by God for men, 
not to induce a spirit of submissiveness, but to stimulate intelligent 
efforts to ameliorate them. 


This section, by its contents and spirit, is quite unlike that just considered, 
and more nearly resembles the passages ii. 1 11, iii. If. Both here and in 
vi. 1 8 Jehovah addresses His people, but whereas the preceding section is 
marked by a pleading and appealing tone, this breathes a spirit of stern 
indignation against the inhabitants of Jerusalem for the practice of dishonesty 
in trade, the perpetration of violence, and the general prevalence of falsehood 
and insincerity ; and pronounces the punishment which is to be inflicted upon 

vi. 9 ] MICAH 53 

such a guilty people. Fraud, force, and falsehood have, of course, been peculiar 
to no age in Hebrew or any other history; but the allusions to Omri and 
Ahah (v. 16) are most natural in a composition written before rather than 
after the complete disappearance from among the Jews of a national govern- 
ment; and if, as this suggests, the present passage is pre-exilic, it may originate 
with Micah in the reign of Hezekiah, or with a later prophet living under 
Manasseh or the corrupt successors of Josiah. In the references to the 
retribution impending over the cfty, there is one (v. 13) which, if the Heb. 
text be retained (see note), seems to imply that it has in some measure 
occurred already; but even this would be quite consistent with a date in the 
reign of Hezekiah (when Judah was invaded by Sennacherib) or in the reign 
of Jehoiakim (see 2 Kgs. xxiv. 2). The complaint in v. 16 that the people 
whom the prophet addresses follow the evil precedents of Omri and Ahab, 
who were rulers of Northern Israel, need not involve the conclusion (favoured 
by Van Hoonacker) that Samaria is the object of the prophet's denunciation, 
for the kings of Judah from Ahaziah onwards were descendants, on the female 
side, of Omri through Athaliah ; and it is made a charge against Ahaziah that 
he walked in the way of the house of Ahab (see 2 Kgs. viii. 26, 27, and cf. 
xvii. 19). 

9 The voice of the LORD crieth unto the city, and the man of 
wisdom will 1 see thy name: hear ye the rod, and who hath 

1 Some ancient versions read, fear. 

9. The voice of, etc. oiffarkf JEHOVAH crieth. The prophet directs 
the attention of the denizens of the city (Jerusalem) to Jehovah's com- 
plaints against them. 

and the man of wisdom, etc. This sentence as it stands in the Heb. 
is very difficult. The verb is in the masc., though the term rendered 
wisdom is fern. ; and to get sense out of the construction, it must be 
assumed that wisdom is equivalent to "man of wisdom" (cf. Prov. xiii. 
6 mg., where sin stands for "man of sin," and Prov. xvii. 4, where 
falsehood is used for " a liar "). Moreover, though the verb to see can 
denote other sense-perceptions besides vision (cf. Ex. xx. 18, Jer. ii. 3 1) 1 , 
yet the phrase to see thy name is unusual; and there is probably some 
corruption. In Heb. the verbs " to see " and " to fear " are in some of 
their forms very similar; and since the LXX. has o-oxrei <o/3ov/xeVovs 
TO oVo/xa av-rov, a very slight alteration of one word (yirdh' 1 for yireh) 
will yield the unexceptionable sense, and it is wisdom to fear Thy 
name (cf. Job xxviii. 28, Prov. ix. 10, xv. 33, Ecclus. i. 14) a paren- 
thetic reflection that Jehovah's complaints cannot be trifled with. The 
word rendered wisdom is found, for the most part, in the books of 
Proverbs and Job, though it also occurs in Is. xxviii. 29; and the 
aphorism, coming between two clauses that balance one another, is 
suspected, not without reason, to be a moralizing insertion. 

hear ye the rod, etc. This, if the text be sound, can only mean, ' ' Be 

1 Cf. Mt. xiv. 30, Rev. i. 12. * For the form cf. Ps. Ixxxvi. 11. 

64 MICAH [vi. 9-1* 

appointed it. 10 Are there yet the treasures of wickedness in 
the house of the wicked, and the scant l measure that is abomi- 
nable? 11 Shall I be pure with wicked balances, and with a bag 
of deceitful weights? 12 For the rich men thereof are full of 

1 Heb. ephah. 

warned by the instrument of the present chastisement (see v. 13) and 
by Him who has appointed it (cf. Jer. xlvii. 7) for its task (in order 
that the punishment may not be prolonged)"; and the reference is 
probably to a foreign invader, who, if the section proceeds from Micah, 
will be the Assyrian (styled by God His " club " and " rod " in Is. x. 5). 
But there are serious difficulties of grammar involved in this trans- 
lation; for beside the facts that the Heb. has merely rod (not the rod) 
and that the pronoun rendered it is fern., whereas rod is elsewhere 
masc., the word rendered who is not equivalent to him who, but is an 
interrogative. Instead of rod the LXX. (<f>v\y), Syr. and Vulg. imply 
"tribe" (another signification of the same word, matteh), treating it 
as a vocative ; whilst the LXX. includes in this sentence the word l odh 
(yet), which in the Heb. stands at the beginning of the next (in an un- 
natural position before the interrogative (though cf. (in the Heb.) Gen. 
xix. 12)), but reads it as I 1r (city); and Wellhausen, guided by this, 
has proposed the ingenious emendation, Hear, tribe (i.e. Judah, 
distinguished from its capital) and assembly of the city (i.e. Jerusalem), 
replacing uml ye'ddhah l ddk by umo'edk hd'ir. This agrees with the 
mention of the city in the preceding clause. 

10. Are there. . . ? The form of the word (ha-ish instead of ha-yesh) 
thus rendered is irregular (though cf. 2 Sam. xiv. 19); and it has been 
proposed by Wellhausen to add a letter and so produce a verb 
(hd'esksheh), meaning shall I condone...? (the Vulg. has numquid 
iustificaboT): cf. the question in the following v. The word rendered 
yet is doubtless due to textual corruption (see above) and is wrongly 
included in this v. 

the scant measure. Literally, the lean ephah, an ephah being a "dry" 
measure containing approximately a bushel. 

11. Shall I be pure with, etc. The speaker may be God, asking 
Himself whether He will be free from complicity if He overlooks such 
dishonesty; or it may be the prophet (representing his countrymen) 
parleying with his conscience. The LXX. has d Si/caiw^WrcH ei/, etc., 
shall a man be held pure (or innocent) before God with, etc. ; but better 
than either the LXX. or the present Heb. text is the proposal to retain 
the 1st pers. of the latter, but to change the points shall I (God) 
hold a man pure in spite of wicked balances ? For this sense of the pre- 
position (be) cf. 2 Is. xlvii. 9. 

a bag. This, for containing portable weights, was carried by traders 
or hawkers; see Dt. xxv. 13, Prov. xvi. 11. 

weights. Literally, stones. Early inscribed stone weights have been 
found both in Babylonia and in Palestine; see Hastings, DB. iv. 

vi. i7-i 5 ] MICAH 55 

violence, and the inhabitants thereof have spoken lies, and their 
tongue is deceitful in their mouth. 13 Therefore I also have 
smitten thee with a grievous wound ; I have made thee desolate 
because of thy sins. 14 Thou shalt eat, but not be satisfied ; and 
thy humiliation shall be in the midst of thee : and thou shalt 
remove, but shalt not carry away safe; and that which thou 
carriest away will I give up to the sword. 15 Thou shalt sow, but 
shalt not reap : thou shalt tread the olives, but shalt not anoint 

1 Or, emptiness 

pp. 902, 904. The prevalence of the kind of dishonesty here denounced 
is attested by Hos. xii. 7, Am. viii. 5 (prophets in Northern Israel), 
and by the prohibitions in Dt. xxv. 13 15 (a Judsean document), 
Ezek. xlv. 10, Lev. xix. 35, 36 (post-exilic). 

12. For the rick men thereof. The translation for (or because) is 
justified by Num. xx. 13, Josh. iv. 7; so that there is no need to 
render of which (the pronoun referring to the city in v. 9) the rich men, 
etc. and to transpose (as some scholars suggest) vv. 11 and 12. 

13. / also have smitten. ..wound. Literally, I also have made grievous 
the smiting of thee. This suggests that the chastisement is already severe 
(cf. v. 9, note) : but the LXX. (which has the verb apxto-Qai), and Aq. 
(/cat eyw ^p^dfji^v rov Trara^at) imply / also have begun to smite thee. 
The correction (involving merely a change of points) admits of being 
construed with the following verb as easily as does the existing text. 
The pronoun thee, being masc., must refer to the citizens viewed 
collectively. In the light of the next v. the chastisement must be 
supposed to be ravage and siege at the hands of an enemy. 

14. not be satisfied. I.e. there will be a shortage of food in con- 
sequence of a hostile blockade : compare the language of Hos. iv. 10, 
Lev. xxvi. 26. 

thy humiliation. This rendering follows the Vulg., but a preferable 
translation (see mg.) is thy emptiness (in a physical sense). The Heb. 
word only occurs here. 

thou shalt remove... sword. Of these two clauses the first apparently 
refers to goods (cf. Is. v. 29), the second (as shewn by mention of the 
sword) to persons. 

15. Thou shalt sow, etc. The offenders will lose not only their dis- 
honest gains, but the fruit of their industry. This v., implying the 
ravage of the land by the enemy and resultant scarcity in the city, 
would certainly be more appropriately placed immediately after v. 14 a , 
which it explains; and some critics accordingly transpose it. For the 
tenor of thev. cf. Lev. xxvi. 16, Dt. xxviii. 30, 33, 38 40, 67, Am. v. 11. 

tread the olives. Allusions to the treading of olives in presses occur 
in Dt. xxxiii. 24, Jud. ix. 27, Job xxiv. 11, Is. xvi. 10, 3 Is. Ixiii. 2, Joel ii. 
24; but the berries were also crushed by being beaten (as implied in 
Ex. xxvii. 20). 

56 MICAH [vi. 


thee with oil ; and the vintage, but shalt not drink the wine. 
16 For the statutes of Omri are kept, and all the works of the 
house of Ahab, and ye walk in their counsels: that I should make 
thee *a desolation, and the inhabitants thereof an hissing; and 
ye shall bear the reproach of my people. 

1 Or, an astonishment 

the vintage. The Heb. word is the same as that generally translated 
new wine (see Joel i. 10, Prov. iii. 10), and denotes for the most part 
the unfermented juice of the grape (3 Is. Ixv. 8) ; but here must mean 
" the grapes " : cf. Is. xxiv. 7. 

16. the statutes of Omri are kept. The verb is inappropriate in both 
form (reflexive) and number (sing.), and the LXX. and some other 
Versions have thou hast kept the statutes of Omri, which is preferable. 
The historian of Kgs., though describing Omri as exceeding his pre- 
decessors in wickedness, only explains that, like Jeroboam, he worshipped 
Jehovah under the figure of a calf or young bull. But after an enu- 
meration of offences like those in vv. 10 12, the statutes of Omri are 
probably to be interpreted by the works of the house of Ahab, which 
may be illustrated by the judicial murder of Naboth and the confiscation 
of his estate (1 Kgs. xxi.); and it may perhaps be inferred that Omri's 
government (like his son's) was oppressive to the poorer classes among 
his subjects. Politically, he was one of the most powerful sovereigns 
of Northern Israel, the territory of which the Assyrians called after his 

that I should make thee, etc. According to Heb. idiom, the penalty 
consequent upon a crime can be represented as a purpose, as though 
the criminal designed his own retribution. The law that sin brings 
chastisement is assumed to be known, so that he who plans the one 
plans the other. There is considerable confusion among the genders 
and numbers of the pronouns in this verse (ye... thee (masc. sing.)... 
thereof (fern, sing.)), reference being made sometimes to the people 
(either distributively in the plural or collectively in the singular) and 
sometimes to the city; but probably thee should be replaced by it (i.e. 
the city, v. 9, which is fern.). 

an hissing. I.e. an object of derision (cf. Jer. xix. 8, xxv. 9, 18, 
xxix. 18). 

of my people. There is clearly a textual error here : what the sense 
requires is of the peoples as read by the LXX. : cf. Ezek. xxxvi. 15. 


These six verses depict conditions of disorder, corruption, and strife, 
resembling those presented in the previous section (vi. 9 16), though they 
lack any specific allusions pointing to a particular period as the date of their 
origin. In form they consist of a complaint from the prophet concerning the 
prevalence of violence among the people, the failure of justice, and the existence 

VII. i- 



of feuds dividing friends and families. Most of these evils were features in 
Hebrew history that often recurred, and are consistent equally with the age 
of Micah (see i. iii.), and with the age after the Return in 537 (see 3 Is. lix.). 
But in the absence of any criteria decisive for one period rather than another, 
there is no cogent reason for separating these verses from those in vi. 916 
(see p. 52). 

VII. 1 Woe is me ! for I am as when they have gathered the 
summer fruits, as the grape gleanings of the vintage: there is no 
cluster to eat; 1 my soul desireth the firstripe fig. 2 The godly 
man is perished out of the earth, and there is none upright 
among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every 
man his brother with a net. 3 2 Their hands are upon that 

1 Or, nor firstripe fig which my soul desired 

2 Or, Both hands are put forth for evil to do it <&c. 

1. / am as when they have gathered, etc. Literally, / am as the 

crete term gleanings just as a similar abstract is combined with the 
latter term in Is. xvii. 6, xxiv. 13. The concise comparison requires in 
English to be expanded (see below). 

my soul desireth, etc. Better (cf. mg.), there is no firstripe fig which 
my soul desireth (the negative expressed in the preceding clause being 
supplied in this). The first figs of the season, for which Heb. has a 
special term, ripen at the end of May or the beginning of June, and in 
early times were highly appreciated (Is. xxviii. 4, Jer. xxiv. 2, Hos. ix. 
10; cf. Mk. xi. 13). The speaker means "I am as one who, at the end 
of the vintage or the fig harvest, looks for fruit in vain," the "fruit" 
being a figure for the godly and the upright. 

2. The godly man. The writer proceeds to explain the significance 
of the preceding metaphors. The adjective here employed describes one 
who displays both kindness to his fellow-men and love to God. Its 
primary meaning appears to be kind] but since kindness, especially at 
times when tbe higher ranks of society ill-treated their inferiors, was a 
mark of the God-fearing, it acquired the secondary sense of pious, or 
godly 1 . 

out of the earth. Better, out of the land. The like complaint finds 
expression in 3 Is. Ivii. 1, Ps. xii. 1. 

blood. Properly, deeds of blood, the Heb. plural being similarly used 
in 2 Sam. xvi. 8, Is. i. 15, iv. 4, etc. 

they hunt... net. An expressive figure for the efforts made by the 
designing and malicious to entrap their neighbours. For the use of nets in 
hunting see 2 Is. li. 20, and for the figure of speech cf. Ps. xxxv. 7, Ivii. 6. 

3. Their hands, etc. The literal sense of the Hebrew seems to be 

1 See Driver, Parallel Psalter, pp. 4434. 

58 MICAH [vii. 

3, 4 

which is evil to do it diligently; the prince asketh, and the 
judge is ready for a reward ; and the great man, he uttereth the 
mischief of his soul : thus they weave it together. 4 The best of 
them is as a brier: Hhe most upright is worse than a thorn 
hedge : the day of thy watchmen, even thy visitation, is come ; 

1 Or, the straightest is as it were taken from dc. 

Upon the evil (are) both hands (or palms) skilfully (or thoroughly) to do 
it-, but the real meaning is perhaps As regards that which is evil, their 
two hands are ready to do it skilfully (or thoroughly). For the rendering 
of the preposition by as regards or concerning cf. Lev. vi. 7 (Heb. v. 26). 
Nevertheless the sentence is awkward, and since the LXX. has evrt TO 
KO.KOV TO.S x/> a s auTwv Toijuaovcnv, many critics emend the text so as to 
yield the sense To do evil they make skilful (or ready) their hands. 

the prince. The title here seems to signify no more than the magis- 
trate-, cf. Ex. ii. 14, xviii. 21 (where the word rulers translates the same 
Heb. term), Is. i. 23, etc. 

asketh. The object, supplied in thought, is "a reward" (i.e. a bribe), 
as in the next clause. 

the judge is ready for a reward. The Heb., if sound, should perhaps 
be rendered the judge doeth it (the request of a suitor) for a reward. 
But possibly (as Nowack has suggested) a verb, judgeth, has been lost 
through haplography. The acceptance of bribes is expressly prohibited 
in the Law (see Dt. xvi. 19). 

the great man. The person here described is the influential suitor 
who seeks to obtain a decision in his favour by corrupt means from a 
venal magistrate. 

the mischief. Better, the evil desire (for so the same word is rendered 
in Prov. x. 3). Sym. has rr}v cirtdv/u'av, the Vulg. desiderium. 

thus they weave it together. The Heb. verb does not occur elsewhere 
(it seems to mean "to twist" or "intertwine"), and possibly there has 
occurred the loss of a word or words. The sentence presumably describes 
some arrangement between a litigant and an official for the deliverance 
of an unjust decision. 

4. as a brier. I.e. they are dangerous to have to do with. 

is worse than a thorn hedge. I.e. is more crooked and harmful than 
such a hedge. For this explanation of the Heb. text (in which there is 
absent an adjective or a verb equivalent to "(is) worse") cf. the con- 
struction in Is. x. 10. But Sym. has w? e c^pay/jLov, and the true 
reading may be cimsuchah instead of mimmesuchah is like a thorn hedge. 

the day of... is come. The prophet here addresses the people. The 
verb is fern., agreeing with thy visitation, and possibly the day of^ thy 
watchmen is a note inserted by a copyist, identifying the "visitation" 
with the "day" of nemesis which the prophets, the city's "watchmen" 
(cf. Is. xxi. 6, Jer. vi. 17, Ezek. iii. 17, xxxiii. 7, Hab. ii. 1), anticipated. 
As the poss. pron. attached to perplexity at the end of the v. is in the 3rd 
pers. plur., thy visitation should probably be replaced by their visitation. 

vii. 4-6] MICAH 59 

now shall be their perplexity. 5 Trust ye not in a friend, put ye 
not confidence in a 1 guide : keep the doors of thy mouth from 
her that lieth in thy bosom. 6 For the son dishonoureth the 
father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter 
in law against her mother in law ; a man's enemies are the men 
of his own house. 

1 Or, familiar friend 

now. Better, then; cf. y. 4. 

perplexity. I.e. the bewilderment created by tbe coming of unexpected 
retribution (cf. Is. xxii. 5). 

5. a guide. Better, an intimate, or (as in the mg.) a familiar friend. 

6. dishonoureth. Cf. LXX. an^ei. The Heb. literally is treats as a, 
fool: the same word occurs in Nan. iii. 6, Dt. xxxii. 15, Jer. xiv. 21; 
and in the R.V. is rendered by various equivalents. 

the men of his own house. I.e. his domestic servants (Gen. xvii. 23, 
etc.). Amongst the Hebrews parental authority was supreme over the 
children, who could be sold as slaves (Ex. xxi. 7, 2 Kgs. iv. 1, Neh. v. 5), 
or even offered in sacrifice (Jud. xi. 29 40, 2 Kgs. xxi. 6). In the case 
of daughters marriage only transferred them from the despotic authority 
of the father to that of the husband; and amongst tbe Romans the 
position of women was similar (cf. Livy xxxiv. 2, Maiores nostrifeminas 
voluerunt in manu esse parentium, fratrum, virorum). So far as parents 
are concerned, it is the power of the father rather than of the mother 
tbat generally comes under notice in the O.T. writings, yet the utmost 
respect towards both parents was enjoined in the Law and elsewhere 
(Ex. xx. 12, Lev. xix. 3, Dt. xxvii. 16, Prov. xxiii. 22, etc.); and it was 
directed that anyone guilty of striking or cursing either father or mother 
should be put to deatb (Ex. xxi. 15, Lev. xx. 9). Hence the conditions 
here depicted would be more shocking to Eastern even than to Western 
sentiment. Over servants and slaves the rights of a Hebrew were 
likewise extensive, and included the infliction of physical chastise- 
ment; so tbat it was deemed necessary to limit them by imposing 
punishment on the owner of a slave, if the latter died under his master's 
blows, and to require tbat a slave should gain bis liberty as compen- 
sation, if he sustained severe bodily injury from his master (Ex. xxi. 
20 f.). But the relations between master and servant were sometimes 
very intimate (Gen. xxiv. 2); and the latter, if the former bad no son, 
might, as a member of the household, become his heir (Gen. xv. 2). 

This v. suggested the words used by our Lord to describe the divisions 
that would be occasioned even within family circles by the welcome 
given to His teaching by some members, and the antagonism roused by 
it in others (Mt. x. 35, 36 = Lk. xii. 51 53). Maurer compares Ov. 
Met. i. 444 f., Non hospes ab hospite tutus, Non socer a genero; fratrum 
quoque gratia rara est. Imminet exitio vir coniugis, ilia mariti. Lurida 
terribiks miscent aconita novercai; and there may be added Seneca, 
Thyestes, 40 43, Fratrem expavescat f rater et natumparens, Natusque 
patrem...immineat viro Infesta coniux. 

60 MICAH [VIL 7 , 8 


This group of verses, as a whole, offers a marked contrast to what has gone 
before. In the preceding group there is an indignant lament over the preva- 
lence of dishonesty and crime amongst the people, and there is placed before 
them the prospect of impending retribution. But here the retribution for the 
national offences has come to pass, and the people are in a situation of adversity 
and abasement, though not bereft of hope. Obviously a considerable interval 
must separate v. 7 from the foregoing v. 6. It is not, however, clear at the first 
glance that all these 14 verses date from one period. The extremely plaintive 
tone of vv. 7 10 implies that the humiliation of the people is extreme, 
and suggests that they are still in exile, and that the passage dates from the 
period 587 537. But the next three 00., announcing that the walls of 
Jerusalem are to be rebuilt, appear to proceed from a time when the Jews 
were once again in their own land, i.e. after the Return in 537 but before the 
refortification of Jerusalem by Nehemiah in 444 (p. 61). Even then, however, 
there was present in the Jewish community an acute sense of depression and 
disappointment : neighbours were insolent and malicious ; the territory re- 
occupied was very restricted, and numbers of their fellow-countrymen were 
still in foreign countries, so that the chastisement due for past sins appeared 
unexhausted by the 50 years' exile, and the people were despondent on account 
of their straitened and defenceless position. In the light of this, the first im- 
pression produced by vv. 8 10 calls for re-consideration, since in the middle 
of the 5th century (as well as in the 6th) there was not lacking occasion for 
a confession like that contained in these vs., for an announcement like that in 
v. 12, and for an attitude of prayerfulness and expectancy such as is manifested 
in the concluding ra 1420 (p. 63). On the whole, therefore, the simplest 
conclusion is that this whole section is a unity, and was composed in the 5th 
century after the Return, about 450. Sellin suggests as a reason for its inclusion 
in the expanded book of Micah that it was added in order that the book should 
once more close on a note of promise. 

7 But as for me, *I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for 
the God of my salvation : my God will hear me. 8 Rejoice not 
against me, 2 mine enemy : when I fell, I shall arise ; when I 

1 Or, in the LORD will I keep watch 2 See ver. 10. 

7 10. An acknowledgment, on the part of the personified com- 
munity, deeply penitent, of sin against Jehovah; a resolve to bear 
patiently the retribution that has been merited; and an assertion of 
confidence in the Divine mercy. 

7. / will look unto. Better, I will look out for (or watch for) : for the 
sense cf. Ps. v. 3 (4). 

wait for. The same verb is translated hope in (God) by the R.V. in 
Ps. xxxviii. 16 (15), xlii. 5 (6), xliii. 5. 

the God of my salvation. Better (in this connection), the God of my 
deliverance-, cf. Is. xvii. 10, Ps. xviii. 46, xxvii. 9, Hab. iii. 18. 

8. mine enemy. The original is a fern, sing., and represents a per- 

VII. 8-io] 



sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me. 9 I will bear 
the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him ; 
until he plead my cause, and execute judgement for me : he will 
bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness. 
10 Then mine enemy shall see it, and shame shall cover her ; which 
said unto me, Where is the LORD thy God? Mine eyes shall behold 
her ; now shall she be trodden down as the mire of the streets. 

sonified collective, either Babylon (cf. 2 Is. xlvii. 1 f., Jer. 1. 9, 10), or 
Edom (Ob. 12), or the ill-disposed neighbours of the Jews about the 
time of Nehemiah, such as the Samaritans and the Ammonites with 
their allies (Neb. ii. 19, iv. 1 3), according to the conclusion reached 
concerning the date of these four w. (p. 60). 

when I fall. . . when I sit. Better, though I have fallen . . . though I sit. 
For these verbs used in connection with a city or people cf. Am. v. 2, 
Lam. i. 1. 

darkness. I.e. the gloom of adversity in contrast to the light of 
prosperity (cf. Is. ix. 2, 3 Is. Iviii. 10). 

9. the indignation of the LORD. Jehovah had employed, as the in- 
struments of His wrath, the heathen (cf. Is. x. 5), who had destroyed 
Judab's independence. 

plead my cause. The sense would be better expressed by strive in my 
quarrel or (more literally) contend in my contention: cf. Ps. xliii. 1, 
cxix. 154, etc. 

his righteousness. I.e. His faithfulness, as manifested by Judah's 
ultimate vindication (cf. 3 Is. Ivi. l b and lix. 9). 

10. shame. I.e. confusion and disappointment (cf. Ob. 10). 
Where. ..thy God? The same derisive question occurs in Joel ii. 17, 

Ps. Ixxix. 10, cxv. 2, cf. Num. xiv. 15, 16, Dt. ix. 28 : the humiliation of 
a people was thought to prove the inferiority of its national divinity to 
tbat of the triumphant enemy. 

shall behold her. I.e. shall view with satisfaction the degradation of 
her who had fancied that Jehovah, the God of the Jews, was impotent. 

now. Better, then, as in v. 4, vii. 4. 


This short passage conveys an assurance from Jehovah, through the prophet, 
that the walls of Jerusalem are to be built and those of her people who are 
still in exile are to return to her. 

The date of these verses can scarcely be any but shortly before the period 
of Nehemiah, who arrived at Jerusalem from Persia in 445, and, with the 
sanction of the Persian king, proceeded to restore the city's walls, the re- 
building of which was completed in 444. The decision reached about the 
occasion when these vv. originated should probably be allowed to dominate 
the discussion concerning the origin of the whole section mi. 7 20 (p. 60); 
and if there is no interruption between the four vv. 7 10 and the present 
three, these contain Jehovah's response to the prayer in the former. 

62 MICAH [VIL ii, 12 

11 l A day for building thy walls! in that day shall 2 the 3 decree 
be far removed. 12 In that day shall they come unto thee, from 
Assyria and the cities of 4 Egypt, and from 4 Egypt even to the 
River, and from sea to sea, and from mountain to mountain. 

1 Or, In the day that thy walls are to be built 2 See Zeph. ii. 2. 

3 Or, boundary 4 Heb. Mazor. 

11. A day... thy walls! The prophet addresses Jerusalem (personified 
as a woman). The word here used for walls strictly signifies fences (cf. 
Sym. Tors <^>ay^ovs o-ov) separating a vineyard from the road or from 
waste ground (Is. v. 5, Ps. Ixxx. 12, Num. xxii. 24, Prov. xxiv. 31), but 
it is applied to the wall of Jerusalem in Ezra ix. 9. 

the decree. If this rendering be retained (cf. LXX. vo/u/xa, Sym. 
cTTtrayr/, Th. Trpoo-ray/xa), the meaning is that the Persian decree re- 
stricting the liberties of the Jews will be cancelled (cf. Ezra iv. 21). 
But the verb employed favours the translation the limit or the boundary 
(see mg. and cf. Prov. viii. 29, Jer. v. 22, and for the same verb in 
a similar connection see Is. xxvi. 15), the writer having in his thoughts 
the confined area prescribed for the Jews by the Persian authorities 
when the exiles were allowed to settle once more on their native soil. 

be far removed. Better (to suit the translation advocated above), be 
extended, i.e. for the accommodation of the additional numbers whose 
return is predicted in the next v. The circumscribed boundaries of the 
district occupied by the Jews in the time of Nehemiah may be inferred 
from the names of the towns whose inhabitants alone took part in the 
re-building of the walls (see Neh. iii.). It has been calculated that the 
localities enumerated were included within an area of 20 miles square 1 . 

12. shall they come unto thee. The reference is probably not to 
heathen peoples hasting to join themselves to Israel (iv. 2, 2 Is. xlv. 
14, Iv. 5, Zech. viii. 20 23) but to Jewish exiles returning to their 
native land (Is. xi. 11, xxvii. 13, Hos. xi. 11, 2 Is. xliii. 5, 6, xlix. 12). 

Assyria. In the time of Nehemiah Assyria as an empire had perished, 
but its name was retained to designate one or other of the empires that 
had displaced it (p. 39). Here it seems to stand for Persia. 

and the cities of Egypt. A parallel to the clauses in the rest of the v. 
is wanted, and a very slight emendation of the text gives even unto 
Egypt (va'adhe for ve'dre), which meets the requirements. The term 
here used for Egypt is not that commonly employed (Mizraim) but 
that occurring in 2 Kgs. xix. 24, Is. xix. 6, xxxvii. 25 (Mazor). Assyria 
and Egypt are similarly used to mark the north-eastern and south- 
western confines of the Jewish Dispersion in Is. xi. 15, xxvii. 13, Hos. 
xi. 11, 2 Zech. x. 10. 

the River. I.e. the Euphrates (Gen. xxxi. 21, Ex. xxiii. 31, etc.). 

from sea to sea, and from mountain to mountain. This is a rendering 
of the LXX. rather than of the Heb., which, through some accident, 

1 See Kent, Hist, of the Jewish People, p. 159. 

vii. i 3 , i 4 ] MIC AH 63 

13 Yet shall the land be desolate because of them that dwell 
therein, for the fruit of their doings. 

has become disarranged and defective. The expression is probably 
merely rhetorical (cf. Ps. Ixxii. 8) ; but if the limits are to be defined, 
the seas may be the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf, and the 
mountains those of Abyssinia and Armenia. 

13. Yet shall the land, etc. This rendering implies a reminder that 
the predicted redemption must be preceded by a judgment. For the 
adversative sense given to the conjunction see iv. 4, Is. x. 20, 1 Kgs. 
x. 7. The translation, however, should perhaps be, And the earth shall, 
etc. (the earth being contrasted with Jewish territory as man is con- 
trasted with Israel in Jer. xxxii. 20). The mercy granted to the Jews 
is to be accompanied by vengeance wreaked on the heathen world that 
has oppressed them beyond what God desired (cf. 2 Is. xlvii. 6, Zech. 
i. 15). 

for the fruit. I.e. because of the issue (or outcome); cf. Hos. x. 13, 
Is. iii. 10, Prov. i. 31. 


A prayer to God from the prophet on behalf of the people, entreating Him 
to do for them wonders as of old, and voicing a conviction that He will shew 
them compassion and forgiveness. 

To the date of this passage (in which, as contrasted with vv. 7 13, God is 
addressed directly in the 2nd person) the only clue is contained in v. 14, which 
reflects the conditions of a period when the Jewish people were a small and 
depressed body, conscious of a guilty past, surrounded by aliens, and longing 
for a renewal of the happier times long ago when they enjoyed a more ample 
territory. This situation is most intelligible on the hypothesis that the passage 
was composed in the post-exilic age, perhaps within the 5th century B.C. ; and 
probably the section is continuous with the preceding vv. 1 1 (or 7) 13, but, 
unlike those verses, is written in the Kinah rhythm, though this, in places, 
has been disturbed. 

14 x Feed thy people with thy rod, the flock of thine heritage, 

1 Or, Rule 

14. Feed thy people, etc. Jehovah is likened to a shepherd (cf. Gen. 
xlix. 24, Ps. xxiii. 1, Ixxx. 1), carrying a club with which to protect 
his sheep from fierce animals (Ps. xxiii. 4). 

the flock of thine heritage. This particular combination of terms does 
not appear elsewhere (though cf. Ps. xxviii. 9). Israel, however, is 
frequently styled Jehovah's heritage (Dt. iv. 20, ix. 26, Joel ii. 17, etc.), 
the expression being apparently transferred from the land of Canaan 
(the mountain of Jehovah's inheritance, Ex. xv. 17, cf. 1 Sam. xxvi. 19) 
to the people whom Jehovah planted in it. Land could not be alienated 
in perpetuity (Lev. xxv.), and so the description of Israel as Jehovah's 
heritage emphasizes the permanence of the relation believed to subsist 
between them and God. 

64 MICAH [vii. i 4 , 15 

which dwell solitarily, in the forest in the midst of Carmel : let 
them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old. 15 As in 
the days of thy coming forth out of the land of Egypt will I shew 

solitarily. In some passages the expression describes the seclusion 
of Israel under God's peculiar care (Num. xxiii. 9, Dt. xxxiii. 28), but 
here it seems to have reference to the isolation (cf. Lam. i. 1) of the 
small Jewish post-exilic community closely encompassed by unfriendly 
and jealous neighbours. 

in the forest... Carmel. Carmel is the sole headland that breaks the 
straight coast of Palestine between Sidon and Egypt, and constitutes 
the seaward extremity of a limestone ridge 12 or 13 miles long, and 
(at the promontory) 500 ft. high. If the name is here understood of 
this ridge, the phrase in the forest... Carmel must be construed with 
the verb feed, with reference to the woods clothing it (Is. xxxiii. 9, 
Am. i. 2), regarded as affording shelter (cf. Ezek. xxxiv. 25), and to 
the fertile glades intersecting them. But the Hebrew word is also 
a common noun, meaning a garden-like district (cf. Is. xvi. 10, Jer. 
ii. 7), and a preferable rendering is, in a forest in the midst of a garden- 
land. The area of unproductive soil to which (either through restrictions 
imposed on the Jews by their over-lords, or in consequence of the few- 
ness of their numbers) they were at first confined, and which was 
surrounded by more fruitful regions in the possession of others, is 
likened to a sterile forest in the middle of a fertile and beautiful 

let them... Gilead. Compare 2 Zech. x. 10. The districts named, 
which were once in the occupation of united Israel, were pasture lands 
(cf. Jer. 1. 19). Bashan, stretching (for some 30 miles) eastwards of the 
Sea of Galilee and the Waters of Merom, and reaching from the Yarmuk 
northwards in the direction of Hermon, was famous for its horned 
cattle (Dt. xxxii. 14, Am. iv. 1, Ps. xxii. 12); whilst Gilead, on the 
E. of the Jordan, extending from the north end of the Dead Sea to 
the south extremity of the Sea of Galilee, was also adapted for pasturage, 
and was in consequence desired, at the time of the Conquest, by the 
tribes of Reuben and Gad that were rich in flocks and herds (Num. 

as in the days of old. The reference to the re-occupation of Gilead 
by the prophet's countrymen is not easily reconcilable with Micah's 
authorship of this section, for in his time it was either actually in the 
possession, if not, indeed, of Judah, at any rate of the sister-kingdom 
of Northern Israel, or had only recently been lost (2 Kgs. xv. 29). 

15. thy coming forth... will I shew. Probably Jehovah speaks here 
(to the end of v. 17), declaring, in answer to the petition in v. 14, that 
He will do as much for Israel in the immediate future as He did for 
them on the occasion of the Exodus. But some critics consider that 
the prophet and people are the speakers (as in the preceding v. and 
apparently in v. 17), and propose to replace the future mil I shew 

vii. i 5 -i8] MICAH 65 

unto him marvellous things. 16 The nations shall see and be 
ashamed of all their might : they shall lay their hand upon their 
mouth, their ears shall be deaf. 17 They shall lick the dust like 
a serpent; like crawling things of the earth they shall come 
trembling out of their close places : they shall come with fear 
unto the LORD our God, and shall be afraid because of thee. 
18 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and 
passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he 

unto him by the imperative shew unto us\ in which case thy coming 
forth must refer to Jehovah as having accompanied Israel in their 
departure from Egypt. But this alteration is superfluous, if v. 17 be 
emended. The only correction required here is the omission of land 
(of), which impairs the rhythm and is absent from the LXX. 

marvellous things. The expression is similarly used in relation to the 
Exodus in Ex. xv. 11, Ps. Ixxviii. 11. 

16. ashamed of all tlmr might. I.e. abashed because of their proved 
inferiority to Israel supported by Jehovah: cf. 2 Is. xlv. 14. 

lay their hand upon tlmr mouth, etc. Their confusion will deprive 
them temporarily of speech (Jud. xviii. 19, Job xxi. 5, Prov. xxx. 32) 
and hearing. Cf. Ps. xxxviii. 13 14. 

17. lick the dust. A figure for utter abasement; cf. Ps. Ixxii. 9, 
2 Is. xlix. 23. 

like crawling things of the earth. These words should be connected 
with the preceding clause, and a full stop should be placed at earth. 

they shall come trembling, etc. This clause should go with the 
following (see below) and begin with a capital letter. 

their close places. I.e. their fortresses, in which they had previously 
felt secure : cf. Ps. xviii. 45. 

they shall come with fear. Literally, they shall fear. 

unto the LORD our God. These words harmonize badly with the 
natural impression that in w. 15 17 God is the speaker, and have 
with some reason been suspected to be interpolated, for they destroy 
the rhythm. Without them, v. 17 consists of two Kinah lines, of which 
the second is, They shall come trembling out of their close places: they 
shall fear and be afraid because of thee (Israel). 

18. Who is a God like unto thee. This and the following w. are a re- 
sponse to Jehovah's assurances in w. 1517. The opening question 
finds summary expression in the name Micah (see p. xviii). 

that pardoneth iniquity. Compare the description of the Divine 
character in Ex. xxxiv. 6, 7, Ps. ciii. 8, Jer. iii. 12. The next clause 
would afford a better balance to this, if it were reduced to and passeth 
by transgression-, the additional words may have been suggested to 
a reader by Jer. 1. 20. The Divine forgivingness, here expressed abso- 
lutely, is really conditional, though upon the sincerity of human 
repentance, not upon the sum of human deserts. 


66 MIC AH [vn. 18-10 

retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. 
19 He will turn again and have compassion upon us; he will 
1 tread our iniquities under foot: and thou wilt cast all their sins 
into the depths of the sea. 20 2 Thou wilt 3 perform the truth to 
Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto 
our fathers from the days of old. 

1 Or, subdue our iniquities ' 2 Or, Thou wilt shew thy faithfulness &c. 

3 Heb. give. 

he retaineth not, etc. This latter part of v. 18 and the first half of 
v. 19 (down to foot), both of which are marked by the 3rd pers. (con- 
trast the 2nd pers. in 18 a , 19 b ) are suspected of being insertions: 
certainly the rhythm changes. 

19. he ivill tread... sea. These are strong metaphors for the complete 
removal of Israel's offences from the Divine memory; put out of sight, 
they will be out of mind : cf. the similar figures of speech in Is. xxxviii. 
17. Instead of all their sins the LXX. and Vulg. have preferably all 
our sins. With the second half of the v. (and thou, etc.) there is a re- 
turn to the Kinah metre. 

20. wilt perform the truth to. I.e. wilt deal faithfully with : cf. Neh. 
ix. 33. God's changelessness (which is implied in the description of 
Him as the God of truth, Ps. xxxi. 5) makes it certain that the 
graciousness once shown to Israel's ancestors will not be wanting to 
their descendants. 

Jacob... Abraham. The names of the patriarchs here stand for their 

hast sworn. See Gen. xxii. 16, and cf. Lk. i. 73. 


1 THE vision of Obadiah. 

Thus saith the Lord GOD L concerning Edom: We have heard 
tidings from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent among the 

1 See Jer. xlix. 722. 

1. vision. The term, which strictly refers to impressions of a visual 
character actually or ostensibly experienced in prophetic ecstasy (see 
Dan. viii. 1, 2, 15, ix. 21, cf. Ezek. xiii. 16) 1 , is here used to designate 
the contents of a prophetic book, conveying Divine revelations received 
through the intellectual and spiritual faculties (uot through the senses) ; 
cf. Is. i. 1, Nah. i. 1, Hab. ii. 2. The LXX. has opoum, but Aq. e/co-rao-i?. 

Obadiah. For the significance of the name see p. xxxii. Besides 
occurring frequently in the O.T., it has also been found on a seal 
bearing, in the early Hebrew script, the words 'Obhadhyahu 'ebhedh 
hammelech, "Obadiak servant of the king" (Benzinger, Heb. Arch. 
p. 258). Proper names parallel in formation to Obadiah or Abdiah are 
Ebed-Ashtoreth, Ebed-eshmun, Ebed-baal. 

Thus... Edom. These words are a necessary introduction to what 
follows in order to render clear what people are meant by the pronouns 
her and thee, and accordingly are not likely to be a later addition, as 
Ewald and others have thought, but must have been attached to the 
oracle from the first. 

We have heard tidings from the LORD. If the Heb. text is correct, 
the speakers must be people in general, who had heard a report about 
a confederation being organized against Edom, the words and an am- 
bassador is sent, etc. being equivalent to that an ambassador is sent, etc. : 
cf. Gen. xxx. 27 (where "I have divined that the LORD hath blessed me" 
is literally "I have divined and JEHOVAH hath blessed me"). But the 
expression coming from Jehovah must imply a Divine oracle, which 
would be imparted directly not to a multitude of people but to a 
prophet. And the LXX. here and the Heb. of the parallel passage Jer. 
xlix. 14 have the 1st pers. sing, instead of the 1st pers. plur. ; and if, 
as is probable, this is the authentic text, the translation should be 
/ (i.e. the prophet) have heard a communication (the same word as that 
which is used of an oracle and rendered message in Is. xxviii. 9, 19) 
from JEHOVAH. This announcement is prefatory to the actual oracle, 
which begins with v. 2. 

and an ambassador is sent. If in the preceding clause the reading of 
the LXX. be adopted, in this the word rendered is sent should be pointed 

1 Cf. Thouless, Int. to the Psychology of Religion, p. T6 f. 


68 OBADIAH [1-3 

nations, saying, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle. 
2 Behold, I have made thee small among the nations : thou art 
greatly despised. 3 The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, 

as in Jer. xlix. 14 (which, instead of shullah, has shdluah) and the 
translation should be, whilst a messenger is being sent, the clause im- 
plying that the revelation from Jehovah to the prophet coincides with 
the despatch of an envoy to a group of nations (probably neighbouring 
Arabian tribes) to concert against Edom a combined attack which will 
prove the agency destined to fulfil the oracle which the prophet proceeds 
to disclose. For the Heb. tslr in the sense of messenger cf. Prov. xiii. 
17, xxv. 13. Ewald takes the messenger to be an angel, charged by 
God to rouse the nations to battle against Edorn: compare Jud. v. 23. 
The rhythm of this introductory line is either 4 : 3 or 3 : 3, according 
as the text is retained as it stands or a makkeph is inserted between 
me'eth and Yehdvah, cf. p. cxxxix. 

Arise ye, etc. The words are those of the ambassador addressing (in 
the name of the people taking the lead in promoting a confederacy 
against Edom) the nations to whom he is sent. The rhythm here is 
2 : 2. The introductory "saying" is absent, as in Mic. ii. 11, Is. iii. 6, 
Ps. Iii. 6. The fern, pronoun her refers to the land of Edom (cf. Ezek. 
xxxvi. 5 Heb.), though the masculine (representing the population) is 
employed subsequently. The Vulg. substitutes the masc. here, and 
Wellhausen, followed by Nowack, would alter the Heb. text accordingly. 
Jer. xlix. 14 has, Gather yourselves and come against her, which is 
probably nearer the language of the original prophecy, since the sentence 
constitutes an unexceptionable pentameter, whereas Ob.'s version is 
metrically irregular. 

2. Behold, I have made thee small The speaker here is Jehovah. The 
perfect tense introduces a prediction (cf. 2 Is. xli. 15 Heb.), the purpose 
of God being regarded as already virtually accomplished. The agency 
about to be employed for the reduction of Edom to powerlessness is the 
confederacy alluded to in v. 1. The oracle (w. 2 5) is probably com- 
posed in the Kinah rhythm. The introductory Behold (Jer. For behold) 
is outside the metre. 

thou art greatly despised. The parallel passage, Jer. xlix. 15, has and 
despised among men (the words depending upon / have made thee). In 
Ob. the pronoun thou (art) conveys an unnecessary emphasis; and since 
Jer.'s reading forms an excellent pentameter, of which Ob.'s is easily 
explicable as a corruption, the original source probably had the line in 
the form in which it appears in Jer. 

3. The pride of thine heart. The phraseology resembles that of 
1 Sam. xvii. 28. The source of Edom's arrogance was the fancied 
security ensured by its precipitous cliffs (see p. xlv). 

hath deceived thee. The LXX. has (.Trrjpt ac, mistaking nasha? for ndsd' ; 
and in the same version a similar error occurs in v. 7. The parallel 
in Jer. xlix. 16 is Thy terribleness, the pride of thine heart hath deceived 

3, 4 ] OBADIAH 69 

thou that dwellest in the clefts of Hhe rock, whose habitation 
is high ; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the 
ground? 4 Though thou mount on high as the eagle, and though 

1 Or, Sela See 2 Kings xiv. 7. 

thee, and a slight emendation, yielding the translation Thy terribleness 
hath deceived thee, the pride of thine heart, probably reproduces the 
original, of which Ob. retains only a part. 

thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock. The word rendered clefts 
occurs elsewhere only in the parallel Jer. xlix. 16 and in Cant. ii. 14 
(where it is used of the abode of the dove). The term the rock (sela') 
may either refer (as in Is. xvi. 1, 2 Is. xlii. 11) to the rocky surface of 
Edom generally (as the mount of Esau in w. 8, 19 does to its hilly 
character), or convey (see mg.) an allusion to the Edomite capital Sela 
(2 Kgs. xiv. 7), the later Petra. The city is very difficult of approach, 
for it lies in a quadrangular plain bounded by cliffs of great height 
(cf. Pliny, H.N. vi. 32, oppiditm...circumdatum montibus inaccessis), 
which are penetrated by passes defensible by a mere handful of men. 
The almost vertical sides of the crags are covered with columns and 
pediments carved out of the solid rock and forming the entrances to 
tombs and temples excavated in the cliff walls. 

whose habitation is high. The Heb. literally translated is the height of 
his habitation, and it is possible to connect the words with the foregoing 
participle thou that dwellest by supplying a preposition from the pre- 
ceding clause (as is done in Is. xxviii. 6, 2 Is. xlviii. 14). A second 
participle, however, is preserved in Jer. xlix. 16, which has that holdest 
the height of the hill, and probably the participle was included in the 
text of the original oracle which, if a poem in the Kinah metre, perhaps 
here had, dweller in the clefts of the rock, holder of the height (to which 
Jer.'s addition of the hill is a needless supplement). The LXX. here has 
v\l/v KaroLKLdv avrov, which implies (instead of the substantive height) 
a participle from the same root, raising on high his habitation; and this, 
which is supported by the Syr., Old Latin, and Vulgate, has been widely 
adopted by modern editors. For the insertion of a description in the 
3rd person into an address couched in the 2nd pers. cf. Mic. i. 13. 

that saith... to the ground. This secret defiance does not occur in 
Jer. xlix. 16 ; and since, in addition, it is not cast in the normal Kinah 
metre (though the rhythm (2 : 3) here occurring is permissible), it is 
probably no part of the original oracle, but has been added to illustrate 
how far Edom's self-confidence could carry her. In Heb. to say in one's 
heart means "to think" (cf. Ps. liii. 1, Is. xiv. 13), for the heart was 
regarded by the Hebrews as the seat of intelligence (men of under- 
standing in Job xxxiv. 10 is literally men of heart; cf. Job xxxvi. 5, 
Prov. xv. 32). The Latin bene cordatus and excors similarly mean 
"intelligent" and " unintelligent" respectively. 

4. Though thou mount on high. LXX. eaV /xeTewpto-^s. This rendering 
suggests lofty flight (an admissible interpretation of the Heb. verb, see 

70 OKAIMA1I |,, 

thy nest hescf amou^ thcslai' , I will hriii'.-; Hire down from thence, 
Kaifh I lie Louh. f> If thieves e;ime to I lice, if rollers l>y ni^lit, 
(how art l.lioii cut oil'! ) would they not steal till they had enough ? 
if grapegathereri came to thee, would they not leave some 

.loh \\.\ix. ii7); hut the. :i,lhi: ion inn::!, ica.lly he. to the sifua.tion of the 
Kdomite dwellings, and ill the. orii'inaJ oracle I, lie verh was connected 
with the suhstanl ive y/r.s7 (see .Jer. xlix. K',;, so l,|i;i,l, ;i, prefcraJilc trai, 

lion i: ., ff thou maktit on high thy nest (the noun hem;- supplied from 

the following olatlSe). I'W the. meta.phor cf. Num. xxiv. li I , lla.h. ii. !). 

a.s- fin' <<//<. Or <ts ///, T//./////V; ;ccon Mi.-, i. 1C. 

^///r/ flioiKjh 7//// JMrt Ar Mt...itOr8, Thi.-. tr;i,n;;la,ti)ii a. ::uinc .. a .n 6 
re.ptiona.l r.on:;t nic.tion in the. lleh. '/'/;/. vvilJi tin-. p;i.;;:;ive p;i rtici pl(- 
(the l;i,tter hen; is IIMII::II;I| in form, l.liDii'di rf. Num. xxiv. ^ I ) ; hut the 
IjXX. h:i;: / " '"i- <M ,, //.'.;., r ;<.,r ,",nij,t,,\- 0>/\ r<"M,i/'r MOP, \\hieh ;:n | | iort;; 
Ndwaek'.; eiiiend;itiun Insult fur .sv-yy/, yif-ldiii;^ the rendering '///'/ llntnyh 
llt<>ii:<ll<tlliiiii<;:t<iin<ni<tlln'::l<irs. \'\tr the liyperholee.t I,,. \i\/. I.';, 
1';;,. Ixxiii. ( J, Jer. |j. 58, Job IX <">, Am. ix. j^j Ahirt. vm. .'{<;, II, DIHHIIS 
</tr r<rl/<-< :;/<!< r<i jnil^il\ Ih.r. O,/. i. |, ;;<;, >S'//A//-///./" J'crni m .svVr/v/, 

/Vr; Bhaketpeare, /AO//A/, m. ,', 7'//r// ////> ////;/ ///> that his httls may 

I trill l>r/n<! lln t ' dnirn. ( 'ompare Ml, xi. 28*. l''>r thi:: 0, .li-r. xlix. 
Hi 1 ' oiler;; a, (lillerenl text, '/'//<>//</// llnni nniki'st on /////// //.>; ^ i-nllnrc ///// 
;/r.s7, y-/v//y/ //////'' / //'/'// hriinj lh<'<' dotni, xi/lt J<liorli. The. Concluding 
jihra.;:e of the v\ (.sv //'/// .1 <'linr<il/) i:; :i.h,:cnt from the LXX., a.nd if this is 
le-.inled an outside the. metre, the. readme of .Icr. i,; a, normal kintili 
line, a,nd pnha,hly represent:; tlie. wording of HK> ori-ina,! BOUT06J 
whereas Oh.';; text is iinmetrical and ha.; pie.,uma.hly thioiish 

.'). //' /7//V/V.S-, etc. Bc-lier, //' merely ////r/v, etc. (the. restrictive 
turn-Ill, or o/////, hein;-; ;;upplied mentally, a, in Is, v. I (), Am. vi. ( .l). To 
accentuate e.omplefenes.s, of the spoliation lhrea,tenin^ Kdoin, it i 
c.Mitra.sled with the les.s, thorough e|eara,nee made when thieves idle a, 
house or vinl.T'rr, si i ip a vineyard : in hoth of these ome.fhili^ 

i nerally left, hut the des.poileis. of Mdom will all. 

i/-nif>/n-rs />// iiiijhf.. This elan ;.e. does, not occur in the parallel p.-i 
Jer. xlix. ( J, thoiijdi the words hi/ ii'ujht an; there inrhidcd in the. piv 
redin" s.enteiice, which runs, //"/// /V/vx />// ii'iif/if, etc. 

(hntr /'/ Ihoii ail <>{!/). Literally, lioir rt llioii nnidc l<> 0MM/ (e.f. 
IH. XV. I, -lei. xlvii. . ; ., /eph. i. II). This ahrupl , exclania lion 
men! elicited from ()hadiah hy the fiillilmentof the oracle in hisoun 
days: (^f. i\ ('.. The. LXX. has read the verh <liuinth as -nuimli, "l<> 
throw," "ca;;t," a,nd rendered it by UTre,., >/'</> /s :; and I he Vul^. has con- 
d it with tltiin<i-m, "to he hrou:dit to . ilence.<in-lln-n-rx. Vines were vrown in I'Mom (cf. Num. xx. I 7); and 
traveller;; in the country olccrved on the rocky hill . idc 
of terraceH designed a; itci IT vineyards. 

|- 7 ] OUADIAII 71 

the //>//"/; <>/ i arched out! 

how hi'l'kn t t up' 7 All the men of Uiy 

<:onfr<l<-r;if h:i w ''Uroiiirhl Ui<:<: on thy WHY, even lo the l>onl<;r: 

iflrfi,,',,!'! '//'"/" . Th': H< h. h;=- .vhirh 

-<: 01 oliv<: li.'.i 

v;;. I ; : ,!,'ri'-;illy 

in .Iu'l. viii. 2;. In .! 

(I ill. 'iiinl.l.i !! 

:in'iHi'-r; : :.n'l |roli;i.lly rcpc*'! 

!;, wliich fi;i'l, If grapegather( '/"''/ 

11 ill / flit-lining.-. If l.lii'-n- I, if ni'/lil ///'// //.-/// V- //v,// //// 

.//////. 1 1. <im-in-'i'ii!' i ''! 

ly F'.r I, vljo will r- 

\><\f.\\ rn'/'lific'l }>y Ol>., wli'< 
M l\i<- r/i ;..lfinn:i 

6. // , who 

'jil'.f:l ! M in 

.-lorn, wh 

'I'll'; f.w -I 7 

h;thly writ.UMi Hik: t.h". }/.' in t.h't K'nuili in< 

,;, ///// ^niii'.n ifl Mir. ii. -1, .h;r. ix. 

thf; tl / /- '! ; // 

I 'ml >: :j)l;iin:'l 

'i<l rn;'. of th': li.V. The |i:r. : -:on;tl n-'un'- tt:>.an'v::\. 
i. xxxvi 

hl; tj|(; morj , t.h., 1661 


MMylit r |>hra'f; V 

;: \>y \\i<- >>{ lli", H<:k v<-rh <ltH. l <ih.) 1><:K: Ufftd, 

whirh primarily '//I'larily 

oa^ernen i // 

10 /;/</ / hurt- ,,,';'/< /; '/// 

' i>l<t,r#H. 

7. yl // //// 0Mfl ''/' //'// r " " . /I// '/"; w// '// ///y 
c/wfi<i<>i ('. ,; Uif- phr.-i.v: rf. I ' ion in ' -<vii. 
22 /n^.). Thf; proj>l' [^irfinpg some neightxjuririj 

withou 1 9 part.iri;, : /lom 

viUi I'Morn imp'//;'l uj>on t.linrri. 

/. A !fi<>r<; I; 1 
>f" but, th<; meaning in ol Tho 

72 OBADIAH [ 7 

the men that were at peace with thee have deceived thee, and 
prevailed against thee ; l they that eat thy bread lay a 2 snare under 

1 Or, thy bread they make &c. 2 Or, wound 

most plausible way of interpreting the verb is to give it the sense of 
"dismiss" or " escort back," as in 2 Sam. iii. 21, Gen. xii. 20; and 
then two explanations are possible: (1) have escorted as far as the 
border thy envoys, with their appeal for help refused ; (2) have escorted 
as Jar as the border thy fugitives, who had crossed it in flight and who 
have now been turned back and thereby exposed to the savagery of the 
pursuing foe. The R.V. mg. have driven thee out even to the border (i.e. 
have expelled thy people from their native soil) is improbable; for 
though the verb (shalah) can signify "to drive out" (cf. Gen. iii. 23, 
Ex. vi. 1, 2 Sam. xiii. 16, 1 Kgs. ix. 7), the preposition as far as ( ( adk) 
is not very suitable in this connection ; from (mm) or across ('el ( ebher) 
would be more appropriate. 

the men that were at peace, etc. Literally, the men of thy peace; cf. 
Ps. xli. 9, Jer. xx. 10, xxxviii. 22 (where the R.V. has thy familiar 
friends). The people referred to are clearly those who, in time of peace, 
had made an unexpected attack upon Edom; and they have been 
plausibly identified with the Nabataeans (see p. xli). 

they that eat thy bread lay a snare under thee. If the Heb. text is 
to be retained as it stands, the only admissible translation is that of 
the R.V. mg., thy bread they make a snare under thee. This, which 
seems to be the explanation adopted by Aq., who has aprov crov Orja-owiv 
cTri'Seo-o', means "they ("the men of thy peace") recompense by 
treachery the hospitality which thou hast shown to them." Some 
scholars think that the word men can be extended from the preceding 
clause to this (the men of thy bread meaning lc thy dependants ") ; but 
such extension is difficult to parallel. As these interpretations of the 
existing text are unsatisfactory, there is probably some defect or 
corruption in it. The simplest correction is to change the pointing of 
the word rendered "bread" (lekem), and by converting it into the 
participle of laham, " to war," get the translation they that war against 
thee lay a snare under thee. But the verb la/iam, " to war," is rare in the 
form here proposed (though see Ps. xxxv. 1 (Heb.), Ivi. 2 (3)), and the 
clause would have four beats instead of the three required by a normal 
Kinah line. Hitzig and Gratz assume the loss, before the word bread, 
of a participle ('ochele, "eaters," cf. Sym. ot oTn/eo-fliwres o-ot, Vulg. qui 
comedunt tecum\ and render (like the R.V. text) they that eat thy 
bread lay a snare under thee. This, however, also destroys the rhythm, 
though emendation of the text is to be sought in this direction. The 
letters LHMCh may be an accidental dittograph of part of the 
preceding ShLMCh (for the LXX. ignores the word), and the phrase 
the eaters of thy bread (ochele lahmechd) may be disguised in part of 
the previous clause translated (have) prevailed against thee (ydchelu, 
lechd): if so, the whole t?., rendered literally and with the order of the 
Heb. retained, will run: As far as the border did send thee \ all the 

7-9] OBADIAH 73 

thee: there is none understanding Hn him. 8 Shall I not in that 
day, saith the LORD, destroy the wise men out of Edom, and under- 
standing out of the mount of Esau? 9 And thy mighty men, 
Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one may be cut 

1 Or, of it 

men of thy covenant: Deceived thee the eaters of thy bread, \ the men of 
thy peace: Place they a snare underneath thee; \ no sense is there in him. 
This reconstruction preserves the Kinah metre satisfactorily 1 . The 
eating of bread together involved obligations of friendship and mutual 
protection (cf. Ps. xli. 9), which Edom's neighbours had violated. The 
meaning of the word (mazor) rendered snare is doubtful. Elsewhere 
(Hos. v. 13 and perhaps Jer. xxx. 13) it has the signification si wound, 
as given in the mg. here ; but this is unsuitable to the present context. 
The meaning cord or snare lias been deduced from a root signifying 
to "twist" or "weave," and Th. has Sccr/xoV; but a very slight emenda- 
tion (mdtsodh) proposed by Van Hoonacker furnishes a term, signifying 
net, which occurs in Job xix. 6, Prov. xii. 12. The LXX. has IveSpa, 
Sym. dAAoTpiWiv, and the Vulgate insldias. Another emendation, 
which disregards the evidence of the Greek and Latin renderings, is 
Marti's madhvr, "dwelling" (Dan. iv. 25 (22), 32 (29)); this produces 
the translation they that eat thy bread make their dwelling in thy place 
(for in Heb. " under" a person is often equivalent to "instead of" that 

there is none understand in <j in him. LXX. OVK ZCTTIV o-vveo-is civ-rots. The 
words probably describe not so much the lack of foresight which caused 
the Edomites to fall victims to treachery as the bewilderment con- 
sequent upon such an experience : they do not know what to do. For 
the phraseology cf. Dt. xxxii. 28. 

8 9. The transition in these w. (cf. Jer. xlix. 7) to the future tense 
suggests that here the earlier oracle may be drawn upon, though the 
Kinah rhythm is not maintained. The vengeance which, in v. 7, is 
represented as having already befallen is once more regarded as still to 
come (as in v. 4). 

8. Shall I not, etc. The counsellors of Edom will fail to avert from 
their nation an imminent disaster, or to extricate it from one already 
present ; and this failure will be occasioned by Jehovah, whose day is 
coming (see v. 15). 

understanding. I.e. men of understanding: cf. p. 53. 

the mount of Esau. I.e. the mountain land of Edom : see Ezek. 
xxxv. 2 and cf. Josh. xx. 7 (where the hill country of Naphtali is 
literally the mount of Naphtali}. 

9. Teman. This, though strictly a district at one extremity of 
Edom (qua vergit ad austrakm partem t St Jerome), just as Dedan 

1 See JTS. xvn. pp. 405 6 (T. H. Robinson, who, however, prefers a slightly 
different order of the wording). 

74 OB ADI AH [9-11 

off from the mount of Esau by slaughter. 10 For the violence done 
to thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be 
cut off for ever. 11 In the day that thou stoodest *on the other 
side, in the day that strangers carried away his 2 substance, and 

1 Or, aloof 2 Or, forces 

was at the other (see Ezek. xxv. 13), is here a synonym for Edom in 
general (as in Jer. xlix. 7, Am. i. 11, 12). The Temanites had a reputa- 
tion for wisdom; see Baruch iii. 23. 

by slaughter. If this expression is retained within v. 9, the preposition 
is correctly translated. But the balance of the clauses is best kept by 
the transfer of the word to the next v. (where the Versions place it, see 
below), in which case the preposition must be otherwise rendered. 

10. For the violence, etc. I.e. by reason of the violence, etc. The 
LXX., Syr., and Vulg. begin this v. with For the slaughter and for the 
violence, i.e. because of the outrages inflicted by the Edomites on the 
Jews; and this arrangement of the text is preferable to that of the 
present Hebrew. There is, however, no conjunction between the two 
nouns in the original; and since in Joel iii. 19, which seems to have 
this passage of Ob. in view, the expression For the slaughter does not 
appear, it should probably be rejected here as an interpolation : it may 
have been inserted (as Nowack suggests) in order to paint in more 
lurid colours Edom's guilt, to which the term violence by itself did less 
than justice. The Heb. word translated slaughter occurs within the 
O.T. nowhere but here; and the corresponding verb is found only in 
late writings (Ps. cxxxix. 19, Job xiii. 15, xxiv. 14), but is frequent in 
Aramaic. It can scarcely be a gloss on the word rendered violence 
(hdmas), for this is quite a common term, and would not require an 
explanatory addition. 

thy brother Jacob. The name Jacob is expressly used (in place of 
Israel or Judah) in order to recall the relationship between the nations. 
In Deut. xxiii. 7 the claims of kinship between the two peoples are 
urged upon Israel; but Edom had shown no reciprocal sense of the 
brotherly relationship. 

shame shall cover, etc. Although this v. has future tenses, it seems 
to proceed not from the early oracle quoted in w. 1 5 (to the metrical 
scheme of which it cannot be easily adjusted) but from the writer 
(Obadiah) who incorporated the latter. Obadiah, for the moment, 
adopts the predictive tone of the prophet from whom he has previously 

thou shalt be cut off for ever. The expression is an hyperbole: the 
Edomites, though dispossessed by the Nabataeans, long remained 
a thorn in the side of their Jewish neighbours ; and eventually an 
Edomite, in the person of Herod, became king of JudaBa (p. 1). 

11. on the other side. The phrase can be used both of mere aloofness 
(cf. mg. and see 2 Kgs. ii. 7, Ps. xxxviii. 11 (12), and the verb in Lk. 
x. 31, 32 (avTi7rap?7\0ei/)), and also of a hostile attitude (2 Sam. xviii. 13 

ii, i a] OBADIAH 75 

foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, 
even thou wast as one of them. 12 But look not thou on the day 

and (with a different preposition) Dan. x. 13). Probably the latter 
sense is meant here : Vulg. adversus eum. 

strangers... foreigners. I.e. the Babylonians (p. xxxix): cf. Lam. v. 2. 
Against these foreign foes the ties of kindred should have led Edom 
to side with Judah. 

carried away his substance. Though the verb rendered carry away 
commonly means to "transport" captives, it is used in connection with 
spoil (not prisoners) in 2 Ch. xxi. 17; and the substantive with which 
it is here employed is, in view of its use in v. 13 (cf. Is. viii. 4, Jer. 
xv. 13), rightly rendered by substance rather than by forces (as in the 
mg.), though the LXX. has Svva/xiv and the Vulg. exercitum. 

his gates. This is the reading of the Heb. mg., and is supported by 
the LXX. and Vulg. : the Heb. text has his gate, which is confirmed 
by v. 13. Mention of the entry into the city after the looting is in 
strictness illogical (contrast v. 13); but the second clause really marks 
the occasion which afforded opportunity for looting: cf. Verg. A. u. 353, 
Moriamur et in media arma rttamus. 

cast lots upon Jerusalem. The previous mention of the removal of 
the substance of the Jewish people is in favour of understanding this 
phrase of the apportionment of the persons of the vanquished as slaves 
(cf. Joel iii. 3 (iv. 3)), the name of the city representing its inhabitants, 
as in 2 Is. xl. 1, 2. For the practice of casting lots to settle claims cf. 
Num. xxxiv. 13, Ps. xxii. 18, Mk. xv. 24, and see p. 16. 

even thou wast as one of them. Though the Ammonites, Moabites, 
and Philistines also exulted like the Edomites over the fall of Jeru- 
salem (Ezek. xxv.), the close relationship between Israel and Edom 
aggravated the offence of the last-named people, when they shared in 
the despoiling of a kindred race. 

12 14. These verses appear to be written in the Kinah metre 
(p. cxliii), though not with perfect regularity. The imperatives which 
they contain are merely rhetorical, the writer really having in mind 
past events and not future contingencies. He is carried back in thought 
to incidents in the sack of Jerusalem; and as though present on the 
occasion, he cautions the Edomites against committing the offences of 
which he knows them to have been guilty, and which subsequently 
brought vengeance upon them. 

12. But look not thou on, etc. I.e. gaze not with satisfaction upon, 
etc. ; for the phrase see p. 37. The occurrence of the conjunction 
before the imperative here and the absence of one before v. 13, together 
with the tautology of 12 a and 13 b , have led Wellhausen to place v. 13 
next to v. 11 and to reject v. 12 as a later insertion. But the three 
verses 12 14 seem to have in view successive proceedings on the part 
of the Edomites, against which they are dramatically warned. In v. 12 
they are still outside the doomed city, and are bidden not to gloat over 
its fall; in v. 13 they are about to enter it, and are admonished not to 

76 OBADIAH [n, is 

of thy brother in 1 the day of his disaster, and rejoice not over the 
children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither speak 
proudly in the day of distress. 13 Enter not into the gate of my 
people in the day of their calamity ; yea, look not thou on their 

1 Or, the day that he was made a stranger 

do so, or to witness, or participate in, the looting; whilst in v. 14 they 
have withdrawn from it in order to cut off the fugitives, and are urged 
to spare them. The conjunction (vav) at the beginning of v. 12 may be 
explained by its use " to introduce an impassioned speech, without 
anything expressed previously, to which it can be attached" (Driver, 
Heb. Tenses*, p. 168, note). 

the day of thy brother. I.e. the occasion of thy brother's reverse; cf. 
Ps. xxxvii. 13, Is. xiii. 22, Job xviii. 20. The expression day is often 
thus used to denote the occurrence of either good or bad fortune in 
connection with some place or person ; cf. Ps. cxxxvii. 1 (the day of 
Jerusalem), Is. ix. 4 (the day of Midian), Hos. i. 11 (ii. 2) (the day of 
Jezreel, i.e. of Israel), 2 Mace. xv. 36 (the day of Mordecai). But in 
view of the fact that day is repeated immediately afterwards, the word 
here may be an unerased scribal error, and the true reading be (as 
Winckler suggests), Look not thou on thy brother. 

in the day of his disaster. The precise sense of the word (nocher) 
rendered disaster, and found only here, is rather doubtful. Since it is 
etymologically connected with the term usually rendered " stranger" or 
"foreigner," the phrase in this connection may mean "the day of his 
becoming a stranger" (cf. the mg.) in the eyes of God, and being de- 
prived of all claim to His consideration; and this interpretation is 
supported by Aq.'s ctTro^evcoa-ews OLVTOV (cf. the use of the cognate verb 
in Jer. xix. 4). But the signification disaster seems warranted by the 
occurrence of the similar form necher in Job xxxi. 3 (where it is parallel 
to "calamity"), and may be illustrated by the Latin aliena fortuna. 

neither speak proudly. The literal translation is, and enlarge not thy 
mouth, an expression which does not recur in the O.T., though the 
similar phrases make ivide, and open wide, the mouth are found in 3 Is. 
Ivii. 4, Ps. xxxv. 21, Lam. ii. 16; cf. also 1 Sam. ii. 1. Possibly it has 
reference to indulgence in unrestrained and insulting laughter. The 
rendering of the R.V. seems to follow the LXX. ^ /xeyaXop^/xov^?, but 
this corresponds to a different Heb. phrase ("make large with thy 
mouth") occurring in Ezek. xxxv. 13. 

13. the gate of my people. I.e. Jerusalem, cf. Mic. i. 9. The LXX. 
has gates, cf. v. 11. 

in the day of their calamity. In place of the threefold recurrence of 
the same word calamity ('edh) in this verse the LXX. has distinct terms, 
TToVwv, oA.e'0pov, and aTrooAiW The true reading cannot be restored with 
certainty ; but beyom 'amaldm, in the day of their trouble, would be 
suitable here, and the LXX. renders 'dmdl by TTOVOS in Gen. xli. 51, 

, 3 -i 5 ] OBADIAH 77 

affliction in the day of their calamity, neither lay ye hands on their 
substance in the day of their calamity. 14 And stand thou not in 
the crossway, to cut off those of his that escape ; and deliver not 
up those of his that remain in the day of distress. 15 For the day 

Job v. 6. The reference is to the destruction of Jerusalem by the 
Babylonians, which is described in similar terms in Ezek. xxxv. 5. 

neither lay ye hands. The Heb. text has suffered some corruption 
(the 2nd pers. fern. plur. appearing where the masc. sing, is wanted) but 
Bewer's proposal to replace 'al tishlahnah by } al tishlah na (for the 
position of net after the verb instead of after the negative cf. Jud. xix. 
23) is all that is needed to restore the required form of the verb : the in- 
sertion, in tbe Heb., of "hand" seems unnecessary in view of 2 Sam. vi. 6. 

their calamity. Here, where the Hebrew has calamity for the third 
time within a single verse, the LXX. has aTrcoXtas avruv, which in v. 12 is 
its rendering of 'obhadhdm, their destruction, so that probably this word 
should be substituted for the present Heb. text } edhdm (which may be 
due to a scribal error). 

14. the crossway. The Heb. word (perek) thus translated is of doubt- 
ful meaning here. In Nah. iii. 1, tbe only place where it recurs, it must 
be equivalent to "rapine" (the root signifying "to rend"): but in the 
present passage it must mean either a breach in the city's walls (usually 
expressed by perets), a parting (or fork) of the roads, or (as Marti 
suggests) a mountain pass or ravine (cf. the cognate verb in 1 Kgs. xix. 
11). The LXX. has ra? 8iK0oAds, the Vulg. exitibu*. 

15 21. The tenor of the contents of the book here undergoes a 
change. The remainder is concerned not with a past judgment that has 
already overtaken Edom exclusively, but a future judgment awaiting 
the heathen world in general, including, but not confined to, the 
Edomites. Here destruction from Jehovah is impending over all the 
nations, who are doomed to drain the cup of His fury and to perish ; 
whereas of the Israelites who have already drunk of it a remnant will 
survive, and will recover from their spoilers the possessions of which 
they have been robbed. Here, too, there is a change in the people 
addressed by the writer, and in the manner of the address. Previously 
Edom has been apostrophized in the 2nd pers. sing., and Israel has been 
referred to in the 3rd pers. ; but in v. 1 6 it is the Israelites who are 
addressed (in the 2nd pers. plural). The coincidence of these features 
points to the conclusion that there begins in v. 15 the work of a different 
prophet. In the second balf of v. 15, however, there is a brief recurrence 
to the earlier subject-matter and mode of speech; so that within the 
verse the utterances of the two prophets have been dovetailed, and 15 b , 
which is the sequel of v. 14, should logically change places with 15 a , 
which connects with v. 16f. 

15 a . For, etc. The section (beginning with this clause) which is here 
added to the earlier part of the book is of an Apocalyptic character, 
see p. xlii. 

78 OBADIAH [15 

of the LORD is near upon all the nations : as thou hast done, it 
shall be done unto thee; thy l dealing shall return upon thine 

1 Or, recompence 

the day of the LORD. This term denotes a signal manifestation (in 
the nearer or remoter future) of Jehovah's activity which the populace 
and the prophets of Israel alike looked for, but to which they attached 
a different significance. By the populace, inasmuch as Israel was 
Jehovah's people, it was uniformly expected to bring destruction upon 
their oppressors and relief to Israel itself (Am. v. 18); but in the view 
of the prophets its coming was fraught with overthrow for everything 
(whether within Israel or in the outside world) that was morally evil. 
Yet whilst the prophets anticipated that on the Day of Jehovah their 
countrymen would have to sustain a judgment from God no less than 
other nations, so far as they had ignored His ethical and spiritual re- 
quirements, they were not oblivious of the covenant believed to subsist 
between Him and His chosen people. Consequently even among the 
prophets the day of Jehovah had a varying import, according as con- 
temporary conditions rendered admonition or consolation the more 
urgent duty. Prior to the Exile they made the former task their principal 
aim, and sought to convince the people that in consequence of their sins 
they had more to fear than to hope from some exceptional intervention 
of Jehovah in human affairs (see Am. v. 18 20, Is. ii. 12 f). But in 
post-exilic times, when their country's offences seemed to have been 
expiated, and their chastisement to have been intensified, by the agents 
who inflicted it, beyond what was deserved, they encouraged their 
countrymen to await from Jehovah the speedy occurrence of vindication 
for Israel and of punishment for its enemies. 

is near. The same assertion appears in Joel i. 15, iii. 14. 

all the nations. The fact that the Jewish people, even when they had 
reached a monotheistic stage of belief, nevertheless continued to draw 
such a line of cleavage between themselves and the rest of the world as 
is implied in this and similar passages can be accounted for partly by 
the retention of the name of the national deity, Jehovah, to denote the 
God of all the earth, and partly by the circumstance that after the 
Exile their religion was all that remained of their nationality, and 
consequently perpetuated in some measure the limitations of the latter. 

15 b . as thou hast^ done, etc. This half of the v. is a continuation of 
the direct denunciation of Edom in w. 2 14 (that nation being 
addressed here, as there, in the 2nd pers. sing.); and it would be more 
in place if it preceded the first half. It may proceed from the prophetical 
writer who composed the earlier part of the book (exclusive of the verses 
borrowed from a still earlier prophet), but has been transposed; or else 
it is a connecting link introduced by the author of w. 15 a , 16 21. 
For the sentiment expressed cf. Is. iii. 11, Jer. 1. 15, 29, Hab. ii. 8, 
Lam. iii. 64, Ezek. xxxv. 15, Rev. xviii. 6. The word rendered dealing, 
though it has the sense of recompense (as given in the mg.), is here used 

is-17] OBADIAH 79 

own head. 16 For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so 
shall all the nations drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and 
Swallow down, and shall be as though they had not been. 17 But 
in mount Zion there shall be those that escape, and it shall 

1 Or, talk foolishly 

of the initial offence provoking retribution; see Joel iii. 4, 7 and cf. 
Prov. xii. 14. For the phrase return upon thine own head cf. Ps. vii. 16. 

16. For as ye have drunk... so shall all the nations drink. It seems 
absolutely necessary to put upon the verb drink the same sense in both 
clauses ; and since in the second it can only be reasonably interpreted, 
in a metaphorical sense, of draining the cup of suffering and woe (as in 
2 Is. li. 17, 22, Jer. xxy. 15, xlix. 12, Lam. iv. 21, Ezek. xxiii. 3234, 
Ps. Ix. 3, Ixxv. 8, Hab. ii. 16, Mk. x. 38, xiy. 36, Job. xviii. 11, Rev. xiv. 
10, etc.), it must have tbe same signification in the first. Under these 
circumstances the words must be addressed to the prophet's country- 
men, who are meant to understand that the Divine chastisement which 
they had experienced will now be undergone by the heathen peoples, 
cf. Jer. xlix. 12. Some scholars, however, suppose that the prophet's 
utterance is directed to the Edomites, and Konig (ap. Van Hoonacker) 
gives to the verb drink in both clauses a literal meaning "as ye 
Edomites have drunk in revelry upon the mountains of Judah on the 
occasion of the overthrow of Jerusalem, so shall all the nations drink 
upon the mountains of Edom in continuous triumph"; and some codices 
of the LXX. actually insert olvov as the object of the verb Trioi/rat (see 
below). But this explanation is contradicted by tbe concluding clause 
of the v.j which predicts for the nations not triumph but destruction. 

my holy mountain. I.e. the Temple hill (as in Is. xxvii. 13, 3 Is. Ivi. 7, 
Zeph. iii. 11, Joel ii. 2, iii. 17, etc.). 

shall... drink continually. The nations, unlike Israel whose chastise- 
ment was only temporary, are to undergo retribution uninterruptedly 
until their extermination is accomplished. The principal MSS. of the 
LXX. have nothing corresponding to continually (tdrnidh), but some (as 
has been said above) have, instead, the word olvov; and several modern 
scholars, in consequence, would replace tdmldh by hemer (wine)') cf. 
Dt. xxxii. 14. 

swallow down. This rendering is very uncertain, for the Heb. verb 
elsewhere means to talk wildly, rave (see mg. ; and cf. Job vi. 3, Prov. 
xx. 25). Wellhausen and Nowack propose to replace this verb, Id'u, by 
nd'u, stagger (cf. Is. xxiv. 20, xxix. 9); whilst Bewer suggests the 
passive (pual) ofbdla', be swallowed up (cf. Job xxxvii. 20, Is. ix. 16 mg.). 

as though they had not been. Cf. Job x. 19, Wisd. ii. 2 (tJs ofy 

17. But in mount Zion... escape. The name mount Zion (for the 
strict denotation of which see p. 26) here designates Jerusalem as a 
whole. There the survivors of Israel will be secure from the annihilation 
in store for the nations. The survival of a remnant of Jehovah's people, 

80 OBADIAH [i 7 , ,8 

be holy ; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. 
18 And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of 
Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall 
burn among them, and devour them: and there shall not be 
any remaining to the house of Esau ; for the LORD hath spoken 

purified by chastisement, is predicted by other prophets also; see for 
pre-exilic times Is. iv. 2, x. 20, xxxvii. 31, 32, and for the post-exilic 
age Zech. viii. 12, Joel ii. 32 (which seems to be a quotation from the 
present passage). The word rendered those that escape is an abstract 
(like "captivity" for "a body of captives," Jer. xxxiii. 7). 

and it shall be holy. The Hebrew may also be rendered, and there 
shall be holiness, or and there shall be a sanctuary (i.e. an inviolable 
retreat). The clause, if retained, assures to Zion immunity from a 
repetition of the outrages previously sustained at the hands of the 
heathen nations (v. 16). But since it seems to impair the balance of 
the v. (which consists of two tetrameters), it is most likely an insertion 
from Joel iii. 17, where it forms part of a longer description, and where 
it is more appropriate to the context. If it is really an interpolation 
from Joel, the gender of the verb has been adjusted to its present sur- 

the house of Jacob. The phrase is here equivalent to Judah (cf. v. 18). 

shall possess their possessions. I.e. shall repossess their own former 
territories : for possess in tbis sense cf. Dt. xxx. 5, Jer. xxx. 3. The 
LXX. (followed by the Vulg.) has shall possess those that dispossessed them 
(rovs KaTaK\7)povofjitja-avra<s avrovs), involving a different pointing. The 
passage implies the return of Jewish exiles to their own land, predictions 
of which occur in Is. xi. 11 f., xiv. 2, 2 Is. xliii. 5, xlix. 22, 3 Is. Ix. 4, 
Jer. xxx. 10, xlvi. 27, Mic. vii. 12. 

18. Jacob... Joseph. These stand respectively for the two branches 
(or erstwhile kingdoms) of the Israelite people (cf. Ps. Ixxvii. 15), whose 
reunion is anticipated by the writer as by other prophets (Is. xi. 13, 
Jer. iii. 18, xxx. 3, xxxi. 5, 6, 27, Ezek, xxxvii. 16, Hos. i. 11, iii. 5, 
2 Zech. x. 6). 

a fire... for stubble. Similar imagery occurs in Is. v. 24, x. 17, 2 Is. 
xlvii. 14, 2 Zech. xii. 6, Mai. iv. 1. For parallel predictions of Israel's 
participation in the execution of judgment upon its former oppressors 
see Is. xi. 14, 2 Is. xli. 15, 16, Mic. iv. 1113. 

there shall not... remaining. Compare Jer. xlii. 17. The Alexandrine 

Codex of the LXX. has OVK 4'crrat 7rvp<j>6po<; (of which the Trvpo^opos of the 

Vatican codex is a corruption), and the Old Latin version has ignifer. 
The term Trup^o'pos denoted a priest who, in a Spartan army, had charge 
of the sacred fire taken from the altar of Zeus, which was always kept 
alight to consume the sacrifices offered for the army; and since his 
person, by Greek international usage, was held inviolable (Hesychius 
being quoted as explaining the word to mean 6 TTI>P ^e/awv KCU 6 /xoVos 
eis Iv 7roXe/xu)), there arose the proverb (descriptive of complete 

1 8, 19] OB ADI AH 81 

it. 19 And they of the South shall possess the mount of Esau; 

annihilation) ovSe 7rvp<dpos cXctyO-r) (cf. Hdt. vm. 6). The prediction in 
the present passage obtained fulfilment in some degree during the 
Maccabaean period of Jewish history (see p. 1). 

19. This verse predicts the expansion of the Jewish community in 
all directions beyond the narrow boundaries encompassing it in post- 
exilic times (see Mic. vii. 11 and cf. 3 Is. Ixi. 7); but the precise 
meaning of the passage is obscure, and the text has probably undergone 
much corruption. The literal rendering of the Hebrew is, And the 
South shall possess the mountain of Esau and the Lowland the Philistines 
and they shall possess the field of Ephraim and the field of Samaria and 
Benjamin Gilead. The South and the Lowland were physical divisions 
of the territory of Judah (which alone the writer in this v. seems to 
have in view); and as the passage stands, it declares that the in- 
habitants of the first are to occupy Edom, and those of the second are 
to seize in the W. the land of the Philistines (cf. Is. xi. 14) and to 
spread in the N. over the former territory of Ephraim and Samaria, 
including Benjamin (lying between Ephraim and Judah) ; whilst the 
Benjamites, in lieu of their prior possessions (thus lost), are to cross 
the Jordan, and appropriate the district of Gilead. But it is difficult 
to think that the passage in its present form is complete. The extension 
of the population of the South towards Edom and of the denizens of 
the Lowland towards Philistia is natural enough ; but it is not equally 
natural that the dwellers in the Lowland should be destined to occupy 
Ephraim also. Hence there is probably some defect in the text, the 
real subject of the second verb shall possess being lost. The LXX. 
instead of the field of Ephraim has TO opos 'E^pa'i/x, and though at first 
sight TO opos looks like an accus., it may really be a nominative, 
implying in the Heb. hd-hdr 'eth 'Ephraim (instead of 'eth sedheh 
'Ephraim, as the present text has it). If this is the original form of 
the passage, as supposed by Ewald and G. A. Smith, the translation 
of the second half of the verse will be and they of the hill country (of 
Judah) shall possess Ephraim and the field of Samaria, and they of 
Benjamin Gilead,. This supplies the defect under which the Hebrew, 
as we now have it, labours, and brings the passage into harmony with 
Jer. xxxii. 44, xxxiii. 13. 

the South. In Heb. the Neghebh. This was the district, originally 
within Judah (Josh. xv. 21), lying south of Hebron and extending 
towards the border of Edom as far as the plateau of Jebel es Magrah. 
It consists of a succession of rolling hills, the ridges running east and 
west; its surface is treeless and waterless (except when the wadies 
which cut it are filled by the winter rains) ; and its present aspect is 
one of barrenness and desolation. There are reasons, however, for 
thinking that at various times it has been cultivated and has main- 
tained a considerable population. 

shall possess. . .Esau. The occupation of Edom by Judah is predicted 
in Am. ix. 11, 12, Is. xi. 14; cf. Num. xxiv. 18. 

82 OBADIAH [19 

and they of the lowland the Philistines : and they shall possess 

the lowland. In Heb. the jShephelak; Aq. y TrcSu/^'. This was a region 
lying between the hill country of Judah (see below) and the maritime 
plain. It thus bordered on Philistia, but was of rather uncertain 
delimitation, though cities within it were certainly included in Judah, 
according to Josh. xv. 33 36. It consists of a mass of low hills which, 
when viewed from the maritime plain, appear "buttressing the central 
range" of Judah, but which are really separated from the latter by 
a series of valleys 1 . 

the Philistines. I.e. the land of the Philistines. There has been 
much speculation as to the origin of this people. The association of 
Philistines and Pelethites (perhaps another form of the same national 
title) with Cherethites in Ezek. xxv. 16, Zeph. ii. 5, 2 Sam. viii. 18, 
xv. 18, xx. 7 has suggested that they were Cretans 2 ; and the conclusion 
that they were a non-Semitic race is supported by the fact that they 
did not practise circumcision, a usage prevailing among the majority 
of the Semitic peoples inhabiting Palestine. It is perhaps also signi- 
ficant that the LXX. frequently represents their name by aAAo<iAoi. 
In Gen. x. 14 they are connected with the Casluhim; but in Am. ix. 7 
their home, prior to their settlement in Palestine, is said to have been 
Caphtor (cf. Jer. xlvii. 4), a name plausibly identified with Keftiu, 
which in the Egyptian inscriptions denotes a locality from which 
articles resembling the products of Crete were brought to Egypt in 
the reign of Thutmose III (first half of the 15th century B.c.) 3 . Crete, 
however, does not appear to have been their native soil : at least, they 
differed in their military equipment from the Minoan inhabitants of 
that island ; and it has been thought that they crossed to Crete from 
Caria 4 . In the Egyptian inscriptions there are allusions to a people 
called Pulasati: and if the identification of the Philistines with these 
is correct, the occasion of their establishing themselves in Canaan was 
their failure in an attempt, made in conjunction with a number of 
allied tribes, to over-run Egypt in the 12th century B.C. : being foiled 
in this enterprise by Rameses III, they settled on the seaboard that 
trends from the Delta northward. Their immigration into the country 
(Palestine) which came to be named after them probably took place 
later than the conquest of Canaan by the Israelites, but not later than 
the period of the Judges (see Jud. xiii. 1); and their occupation of the 
coast affords a reasonable explanation of the movements of the Danites 
recorded in Jud. xviii. If this synchronism is approximately correct, 
the mention of Philistines in Canaan in the age of Abraham (Gen. 
xxvi. 1), or even at the date of the Exodus (Ex. xiii. 17), must be 
anachronistic 5 . The relations between them and Israel were generally 

1 G. A. Smith, HGHL. p. 203. 

2 The LXX. in Ezek. and Zeph. represent the Cherethites 

3 Macalister, The Philistines, etc. pp. 9 10. 

4 See Cambridge Ancient History, u. pp. 286 7. 
6 Cf. Sayce, Early History of the Hebrews, p. 64. 

i 9 ] OBADIAH 83 

the field of Ephraim, and the field of Samaria : and Benjamin 

unfriendly. They were conquered by David (2 Sam. v. 17 25), but 
continued to be troublesome long after his time (2 Kgs. xviii. 8, 2 Ch. 
xxviii. 18, Ps. Ixxxiii. 7); and the subjugation of them by the Jews is 
often the subject of prophetic predictions (see Is. xi. 14, Jer. xxv. 20, 
Ezek. xxv. 1517). 

and they shall possess ... Samaria. If, as is argued on p. 81, the 

reading of the LXX. KOL KdTaKXrjpovofjitjcrovo-i TO opos 'E</>pcu/x KOLL TO TreSiov 

2a/xapi'as should be adopted here, the subject of the verb will be they 
of the hill country (TO opo? representing kd-kar, which, followed by 
the particle 'etk, must be substituted for 'eth sedheh in the present 
Heb. text). Part of the territory assigned to Judah at the Conquest 
(according to Josh, xv.) was distinguished as the Mountain, in contrast 
to the South, the Lowland, and the Wilderness. The sense, then, of 
this passage will be that whilst the inhabitants of the South are to 
possess Edom, and those of the Lowland are to acquire Philistia, the 
occupants of the Mountain (or hill country) are to expand northward 
and possess the territory of the former tribe of Ephraim (extending 
from Bethel and Bethhoron on the south to the brook of Kanah (near 
Shechem) on the north). The words and the field of Samaria are 
perhaps a gloss, the conjunction being explanatory and equivalent to 
even (cf. 1 Sam. xvii. 40) : the omission of them would improve the 
symmetry of the clauses in the v. The term field has the signification 
of "region" or "territory," as in Gen. xiv. 7, Num. xxi. 20, etc.; and 
can be applied to a hilly district as well as to level ground (see Gen. 
xxxii. 3). 

and Benjamin shall possess Gilead. If the inhabitants of the hill 
country of Judah are thought of as destined to spread into the former 
territory of Ephraim, they would inevitably absorb that of Benjamin 
(lying between Judah and Ephraim); and the Benjamites are accord- 
ingly to be compensated with Gilead. The LXX. has *at Bcwa/x.eti' /cai T^V 
Ta\aa.of.LTLv, apparently regarding both words as ace. after the foregoing 
Ka.TaK\r)povopijo-ovo-iv, and supposing that a section of the Judeans are 
to occupy Gilead in addition to the territories of Benjamin and Ephraim ; 
but Sym. and Th. have *at Bei/ia/u^ ot T^V FaXaaS, taking Bevia/uV as 
the subject of the verb supplied; whilst the Vulg. has explicitly et 
Benjamin possidebit Galaad. Bewer thinks that the whole verse 
contains various explanatory glosses, and considers that it originally 
ran, And they shall possess the South and the Lowland, and they shall 
possess mount Ephraim (adopting the LXX/s TO opos 'E<pcuju, and 
treating the phrase as object), and the Ammonites (replacing binydmm 
by bene 'ammori). After the local names there were then inserted 
definitions (marked by the prefixed particle } eth) as in Ezek. iv. 1, 
xxxvi. 12, the South being explained by the mount of Esau, the Lowland 
by the Philistines, mount Ephraim by the field of Samaria, and the 
Ammonites by Gilead (the insertions being designed to identify the 
localities in the writer's own time). But this interpretation does not 



19, 20 

shall possess Gilead. 20 And the captivity of this * host of the 

1 Or, fortress 

account for the conjunction in and the field of Samaria, supposed to 
be a gloss on mount Ephraim (for there is no conjunction before the 
other hypothetical glosses); whilst Gilead should be glossed by the 
Ammonites (not the reverse). 

20. The authentic text of this v. is so uncertain that any explanation 
of it is bound to be precarious. The original rendered literally is And 
the captivity of this fortress (or host) of the children of Israel who (or 
which) the Canaanites even unto Zarephath and the captivity of Jeru- 
salem which is in Sepharad shall possess the cities of the South:, but this 
is clearly defective, and has been supplemented in various ways : 

(1) The R/.V. text supplies before the Canaanites the preposition 
" among" (be) and after it the verb "possess," which may be got from 
the concluding clause of either this v. or the preceding. By the captivity 
of this host (if such be the right rendering) of the children of Israel must 
be meant members of some Hebrew provincial community (in contrast 
to members of the Jewish capital), held prisoners among the Canaanites 
(or Phoenicians) : these when released are to have possessions extending 
even unto Zarephath. But this explanation leaves unexpressed the object 
of the verb " possess " which is supplied in the first half of the v. and 
needs before the Canaanites the word dwell (as well as among). 

(2) The R.V. second mg. avoids one difficulty by regarding the 
cities of the South (at the end of the v.) as the destined possessions of 
both groups of captives, defining the first as those which are among the 
Canaanites even unto Zarephath. But to take the words even unto 
Zarephath as marking the extent of the dispersal of captive Hebrews 
among the Phoenicians still requires the insertion, after the relative 
which, of a verb like dwell. 

(3) The R.V. first mg. supplies the verb " shall possess " before, not 
after, the relative pronoun (which it treats as neuter) and supplies 
before the Canaanites not the preposition "among" but the preposition 
" to " (le) ; and the resultant translation of the first half of the verse 
is And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel shall possess 
that which belongeth to the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath. This 
rendering not only furnishes an object to the verb "shall possess," but 
also affords a natural connection for the words even unto Zarephath. 
But before the word Canaanites there might be expected the preposition 
commonly employed to mark possession, le or la(c). 

(4) The LXX. has 777 before TWV XavavcuW, suggesting that the 
Greek translators had before them the reading 'eth 'erets instead of 
the relative pronoun 'dsher of the present Hebrew text. The adoption 
of this, and of the rendering of hel by fortress instead of by host, yields 
the translation, And the captivity of this fortress of the children of Israel 
shall possess the land of the Canaanites even unto Zarephath ; and such 
seems the best solution of the difficulties presented by the passage. 
The words this fortress possibly designate Samaria (since it is contrasted 

20] OBADIAH 85 

children of Israel, l which are among the Canaanites, shall possess 
even unto Zarephath ; and the captivity of Jerusalem, which is in 

1 Or, shall possess that which belongeth to the Canaanites, even &c. Or, which 
are among the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath, and &c. 

with Jerusalem] ; if so, the captivity (i.e. the captives) of this fortress 
must signify Samaria's deported inhabitants, whom the prophet ex- 
pects to return and take possession, not of their former abode (for this 
is to be occupied by the inhabitants of the hill country of Judah, see 
on v. 19), but part of Phoenicia as far as Zarephath. The word hel 
which the translation host, adopted by the R.V. text, assumes to be 
equivalent to hayil (cf. Sym. and Th. T^S oWa/zcws raimjs and Vulg. 
exercitus huius) probably here has the meaning which it bears in 
Lam. ii. 8, Nah. iii. 8 namely, rampart or fortification and the 
writer, by attaching to it the pronoun this, seems to imply that he 
dwelt near the fortress designated. Ewald proposed to replace the 
term by hoi, "sand," interpreted in the sense of coast, and took it to 
refer to the Israelite tribes north of Ephraim, flanking the Mediter- 
ranean. Zarephath (mentioned in 1 Kgs. xvii. 9) is represented in the 
LXX. by Sarepta (cf. Lk. iv. 26): it was situated between Tyre and 
Zidon, about 8 miles S. of the latter. There still survive ruins of it 
along the shore in front of the Arabic village of Sarafend. 

Bewer, who takes (like the supporters of the interpretation given 
above) the children of Israel to mean descendants of the northern 
Israelites, whose independence was destroyed by Sargon, considers 
that in ha-hel there is disguised (through textual corruption) the 
locality Halak, to which, among other places, the captives of Samaria 
were deported (2 Kgs. xvii. 6) ; and he reconstructs the text so as to 
obtain the translation And the captivity of the children of Israel that 
are in Halah shall possess the Canaanites (i.e. Phoenicia) as far as 

the captivity of Jerusalem. I.e. bodies of Judean captives deported 
from Jerusalem, first by the Babylonian Nebuchadrezzar, and later 
possibly by various Persian rulers. 

Sepharad. The locality intended is quite uncertain. East of Palestine 
a Saparda in S. W. Media is named in an inscription of Sargon 
(721 705), and another, situated N.E. of Nineveh, is mentioned in 
an inscription of Esar-haddon (681 668); and if either of these was 
an Assyrian possession, it may, on the overthrow of Assyria, have fallen 
to Babylon and become the abode of Jewish captives. In the west there 
was a (Jparda (Sparda) situated in Asia Minor, near Bithynia and 
Galatia, which was conquered by Cyrus, the Persian, and again by 
Darius Hystaspis (Sayce, HCM. p. 483); and Jews are related to 
have been transported into Asia Minor by Artaxerxes Ochus (358 
337). The fact that Qparda i s mentioned in connection with the laund, 
i.e. the lonians (Schrader, COT. I. p. 446) has suggested its identi- 
fication with Sardis. The LXX. has ?ws 'E<pa0a which (it has been 

86 OB ADI AH [ao, 21 

Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the South. 21 And saviours 
shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau ; and 
the kingdom shall be the LORD'S. 

conjectured) is a scribal error for ews 3e<pa0a. The Vulg. represents 
in Sepharad by in Bosporo (which may possibly preserve a tradition 
that associated Sepharad with Bithynia). By later Jewish interpreters 
the locality was identified with Spain, and the Spanish Jews are still 
known as the Sephardim. 

the cities of the South. At the time when the author of this passage 
wrote, the South of Judah may have been occupied by a hostile 
people probably Edomites, who even in the 2nd century B.C. were 
in possession of Hebron (1 Mace. v. 65). In any case the Jews dwelling 
there, by pushing into Edom (v. 19), would leave room for the returning 
exiles here spoken of. 

21. And saviours... Zion. The meaning seems to be that deliverers 
(cf. Jud. iii. 9, 15, 2 Kgs. xiii. 5, NeK. ix. 27) will come to mount Zion 
to ensure the safety of the Jews gathered there, and to inflict the 
destined retribution on Edom (cf. v. 18); and these thoughts may have 
been inspired by the visit to Jerusalem of Nehemiah, who fortified the 
city. The construction come up on (instead of come up to, or on to) 
mount Zion is rather unusual (be instead of 'el or ( al), but seems 
sufficiently defended by 2 Sam. ii. 1, 1 Ch. xiv. 11. The LXX., how- 
ever, has Kat ai/a^croi/rat avacr<i)o/xevoi e o/oous Seiwv, And those who are 
saved (see v. 17) shall go up (i.e. on an expedition, cf. Jer. xlix. 29, 
1. tyfrom mount Zion (using other vowels and a different preposition). 

to judge, etc. I.e. to execute judgment (cf. 1 Sam. iii. 13) on the 
mountain land of Edom. 

and the kingdom... the LORD'S. The rule of Jehovah over the whole 
world, which could be questioned so long as the wrongs inflicted on 
His people were unredressed, would be vindicated as soon as retribution 
overtook the wrongdoers : cf. Ex. xv. 18, Ps. xxii. 28, xlvii. 8, xciii. 1, 
2 Zech. xiv. 9, Rev. xix. 6. Although the context here involves 
a narrow racial conception of Jehovah's kingdom, which is viewed as 
established through the supremacy of Israel over other peoples, the 
prediction has found, and is finding, a more universalist and spiritual 
fulfilment through the extension of Christianity, which, though origin- 
ating in the midst of Judaism, has become detached from it, and with 
such detachment has shed the idea of Jewish sovereignty over the 




The likeness between the two passages Ob. 1 5 and Jer. xlix. 14 
16, 9 cannot be satisfactorily accounted for except on the supposition 
that they have a common origin in an earlier oracle which has been 
incorporated by both prophetic writers. This oracle was metrical in 
structure ; but it is not at once clear in what metre it was composed, 
since, where the two texts are in conflict, the underlying source can be 
reconstructed in more than one way. Certain lines obviously are marked 
by the Kinah (or Pentameter) rhythm, but several of the alternate 
lines admit of being regarded as either hexameters or pentameters, 
according to the deductions drawn from the available data. If the 
poem be reconstructed so as to present a series of alternating hexa- 
meter (or double trimeter) and pentameter lines, we get a system of 
verses resembling the Elegiac poems occurring in Greek and Latin 
literature. It would probably, however, be difficult to find a parallel 
for such an arrangement elsewhere in the O.T. ; and general considera- 
tions are in favour of the conclusion that the oracle consisted of 
a succession of pentameters, with the exception of the first line, which 
must be an hexameter (or two trimeters). 

The discrepant texts of Ob. and Jer. have been compared in the 
commentary in some detail. From this comparison the original form 
of the oracle can be recovered with some confidence ; and a plausible 
reconstruction of it is as follows : 

Loquitur propheta ignotus. 

** A communication have I heard from Jehovah, | while a messenger 
among the nations is being sent : 

[Nuntii iussum.] 
' Assemble yourselves, and come against her, | and rise up for war.' 

[JEHOVAE Oraculum.] 

' Small I make thee among the nations, | despised among men. 
Thy terribleness hath deceived thee, | the pride of thine heart. 
O dweller in the clefts of the rock, | holder of the height, 
Though thou makest on high, as a vulture, thy nest, | 

[from thence will I bring thee down. 
If vintagers come to thee | they will not leave gleanings, 
If thieves by night, | they will destroy till satisfied." 5 


CHAPTERS I. 1 II. 17. 

This section of the book describes the disastrous effects of the plague of 
locusts, explains the need of repentance on the part of the people for the sins 
occasioning the Divine wrath, and voices the prophet's demand for an appeal 
to God to spare the sufferers. 

I. 1 THE word of the LORD that came to Joel the son of 

2 Hear this, ye old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of 
the land. Hath this been in your days, or in the days of your 
fathers? 3 Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell 

1. This v. constitutes the title of the book, and in form resembles 
Hos. i. 1, Mic. i. 1, Zeph. i. 1, Hag. i. 1. The phrase The word of the 
LORD (or JEHOVAH, see p. 1) came to... is frequent in connection 
with Divine revelations, see Gen. xv. 1, 1 Sam. xv. 10, 2 Sam. vii. 4, 
xxiv. 11, 1 Kgs. xvi. 1, Is. xxxviii. 4, Jer. i. 2, 11, Ezek. iii. 16, etc. 

Joel. On the meaning of the name see p. li. 

Pethuel. This appellation occurs only here. The Heb. form is 
followed by the Vulg. (Pkatuel), but the LXX., Old Latin, and Syr. 
have Bethuel or Bathuel, identical with the name of Rebekah's father 
(Gen. xxii. 22). Both names are difficult to interpret. Pethuel, if con- 
nected with the Heb. pdthah, presumably means " Persuaded of God 1 ." 
The first element of Bethuel cannot be explained from any Heb. verb : 
in the Oxford Heb. Lex. it is suggested that it is equivalent to Methuel, 
"man of God." 

2 7. Attention is called to the unprecedented character of the 
recent calamity, and its consequences. 

2. Hear... give ear. The same parallelism occurs in Gen. iv. 23, 
Jud. v. 3, Is. i. 2, Hos. v. 1, Ps. xlix. 1. 

ye old men. This (cf. v. 14, ii. 16) is a better rendering than ye elders 
(the official heads of the community) since appeal is made to length of 
experience (cf. Dt. xxxii. 7). 

the land. I.e. Judah (as appears from the mention of the Temple in 
w. 9, 13, etc.). 

this. I.e. the like of what is explained in v. 4 : the Old Latin has 

3. Tell ye... generation. To adapt this v. to the metre of the sur- 
rounding context (where trimeters are employed) Nowack proposes, by 
the omission of the middle portion, to reduce it to Tell ye your children 

1 Cf. Jeruel, "Founded of God." 

i. 3-6] JOEL 89 

their children, and their children another generation. 4 That 
which Hhe palmer worm hath left hath Hhe locust eaten; and 
that which the locust hath left hath Hhe cankerworm eaten; 
and that which the cankerworm hath left hath Hhe caterpiller 
eaten. 5 Awake, ye drunkards, and weep; and howl, all ye 
drinkers of wine, because of the sweet wine ; for it is cut off from 
your mouth. 6 For a nation is come up upon my land, strong, 

1 Probably, different kinds of locusts, or locusts in different stages of growth. 

oj it and let your children tell another (i.e. the next, cf. Ps. cix. 13) 

4. The four names used in this v. to denote various sorts of locusts 
might etymologically be represented by the shearer, the swarmer, the 
lapper (i.e. one that laps, or licks up, herbage), and the finisher. The 
variety of names, however, seems to be employed, not for the purpose 
of distinguishing with precision different species (for only one of the 
names which in Lev. xi. 22 are used to denote kinds occurs here), still 
less to denote distinct stages of growth in the same insect (for the same 
terms appear in a different order in ii. 25, and the mature locust would 
not consume what in an earlier stage of development it had left un- 
devoured, but would move on to fresh ground), but to suggest the 
interminable succession of the swarms. For allusions in the O.T. to 
the locusts' incalculable numbers cf. Jud. vi. 5, vii. 12, Jer. xlvi. 23, 
Nah. iii. 15, Ps. cv. 34 1 . 

5. Aiuake, ye drunkards. The sleep induced by intoxication must 
cease, since the means of further indulgence in potations has been 
destroyed. For the injury caused by locusts to vines cf. Theoc. v. 108, 

a/cpi'Scs...^ /xru A.w/3a<7eur$ ras a/iTreXo?. 

the sweet wine. The Heb. word ('cms), thus rendered, denotes juice 
"pressed" (cf. the verb in Mai. iv. 3 (iii. 21)) not only from grapes but 
also from other fruits: it recurs in Am. ix. 13 (=Joel iii. 18), 2 Is. 
xlix. 26, Cant. viii. 2. In such raw juice the process of fermentation 
had started but was not completed : cf. the effects attributed to yXevKo? 
in Acts ii. 13. The LXX. in iii. 18 renders it by yAuKaoyAo's, but in Is. 
and Cant, by otvos ve'os and i/a/xa respectively. 

for it is cut off from your mouth. The LXX. has because there have 
been cut off from your mouth joy and gladness (a pentameter instead of 
a trimeter). 

6. a nation. This expression, here applied to locusts, is paralleled 
by the use of people in connection with the same insects in ii. 2, and 
with ants and coneys in Prov. xxx. 25, 26. So Homer employs Wvea of 
geese, cranes, flies, bees, and swine (//. n. 87, 458, 469, Od. xiv. 93) ; 
and Maurer quotes Verg. G. in. 73, gentis (of horses), and Columella, 
ix. 13, duo populi (of bees). 

1 Agatharchides (quoted by Henderson) speaks of axpldw 7r\?70oy 

90 JOEL [i. 6-8 

and without number ; his teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he 
hath the jaw teeth of a great lion. 7 He hath laid my vine waste, 
and * barked my fig tree: he hath made it clean bare, and cast 
it 2 away ; the branches thereof are made white. 8 Lament like 

1 Or, broken 2 Or, down 

is come up. The verb is regularly used of hostile incursions, cf. 1 Kgs. 
xiv. 25, 2 Kgs. xviii. 13, and see p. 86. 

my land. The prophet, here and in v. 7, speaks as the representative 
of his countrymen. 

strong. I.e. in virtue of their irresistible numbers. The adjective is 
sometimes merely a synonym for "many" (Am. v. 12, Ps. xxxv. 18, 
Prov. vii. 26, 2 Is. liii. 12). 

the jaw teeth. The Heb. word only occurs in late writings (Prov. 
xxx. 14, Job xxix. 17). The LXX. has at /xv'Aat avrov, and the Latin 
versions molares eius, so that if these versions are followed, perhaps 
a more expressive rendering would be the grinders. Sym. has KOL at 
fjivXoLL GJS Aeovros and the Latin versions recognize ws, so that Sievers, 
followed by Marti, may be right in proposing to read in the last clause 
and his grinders are as the teeth of a great lion. The import of the 
comparison consists in the locusts' destructiveness, though their man- 
dibles are actually both strong and sharp, and are described by one 
traveller as " saw-like." 

a great lion. The term (Idbhi') here used is rendered by the R.V. in 
Gen. xlix. 9, Num. xxiv. 9, Dt. xxxiii. 20, and other places by lioness, 
but in Is. v. 29 by lion. The LXX. has O-KV^VOV, the Vulgate catuli 

7. He hath... Jig tree. Literally, he hath made my vine a desolation, 
and my fig tree chips. The word rendered chips only occurs here; but 
a very similar one is found in Hos. x. 7 (see mg.). Locusts are known 
to devour the bark and young twigs of trees; and Pliny, HN. XL 29, 
describes them as omnia morsu erodentes, et fores quoque tectorum. The 
vine and the fig tree are mentioned together as being characteristic 
of Palestine (see on Mic. iv. 4). 

made it clean bare, and cast it away. The first verb has in view the 
consumption by the locusts of the edible portions of the trees, the second 
the rejection of those parts which they have gnawed but found uneatable, 
and so dropped (cf. mg.). 

8. Lament. An exhortation to mourning addressed to the land, or 
to its collective people, personified as a woman : cf. Is. iii. 26, Am. v. 2, 
Jer. xiv. 17. The verb in this sense occurs only here. 

girded with sackcloth. The wearing of sackcloth was an accompani- 
ment of sorrow in general, whether for the dead (2 Sam. iii. 31), for 
private or public calamities (Am. viii. 10, Jer. vi. 26, Job xvi. 15, 
Esth. iv. 3), or for sin (1 Kgs. xxi. 27, Neh. ix. 1). The expression 
implies the wearing of a loin cloth woven of dark hair (cf. 2 Is. 1. 3, Rev. 
vi. 12), probably of the goat (cf. /tcXai/atyts) or of the camel. The Old 

I. s-io] JOEL 91 

a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth. 

9 The meal offering and the drink offering is cut off from the 
house of the LORD; the priests, the LORD'S ministers, mourn. 

10 The field is wasted, the land mourneth ; for the corn is wasted, 

Latin version here has praecinctam cilicium. To the use, in connection 
with mourning and penitence, of this, the scantiest and cheapest of 
garments, more than one motive probably contributed. On the one 
hand, the prevalent physical conception of "uncleanness" attaching to 
the dead (cf. Num. xix. 13 19) and of its infectious character (Hag. 
ii. 13) would lead to the employment of something that could be dis- 
carded without much loss, to save valuable attire from becoming con- 
taminated and useless. On the other hand, since sackcloth was the 
garb of slaves and captives (1 Kgs. xx. 31, 32), the use of it would be 
a mark of humility, calculated to propitiate an offended deity, whose 
anger had been manifested by the death of the person mourned. For 
another possible explanation of mourning apparel see p. 25. 

the husband of her youth. For the combination cf. a wife of youth 
(Prov. v. 18, 2 Is. liv. 6, Mai. ii. 14, 15). In view of the word virgin 
(LXX. VV/X^T;), the term here rendered husband (literally owner, Gen. 
xx. 3, Ex. xxi. 3, 22) must refer to one to whom the maid was only 
betrothed and not yet wedded (though the same law applied to her as 
to the wedded wife, Dt. xxii. 2224, Mt. i. 19). 

9 13. A renewed description of the devastation caused by the 
locusts, and the consequent interruption of the Temple offerings. 

9. The meal offering. The Heb. term (minhah) thus translated was 
in early times applied to offerings of all kinds (see Gen. iv. 3, 4, 1 Sam. 
ii. 12 17), and the LXX. here has Ovo-ia, the Old Latin hostia, and the 
Vulg. sacrificium. Later, however, it came to denote specifically a cereal 
offering (Lev. ii. 13, 1 Kgs. viii. 64, 1 Ch. xxi. 23), this, together with 
a drink offering (of wine), being the usual accompaniment of a flesh 
offering (Num. xv. 1 10). Such accessories illustrate the close analogy 
subsisting between sacrifices and feasts in early religious usage (cf. Bel 
and the Dragon, 3). The suspension of the meal and drink offering is 
here viewed as one of the greatest calamities resulting from the plague 
of locusts, a fact suggesting that what the writer has particularly in 
mind is the daily burnt sacrifice, accompanied by offerings of fine flour, 
oil, and wine, prescribed in Ex. xxix. 38 42, Num. xxviii. 3 8 (cf. 
Neh. x. 33, 39). 

the LORD'S ministers. The LXX. implies the reading the ministers 
of the altar, as in v. 13. 

10. The cessation of the Temple offerings is caused by the destruction 
of the agricultural products that provided them. 

the land mournetli. The "pathetic fallacy" whereby inanimate nature 
is represented as sentient by those who, from a desire for sympathy, 
transfer to their environment their own moods is aided in some cir- 
cumstances by the actual appearance of natural objects, according as 

92 JOEL [i. 10-12 

the new wine is l dried up, the oil languisheth. 11 2 Be ashamed, 
ye husbandmen, howl, ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for 
the barley ; for the harvest of the field is perished. 12 The vine 
is Withered, and the fig tree languisheth: the pomegranate tree, 
the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the 

1 Or, ashamed 2 Or, The husbandmen are ashamed, the vinedressers howl 

they flourish or fade under favourable or unfavourable conditions : cf. 
Am. i. 2, Jer. xii. 4, Is. xxxiii. 9, Ps. Ixv. 13. 

the new wine. From the passages in which this term (tirosh) is used 
(if they are interpreted strictly) it would appear that it was applied to 
the juice of the grape both before fermentation (ii. 24, 3 Is. Ixv. 8) and 
after it (Hos. iv. 11, Jud. ix. 13) 1 . The LXX. generally represents it by 
olvos, but sometimes by ^tOw^a. 

is dried up. Or, is abashed (cf. nig.), see v. 11 (where it is applied to 
the husbandmen). The new wine, failing through the destruction of the 
vines, is represented as conscious that it has not answered expectations : 
cf. Jer. xiv. 3, 4. Corn, wine, and (olive) oil constituted the three main 
products of Palestine (Dt. vii. 13, xi. 14, xii. 17, Hos. ii. 8, Jer. xxxi. 
12). The last was used as an unguent (Ex. xxx. 24, 25, Dt. xxviii. 40, 
Am. vi. 6, Mic. vi. 15), as an illuminant (Ex. xxvii. 20), as an in- 
gredient in food (1 Kgs. xvii. 12, Ezek. xvi. 13) and religious offerings 
(Num. xxviii. 5, Lev. ii. 1), and as a remedy for wounds (Is. i. 6, Lk. 
x. 34). 

11. Be ashamed... howl. The commands are equivalent to a descrip- 
tion. But the LXX. for the former has a past tense, whilst Sym. has 
KaTr)<Txvv6r](j-ai' ) and this is followed in the R.V. mg. 

ye vinedressers. The word is here used of fruitgrowers in general : 
cf. v. 12. 

for the wheat, etc. The writer here has in mind the husbandmen 
only; the reason for the vinedressers' grief is deferred till v. 12 (where 
trees are mentioned). 

the harvest. The LXX. has rpvyrjro^ perhaps reading bdtsir for Jcdtsir. 

12. the pomegranate tree. This, Punica granatum, grows to a height 
of 20 ft., has lancet-shaped leaves, and bears large red blossoms and a 
fruit of the size and colour of an orange, though rather redder and with 
a harder rind, enclosing numerous red pips. Its juice was converted 
into a beverage (Cant. viii. 2). 

the palm tree. This, Phoenix dactylifera, though abundant only in 
the warmest parts of Palestine, such as the neighbourhood of Jericho in 
the Jordan valley (Dt. xxxiv. 3, Jud. i. 16), and of Engedi by the 
margin of the Dead Sea (Ecclus. xxiv. 14), was sufficiently common to 
be associated particularly with Judaea. Pliny (HN. xin. 6 (4)) writes, 
Judaea vero inclita est vel magis palmis; and the coins by which 
Vespasian commemorated the Fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 represent the 

1 See Driver, Joel and Amos, p. 79. 

I. 12-14] JOEL 93 

field are withered: for joy is 1 withered away from the sons of 
men. 13 Gird yourselves with sackcloth, and lament, ye priests; 
howl, ye ministers of the altar ; come, lie all night in sackcloth, 
ye ministers of my God: for the meal offering and the drink 
offering is withholden from the house of your God. 14 Sanctify 

1 Or, ashamed 

city, personified as a weeping woman, seated under a palm tree (Madden, 
Coins of the Jews, p. 209). 

the apple tree. The Heb. term only occurs in late compositions (Prov. 
xxv. 11, Cant. ii. 3, 5, vii. 8, viii. 5). On the strength of Prov. I.e. 
apples o) gold in baskets (or filigree work) of silver, it has been argued 
that the word means the citron, the orange, or the apricot, rather than 
the apple; but the bitter taste of the citron (contrast Cant. ii. 3) and 
the lack of scent in the apricot (contrast Cant. vii. 8) are against its 
identification with either of these ; whilst the orange is said not to have 
been introduced into Palestine until the Middle Ages. By some scholars 
it is denied that Prov. xxv. 11 can refer to any natural fruit 1 : if so, the 
evidence of Cant, favours the apple. 

for joy is withered, etc. Perhaps better, for joy is abashed from (i.e. 
avoids in shame) the presence of the sons of men. The causal particle 
for introduces the reason, not for the statement immediately preceding, 
but for the exhortation to howl and lament, in vv. 5, 8, 11. In an 
agricultural country like Palestine prosperity was so closely dependent 
upon the fruits of the earth that the joy of harvest became proverbial 
for extreme gladness (Is. ix. 3, cf. xvi. 10, Ps. iv. 7). 

13. Gird yourselves with sackcloth. The verb here is used elliptically 
as in Is. xxxii. 11; contrast Jer. iv. 8, vi. 26. 

lament. The use of this Heb. word in Is. xxxii. 12 suggests that, 
like the Greek KO'TTTO/ACU and the Latin plango, it originally implied the 
beating of the breast, though it came to mean no more than the utter- 
ance of doleful cries (Jer. iv. 8, 2 Zech. xii. 10). 

ye ministers of the altar. Cf. Ezek. xlv. 4 (the ministers of the sane- 
tuary), xlvi. 24 (the ministers of the house}. 

lie all night. Their intercession is not to be suspended through need 
for repose. 

ye ministers of my God. The LXX. has ye ministers of God, which, 
in view of your God at the end of the v., is preferable. 

14 20. An exhortation urging an appeal to God to relieve the 
distress occasioned by the locust-plague and an accompanying drought. 

14. Sanctify a fast. The command is addressed to the priests. The 
verb to sanctify, used in connection with fasts, gatherings of the people 
(ii. 16), and war (iii. 9), implies that with all these things there was 
associated the idea of consecration (see p. 24), though the verb, in such 
contexts, practically means "to institute, set on foot." Fasting was 

1 See Toy, Prov. p. 462. 

94 JOEL [i. i 4 , 15 

a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the ^Id men and all the 
inhabitants of the land unto the house of the LORD your God, 
and cry unto the LORD. 15 Alas for the day! for the day of the 
LORD is at hand, and as destruction from 2 the Almighty shall it 

1 Or, elders 2 Heb. Shaddai. 

probably at first a means .of sanctification, whereby religious devotees 
prepared themselves for the reception of sacred food (such as the flesh 
of a totem animal). At a more developed stage of belief it was a natural 
expression of penitential humiliation; and as the Jewish religious 
system became increasingly organized, it passed into a formal act of 
self-mortification. Fasting on the part of individuals as a manifestation 
of humility and penitence is mentioned in 2 Sam. xii. 16, 1 Kgs. xxi. 
27, Ez. x. 6, Neh. i. 4, and Dan. ix. 3; and general fasts are described in 
Jud. xx. 26, 1 Sam. vii. 6, 2 Ch. xx. 3, Ez. viii. 21, Jer. xxxvi. 9, etc. 
The anniversaries of national calamities were marked by fasts in post- 
exilic times (Zech. vii. 5) ; and the fasting enjoined on the Day of 
Atonement (Lev. xvi. 29) led to its being styled pre-eminently "the 
Fast" (Acts xxvii. 9). 

a solemn assembly. The term ('dtsdrah), though it could be applied 
to any gathering (Jer. ix. 2), usually denoted an assemblage for some 
religious purpose, such as might be held in connection with the worship 
not only of Jehovah (Is. i. 13) but also of other gods (2 Kgs. x. 20). It 
was specifically employed to designate gatherings of pilgrims on tbe 
concluding days of the feasts of Unleavened Bread (Dt. xvi. 8) and of 
Tabernacles (Lev. xxiii. 36, Num. xxix. 35; cf. Neh. viii. 18). 

the house of the LORD your God. The LXX. lacks the name Jehovah, 
and the house of your God alone suits the metre (dimeters). 

15. the day of the LORD is at hand. Cf. ii. 1, iii. 14. Tbe same phrase 
occurs in several other prophecies; Is. xiii. 6, Ezek. xxx. 3, Ob. 15, 
Zeph. i. 7. See p. 78. 

as destruction from the Almighty. Better (since there is an assonance 
in the original), as destruction from the Destroyer (Heb. Shaddai} : cf. 
Is. xiii. 6. If there is any etymological connection between the Divine 
title Shaddai here used and the Heb. root skddhadh, "to destroy," the 
former eventually lost its sinister significance and came to mean the 
Mighty (Job xv. 25), whose power was employed for beneficent as well 
as for harmful purposes (Ps. xci. 1, Job xxii. 25, xxix. 5). In some 
passages in the O.T. it is attached as an adjective to El (God), as in 
Gen. xvii. 1, xliii. 14, xlviii. 3, etc. ; and in other passages it is used 
alone as a personal name for the Deity (Num. xxiv. 4, 16, Ps. Ixviii. 14, 
Job v. 17, etc.). It is also an element in the theophoric names 
Zurishaddai and Ammishaddai (Num. i. 6, 12). By the writer of the 
Priestly narrative (P), forming one of the strands of the Pentateuch, El 
Shaddai was regarded as the sole name for God known in pre-Mosaic 
times (Ex. vi. 3); and it was probably from the same point of view that 
it was used by the writer of Job (where it occurs thirty-one times). In 

I. 15-17] JOEL 95 

come. 16 Is not the meat cut off before our eyes, yea, joy and 
gladness from the house of our God? 17 The seeds x rot under 
their clods ; the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken 

1 Or, shrivel 

addition to the derivation from shddhadh, which this passage suggests, 
other etymologies have been proposed : (1) the word skedh, which in the 
O.T. means "demon" (Dt. xxxii. 17, Ps. cvi. 37), but which may once 
have meant "lord"; (2) the Assyrian skadu, "mountain," a title applied 
in the cuneiform inscriptions to the gods Bel and Asshur, and perhaps 
transferred by the Hebrews to Jehovah (cf. the use of "my rock," in 
Ps. xviii. 2, xxxi. 3, Ixii. 6); (3) the Hebrew shadh, meaning "breast," 
but this, in spite of the name Thaddceus, seems highly improbable. 

16. the meat. Better, the food, i.e. the materials for the Temple 
sacrifices (vv. 9, 13). 

joy. ..of our God. The Hebrew feasts were originally agricultural 
festivals, the feast of Unleavened Bread marking the beginning of the 
harvest, that of Weeks the completion of the same, and that of In- 
gathering the close of the vintage, so that all were seasons of plenty and 
mirth. The early aspect of them became modified in later times, but 
was not obliterated. 

17. TJie seeds rot under their clods. Perhaps better, The grains (of 
corn) shrivel under their clods. It seems to be implied that the locust- 
plague was accompanied by a severe drought (see v. 20), but this clause 
is of very uncertain meaning, for three of the four Heb. words only 
occur here. The last word, in particular (meghrephothehem), presents 
great difficulties; for it seems to be derived from gdraph, "to sweep or 
scrape away," and so should mean an implement like a broom, besom, 
or shovel; but the translation the grains shrivel under their (the hus- 
bandmen's) shovels yields a very indifferent sense. It is best to assume 
that there has been some textual corruption, and to substitute (with 
Sievers) righbkehem, the term used for clods in Job xxi. 33, xxxviii. 38, 
translating as above. The LXX. has i(TKipr^aa.v Sa/ CTTL rat? <arvais 

avTw, which has been explained to mean the calves stamp (impatiently) 
at their (empty) stalls. The Greek Sa/zaAcis certainly represents paroth 
(in place of perudhoth), and rats ^a-n/cus probably implies riphthehem (cf. 
Hab. iii. 17). But if etr/apT^o-av stands for pashu (instead of 'dbheshu), 
this means "frisk light-heartedly" (Mai. iv. 2 (Heb. iii. 20)), and the 
sense given to the prepos. is unusual ; whilst the mention of the cattle 
here is premature (see v. 18). The Vulg. has computuerunt iumenta 
(perddhoth for perudhoth) in stercore suo. 

the garners. The Heb. word ordinarily means treasures, but is some- 
times used as a compact expression for treasure-houses and must here 
have the transferred sense of store-houses (for grain) : cf. 1 Ch. xxvii. 25, 
Neh. xiii. 12. 

the barns. The Heb. word (mammeghuroth) only occurs here, and is 
perhaps an accidental error for the plural of one which is found in 
Hag. ii. 19 (meghurah). The LXX. has Xrjvoi, but the Vulg. apotheca?. 

96 JOEL [i. 17 


down ; for the corn is l withered. 18 How do the beasts groan ! 
the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; 
yea, the flocks of sheep 2 are made desolate. 19 LORD, to thee do 
I cry : for the fire hath devoured the 3 pastures of the wilderness, 
and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field. 20 Yea, the 
beasts of the field pant unto thee : for the water brooks are dried 
up, and the fire hath devoured the 3 pastures of the wilderness. 

1 Or, ashamed 2 Or, suffer punishment 3 Or, folds 

are broken down. I.e. have become dilapidated through neglect (cf. 
Prov. xxiv. 31), since there has been no grain requiring storage. 

is withered. Or, is abashed. The LXX. has cfypdvOrj ; but the Vulgate, 
confusum est. 

18. How do the beasts groan! The LXX., translating from a slightly 
different text, has ri airoO-rja-o^v eavrots in the sense of what shall we 
put into them (the stalls)?; and Bewer thinks this text preferable. 

are perplexed. Perhaps better, are at a loss. The verb is used in Ex. 
xiv. 3 of the confused movements of the Israelites in their escape from 
Egypt; and here means that the cattle do not know where to turn for 
pasturage. But the LXX. has KXavo-av, implying bdchu for ndbhochu. 

yea, the flocks. Less pasture would suffice for sheep than would be 
needed for cattle, but even the flocks cannot find enough. 

are made desolate. Literally, are made guilty (ne'shamu), which must 
be understood to signify (as in the mg.), suffer punishment. But the 
LXX. has TJfavio-Orjo-av, and the Vulg. disperierunt, which probably 
represent the ordinary term for are made desolate (nashammu), i.e. are 
famished (cf. Lam. iv. 5) ; and Wellhausen and others would substitute 
this for the present Heb. text. 

19. to thee do I cry. Only Jehovah, who sent the destruction (v. 15), 
could avert it. Instead of the 1st pers. sing. Sievers, followed by 
Bewer, would read the 3rd pers. plur., they (the beasts) cry: cf. v. 20. 

the fire. The locusts and drought together had produced the same 
effects as fire would have caused ; cf. ii. 3. 

the pastures of the wilderness. The word which the RV. renders by 
wilderness denotes uncultivated ground, suitable for the feeding of sheep. 

20. the beasts of the field. I.e. the wild animals. Some of these, 
though not dependent for food upon the vegetation destroyed by the 
locusts, would require water, which the drought had exhausted. 

pant unto thee. For the verb here used cf. Ps. xlii. 1 : for the thought 
cf. Job xxxviii. 41, Ps. cxlvii. 9. 

the water brooks. The Heb. word, though applicable to natural 
watercourses (see Ps. xlii. 1), seems strictly to denote artificial con- 
duits (runnels), being most frequently employed by Ezekiel, who lived 
in Babylonia. 

and the fire, etc. These concluding words of v. 20 repeat part of 
v. 19, and it has been proposed by Marti and others to omit them as 
an accidental repetition: certainly without them there is more sym- 
metry between this v. and the preceding. 

ii. i, 2] JOEL 97 


II. 1 Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my 
holy mountain ; let all the inhabitants of the land tremble : for 
the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand ; 2 a day of 
darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, as 
the daAvn spread upon the mountains ; a great people and a strong, 

1 17. A summons addressed to the collective people to attend 
a service of intercession at the Temple, in the hope that Jehovah, in 
response to the prayers of His people, may refrain from punishing 
them further. 

The opening v. is a command from Jehovah communicated through 
the prophet to the officials of the community; but the explanation of 
the need for it passes into a second description of the locust-plague, 
couched in even more alarming terms; so that the. injunction of v. I 
is repeated in v. 15. 

1. the trumpet. Strictly, the horn or cornet. Rams' horns, though 
employed to give martial signals (Jud. iii. 27, 2 Sam. ii. 28, xx. 1), 
were also used, especially in later times, in connection with religious 
functions, such as the Day of Atonement (Lev. xxv. 9) : cf. Ps. xlvii. 5, 
Ixxxi. 3, 2 Ch. xv. 14. 

sound an alarm. The verb is commonly used of uttering martial, 
distressful, or joyful, shouts (Jud. vii. 21, 1 Sam. xvii. 52, Is. xv. 4, 
Mic. iv. 9, 1 Sam. iv. 5, Ps. xlvii. 1 (2)); but here means to "sound 
a blast " with a horn (as in Hos. v. 8), rousing the people to a sense of 
their situation. 

my holy mountain. I.e. Zion (v. 15): cf. iii. 17, Is. xxvii. 13, 3 Is. 
Ixv. 11, Ezek. xx. 40. 

cometh. The tense in the original is a prophetic perfect : though the 
day of Jehovah has not yet fully come, the locusts are regarded as 
God's agents in initiating His judgment (v. 11). 

for it is nigh at hand. The break between v. 1 and v. 2 should be 
neglected, and the text should run -for nigh at hand is a day, etc. 
The words a day of darkness... thick darkness are quoted from Zeph. 
i. 15 b , and the clause here prefixed to them seems to be extra metrum. 
Though flights of locusts darken the sky (cf. Pliny, HN. XL 29, solem 
obumbrant), the gloom here meant is not so much physical as mental, 
and implies conditions of alarm as great as that which an abnormal 
darkening of the sky might occasion (cf. Is. v. 30, viii. 22, Jer. xiii. 16, 
Am. v. 18). 

2. as the dawn, etc. These words should be linked with the following 
(not with the preceding) sentence, for the quotation from Zephaniah 
ends at thick darkness; and the rendering should be, As the dawn 
there is spread upon the mountains a great people and a strong (cf. the 
LXX., cos op6po<s xy&T](rTa.i CTTI TO, oprj Aaos 7roA.vs /cat icr^vpds). The 

dawn is usually a simile for relief from gloom or distress (Is. viii. 20, 

98 JOEL [ii. 2-4 

there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after 
them, even to the years of many generations. 3 A fire devoureth 
before them ; and behind them a flame burneth : the land is as 
the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate 
wilderness ; yea, and none hath escaped them. 4 The appearance 
of them is as the appearance of horses ; and as l horsemen, so do 

1 Or, war-horses 

3 Is. Iviii. 8); but here the comparison has in view the dimness 
(diluculum) produced on the horizon by the enormous numbers of 
approaching locusts. An American lady, in an article published in the 
Times of Sept. 15, 1916, writes of swarms observed at Beirut in Syria, 
"the steady sub-tropical sunlight was changed into a fluttering, un- 
certain, wavering half-dimness." 

there hath not... the like. Similar rhetorical phrases occur in Ex. x. 6, 
14, xi. 6, 2 Kgs. xviii. 5, xxiii. 25. 

3. A fire. That locusts, by devouring the herbage, create all the 
appearance of a prairie fire is attested by many travellers. One, writing 
of experiences in Formosa, says, " Bamboo groves have been stripped 
of their leaves and left standing like saplings after a rapid bush fire. . . . 
And grass has been devoured, so that the bare ground appeared as if 
burned " (quoted by Driver from the Standard, Dec. 25, 1896). 

the garden of Eden. This is a compressed phrase for the garden of 
Jehovah (or of God) in Eden (see Gen. ii. 8, and cf. Gen. xiii. 10, 2 Is. 
li. 3, Ezek. xxxi. 8, 9). The converse of the transformation here de- 
scribed is contemplated in Ezek. xxxvi. 35. Eden was seemingly the 
alluvial plain (Assyrian, edinu) watered by the Tigris and Euphrates, 
wherein the legendary garden of Jehovah was believed to be situated. But 
the LXX., here as in some other places, connects it with a word meaning 
"delight," and renders the garden of Eden by Trapa'Scio-os rpv^s. 

none hath escaped them. The strict sense (in view of 2 Sam. xv. 14) 
must be nothing of it (the land, regarded as masc., cf. Gen. xiii. 6) hath 
escaped. The Heb. expression, which is commonly used in connection 
with human beings (ii. 32 (Heb. iii. 5), Ob. 17, Is. iv. 2), is here applied 
to vegetation, as in Ex. x. 5. The American lady previously quoted 
says of the young broods of locusts, " They do not fly, but like armies 
of large black ants, they marched across the sandy plain until they 
reached the first field. There they stopped to eat, and never moved 
until every plant had been stripped. Herbs, bushes, and trees were 
left naked, robbed even of the bark." 

4. as the appearance of horses. Compare Rev. ix. 7. The resemblance 
between the head of a locust and that of a horse is confirmed by other 
observers, and is reflected in the Italian word cavallette and the German 
name for a grasshopper, Heupferd. 

as horsemen. Better (as in the mg.), as war-horses. The Heb. term 
is ambiguous, but the parallelism and the converse comparison in Job 
xxxix. 20 favour the mg., though the LXX. has 

IT. 4-7] JOEL 99 

they run. 5 Like the noise of chariots on the tops of the moun- 
tains do they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth 
the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. 6 At their 
presence the peoples are in anguish : all faces are waxed pale. 
7 They run like mighty men ; they climb the wall like men of 
war ; and they march every one on his ways, and they break not 

5. Like the noise of chariots. Better, As with the noise of chariots; 
cf. Rev. ix. 9. The noise caused by flights of locusts is widely attested. 
Pliny, for example (HN. x. 29), states, tanto volant pennarum stridore 
ut alicB allies credantur; and the sound has been compared to the 
dashing of water occasioned by a mill-wheel, to the roar of a cataract, 
to the noise of wind blowing through trees, and to the tramp of armed 

leap. The verb in Heb. ordinarily means "to dance" (Job xxi. 11), 
but is also used of the "jumping" of chariots, when rapidly driven 
(Nah. iii. 2). 

like the noise of aflame, etc. This comparison has been thought to 
illustrate the sound of the locusts' mandibles in the process of eating : 
an American entomologist (quoted by Driver) likens the sound to "the 
crackling of a prairie fire." 

as a strong people. The LXX. has ok TTOA.VS /cal to-^vpo's (as in 
v. 2), and the additional adjective makes this clause agree metrically 
with the preceding clauses, which are pentameters. 

6. the peoples are in anguish. This is explicable from the prospect 
of the scarcity of food that so frequently attends the ravages of locusts. 

are waxed pale. Literally, gather (or collect) colour \ but it is doubtful 
whether this means "to contract" (or "withdraw") colour, and so "to 
grow pale " ; or "to accumulate " colour, and so "to flush " (with excite- 
ment). Perhaps the latter is the more probable (cf. Is. xiii. 8), for 
a different verb (dsaph, not kibbets) is used for "to withdraw": see 
v. 10, iii. 15. 

7. They run like mighty men. Thomson, The Land and the Book, 
p. 297, describes locusts as coming on " like a disciplined army " ; and 
Morier (quoted by Henderson) says, " They moved in one body, which 
had tbe appearance of being organized by a leader." 

they climb the wall. Morier (sup.) writes, " They entered the inmost 
recesses of the houses, were found in every corner, stuck to our clothes, 
and infested our food." 

they break not their ranks. The sense of the Hebrew seems to be 
they do not entangle their tracks, each keeps his own course ; but the 
verb elsewhere signifies "to take, or lend, on pledge," and from this 
the meaning required here is not easily obtained. If the text is to be 
kept, probably a different root must be assumed. But the LXX. has 
ov /XT) KKXtV(ocrtv ras rpi/Sovs avran/, and conjectural emendations based 
on this are, they do not make crooked, or they do not turn aside, their 
tracks (of which the first seems the better). 


100 JOEL [n. 7-10 

their ranks. 8 Neither doth one thrust another; they march 
every one in his path : and Hhey burst through the weapons, and 
2 break not off their course. 9 They leap upon the city ; they run 
upon the wall ; they climb up into the houses ; they enter in at 
the windows like a thief. 10 The earth quaketh before them ; the 

1 Or, when they fall around the weapons, they (&c. 
2 Or, are not wounded 

8. every one in his path. Literally, each on his highway, as if he had 
a road defined for himself alone. Jerome (quoted by Henderson), re- 
ferring to the order maintained by the locusts even in their flight, 
writes "tanto ordine.-.volitant ut instar tesserularum, quse in pavi- 
mentis artificis figuntur manu, suum locum teneant, et ne puncto 
quidem, ut ita dicam, ungueve transverso declinent ad alterum." 

they burst through the weapons. This rendering, in view of the con- 
text, is preferable to that of the mg. ( where fall around seems to mean 
"alight among"). The verb employed can be used of violent assaults, 
" fall upon " (see Is. xvi. 9) ; and here implies that the locusts fling 
themselves through (or between) the weapons with which men vainly 
try to oppose their march. The Heb. noun for weapon (shelah\ here 
used collectively, strictly means a missile, and occurs only in late 
writings like Job (xxxiii. 18), Chronicles (2 Ch. xxxii. 5), and Nehe- 
miah (iv. 17 (11)). In 2 Ch. xxiii. 10 it replaces the more ordinary 
term for weapon (cell] employed in the parallel passage 2 Kgs. xi. 11. 
Even modern measures for staying the progress of locusts are very 
often ineffectual. The lady whose description has already been drawn 
upon writes: "Hedges of thorn and bramble were built round the 
fields.... At the thorny barricade they (the locusts) immediately began 
to climb and creep through. Then the owners of the field, when the 
whole hedge was filled with young locusts, set fire to it. Millions of 
insects were destroyed in that way, but myriads were moving on be- 
hind, creeping over the smouldering branches and bodies, burning up 
themselves, leaving room for the next. New thorn branches were thrown 
down and burnt up again, but the brambles gave out long before the 
locusts did." Recently in South Africa arsenic has been used in attempts 
to destroy them. 

9. They leap upon the city. The Heb. verb in strictness means that 
the locusts swarm round about the city (Jerusalem), eagerly seeking 
ingress: the same word (shakak) describes the "ranging" bear in 
Prov. xxviii. 15. 

enter in at the windows. Cf. Ex. x. 6. The writer has in mind 
latticed, unglazed, windows. It is said that in 1869 many inhabitants 
of Nazareth had to abandon their houses in consequence of the locusts. 

10. The earth quaketh, etc. The language, like that of v. 2, is not 
to be understood literally, but describes conventionally how the plague 
of locusts occasioned all the terror associated with earthquake or 
eclipse ; see p. Ix. 

ii. ro-i 3 ] JOEL 101 

heavens tremble : the sun and the moon are darkened, and the 
stars withdraw their shining: 11 and the LORD uttereth his voice 
before his army ; for his camp is very great ; for he is strong 
that executeth his word : for the day of the LORD is great and 
very terrible ; and who can abide it? 12 Yet even now, saith the 
LORD, turn ye unto me with all your heart, and with fasting, and 
with weeping, and with mourning: 13 and rend your heart, and 
not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God : for he is 
gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger, and plenteous in 

the heavens tremble. The sky is regarded as a solid vault : cf. 2 Sam. 
xxii. 8 (= Ps. xviii. 7), Is. xiii. 13. 

the sun and the moon, etc. Cf. Is. xiii. 10, Ezek. xxxii. 7, Mt. xxiv. 29, 
Rev. vi. 12. 

11. uttereth his voice. I.e. thunders (Ps. xviii. 13). Thunder is 
generally a feature in O.T. descriptions of awe-inspiring scenes; see 
Ex. xix. 16. 

his army. The locusts are viewed as Jehovah's agents of vengeance. 

his camp. The Heb. for camp can be used of an army on the march ; 
see Josh. viii. 13, x. 5, Jud. iv. 15, 2 Kgs. iii. 9. 

for the day, etc. See v. 21 and Mai. iv. 5. Instead of very terrible 
the LXX. has tTTL<f>a\rrjs o-^oSpa and the Old Latin manifestus nimium, 
implying nodha 1 for nord'. But Sym. has cVi^o/fo?. 

who can abide it? The passage shows the influence of Mai. iii. 2 : cf. 
Jer. x. 10. 

12. Yet even now. I.e. in spite of the dreadful prospect, there yet 
may be a possibility, through a change in the people's disposition and 
conduct, of prevailing upon Jehovah to withhold the worst. Yet is 
literally and : cf. p. 63. 

with all your heart. I.e. resolutely (cf. 1 Sam. vii. 3, 1 Kgs. viii. 48), 
the heart amongst the Hebrews being regarded as the seat of the will 
as well as of the intelligence (p. 69): cf. Ex. xxxv. 5, of a witting 
(literally, free) heart. 

fasting. ..weeping. . .mourning. The same combination occurs in Esth. 
iv. 3. 

13. and rend your heart, etc. This exhortation shows that the 
prophet, whilst enjoining the outward tokens of contrition, had no 
defective sense of the need of inward penitence : cf. Jer. iv. 4. 

and not your garments. I.e. not your garments only. Tearing the 
apparel (Gen. xxxvii. 29, 34, Josh. vii. 6, 1 Sam. iv. 12, 1 Kgs. xxi. 27), 
like tearing the hair and beard (Ez. ix. 3), was, no doubt, originally an 
uncontrollable act, giving relief to intense emotion; but eventually 
came to be a conventional expression of humiliation and self-abase- 

gracious and full of compassion. This order of the Heb. words is com- 
monest in late writings (2 Ch. xxx. 9, Neh. ix. 17, 31, Ps. cxi. 4, cxii. 4, 

102 JOEL [ii. 13-17 

mercy, and repenteth him of the evil. 14 Who knoweth whether 
he will not turn and repent, and leave a blessing behind him, even 
a meal offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God? 

15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assem- 
bly; 16 gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble 
the 1 o\d men, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts : 
let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of 
her closet. 17 Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep 
between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy 

1 Or, elders 

cxlv. 8). The reverse order occurs in the early passage Ex. xxxiv. 6 
(JE), and is preserved in Ps. Ixxxvi. 15, ciii. 8. 

and repenteth him. Better, and repentant, for, like the preceding 
phrase, this describes a permanent feature of character 1 . 

14. and repent. God relents when man repents : cf. Jonah iii. 9. 
leave a blessing. I.e. leave some surviving portion of the products of 

the soil, now exposed to complete destruction. For blessing in a concrete 
sense cf. Gen. xxxiii. 11, Josh. xv. 19, Jud. i. 15, etc. 

15. Blow, etc. The command of v. 1 is here resumed and expanded. 
a solemn assembly. See on i. 14. The Heb. word etymologically 

seems to mean a concourse confined within a limited space. 

16. sanctify the congregation. The sanctification of the people, as a 
preliminary to their approaching near to the Deity or to sacred things, 
consisted during early times in ablutions, in a change of apparel, and 
in abstention from conjugal relations; see Gen. xxxv. 2, Ex. xix. 10, 15, 
2 Kgs. x. 20 22, 1 Sam. xxi. 4, 5. The word congregation, though 
used to denote an assemblage in general, was specially employed to 
designate the community of Israel, which was Jehovah's assembly 
(Mic. ii. 5, Num. xvi. 3); the LXX. here renders it by cfcjcAqcria. 

the old men. This is preferable to the elders of the mg. : see on i. 2. 

the bridegroom. The exemption from public duties ordinarily granted 
to newly married persons (Dt. xx. 5) was on this occasion to be sus- 

chamber... closet. These words must here be synonyms for the bridal 
pavilion (Ps. xix. 5, 2 Sam. xvi. 22). 

17. the porch. The existence of this in connection with the first 
Temple is specifically mentioned (1 Kgs. vi. 3, vii. 19); and it was 
probably reproduced in the second Temple, particulars of which are 
largely wanting. The position of the porch was at the east end of the 
main structure. 

the altar. I.e. the altar of burnt offering in the open forecourt ex- 
tending eastwards in front of the Temple buildings. 

1 Joel ii. 13 forms one of the introductory sentences prefixed in the Prayer Book 
to the Order for Morning and Evening Prayer. 

II. i 7 , is] JOEL 103 

people, LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the 
nations should 1 rule over them : wherefore should they say among 
the peoples, Where is their God? 

1 Or, use a byword against them 

give not thine heritage to reproach. The phrase to give to reproach 
recurs only in Jer. xxiv. 9, xxix. 18, Ezek. v. 14. For the conception of 
Israel as Jehovah's heritage see p. 63 : Israel is similarly described as 
Jehovah's peculiar treasure (Ex. xix. 5, Dt. vii. 6, Ps. cxxxv. 4). 

rule over them. Better (as in the nig.), use a byword against them. 
The verb (mashal) is of ambiguous meaning, and, when employed else- 
where with the preposition here used, uniformly signifies to rule over 
(cf. Gen. iii. 16, iv. 7, xxiv. 2, etc.); and such is the sense given to it 
in this passage by the LXX. (TOV KarapgaL avron/ WVTJ} and the Vulg. 
(ut dominentur eis nationes). This, however, is incompatible with the 
context, which contemplates not the rule but the railing of foreigners, 
and requires the other sense to make proverbs (or bywords) concerning; 
though with this signification the verb ordinarily takes not the pre- 
position that appears here (b#) but others (see Ezek. xvii. 2, xviii. 2). 

wherefore should they say, etc. The attention of Jehovah is called to 
the possibility of His power being disparaged by the heathen (cf. Mic. 
vii. 10) through the misfortunes of His people, in order that He may 
thereby be induced to vindicate both Himself and them 1 . 

CHAPTER II. 1827. 

This section, constituting the second of the three parts of the book, re- 
presents Jehovah's response to the prayer of His penitent people. He promises 
to remove the locusts, to end the drought, and to renew the vegetation that 
has been destroyed. It is left to be understood that the exhortation in ii. 12 
1 7 had been acted upon, and that the people's repentance was sincere, influencing 
Jehovah to stay the further execution of His judgment upon them, and to 
restore fertility to the wasted land. 

18 Then was the LORD jealous for his land, and had pity on his 

1820. These w. describe a change in Jehovah's attitude con- 
sequent upon His people's penitence, and convey assurances that He 
will undo the evil that He has inflicted. 

18. jealous. The Heb. word is used in two connections, where 

(1) jealous and (2) zealous seem to be respectively the best equivalents. 
The emotions implied are represented as roused in Jehovah (1) by 
Israel's offences against Himself, especially their worship of other gods ; 

(2) by their sufferings at the hands of their enemies: see for (1) Ex. 
xx. 5, xxxiv. 14, Josh. xxiv. 19, and for (2) Is. ix. 7, xxxvii. 32, Ezek. 

1 In the Prayer Book Joel ii. 1217 forms the Epistle for Ash Wednesday. 

104 JOEL [ii. 18-20 

people. 19 And the LORD answered and said unto his people, 
Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be 
satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach 
among the nations : 20 but I will remove far off from you the 
northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and 
desolate, x his forepart 2 into the eastern sea, and his hinder part 

1 Or, with his forepart 2 Or, toward 

xxxvi. 5, Zech. i. 14, viii. 2. Pusey regards the tenses in this and the 
next v. as futures (will. . .be jealous.. . , (will} pity, . . .will answer and say] ; 
but the Heb. construction continues the perfect tenses in w. 10, 11. 

The LXX. rightly has ^X(uorev...<jf)to-aTo...a7reKpt^r7...r7rev. 

19. make you a reproach. The phrase differs slightly from that 
employed in v. 17, and recurs in Ezek. xxii. 4, Ps. Ixxviii. 66. 

20. the northern army. Literally, the northerner (LXX. rov aVo /3oppa, 
Vulg. eum qui ab Aquilone est). Since locusts usually enter Palestine 
from the S.E., this expression has embarrassed the interpretation of 
Joel. It must, however (as the rest of the v. shews), refer to the locusts ; 
and instances have occurred of their presence in Syria, whence a north 
wind would carry them into Palestine. But the epithet cannot imply 
such an accidental association with the north as this; and as a standing 
attributive, if understood to mean that their home and breeding-ground 
was north of Palestine, it would be false (p. liv). Hence the use of it 
here must be explained differently, namely, through associations that 
had gathered round the day of Jehovah. It had been predicted by 
Jeremiah that evil would come to Judah from the north (i. 14, x. 22), 
and Babylon, which proved to be the agent of Jehovah's judgment, is 
represented by both Jeremiah (xvi. 15, xxiii. 8) and Zechariah (ii. 6, 7) 
as in the north, though really it was situated as regards Palestine almost 
due E. Similarly Ezekiel represents Gog, whose invading hordes com- 
prise several nations lying to the south or south-west of the Holy Land 
(such as Ethiopia and Libya), as destined to advance against Judah 
from the uttermost parts of the north (xxxix. 1, 2). Thus that quarter 
would naturally come to be regarded as the direction whence the 
executors of Divine judgments were generally to be looked for; and 
eventually, by a usage common to all languages, the word northerner 
could discard its etymological sense and be employed to denote any 
agency bringing danger or calamity, whether it came from the geo- 
graphical north or not. Accordingly, the word here, as applied to the 
locusts, has not a local but a symbolical significance. It is probable 
that the original reason why the north came to be regarded by the Jews 
as the quarter whence evil would issue is to be found in the situation, 
relative to Judah, of its great oppressor (in the 8th cent.) Assyria, which, 
though in strictness N.E. of Palestine, could be loosely considered to 
lie to the N. of it (cf. Is. xiv. 31, Zeph. ii. 13). 

and desolate. The rhythm would be improved by the omission of this 
adjective, which is absent from the LXX. ; but as the latter begins the 

II. 20-22] JOEL 10 

the western sea; and his stink shall come up, and his ill 
savour shall come up, because he hath done great things. 21 Fear 
not, O land, be glad and rejoice; for the LORD hath done great 
things. 22 Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field ; for the pastures 
of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig 

1 Or, toward 

next clause with a verb (KCU a<cm<3), probably (as Bewer suggests) it had 
virtually the same Hebrew, but read it differently. 

his forepart, etc. The swarm of locusts is assumed to be stretched 
across tbe country, so that whilst the central body was to be driven 
into the southern desert (whence presumably they had really come), tbe 
extremities would be cast into the Dead Sea and tbe Mediterranean. 
The eastern flank of the swarm is called the forepart and tbe western 
the hinder part because the front and back of anything were, in tbe view 
of tbe Hebrews, the sides which severally faced, or extended towards, 
the east and west. 

the eastern sea ...the western sea. Literally, the front sea (Ezek. xlvii. 
18) and the hinder sea (Dt. xi. 24, xxxiv. 2). 

his stink... his ill savour. Tbe tautology of tbese two clauses and a 
syntactical irregularity, if the second is rendered and his ill savour shall 
come up 1 , favour the conclusion that the word translated stink (which is 
an ordinary term) is a gloss on the rare word (tsahanah) rendered ill 
savour, which only recurs in the Hebrew fragments of Ecclus. (xi. 12). 
The second balf of tbe verse will then be reduced to that his ill savour 
may come up, wbicb is what the syntax demands. 

because he... great things. These words, if authentic, must be equiva- 
lent to "because he hatb acted overweeningly" (or "hath magnified 
himself"; cf. Lam. i. 9, Ps. xxxv. 26). Tbe representation of the locusts 
as acting (like human beings) arrogantly is not impossible in a context 
wbicb describes them after the manner of a host of men; but tbe 
resemblance of the expression to that used of Jehovah immediately 
afterwards (v. 21, cf. Ps. cxxvi. 2, 3) makes it difficult to think it genuine 
here : it looks like an accidental dittograpb, wbich should be omitted. 
Tbe offensive exhalations arising from immense quantities of drowned 
locusts have been noticed by historians and travellers both ancient and 

21 24. These w., which assume that the promises of m>. 19 and 20 
have been fulfilled, constitute a short ode, in which the prophet exhorts 
tbe people to be grateful to the God who has given them relief. 

21. land. Better, ground (the Heb. being not 'erets but 

22. of the wilderness. Better, of the prairie (cf. p. 96). 
do spring. Better, put forth grass; cf. Gen. i. 11. 

for the tree, etc. Here the writer seems to pass from the beasts that 

1 See Driver, Heb. Tenses, 175 obs.; Davidson, Heb. Syntax, 64, Hem. 6. 

106 JOEL [ii. 

22, 23 

tree and the vine do yield their strength. 23 Be glad then, ye 
children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God : for he giveth 
you the former rain Hn just measure, and he causeth to come 
down for you the rain, the former rain and the latter rain, 2 in 

1 Or, in (or for) righteousness 2 Or, at the first 

graze in the pastures to men, who make more use of the fruits of trees 
than do most animals. 

their strength. I.e. all that they are capable of producing : cf. Gen. 
iv. 12. 

23. the former rain. This term (hammoreh, cf. Ps. Ixxxiv. 6 (7)) 
denotes the rain that falls at the beginning of the agricultural year in 
November; but a general rather than a specific term would be most 
appropriate here. Possibly there is some textual corruption : if so, it 
may be suggested that the expression should be replaced by copiousness 
of water (hd-revdyah). The LXX. has rd ^pw/xara, and Vollers, in con- 
sequence, has proposed habbiryah, "food," which the LXX. translates 
by ppufjia in 2 Sam. xiii. 5, 7, 10; but mention of food in this place 
seems premature, for the crops have still to grow. Sym. has rov 
vTroStiKvvovTa (cf. the Vulg. quoted in the next note). 

in just measure. Better, faithfully, since a literal translation is 
according to (Jehovah's) righteousness, i.e. His faithfulness to His 
promises: cf. Dt. xxviii. 11, 12. For this sense of the Heb. word cf. 
2 Is. xlii. 6, xlv. 13, Zech. viii. 8. But it is also possible to render (with 
the mg.) for (i.e. as a token of) righteousness; the irrigation of the 
springing crops and the promise of abundance would be evidence to the 
world that the people were no longer counted offenders by their God. 
The Heb. rendered in the R.V. by the former rain in just measure is 
translated in the Vulg. (against the context) by doctorem iustitia?, the 
word moreh having tbe signification of teacher in Prov. v. 13, Is. xxx. 20, 
Hab. ii. 18, and the prepos. le being taken to express tbe gen. 

the rain. The term (geshem) here used has a comprehensive sense, as 
in Lev. xxvi. 4, Ezek. xxxiv. 26, Am. iv. 7. 

the former rain. See above. This and the following word are perhaps 
explanatory insertions : their omission would improve the rhythm of the v. 

the latter rain. This term (Heb. malkosh) denotes the spring rain in 
March and April, which falls shortly before harvest, when its value is 
very great (see Job xxix. 23, Prov. xvi. 15). 

in the first month. This rendering of the Heb. (bdrishon) can be 
justified by Gen. viii. 13, Num. ix. 5, Ezek. xxix. 17, xlv. 18; but if 
the text is sound, it must refer to the season of the latter rain only, 
for the first month (of the ecclesiastical year) was Nisan, corresponding 
to our March April when the late (or spring) rain fell. The LXX., 
however, has Ka0ws ^Trpoa-Oev and the Vulgate sicut inprincipio (implying 
cdrl'shonah) as at the first (cf. Dt. ix. 18, Dan. xi. 29), i.e. the previous 
happier conditions are to be restored. Another variant (bdrl'shonah) is 
implied by the R.V. mg., at the first (better, first of all, cf. 1 Kgs. 

ii. 2 3 -n] JOEL 107 

the first month. 24 And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the 
fats shall overflow with wine and oil. 25 And I will restore to you 
the years that Hhe locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the 
caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent 
among you. 26 And ye shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and 
shall praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt 
wondrously with you : and my people shall never be ashamed. 
27 And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that 
I am the LORD your God, and there is none else : and my people 
shall never be ashamed. 

1 See ch. i. 4. 

xvii. 13), i.e. the material blessings promised in w. 1927 will precede 
the gift of the spirit mentioned in v. 28. 

24. the floors. These, used in threshing, consisted of a space of ground, 
beaten hard, upon which the ears of corn (for the length of stalk cut 
was very short) were spread in a layer. One method of threshing was 
to drag over the ears a heavy sledge (i.e. a board, roughened on the 
under-side with pieces of sharp stone), which pressed out the grain and 
chopped the straw into chaff, the latter being afterwards winnowed 
away 1 . For another process see p. 37. 

fats. An archaism for vats. The vat (yekebh) was a small but re- 
latively deep trough hewn in the rock (Is. v. 2 mg.) at a lower level 
than the wider but shallower winepress (gath), and was designed to 
receive the juice flowing from the grapes trodden in the press. The 
LXX. distinguishes them as VTTO\TJVLOV and A^vo's respectively. The word 
rendered vat is sometimes used irregularly for the winepress (Job 
xxiv. 11, Is. xvi. 10), and the LXX. here has ot \yvoi. 

with... oil. Presses and vats were also used in the extraction of oil 
from olives (see Mic. vi. 15), a circumstance of which the name Geth- 
semane (oil-press) is a reminder. 

25. And I, etc. The utterance of Jehovah, interrupted at v. 21, is 
here continued. 

the years... eaten. I.e. the equivalent of the produce destroyed in the 
past years. 

26. praise. The verb here used is characteristic of the Psalms (Ixxiv. 
21, cxlviii. 5), and seems to be one peculiarly associated with the 
Temple worship. 

27. that I am.. .Israel. The changed condition of the land would be 
an effectual reply to the mocking challenge in v. 17. Israel here stands 
for Judah : see iii. 2, 16, and cf. Mic. vi. 2. 

/ am the LORD your God. Better, / am JEHO VAH your God. The 
phrase occurs in Ezek. xx. 5, 7, 19, etc., and is exceedingly frequent in 
the Priestly code of the Pentateuch (Ex. vi. 7, xvi. 12, Lev. xviii. 2, etc.). 

1 See Driver, Joel and Amos, p. 227. 

108 JOEL [II. 27, 28 

there is none else. The thought, expressed in more than one form, is 
characteristic of, though not confined to, Deutero-Isaiah (see 2 Is. xlv. 
r>, (;, 14, etc., xlvi. 9); and its occurrence here is perhaps due to the 
influence of that prophet's writings. 

and my people... ashamed. This sentence repeats the conclusion of 
v. 26, and as its presence here weakens the emphasis which the preceding 
clause in this v. requires, it should probably be omitted as an accidental 
duplicate. Wellhausen and others, on the contrary, propose the omission 
of the final clause in v. 26. 


With ii. 28 begins the third section of the book, extending to the end. 
This has in view a sequel to the predictions (in ii. 19 27) of the material 
blessings which are about to be conferred on God's people ; for the return of 
plenty is to be followed by the bestowal of spiritual gifts also, whilst ensuing 
upon this will occur the advent of Jehovah's day of judgment. Of that Day 
the devastation of the land by the locusts had previously been regarded as 
a preliminary phase, presaging a fuller outbreak of Divine resentment upon 
the Jews in the near future ; but from the terrors of it they, in consequence 
of the moral change in them, will be delivered, and the Divine judgment will 
be confined to the heathen for their malice towards the Jews. In the Hebrew 
the section ii. 28 32 constitutes ch. iii. 

28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour 
out my spirit upon all flesh ; and your sons and your daughters 

28 32. A prediction of the descent upon all ages and classes 
amongst the Jewish people of God's spirit, followed by signs of Jehovah's 
Day, when destruction, from which the true worshippers of Jehovah will 
escape, is to overwhelm the heathen. 

28. afterward. This, rendered in Acts ii. 17 by cv rals eo-^arats 
^epa^, is virtually equivalent to in the latter (or the sequel of) dayt 
(Mic. iv. 1): cf. Jer. xlviii. 47 with xlix. 6. 

/ will pour out. The same verb is used in connection with the Divine 
Spirit in Ezek. xxxix. 29, 2 Zech. xii. 10; and the like physical metaphor 
is employed of the manifestation of such impalpable realities as anger 
(Hos. v. 10, Ezek. xiv. 19) and contempt (Job xii. 21). So in Greek 
Homer uses x /<0 in connection with UTTI/OS and even Ka'AAos (Od. n. 395, 
xxm. 156). 

my spirit. God's Spirit is represented alike as the origin of all life 
(Job xxxiii. 4, Ps. civ. 30), as the cause of the transformation of nature 
(Is. xxxii. 15) and of the reformation of man (Ezek. xxxvi. 27), and as 
the source of all exceptional human faculties, whether physical (Jud. 
xiv. 6), artistic (Ex. xxxv. 31), intellectual, or moral (Mic. iii. 8, Is. xi. 2), 
but especially of prophetic ecstasy (Num. xi. 25 f., 1 Sam. x. 6, 10). 
Here it is promised that the psychical endowments and emotional out- 

II. 28-3 1 ] JOEL 109 

shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young 
men shall see visions: 29 and also upon the servants and 
upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. 
:*() And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, 
blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned 
into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and 

bursts, hitherto confined to a few individuals, constituting them seers 
and prophets, will be extended to all classes, even the humblest. Cf. 
Num. xi. 29, 3 Is. lix. 21. 

all flesh. The expression, which is sometimes inclusive of all living 
creatures (Gen. vi. 17, Lev. xvii. 14, Num. xviii. 15) and sometimes 
limited to mankind (Gen. vi. 12, 13, Num. xvi. 22, Dt. v. 26, 2 Is. 
xlix. 26), is here confined to Jews only (as the words your sons and your 
daughters shew) : cf. Ezek. xxxix. 29. 

prophesy. The term here probably has in view the utterance of fervid 
and rapturous language under the influence of powerful religious emo- 
tion, as illustrated by the narratives in Num. xi. 25 27, 1 Sam. x. 5, 
6, 10, xix. 24. 

dreams. ..visions. These were usual, but not the sole, channels whereby 
God was believed to communicate with His prophets and others (Num. 
xii. 6; cf. 1 Sam. xxviii. 6, 15, Dt. xiii. 3, Jer. xxiii. 25 28, 2 Zech. 
xiii. 4, Dan. vii. 1). 

young men. I.e. men of military age, actual or potential warriors 
(Jud. xiv. 10, Is. ix. 17, 2 Kgs. viii. 12). 

29. the servants. The LXX. has TOVS Sov'Aovs /xov. 

30. wonders. Perhaps better, portents, extraordinary occurrences 
suggestive of Divine action, or of the nearness of the Divine presence: 
cf. Ex. vii. 3, xi. 9, Dt. vi. 22, Ps. cv. 5. By such the Day of Jehovah 
is to be ushered in. 

blood... fire... smoke. It is not quite clear whether the portents here 
mentioned are celestial or terrestrial. They may be blood-red, fiery, and 
lurid appearances in the sky and atmosphere (the pillars of smoke being 
suggested by the columns of dust and sand raised by whirlwinds), or 
they may be accompaniments of war carnage, the firing of towns, and 
the columns of smoke rising from the conflagrations. In the latter case 
the parallelism with the first half of the v. is inverted, see p. cxxxv. 

31. The sun shall be turned, etc. Cf. Is. xiii. 10. The language is 
taken from the phenomena of eclipses, but it is not so much the 
phenomena themselves as the alarm attending them that the writer 
wishes to call before the mind : cf. p. Ix. The passage has influenced 
Rev. vi. 12. Cf. Lucan, Phars. I. 539542, lam Phoebe... subita per- 
cussa expalluit umbra. Ipse caput medio Titan cum ferret Olympo, 
Condidit ardentes atra caligine cur r us Involvitque orbem tenebris. 

bejore the great .. .come. The phraseology is identical with that of 
Mai. iv. 5 (iii. 23). For terrible the LXX. has eTri^an?: cf. ii. 11. 

110 JOEL [ii. 3I , 3 , 

terrible day of the LORD come. 32 And it shall come to pass, that 
whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered : 

32. whosoever shall call on the name, etc. Strictly, the Heb. means 
whoso shall call with the name of Jehovah : the same phrase occurs in 
Gen. iv. 26, xii. 8, Jer. x. 25, Zeph. iii. 9. The invocation of a deity by 
his name was believed to exert an influence upon him, so that it was 
often deemed expedient to keep the name from the knowledge of those 
who might use it to the detriment of his true worshippers. It was for 
this reason that the name of the tutelary deity of Rome is alleged to 
have been wrapped in mystery, lest, through its becoming known to an 
enemy, the safety of the city should be imperilled 1 . The persons 
designated by the phrase here employed are the Jews collectively; but 
in Rom. x. 13 St Paul, quoting from the LXX., adduces the words Tras 

os av 7rt/>yrai TO oVo/aa Kuptov (rw^crerat in Support of his contention 

that God is merciful to all who call upon Him, whether Jews or Gentiles. 
Verses 28 32 a were quoted by St Peter at Pentecost (Acts ii. 1721). 

The Apostle (or his reporter) used a Greek version, but the quotation 

deviates in some respects from the LXX. The differences are as follows : 

Joel (LXX.). Acts. 

(a) fjLera ravra KOI (a) ei> rais <r\aTais ij/j.cpcus 

(o) ol rrpO'(BvTpoi vp.wv evvnvia ev- (b) ol veavicrKoi v/teoi/ opdaeif oifsovrai 

unvia(r6r)O'ovTa.i KOI ol vcavicrKoi v/ucoi/ KOI ol Trpc&ftvTfpoi vfj-cov evvTrviois ev- 

opd<Tis o^ovrai. vnviacrOrfO-ovTat. 

(c) KOI (c) Kai ye 

(d) ras dov\as (d) ray dou\as /zov 

rov TTvevfJiaTos pov (0) e/c^cw drro rov TrvcvfjLctTos fiov Kal 

(JO *" r ? ovpavw (f] fv r<5 oupai/a) av<o 

(g} KOI cVi rfjs yfjs. (g) KOI crrj^ela enl rrjs yfjs ACOTCO. 

The speaking with tongues at Pentecost, in which St Peter saw 
a fulfilment of this prediction of Joel, was doubtless akin in nature to 
the prophesying which is here in view (see on v. 28). Various passages 
in the O.T. imply that in many cases " prophesying " meant wild and 
uncontrolled speech resulting from religious rapture or enthusiasm, so 
that a prophet was sometimes derided as a madman (see Hos. ix. 7, 
Jer. xxix. 26, 2 Kgs. ix. 11); and that the utterances of the Christian 
believers assembled at Pentecost were of a fervid and excited character 
is suggested by the contemptuous observations made by some of those 
that heard them (Acts ii. 13), whilst the comments passed by St Paul 
upon the similar phenomena at Corinth point in the same direction 
(1 Cor. xiv. 23). Probably the disciples, under the influence of religious 
emotion, broke out into ecstatic speeches and exclamations, which were 
only partially intelligible to many who were present. Into such utter- 
ances there might enter phrases, or even long passages, couched in 

1 The divinity in question is said to have been called Valentia, probably a 
translation of the Greek ' Pay*?;. 

ii. 3^-m. i] JOEL 111 

for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those that 
escape, as the LORD hath said, and l among the remnant those 
whom the LORD doth call. 

1 Or, in the remnant whom <c. 

languages or dialects not normally used by the speakers, their memory 
and speech-centres being so stimulated by the stress of emotional feeling 
as to recall and to repeat what had once been heard but had become 
forgotten. Various parallels from the experience of religious revivals 
in later times have been collected by A. Wright, Some N. T. Problems, 
p. 297 f., and K. Lake, The Earlier Epistles of St Paul, p. 241 f. The 
occurrence, in what was uttered, of some foreign words or expressions 
would account for the impression produced on the multitude at Pente- 
cost that the speakers were acquainted with foreign languages (Acts ii. 
5 11), as well as for the need of an interpreter on other occasions 
(such as St Paul alludes to, 1 Cor. xiv. 27). The feature in the incident 
at Pentecost which led St Peter to see in it a fulfilment of the prophecy 
of Joel was the diffusion, amongst the whole body of disciples, of such 
a gift of "prophecy" as was ordinarily confined to a few chosen in- 
dividuals; and the bestowal of this gift, in the light of the promise 
made by Jesus (as reported in Lk. xxiv. 49), was regarded as proof of 
His Messiahship (Acts ii. 33 36). But the most cogent evidence that 
the early Christian believers were taken possession of by the Holy 
Spirit was afforded not by any temporary outbursts of religious ecstasy 
but by the permanent change that occurred in their characters, and by 
their manifestation of the fruits of the Spirit, such as are enumerated 
by St Paul in Gal. v. 22, 23. 

for in mount Zion, etc. Jerusalem is to be the only place of safety 
from the terrors of the Day of Jehovah. The phrase seems to be borrowed 
from Ob. 17 (to which the words as the LORD hath said probably allude). 

and among the remnant, etc. Better, and among the remnant (or 
among the survivors) there shall be those whom Jehovah doth call. By 
these are meant the Jews of the Dispersion, who will be summoned 
from among the heathen to share the preservation ensured to their 
fellow-countrymen who dwell in Zion. For the gathering of dispersed 
Jews cf. Is. xi. 11, xxvii. 13, 2 Zech. x. 10, Jer. xxiii. 3, Ecclus. xxxvi. 
1114, 2 Mace. ii. 18. The heathen, in contrast to the Jews, are 
reserved for vengeance (iii. 2). The final clause of this v. was in 
St Peter's mind when he spoke at Pentecost (Acts ii. 39). 

III. 1 For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when 

1 3. These w. explain the nature of the crisis from which the 
Jews are to be preserved (as promised in ii. 32) and introduce the 
account, continued in v. 9 f, of the mustering of all the heathen in 
one spot, where, in retribution for the evil done by them to Israel, 
they are doomed to extermination. In the Heb. this ch. constitutes ch. iv. 

112 JOEL [m. 1-3 

1 shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, 

2 I will gather all nations, and will bring them down into 
Hhe valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will plead with them there 
for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have 
scattered among the nations, and parted my land. 3 And they 
have cast lots for my people : and have given a boy for an harlot, 

1 See ver. 12. 

1. bring again the captivity. This rendering is supported by the 
LXX. (eTTio-Tptyu) TV]v aixfj-ah-uo-iav) but perhaps a better translation 
is, retrieve the fortune (literally retrieve the retrieval), for this is the 
only admissible rendering of the phrase in Job xlii. 10 and Ezek. 
xvi. 53, and is the most suitable in some other passages. Even after 
the Return in the time of Zerubbabel the situation of the Jews for 
a long while was very depressed, and a happy turn in their fortunes 
(including the restoration of such Jews as were yet in heathen lands) 
was still an object of earnest desire (cf. p. 60). 

2. / will gather all nations, etc. The assembling, by Jehovah, of all 
the heathen for annihilation is similarly predicted in 3 Is. Ixvi. 16 18, 
Mic. iv. 12, Zeph. iii. 8. 

the valley of Jehoshaphat. The name is here chosen for its symbolic 
meaning ("Jehovah judges"), as appears from v. 14, and Th. has TTJV 
X^pav r>Js Kpio-ews; but whether it was taken from some spot actually 
called after king Jehoshaphat is unknown. The writer cannot have in 
mind the locality which (according to 2 Ch. xx. 1 30) was the scene 
of an overthrow sustained by a confederation of Moabites, Ammonites, 
Edomites, and Meunim (id. xxvi. 7), who attacked Israel in the time 
of Jehoshaphat, for this was near Tekoa. The place in the prophet's 
thoughts is clearly near Jerusalem (see v. 16), and the name he gives 
to it has been traditionally associated since the 4th cent. A.D. with 
the gorge of the Kidron, E. of Jerusalem. The Kidron, however, is 
a torrent- valley (nahal) and not a vale ('emek), the word used here 1 . 
The situation which answers the writer's imaginative conception least 
inadequately is the valley of Hinnom, W. of Jerusalem, or the extension 
of it (after its junction with the Kidron) S. of the city. This is usually 
described as a valley (gai), but is called a vale in Jer. xxxi. 40. 

/ will plead with them. Better, / will join issue with them (cf. the 
LXX. SiaKpt^'o-o/zfu TT/DOS aurovs, Vulgate disceptabo cum eis). The Heb. 
has a form (here used in a reciprocal sense) of the verb shdpkat, which 
enters into the composition of the name Jehoshaphat. 

whom they have scattered. The occasion alluded to is probably the 
capture of Jerusalem and the deportation of its citizens in 587. 

3. cast lots. For this way of disposing of captives, see Ob. 11, Nah. 
iii. 10. 

given... for an harlot. I.e. given as the price of a harlot: cf. Aq. 

i Cf. G. A. Smith, HOHL. pp. 384, 654. 

in. 3-5] JOEL 113 

and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink. 4 Yea, and what 
are ye to me, Tyre, and Zidon, and all the regions of Philistia? 
1 will ye render me a recompence? and if ye recompense me, swiftly 
and speedily will I return your 2 recompence upon your own head. 
5 Forasmuch as ye have taken my silver and my gold, and have 

1 Or, will ye repay a deed of mine, or will ye do aught unto me? swiftly <&c. 

2 Or, deed 

Kopd<nov dvrl iropviys. The offence of selling members of Je- 
hovah's community into slavery was aggravated by the sensuality to 
which the proceeds of the sale were devoted. 

that they might drink. Better, and drank it. But the symmetry of 
the parallelism and the rhythm of the v. (for both this and the fore- 
going appear to consist of trimeters) are improved by the omission of 
the clause (as suggested by Schwally) as a needless expansion of what 

4 8. For the reasons that render it probable that these w. are an 
insertion and not part of the book in its original form, and for 
a suggestion as to the date of their composition see p. 114. They are 
written in prose and express the complaint which Jehovah has against 
the people of Phrenicia and Philistia for pillaging the possessions, and 
enslaving the persons, of His people ; and they go on to announce the 
nemesis which is to befall them. 

4. Yea, and what... to me. Better, And ye, too, what will ye do 
to me? In the Heb. there is no verb, but the phrase must be understood 
as in Hos. vi. 4 (where the verb do is expressed). 

all the regions of Philistia. Literally, all the circuits of Philistia. 
The word (gdlll) rendered regions means anything that can roll or 
turn (and is applicable to rings and folding doors), but could be used 
to describe a circuit or area of ground (see Is. ix. 1 mg., Ezek. xlvii. 8 
(region), Josh. xxii. 10, 11). Here it is employed to denote the districts, 
probably each under separate authority, which constituted the Philistine 
Pentapolis (1 Sam. vi. 4, Josh. xiii. 2, 1 Mace. v. 15). 

will ye render me, etc. The whole v. is better translated (cf. mg.) 
a deed of mine will such as ye repay ? or will such as ye (unprovoked) 
do aught to me ? Swiftly and speedily will I return your deed upon your 
/lead. The pronoun ye is emphatic in the Heb. and the use of it is 
intended to accentuate the disproportion between the adversaries. 
The word gemul in the last clause, which in the R.V. text is rendered 
by recompence, is rarely used of good or evil done spontaneously, but 
must here mean some gratuitous act of aggression (as in 2 Ch. xx. 11). 

5. taken. Probably they had purchased what had been pillaged by 

my silver... my gold. The reference may be either to the nation's 
possessions in general (for these, in a sense, were Jehovah's, cf. Hos. 
ii. 8, 1 Ch. xxix. 14), or to the treasures of the Temple in particular. 
The occasion may be the plundering of the capital by the Babylonians 

w. 8 

114 JOEL [in. 5-8 

carried into your temples my goodly pleasant things ; 6 the children 
also of Judah and the children of Jerusalem have ye sold unto 
the sons of the Grecians, that ye might remove them far from 
their border: 7 behold, I will stir them up out of the place 
whither ye have sold them, and will return your ^ecompence 
upon your own head; 8 and I will sell your sons and your 
daughters into the hand of the children of Judah, and they shall 
sell them to the men of Sheba, to a nation far off: for the LORD 
hath spoken it. 

1 Or, deed 

in 587 ; but if the passage (w. 4 8) is an insertion, it is likely to be 
some much later act of spoliation, such as occurred when punishment 
was inflicted on the Jews by Artaxerxes Ochus, about the middle of the 
4th cent. B.C. 

carried into your temples. Compare the action ascribed to Nebucha- 
drezzar in Dan. i. 2. A similar proceeding is recorded of David in 
2 Sam. viii. 11. 

6. the children also of Judah, etc. The Phoenicians were known not 
only as slave-dealers (Ezek. xxvii. 13, Am. i. 9, 1 Mace. iii. 41) but 
also as kidnappers (Hdt. i. 1, n. 54). It will be recalled that Syrus was 
a common slave-name among the Greeks and the Romans; and the 
appellation would doubtless be applied to Jews as well as to other 
captives from Palestine. 

the sons of the Grecians. Cf. the Homeric phrase vte? 'A^aio^. 
The name used by the Hebrews for Greece and the Greeks Javan 
was derived from the lonians, i.e. the Ionian colonies in Asia Minor. 
The expression here employed (the sons of the Grecians) where the sons 
of Greece might be expected (cf. the sons of Ammori), is parallel to the 
use, in 2 Chron. xx. 19, of the sons of the Korahites instead of the sons 
of Korah (Ps. xlii. title, and elsewhere). Allusions to the Greeks occur 
in Gen. x. 2, 4 (P), Ezek. xxvii. 13, 3 Is. Ixvi. 19, Dan. viii. 21, xi. 2 
(all passages later than the Exile). 

7. I will stir them up. I.e. I will incite and aid them to depart. 
your recompence. Better, your (unprovoked) deed: see p. 113. 

8. / will sell. The verb sell, which is used in the literal sense in 
the next clause, is here employed figuratively in the sense of " I will 
deliver up" (cf. Jud. ii. 14, iii. 8). So far as the prediction in these w. 
was realized, it found fulfilment, after Joel's time, in the enslavement 
of numbers of the people of Tyre and Gaza by Alexander in 333 B.C. 
Many of those who were then reduced to slavery were doubtless bought 
by the Jews in order to sell again. 

the men of Sheba. These were a people of South Arabia, variously 
represented as Semites (Gen. x. 28, xxv. 3 (JE)) and Hamites (Gen. x. 7 
(P)), and well known as traders (cf. Ezek. xxvii. 22). Their country was 
famous for its spices (1 Kgs. x. 10), and was regarded by Jewish writers 

m. 9-i i] JOEL 115 

9 Proclaim ye this among the nations; x prepare war: stir 
up the mighty men; let all the men of war draw near, let 
them come up. 10 Beat your plowshares into swords, and 
your pruninghooks into spears : let the weak say, I am strong. 
11 2 Haste ye, and come, all ye nations round about, and gather 

1 Heb. sanctify. 2 Or, Assemble yourselves 

as a distant and wealthy land (Ps. Ixxii. 10) ; its situation was some 
200 miles N. of Aden, and it could be reached by caravans. 

to a nation far off. Perhaps better (as there is a change in the pre- 
position), for a nation far off, who would purchase the slaves from the 
men of Sheba. 

917. Here the declaration of what Jehovah is about to do to the 
heathen nations (begun in w. I 3) is continued. They are bidden to 
arm themselves for a conflict with Jehovah and His celestial hosts, but 
are destined to be annihilated by Him, with whom His own people will 
find security. 

9. Proclaim ye this. Jehovah charges His messengers to convey a 
challenge to the nations (v. 2) : cf. the challenge in Is. viii. 9, 10. 

prepare war. Literally (as in the mg.), sanctify (or consecrate] war: 
see p. 24. 

draw near. The expression is used of warlike collisions (Jud. xx. 23, 
2 Sam. x. 13, etc.). 

10. Beat your plowshares, etc. The heathen are bidden to take care 
that there is no deficiency in their equipment for so critical a contest. 
Classical parallels for the conversion of tools into weapons, here con- 
templated, occur in Ovid, F. I. 699, Sarcula cessabant versique in pila 
ligones, Vergil, G. I. 508, Curvce rigidum fakes conflantur in ensem. 
The precise agricultural implement intended by the word rendered 
plowshare is uncertain; perhaps coulters is the best equivalent (see 
p. 31). 

spears. The word (rtimahini) here used differs from that employed in 
the converse passage Mic. iv. 3 (= Is. ii. 4), and is confined to late, or 
comparatively late, compositions such as Jeremiah, the Priestly narrative 
of the Pentateuch, Nehemiah, and Chronicles, with the exception of 
two passages, Jud. v. 8 (the Song of Deborah) and 1 Kgs. xviii. 28 
(the history of Elijah), both of which appear to be of Ephraimite origin. 
Some dialectic features of the northern tribes seem to have survived in 
later Hebrew. 

let the weak, etc. Cf. 2 Zech. xii. 8. In such a crisis there must be 
universal service. 

11. Haste ye. This Heb. verb ( l ush) occurs only here, and is of 
doubtful meaning. The LXX. and Syr. render it (as in the mg.) Assemble 
yourselves; but, according to Driver, there is no philological basis for 
this translation. The R.V. assumes that it is equivalent to the common 
word for haste (hush). 

gather yourselves together. The Heb. really has and they shall gather 


116 JOEL [m. 11-14 

yourselves together : thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, 
O LORD. 12 Let the nations bestir themselves, and come up to the 
valley of * Jehoshaphat : for there will I sit to judge all the nations 
round about. 13 Put ye in the sickle, for the 2 harvest is ripe: 
come, 3 tread ye ; for the winepress is full, the fats overflow ; for 
their wickedness is great. 14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley 

1 That is, The LoBDJudgeth. 2 Or, vintage 

3 Or, get you down 

themselves together; but this disturbs the sequence of imperatives, and 
the K.V. has silently adopted the reading of the LXX. cnWx^Te. 
Metrical considerations are in favour of the omission of the verb 

thither. I.e. to the vale of Jehoshaphat. 

cause thy mighty ones, etc. Jehovah was believed to have at His dis- 
posal a host of supernatural warriors (see 2 Kgs. vi. 17, Ps. Ixxviii. 25, 
ciii. 20, and cf. Josh. v. 1315, 2 Th. i. 7), whom He is urged by the 
prophet to bring from heaven. But the LXX. has 6 irpavs CO-TW //.a^T^'s, 
let the soft (or faint)-hearted become a mighty one (or warrior) ; cf. v. 10 

12. come up. The vale of Jehoshaphat is assumed to be near Jeru- 
salem, the Jewish capital, so that this verb is used where, at first sight, 
descend would seem to be more appropriate (cf. p. 86). 

will I sit to judge. The clause reproduces the significance of the 
name Jehoshaphat (p. 112), but Jehovah is here conceived as presiding 
at the annihilation, not the trial, of the nations. 

13. Put ye in, etc. The command is addressed by Jehovah to His 
attendant angels. Cf. Mt. xiii. 39 41. 

the harvest. Better (as in tbe mg.), the vintage. The slaughter of the 
heathen is represented under the figure of the treading of grapes (cf. 
3 Is. Ixiii. 3, Lam. i. 15, Rev. xiv. 19, 20, xix. 15); and the Heb. word 
here employed, though it properly means "harvest," is applied to the 
vintage, as in Is. xvi. 9, xviii. 4, 5. The LXX. has Tpvyr/ros. 

is ripe. The verb elsewhere signifies to be boiled (Ezek. xxiv. 5), and 
the transition of meaning may be illustrated by the use of the Latin 
coquo', see Cic. de Sen. 71, matura et cocta decidunt, Verg. 
G. n. 522, Mitis in apricis coquitur vindemia saxis. 

tread ye. This rendering, which assumes that the imperative comes 
from rddhah, is supported by the LXX. (Traretre), but the mg. get you 
down (i.e. into the winepress, p. 107), which takes the verb to be ydradh, 
has the Vulg. in its favour (descendite). 

the fats overflow. The previous exhortation to tread the grapes in the 
press would be uncalled for if tbe vats were already full and running 
over; and as the LXX. has vTrepe/c^etTe TO, vTroA^Vta, Bewer with reason 
suggests a change of points in the verb (imperat. for indie.), and gives 
it a causal sense, make the vats overflow. 

m. 14-18] JOEL 117 

of decision! for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of 
decision. 15 The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars 
withdraw their shining. 16 And the LORD shall roar from Zion, 
and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the 
earth shall shake : but the LORD will be a refuge unto his people, 
and a strong hold to the children of Israel. 17 So shall ye know 
that I am the LORD your God, dwelling in Zion my holy moun- 
tain : then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers 
pass through her any more. 18 And it shall come to pass in that 

their wickedness. The figure of speech in the early part of the v. is 
here abandoned, the pronoun their referring to the nations symbolized 
by the grapes. 

14. Multitudes, multitudes, etc. The speaker, in this and the next 
two vv., is the prophet. The duplication of the word multitudes serves, 
according to Hebrew idiom, to heighten the sense of the numbers : cf. 
Jud. v. 22, Ex. viii. 14 (Heb. 10, literally heaps, heaps). 

of decision. Literally of sharp (or strict) decision. 

15. The sun and the moon, etc. Probably the writer only wishes to 
illustrate the terrifying character of the crisis by recalling to the mind 
the consternation occasioned by eclipses (see p. Ix) ; but it is possible 
that the darkening of the luminaries (cf. Is. xiii. 10, xxxiv. 4) is meant 
to imply the suppression, before Jehovah's might, of the heavenly bodies, 
regarded as the abodes of celestial powers antagonistic to Him (cf. Is. 
xxiv. 21), for the host of heaven at some periods of Heb. history were 
the objects of idolatrous worship (2 Kgs. xxiii. 5, 11). 

16. And the LORD shall roar, etc. The words occur also in Am. i. 2, 
the coincidence pointing to borrowing on the part of one writer or the 
other (see p. Ixix). Jehovah is expressly likened to a lion, whose lair is 
Jerusalem, in Ps. Ixxvi. 2, mg. ; cf. Hos. xi. 10. 

a refuge unto his people, etc. Jehovah is described in similar terms 
in Ps. xiv. 6, xlvi. 1. 

17. dwelling in Zion. Jehovah is represented by Ezekiel (xi. 23) as 
having abandoned Zion (in consequence of its wickedness) to the on- 
slaught of the Babylonians ; but on the restoration of its people to their 
country, He had returned with them (cf. Mic. ii. 13, 2 Is. xl. 10, 11), 
and His continuous presence in Jerusalem would thenceforward secure 
the city from further molestation. 

shall... be holy. I.e. shall be undenled by the entry into it of heathen 
foemen: cf. Ob. 17, 2 Zech. ix. 8, 2 Is. lii. 1, Nah. i. 15. A more ethical 
conception of holiness is attached to the New Jerusalem in Rev. xxi. 27, 
xxii. 14, 15. 

18 21. A description of the fruitfulness which, after the crisis just 
described, is to mark the land of Judah (cf. Is. iv. 2), in contrast to the 
doom of barrenness which is to be the fate of Egypt and Edom for the 
crimes committed by them. 

118 JOEL [m. is, 19 

day, that the mountains shall drop down sweet wine, and the hills 
shall flow with milk, and all the brooks of Judah shall flow with 
waters ; and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the LORD, 
and shall water Hhe valley of Shittim. 19 Egypt shall be a deso- 

1 That is, the valley of acacias. 

18. the mountains . . . milk. The passage is substantially identical with 
Am. ix. 13 b (save for the concluding words); and represents hyper- 
bolically the exceptional fertility of the vineyards on the hillsides 
(cf. p. 70), and the richness of the upland pastures. Parallels among 
Latin writers occur in Ov. Met. I. Ill, Flumina iam lactis, iamflumina 
nectaris ibant, Flavaque de viridi stillabant ilice mella; Verg. G. I. 132, 
Passim rims currentia vina. 

all the brooks, etc. Literally, all the channels (Is. viii. 7). In a land 
like Palestine, where so many of the wadies run dry in summer (cf. i. 20 
and note), an ample supply of water is one of the most desired of 
blessings : cf. Is. xxx. 25, Jud. i. 15. 

a fountain shall come forth, etc. The conception is derived from 
Ezekiel xlviii. 1 f. (p. Ixviii) and recurs in 2 Zech. xiv. 8. The idea of a 
fountain issuing from the house of Jehovah was probably suggested by 
the Gihon spring (the Ain Sitti Mariam), which gushed from below the 
hill upon which the Temple stood, and flowed down the Kidron gorge. 
This is presumably the fons perennis aquae mentioned by Tacitus, 
Hist. v. 12. 

the valley of Shittim. Literally "the torrent- valley of the acacias." 
Even this, conspicuous for its dryness (since the acacia, which is 
a thorny tree (Sym. has TTJV KoiAaSa TUV a/cav0o3i/), producing pods and 
having heavy and very hard wood, flourishes in a dry soil, and " is the 
characteristic tree of the desert wadies") 1 , will be irrigated like the rest 
of the land. No ravine bearing the name here mentioned is alluded to 
elsewhere in the O.T. (though there was an "Acacia meadow" (Abel 
Shittim) on the east side of the Jordan seven or eight miles from the 
N. extremity of the Dead Sea (Num. xxv. 1, Josh. ii. 1, Mic. vi. 5)); 
but since in the passage in Ezekiel, upon which the writer of Joel has 
drawn, the irrigating waters flow from the east of the Temple, the 
" torrent- valley of the acacias " was probably the name of some arid 
wady lying between Jerusalem and the Jordan. The present passage 
has contributed to influence Rev. xxii. 1. 

19. Egypt shall be, etc. The occasion of the wrongs inflicted by 
Egypt which the writer has in mind was probably the invasion of Judah 
by Pharaoh Necho at some date between 610 and 594 (2 Kgs. xxiii. 
2935, 2 Ch. xxxv. 2024). This reference is not excluded by the 
fact that the bloodshed at Megiddo, where Necho defeated Josiah, took 
place in war, for the second half of the v. may relate to Edom only. 
Bewer suggests that the passage alludes to the incursion into Palestine 

1 Hastings, DB. iv. p. 507. 

in. 19-21] JOEL 119 

lation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence 
done to the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent 
blood in their land. 20 But Judah shall 1 abide for ever, and 
Jerusalem from generation to generation. 21 And I will 2 cleanse 
their blood that I have not cleansed : for the LORD dwelleth in 

1 Or, be inhabited 2 Or, hold as innocent 

of Ptolemy Lagi in 320B.C. The prediction of Egypt's desolation can 
hardly be said to have been fulfilled ; but the country at least lost its 
independence when it became included first within the Macedonian, 
and next within the Roman, empire. Prophecies of parallel import 
occur in Is. xix., xx., Jer. xlvi., Ezek. xxix. xxxii. The occasion when 
Edom earned, most of all, the bitter hatred of the Jews, such as is 
evinced here, was the capture of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 587 
(see p. xlix). 

for the violence, etc. The expression is perhaps derived from Ob. 10 
(with some modification) : cf. p. 74. 

in their land. If the occasions of Egyptian and Edomite malevolence 
have been correctly identified, this must mean, in the land of the 
children of Judah. But Driver and others think that the reference is 
to the lands of Egypt and Edom, where Jews who were dwelling there 
peaceably may have been treacherously massacred. 

20. shall abide. I.e. shall continue unmolested : cf. Mic. v. 4 (3). 
The mg. shall be inhabited (cf. LXX. KaToi/o^orcrcu) finds support in 
Is. xiii. 20, Ezek. xxvi. 20, 2 Zech. ix. 5 : and the same ambiguity as 
is present here occurs in Jer. xvii. 25. 

21. / will cleanse their blood, etc. This, if the text is sound, must 
mean, " I will cleanse (through the infliction of retribution upon the 
blood-guilty) their (i.e. the victims') blood that I have hitherto (by 
sparing those who spilt it) left uncleansed." But the Heb. verb rendered 
" cleanse " elsewhere means " to clear," or " treat as innocent" (cf. mg.), 
and has as its object persons (Jer. xxx. 11, Job ix. 28). Tbe LXX. has 

Kai c/c^T^oro) (or /<8iK^cra)) TO al/xa avrwv, KCU ov pr) a0u)iocru>, I will avengG 

their blood and I will not hold innocent the guilty (cf. Ex. xxxiv. 7, 
Num. xiv. 18, Nah. i. 3). This implies in the first clause the reading 
ve-nikkamti for ve-nikkethi and seemingly treats Id nikkethi (in the 
second clause) as a prophetic perfect (equivalent to a future). But 
a prophetic perfect is here unnatural, and the passage is brought into 
closer accord with Hebrew usage by substituting (with Nowack) the 
verb nikkem for nikkah in both clauses, and so obtaining the translation, 
/ will avenge their blood which / have not (hitherto) avenged. 

for the LORD dwelleth in Zion. Literally, and Jehovah dwelleth in 
Zion, which is tantamount to "as surely as Jehovah dwelleth in Zion." 
For this use of the conjunction and cf. 2 Is. li. 15 (where For I am 
Jehovah thy God is literally And I am Jehovah thy God). 



I. 1 Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of 

1 3. Jonah's commission to declare to Nineveh its doom, and his 
attempt to evade his duty. 

1. Now. Strictly, And. Since the writer casts his censure of his 
countrymen's attitude towards the Gentiles into the form of an historical 
narrative, he begins in the way usual with Hebrew historians (see the 
opening words of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 
Samuel, Kings, Ezra and Esther) : the conjunction attaches the book 
(as it were) to other and earlier narratives. The prophetic book of 
Ezekiel begins similarly. 

the word of the LORD came. See p. 88. 

Jonah. What is known about the prophet is related on p. Ixxviii. 
Various places are pointed out in local traditions as his tomb, there 
being one near Nazareth, a second close to Hebron, and a third hard 
by the ruins of Nineveh (p. 122). The name means "a dove." Many 
Hebrew personal names were those of animals; and though it is possible 
that they may have been of the nature of individual nicknames, due 
to some fancied resemblance in feature or disposition between the 
animals and the human personalities designated, it is perhaps more 
probable that they go back to a totemistic stage of thought, and were 
originally tribal names, though they were afterwards transferred to 
individuals. A totem is customarily some species of animal or plant 
from which a particular tribe or clan believes that its life is derived, 
and upon which its welfare depends. The members of the community 
are called after its name; and they ordinarily abstain from injuring it 
(as being akin to themselves) except when, in order to assimilate its 
virtues, or to place themselves more fully under its protection, they 
sacramentally eat it or (if it is an animal) dress themselves in its hide. 
The animal or plant in question is thus practically regarded as a god 
from whom the tribe is descended, the explanation of such an attitude 
of mind being presumably that primitive races were deeply impressed 
by the difference between themselves and the life around them, and 
were prone to look upon many objects of the lower creation as super- 
human rather than as sub-human. This system of belief prevails widely 
among savage races in Africa, America, and Australia at the present 
day ; and it has been inferred that it once existed among the Semitic 
nations, including the Hebrews, for the following reasons, (a) Many of 
these regarded themselves as being the offspring of, or filially related 
to, the deities whom they worshipped (cf. Num. xxi. 29, Dt. xiv. 1, 
Hos. xi. 1, Mai. ii. 11). (6) Numerous Semitic gods were thought to 

i. i, ,] JONAH 121 

Amittai, saying, 2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and 

have animal shapes : there was a heifer Baal (Tob. i. 5) ; Jehovah in 
early times was represented as a calf or young bull (Ex. xxxii. 4 mg., 
1 Kgs. xii. 28), and perhaps also as a sdrdph or winged serpent (Num. 
xxi. 8, 9, 2 Kgs. xviii. 4); at Eryx, in Sicily, Ashtoreth had the form 
of a dove; whilst other divinities were worshipped under the figures 
of a lion, a horse, or a vulture. (In Greece, too, certain deities were 
associated with animals; e.g. Artemis was connected with the bear, 
and Dionysus (ravpo/cepws 0eo's) with the bull; whilst the epithets 
AVKCUO? and S/xiv0evs, attached to Apollo, suggest some primal link 
between that god and the wolf (AvW) and the mouse (Cretan or/v0o).) 
(c) A considerable number of both tribal and individual appellations 
among the Semites were those of animals. Nahash, an Ammonite king 
(1 Sam. xi. 1), bore the name of "snake." Epher, the name of a Midianite 
clan (Gen. xxv. 4), means a stag or mountain goat; the Midianite chiefs 
Oreb and Zeeb (Jud. vii. 25) and the Midianitess Zipporah (Ex. ii. 21) 
had names signifying "raven," "wolf," and "sparrow"; and the 
Israelites Caleb, Shaphan, Achbor, Laish, Hezir, and the women Eglah 
and Deborah, were designated after the dog, coney, mouse, lion, swine, 
calf, and bee respectively, (d) Names of this type occur very fre- 
quently in narratives relating to early times, but rarely after the Exile. 
(e] Several of the animals just mentioned were for the Hebrews 
"unclean" (Lev. xi.); and this, with some probability, may be taken 
to mean that they were once taboo, and too holy to be used as food 
under ordinary circumstances, but might be eaten at a religious feast; 
and some of the creatures enumerated were thus eaten by degenerate 
Jews in post-exilic times (3 Is. Ixv. 4, Ixvi. 3). The evidence here sum- 
marized is confessedly inconclusive, but certainly favours the view that 
has been indicated above 1 . 

Amittai. The name, which only occurs here and in 2 Kgs. xiv. 25, is 
a derivative of 'emetk, "truth," and means "man of truth " : cf. Bar- 
zillai, "man of iron." Jewish tradition represented Jonah as the son 
of the widow of Zarephath, who is said to have called her child " the 
son of Amittai " because the prophet Elijah had spoken to her truth 
about him (1 Kgs. xvii. 24). 

2. Nineveh. In the cuneiform inscriptions the name of the city is 
written Ninud and Nina; in Greek writers Nu/o?. It was the latest 
capital of Assyria, situated 250 miles N.W. of Babylon, to which 
Assyria was at first subject, Nineveh being originally a Babylonian 
settlement (cf. Gen. x. 10, 11). It seems to have been about 1850 B.C. 
that Assyria became an independent state; and its earliest capitals 
were Asshur and Calah (60 miles and 18 miles S. of Nineveh re- 
spectively). The Assyrian court was removed from Asshur to Calah 
about 1300, and from Calah to Nineveh about 1100. Asshur-nazir-pal III 
(884 860) again made Calah the royal residence; but Sennacherib 

1 Cp. Gray, Heb. Proper Names, pp. 86115. 

122 JONAH [I. 2, 3 

cry against it ; for their wickedness is come up before me. 3 But 
Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD ; 

(704 681) once more restored to Nineveh the dignity of being the 
capital city. He greatly enlarged and adorned it, its circumference (it 
is said) being no less than 7j miles. It was destroyed in 612 by the 
Medes under Cyaxares (Hdt. i. 106), aided by a Chaldean, Nabo- 
polassar, who had made himself king of Babylon : its overthrow is the 
subject of the book of Nahum. Its site is marked by mounds on the 
E. bank of the Tigris opposite the present town of Mosul, the principal 
being at Kouyunjik and Nebi-yunus (the latter preserving the memory 
of the prophet Jonah, to whom a mosque is dedicated). 

The reason why the writer of this book took Nineveh as typical 
of the heathen world, and represented it as being an object of concern 
to God, can only be conjectured. Either there was a tradition connecting 
Jonah with it, or else the circumstance that of all the famous cities of 
the past it was the one whose inhabitants had done most permanent 
injury to his fellow Hebrews (for Assyria had carried the people of 
Northern Israel into captivity, whence they had not returned) rendered 
it the best illustration of God's comprehensive mercy. 

that great city. Compare iii. 3, iv. 11. In Gen. x. 12 the same 
description is applied apparently to a group of four cities (including 
Nineveh) which lay between the rivers Tigris, Khusur, Zab, and 

cry against it. Cf. the similar phrase in 1 Kgs. xiii. 2. The purport 
of the cry (or proclamation) must have been the same as that stated 
later in iii. 4. 

their wickedness. The pronoun refers to the citizens implied in the 
previous mention of the city: cf. v. 3 (them, i.e. the mariners implied 
in the reference to the ship): see also Mk. vi. 11, Acts viii. 5, Gen. 
xv. 13. For the wickedness of Nineveh as viewed by a Hebrew prophet 

see Nah. ii. 11, 12, iii. 1, 19. The LXX. has 77 Kpavyrj -ny? Kaxtas avr^s; 
cf. Gen. xviii. 21, iv. 10. 

is come up before me. Jehovah is conceived by the writer not as 
a mere national deity, but as the Judge of the whole earth (Gen. xviii. 
25). The phraseology (which implies that God is seated in heaven) is 
similar to that in Gen. vi. 13, 1 Sam. v. 12, Lam. i. 22, Acts x. 4. 

3. Tarshish. This was a place famed amongst the Hebrews for its 
minerals (Jer. x. 9, Ezek. xxvii. 12), and was reached from Palestine by 
a long sea voyage (being amongst the most distant localities, 3 Is. 
Ixvi. 19); so that " Tarshish ships" (Is. ii. 16, 3 Is. Ix. 9, Ezek. 
xxvii. 25, Ps. xlviii. 7) came to be a term applied to the more sea- 
worthy vessels (cf. the LXX. of Is. ii. 16, irXolov OaXda-^^). On the 
other hand, it is reckoned in Gen. x. 4 among the " sons " of Javan 
(probably representing Ionia or Greece), the others being Elishah, 
Kittim and Dodanim (1 Ch. i. 7, Rodanim), of which the first may 
possibly represent Hellas, and the others more certainly Cyprus (with 
its town of KiViof) and Rhodes, so that it may plausibly be looked for 

L 3 ] JONAH 123 

and he went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish : 

in Greek waters. It was especially connected by commerce with Tyre 
and Zidon (Is. xxiii. 6, Ezek. xxvii. 12); but as the Phoenicians were 
bold sailors, this fact does not throw much light upon its situation. By 
Josephus it was identified with Tarsus (on the Cydnus) in Cilicia 
(Ant. ix. 10, 2), though Tarsus was not a port; whilst in the LXX., 
when it is not transliterated or paraphrased as it is here, it is identified 
with Carthage (Is. xxiii. 1, Ezek. xxvii. 12). It is most commonly 
thought to have been the same as the Greek Tartessos, a name 
successively applied first to a river in Spain (the Baetis or Guadal- 
quivir) ; then to a tribe there (the Tartessii) ; and finally to a Phoenician 
colony in the same country (perhaps Gades or Cadiz). The abundance 
of minerals in the Spanish peninsula, especially the presence there of 
tin, which was obtained from Tarshish (Ezek. xxvii. 12) supports the 
view that Tarshish was a locality within it. But since the place may 
have been an emporium for metals rather than a mining district, some 
authorities favour the conclusion that it was Etruria, whose inhabitants 
were Tyrsenians or Tyrrhenians, a race of Asiatic origin (cf. Hdt. I. 94), 
and perhaps represented by Tiras in Gen. x. 2 and by the Tursha 
known to the Egyptians. Others suggest Tharros, a place in Sardinia. 
The evidence (which is reviewed in JTS. vol. XVIL, p. 280 f.) is too 
conflicting to yield a confident conclusion, though the arguments for 
a locality in Spain are perhaps preponderant. 

If the narrative is a unity, the mention here of Tarshish as Jonah's 
destination anticipates the next clause, and some critics would omit 
unto Tarshish. But as there are discrepancies in the book, these clauses, 
which suggest respectively that the prophet went to Tarshish by design 
and by chance, may be derived from duplicate and slightly variant 
versions (p. Ixxxvi). 

from the presence of the LORD. The phrase (since the book is cast in 
an antique mould) probably means withdrawal from Jehovah's land (as 
in Gen. iv. 14, 16, 1 Sam. xxvi. 19, 20, Jer. xxiii. 39), though it is clear 
that the writer no more entertained a localized conception of the Deity 
than did the writer of Ps. cxxxix. The expression, however, may only 
signify the abandonment of the position and functions of a minister of 
Jehovah (see 1 Kgs. xvii. 1, xviii. 15, 2 Kgs. iii. 14, v. 16, Lk. i. 19). 
The motive for Jonah's action is given in iv. 2. 

went down. I.e. from his home at Gath-hepher to the coast. The 
nearest port would have been either Acco (the modern Acre), or 

Joppa. This form of the name is Greek 'loir-try : in Hebrew it is 
Yapho, in the Egyptian inscriptions of the 15th century B.C. Yepu, 
and in the Tell-el-Amarna tablets (14th century B.C.), Yapu. The 
place, now called Jdfd or Jaffa, stands on a rocky eminence, 50 miles 
from Gath-hepher, and affords the only shelter for ships between the 
coast of Egypt and Mount Carmel. The harbour, such as it is, "is 
formed by a low ledge of rock running out at a sharp angle in a N.W. 

124 JONAH [i. 3-6 

so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with 
them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. 4 But the 
LORD x sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty 
tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. 5 Then 
the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god ; and 
they cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to 
lighten it unto them. But Jonah was gone down into the inner- 
most parts of the ship ; and he lay, and was fast asleep. 6 So the 

1 Or, hurled 

direction from the southern end of the town 1 ." In ancient times it 
served as a port to Jerusalem (Ez. iii. 7, 2 Ch. ii. 16), though it was 
never in the possession of Israel until taken by Jonathan the Maccabee 
in 148B.C. (1 Mace. x. 76), and afterwards garrisoned by his brother 
Simon (1 Mace. xii. 33, 34, xiii. 11, xiv. 5). After experiencing some 
changes of ownership, it became, during the wars between the Jews and 
the Romans, a nest of pirates ; and it was attacked, and its inhabitants 
were destroyed, by Vespasian in 68 A.D. (Jos. BJ. in. 9, 1 3). It has 
undergone various assaults in mediaeval and modern times, including 
one by Napoleon. Its present population is about 8000. The oranges 
for which Jaffa is now famous are said to have been introduced from 

went down into it. Compare v. 5. 

4 17. The arrest of the prophet's flight by a storm and his miraculous 
preservation from drowning. 

4. sent out. Literally, cast or hurled (see mg. and cf. 1 Sam. xviii. 11, 
xx. 33), the word here used suggesting the violence of the wind. 

a mighty tempest. It was in the same region that St Paul encountered 
the tempestuous wind called Euraquilo (Acts xxvii. 14). 

was like to be broken. Literally, was minded to be broken (cf. Ps. Ixxiii. 
16 was minded to know), like the French le vaisseau pensa se briser. 

The LXX. has /af8vveve crvvTpi/3f]vai. 

5. mariners. The Heb. word (occurring also in Ezek. xxvii. 9, 27, 29) 
is equivalent, in etymology, to our "salt" and the Greek dAiev's. 

every man unto his god. The crew (like so many crews to-day) were 
of various nationalities : cf. Ezek. xxvii. 8 (where the cities of Arvad 
and Zidon supply Tyre with rowers). 

the wares. Better, the gear (LXX. rv tr/ceuwv, cf. TO O-KCVOS in Acts 
xxvii. 17). The Heb. word, like the Greek 6VXa and the Latin arma, 
has the double sense of "tackling" and "weapons." 

to lighten it unto them. Literally, "to lighten (the calamity) from 
upon them": cf. 1 Kgs. xii. 10 (Heb.). 

the innermost parts of the ship. I.e. either a lower deck, or else the 
hold: LXX. rrjv KoiX.r)v. The word here employed for ship is not the 

1 Hastings, DB. n. p. 755. 

i. 6-8] JONAH 125 

shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, 
O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think 
upon us, that we perish not. 7 And they said every one to his 
fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose 
cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon 
Jonah. 8 Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for 
whose cause this evil is upon us; what is thine occupation? and 

common term used in v. 3, but means a decked vessel, from a Hebrew 
root meaning "to cover." The English substantive deck similarly means 
a covering, and was originally regarded as a roof for the hold. So in 
Greek a decked vessel was termed -n-Xolov ia-Teya.arn.tvov (from o-Tyaeiv, 
"to cover"). 

was fast asleep. Or, better, slept soundly. The LXX. has and he 
slept and snored. 

6. the shipmaster. Literally "the chief of the rope-pullers." The 
LXX. has 6 Trpojpevs (i.e. "the look-out man" in the bow of the ship), 
but the other Greek translators have 6 KvficpvTJTrjs, whence the Vulg. 

What meanest thou, sleeper ? Perhaps better, What meanest thou by 
sleeping soundly? (cf. Vulg. Quid tu sopore deprimeris?). The last verb 
is used of the "deep sleep" of Sisera (Jud. iv. 21), and a cognate noun 
of the "deep sleep" sent by God upon Adam (Gen. ii. 21). For the 
Heb. construction cf. Is. xxii. 16. 

will think upon us. The Aramaic verb hith'ashsheth here used (see 
p. Ixxxiii) takes the place of the common Hebrew verb hdshabh occurring 
in the same sense in Ps. xl. 17 (18) and elsewhere. The LXX. has OTTWS 

Stcuruxrr; 6 $eos rj/xas. 

7. let us cast lots. Tbe use of the lot was an appeal to God (cf. Prov. 
xvi. 33) to decide upon whom the responsibility for what had happened 
rested: cf. the instances of Achan (Josh. vii. 14 f.) and Jonathan 
(1 Sam. xiv. 40 f.). Unless the guilty person could be detected and 
removed, the wbole company were endangered : cf. JEsch. Septem c. 
Thebas, 595 600. It was through the casting of lots that the Apostles 
appealed to the Lord to determine who should fill the place among 
them forfeited by the traitor Judas (Acts i. 26) : cf. also Horn. //. vn. 

171, K\ypio vvv Tr7rd\ax&c. Sta/A7repes os K Aa^triv. 

for whose cause. Better, on whose account. The Heb. is peculiar, see 
p. Ixxxiii. 

8. for whose cause. Better (in order to mark a difference in the Heb. 
between this and the preceding), on account of whom. This question is 
identical in purport with that which, according to v. 7, had already 
been decided by tbe lot, and seems otiose after it (though it is, no doubt, 
possible to explain it as due to the wish to obtain a confession from the 
culprit). It is absent from tbe Vatican codex of the LXX. and from some 
Hebrew manuscripts, and is omitted by Nowack as a gloss on v. 7, which 
has been accidentally misplaced. It is not unlikely, however, that the 

126 JONAH [i. 8-12 

whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people 
art thou? 9 And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear 
the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the 
dry land. 10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said 
unto him, What is this that thou hast done? For the men knew 
that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told 
them. 11 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, 
that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea grew more and 
more tempestuous. 12 And he said unto them, Take me up, and 
cast me forth into the sea ; so shall the sea be calm unto you : 

two questions proceed from different versions of the story (see p. Ixxxvi), 
and that in one of these the question in this verse followed directly 
upon v. 6, the suspicions of the sailors being aroused by the fact that 
Jonah took no part in their supplications to heaven. 

9. an Hebrew. This was a customary term used in early times to 
designate an Israelite in contrast to a foreigner (Gen. xl. 15, Ex. i. 19, 
ii. 7, iii. 18, etc. : cf. also Phil. iii. 5). The word Hebrew etymologically 
means "one from the other side" of some familiar boundary (not 
necessarily the river Jordan only, which Israel crossed on entering 
Canaan). Instead of the description a Hebrew, the LXX. has SouXos 
Kv/oiov, reading 'abhdi for 'ibkri and interpreting it as 'ebhedh Yehovah. 
The other Greek translators have 'E/Jpcuos. 

I fear the LORD. Strictly, "I am a fearer (i.e. a worshipper) of 
JEHOVAH" (cf. Dt. vi. 13, Ps. cxv. 11). The expression does not imply 
a claim to exceptional piety, but merely describes the cult of which he 
was a follower. 

the God of heaven. The phrase occurs in Gen. xxiv. 3, 7 (J) ; but 
otherwise only in post-exilic writings (2 Ch. xxxvi. 23, Ez. i. 2, Neh. i. 
4, 5, Ps. cxxxvi. 26, and (in an Aramaic form) Ez. v. 11, vi. 9, Dan. ii. 
18, 19, etc.). 

10. Then were the men... afraid. The description of JEHOVAH as 
Maker of the sea and the dry land led to the inference that the storm 
came from Him. 

For the men knew, etc. This points to some prior communication 
imparted by Jonah about his flight (v. 3), and reported in one of the 
two versions out of which the present narrative seems to have been 
compiled, but omitted in the process of compilation. The sentence here 
was probably once connected with v. 7; but some words, such as "thou 
art the man ; thou hast sinned against thy God," have been dropped 
between them. In view of other evidence of the composite character of 
the book, this appears a preferable hypothesis to that of Wellliausen, 
who takes the words because he had told them to be a gloss. 

11. 12. These two verses seem originally to have followed upon 
vv. 8 10 a . Jonah's avowal that he was a worshipper of Jehovah, the 
Maker of the sea, led them to ask him what they should do to him to 

I. 12-15] JONAH 127 

for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you. 
13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to get them back to the 
land; but they could not: for the sea grew more and more 
tempestuous against them. 14 Wherefore they cried unto the 
LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let 
us not perish for this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent 
blood: for thou, LORD, hast done as it pleased thee. 15 So 
they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea : and the sea 

avert the anger of his God. The prophet's declaration in v. 12 that he 
knew the tempest to have occurred on his account appears unnecessary 
after he had been marked out as the guilty individual by the decision 
of the lot; and the verse containing it presumably comes from a version 
which did not include the episode of the sailors' casting of lots. 

13. Nevertheless the men rowed, etc. This rendering probably conveys 
a wrong impression of the Hebrew, which has And the men rowed 
(literally dug] *. Although the conjunction here employed sometimes has 
an adversative sense (see p. 63), this v. is not a natural continuation 
of v. 12; and hence Winckler would transpose it to after v. 4. But on 
the theory that the book is a compilation, the v. is suitable enough as 
the original sequel of v. 10 b . The sailors, having inferred that Jonah 
had gravely offended by fleeing from the land of Jehovah, exerted them- 
selves first of all to restore him to it, for this might turn out to be all 
that Jehovah wanted. 

the land. More strictly, the dry land, as in ii. 10, Gen. i. 9, etc. 

14. We beseech thee, LORD. Literally, Pray, JEHOVAH. The 
sailors naturally address Jonah's God, since they had ascertained that 
He had caused the tempest which endangered them, and their own 
deities had proved powerless to calm it. 

let us not perish, etc. The words are a plea that JEHOVAH will not 
avenge the death of His worshipper, if by the latter's direction they 
cast him into the sea. The phrase for (i.e. for destroying) this mans 
life has a parallel in 2 Sam. xiv. 7. 

for thou, LORD, etc. Compare 1 Sam. iii. 18, Ps. cxv. 3, cxxxv. 6. 
The sailors mean that Jehovah Himself, by sending the storm which 
the fall of the lot or Jonah's own admission had shown that the prophet 
had provoked, caused them to adopt the course they were taking. 

15. So they took up Jonah, etc. Various commentators quote a 
parallel Buddhist story about a certain Mittavindaka of Benares, who 
had gone to sea in disobedience to his mother. As the ship came to a 
stop, and could not proceed, the mariners cast lots to discover on whose 
account the trouble had happened; and when Mittavindaka was in- 
dicated as occasioning, through his fault, the interruption of the voyage, 
he was set adrift on a float, and the ship then continued her course. 

1 A similar metaphor is common in Latin and English (cequor arare, to plough 
the sea). 

128 JONAH [i. 15-11. ^ 

ceased from her raging. 16 Then the men feared the LORD ex- 
ceedingly ; and they offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made 
vows. 17 And the LORD prepared a great fish to swallow up 
Jonah ; and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and 
three nights. 

her raging. The word, commonly used of human or Divine anger 
(Prov. xix. 12, 2 Ch. xvi. 10, Is. xxx. 30), is here employed of the sea, 
just as Ovid speaks of maris ira (Met* i. 370). The LXX. has rov o-aXov 


16. feared the LORD. This does not necessarily mean more than that 
the sailors, influenced by the sudden cessation of the storm in accord- 
ance with the prophet's words (v. 12), worshipped Jehovah as a powerful 
deity whom it was expedient to propitiate, in addition to their own 
divinities: cf. 2 Kgs. xvii. 33, 41. 

offered a sacrifice. Cf. the act of Noah when the Ark rested upon the 
earth (Gen. viii. 20). 

made vows. These were presumably promises of further sacrifices, in 
the event of their reaching the land safely : cf. Verg. G. i. 436, Votaque 
servati solvent in litore nautce; A. in. 404, Positis aris lam vota in 
litore solves. 

17. prepared. Better, appointed or ordained; cf. LXX. 7rpoo-eVaev; 
and so in iv. 6, 7, 8. But the Vulg. has proeparamt. 

a great fish. LXX. K-rjrei //,eyaA.u>, whence the use of K??TOS in Mt. xii. 40. 
The Greek term was applied to viviparous marine creatures like seals 
and whales ; but was also extended to fish, such as sharks. A story not 
wholly unlike this figures in Greek legend. The dithyrambic poet Arion, 
whilst voyaging to Italy and Sicily, found himself beset by the crew of the 
ship, who, coveting his money, demanded that he should throw himself 
into the sea; and when, before doing so, he was allowed to play on his 
harp, a dolphin came and took him upon its back, carrying him safely 
to Tsenarus (Hdt. i. 24). It is quite alien to the spirit of the present 
narrative to rationalize the fish into a vessel bearing the figure-head 
and name of some sea-creature (like the ship Pristis in Verg. A. v. 116), 
and to suppose that it picked up Jonah. 

and Jonah... three nights. The passage, as rendered in the LXX., is 
quoted in Mt. xii. 40 (see p. xcv). The Hebrew method of reckoning 
periods of time was generally inclusive-, cf. Jud. xiv. 17 with 18, Mk. 
viii. 31 with Mt. xvi. 21. 


II. 1 Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the 
fish's belly. 2 And he said, 

1 10. Jonah's prayer and his restoration to the land. 

1. Then Jonah prayed. If the following psalm is an insertion (see 
p. Ixxxv), the verb here used was probably intended originally to have its 
proper sense (see iv. 1 (2), 1 Kgs. viii. 33, etc.), expressing a petition for 

II. 2] JONAH 129 

I called J by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, 

And he answered me ; 

Out of the belly of 2 hell cried I, 

And thou heardest my voice. 

1 Or, out of mine affliction 2 Heb. Sheol. 

restoration to the land ; but taken in connection with the psalm, which 
is an utterance of gratitude for a deliverance already experienced, it 
must be understood to mean gave thanks (as in 1 Sam. ii. 1) for his 
preservation from drowning. 

the fish's belly. The Hebrew word for fish here is the fern, daghah, 
which ordinarily has a collective signification (Gen. i. 26, Ex. vii. 18, 
etc.); but in this place must be synonymous with the masc. dagh, used 
in i. 17 (ii. 1), ii. 10 (11) of a single fish. 

2 9. The psalm contained in these verses is written in the Hebrew 
elegiac (or Kinah) metre (see p. 143). The lines are arranged in a series 
of couplets (seemingly seven), the constituents of each being more or 
less parallel in thought or expression, so that any serious departure not 
only from the prevailing rhythm but from the normal correspondence 
of ideas and wording raises suspicions of textual corruption. The re- 
semblances which it offers to many of the psalms collected in the Psalter 
are pointed out where they occur, though it may be true, as Pusey 
observes, that no one verse is (wholly) taken from any psalm ; and there 
are suggestive likenesses subsisting between it and the psalm in Ecclus. 
Ii. 1 12. The submergence in deep waters which is so graphically 
described was perhaps meant originally to be figurative of a desperate 
situation of a different kind: cf. Ps. xviii. 16, xlii. 7, Ixix. 1 f., cxxiv. 4, 
Lam. iii. 54, and see p. Ixxxv. Parallel metaphors for overwhelming 
calamities are common in other languages : cf. Shakespeare's "a sea of 
troubles" (Hamlet, Act in. Sc. 1), and JEschylus's x^m-^v KOL KO.K.W 

rpiKu/u'a (P V. 1015). 

2. / called. The original author of the psalm must have had in mind 
an appeal addressed to God in a past emergency, to which a response 
had been mercifully granted : cf. Ps. cxx. 1. 

by reason of mine affliction. Since the same preposition is used in both 
halves of the v., and in the second must signify " withdrawal from," it 
is probable that it conveys the same sense in the first half, and that the 
mg. is correct out of mine affliction : cf. Vulg. de tribulatione mea. 

liell. Heb. Sheol. For the personification of Sheol (the capacious 
region below the earth, whither the human spirit departed at death) as 
a monster cf. Is. v. 14, Prov. i. 12, 15, Ecclus. Ii. 5, and our own metaphor 
"the jaws of death." The hyperbolic representation of a person exposed 
to extreme danger as being already in the nether world has its counter- 
part in the language of Ps. xviii. 5, xxx. 3. Possibly it was the metaphor 
of belly that occasioned this psalm (the thanksgiving of one who had 
been in peril of drowning) to be inserted in this place by an editor or 
reader, who missed the prayer ascribed to Jonah in v. 1 and sought to 
supply it. 

130 JONAH [ii. 3 , 4 

3 For thou didst cast me into the depth, in the heart of the seas, 
And the flood was round about me ; 

All thy waves and thy billows passed over me. 

4 And I said, I am cast out from before thine eyes ; 
Yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. 

3. For thou didst. Literally, And thou didst, the Hebrew writer 
appending by and an explanation of the affliction referred to in v. 2, 
where we should use for (cf. 1 Sam. xviii. 11, where/or he said is literally 
and he said). 

the depth. The Heb. term rendered depth recurs in Ps. Ixviii. 22, 
Ixix. 15, Mic. vii. 19, etc. The LXX. has the plur. fidOy. But the first 
half of the Kinah line here is too long, so that the metre suggests some 
omission. The word that can best be spared is this (metsulah), which 
lacks the preposition that is prefixed to the next word, and looks like a 
gloss explanatory of the following figure in (or into, for be in this sense 
cf. Is. xix. 23) the heart of the seas. 

the heart oj the seas. The same metaphorical phrase occurs in Ezek. 
xxvii. 4, 25, 26 ; cf. also Ex. xv. 8, Ps. xlvi. 2. Cf. the similar phrase 
the heart of the earth (Mt. xii. 40). 

the flood. Literally, the stream or river. The word is commonly em- 
ployed in connection with rivers (Job xiv. 11), especially large rivers, 
like the Euphrates (Is. xi. 15) and the Nile (Is. xix. 5); but it also 
occurs (in the plural) as a parallel to seas in Ps. xxiv. 2 : cf. the Homeric 
TTora/xoto pUBpa 'OKavo{; (II. xiv. 245). The LXX. has Trora/xot and the 
0. Lat. version flumina ; and some critics would substitute the plural here. 

waves... billows. Literally, breakers .. .rollers ; cf. Ps. xlii. 7 (where the 
phrase is used figuratively of grievous distress). 

4. I said. I.e. I thought: cf. Is. xxxviii. 11, and the Greek <j>vj in 
Horn. II. n. 37. 

/ am cast out, etc. The psalmist in the extremity of his peril felt 
himself overlooked by God : cf. Ps. xxxi. 22. 

Yet I will look, etc. The present Heb. text, by beginning with Yet 
('ach, literally only), here marks a transition from despair to hope, due 
(according to Van Hoonacker) to Jonah's sense of comparative security 
in the belly of the fish. But Th. has TTOK (eych) e7rt/?Aei//co, KT\., How 
shall I look...? which agrees better with the circumstance that the 
description of the speaker's desperate situation is continued in the next 
verses to the end of 6 a . The LXX. appears to support this reading by 

having apa (for apa?) Trpoa-Qiqcro) TOV e7ri/3A.ei/fai. 

toward thy holy temple. The author of the psalm was doubtless a 
member of the kingdom of Judah or (more probably) of the post-exilic 
Judsean community, for whom it would be natural to direct his face 
towards the Temple at Jerusalem (1 Kgs. viii. 29, 30, 48, Ps. v. 7, 
cxxxviii. 2, Dan. vi. 10); but the words are inappropriate to the his- 
torical Jonah, who was a member of the Northern Kingdom, which had 
its own shrines. 

ii. 5, 6] JONAH 131 

5 The waters compassed me about, even to the soul ; 
The deep was round about me ; 

The weeds were wrapped about my head. 

6 I went down to the bottoms of the mountains ; 
The earth with her bars dosed upon me for ever : 

Yet hast thou brought up my life from Hhe pit, LORD my 

1 Or, corruption 

5. even to the soul. I.e. even to the danger of life: cf. Ps. Ixix. 1, 
Jer. iv. 10. 

The deep. The Heb. word is the same as that occurring in Gen. i. 2, 
where it means the primaeval chaos of waters that preceded the formation 
of the cosmos. Elsewhere (Ps. Ixxi. 20, cvi. 9, etc.) it is used to denote 
the sea. The LXX. renders it by a/^vo-o-o?, but Sym. by 0a'A.a<rcra. 

The weeds. The Heb. word, which here denotes sea weed, was used 
especially to describe the reeds or flags of the Nile (Ex. ii. 3, 5, Is. 
xix. 6) and of the Gulf of Suez, the latter being called in Hebrew "the 
sea of reeds" (which are abundant at its northern extremity). The term 
was perhaps an Egyptian loan-word. 

about my head. Verses 5 and 6 are probably here wrongly divided; 
and to the end of v. 5 there should be added from the next v. the words 
at the bottoms of the mountains : see the following note. 

6. There is reason to suspect, in the present Heb. text of this verse, 
some disorder and corruption. The LXX. includes within v. 5 the words 
to (or at) the bottoms oj the mountains ; and for the first half of v. 6 it 
has / went down to the earth (implying ladrets for hd'drets), whose bars 
are everlasting detainers (KO.TOXOL alwioi). The transfer of the words at 
the bottoms of the mountains to v. 5 completes the metre of tbe final 
clause of that verse, which is otherwise defective. For the rendering of 
the preposition (le) by at (instead of by to) cf. Gen. xlix. 13, Jud. v. 17. 
The mountains are regarded as having their bases in the sea (cf. Ps. 
xxiv. 2). By the transposition just explained the remainder of v. 6, 
which at present consists of three clauses, is reduced to the normal 
couplet; nevertheless there must be some textual error in it, as will be 
seen from the fact that the R.V. has to supply a word (the Vulg. has 
concluserunt me). The textual corruption is probably in the Heb. word 
ba'adhi, rendered upon (or about) me (cf. Jud. iii. 22, Job i. 10, etc.), 
which may conceal either a noun or a verb. In place of it Van 
Hoonacker, followed by Bewer, conjectures bolts (badde), comparing 
Job xvii. 16 and rendering the first line of the couplet, I went down to 
the earth, whose bars are everlasting bolts. (For the irregular use, in the 
Heb., of the construct, instead of the absolute, form of the word see 
Gesenius, Heb. Gram. 130a.) 

Yet hast thou, etc. This constitutes the second line of the fifth 

the pit. The term is sometimes synonymous with the grave (Ps. xxx. 9), 


132 JONAH [n. 7-9 

7 When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the LORD : 
And my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. 

8 They that regard lying vanities 
Forsake their own mercy. 

9 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving ; 
I will pay that which I have vowed. 

Salvation is of the LORD. 

sometimes, as here, with Skeol. The mg. corruption (cf. Vulg. de cor- 
ruptione) seems erroneously to associate the word with a different root. 

7. fainted within me. Literally, fainted upon me (the preposition 
emphasizing, as it were, the sense of oppression) : cf. Ps. cxlii. 3, mg., 
and (with a different preposition) cvii. 5. 

thine holy temple. Probably the earthly temple is meant (as in v. 4), 
but possibly the temple in heaven (as in Ps. xi. 4, xviii. 6). 

8. lying vanities. I.e. false gods. The particular expression here used 
recurs only in Ps. xxxi. 6; but vanities is a common term in Hebrew 
writings for heathen deities (Dt. xxxii. 21, Jer. x. 15, xiv. 22, xviii. 15). 

Forsake their own mercy. I.e. banish from their thoughts the source 
of the succour experienced by them. The term mercy seems to be used 
here as a title for Jehovah (cf. Ps. cxliv. 2, KV. my lovingMndness), 
and should be printed with a capital letter. Some scholars, however, 
render their piety, i.e. their duty towards God. For the meaning of the 
Hebrew root see further on p. 57. The replacement of the word 
(hasddm) by the conjectural emendation their Refuge (mahasehem, cf. 
Joel iii. 16, Ps. xiv. 6, etc.) seems unnecessary. 

The whole of this v. constitutes the first line of the seventh couplet. 

9. But I will sacrifice, etc. Better, But as for me, I will sacrifice, 
etc. (the pronoun being emphatic) : cf. Ps. cxvi. 17, 1. 14, 23. This 
clause (down to thanksgiving) forms the second line of the seventh 
couplet. The LXX. expands thanksgiving into praise and thanksgiving. 

that which I have vowed. For the practice, among the Hebrews, of 
making, in time of need, vows which were to be paid if the desired relief 
came, cf. Gen. xxviii. 20 f. (Jacob), Jud. xi. 30, 31 (Jephthah), 1 Sam. 
i. 11 (Hannah), Job xxii. 27. 

Salvation is of the LORD. Or, Help belongs to JEHOVAH: cf. Ps. iii. 
8, Rev. vii. 10. 

The concluding two lines of the psalm (I will pay .. .of the LORD), as 
arranged in the II. V., constitute only a single line in the Hebrew (not 
a couplet), and this appears to be outside the structure of the poem, 
which consists of seven couplets (see p. 143). The psalm, though com- 
prising numerous expressions occurring in other psalms, is not a mere 
cento, but exhibits some originality of phrase (see v. 6). Hebrew writers 
(as has been said) often compared calamitous experiences to immersion 
in deep waters (see p. 129, and to the examples there cited add 2 Is. 
xliii. 2). In the light of certain of these parallels, it is not surprising 
that some have thought that the psalm is really meant to be an ex- 

II. lo-ni. 3] JONAH 133 

10 And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah 
upon the dry land. 

pression of national, and not individual, feeling. This view finds support 
in the reflection (v. 8) upon the folly of idolatry ; nevertheless the 
vividness of the language in w. 5, 6 rather favours the conclusion that 
the poem is really a personal thanksgiving for some deliverance from 
drowning, though effected by less extraordinary means than that 
whereby Jonah is represented as preserved. 

10. spake unto the fish. Cf. Gen. iii. 14 (said unto the serpent), 1 Kgs. 
xvii. 4 (have commanded the ravens}. The word spake is literally said. 

upon the dry land. Presumably somewhere on the coast of Palestine, 
near Joppa, whence the ship had started, and which the sailors were 
trying to regain. Josephus, however, describes the fish as carrying Jonah 
into the Euxine (Ant. ix. 10, 2), perhaps because he thought the S.E. 
coast of that sea would be the nearest starting-point for Nineveh. 


III. 1 And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second 
time, saying, 2 Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and x preach 
unto it the preaching that I bid thee. 3 So Jonah arose, and went 
unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh 

1 Or, cry See ch. i. 2. 

1 4. The prophet's discharge of his commission. 

1. And the word... time. The writer leaves it obscure whether 
Jehovah's communication reached the prophet on the shore where the 
fish disgorged him, or at his home, whither he had returned. The 
despatch of the prophet once more to carry out the duty from which he 
had previously shrunk recalls the narrative of Elijah at Horeb (1 Kgs. 
xix., see especially v. 4). 

2. that great city. The reiterated allusions to Nineveh's greatness 
(i. 2, iv. 11) accentuate the appeal which the number of lives at stake 
in it made to the Divine compassion. 

preach. Literally, cry (the same word as in i. 2, 2 Is. xl. 3, etc.); but 
a better translation would be proclaim (LXX. KTJPVOV). 

the preaching... bid thee. The LXX. has Kara TO K-rjpvy^a TO tpirpovOtv 
o eya> \d\rja-a 7rp6<s ac. The word rendered preaching (literally, cry, in 
the sense of proclamation) occurs only here. 

3. Nineveh was, etc. The tense does not necessarily imply that the 
city, in the writer's time, had ceased to exist: cf. Joh. xi. 18. 

an exceeding great city. Literally, a city great for God (cf. mg.), i.e. 
great even in the judgment of God, Who estimates by a standard higher 
than human; cf. Acts vii. 20 (aVretos TO> 0eu>), 2 Cor. x. 4 (Sward TW 
flew), Gen. x. 9 ("a mighty hunter before Jehovah"), Lk. i. 15 (/*eya<? 
Kvptov). Somewhat similar are Ps. xxxvi. 6, Ixviii. 15 ("moun- 

134 JONAH [in. 3-5 

was 1 an exceeding great city, of three days' journey. 4 And Jonah 
began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and 
said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. 5 And 

1 Heb. a city great unto God. 

tains of God" for "high mountains"), Is. xiv. 13 ("stars of God" for 
"lofty stars"), Ps. Ixxx. 10 ("cedars of God" for "tall cedars"), Gen. 
xxiii. 6 ("a prince of God" for "a mighty prince"), xxx. 8 ("wrestlings 
of God" for "vigorous wrestlings"). 

of three days' journey. It is clear from v. 4 (which represents that 
Jonah advanced one day's journey into the city before beginning to 
announce his message) that the phrase here is meant to describe the 
measure of the city's diameter, not its circumference. If a day's journey 
be assumed to be 20 miles (Herodotus, iv. 101, reckons it at 200 stades, 
a stade being about 200 yards), this would imply a diameter of 60 miles. 
The actual circuit of its ruins, as reported by Felix Jones in 1855 
(quoted by Bewer), is about 7 J miles, though the plain which is bounded 
by the rivers Tigris, Khusur, Zab, and Gomal, and which embraces the 
ruins of Nineveh, Dur Sargon, and Calah, measures about 61 J miles in 
circumference. This would naturally include extensive pasture grounds 
(cf. iv. 11 end). 

4. a day's journey. This, according to the estimate of Nineveh's size 
in v. 3, would carry Jonah almost into the heart of the city. 

Yet Jorty days... overthrown. This is perhaps only meant to be a 
summary of what the prophet said : cf. the brief proclamation attributed 
to Jesus in Mk. i. 15, -Mt. iv. 17. The announcement is couched in 
unconditional terms, but it is implied in iv. 2 that Jonah understood 
that the destruction of the city was really dependent upon the conduct 
of its people, whose repentance could avert it: cf. Jer. xviii. 7, 8, and 
p. xxiii. It is not stated how Jonah, a Hebrew, made himself intelligible 
to the citizens of Nineveh who spoke Assyrian. If the author had 
thought about the matter, he might have explained that the prophet 
used Aramaic, which was a medium of international intercourse between 
Assyrian and Hebrew officials at the end of the eighth century B.C. 
(2 Kgs. xviii. 26). Since, however, the religious bearings of the story 
were alone of importance, such considerations did not interest the 

Instead of forty days the LXX. has rpets ij^pai (the other Greek 
translators following the Heb.). ~Both forty and three are conventional 
periods of time in the O.T. (for the former in connection with days see 
Gen. vii. 17, Ex. xxiv. 18, 1 Kgs. xix. 8, and for the latter see Gen. 
xxx. 36, xl. 13, 19, Ex. iii. 18, x. 22, etc.); so that the variation may be 
either accidental or intentional in origin. Three may be a copyist's 
error, introduced through the nearness of the same figure in v. 3 ; whilst 
conversely/br^ may be a deliberate correction in view of the fasting 
mentioned in v. 5, since 40 days was a period associated with the fasts 
of Moses and Elijah (Dt. ix. 9, 1 Kgs. xix. 8). But a decision between 

in. 5, 6] JONAH 135 

the people of Nineveh believed God ; and they proclaimed a fast, 
and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least 
of them. 6 *And the tidings reached the king of Nineveh, and he 

1 Or, For word came unto the king &c. 

the two readings in respect of originality is not called for, since both are 
probably genuine, several features in the book uniting to show that it 
has been constructed out of two versions of a single story, one of which 
presumably had three days, whilst the other had forty days (see further 
on iv. 5, and p. Ixxxvii). 

overthrown. The verb and the corresponding noun are used in con- 
nection with the destruction of the cities of the Plain (Gen. xix. 25, 29, 
Dt. xxix. 23, Is. xiii. 19, etc.). There is nothing said here about the 
nature of the contemplated overthrow, which Josephus (Ant. ix. 10, 2) 
represents as the loss of Nineveh's dominion over other nations. 

5 10. The repentance of the Ninevites and their respite by God. 

5. believed God. Strictly, believed in God (as in Gen. xv. 6, Ex. xiv. 31 
(Heb.), etc.). The immediate repentance of the Ninevites is doubtless 
intended by the writer as a contrast to the indifference or hostility with 
which his own countrymen had so often received the warnings of their 
prophets. It has been suggested by Trumbull (see Bewer, p. 5) that the 
impression produced by Jonah upon the population of Nineveh was the 
result of the miracle that had happened to him. One of the deities 
worshipped there was a fish-god (called by Berosus, Oannes) ; and the 
ejection of the prophet alive by the fish having been witnessed, the 
report of it created among the inhabitants the conviction that it was 
one of their own gods who demanded their repentance. Such an ex- 
planation presupposes that the narrative has far more historical value 
than can reasonably be claimed for it. On the other hand, if any sub- 
stratum of fact underlies the account of Jonah's preaching at Nineveh, 
the effect represented as produced by him can be in some measure 
paralleled. Layard relates " I have known a Christian priest frighten a 
whole Mussulman town into repentance by publicly proclaiming that he 
had received a Divine mission to announce a coming earthquake or 
plague" (Nineveh and Babylon, p. 367). 

proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth. The practice of abstinence 
and the assuming of a particular vesture in connection with religious 
observances and occasions probably have their explanation in physical 
ideas of holiness ; see pp. 90, 93 . 

6. And the tidings reached the king, etc. By the tidings is meant the 
report of Jonah's utterance. There is a lack of plausibility in the 
representation that the king received information of the prophet's an- 
nouncement only after the people had taken action upon it (v. 5), and 
that he proclaimed a fast, with its usual concomitants (w. 7, 8), when such 
was already being observed. The difficulty, which some critics propose 
to remove either by placing v. 5 after v. 9, or by omitting w. 6 9 as 
a later insertion, is best solved by the supposition that the book is 

136 JONAH [in. 6-8 

arose from his throne, and laid his robe from him, and covered 
him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 And he made proclama- 
tion and l published through Nineveh by the decree of the king 
and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, 
taste any thing : let them not feed, nor drink water : 8 but let 

1 Heb. said 

composite, and that the constituent versions out of which it has been 
woven together differed in detail here, one assigning the public fast to 
an impulse on the part of the collective people, and the other ascribing 
it to the initiative of tbe sovereign. 

the king of Nineveh. The king of Assyria is nowhere else called by 
this title. The reigning Assyrian sovereign in the time of the historical 
Jonah may have been any one of five Ramman-nirari (810 782), Shal- 
maneser IV (781772), Asshur-dan III (771754), Asshur-nirari IV 
(753745), and Tiglath-Pileser (744727). 

covered him ivith sackcloth. For the wearing of sackcloth as a token 
of mourning among the Hebrews see p. 90. The custom is assumed in 
Jer. xlix. 3, Ezek. xxvii. 31 to have prevailed likewise amongst neigh- 
bouring Gentile nations. 

sat in ashes. Compare Job ii. 8, Dan. ix. 3, 3 Is. Iviii. 5, Mt. xi. 21 
(= Lk. x. 13). Possibly the sitting in ashes, like the casting of earth or 
dust on the head (Josh. vii. 6, 2 Sam. i. 2, cf. Horn. H. XVIIL 23, 24 1 ), 
was a survival from a time when contact with the remains of the in- 
cinerated or buried dead was a method of bringing the departed into 
relation with his sorrowing kinsfolk: cf. Horn. //. xvm. 26 (of Achilles), 

avros 8' f.v Kovirffri yu.eya.5 ^u,yaA.a>o"Tt ravucr^eis | KZLTO. 

7. And he made proclamation, etc. Perhaps better, And one (i.e. an 
official) made proclamation, etc. : cf. LXX. /cat tKypvyOr] /cat eppcOv). 

the decree. This sense of the term used in the original is an Aramaism 
(p. Ixxxiii). The LXX. omits the word and has merely Trapa rov y 

his nobles. Literally, his great ones or grandees: cf. Prov. xviii. 16. 
The decree here proceeds from the king and his nobles together, just as 
in Dan. vi. 17 the signets used by Darius are those of both himself and 

his lords. The LXX. has Trapa TWV /xeytarai/wv avrov. 

Let neither .. .taste any thing. When Nineveh was beset by the Medes 
and Babylonians, the king then reigning enjoined a fast of a hundred 
days 2 . 

nor beast. In view of the addition herd nor flock in the next clause, 
the term beast must here be limited to draught animals and beasts of 
burden (1 Kgs. xviii. 5): the Greek and Latin renderings are TO, KTTJVTJ 
and iumenta respectively. 

2 Kennedy, quoted by Lanchester, Ob. and Jonah, p. 41. 

in. 8-10] JONAH 137 

them be covered with sackcloth, both man and beast, and let them 
cry mightily unto God : yea, let them turn every one from his 
evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. 9 Who 
knoweth whether God will not turn and repent, and turn away 
from his fierce anger, that we perish not? 10 And God saw their 
works, that they turned from their evil way ; and God repented of 
the evil, which he said he would do unto them ; and he did it not. 
let them not feed. ..water. It is the animals previously mentioned that 
are chiefly in the mind of the writer, for the verb rendered feed is the 
customary one for feeding in pastures. 

8. let them be covered. Literally, let them cover themselves. The in- 
clusion of the cattle in the king's order enjoining national mourning 
obtains illustration not only from Judith iv. 10, but also from parallel 
narratives in Classical authors. Herodotus relates that the Persians, on 
the occasion of the death of Masistius, clipped their horses and baggage 
animals (ix. 24) ; whilst Plutarch states that Alexander did the same 
when Hephaestion died (Alex. 72), and that the Thessalians cut off their 
horses' manes (as well as their own hair) in mourning for the Theban 
Pelopidas (Pel. 33). Of. also Eur. Ale. 425 429. Funeral trappings on 
horses are not unknown even among ourselves. 

let them cry. Grammatically this applies to the animals as well as to 
the human beings in the city, but the carelessness of expression scarcely 
needs to be remedied by emendation. The LXX. in this v. has And 
they were covered... and cried... and turned, etc. 

turn... from his evil way. The national repentance was not to be 
limited to outward tokens of sorrow: cf. Jer. xviii. 11, xxvi. 3, 3 Is. 
Iviii. 6, 7, 9, 10, Joel ii. 13. 

violence. Aggression upon the rights of others was a feature in the 
career of Assyria as a nation (cf. Is. x. 13, 14, Nah. ii. 11, 12, iii. 1), and 
no doubt characterized its citizens in their individual relations. 

in their hands. Literally, in their two palms. For similar phrases cf. 
Job xvi. 17, 1 Ch. xii. 17, 3 Is. lix. 6. 

9. Who knoweth, etc. The expression, which is borrowed from Joel 
ii. 14, is placed in the mouth of the people by the LXX., which prefixes 
Acyovres: see v. 8. 

10. And God saw... their evil way. The repentance of the Ninevites 
at the preaching of Jonah was contrasted by our Lord with the im- 
penitence of the Jews in spite of His own preaching (Mt. xii. 41 = Lk. 
xi. 32). 

and God repented, etc. The same phrase occurs in Ex. xxxii. 14, Am. 
vii. 3, Jer. xviii. 7, 8. God's threatened chastisement was conditional ; 
and His relenting from His purpose was consequent upon the offenders' 

he did it not. I.e. at the time which the writer describes. The con- 
version of the Ninevites from their evil practices on this occasion, if 
historical, did not finally preclude the subsequent destruction of their city. 

138 JONAH [iv. 1-5 


IV. 1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. 
2 And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, LORD, 
was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? 
Therefore I l hasted to flee unto Tarshish : for I knew that thou 
art a gracious God, and full of compassion, slow to anger, and 
plenteous in mercy, and repentest thee of the evil. 3 Therefore 
now, LOKD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is 
better for me to die than to live. 4 And the LORD said, 2 Doest 
thou well to be angry? 5 Then Jonah went out of the city, and 

1 Or, was beforehand in fleeing 2 Or, Art thou greatly angry ? 

1 11. Jonah's displeasure at the mercy shown to the Ninevites, and 
God's rebuke. 

1. But it displeased Jonah. The writer doubtless thinks of Jonah's 
displeasure as mainly due to the clemency shown to his country's 
enemies by God, but possibly also as occasioned in part by mortification 
because his prediction was not fulfilled (since this was calculated to 
bring discredit and derision upon a prophet, see Dt. xviii. 22, Jer. 
xx. 78). 

and he was angry. The LXX. has KOL o-w^O-rj (" he was upset "), 
the Old Lat. et mcestus foetus est. 

2. my saying. I.e. my reflection. 

/ hasted to flee. Or, I fled betimes (literally (as in the mg.), " I was 
beforehand in fleeing," LXX. 7rpoe'(0ao-a TOT) <vyeu' } Vulg. prceoccupavi 

a gracious God, etc. The phraseology appears to be borrowed from 
Joel ii. 13 (see note); cf. also Ex. xxxiv. 6, Num. xiv. 18, Ps. Ixxxvi. 
15, etc. 

3. take, I beseech thee, my life. A similar request was made in 
despondency (arising from a very different source from that implied 
in Jonah's case) by both Moses and Elijah (Num. xi. 15, 1 Kgs. xix. 4). 

4. Doest thou well to be angry ? Cf. Sym. a/oa St/cattos IXvinqVirp Vulg. 
putasne bene irasceris tu? According to this translation, Jonah is not 
directly rebuked for his anger, but is invited to reflect whether it is 
justifiable. The general meaning, however, of the Heb. verb repre- 
sented by the adv. is " to do (a thing) perfectly or thoroughly " (see 
Mic. vii. 3, Dt. xiii. 14 (15), Jer. i. 12), and so is in favour of the 
rendering Art thou thoroughly angry? and this is the sense given to it 
by the LXX. (d o-<j>68pa AcXuTnjo-at o-v;) and the Old Latin (si valde (or 
vehementer) contristatus es tut); though such a question attributes to 
the Deity a bantering attitude which seems unnatural. 

5. Then Jonah went out. Literally, And Jonah went out. If the 
narrative is a complete unity, it must be supposed that Jonah, though 
virtually convinced (as his auger showed) that God would spare the 

iv. s, 6] JONAH 139 

sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and 
sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become 
of the city. 6 And the LORD God prepared a l gourd, and made it 

1 Or, Palma Christi Heb. kikayon. 

city, yet did not give up all hope of seeing its destruction accomplished. 
But the natural implication of the passage is that he had not yet learnt 
that the city was to be spared ; so that Sellin thinks that this v. has 
been displaced, and that its original position was after iii. 4. It is more 
probable, however, that the v. comes from a version distinct from that 
whence the adjoining verses have been drawn (see p. Ixxxvii). The con- 
junction and probably linked the present passage to iii. 9. 

on the east side. Jonah appears to have crossed the city: on ap- 
proaching it from Palestine, he would naturally enter it on the west 
side. In designating the quarters of the sky the Hebrews turned to 
the rising sun, so that the east side of a place or thing was the front 
(cf. Joel ii. 20). 

a booth. The term (equivalent to the O-K^V^ of Mk. ix. 5) describes 
a shelter like the structures of leafy boughs occupied by the Hebrews 
on the occasion of the Feast of Tabernacles (Lev. xxiii. 42, Neb. viii. 
14 17). That the prophet felt the need of such a shelter clearly pre- 
supposes that he expected that the fate of the city would not be 
determined until after the lapse of some considerable interval, so that 
this passage coheres best with the representation (iii. 4, Heb.) that the 
space of time within which repentance was required was forty days 
(not three days, as represented in iii. 4, LXX.). This period was not 
yet exhausted. 

6. the LORD God. Strictly, JEHOVAH God. The combination is 
rare outside of Gen. ii., iii. 

prepared. Better, appointed, as in i. 17, iv. 7, 8. 

a gourd. Probably a better rendering is a palm-christ (Palma 
Christi) 1 . The Heb. word is kikayon (which Aq. and Th. transliterate 
K(K<ov), and the resemblance between it and the word Kiiu, mentioned in 
Hdt. n. 94 as tbe Egyptian name for the o-iAAiKuVpiov and applied by 
Dioscorides to the /cporoov, a tree producing the castor-oil berry, favours 
the view that the castor- oil plant (Ricinus communis, Linnaeus) is meant. 
This is described by Pliny (Hist. Nat. xv. 7) as altitudine olece, caule 
ferulaceo, folio vitium, semine uvarum gracilium pallidarumqw, and 
grows, under favourable conditions, to a height of 30 or 40 feet. It has 
broad palmate serrated leaves like those of a plane, only larger, and some- 
times measuring more than a foot across. It is a native of tbe East 
Indies, but flourishes in most tropical and semi-tropical countries. The 
LXX., which renders the Hebrew term by KoXoKwO-*) (Cucurbita lage- 
naria), takes it to be a gourd, which is also of rapid growth and has large 

1 A.V. mg. has palmcrist. The name is said to be due to the hand-like shape of 
the leaves. 

140 JONAH [iv. 6-3 

to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, 
to deliver him from his evil case. So Jonah was exceeding glad 
because of the gourd. 7 But God prepared a worm when the 
morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd, that it 
withered. 8 And it came to pass, when the sun arose, that God 
prepared a sultry east wind ; and the sun beat upon the head of 

leaves. As this is of a vine-like nature, it has been argued (by those 
who assume that the narrative is completely self-consistent) that this 
identification suits the account in the text best, since a trailing plant 
was more suitable for covering Jonah's booth than a tree, such as the 
castor-oil plant, could be. Of the early translators Sym. assumes that 
the plant intended was of a trailing nature, and translates it by KIO-O-OS, 
and the Vulg. (following him) has hedera. The text, however, does not 
state that the klkdyon was designed to screen the booth and to render 
it more impervious to the sun's rays : the natural sense of v. 6 is that 
it was meant by itself is afford to Jonah the shelter he needed. In 
reality, the booth and the klkdyon seem to serve the same purpose, and 
the accounts of them in w. 5 and 6 to be not successive, but parallel, 
presumably contained in different versions of the story. Hence, as the 
chief argument for considering the plant in question to be a gourd 
breaks down, there is no objection to the identification of it with the 
Ricinus communis (as the similarity between the Hebrew and Greek 
words suggests). This, which in Mediterranean countries is known as 
the Palma Christi, is normally speedy in its development (it has been 
known in America to reach a height of 13 feet in 3 months); but the 
present narrative, which describes it as growing in a single night (v. 10) 
tall enough to shelter Jonah, manifestly implies a miracle. 

made it to come up. The Heb. admits of the rendering, it came up, and 
the LXX. and the Latin Versions have di/c/fy and ascendit respectively. 

that it might be a shadow. It is a reasonable inference from these 
words that the plant was designed to furnish protection from the sun 
independently of any structure like the booth of y. 5, though Pusey 
quotes from the Talmud passages showing that the kind of booth erected 
at the Feast of Tabernacles was not impervious to the sun's heat, which 
was kept out by various devices. 

to deliver him. The construction (the use of Id to express the direct 
object) is unusual, and is thought to be due to Aramaic influence, though 
it occurs sporadically in early Hebrew. The LXX. for to deliver has TOV 
o-*iaeiv (vocalizing differently). 

his evil case. I.e. the physical distress occasioned by the heat. 

7. a worm. The singular is perhaps used collectively, as in Dt. xxviii. 
39, Is. xiv. 11. The palm-christ is said to be subject to the attacks of 
caterpillars, which strip it of its leaves; but the writer of the book 
obviously has in view a process of destruction as miraculous in its 
rapidity as the previous growth. 

8. a sultry east wind. The wind meant is one that blows from the 

iv. 8-1 1] JONAH 141 

Jonah, that he fainted, and requested for himself that he might 
die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live. 9 And God 
said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And 
he said, I do well to be angry even unto death. 10 And the LORD 
said, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast 
not laboured, neither madest it grow ; which came up in a night, 
and perished in a night: 11 and should not I have pity on 

S.E., called in Arabic sherkiyeh (whence "sirocco"): for its scorching 
and destructive character cf. Gen. xli. 6, Ezek. xvii. 10 (see Driver, 
Par. Psalter, p. 136). The epithet translated "sultry" (harlsKith) occurs 
only here, and is of doubtful derivation and significance. The most 
plausible explanation connects it with horesh, "autumn," in the sense 
primarily of an "autumnal," and secondarily of a very hot, wind (LXX. 
7rvf.vfjLo.ri Kcnxrovos cr\)VK.a.iovTi). As the narrative stands, it must be 
assumed that the hot wind is mentioned as something which merely 
aggravated Jonah's discomfort; but it is a plausible conjecture that the 
compiler has omitted a clause, occurring in one of the alternative versions, 
of which the tenor was, and it tore down the booth. If the booth and the 
palm-christ were originally distinct agencies subserving, in the different 
versions, the same end of sheltering Jonah, it is probable that they were 
both represented as destroyed, the one by a wind, and the other by a 

and the sun beat, etc. In regard to the heat at Nineveh Pusey quotes 
from Layard (Nin. and Bab., p. 366), "Few European travellers can 
brave the perpendicular rays of the Assyrian sun. Even the well- 
seasoned Arab seeks the shade during the day, and journeys by night, 
unless driven forth at noontide by necessity or the love of war." 

requested for himself, etc. The resemblance to the language of Elijah 
(1 Kgs. xix. 4) is very noticeable here. 

9. Doest thou well to be angry? See on u. 4. Jonah's anger on this 
occasion had a different origin : previously it was due to the sparing of 
Nineveh ; now it is caused by the destruction of the palm-christ. 

even unto death. The phrase is used in connection with various emo- 
tions to express intensity : cf. Jud. xvi. 1 6, Mk. xiv. 34. 

10. Thou hast had pity. The pronoun thou is emphatic here, as is 
the / in v. 11. Whilst Jonah had done nothing for the plant whose 
fate he deplored, God was tbe Creator of the living beings in Nineveh. 

laboured. The verb here used ( 'dmal) is apparently late (see p. Ixxxiii), 
and takes the place of the earlier yagha' (Josh. xxiv. 13). 

which came up in a night. Literally, "the son (i.e. the product) of a 
night." The expression resembles the common idiom employed in Heb. 
to express age (e.g. a yearling is "the son of a year," Ex. xii. 5). 

11 . and should not I have pity, etc. " God waives for a time the fact of 
the repentance of Nineveh" (Pusey), and here speaks only of the appeal 
to His compassion made by the tender age of so many in the city which 
Jonah wishes to see destroyed. Cf. Wisd. xi. 26. 

142 JONAH [iv. n 

Nineveh, that great city ; wherein are more than sixscore thou- 
sand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and 
their left hand; and also much cattle? 

sixscore thousand. Literally, twelve myriads. The Heb. for myriad 
(ribbo), here used, is confined almost exclusively to late books (see 
p. Ixxxiii). 

that cannot... hand. The expression (with which cf. Dt. i. 39, Is. vii. 
15, 16) denotes very young children, in whom intelligence had not yet 
awakened, and who consequently could have no responsibility for the 
city's wickedness (i. 2). Such would be under two years of age, and the 
number of them (120,000) is thought to imply a population of 600,000. 
F. Jones estimated, from the extent of the ruins of Nineveh, that its 
inhabitants must really have amounted to 174,000. 

much cattle? The numerous cattle were as irresponsible as the 
children. The writer's thought that God has care for animals is found 
elsewhere in the O.T., see Ex. xx. 10, xxiii. 12, Dt. xxv. 4, Ps. cxlvii. 9 : 
cf. also Mt. vi. 26, x. 29. 

The effectiveness of the question with which the book concludes is 
not allowed by the writer to be impaired by any further particulars 
about Jonah himself, his reflections upon the Divine remonstrance, or 
his return home. 


The Book of Jonah has lent itself more than any other of the Minor 
Prophets to artistic illustration, especially in painted glass. The chief 
incident represented is that of Jonah's escape from the whale's belly. 
This is natural, since it was treated as typical of our Lord's Resurrection. 
In the windows of four Oxford Colleges there are Jonah-scenes ; and 
three of them those in University, Lincoln, and Wadham Colleges 
depict the incident mentioned. But in Christ Church there is another 
scene (the work of Van Ling) which touches a central thought of the 
book : the prophet is seated under the gourd, gazing sadly at the city of 
Nineveh, as it stretches undestroyed and magnificent before his eyes. 

JONAH 143 



The following will serve in some slight degree to illustrate the 
rhythm of the psalm in ch. ii. The rendering is necessarily in places 
a little less close to the original than that which is given in the R.V. 
or supported in the commentary, and in two passages additional emenda- 
tions are adopted, for metrical convenience. 

1. "Out of my straits did I cry | to Jehovah, who answered; 

From the belly of Sheol complained ; | thou heardest my calling. 

2. To the heart of the seas was I cast; | embraced me their current; 
All of thy billows and waves | went swirling above me. 

3. Methought, I am driven away | from the range of thy vision : 
How shall I once more behold | thy temple most holy ? 

4. The waters did clasp me about ; | the deep did encompass. 
Twisted was weed round my head, | at the base of the mountains. 

5. I sank to where earth with its bars imprisons 1 for ever; 

But my life thou didst bring from the pit, | Jehovah my G6d. 

6. When the soul that was in me grew faint, | my God I remembered ; 
And my prayer entered into thy courts, | thy temple most h61y. 

7. Who ,revere the Vain and the False | abandon their Refuge 2 ; 
But I with the voice of thanksgiving | will offerings render. 
What I have vowed I will pay: | from Jehovah comes succour." 

1 Here instead of ba'adhi is substituted 'atsZru "detain," which is translated by 
i n the LXX. of Jud. xiii. 15, 16. In the present passage the LXX. has 

Here instead of hasdam there is substituted (after Marti) mahasehem "their 





The following translation (more literal than the R.V.) of the narrative 
portion of the book will make plain the tenor of each of the hypothetical 


Version A Matter common to both Versions 

i. 1 And the word of Jehovah came unto 
Jonah, the son of Amittai, saying, 2 Arise, go 
to Nineveh, the great city, and cry against it, 
for their wickedness hath come up into my 

Version B 



3 a But Jonah arose to flee to Tar- 
shish from the presence of Jehovah. 

3 b But he went down to Joppa and 
found a ship going to Tarshish. And 
he paid the fare of it, and went down 
into it to go with them to Tarshish 
from the presence of Jehovah. 
4 And Jehovah had flung a great wind into 
the sea, and there was a great tempest in the 
sea, and the ship was about to be shattered. 

5 b And they flung the gear which 
was in the ship into the sea to lighten 
it from off them. 

7 And they said each to his mate, 
Come, that we may cast lots and know 
on whose account this evil has hap- 
pened to us. And they cast lots and 
the lot fell upon Jonah. 

10 b And they said to him, What is 
this that thou hast done ? for the men 
knew that it was from the presence of 
Jehovah that he was fleeing, for he 
had told them. 13 And the men rowed 
to restore him to the dry land, but 
thev were not able, for the sea went 
on being tempestuous upon them. 

5 a Then the seamen were afraid, and 
cried each to his god. 5 C But Jonah 
had gone down into the hold of the 
vessel and lay down and slept soundly. 
6 And the captain of the sailors ap- 
proached him and said to him, Why 
art thou sound asleep? Arise, cry to 
thy God; perchance God will think 
upon us that we perish not. 

8 And they said to him, Tell us now 
on account of whom this evil has hap- 
pened to us. What is thy occupation ? 
Whence dost thou come ? What is thy 
land ? And of what people art thou ? 
9 And he said to them, I am a He- 
brew; and I am a worshipper of Je- 
hovah, the God of heaven, who made 
the sea and the dry land. 10 a And 
the men feared with great fear. 

1 1 And they said to him, What shall 
we do to thee that the sea may be 
calm from off us ; for the sea went on 
being tempestuous. 12 And he said 
to them, Take me up and fling me 
into the sea that the sea may be calm 
from off you, for I know that on my 
account this great tempest is upon 




Version A Matter common to both Versions Version B 

14 a And they cried to Jehovah and said, 
Pray, Jehovah, 
14 b Let us not perish for this man's 14 C [and] Do not lay upon us inno- 

cent blood, 

14 d for thou, Jehovah, hast done as thou hast 
pleased. 15 And they took up Jonah and flung 
him into the sea, and the sea stayed from its 
raging. 16 And the men feared Jehovah with 
great fear, and they sacrificed a sacrifice to 
Jehovah and vowed vows. 

ii. 1 But Jehovah appointed a great fish to 
swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the bowels of 
the fish three days and three nights. 2 And 
Jonah made petition unto Jehovah his God 
from the bowels of the fish. 11 And Jehovah 
said to the fish... and it disgorged Jonah on to 
the dry land. 

iii. 1 And the word of Jehovah came to Jonah 
a second time, saying, 2 Arise, go to Nineveh, 
the great city, and cry unto it the cry that I 
speak unto thee. 3 And Jonah arose and went 
to Nineveh, according to the word of Jehovah. 
And Nineveh was a great city (even) for God, 
three days' journey (across). 4 a And Jonah 
began to enter into the city one day's journey, 
and he cried and said : 

4 b (LXX.) Yet three days and Nine- 
veh shall be overthrown. 5 And the 
people of Nineveh believed God ; and 
they proclaimed a fast and put on 
sackcloth, from the greatest of them 
even unto the least of them. 10 And 
God saw their works, that they turned 
from their evil way, and God repented 
concerning the evil which he said he 
would do unto them, and he did it not. 
iv. 1 But for Jonah it was evil, a great 
evil, and he was angry. 2 And he 
made petition unto Jehovah and said, 
Pray, Jehovah, was not this my say- 
ing, while I was yet on my own soil ? 
Therefore I was beforehand in fleeing 
unto Tarshish ; for I knew that thou 
art a gracious God and compassionate, 
slow to anger, plenteous in mercy, and 
repentant of the evil. 3 And now, 
Jehovah, take my life from me, for 
better for me is my death than my 

4 And Jehovah said, Doest thou 
well to be angry ? 6 And Jehovah God 
appointed a palmchrist, and it came 
up over Jonah, to be a shade over his 
head, to deliver him from his evil state. 


4 b (Heb.) Yet forty days and Nine- 
veh shall be overthrown. 6 And the 
matter reached the king of Nineveh, 
and he arose from his throne, and laid 
his robe from off him, and covered 
himself with sackcloth, and sat in 
ashes. 7 And one made proclamation 
and said in Nineveh by the decree of 
the king and his great men, saying, 
Let neither man nor beast, herd nor 
flock, taste anything, let them not 
feed nor drink water ; 8 but let them 
be covered with sackcloth, both man 
and beast; and let them cry with 
might to God ; and let them turn each 
from his evil way, and from the vio- 
lence that is in their hands. 9 Who 
knoweth whether God will turn and 
repent, and turn from the heat of his 
anger that we perish not ? 

iv. 5 Arid Jonah went out of the 
city and sat on the east side of the 
city and there made for himself a 
booth and sat under the shade until 
he should see what would happen to 




Version A 

And Jonah was glad with great glad- 
ness because of the palmchrist. 7 But 
God appointed a worm, when the dawn 
arose on the morrow, and it smote the 
palmchrist, and it withered; 8 b and 
the sun smote upon the head of Jonah 
and he fainted, and requested for 
himself that he might die, and said, 
Better for me is my death than my 
life. 9 And God said to Jonah, Doest 
thou well to be angry on account of 
the palmchrist? And he said, I do 
well to be angry even unto death. 
10 And Jehovah said, Thou hast pity 
on the palmchrist, on which thou didst 
not labour, neither madest it to grow, 
which came into being in a night and 
perished in a night; 11 and should 
not / have pity on Nineveh, the great 
city, wherein are more than twelve 
myriads of persons that discern not 
between their right hand and their 
left, and much cattle ? 

Version B 

the city. 8 a And it came to pass when 
the sun arose that God appointed a 
sultry east wind; (and it overthrew 
the booth.) 


Abide ( = be unmolested), To 42, 119 

Abraham's offering of Isaac 51 


Achzib 11 

'adh, Meaning of Heb. cxix 

'ddhon a title of heathen deities 4 

'adhonai a title of JEHOVAH 1, 4 

Adora 1 

Adullam 12 

.Eschylus quoted or cited 125, 129 

Agatharchides quoted 89 

Ahab xlviii, 53, 56 

Ahaz xv, xvi, xvii, xviii, xxix, xxx, xlviii, 

Ixiv, cxv, cxvi, cxvii, 8, 48 
Akaba, Gulf of xliv, xlvii 
Akrabattine 1 

Alexander the Great xlii, Ixxii, 114, 137 
Alexander Jannaus 1 
Alienation of lands 14 
All flesh 109 
Allegory xcvii 
'almah, Meaning of the fleb. cxvi, cxvii, 


Almighty, The 94 
Altar (of the Temple), The 102 
Amaziah xlviii, 11 
Ambassador 67 

Amittai, Meaning of the name xcvii, 121 
Ammon, Ammonites xli, xlv, 61, 75 
Analysis of the book of Jonah, Critical 

Ixxxviii, 144146 

Anointed of JEHOVAH, The cviii, cxxiii 
Anointing, Significance of the rite of cviii 
Anonymity of many Heb. writings xxv 
Antiochus the Great xlii 
Antithetic Parallelism cxxxvii 
Apocalyptic Ixxii, Ixxiv 
Apple Tree 93 

Apportionment of lands by lot 16 
Aquila, Readings and Renderings of 9, 

17, 43, 67, 72, 76, 82, 112, 139 
Arabah, The xliv 
Arabia Petreea 1 
Arabians xxix, xli, Ixvi, 68 
Arion 128 

Army (applied to locusts) liv, 101 
Artaxerxes Ochus Ixxii, 85, 114 
Ashamed ( = disappointed), To be 25 
Ashdod Ixiv 
'Asherim 45, 46, 47 
Ashes, To sit in 136 
Asshur (city) 121 
Asshur (deity) cv 
Assonance 8, 12, 40, 94 

Assyria, Assyrians, Allusions to xix, xxx, 
Ixxix, xciii, 36, 54, 62, 104, 
122, 137 

as designations of other coun- 
tries and peoples 39, 42, 45, 

Atonement, Heb. ideas concerning 51 

Audition, Ecstatic 2 

Authority of parents and masters, The 

Avith xlv 

Babylon, Babylonians xix, xxxix, xl, xli, 
xlix, 20, 21, 28, 34, 35, 36, 42, 43, 75, 
104, 113, 117, 136 

Bag 54 

Balaam cxi, 49 

Balak 49 

Baldness as a token of mourning, Arti- 
ficial 12 

Baptism of Jesus, The cxxx, cxxxi 

Bark of trees eaten by locusts 90 

Barns 95 

Bashan 64 

Beasts of the field 96 

Beats, Hebrew versification measured by 

Benhadad xlvi 

Benjamin 81, 83 

Beth-ezel 10 

Beth-le-Aphrah 9 

Bethlehem 40, 41 

Bethuel li 

Bite, To 23 

Blessing, Isaac's xliv 

Jacob's cxi, cxii 

Blessings and curses self-fulfilling 49 

'Blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke' 

Bond between JEHOVAH and Israel, The 
ev, 27, 28 

Bondage, House of 49 

Booth 139 

Boundary 62 

Bozrah xlv, 21 

'Bread, They that eat thy' 72 

Break ranks, To 99 

Break the bones of, To 22 

Breaker, The 20, 21 

Bring again the captivity of, To Ixii, Ixvi, 

Brooks 118 

'Brought thee on thy way' 71 

Burden 15 




Burnt offerings 48, 50 

'Burst through the weapons, They' 100 

Byword against, To use a 103 

Caesarea Philippi, The Apostles' confes- 
sion at cxxix 
Calah 121, 134 
Calamity 77 

Call on the name of a deity, To 110 
Camp (applied to a swarm of locusts) 

liv, 101 

Canaanites, 84, 85 
Caphtor 82 

'Captivity of Jerusalem, The' 85 
'Captivity of this host, The' 84 
Captivity, To bring again the Ixii, Ixvi, 


Carchemish, The battle of 36 
Carmel 64 
Carry away, To 75 
Casluhim 82 
Cast lots for captives, To 75, 112 

for the detection of offenders or 
the appointment of officials 

for parcels of ground 16 
Castor-oil plant 139 
Cattle, God's care for 142 
Ceremonial worship and social morality 

compared cvii, 27, 28 
Chemosh cv, ex, 24 
Cherethites 82 

Children, The sacrifice of 48, 51 
Chop in pieces, To 22 
' Christ ' applied to Jesus, The title Cxxix, 

Chronological Tables of kings of Judah 

xvi, xvii 

Cicero quoted cxix, 116 
Circuits 113 
Cities (= fortresses) 45 
Cleanse the blood of, To 119 
4 Clefts of the rocks, The ' 69 
Clods 95 

'Close places, Their' 65 
Columella quoted 89 
Come up, To 90 
Come up on, To 86 
Common to two books, Passages xxxiv 

xxxvii, 2930, 6771, 87 
Communion, Sacrifices of 50 
Complete Parallelism cxxxvi 
' Confederacy, The men of thy ' 71 
Congregation of the Lord, The 17, 102 
Conjectural emendations cxliii, 7, 12, 16, 

17, 18, 19, 47, 106 
Consecrate war, To 24 
Constructive Parallelism cxxxviii 
Corruption in Judah, Causes of xxix 

Counterparts in heaven of things on 

earth cxxviii 
Covenant between JEHOVAH and Israel, 


Cover the lips, To 25 
Crete, Cretans 82 
Crossway 77 
Curses self-fulfilling 49 
Cyaxares 122 
Cyrus cviii, cxxiii, 85 

Damascus xxix, cxv 

Damsel cxvi, cxvii 

Daniel, The term 'son of man' in cxxvii, 


Darius Hystaspis 85 
Darkness as a figure for calamity lix, 24, 

Date of Joel Ixi Ixxii 

Jonah Ixxxii Ixxxiv 

Dates of the oracles in Micah xxvi, 20, 

28, 33, 34 f., 

48, 52, 56, 60 

Obadiah xxxviii 

accession of kings of Judah xvi, 


Daughter of troops 39 
David xlvii, Ixiv, ex, cxii, cxiii 
'David' as the designation of a dynasty 


David redivivus, A cxxi, 41 
David's reign, The religious importance 

of ex, cxi 

Dawn (= dimness), The 97, 98 
Day of JEHOVAH (the LOBD), The liv, Iv, 

Ivii, Iviii, 33, 78 
'Dealing, Thy' 78 
Dealings of God with mankind, The cv, 


Dearth Ivii 
Deceitful thing, A 12 
Decree, 62, 136 
Deep, The 131 
Deep waters a figure for calamity Ixxxv, 

129, 132 
Depth, The 130 
Destroyer, The 94, 95 
Devote, To 38 
Dew (in a simile) 44 
Dimeters cxlii, 6, 94 
Dinhabah xlv 

Diodorus Siculus cited xli, xlix 
Disaster 76 

Dishonesty in trade xxviii, 52, 54 
Dishonour, To 59 

Divine, To, Diviners, Divination 25, 27 
Do great things, To 105 
Dove a symbol of Israel xcviii 



Dreams and visions as channels of reve- 
lation 109 

Drink, To (used figuratively) 79 

Drink offerings Ixv, 91 

Drop, To (used of prophetic utterances) 

Dukes xlvi 

Dust, To roll in the 10 

Duties of men to God, The cvi 

E 3 (see also JE) 

Eagle used generically 13 

Earthquakes, Language reflecting the 

experience of 60 
Eastern sea, The 105 
Eclipses, Expressions suggested by Ix, 

109, 117 
Eden 98 

Edom, The country of xliv, 69 
Edomites, The xxxiii, xxxiv, xxxviii 
xlii, xliv 1, Ixiii, Ixiv, 67 
79, 81, 86, 119 
Forms of government among 

the xlvi 
Israel's relationship to the 


The language of the xlvi 
The religion of the xlvi 
Israel's relations with the 

xlvii 1 
Egypt, Egyptians xxx, Ixiv, Ixvi, Ixvii, 

ex, 45, 62, 82, 118119 
Eighth century, Prophecies dating from 

the xxvi, xxxviii, xliii 
'El, 'Elohim cxix 
Elath xxix, xxxviii, xlviii 
Elders 88 

Elijah, Elisha Ixxix, xcii, 133, 138, 141 
Emendations, Conjectural cxliii, 7, 12, 

16, 17, 18, 19, 47, 106 
'Enduring foundations of the earth' 48 
Enoch, The book of cxxvii, cxxviii, 


Entrances (of a land), The 43 
Ephraim, The field of 81 
Ephrathah 40 
Esarhaddon xlix, 85 
Esau xlv, 71 

The mount of 73 
'Escape, Those that' 79 
Eschatology, Joel and Ixxii Ixxvi 
Ethical character of God, The ciii, civ 
Euphrates, The 62 
Euripides cited 51, 137 
Everlasting (applied to a limited period) 


'Exceeding great city, An' 133 
Exile predicted for the Jewish people xx, 
xxi, 19, 36 

Exile, Prophecies dating from the xxvi, 

cxxi, 20, 33 
Exodus, The religious influence of the 


Expiatory sacrifices 48, 51 
Extra metrum, Words and phrases cxl, 68 
Ezion-geber xlviii 
Ezra Ixxiv, Ixxxi 

Fable xcvi 

1 Family' (applied to a nation), The term 


Fasting, Fasts Ixv, 93, 94 
Fats, Wine- 107 

Feasts, Occasions of the Hebrew 95 
Feed, To (used figuratively) 42 
Field 36, 83 

Field of Ephraim, The 81, 83 
Samaria, The 81, 83 
Fifth century, Prophecies dating from 

the xxvi, xliii, Ixxii, 60, 61, 63 
First month, The 106 
Firstripe fig 57 
Flood 130 

Floors, Threshing 107 
Forays 39 
Fore-part 105 

Forgivingness of God, The 65 
'Former dominion, The' 34 
Former rain, The 106 
'Fortress, The captivity of this 84 
Forty days Ixxxix, xc, 134 
Fountain issuing from the Temple Ixviii, 

Fourth century, Prophecies dating from 

the Ixxii, Ixxxv 
Fruit 63 
Fulfilments of prophecy 1, Ixxii, cxxix, 

cxxxii, cxxxiii, 8, 114 
Future, Contrast between Hebrew and 

heathen hopes of the cix f. 

galil, Meaning of the Heb. 113 

Garden-land, A 64 

Garden of Eden, The 98 

Garment 18 

Garners 95 

'Gate of my people, The' 7 

Gateways as places of assemblage 7 


Gath-hepher Ixxviii 

Gather in troops, To 39 

Gaza Ixiv, Ixxii, 114 

Gear 124 

gemul, Meaning of the Heb. 113 

General Supplement to the separate In- 
troductions c cxliii 

Gentiles. God's care for the Ixxx, Ixxxi, 



Gihon 118 
Gilead 64, 81, 83 
Gilgal 50 
Gilgamesh 43 
Gittah-hepher Ixxviii 
Give to reproach, To 103 
Gleaning grapes 71 
Glory, JEHOVAH'S 19 

of Israel, The 12 
Go up, To 21, 86 

GOD, Hebrew beliefs concerning c cvii 
GOD'S dealings with mankind cv cvi 

requirements from men cvi, cvii 
Godly 57 
Gog Ixviii, 104 
Gourd 139, 140 

'Gracious and full of compassion ' 101 
Grass (used figuratively) 44 
Graven images 6, 45 
Great fish, A 128 
Great lion, A 90 

Greece, Grecians, Greeks Ixiv, Ixvii, 

Hadad xlvi, xlviii 

Hadriana 1 

Hand upon the mouth, To lay the 65 

Harvest ( = the vintage) The 116 

Heart the seat of intelligence, The 69 

of the will, The 101 
To say in one's 69 

Heart of the seas, The 130 

Heavenly bodies the abodes of celestial 
powers 117 

Heavenly Messiah, The cxxvii, cxxviii 

Heavens regarded as solid, The 101 

Hebrew, Meaning of the word 126 

Hebrew confidence in the future cix 

methods of reckoning time 128 
and modern thought contrasted 

versification cxxxiv cxliii 

Hebron xlix, 1, 86 

hel, Meaning of the Heb. 84, 85 

Hell 129 

Heritage, Israel as JEHOVAH'S 63, 103 

Herod, The house of 1, 74 

Herodotus quoted or cited 7, 12, 81, 114, 
122, 123, 128, 134, 137, 139 

Hesiod cited cix 

Hesychius quoted 80 

Hezekiah xvi, xvii, xviii, xxiii, xxvi, xxix, 
xxxi, cxviii, 8, 53 

Hidden treasures 71 

Hide the face, To 23 

High places 5 

High places of a forest, The' 28 

Hill country of Judah, The 83, 85 

Hinder-part 105 

Hinnom, Valley of the son of 27, 112 

Hires 6 

'Holy' applied to Jerusalem (Zion), The 

epithet 80 

Holy mountain, God's cxxii, 79, 97 
Holy temple, God's 130, 132 
Homer quoted or cited 12, 42, 49, 89, 

108, 125, 130, 136 
Hor, Mount xlvii 

Horace quoted or cited cxxii, 49, 70 
Horites xlv 
Horn 97 
Horsemen 98 
Horses, Locusts likened to 98 

The sources of Judah's supply 

of 45 

1 Host, The captivity of this' 84 
House ( = household) 14 
Human sacrifices 51 
Humbly, To walk 52 
Humiliation, Thy' 55 
Husband of youth, A 91 
Hyperbole, Instances of Iv, 51, 70, 74, 

118, 129 

Idolatry xxi, 6, 45 47 

Idumsea 1 

Ill-savour 105 

Immanuel, The Prophecy of cxv cxviii 

Incomplete Parallelism cxxxvii 

Introduction to Joel li Ixxvii 

Jonah Ixxviii xcix 
Micah xv xxxi 
Obadiah xxxii 1 

Ionia, lonians Ixiv, 85, 114, 122 

Iphigenia 51 

Isaac, Abraham's offering of 51 

Isaac's blessing of Esau xliv 

Isaiah's corroboration of Micah's account 

of Judah xxvi xxix 
Messianic prophecies cxv cxx 

Israel as a designation of Judah xvii, li, 
12, 18, 22, 42, 49 

J 3, 126 (see also JE) 

Jackals 7 

Jacob as a designation of Israel 5, 8 

of Judah 18, 22, 

31, 44, 80 

Jacob's Blessing cxi, cxii 
Javan Ixiv, 114, 122 
Jaw teeth 90 
JE xliv, 17, 102, 114 (see also Prophetic 

narrative of the Pentateuch, The) 
Jealous 103 
Jehoahaz 38 

Jehoiachin cxxv, 38, 39, 40 
Jehoiada Ixvi 
Jehoiakim 39, 53 



Jehoram xlviii 
Jehoshaphat xlviii 

The valley of Ixiv, 112 
JEHOVAH, The original form of the name 


Pronunciation of the name 1 
Substitutes for the name 1, 2 
The character attributed to 


The development of ideas con- 
cerning c 
The Day of liv, Iv, Ivii, Iviii, 

Ixxiii, 33, 78 
JEHOVAH God Ixxxii, 139 
Jephthah's sacrifice of his daughter 51 
Jeremiah and Obadiah, Passage com- 
mon to xxxiv xxxviii, xliii, 6771, 

Jeroboam II Ixxviii 
Jerome cited or quoted 34, 73, 100 
Jerusalem its experiences of capture 

xxxix, 28 

its situation 26, 27 
its walls restored by Nehe- 

miah Ixxii, 62 

Prophecies concerning xx, xxi, 
xxii, li, 5, 7, 13, 28, 34, 36, 
38, 52, 111, 117 
Jesus of Nazareth His claim to be a 

prophet cxxix 
His claim to be the Son of God 

cxxix cxxxiii 
His claim to be the Christ cvi, 

cxxix, cxxx 
His claim to be the Son of man 

cxxix, cxxxiv 

His fulfilment of Messianic pro- 
phecies cxxxii, cxxxiii 
Joab xlvii 
Joash Ixv, Ixvi 

Joel, Introduction to li Ixxvii 
The meaning of the name li 
Parallels between other O.T. writ- 
ings and Ixix, Ixx 
The Contents of lii 
The Interpretation of liv Ivi 
An insertion in Ix, Ixxii 
The Style and Vocabulary of Ixx, 


The Theology of ci cv 
The Unity of Ivi Ixi 
The Date of Ixi Ixxii 
Commentary on 88 119 
Joel and Eschatology Ixxii Ixxvi 
John Hyrcanus 1 
Jonah, Introduction to Ixxviii xcix 

The meaning of the name xcvii, 

The Date of the prophet Ixxviii 

Jonah, The Contents and Purpose of 

Ixxix Ixxxii 
The Character and Import of xci 


The defective Unity of Ixxxv xc 
The Date of Ixxxii Ixxxv 
The Diction of Ixxxiii, Ixxxiv 
The miracles related in xciii 

The Psalm in Ixxxiv Ixxxvi, 

128132, 143 
The Theology of ci cvi 
Commentary on 120 146 
Artistic illustrations of incidents 

in 142 
Critical Analysis of Ixxxviii, 144 


Jonathan Maccabaaus 124 
Joppa Ixxix, 123, 124 
Joseph ( = Israel) 80 
Josephus cited xli, xlii, xlvi, 1, 123, 124, 

133, 135 
Josiah 118 
Jotham xvi, xvii, 2 
Joy of harvest, The 93 
Judah, Jacob's blessing on cxi, cxii 
Judas Maccabaeus 1 
Judge, To 86 

'Judge of Israel, The' 38, 40 
Judgment, The Divine liv, Ivi, Iviii, 8 

7, 14, 19, 28, 78 
Judicial corruption 27, 56, 58 
Julius Caesar 1 
'Just measure, In' 106 

Kaush xlvi 

Kenaz, Kenizzites xlvii 

Kidron, The 27, 112, 118 

Kinah metre, The xxxvii, cxlii, cxliii, 5, 

16, 63, 65, 66, 68, 71, 87, 129, 143 
King, JEHOVAH as His people's cxiii, cxiv, 

Kingdom of God (or of JEHOVAH), The 

cxxix, 86 

Kings of Judah, Dates of xvi, xvii 
Kingship, Influence of the ex 
Koze xlvi 

Laehish 11 

Lament, To 90, 93 

'Latter days, In the' Ixxv, 30 

Latter rain, The 106 

Law (= instruction) 31 

Leap upon, To 100 

Leaping of locusts, The 99 

Limit 62 

Lion, Israel likened to a 44 

JEHOVAH likened to a 117 
Livy quoted 59 



Locusts, The varieties of Ixxvi, Ixxvii 

The vast numbers and extreme 
destructiveness of 1, liii, 
Ixxvi, 89, 98 

The significance in Joel of the 
liv Ivi 

Look on, To 75 

Lord 4 

LORD God, The 139 

Lord Messiah, The cxxvii 

LORD of hosts, The 32 

Lots, To cast 16, 75, 125 

Lowland, The xviii, 10, 11, 81, 82 

Lowly cxxiv 

Lucan quoted 109 

LXX, Readings and Renderings of the 
xv, xxxii, liv, Ixxviii, Ixxxvi, Ixxxvii, 
Ixxxviii, Ixxxix, xc, cxii, cxviii, cxxv, 
cxxvii, cxl, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 
15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 
28, 34, 38, 39, 40, 42, 43, 44, 46, 47, 
51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 62, 65, 
66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 
77, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 88, 
89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 
99, 101, 102, 103, 104, 106, 107, 109, 
110, 112, 115, 116, 119, 122, 123, 124, 
125, 126, 128, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 
136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 143, 145 

Lying vanities 132 

Makkeph cxxxix cxliii, 68 

Manasseh xvi, 39, 48, 53 

Mareshah 1, 12 

Mariners Ixxxiv, 124 

Maroth 11 

Martial quoted 32, 70 

Mdshdl, The meaning of the Heb. 


Masters' authority over servants 59 
Mazor 62 

Meal offerings Ixv, 91 
Medes, The lix, 36, 122, 136 
Megiddo, Battle of 118 
'Mercy, Their own' 132 
Mesha, The Inscription of 24, 34 
Messenger 68 
' Messiah,' The meaning of the term cviii, 


Messiah, The celestial cxxvii, cxxxiv 
Messianic Prophecy cvii cxxxiv 

Prophecy various senses of 
the term cvii cix, 'cxiii 
Messianic prophecies in Isaiah cxv 

cxx, cxxi, cxxii 
in Micah cxx, cxxi, 3843 
in Zechariah cxxiii, cxxiv 
in the Psalms cxxiv cxxvi 

Messianic prophecies in the Psalms of 

Solomon cxxvi, cxxvii 
in the Sibylline oracles cxxvi 
in the Testaments of the XII 

Patriarchs cxxvii 
Methods, Ancient and Modern views of 

Divine civ 

Metre, Varieties of Hebrew cxl, cxlii, cxliii 
Meunim xxix, 112 
Micah, Introduction to xv xxxi 
Meaning of the name xviii 
Abode and character of xviii 
Social conditions in the age of 

xxvi xxxi 

Literary qualities of xix 
The religious teaching of xxvi 


Contents of xix xxii 
The disputed unity of xxii xxvi 
Dates of the various oracles in xv, 
xxiv xxvi, 29, 33, 35, 36, 38, 
39, 45, 48, 53, 57, 60, 61, 63 
The Theology of ci cvii 
Commentary on 1 66 
Midrdsh, Midrdshim xci, xcii 
Mighty God cxix 
Mighty ones, JEHOVAH'S 116 
Milcom cv 
Minor Prophets, Defective chronological 

arrangement of the xv, xxxii, Ixi 
Miracles xciii xcvi, civ 
Miriam xlvi, 49 
Mittavindaka 127 
Moab, Moabites xxix, xliv, xlv, xlviii, 

24, 34, 38, 75 
Modern and Hebrew thought contrasted 

Monarchy, The religious influence of the 


Monolatry cix, ex 
Monotheism Ixxx, cv 
Morashtite, The 2 
Moresheth-gath xviii, 11 
Moses, A prophet like unto cxxix 
Mount (mountain) of Esau, The 73 
Mountain, The (a division of Judah) 83 
Mount on high, To 69 
Mourning customs 10, 12, 13, 25, 90 

Nabatseans xli, xlix, 72, 74 

nabhi', Etymology of the Heb. 25 

Nabopolassar 36, 122 

Name of a deity, To call on the 110 

Name of JEHOVAH, The 32, 42 

Napoleon 124 

'Nation' applied to locusts, The term 

liv, 89 
Nations, Assemblage of all the Ixviii, 36, 

37, 112 



Nebuchadrezzar xli, xlix, xcviii, cxix, 

cxxv, 36, 38, 114 
Necho Ixvii, 118 
Negeb, Neghebh xlii, xlix, 81 
Nehemiah Ixvii, Ixxii, 60, 61, 62, 86 
Nets, Hunting- 57 

New Testament, Passages referred to, 
or quoted, in the xcv, oxviii, cxxiv, 
cxxv, 41, 59, 110, 111, 128, 137 
New wine 56, 92 
Nimrod 43 
Nineveh, The early history of xcii, 121, 


The site of 122 
The size of 122, 133, 134 
The king of xciii, 136 
The population of 142 
Ninevites xcv, xcvii, xcviii, cvi, 

36, 122, 135 

Northern army, The, Northerner, The, 
liv, 104 

Obadiah, Introduction to xxxii 1 

The form and meaning of the 

name xxxii, 67 
Contents of xxxiii, xxxiv 
Divisions in xxxiv 
Dates of the divisions in xxxviii 


The Passage common to Jere- 
miah and xxxiv xxxvii, 67 
71, 87 

The Theology of c cvii 
Commentary on 67 86 
Obed-edom xlvi 
Oil, Uses of 46, 50, 92 
Old Latin Version, Readings and Render- 
ings of the 69, 80, 88, 91, 101, 130, 

Olives trodden in presses 55 
Omnipresence of God, The cii 
Omri 53, 56 

Open (= draw (a weapon)), To 43 
Ophel 27, 34 
Ophir xlviii 

Oracle quoted in common by Obadiah 
and Jeremiah, The, xxxiv xxxvii, 
Order of the Minor Prophets in Heb. 

and LXX, The xv, xxxii, Ixi, Ixxviii 
Ostriches 7 

'Other side, On the' 74 
Ovid quoted 59, 115, 118, 128 
Oxen used for treading corn 37 

P xlvii, Ixxi, 94, 114 (see also Priestly 


Pale, To wax 99 
Palmchrist 139 

Palm-tree 92 

Parable xcvi, xcvii, 15 

Parallelism in Heb. versification cxxxv 

Parallels between Joel and other writers 

Ixix, Ixx 
Parallels to the story of Jonah 127, 


Parents' authority over children 59 
Paronomasia 8 
Parting gift, A 11 

'Pastures of the Wilderness, The' 105 
Pathetic fallacy, The 91 
Peace 42 

Peace-offerings 50 
' Peace with thee, The men that were at' 


Pekah cxv 
Pelethites 82 

Pentameters cxlii, 87, 89, 99 
Pentecost, The Speaking with Tongues 

at 110, 111 
'People' applied to locusts, The term 


Perform the truth, To 66 
Perpetual Father cxix 
Perplexed, To be (used of animals) 96 
Persia, Persians Ivii, Ixv, Ixviii, Ixxii 
Pethuel li 
Petra xli, 69 
Philistia, Philistines xxix, lii, Ix, Ixi, 

Ixii, Ixiv, Ixvi, Ixxii, 75, 81, 82, 

Phoenicia, Phoenicians lii, Ixiii, Ixxii, 84, 

85, 113, 114 
Piacular sacrifices 51 
Pillars 46 
Pit, The 131 
Plead with, To 112 
Pliny quoted 69, 90, 92, 97, 99, 139 
Plowshares 31 
Plutarch quoted 137 
Pomegranate tree 92 
Porch (of the Temple) The 102 
Possess ( = re-possess), To 80 
Pour out, To (in connection with im- 
material things) 108 
Power of God, The civ 
Predictions calculated to defeat their 

fulfilment xxiii, 134 
Prepare war, To 24 
' Presence of the LORD, From the ' 123 
Press, Wine- 107, 116 
Priestly code (or Narrative) of the Pen- 
tateuch, The xxxi, Ixxxii, 17, 94, 107, 


Priests, Corruption among xxi, xxix, 27 
Prince 58 
Prince of Peace cxix 



Prophecies against Edom xxxiii, xxxiv, 

xxxviii, xlix, 

Hi, Ixi, Ixii, 

6786, 119 

Egypt lii, Ixi, Ixii, 

Ixiv, 118 
Judah xxi, xxx, 35, 

3839, 5253 
Samaria xx, 3 7 
Tyre Ix, Ixi, Ixii, Ixiii, 

113, 114 
the nations xxi, xxxiv, 

Ixviii, 111119 
Zidon Ix, Ixi, Ixii, 

Ixiii, 113, 114 
Prophecies of the return of Jewish exiles 

xxi, 20, 62, 111 
rebuilding of the walls 
of Jerusalem xxii, 
xxiv, 62 
re-union of the Hebrew 

peoples 42 

assembling of peoples 
at Jerusalem for in- 
struction xxiii, xxiv, 

victory of the Jewish 
people over their 
enemies xxi, 36, 37 

Prophesying, Nature of early 109111 
Prophetic Narrative of the Pentateuch, 

The Ixxxii (see also JE) 
Prophets, Corruption among xxix, 23, 

Prostitution associated with religious 

rites 7 
Psalm in the book of Jonah, The Ixxxiv 

Ixxxvi, 128132, 143 
Psalms, Messianic passages in the cxxiv 

Psalms of Solomon, The Ixxiv, cxxvi, 


Ptolemy Lagi 119 

Earns' horns 97 

Eebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem 

predicted, The xxiv, 62 
Eecompence 113 
Eeforms promoted by various prophets 


Eegions 113 
Eehoboam Ixiv 
' Eemaining, Not any ' 80 
Eemnant 33, 79, 111 
Eend garments (as a token of sorrow), 

To 101 

Eeprove ( = arbitrate for), To 31 
Eest ( =* resting-place) 19 

Eestoration predicted for Jewish exiles 

xxi, 20, 21, 62, 111 
Eesults represented in Heb. as purposes 


Ee-union of Israel and Judah, The 42 
Eezin xxxviii, xlviii, cxv 
Ehythmical beats (or stresses) in Heb. 

versification cxxxix, cxli 
'Eighteous acts of the LORD, The' 50 
'Eighteousness, According to Jehovah's' 


Eipe 116 
Eiver, The 62 
Eobe 18 
'Eock' a designation of Edom, The 


Eod 53, 54 
Eow, To 127 
Eule over, To 103 
Eulers, Corruption among xxix, xxx, 22, 

Euth, The book of Ixxxii 

Sabeans Ixii, Ixiv 
Sackcloth 90, 136 
Sacrifices, Human 51 

Various classes of 50 
Sacrificial offerings contrasted with 

moral service cvi, cvii 
Saith the LORD ' 2 
Samaria xvii, xx, 3, 5 8, 83 
Samaritans 61 
Sanballat Ixiv 

Sanctify, Sanctification 24, 93, 102 
Sarepta 85 
Sargon xvi, 85 
Saturnian metre, The cxliii 
Saul, xlvii, cviii, ex 
Saviours 86 

Say in one's heart, To 69 
Scion of David's house, A cxv, cxxiii 
See, To (in connection with revelation) 


See one's desire upon, To 37 
See the face of, To 23 
Seek up, To 71 
Seer 24, 25 
Seir xliv, xlv 
Sela xlv, xlviii 
Sell (= deliver up), To 114 
Seneca quoted 59 

Sennacherib xvi, xlix, cxviii, 35, 53 
Sense-correspondence in Heb. verse 


Sepharad xlii, 85, 86 
Septuagint, see LXX 
Sequel of days, In the Ixxv, 30 
Servant of JEHOVAH, The Ixxxii 
'Servant Songs', The Ixxxi, Ixxxii 



Servants, The authority of masters over 59 
Seventh century, Prophecies dating from 

the xxvi, 45, 48 
Shaddai 94 

Shakespeare quoted 70, 129 
Shaphir 10 
Sharks xciv, 128 
Sheba 114 
Sheol 129 
Shephelah, The 82 
'Shepherd' used figuratively, The term, 

42, 43 

Sheshbazzar 21 
Shiloh cxi, cxii 
Ship, Decked Ixxxiv, 124 
Ship-master 125 
Shishak Ixvi 
Shittim 49, 50 

The valley of 118 
'Shoot' used figuratively, The term 


Showers (in a simile) 44 
Sibylline oracles, The cxxvi 
Sign of Jonah, The xcv 
Signs cxvi 

Simon Maccabeeus cxxv, cxxvi, 124 
Simon of Gerasa 1 
Sin offerings 48 
Sit in ashes, To 136 
Sixth century, Prophecies dating from 

the xxvi, 20, 29, 33, 41 
Slaughter 74 

Slaves, Traffic in Ixii, Ixiii, 114 
Snare 72, 73 
Social morality and ceremonial worship 

compared cvii, 27, 28 
Solemn assembly 94, 102 
Solomon xlviii, 5, 45 
Solomon, The Psalms of cxxvi, cxxvii 
' Son of God' used of collective Israel ex, 


of Israelite kings cxiii 
by Jesus of Himself 

cxxix cxxxiii 

' Son of man ' in Enoch cxxviii 
'Son of man' used by Jesus of Himself 

cxxix, cxxxiv 

Sons of the Grecians, The Ixxi, 114 
Soothsayers 46 
Sophocles cited 12 
Sorceries 46 
Sound an alarm, To 97 
South, The xlii, 81, 86 
Speaking with Tongues, The 110, 111 
Spears 115 
Spirit of God the source of prophecy, 

The 26 

Spirit of the Lord, The 26, 108 
Spiritual Nature of God, The ci, cii 

'Sprout' used figuratively, The term 


Strabo cited xli 
Straitened 18 
Stream issuing from the Temple Ixviii, 

Stresses, Hebrew verse measured by 


Stubble (in a simile) 80 
Substance 75 

Substitutes for the Divine Name 1, 2 
Suetonius quoted 12, 13 
'Sultry east wind, A' 140, 141 
Sun, The darkening of the lix 
Swallow down, To 79 
Sweet wine 89 
Symmachus, Headings and Eenderings 

of 9, 11, 21, 28, 31, 58, 62, 72, 83, 85, 

90, 92, 101, 106, 118, 131, 138, 140 
Synonymous Parallelism cxxxvi 
Synthetic Parallelism cxxxviii 
Syria, Syrians xxix, Ixvi, cxv, cxvi 
Syriac version, Headings and Eenderings 

of the cxii, 7, 9, 54, 69, 74, 88, 115 

Tacitus quoted 118 

Tarshish 122, 123 

Taunt song 15 

Teman 73 

Temple, The site of the 27 

The heavenly 4 
Temple hill, The 27, 30 
Temptation of Jesus, The cxxx 
Testaments of the XII Patriarchs, The 


Tetrameters cxl, cxiii 
Theocritus quoted or cited cxxii, 89 
Theodotion, Readings and Renderings of 

21, 28, 62, 73, 83, 85, 112, 130, 

Theology of the books of Micah, Obadiah, 

Joel, and Jonah, The c cvii 
Theophany, Description of a 4 
'Those that escape' 79 
Thousand, A 41 
Three days Ixxxvii, Ixxxix, 134 
Thresh, To (used figuratively) 37 
'Tidings from the LORD' 67 
Tiglath-Pileser xvi, xvii, xlix, 6 
Tigris 122 
Titus 1 

Totemism xlvi, 120 
'Tower of the flock' 34 
Trajan 1 

Trimeters cxxxix, cxl, cxiii, 88, 113 
Troops, To gather in 39 
Trumpet 97 

Tyre Ixi, Ixii, Ixiii, Ixxii, 114 
Tyropceon, The 27 



Unity of God, The ci 
Uzziah xxix, Ix, 9, 34 

Valley of Decision, The liv 

of Jehoshaphat, The Ixii, Ixiv, 


of Salt, The xlvii 
of the son of Hinnom 27, 112 

Varieties of Heb. metre cxliii 

Vats, Wine- 107 

vav, Various senses of the Heb. Ixxxvi, 
Ixxxvii, 43, 63, 66, 101, 119, 127, 130 

Vergil quoted or cited cix, cxxii, 75, 89, 
115, 116, 118, 128 

Versification, Hebrew cxxxiv cxliii 

Vespasian 92, 124 

Vinedressers 92 

Vineyards, Edomite 70 

Vintage (used figuratively) 116 

Virgin, Meaning of the Heb. word trans- 
lated in the R.V. by cxvi, cxvii 

Vision 67 

Visions, Prophetic 2, 3, 109 

Voices from heaven cxxxi, 2 

Vows 132 

Vulgate, Readings and Renderings of the 
7, 10, 12, 17, 18, 24, 26, 33, 38, 39, 42, 
44, 49, 50, 52, 54, 55, 58, 66, 68, 69, 
70, 72, 73, 74, 75, 77, 80, 83, 85, 86. 
90, 91, 95, 96, 103, 104, 112, 116, 125, 
128, 129, 131, 132, 136, 138, 140 

Vulture 13 

Wadies 27, 50, 81 

Walk in the name of the LORD, To 32 

Walls 62 

Wares 124 

' Watchmen, Thy ' 58 

Water brooks 96 

Wax pale, To 99 

Weapons 100 

Wearing of sackcloth as a token of 

mourning, The 90, 91 
Weeds 131 
Weights 54 
Western sea, The 105 
Whales xciii, xciv, 128 
Wilderness, The 96 
Wind ( = spirit) 19 
Wisdom of God, The cii, ciii 
'Wisdom' Literature cxli 
Witchcrafts 46 
Witness, God as a 4 
Wonderful Counsellor cxix 
Word of the LORD, The 2 
Work (= devise), To 13, 14 

Zaanan 10 

Zarephath 85 

Zedekiah 35, 38, 39, 40, 45 

Zered, The torrent xliv 

Zerubbabel Ixxiv, xcviii, xcix, cxxiii, 21 

Zidon Ixi, Ixii, Ixiii 

Zion as JEHOVAH'S abode cii, 117, 119 

Zion, Predictions relating to xxi, 28, 30, 

79, 86 
The site of 26, 27 


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