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fc* 1873. 

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The contents of this volume, in accordance with a 
plan which I have set forth elsewhere/ consist of 
Lectures, actually or in substance, addressed to my 
usual hearers at Oxford, chiefly candidates for Holy 
Orders. The Twentieth (with some slight variations 
from its present form) was preached as a sermon from 
the University Pulpit. These circumstances will ac- 
count both for the local allusions, and for the practical 
character of the Lectures, which I have left in most 
cases as they originally stood. 

Throughout the volume I have endeavored to bear 
in mind three main objects, indicated in its title. 

In the first place, the work must be regarded not 
as a History, but as Lectures. This mode of in- 
struction, besides being that to which I was naturally 
led by the duties of my Chair, appeared to me spe- 
cially adapted to the subjects of which I was to treat 
In the case of a history so familiar as that of which 
the materials are for the most part contained in the 
Bible, and containing, as it does, topics of the most 
varied interest, the form of Lectures, whilst it avoided 

1 Introductory Lectures to the History of the Eastern Church, pp. 30-34. 


the necessity of a continuous narrative, enabled me 
to select the portions most susceptible of fresh illus- 
tration and combination, and at the same time most 
likely to stimulate an intelligent study of the whole. 
Moreover, there already exists in English a well-known 
historical narrative of the History of the Jews, which 
is now, I am glad to hope, on the point of reappearing, 
with the most recent revisions from the pen of its 
distinguished author. I trust that the venerable Dean 
of S. Paul's will add to his many other kindnesses 
his forgiveness of this intrusion on a field peculiarly 
his own, — an intrusion which would never have been 
attempted, but in the belief that it would not inter- 
fere with those labors which have made his name 
dear to all who know the value of a genuine love 
of truth and freedom, combined with profound theo- 
logical learning and high ecclesiastical station. 

Secondly, although for the above reasons abstaining 
from the attempt to write a consecutive history, I 
have wished to present the main characters and events 
of the Sacred Narrative in a form as nearly historical 
as the facts of the case will admit. 

The Jewish History has suffered from causes similar 
to those which still, within our own memory, obscured 
the history of Greece and of Rome. Till within the 
present century, the characters and institutions of 
those two great countries were so veiled from view in 
the conventional haze with which the enchantment 
of distance had invested them, that when the more 
graphic and critical historians of our time broke 


through this reserve, a kind of shock was felt through 
all the educated classes of the country. The same 
change was in a still higher degree needed with regard 
to the history of the Jews. Its sacred character had 
deepened the difficulty already occasioned by its ex- 
treme antiquity. That earliest of Christian heresies 
— Docetism, or "phantom worship" — the reluctance 
to recognize in sacred subjects their identity with our 
own flesh and blood — has at different periods of the 
Christian Church affected the view entertained of the 
whole Bible. The same tendency which led Philo and 
Origen, Augustine and Gregory the Great, to see in 
the plainest statements of the Jewish history a series 
of mystical allegories, in our own time has as com- 
pletely closed its real contents to a large part both 
of religious and irreligious readers, as if it had been 
a collection of fables. Many, who would be scandal- 
ized at ignorance of the battles of Salamis or Cannae, 
know and care nothing for the battles of Beth-horon 
and Megiddo. To search the Jewish records, as we 
would search those of other nations, is regarded as 
dangerous. Even to speak of any portion of the Bible 
as " a history," has been described, even by able and 
pious men, as an outrage upon religion. 

In protesting against this elimination of the histor- 
ical element from the Sacred Narrative, I shall not be 
understood as wishing to efface the distinction which 
good taste, no less than reverence, will always endeav- 
or to preserve between the Jewish and other histories. 
Even in dealing with Greek and Roman times, we 


must beware of an excessive reaction against the old 
system of nomenclature. An indiscriminate introduc- 
tion of modern associations into the ancient or the 
sacred world is almost as misleading as their entire 
exclusion. But we shall be best preserved from such 
dangers by a true understanding of the actual events, 
persons, and countries of which we profess to speak. 
And there are so many signs of returning healthiness 
in regard to Biblical History, that we need not fear 
for the result. It is one of the many debts of grat- 
itude which the Church of England owes to the 
author of the " Christian Year," that he was one of 
the first amongst our divines who ventured in his 
well-known poems to allude to the scenes and the 
characters of the Sacred Story in the same terms 
that he would have used if speaking of any other 
remarkable history. It is for this reason, amongst 
others, that I have on all occasions, where it was pos- 
sible, employed his language — now happily familiar 
to the whole of English Christendom — to enforce and 
to illustrate my own descriptions. Similar examples 
of freely handling ttiese sacred subjects in a becoming 
spirit may be seen (to select two works, widely dif- 
fering in other respects) in Dr. Robinson's " Biblical 
" Researches in Palestine," and the Prefaces to Dr. Pu- 
sey's a Commentary on the Minor Prophets." Indeed 
it may safely be said, — and it is the almost inevitable 
result of an intimate acquaintance with the language, 
the topography, or the poetry of the Bible, — that 
whoever has passed through any one of these gates 


mto a nearer presence of the truths and the events 
described will never again be able to speak of them 
with the cold and stiff formality which once w;:s 
thought their only safeguard. 

Thirdly, it has been my intention to make these 
Lectures strictly si ecclesiastical." The history of the 
Jewish race, language, and antiquities belongs to other 
departments. It is the history of the Jewish Church 
of which my office invited me to speak. I have thus 
been led to dwell especially on those parts of the 
history which bear directly on the religious develop- 
ment of the nation. I have never forgotten that the 
literature of the Hebrew race, from which the mate- 
rials of these Lectures are drawn, is also the Bible, — 
the Sacred Book, or Books, of Christendom. I have 
constantly endeavored to remind my hearers and 
readers that the Christian Church sprang out of the 
Jewish, and therefore to connect the history of the 
two together, both by way of contrast and illustra- 
tion, wherever opportunity offered. Yv^hatever me- 
morials of any particular form or epoch of the Jew- 
ish History can be permanently traced in the institu- 
tions, the language, the imagery, of either Church, I 
have endeavored carefully to note. The desire to 
find in all parts of the Old Testament allegories or 
types of the New, has been pushed to such an excess 
that many students turn away from this side of the 
nistory in disgust. But there is a continuity of char- 
acter running through the career of the Chosen Peo- 
ple which cannot be disputed, and on this, the true 


historical basis of " types," — which is, in fact, only 
the Greek word for " likenesses," — I have not scru- 
pled to dwell. Throughout I have sought to recog* 
nize the identity of purpose — the constant gravita- 
tion towards the greatest of all events — which, un- 
der any hypothesis, must furnish the main interest of 
the History of Israel. 

These are the chief points to which I have called 
attention in my Lectures, and to which I here again 
call the attention of my readers. There are many 
collateral questions naturally arising out of the sub- 
ject, for which the purpose of this work furnishes no 
scope. Discussions of chronology, statistics, and phys- 
ical science, — of the critical state of the different 
texts and the authorship of the different portions of 
the narration, — of the precise limits to be drawn be- 
tween natural and supernatural, 1 providential and 
miraculous, — unless in passages where the existing 
documents and the existing localities force the con- 
sideration upon us, — I have usually left unnoticed. I 
have passed by these questions, because I do not 
wish to disturb my readers with distinctions which to 
the Sacred writers were for the most part alien and 
unknown, and which, within the limits of the plan of 
this work, would be superfluous and inappropriate. 
The only exception which I have made has been in 
favor of illustrations from Geography. These, from 

1 For an able statement of this ticle on " the Supernatural " in the 
question I venture to refer to an ar- Edinburgh Review, No. 236, p. 378. 


the circumstance of my having been twice enabled to 
visit the scenes of Sacred History, I felt that I might 
be pardoned for offering as my special contribution 
to the study of the subject, even if they somewhat 
exceeded the due proportion of the rest of the work. 1 
On all other matters of this secondary nature, I have 
been content to rest On the researches 2 of others, and 
to refer to them for further elucidation. No one will, 
I trust, suspect me of undervaluing these researches. 
It is my firm conviction that in proportion as such 
inquiries are fearlessly pursued by those who are able 
to make them, will be the gain both to the cause of 
Biblical science and of true Religion ; and I, for one, 
must profess my deep obligations to those who, in 
other countries, have devoted their time and labor, 
and in this country have hazarded worldly interests 
and popular favor, in this noble, though often peril- 
ous, pursuit of Divine Truth. 

To name any, in a field where so many have con- 
tributed to the general result, would be difficult and 
invidious. But there is one so distinguished above the 
rest, and so closely connected with the subject of this 
work, that I must be permitted to express here, once 

1 This must be my excuse for the Hebron, and the Samaritan Pass- 
frequent references to another work, over. 

Sinai and Palestine, which was origi- 2 It will be seen that there is one 
nally undertaken with the express pur- name constantly recurring here, as in 
pose of a preparation for such a work all else that I have written on these 
as is here attempted. I have also subjects. It is an unfailing pleasure 
ventured to take this opportunity of to me to refer to Mr. Grove's con- 
giving in the Appendix an account of tinued aid — such as I could have re- 
''he two most remarkable scenes, which ceived from no one else in like degree 
m. witnessed in my late journey to the — in all questions connected with Sa* 
Holy Land, — the visit to the Mosque of cred history and geography. 


for all, the gratitude which I, in common with many 
others, owe to his vast labors. 

It is now twenty-five years ago since Arnold wrote 
to Bunsen, 1 " What Wolf and Niebuhr have done for 
" Greece and Kome, seems sadly wanted for Judaea." 
The wish thus boldly expressed for a critical and his- 
torical investigation of the Jewish history was, in fact, 
already on the eve of accomplishment. At that time 
Ewald was only known as one of the chief Orientalists 
of Germany. He had not yet proved himself to be 
the first Biblical scholar in Europe. But, year by year, 
he was advancing towards his grand object. To his 
profound knowledge of the Hebrew language he added, 
step by step, a knowledge of each stage of the Hebrew 
Literature. These labors on the prophetic and poetic 
books of the ancient Scriptures culminated in, his no- 
ble work on the History of the People of Israel — as 
powerful in its general conception, as it is saturated 
with learning down to its minutest details. It would 
be presumptuous in me either to defend or to attack 
the critical analysis, which to most English readers 
savors of arbitrary dogmatism, with which he assigns 
special dates and authors to the manifold constituent 
parts of the several books of the Old Testament ; and 
from many of his general statements I should venture 
to express my disagreement, were this the place to do 
so. But the intimate acquaintance which he exhibits 
with every portion of the Sacred Writings, combined 
as it is with a loving and reverential appreciation of 

1 Arnold's Letters, Feb. 10, 1835 (Life and Correspondence, i. 338). 


each individual character, and of the whole spirit and 
purpose of the Israelitish history, has won the respect 
even of those who differ widely from his conclusions 
How vast its silent effect has been may be seen from 
the recognition of its value, not only in its author's 
own country, but in France and in England also. One 
instance may suffice : — the constant reference to his 
writings throughout the new " Dictionary of the Bible," 
to which I have myself so often referred with advan- 
tage, and which more than any other single English 
work is intended to represent the knowledge and 
meet the wants of the rising generation of Biblical 

But, in fact, my aim has been not to recommend 
the teaching or the researches of any theologian how- 
ever eminent, but to point the way to the treasures 
themselves of that History on which I have spent so 
many years of anxious, yet delightful, labor. There 
are some excellent men who disparage the Old Tes- 
tament, as the best means of saving the New. There 
are others w 7 ho think that it can only be maintained 
by discouraging all inquiry into its authority or its 
contents. It is true that the Old Testament is inferior 
to the New, that it contains and sanctions manv in- 
stitutions and precepts (polygamy, for example, and 
slavery), w r hich have been condemned or abandoned 
by the tacit consent of nearly the whole of Christen- 
dom. But this inferiority is no more than both 
Testaments freely recognize ; the one by pointing to 
a Future greater than itself, the other by insisting on 


the gradual, partial, imperfect character of the Reve- 
lations that had preceded it. It is true also that the 
rigid acceptance of every part of the Old Testament 
as of equal authority, equal value, and equal accuracy, 
is rendered impossible by every advance made in Bib- 
lical science, and by every increase of our acquaintance 
with Eastern customs and primeval history. But it is 
no less true that by almost every one of these ad- 
vances the beauty and the grandeur of the substance 
and spirit of its different parts are enhanced to a de- 
gree far transcending all that was possible in former 

My object will have been attained, if, by calling at- 
tention to these incontestable and essential features 
of the Sacred History, I may have been able in any 
measure to smooth the approaches to some, of the 
theological difficulties which may be in store for this 
generation ; still more if I can persuade any one to 
look on the History of the Jewish Church as it really 
is ; to see how important is the place which it occu- 
pies in the general education of the world, — how 
many elements of religious thought it supplies, which 
even the New Testament fails to furnish in the same 
degree, — how largely indebted to it have been already, 
and may yet be, in a still greater degree, the Civil- 
ization and the Faith of mankind. 

Christ Church, Oxford : 
Sept. 16, 1862. 



Preface vii 

Introduction xxix 

Three Stages of the History of the Jewish Church . . xxix, xxx 
Authorities for the History xxx 

1. Comparison of the different Canonical Books . . . xxxi 

2. Lost Books ......... xxxii 

3. The Hebrew Text. — The Septuagint . . . xxxiii, xxxiv 

4. Traditions of the East. — Josephus .... xxxv, xxxvi 




The beginning of Ecclesiastical History • • .8 

I. The Migration of Abraham 5 

Ur of the Chaldees. — Orfa. — Haran. — Passage of the 

Euphrates. — Damascus 5-10 

Likeness to the Arabian Chiefs . . . . . 11 

IL The Call of Abraham 14 

1. " The Friend of God."— The Worship of the Heavenly 

Bodies and of the Kings. — Abraham the first Teacher 

of the Divine Unity 14-18 

2. "The Father of the Faithful:" 20 

Faith of Abraham 20 

His universal Character . . . 21-24 

The name of Elohim . . .24 

The Covenant. — Circumcision. — The Father of 

the Jewish Church '26-28 






The First Entrance into the Holy Land .... .29 

I. The Halting-places of Abraham : 

1. Shechem. — 2. Bethel. — 3, The Oak of Mamre. — The 

Cave of Machpelah. — 4. Beersheba . . 31-88 

II. Simplicity of the Patriarchal Age : 

Ishmael. — Isaac. — Rebekah 40-42 

III. External Relations of Abraham 42 

1. To the Canaanites ... • . 43 

2. To Egypt 44 

3. To Chedorlaomer 46 

Melchizedek 48 

4. To the Cities of the Plain 50 

IV. Sacrifice of Isaac 51-56 



Contrast of Abraham and Jacob 57 

I. Characters of Jacob and Esau 58 

Esau the likeness of the Edomites, — Jacob, of the Jews 60, 61 

Examples of mixed Characters 61 

II. Wanderings of Jacob . 63 

1. Jacob at Bethel 63 

2. In Mesopotamia . 66 

3. At Gilead 68 

4. At Mahanaim 69 

5. AtPeniel 71 

Retirement of Esau ...... 73 

The Book of Job 74 

6. Jacob's Settlement at Shechem 75 

The Oak of Deborah 78 

The Grave of Rachel 78 

7. The Stay at Hebron 79 

8. The Descent into Egypt 80 

The Death of Jacob 81 



I. Joseph in Egypt 84-89 

II. Israel in Egypt 89 

Hie Shepherd Kings and pastoral state of Israel . . 91 

The Servitude ... .98 


III. Effects of their Stay : pagi 

1. Heliopolis, and Worship of the Sun . . 94 

2. Idolatry of Kings. — Rameses . . . 99,100 
Pharaoh ....... . . 101 

3. Leprosy 104 

4. The Use of the Ass 104 

Points of Contact and Contrast in the Religions of Egypt and Israel 106-108 


— ♦ — 


Strabo's Account of Moses . 114 

I. The Birth of Moses 116 

His Education 116 

His Escape . 119 

H. The Call op Moses. — The Burning Bush. — The Shepherd's 

Staff 120-122 

The name of Jehovah 122 

The Return of Moses 125 

His personal Appearance and Character . . . . 125 

His Family 128 

Ell. The Deliverance 129 

The Plagues 130 

The Exodus 132 

The Passover 133 

The Flight 137 

Rameses. — Succoth. — Etham. — Passage of the Red Sea 138-14 1 

Its peculiar Characteristics 142-144 

The Song of Miriam 146 



The Importance of Moses .... . 149, 150 

Uncertainties of the Topography of the Wanderings . . . 151 
Importance of the Stay in the Wilderness to Christian and to Jewish 

History: Its Peculiarities 152-154 

Battle of Rephidim .... 157 

The Kenites. — Jethro . ... 158,159 

The Difficulties of the Desert. — Water. — Manna 160-163 





March from Rephidim . 165 

Sinai 165 

I. Negative Revelation . .168 

II. Positive Revelation ... 169 

Prophetic Mission of Moses 171 

Absence of the Revelation of a Future Life • . . 173 

The Theocracy . . 174 

III. The Law 179 

Traces of the Desert: 

1. Constitution of the Tribes .181 

2. The Encampment 182 

The Ark 183 

The Tabernacle 185 

3. Sacrifice. — The Tribe of Levi . . . . . 186-188 

4. Distinctions of Food 189 

5. Blood Revenge 191 

6. The Law generally 192 

The Ten Commandments 194 



I. Journey from Sinai to Kadesh 199 

Relics of the Time 200 

Kadesh 202 

Death of Aaron and Miriam 203 

Moses and El Khudr 205 

II. Journey from Kadesh to Moab . • . « . . 206 

Passage of the Zered 207 

Passage of the Arnon . . 207 

The Well of the Heroes 207 

The Last Days of Moses. — Pisgah 209 

1. Balaam. — His Character 209 

His Journey 212 

His Vision 215 

2. Farewell of Moses. — Deuteronomy. — The Two Songs. — 

" The Prayer of Moses, the Man of God" . . 218-220 

The last View from Pisgah . 220 

The End of Moses . 223 







The Early Inhabitants of Western Palestine 230 

The Phoenicians or Canaanites 232 

Conquest of Eastern Palestine 234 

Sihon, King of Heshbon. — Battle of Jahaz. — Defeat of 

Midian 235-237 

Og, King of Bashan. — Battle of Edrei. — Settlement of Ba- 

shan. — Jair. — Nobah 237-240 

Pastoral Character of the Settlement 241 

Reuben 242 

Gad. — Manasseh 242,243 

Controversy between the Eastern and Western Tribes • . . 244 

Legend of Nobah 245 

Eastern Palestine the Refuge of the West 247 



Importance of Western Palestine 
Phinehas . .... 


His Character. — His Name 
The Passage of the Jordan . 



Its Fall 
Fall of Ai 


The Gibeonites 

. 249 


. 251 



. 259 

• 263 

. 264 



Siege of Gibeon .... 
Battle of Beth-horon. — First Stage 

Second Stage 

Joshua's Prayer 




Third Stage. — The Slaughter of the Kings at Makkedah . .271 
Difficulties of the Story . . . . . . . 274 

1 . The Sun standing still. — Answer of Galileo and of Kepler 2 74-2 7 7 

2. The Massacre of the Canaanites. — Answer of Chrysostom. 

— Answer of our Lord. — Answer of the Epistle to the 

Hebrews 278-280 

Illustrations 280, 281 

The Moral Lesson 282-285 



I. Hazor 286 

Gathering of the Kings 287 

The Battle of Merom . . 288 

II. Settlement of the Tribes : 

1. Separate Conquests 290 

Jair and Nobah. — ■ Ban. — Attack on Bethel. — Judah. 
— Caleb and Hebron. — Othniel and Debir . 290-293 

2. Assignment of Land : 

Ephraim . . . . . • . . . 294 

Benjamin 295 

Simeon 296 

Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali . . . .297 

Dan 297 

Levi 298 

HI. Effects of the Conquest . 299 

1. Settlement of the Nation 299 

2. Contact with Canaanites . . . . . . 301 

3. Occupation of the Holy Land . . . . .302 

4. Laws of Property. — Decrees of Joshua . . 302, 303 
[y. Remains of the conquered Races 304 

Unconquered Fortresses . 305, 306 

Tributary Towns 307 

Migration 307 

V. Capitals 308 

Shiloh 308 

Shechem • • • 309 

Joshua's Grave ...» • • • 910-31 S 






Characteristics of the Period . . . . . . . .815 

I. Outward Struggles . ..... .317 

Continuation of the Conquest — Military Discipline . . 318-320 

II. Internal Disorder 321 

Office of Judge 322 

III. Phoenician Influences 323 

The Name of Baal .....••.. 324 

Worship of Baal Berith 324 

Vows 325 

IV. Primitive Simplicity 325 

1. The Danites and Micah 327 

2. The War with Benjamin 833 

3. Ruth 886 

V. Mixed Characters 338 

Classical Element 341 

VL Analogy to the Middle Ages 343-347 



Preliminary Conflicts. — Othniel 348 

Ehud 348 

Deborah 350 

Jabin of Hazor ....•••• . 351 

Barak 353 

Gathering of the Tribes 354 

The Meeting on Tabor 355 

Encampment at Taanach ..•••••••357 

Battle of Megiddo 358 

The Murder of Sisera 862 

Effect of the Battle ... 864 

The Blessing on Jael . .... 865 

Hie Song of Deborah ... 370 





The Midianites . 874 

Gideon 375 

The Massacre on Tabor 376 

The Mission of Gideon 377 

1. The Overthrow of the Worship of Baal . . . .378 

2. The Insurrection against Midian 379 

The Battle of Jezreel 379 

The Battle of the Rock of Oreb 381 

The Battle of Karkor . 382 

Royal State of Gideon 384 

Rise of Abimelech 385 

Parable of Jotham 386 

Internal State of Shechem 389 

Fall of Abimelech 890 



Jephthah. Transjordanic character of his History. — Shibboleth 

Sacrifice of his Daughter 893-399 

Samson. The Philistines . 400 

Birth of Samson 403 

The First Nazarite 403 

His Humor 405 

His Philistine Conquests 406 

" Samson Agonistes " . ... .412 



The Rise of Eli . . 414 

Shiloh ...... •.•••416 

Elkanah and Hannah 417 

Hophni and Phinehas 418 

Doom of the House of Ithamar 419 

Battle of Aphek 420 

Capture of the Ark .....••... 422 
Fall of the Sanctuary of Shiloh .424 






Close of the Theocracy 429 

Beginning of the Monarchy 430 

Transition 431 

Rise of Samuel 432 

I. His connection with the Past 432 

The Last of the Judges 433 

The Battle of Ebenezer 434 

His Oracular Fame 435 

His Prayer of Intercession . . . • • . • .436 

His Outward Appearance ........ 437 

H. The First of the Order of Prophets 437 

His " Revelations " 438 

" Samuel the Seer " 439 

The Schools of the Prophets 440 

The Prophetic Mission of Samuel 443 

His Mediation between the Old and the New .... 444 

His Independence 447 

His Anti-sacerdotal Character 448 

His Gradual Growth 449-451 

His End 453 

His Grave 453 

The Lesson of Samuel's Life 454-456 



I. The Meaning of the word Prophet 457-459 

H. The Office 461 

Amongst Heathens 463 

In the Jewish Church ... .... 463 

1. The Age of Moses 464 

2. The Judges. — Samuel 465 

3. David and Nathan 466 

4. Prophets of the Kingdom of Israel . . .467 

5. Prophets of the Kingdom of Judah ... . 468 

6. Prophets of the Captivity and the Return . 470,471 





7 Prophets of the Christian Era : 

John the Baptist .... 472 

The Christ 472 

The Apostles 472 

III Characteristics of the Institution 473 

1. The Prophetic Call ...*... 473 

2. Absence of Consecration 475 

3. Universality of Selection 475 

4 Schools of the Prophets . 477 

5. Modes of Prophetic Teaching. — Poetry . . . 478 

Apologues 48C 

Oral 481 

6. Community of Prophetic Literature 482 

Summary of the Office. — Its Functions in the State and Church 

of Palestine 483-487 

Note 488 

Catalogue of the Prophets : 

I. In the Jewish Canon .... 488 

II. In Rabbinical Traditions 488 

III. In Mussulman Traditions .... 488, 489 

IV. In Ecclesiastical Traditions 489 



Importance of the Prophetic Teaching ... . 491 
I. In Relation to the Past : 

The Historical Works of the Prophets 493 

II. In Relation to the Present : 

1. Their Theology : 

The Unity and the Spirituality of God .... 495 

2. Their Exaltation of the Moral above the Positive Law . 496 

3. Their position as Counsellors ...... 502 

4. Their Political Functions 506 

5. Their Independence . 509 

III In Relation to the Future 511 

Their Predictions . . . 514 

1. Political and Secular Predictions . . . . . 514 

2. Messianic Predictions . . . . . .519 

S. Predictions of the Future of the Church, of the Future of 

the Individual Soul, and of the Future Life . . 521 





I. Ur of the Chaldees .... 527 

1. Kalah-Sherkat 527 

2. Warka . . 527 

3. Mugheyer . 527 

4. Orfa 528 

II. Haran 528 

1. Haran in Mesopotamia 528 

2. Harran-el-Awamid, near Damascus .... 529 
III. " The Place," or " Mosque, of Abraham," near Damascus , 532 



History of the Cave • 5S5 

Visit of the Prince of Wales . . 540 


The Samaritan Passover 559 

Note. The Arithmetical Errors in the Pentateuch • • . • 567 

Index . 569 


Map of the Migrations of Abraham 

" Palestine before the Conquest • 
Sketch Plan of the Mosque at Hebron . 
Plan of Mount Gerizim . 

. to face 

page 5 


" 231 

. u 

" 543 

« • 

. page 55? 


The History of the Jewish Church is divided into 
three great periods; each subdivided into lesser por- 
tions ; each with its own peculiar characteristics ; each 
terminated by a single catastrophe. 

The First is that which, reaching back for its pre- 
lude into the Patriarchal age, commences, properly 
speaking, with the Exodus ; and then, passing through 
the stages of the Desert, the Conquest, and the Set- 
tlement in Palestine, ends with the destruction of the 
Sanctuary at Shiloh, and the absorption of the ancient 
and primitive state of society into the new institution 
of the Monarchy. It includes the rise of the tribes 
of Joseph. It is the period often, though somewhat 
inaccurately, called by the name of the " Theocracy." * 
Its great characters are Abraham, Moses, and Samuel. 
It embraces the first Revelation of the Mosaic Religion 
and the first foundation of the Jewish Church and 

The Second period covers the whole history of the 
Monarchy. It begins with the first rise of the insti- 
tution at the close of the aristocracy or oligarchy of 
the Judges. It includes the Empire of David and 
Solomon ; and then, dividing itself into the two sepa- 
rate streams of the Northern and Southern kingdoms, 

I See Lectures VIII., XVII., XVIII. 


terminates in the overthrow of Jerusalem and the 
Temple by the Chaldean armies. It comprehends the 
great development of the Jewish Church and Religion 
through the growth of the Prophetic Order, and the 
first establishment of the Jewish commonwealth as a 
fixed institution. It is marked by the rise and fall 
of the tribe of Judah. 

The Third period begins with the Captivity. It 
includes the Exile, the Return, and the successive 
periods of Persian, Grecian, and Roman dominion. It 
is marked by the rise of the tribe of Levi in the 
Maccabean dynasty; by the growth of the Jewish 
colonies in Egypt, Babylonia, and the West ; and, 
lastly and chiefly, by the formation of the last and 
greatest development of the Prophetic Spirit, out of 
which rose the Christian Church, and the consequent 
expansion of the Jewish Religion into a higher region; 
whilst at the same time the dissolution of the exist- 
ing Church and Commonwealth of Judaea was brought 
about by the destruction of Jerusalem and of the Tem- 
ple, in the war of Titus, and by the final extinction 
of the national independence, in the war of Hadrian. 

The present volume includes the first portion of the 
History extending from Abraham to Samuel, 1 and will, 
it is hoped, be followed by two others, bringing down 
the history to its natural conclusion. 

It will be observed that, at the beginning of the 
several sections, I have prefixed the special authorities 
treating of the subjects contained in them. 

Of course the main bulk of the authorities is to be 

1 From the extreme uncertainty any dates. In the second and third 
of the chronology during this early periods, where the chronology be- 
period, I have abstained from affixing comes fixed, the case is different 


found in the Canonical Books of the Hebrew Scrip- 
tures. It has been at various times supposed that 
the Books of Moses, Joshua, and Samuel, were all writ- 
ten in their present form by those whose names they 
bear. This notion, however, has been in former ages 
disputed both by Jewish and Christian theologians, and 
is now rejected by almost all scholars. It has no foun- 
dation in the several Books themselves, and is contra- 
dicted by the strong internal evidence of their contents. 
To determine accurately the authorship and the dates 
of these and the other Sacred Writings is a question 
belonging to the same Biblical Criticism, which has thus 
modified the opinion just mentioned ; and to those who 
are called to enter into the details of such inquiries 
I gladly leave the solution of this problem. But there 
are, meanwhile, certain helps to guide us in the study 
of the general history, which, though obvious in them- 
selves, often escape the notice of the ordinary theologi- 
cal student. 

(1.) The history of the Jewish Church and People is 
not written at length in the Jewish Scriptures Compari . 
in the form in which we should desire ulti- s° a "red the 
mately to possess it. The order of the books Book8, 
as they stand in the Canon is often not their real 
order, nor are the events themselves always related in 
the order of time. Accordingly, if we wish to have 
the full account of any event or character, we must 
piece it together from various books or passages, often 
separated from each other by considerable intervals. 
Obvious examples of this are to be found in the illus- 
trations furnished to the life of David by the Psalms, 
and of the history of the Jewish Kings by the Pro- 
phetical writings. Again, portions of the same historical 
events are related from different points of view, or 


with fresh incidents, or by implication, in parts of the 
historical books where we should least expect to find 
them. Thus the slaughter of Gideon's brothers, 1 and 
a long untold stage of his career, is suggested by a 
single allusion, in the existing narrative to events of 
which the record has not come down to us; the 
storming of Hebron by Caleb 2 is partly made up from 
the Book of Joshua and partly from that of the Book 
of Judges ; the narratives 3 affixed to the end of the 
Book of Judges must chronologically be transferred to 
the beginning of the period. Many of these scattered 
notices are ingeniously collected by Professor Blunt as 
undesigned evidences to the truth of the history ; and? 
though his arguments are sometimes too fanciful to 
be safely trusted, yet his method is one of great 
value to the historical student, and is the same which 
has been followed out, in a larger and more critical 
spirit, and with more permanent and fruitful results, 
in Ewald's reconstruction of the history both of the 
Judges and of David. 

(2.) The Books of the Old Testament, in their present 
The lost form, in many instances are not, and do not 
profess to be, the original documents on which 
the history was based. There was (to use a happy 
expression used of late) a "Bible within a Bible," an 
" Old Testament before an Old Testament was written." 
To discover any traces of these lost works in the act- 
ual text, or any allusions to them, even when their 
substance has entirely perished, is a task of immense 
interest. It reveals to us a glimpse of an earlier world, 
of an extinct literature, such as always rouses innocent 
inquiry to the utmost. Such is the ancient document 

1 Judg.viii. 18. See Lecture XIV. 2 Josh. xi. 13; Judg. i. 10. Se« 
3 See Lecture XIII. Lecture XII. 


describing the conquest of the Eastern kings in the 
14th chapter of the Book of Genesis ; the inestimable 
fragment of ancient songs in the 21st chapter of the 
Book of Numbers ; the quotations from the Book of 
Jasher, in the Book of Joshua and the First Book 
of Samuel. Whenever these glimpses occur, they de- 
serve the most careful attention. We are brought by 
them years, perhaps centuries, nearer to the events 
described. We are allowed by them to see something 
of the construction of the narrative itself. The indi- 
cations of the origin of the different documents by 
variations of style, by the use of peculiar names and 
titles, may be too minute to catch the attention of 
any except a professed Hebrew scholar. But the points 
to which I now refer are open to the consideration of 
any careful student. 

(3.) Yet, again, we must always bear in mind that 
the history of the Chosen People is not ex- The He- 
clusively contained in the Authorized English brew text ' 
version, nor even only in the Hebrew text from 
which that version is a translation. The Authorized 
Version, indeed, is a sufficient account of the history 
for the general purposes of popular instruction. But 
as no scholar thinks of reading Thucydides even in 
the best English translation, so no scholar should be 
satisfied unless he at least endeavors to ascertain how 
far the English version represents the original. And 
in proportion to the value we attach to the actual 
words of the Bible itself, ought to be the care not 
to over-estimate the words even of the best mod 
ern translation. The variations are, perhaps, not im 
portant as to the general sense. But as to the 
precise life and force of each word, (I speak chiefly 
from my experience of a single department, the geo 


graphical vocabulary,) they are very considerable ■ 
ind in a language so pregnant as the Hebrew, in- 
volve often serious historical consequences. 

The Hebrew text, however, is not our only source 
The Sep- °f information as to the original materials 
tuagmt. Q £ t j ie g acre( } History. Without arguing the 

relative merits of the Hebrew and the Septuagint 
texts, we have no right to set aside or neglect 
such an additional authority as the Septuagint fur- 
nishes. Whatever may be the value of the He- 
brew text in itself, or its authority in the present 
Jewish Church, or the present Church of West- 
ern Europe, the Septuagint was the text sanc- 
tioned probably by our Lord Himself, certainly by the 
Apostles, and still acknowledged by the whole East. 
The Septuagint must, therefore, be regarded as the 
Old Testament of the Apostolical, and of the early 
Catholic Church. And, though we may refuse to ac- 
knowledge this its coordinate authority with the 
received text of our present Bible, it has at least 
the value of the very oldest Jewish tradition and 
commentary on the Sacred Text. Therefore, no pas- 
sage of the Sacred History can be considered as ex- 
hausted unless we have seen how it is represented 
by the Alexandrian translators; and if, as is often 
the case, we find variations of considerable magnitude 
from the Hebrew, such variations may always be re- 
garded, if not as the original account of the matter, 
at least as explanations and traditions of high an- 
tiquity. Such, for example, are the details of the 
descent of the Eastern kings, 1 of the passage of the 
Jordan, 2 of the execution of the sons of Saul, 3 of 
the coronation of Jeroboam. 4 The Jews of Palestine, 

l Gen. xiv. 16. Josh. iv. 20. 3 2 Sam. xxi. 16. 4 1 Kings xii. xiv. 


in their horror of a rival text, — perhaps of a trans* 
lation which should render their sacred books acces- 
sible to all the world, — held that on the day on 
which the Seventy Translators met, a supernatural 
darkness overspread the earth ; and the day was to 
them one of their solemn periods of fasting and hu- 
miliation. But to us, who know what the Septuagint 
was in the hands of the Apostles, as the means of 
spreading the knowledge of the Old Testament 
through the Gentile world — who, in the scantiness of 
any remains of the ancient Jewish literature, gladly 
welcome any additional information to fill up the void 
— who feel what a bulwark this double version of 
the Old Testament furnishes against a too rigid or 
literal construction of the Sacred History — the Sev- 
enty Translators, if not worthy of the high place to 
which the ancient Church assigned them, may well 
be ranked amongst the greatest benefactors of Bib- 
lical Literature and Free Inquiry. 

(4.) There is yet another class of authorities to 
which I have referred whenever occasion of- Heathen 
fered. It has been truly said that the history traditions - 
of the Chosen People is the history, not of an in- 
spired book, but of an inspired people. If so, any 
record that has been preserved to us of that people, 
even although not contained in their own sacred 
books, is far too precious to be despised. These rec- 
ords are indeed very scanty. They consist of a few 
fragments of Gentile histories preserved by Josephus, 
Eusebius, and Clement of Alexandria ; a few state- 
ments in Justin, Tacitus, and Strabo ; a few inscrip- 
tions in Egypt and Assyria ; the traditions of the 
East, whether preserved in Rabbinical, Christian, or 
Mussulman legends ; and the traditions of the Jewish 


Church itself, as preserved by Philo and Josephus 
All these notices, unequal in value as they are to 
each other, or to the records of the Old Testament 
itself, have yet this use — that they recall to us the 
existence of the facts, independent of the authority 
of the Sacred Books. It is true that the larger part of 
the interest and instruction of the Jewish history 
would be lost with the loss of the Hebrew Scriptures. 
But their original influence on the world was irre- 
spective of the Scriptures, and must always continue. 
Even had we only the imperfect account of the 
Eastern Jews in Tacitus and Strabo, we should know 
traditions, fa^ they were the most remarkable nation of 
ancient Asia. This argument applies with still greater 
force to the traditions of the East, and to the tradi- 
tions of Josephus. With regard to the former, it is 
impossible, without greater knowledge than can be 
obtained by one who is ignorant of Arabic, and who 
has only visited the East in two or three fugitive 
journeys, to ascertain how far they have a substantial 
existence of their own, or how far they are mere am- 
plifications of the Koran and the Old Testament. 
Some cases — such as the wide-spread prevalence of 
the name of " Friend " for Abraham, too slightly no- 
ticed in the Bible 1 to have been derived from thence, 
and the importance assigned to the Arabian Jethro or 
Shouayb 2 — seem to indicate an independent origin. 
But, whether this be so or not, they continue to form 
the staple of the belief of a large part of mankind on 
the subject of the Jewish history, and as such I have 
ventured to quote them, partly in order to contrast 
them with the more sober style of the Sacred Becords, 
but chiefly where they fall in with the general spirit 

1 See Lecture I. 8 See Lectures V., VI. 


of the Biblical narrative, and thus furnish an instruc- 
tive, because unexpected, illustration of it. Many 
common readers may be struck by the Persian or 
Arabian stories of Abraham or Moses, 1 whose minds 
have by long custom become hardened to the effect 
of the narrative of the Bible itself. 

The traditions of Josephus are yet more significant. 
It is remarkable that, of his four works, two Josephus. 
run parallel to the Old Testament, and two to the 
New. Whilst the histories of "the Wars of the Jews" 
and of his own " Life " throw a flood of light by con- 
temporary allusions on the time of the Christian era, 
the " Antiquities " and a Controversy with Apion " illus- 
trate hardly less remarkably the times of the Older 
Dispensation. The " Controversy with Apion," indeed, 
is chiefly important for its preservation of those Gen- 
tile traditions to which I have before referred. But 
the "Antiquities" furnish an example such as hardly 
occurs elsewhere in ancient literature of a recent 
history existing side by side with most of the original 
documents from which it is compiled. It would be a 
curious speculation, which would test the value of 
the style and spirit of the Sacred writers, to imagine 
what would be the residuum of the effect produced 
by the Jewish history if the Old Testament were lost, 
and the facts were known to us only through the 
" Antiquities " of Josephus. His style is indeed a con- 
tinual foil to that of the Sacred Narrative — his ver- 
bosity contrasted with its simplicity, his vulgarity 
with its sublimity, his prose with its poetry, his uni- 
formity with its variety. But, with all these draw- 
oacks, to which we must add his omissions and emen- 
dations, as if to meet the critical eye of his Roman 

1 See Lectures L, VIII. 


masters, the main thread of the story is faithfully 
retained ; occasionally, as in the case of the death of 
Moses and Saul, 1 a true pathos steals over the dull 
level ; occasionally, as in the case of the story of Ba- 
laam, a just discernment brings out clearly the moral 
elevation peculiar to the ancient Scriptures. But 
there is a yet further interest. His account is filled 
with variations not to be explained by any of the dif- 
ferences just cited. To examine the origin of these 
would be an interesting task. Sometimes he coin- 
cides with the variations of the Septuagint ; and in 
case where he seems not to have copied from that 
Version, his statement must be considered as a confir- 
mation of the value of the text which the Septuagint 
has followed. Sometimes he supplies facts which agree 
with existing localities, but have no direct connection 
with the Sacred Narrative either in Hebrew or Greek, 
as is his account of the mountain (evidently Jebel 
Attaka) which hemmed in the Israelites at the Red 
Sea, of the traditional sanctity of Sinai, and of the 
still existing manna. 2 Sometimes he makes statements 
which are not found in the narrative itself, but which 
remarkably illustrate indirect allusions contained either 
in the history or in other parts of the Old Testa- 
ment — as, for example, the thunder-storm at the Red 
Sea, which coincides very slightly with the narrative 
in Exodus, but exactly and fully with the allusions 
in the 77th Psalm; 3 or the slaughter in the torrent 
of Arnon, which has no foundation in the Mosaic nar- 
rative, but is the natural explanation of the ancient 
song preserved in the Book of Numbers. 4 In a more 
critical historian these additions might be considered 

l Ant. iv. 8. § 48 ; vi. 14, § 7. 3 Ibid. iii. ; i. §§ 6, 7 ; v. 1 ; n. xv. 1 

* Ibid. iv. 6. * Ibid. ii. 16, § 3 ; iv. 5, § 2. 


mere amplifications of the slight hints furnished by 
the original writers, but in Josephus it seems reason- 
able (and, in that case, becomes deeply interesting) 
to ascribe them to an independent source of informa- 
tion, common to the tradition which he used, and tc 
the occasional allusions in the Sacred writers. Some- 
times his variations consist simply of new information, 
capable neither of proof or disproof, but receiving a 
certain degree of support from the simplicity and 
probability which distinguishes them from common 
Rabbinical legends ; such as the story of Hur being the 
husband of Miriam, 1 or of the rite of the red heifer 
having its origin in her funeral. 2 Finally, other state- 
ments exist, which agree with the Oriental or Gentile 
traditions already quoted, and thus reciprocally yield 
and receive a limited confirmation ; as, for instance, 
Abraham's connection with the contemplation of the 
stars, 3 and the great deeds of Moses in Egypt. 4 

Such are the main authorities. In using them for 
these Lectures, it will sometimes happen that they 
hardly profess, or can hardly be proved to contain, 
the statement of the original historical facts to which 
they relate. But they nevertheless contain the near- 
est approach which we, at this distance of time, can 
now make to a representation of those facts. They 
are the refraction of the history, if not the history 
itself, — the echo of the words, if not the actual words. 
And, throughout, it has been my endeavor to lay 
stress on those portions and those elements of the 

1 See Lecture VI. 3 See Lecture I. 

8 See Lecture VIII. * See Lecture V. 


Sacred Story, which have hitherto stood, and are 
likely to stand, the investigations of criticism, and 
from which may be drawn the most solid instruction 
for all times. 

There may be errors in chronology — exaggerations 
in numbers — contradictions between the different 
narratives. These may compel us to relinquish one or 
other of the numerous hypotheses which have been 
formed respecting the composition or the inspiration 
of the Old Testament. But as they would not destroy 
the value of other history, so they need not destroy 
the value of this history because it relates to Sacred 
subjects ; or prevent us from making the very most 
of those portions of it which are undeniably his- 
torical, or full of the widest and most permanent 
lessons, both for a the example of life and instruction 
of manners," and for "the establishment of" true 
religious " doctrine." 



m. JACOB. 


1 Gen. xi. 27-1. 26 (Hebrew and Septuagint) ; Josh. xxiv. 2-15; 
Neh. ix. 7, 8 ; Ps. cv. 6-23 ; Hos. xii. 3, 4, 12 ; Isa. li. 2. 

2. The earlier Jewish traditions: in Ecclus. xliv. 19-23; Judith v. 

6-11 ; Acts vii. 1-16 ; Josephus, Ant. i. 7— ii. 8 ; Philo, De Migra- 
tione Abrahami, De Abrahamo, and De Josepko. 

3. The Heathen traditions preserved by Berosus, Nicolaus of Damascus, 

Hecatseus of Abdera, Cleodemus Malchus (in Josephus, Ant. i. 
ch. 7, 15), Eupolemus, Artapanus, Apollonius Melon, Alexander 
Polyhistor, Theodotus, Aristaeus, and Demetrius (in Eusebius, 
Prcep. Ev. ix. 16-25), Justin (xxxvi. 2). 

4. The later Jewish traditions in the Talmud and the Targum Pseudo- 

jonathan ; and collected in Otho's Lexicon Rabbinico-philologicum 
(Altona, 1757), and in Beer's Leben Abrahams (Leipsic, 1859). 

5. The Mussulman traditions scattered throughout the Koran, collected 

in D'Herbelot's Bibliotheque Orientate (" Abraham ; " " Ishak ; " 
"Jacob;" " Jousouf") ; and conveniently arranged in Lane's 
Selections from the Kur-dn, §§ 12, 13 : Weil's Biblical Legends 
(London, 1846), pp. 47-90 : and Jalal-addin, Hist, of Temple of 
Jerus. (London, 1836), ch. xi.— xv. The Persian legends in Hyde, 
De Religione Veterum Persarum, ch. 2, 3. 

6. The Christian traditions : in Fabricius's Codex Pseudepigraphus VeU 

Testamenti, pp. 311-800 : Suidas, Lexicon ("Abraham"). 



The Patriarchal Age is not in itself the beginning 
of the history of the Jewish Church or nation. That, 
as we shall see, has its origin from Moses. But the 
more primitive period is the necessary prelude of that 
history, because it contains the earliest distinct begin- 
nings of the Jewish religion and of the Jewish race. 
It is in this sense that the first event in this period 
may fitly be treated as the opening of all Ecclesias- 
tical History, as the first historical commencement of 
a religious community and worship, which has contin- 
ued ever since, without interruption, into the Chris- 
tian Church, such as, with all its manifold diversities, 
it now exists. This event, according as it is appre- 
hended from its human or its Divine side, may be 
described as "the Migration," or as "the Call" of 
Abraham. In every crisis of history these two ele- 
ments in their measure may be perceived, the one 
secular, the other religious ; the one belonging merely 
to the past, the other reaching forward into the re- 
motest future. In this instance, both are set dis- 
tinctly before us in the Biblical narrative, side by 
side, as if in almost unconscious independence of each 
other. a And Terah took Ahram his son, and Lot the son 


"of Haran his son's son, and Sarai his daughter-in-law ', 
" his son Abrams wife ; and they went forth with them 
" [LXX. " he led them "] from TJr of the Chaldees, to 
" go into the land of Canaan : and they came unto Haran, 
" and dwelt there , . . Ana Abram took Sarai his 
" ivife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance 
(i that they had gathered, and the soids that they had gotten 
" [the slaves that they had bought] in Haran ; and they 
" went forth to go into the land of Canaan ; and into the 
u land of Canaan they came" This is the external as- 
pect of the Migration. 1 A family, a tribe of the great 
Semitic race, moves westward from the cradle of its 
earliest civilization. There was nothing outwardly to 
distinguish them from those who had descended from 
the Caucasian range into the plains of the south in 
former times, or who would do so in times yet to 
come. There was, however, another aspect which the 
surrounding tribes saw not, but which is the only 
point that we now see distinctly. tt The Lord 6 said ' 2 
" unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kin- 
u dred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will 
" show thee : and I will make of thee a great nation, and 
" L will bless thee, and make thy name great ; and thou 
" shall be a blessing : and I will bless them that bless thee, 
66 and curse him that curseth thee : and in thee shall all the 
"families of the earth be blessed." Interpret these words 
as we will ; give them a meaning more or less literal, 
more or less restricted ; yet with what a force do they 
break in upon the homeliness of the rest of the nar- 
rative : what an impulse do they disclose in the inner- 
most heart of the movement : what a long vista do 

1 This is the title of Philo's first " had said," is an alteration of the 
treatise on Abraham. text, probably to meet the statement 

8 The tense in the English version, of Acts vii. 2. 





they open, even to the very close of the history, of 
which this was the first beginning ! 

Let us then follow the example of the sacred narra- 
tive by drawing out both these views of the event. 
Take, first, its outward character as a national or mi- 
gratory movement. 

I. The name of Abraham, as we shall afterwards see 
more fully, is not confined to the Sacred His- The Mi ra _ 
tory. Over and above the Book of Genesis, tion - 
there are two main sources of information. We have 
the fragments preserved to us by Josephus and Eusebius 
from Greek or Asiatic writers. We have also the Jew- 
ish and Mussulman traditions, as represented chiefly in 
the Talmud and the Koran. It is in the former class 
— those presented to us by the Pagan historians — that 
the migration of Abraham assumes its most purely secu- 
lar aspect. They describe him as a great man of the 
East, well read in the stars, or as a conquering Prince 
who swept all before him on his way to Palestine. 
These characteristics, remote as they are from our com- 
mon view, have nevertheless their point of contact with 
the Biblical account, which, simple as it is, implies more 
than it states. 

In the darkness of this distant past, the most distinct 
images we can now hope to recall are those of Urofthe 
the place and scene of the event. Where was Chaldees - 
" Ur of the Chaldees ? " * It would seem at first sight 
as if this, the most solid footing on which we could rely, 
shifted beneath our feet so rapidly as to deprive us of 
any standing ground whatever. The name itself of 
" Chasdim " or " Chaldsea " has, in the progress of centu- 
ries, descended like a landslip from the northern Arme- 

l "Ur Chasdim," i. e. " Ur of the people of Chesed" — as it is expressed 
'n the original. 


nian mountains, to which it originally belonged, into the 
southern limits of Mesopotamia, which claimed it in 
after-times. This is the first source of confusion. Is it 
the northern or southern, the ancient or the more recent 
Chaldgea, of which we are speaking ? But, besides this, 
the name of Ur also seems to have* been sown broadcast 
over the whole region. One is pointed out near Nisi- 
bis, another near Nineveh; a third and fourth have 
lately been found in the neighborhood of Babylon. It 
is perhaps the most probable solution that the name 
originally meant (as the Septuagint translators have ren- 
dered it) a country rather than a place. But no argu- 
ments advanced, even by the high authority of recent 
discoverers, seem as yet sufficiently established to dis- 
turb the old and general tradition which fixes the chief 
centre of the early movements of the tribe of Abraham 
at the place variously known as Orfa, Roha, Orchoe, 
Callirhoe, Chaldaeopolis, Edessa, Antioch of the far East, 
Erech, 1 Ur ; and, were it more in doubt than it is, the 
singular ecclesiastical position occupied by this city of 
many names calls for a few words in passing. 

In Christian times, it was celebrated as the capital of 
orfa. Abgarus, Agbarus, or Akbar, who received, 

according to the ancient tradition, the letter and por- 
trait of our Saviour, 2 and thus became the first Christian 
king. Gradually it was invested with a sacred preemi- 
nence, as the cradle, the university, the metropolis of 
the Christianity of the remote East. Within its walls 
lived and died and is buried the chief saint of the Syrian 
Church, Ephrem, Deacon of Edessa. In its neighbor- 

1 Baver, Historia Osrhoene et Edes- messenger, attacked by thieves, drop- 
5cna, 3. ped the letter, which gave the spring 

2 A well was shown in Pococke's a miraculous character, 
time (Travels, i 160), in which thp 

Lect.I. ur of the chaldees 7 

hood, in strange conformity with its earliest history 
wandered a race of hermits, not monastic or coenobitic, 
but nomadic and pastoral, who took to the desert life, 
and almost l literally grazed like sheep on the desert 
herbage. In later times, yet again, it became the seat 
of a Christian principality under the chiefs of the First 
Crusade. But whilst these later glories of Edessa are 
gathered from books, the stories of Abraham alone still 
live in the mouths of the Arab inhabitants of Orfa, 
and in the peculiarities of its remarkable situation. 
The city lies on the edge of one of the bare, rugged 
spurs which descend from the mountains of Armenia 
into the Assyrian plains, 2 in the cultivated land which, 
as lying under those mountains, is called Padan-Aram. 
Two physical features must have secured it, from the 
earliest times, as a nucleus for the civilization of those 
regions. One is a high crested crag, the natural for- 
tification of the present citadel, doubly defended by a 
trench of immense depth, cut out of the living rock 
behind it. The other is an abundant spring, 3 issuing 
in a pool of transparent clearness, and embosomed in 
a mass of luxuriant verdure, which, amidst the dull 
brown desert all around, makes, and must always have 
made, this spot an oasis, a paradise, in the Chaldsean 
wilderness. Round this sacred pool, u The Beautiful 
Spring," u Callirhoe," as it was called by the Greek 
writers, gather the modern traditions of the Patriarch. 
Hard by, amidst its cypresses, is the mosque on the 
spot where he is said to have offered his first prayer : 
the cool spring itself burst forth in the midst of 

1 Tillemont, S. Ephrem, ch. 16, 17. 3 At times it swells into a flood, 

2 Olivier (Voyage a Syrie, iv. 329) and is hence called Daizon or Scirtus 
gives a good description of the several ( " the leaper " ), Bayer, 14. 

■ones of Mesopotamia. 


the fiery furnace 1 which the infidels had kindled to 
burn him ; its sacred fish, swarming by thousands and 
thousands, from their long-continued preservation, are 
cherished by the faithful as under his special patron- 
age ; the two Corinthian columns which stand on the 
crag above are made to commemorate his deliverance. 
In the first centuries of the Christian era we know 
that other memorials of the Patriarchal age were 
pointed out. The year of Abraham was long adopted 
in Edessa as the epoch of its dates. 2 Josephus speaks 
of the sepulchre of Haran, still shown in his time at 
Ur; Eusebius 3 speaks of the tent which Jacob inhab- 
ited whilst feeding the flocks of Laban, as preserved 
till it was accidentally burnt by lightning in the 
second century. But, apart from all such transitory 
and doubtful reminiscences as these, we may well be- 
lieve that the high rock, the clear spring, the burst 
of verdure, must have as truly made this (such 
might be a possible interpretation of the name) " the 
light of the race of Arphaxad" (Ur Chasdim), as the 
like circumstances made Damascus " the eye of the 
East;" and amongst the countless sepulchres which 
fill the rocky hill 4 behind the city, some may reach 
back to the earliest times of human habitation and 

From this spot, invested with a tender attractiveness 
from which even the passing traveller 5 reluctantly 
tears himself away, we may believe that the family 
of Abraham were called. Was it. as according to " Jose- 

1 This probably arose from a mis- 4 It is now called " Top-dag," the 
conception of the words " He came hill of the cannon. Olivier, iv. 226. 

* out of Ur," i. e. " the light," or 5 I owe this, and much else of the 

* fire." impressions of Orfa (which I have not 

2 Bayer, 24. myself visited), to the kind informa- 
Chron 22. tion of two recent travellers. 

1 ecr. I. HARAN. 9 

phus," * the grief of Terah over the untimely death 
of Haran ? Was it, as according to the tradition fol- 
lowed by Stephen, that the higher call had already 
been made to Abraham ? 2 We know not. We are 
told only that they went southward : they went upon 
the track which Chaldaeans, and Medes, and Persians, 
and Curds, and Tartars, afterwards in long succession 
followed, as if towards the rich plains of Nineveh or 
of Babylon. 

One day's journey from Ur, if Orfa be Ur, was the 
spot which they chose for their encampment 3 Haran. 
— Haran, Charran, Carrhse. That it was a place of 
note may be gathered from its long-continued name 
and fame in later days. As the sanctuary of the 
Moon goddess, it was, far into the Eoman Empire, 
regarded as the centre of Eastern Paganism, in rivalry 
to Edessa, the centre of Eastern Christendom. It 
was the scene, too, of the memorable defeat of Cras- 
sus. But no modern traveller, up to the present time, 
has left a written account of this world-old place. 
There is hardly anything to tell us why it was fixed 
upon either as the scene of that fierce conflict, or as 
the scene of the Patriarchal settlement. Only we 
observe that it is the point of divergence between 
the great 1 caravan routes towards the various fords of 
the Euphrates on the one hand, and the Tigris on the 
other ; and therefore must have had some marked 
features to make it a fitting encampment both for 
Roman general and Chaldaean Patriarch. Beside the 

1 Jos. Ant. i. 7, 1. country is well described in Merivale's 

2 Acts vii. 4. Philo, i. 464; per- Hist, of Romans under the Empiie, 
baps Neh. ix. 7. i. 520, and, with elaborate learning, ir. 

3 Visible from Orfa almost at all Chwolson's Ssabier, i. 304. 

times (Ainsworth, Assyria, Babylonia, 4 Ritter, vii. 296. As such it seemj 
Ckaldoea, 153), The surrounding to be mentioned in Eaekiel xxvii. 23 


settlement, too, were the wells, 1 round which for the 
next generations one large portion of the tribe of 
Terah continued to linger; and the settlers in the 
distant west are described as still retaining their affec- 
tion for the ancient sanctuary, 2 where the father of 
their race was buried, and whence they sought, ac- 
cording to the true Arabian usage, their own kins- 
women and cousins in marriage. 

But for the highest spirit of the Patriarchal family 
Passage Haran could not be a permanent abiding-place. 
Euphrates. u The great river," "the river," as his de- 
scendants called it, the river Euphrates, rolled its vast 
boundary of waters between him and the remote coun- 
try to which his steps were bent. Two days' journey 
brought him to the high chalk cliffs which overlook 
the wide western desert. Broad and strong lay the 
great stream beneath and between. He crossed over 
it, probably near the same point where it is still 
forded. 3 He crossed it, and became (such at least 
was one interpretation always put upon the word) 
Abraham, " the Hebrew" the man who had crossed 4 the 
river flood — the man who came from beyond the Eu- 

For seven days' journey 5 or more, the caravan would 
Damascus, advance along what is still the main desert 
road to Syria. Nothing is said in history of their 
route. It is but an etymological legend which con- 
nects Aleppo 6 with the herds of the Patriarch's pas- 

1 Nieb. Trav. ii. 410. Gen. xxix. 2. 4 LXX. Gen. xiv. 13, 6 nepar^, 

2 Gen. xi. 31, xxix. 4. Ewald, Renan, Langues Se'mitiques, i. 108. 
Geschichte, i. 413. 5 Gen. xxxi. 23. Ritter, West Asia, 

3 Zeugma, the ancient passage, was vii. 296. 

A little west of the present passage at 6 « Haleb," the milk of Abraham's 
Birs Olivier (iv. 215) compares it in cow. See the legend in Porter's 
•ize and rapidity to the Rhone. Handbook of Syria, 613. 


toral tribe. They neared the range of the Lebanon 
which screened the Holy Land from their view; and 
underneath its shade they rested, for the last time, in 
Damascus. 1 It is curious that whilst the connection 
of Abraham with this most ancient of cities is almost 
entirely derived from extraneous sources, it is yet 
sufficiently confirmed by the sacred narrative to be 
worthy of credit. " Abraham," we are told, " was king 
*of Damascus." 2 He had crossed the desert with his 
tribe, as not many years afterwards came Chedorlao- 
mer and the kings of the East ; and, as they descended 
on the green oasis of Siddim, so this earlier conqueror 
established riimself in the green oasis of Damascus, the 
likeness, on a larger scale, of his own native Ur. In 
later ages his name was still honored in the region ; 
and a spot pointed out as " Abraham's dwelling-place." 
And in the primitive play on the name 3 of Abraham's 
faithful slave, preserved in the sacred record, we have 
a guaranty of the close tie which subsisted between 
the patriarch and his earliest conquest. "Eliezer of 
Damascus" was the lasting trophy of his victory. 

As we pause at the last halting-place before his 
entrance into Palestine, let us look more fully in the 
face the great character that we have brought thus 
far on his way. 

Not many years ago much offence was given 
by one, now a high dignitary in the English Likeness to 

t . . tilC A I iluKtll 

Church, who ventured to suggest the original chiefs. 

1 Compare the descent of the Ara- the Greek, version — " This son of 
maeans on Damascus from Kir in Ar- " Masek is Damasek Eliezer." The 
taenia, Amos ix. 7. Arab tradition makes Eliezer's name 

2 Justin, xxxvi. 2. Nicolaus of to have been " Dimshak," and the 
Damascus (Jos. Ant. i. 7, 2). origin of the name of the city. DTIer- 

3 Gen. xv. 2. Ewald, i. 366. It is belot, " Abraham" and «• Damaschk," 
lost in the English, but preserved in i. 209. 


likeness of Abraham, by calling him a Bedouin Sheik. 
It is one advantage flowing from the multiplication of 
Eastern travels that such offence could now no longer be 
taken. Every English pilgrim to the Holy Land, even the 
most reverential and the most fastidious, is delighted to 
trace and to record the likeness of patriarchal manners 
and costumes in the Arabian chiefs. To refuse to do so 
would be to decline the use of what we may almost call a 
singular gift of Providence. The unchanged habits of the 
East render it in this respect a kind of living Pompeii. 
The outward appearances, which in the case of the 
Greeks and Romans we know only through art and 
writing, through marble, fresco, and parchment, in the 
case of Jewish history we know through the forms 
of actual men, living and moving before us, wearing 
almost the same garb, speaking in almost the, same 
language, and certainly with the same general turns 
of speech and tone and manners. Such as we see 
them now, starting on a pilgrimage or a journey 
were Abraham and his sister's son, when they u went 
" forth " to go into the land of Canaan. " All their 
u substance that they had gathered " is heaped high 
on the backs of their kneeling camels. The " slaves 
" that they had bought in Haran " run along by their 
sides. Round about them are their flocks of sheep 
and goats, and the asses moving underneath the tow- 
ering forms of the camels. The chief is there, amidst 
the stir of movement, or resting at noon within his 
black tent, marked out from the rest by his cloak of 
brilliant scarlet, by the fillet of rope which binds the 
loose handkerchief round his head, by the spear which 
ke holds in his hand to guide the march, and to fix 
the encampment. The chief's wife, the princess 1 of 

1 " Sarah " = princess. " Sarai " = my princess. 


the tribe, is there in her 1 own tent, to make the 
cakes, and prepare the usual meal 2 of milk and but- 
ter; the slave or the child is ready to bring in the 
red 3 lentile soup for the weary hunter, or to kill the 
calf for the unexpected guest. 4 Even the ordinary 
social state is the same : polygamy, slavery, the ex- 
clusiveness of family ties ; the period of service for 
the dowry of a wife ; the solemn obligations of hospi- 
tality; the temptations, easily followed, into craft or 

In every aspect, except that which most concerns 
us, the likeness is complete between the Bedouin 
chief of the present day, and the Bedouin chief who 
came from Chaldsea nearly four thousand years ago. In 
every aspect but one ; and that one contrast is set off in 
the highest degree by the resemblance of all besides. 
The more we see the outward conformity of Abraham 
and his immediate descendants to the godless, grasping, 
foul-mouthed Arabs of the modern desert, nay even 
their fellowship in the infirmities of their common 
state and country, the more we shall recognize the 
force of the religious faith, which has raised them 
from that low estate to be the heroes and saints of 
their people, the spiritual fathers of European religion 
and civilization. The hands are the hands of the Bed- 
ouin Esau ; but the voice is the voice of Abraham, 
Isaac, and Jacob, — the voice w T hich still makes itself 
heard across deserts and continents and seas ; heard 
wherever there is a conscience to listen, or an imag- 
ination to be pleased, or a sense of reverence left 
amongst mankind. 

Gen. xxiv. 67. 4 J^r the Arab life in ChaldaBa, 

2 Gen. xviii. 2-8. see Loftus, Chaldcea and Susiana, 

3 Gen. xxv. 34. 156. 


II. What then is the position which has been 
accorded to Abraham by the general witness of his- 
tory ? What was it which caused his own nation to 
make their highest boast of a descent * from him ? which 
caused them to look forward to the rest in his bosom 2 
as the fitting repose of wearied souls that have escaped 
from the toil of their earthly pilgrimage ? 

The answer may best be given by considering the 
two names by which he is known in the traditions 
of the East, and which, though they only occur once 
or twice in Scripture, yet so well correspond to its 
whole representation of Abraham, that they may fitly 
be taken as his distinguishing characteristics. 

1. First, he is « the Friend of God." " El-Khalil-Allah," 
The Friend or > as ne * s more usually called, a El-Khalil," sim- 
of God. piy ? a the Friend," 3 is a title which has in Mus- 
sulman countries superseded altogether his own proper 
name. In many ways it has a peculiar significance. 
It is, in its most general aspect, an illustration of the 
difference which has been well remarked between the 
early beginnings of Jewish history and those of any 
other ancient nation. Grant to the uttermost the un- 
certain, shadowy, fragmentary character of these prim- 
itive records, yet there is one point brought out 

1 It was a tradition that the Hebrew " Friend of the Father." In Scrip- 
letters were given by him ; and that ture it occurs only in James ii. 23 ; 
Aleph stood first as being the first let- " He was called the friend of God : " 
ter of his name. (Suidas in voce and more doubtfully in Isaiah xli. 8 ; 
" Abraham.") Artapanus (in Eus. "Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed 
Prcep. ix. 18) derives the name " He- " of Abraham my friend : " 2 Chron. 
brew " from that of Abraham. xx. 7; "The seed of Abraham my 

2 See Lightfoot on Luke xvi. 22. "friend." In Clem. Rom. (Ep. i. 10) 

3 See D'Herbelot ("Abraham"), he is called simply "the friend,' 
for its precise import. The name of 'ABpaa/x 6 (f>i?Loc npoaayopsv&ei^. In Gen. 
Abraham was interpreted by Apol- xviii. 17, Philo (i. 40) reads " friend " 
lonius Melon (Eus. Prcep. ix. 19) as for "servant." 


clearly and distinctly. The ancestor of the Chosen 
People is not, as in the legends of Greece and Home, 
or even of Germany, a god or a demi-god, or the son 
of a god : he is, as we have just observed, a mere 
man, a chief, such as those to whom these records were 
first presented must have constantly seen with their 
own eyes. The interval 1 between the human and the 
divine is never confounded. Close as are the com- 
munications with Deity, yet the Divine Essence is 
always veiled, the man is never absorbed into it. 
Abraham is u the Friend," but he is nothing more. 
He is nothing more ; but he is nothing less. He is 
"the Friend of God." The title includes a double 
meaning. He is " beloved of God." " Fear not, Abram, 
" I am thy shield and thy exceeding great reward." 
He was "chosen" 2 by God: he was "called" 3 The can of 
by God. Although in the word a ecclesia," in God " 
its religious sense, the etymological meaning, as " of an 
assembly called forth by the herald" is lost in the gen- 
eral idea of " a congregation," yet this original mean- 
ing gives a fitness to the consideration that he who 
was the first in the succession of the " ecclesia," or 
" church," was so by virtue of what is known in all 
subsequent history as his " call." The word itself, as 
applied to the summons which led the Patriarch forth, 
rarely occurs in the sacred writers. But it gathers 
up in a short compass the chief meaning of his first 
appearance. In him was exemplified the fundamental 
truth of all religion, that God has not deserted the 

1 This is well brought out in Dean 2 Neh. ix. 7 : " Thou didst choose 

Milman's History of the Jews, i. 23. " Abram." 

Contrast the attempt of the legends 3 Isaiah li. 2 : "I called him." 

:o invest Abraham with a supernatu- Heb. xi. 8 : " He was called to go 

ral character. u out. 


world ; that His work is carried on by His chosen 
instruments ; that good men are not only His creat- 
ures and His servants, but His friends. In those 
simple words in which the Biblical narrative describes 
" the call," whatever there is of truth in the predes- 
tinarian doctrine of Augustine and of Calvin finds its 
earliest expression. 

But the further meaning involved in the title of 
Abraham indicates the correlative truth, — not only 
was Abraham beloved by God, but God was " beloved 
by him ; " not only was God the Friend of Abraham, 
but Abraham was " the friend of God." To expand 
this truth is to see what was the religion, the com- 
munion with the Supreme, which raised Abraham 
above his fellow-men. 

The greater histories of the Christian Church usu- 
Beiief in a ^J commence with dissertations on the state 
God * of the heathen world at the time of the birth 

of Christ. Something analogous to this ■ ought, if it 
were possible, to be in our minds in conceiving the 
rise of the Jewish Church in the person of Abraham. 
But it would be of a totally different kind ; it would be- 
long to the province rather of philosophy than of history. 
We must transport ourselves back to that primeval time 
of which so lively a picture has lately been furnished 1 
Worship from the results of philological research; of 
heavenly which, in the European world, we see perhaps 
bodies. ^iQ last traces in Hemer, but of which still later 
memorials were preserved in the New World in the Pe- 
ruvian worship, even down to the sixteenth century, 
when it was seen and elaborately described by the 
first Spanish discoverers. 2 The objects of nature, espe- 

1 Professor Miiller's " Comparative 2 See Helps's Spanish Conq. iii 
Mythology," in Oxford Essays, 1856. 488. 

Lkct. I. HIS CREED. 17 

cially the heavenly bodies, were then invested with a 
" glory " and a " freshness " which has long since 
u passed away " from the earth ; they seemed to be 
instinct with a divinity, which exercised an almost 
irresistible fascination over their first beholders. a The 
" sight of the sun when it shined, and of the moon 
fc walking in brightness," l was a temptation as potent 
to them as to us it is inconceivable ; " their heart 
" was secretly enticed, and their hand kissed their 
"mouth." There was also another form of idolatry, 
though less universal in its influence. a There were 
u giants on the earth in those days ; " giants, if not 
actually, yet by their colossal strength and awful 
majesty : the Pharaohs and Nimrods, whose forms we 
can still trace on the monuments of Egypt Worship 

-i ...... . . _ of the 

and Assyria m their gigantic proportions, the kings. 
mighty hunters, the royal priests, the deified men. 
From the control of these powers, before which all 
meaner men bowed down, from the long ancestral 
prepossessions of u country and kindred and father's 
" house," the first worshippers of One who was above 
all alike had painfully to disentangle themselves. It 
is true that Abraham hardly appears before us as a 
prophet 2 or teacher of any new religion. As 3 the 

1 Job xxxi. 26, 27. fessor Max Miiller. " How is the fact 

2 He is so called incidentally, Gen. " to be explained that the three great 
xx. 7, and perhaps Ps. cv. 15. He is " religions of the world in which the 
also M a prophet " (Nabi) in the Mus- " Unity of the Deity forms the key- 
sulman traditions. " note are of Semitic origin V . . 

3 I cannot forbear, in illustration " Mohammedanism, no doubt, is 
of these statements, to refer to a far " Semitic religion ; and its very cor 
more forcible and exact exposition " is Monotheism. But did Mohammed 
of it which appeared (since the de- " invent Monotheism ? Did he invent 
livery of this Lecture) in an Essay on " even a new name of God ? Not at 
Semitic Monotheism (in The Times " all. . . . And how is it with Chris- 
of April 14 and 15, 1860) by Pro- " tianity ? Did Christ come tc preach 




Lbct. I 

Soiipture represents him, it is rather as if he was 
possessed of the truth himself, than as if he had any 
call to proclaim it to others. His life is his creed ; 
Abraham his migration is his mission. But we can hardly 

the first ° J 

teacher of doubt that here the legendary tales fill up, 

the Unity . . r 

of God. * though in their own fantastic way, what the 
Biblical account dimly implies. He was, in practice, 
the Friend of God, in the noblest of all senses of 
the word ; the Friend who stood fast when others 
fell away. He is the first distinct historical witness, 
at least for his own race and country, to Theism — 
to Monotheism, to the unity of the Lord and Ruler 
of all against the primeval idolatries, the natural relig- 
ion of the ancient world. It may be an empty fable 
that Terah was a maker of idols, and that Abraham 

" faith in a new God ? Did He or 
" His disciples invent a new name 
" of God ? No. Christ came not to 
11 destroy, but to fulfil, and the God 
' whom He preached was the God of 
Abraham. And who is the God of 
" Jeremiah, of Elijah, and of Moses ? 
" We answer again, ' the God of Abra- 
" ham.' Thus the faith in the One 
" Living God, which seemed to re- 
" quire the admission of a monotheistic 
" instinct, grafted in every member 
" of the Semitic family, is traced back 
" to one man, to him, ' in whom all the 
" families of the earth shall be blessed.' 
" — And if from our earliest childhood 
" we have looked upon Abraham, the 
" Friend of God, with love and ven- 
" eration ... his venerable figure 
" will assume still more majestic pro- 
" portions, when we see in him the 
" life-spring of that faith which was 
" to unite all the nations of the earth, 
#< and the author of that blessing which 

[ was to come on the Gentiles through 
1 Jesus Christ. And if we are asked 
; how this one Abraham passed 
; through the denial of all other 
Gods, to the knowledge of the one 
; God, we are content to answer that 
it was by a special divine revelation 
.... granted to that one man, and 
handed down by him to Jews, Chris- 
tians, and Mohammedans ... to all 
who believe in the God of Abraham. 
. . . We want to know more of that 
man than we do; but even with the 
little we know of him, he stands be- 
fore us as a figure second only to One 
in the whole history of the world." 
" Abraham," says Baron Bunsen, 
is the Zoroaster of the Semitic race ; 
but he is more than the Zoroaster, 
in proportion as his sense of the 
divine was more spiritual, and more 
free from the philosophy of nature, 
and the adoration of the visible 
world." — Bibelwerk, ii. 88. 

Lect. I. HIS CREED. 19 

,was cast by Nimrod into a burning fiery furnace for 
refusing to worship him. But even in the Boo"k of 
Joshua we read that the original fathers of the Jew- 
ish race who dwelt beyond the Euphrates served 
other 1 gods, and the deliverance implied in the call 
indicates something more than a mere change of state 
and place. 2 We may be forgiven if we supply the 
void by a well-known legend, which has left its traces 
in almost every traditional 3 account of Abraham. The 
scene is sometimes laid in Ur, sometimes in the cele- 
brated hill above Damascus. 4 The story is best told 
in the words of the Koran. u When night overshadowed 
'•' him, he saiv a star, and said, 6 This is my Lord' But 
" when it set, he said, i I like not those that set! And 
" ivhen he saw the moon rising, he said, i This is my Lord! 
a But when the moon set, he answered, ' Verily if my Lord 
" direct me not in the right way, L shall be as one of those 
" who err! And when he saw the sun rising, he said, 
" ' This is my Lord. This is greater than the star or 
a moon! But when the sun went down, he said, ' my 
"people, L am clear of these things. L turn my face to 
u Him who hath made the heaven and the earth! " It is 
an illustration of this ancient legend that many ages 
afterwards another dweller in Ur of the Chaldees, that 
Syrian saint of whom I have before spoken, Ephrem 
of Edessa, relates 5 that once coming out of the city 
very early in the morning with two of his compan- 

1 Joshua xxiv. 2, 14. One inter- 1; Suidas (in voce "Abraham"); the 
pretation of " Ur " (light) is that it Talmud and Midrash (where it is 
was the seat of the sun-worship : as founded on Isa. xli. 2). See Beer'a 
it certainly was in the fourth century. Leben Abrahams, 102. Koran, vi. 
Bayer, 4. 74-82. 

2 See Judith, v. 7, 8, a statement 4 Ibn Batuta, 231. 
independent of Genesis. 5 Tillemont, & Ephrem, ch. 12. 

3 Philo, ii. 12. Josephus, Ant. i. 7, 


ions, he gazed upon the heavens, spangled with bright 
stars! Their brilliancy struck him as they had struck 
the Chaldaean shepherd of old ; and he said, " If the 
" brightness of these stars be so dazzling, how will the 
" saints shine when Christ shall come in glory ! " What 
a world of new hopes, new fears, new prospects, lies 
between the reflection of the primitive patriarch and 
the reflection of the Christian saint. 

2. This leads us to the second name by which Abra- 
The Father ham is known, " The Father of the Faithful." l 

of the . 7 . 

Faithful; Two points are involved in this name also. 
First, he was himself " the Faithful." In him was 
most distinctly manifested the gift of " faith." In him, 
long, long before Luther, long before Paul, was it pro- 
claimed in a sense far more universal and clear than 
the " paradox " of the Keformer, not less clear and 
ms faith, universal than the preaching of the Apostle, 
that " man is justified by faith." " Abraham believed in 
" the Lord and He counted it to him for righteousness." 2 
Powerful as is the effect of these words when we 
read them in their first untarnished freshness, they 
gain immensely in their original language, to which 
neither Greek nor German, much less Latin or English, 
can furnish any full equivalent. "He w^as supported, 
u he was built up, he reposed as a child in its moth- 
er's arms" (such seems the force of the Hebrew 
word 3 ) in the strength of God ; in God whom he did 
not see, more than in the giant empires of earth, and 
the bright lights of heaven, or the claims of tribe and 
kindred, which were always before him. " It was count- 
u ed to him for righteousness." It " was counted to 
"him," and his history seals and ratifies the result 

J Rom. iv. 12. 3 See Gesenius, lexicon, 72 

9 Gen xv. 6. 

Lect. I. HIS FAITH. 21 

His faith, as we have seen, transpires not in any out- 
ward profession of faith, but precisely in that which 
far more nearly concerns him and every one of us, 
in his prayers, in his actions, in the righteousness, the 
"justice" (if one may again so draw out the sense of 
the Hebrew word *), the " uprightness" the moral " ele- 
vation" of soul and spirit which sent him on his way 
straightforward, without turning to the right hand or 
to the left. His belief, vague, it may be, indefinite 
and scanty, even in the most elementary truths of 
religion, is in the Scriptures implied rather than stated. 
It is in him simply u the evidence of things not seen," 
" the hope against hope." His faith, in the literal 
sense of the word, is known to us only through u his 
works." He and his descendants are blessed, not 
as in the Koran, because of his adoption of the 
first article of the creed of Islam, but because 
he had " obeyed the voice of the Lord, and kept 
" His charge, His commandments, His statutes, and His 
" laws." 2 

Such was the faith of the First Believer: in how 


many ways, an example, a consolation, a study, His univer- 

• i t ATi* sal charac- 

to his latest descendants. And this prepares ter. 
us for observing that he was not only " faithful," but 
'* the Father of the Faithful." In modern ages of the 
history of the Church it has too often happened that 
the doctrine of " faith " has had a narrowing effect on 
the conscience and feelings of those who have strongly 
embraced it. It was far otherwise with S. Paul, to 
whom it was almost synonymous with the admission 
of the Gentiles. It was far otherwise with its first 
exemplification in the life of the Patriarch Abraham. 
His very name implies this universal mission. a The 

1 See Gesenius, Lexicon, 854. 2 Gen. xxvi. 5 ; xviii. 19 


Father" 1 (Abba); "The lofty Father" (Ab-ram); "The 
Father of multitudes" (Ab-raham 2 ) ; the venerable 
parent, surveying, as if from that lofty eminence, the 
countless progeny who should look up to him as their 
spiritual ancestor. He was, first, the Father of the 
Chosen People, the people who, by reason of their 
faith, though in one sense the narrowest of all ancient 
nations, yet were also the widest in their diffusion 
and dispersion, — the only people, that, by virtue of 
an invisible bond, maintained their national union in 
spite of local difference and division. But he was 
much more than the Father of the Chosen People. 
It is not a mere allegory or accidental application of 
separate texts, that justifies S. Paul's appeal to the 
case of Abraham as including within itself the faith 
of the whole Gentile world. His position, as repre- 
sented to us in the original records, is of itself far 
wider than that of any merely Jewish saint or national 
hero ; and he is, on that ground alone, the fitting im- 
age to meet us at the outset of the history of the 
Church. He, the founder of the Jewish race, was yet, 
by the confession of their own annals, not a Jew, nor 
the father exclusively of Jews. He was " the He- 
brew," to whom, both in the Biblical record 3 and their 
own traditions, the Arabian no less than the Israelite 
tribes look back as to their first ancestor. The scene 
of his life, as of the Patriarchs generally, breathes a 
larger atmosphere than the contracted limits of Pal- 
estine, — the free air of the plains of Mesopotamia 

1 According to the Persian tradi- {hamon = multitude, as of the drops 
lions his name, before his conversion, of rain, the swelling of springs, the 
was Zerwan, " the wealthy." Hyde, voice of singers). Gesenius, Lexicon, 
Rel. Pers. 77. 281. 

2 An abbreviation of rab-hamon 3 Gen. xvi. 15; xxv. 1-6. 


and the desert, — the neighborhood of the vast shapes 
of the Babylonian monarchy on one side, and of 
Egypt on the other. He is not an ecclesiastic, not 
an ascetic, not even a learned sage, but a chief, a 
shepherd, a warrior, full of all the affections and in- 
terests of family and household, and wealth and power, 
and for this very reason the first true type of the 
religious man, the first representative of the whole 
Church of God. 

This universality of Abraham's faith, — this eleva- 
tion, this multitudinousness of the Patriarchal, paternal 
character, which his name involves, has also found 
a response in those later traditions and feelings of 
which I have before spoken. When Mahomet * attacks 
the idolatry of the Arabs, he justifies himself by argu- 
ing, almost in the language of S. Paul, that the faith 
which he proclaimed in One Supreme God was no new 
belief, but was identical with the ancient religion of 
their first father Abraham. When the Emperor Alex- 
ander Severus placed in the chapel of his palace the 
statues of the choice spirits of all times, 2 Abraham, 
rather than Moses, was selected, as the centre, doubt- 
less, of a more extended circle of sacred associations. 
When the author of the " Liberty of Prophesying " 
ventured, before any other English divine, to lift up 
his voice in behalf of universal religious toleration, he 
was glad to shelter himself under the authority of the 
ancient Jewish or Persian apologue, of doubtful origin, 
but of most instructive wisdom, of almost Scriptural 
simplicity, which may well be repeated here as an 

I Koran, ii. 118-126; 129,130; " tiores." — Lamprid. Alex. Sever. VU 
il. 30, 91. c. 20. 

8 " Optimos electos et animos sane- 


expression of the world-wide sympathies which attach 
to the Father of the Faithful. 1 

* When Abraham sate at his tent-door, according to his 
" custom, waiting to entertain strangers, he espied an old 
" man stooping and leaning on his staff, weary with age and 
" travel, coming towards him, who was an hundred years of 
" age. He received him kindly, washed his feet, provided sup- 
"per, caused him to sit down, but observing that the old man 
" ate and prayed not, nor begged for a blessing on his meat, 
66 asked him why he did not worship the God of Heaven ? 
" The old man told him that he worshipped the fire only, 
" and acknowledged no other god ; at which answer Abra- 
" ham grew so zealously angry, that he thrust the old man 
" out of his tent, and exposed him to all the evils of the 
u night and an unguarded condition. When the old man 
" was gone, God called to him and asked him where the 
" stranger was ; he replied : ( I thrust him away, because he 
" did not worship thee' God answered, 6 1 have suffered 
" him these hundred years, though he dishonored me ; and 
" couldest not thou endure him for one night, when he gave 
66 thee no trouble ? ' Upon this, saith the story, Abraham 
"fetched him back again, and gave him hospitable entertain- 
" ment, and wise instruction. Go thou and do likewise ; and 
u thy charity will be rewarded by the God of Abraham!' 

If we may trust the ingenious conjecture of a dis- 
rhe name tinguished writer, 2 whom I have already quoted, 
tfEiohim. a more certain and enduring memorial has 

1 The story and its origin are given whilst working as a slave, thence 
h. Heber's Life of Jeremy Taylor, note copied by Grotius, thence by Taylor, 
xx. (Eden's edit. vol. i. p. cccvi.), and thence appropriated oy Franklin, 
"na a letter of Mr. Everett, in the Life 2 What follows has been added, in 
of Sydney Smith, 14. It was appar- a condensed form, from the Essay of 
ently told by a Jewish prisoner at Professor Miiller on Semitic Mono- 
Tripoli to the Persian poet Saadi theism, already cited. (See p. 17.) 


been preserved of this side of Abraham's mission. 
The name by which the Deity is known throughout 
the patriarchal or introductory age of the Jewish 
Church is " Elohim," translated in the English version 
" God." In this name has been discovered a trace of 
the conciliatory, comprehensive mission of the first 
Prophet of the true religion. "Elohim" is a plural 
noun, though followed by a verb in the singular. 
When "Eloah" (God) was first used in the plural, 
it could only have signified, like any other plural, 
u many Eloahs ; " and such a plural could only have 
been formed after the various names of God had be- 
come the names of independent deities; that is, dur- 
ing a polytheistic stage. The transition from this into 
the monotheistic stage could be effected only in two 
ways ; either by denying altogether the existence of 
the Elohim and changing them into devils, — as was 
done in Persia, — or by taking a higher view, and 
looking upon them as so many names invented with 
the honest purpose of expressing the various aspects 
of the Deity, though in time diverted from their orig- 
inal intention. This was the view taken by Abraham. 
Whatever the names of the Elohim worshipped by 
the numerous clans of his race, Abraham saw that all 
the Elohim were meant for God ; and thus Elohim, 
comprehending by one name everything that ever was 
or ever could be called Divine, became the name by 
which the monotheistic age was rightly inaugurated : 
a plural conceived and construed as a singular. From 
this point of view the Semitic name of the Deity, 
which at first sounds not only ungrammatical, but 
irrational, becomes perfectly clear and intelligible. It 
is at once the proof that Monotheism rose on the 
ruins of a polytheistic faith, and that it absorbed and 


acknowledged the better tendencies of that faith. In 
the true spirit of the later Apostle of the Gentiles. 
Abraham, his first predecessor and model, declared the 
God " whom they ignorantly worshipped," to be the 
u God that made the world, and all things therein," 
" the Lord of heaven and earth," " in whom we live, 
a and move, and have our being." 1 

Yet, however comprehensive is this type of the 

The Cove- Patriarch's character, there is an exclusive- 

ness also. In one point of view, " he is the 

Circum- J - ' 

cision. « Father of all them that believe, though they 
" be not circumcised : " in another point of view he is 
the Father of the circumcision only. That venerable 
rite, indeed, which in the first beginnings of Chris- 
tianity was regarded only as a mark of division and 
narrowness, was, in the primitive Eastern world, the 
sign of a proud civilization. 2 It was not only a Jew- 
ish, but an Arabian, a Phoenician, an Egyptian cus- 
tom. As such it still lingers in the Coptic and Abys- 
sinian Churches. How far any of these countries re- 
ceived it from Abraham, or Abraham from them, is 
now almost as difficult to ascertain, as it is to dis- 
cern the original signification of a usage, once so 
honorable and so sacred, and now so entirely re- 
moved* alike from honor and from sanctity. But the 
limitation, of which, in a religious sense, it was the 
symbol, is expressed in a passage of the Patriarch's 
life, which stands midway, as it were, between his 
The vision wider and his narrower call. In the visions 3 
sacrifice. of the night Abraham is called forth by the 

1 Acts xvii. 23-28. 3 Gen. xv. 1. By Jewish tradition 

2 See Ezekiel xxxii. 24-32, with this scene is fixed on a mountain three 
Ewald's notes. Compare also Ewald's miles north of Banias. Schwarz, 
Alterthumer, 100. 302. 


Divine voice, from the curtains of the tent, nnder the 
open sky. He is told to look towards heaven, the 
clear bright Eastern heaven, glittering with innumer- 
able stars, those stars which all tradition, as we have 
seen, has so naturally and so closely connected with 
the education and conversion of Abraham ; the stars 
which have in all times taught unearthly wisdom and 
vastness of spiritual ideas to the mind of man. " Look 
* toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to 
a number them. So shall thy seed be." This was, if 
taken in its fullest sense, that wide, incalculable, inter- 
minable view of all nations, and kindreds, and peoples, 
and tongues — each star differing from the other star 
in glory — of which we have already spoken. But 
the vision was not ended. He was bidden to prepare 
as for the peculiar forms of sacrifice which, it is said, 1 
for centuries afterwards, in his own country, were used 
to sanction a treaty or covenant. The birds, and the 
fragments of the heifer and the goat, were parted, so 
as to leave a space for the contracting parties to pass 
between ; and the day began to decline, and the birds 
of prey, of evil omen, hovered like a cloud over the 
carcasses ; and at last the sun went down, and the 
heavens, so bright and clear on the preceding night, 
were overcast ; and a a deep sleep fell upon Abraham, 
" and lo ! a horror of great darkness fell upon him." 
And in that thick darkness a light, as of a blazing 
fire, enveloped with the smoke as of a furnace, passed 
through the open space, and the covenant, the first 
covenant, " the Old Testament," was concluded be- 
tween God and man. Taking these figures as they 
are thus shadowed forth, and in combination with the 

1 See Von Bohlen's note on Gen. scene see Koran, ii. 262, in Lane'a 
iv. 10. For the amplification of the Selections, 153. 


words which followed, they truly express the peculiar 
" conditions/' to use the modern phrase, under which 
the history of the Chosen People was to be unfolded 
from its brighter and from its darker side. Darkness 
and light are mingled together ; the bright heavens 
of yesterday overclouded by the horror of great dark- 
ness to-day; wheresoever the carcasses of the victims 
lie, the ravenous eagles are gathered together, and 
with difficulty scared away by the watchful protector ; 
the light, burning in the midst of the smoke as it 
sweeps through the narrow pathway, is the same image 
that we shall meet again and again throughout the 
history of the Older, and of the New covenant also : 
the bush burning but not consumed ; the pillar at 
once of cloud and of fire ; the children in the midst 
of the furnace, yet without hurt ; the remnant pre- 
served, though cut down to the root : exile and bond- 
age, yet constant deliverance ; a narrow home, yet a 
vast dominion ; 1 the perverse, wayward, degraded peo- 
ple, yet the countrymen and the progenitors, after 
the flesh, of One in whom was brought to the high- 
est fulfilment their own union of suffering and of 
triumph, the thick darkness of the smoking furnace, 
the burning and the shining light. 2 This is the mixed 
prospect of the History of the Jewish Church ; this is 
the mixed prospect, in its widest sense, of all Eccle- 
siastical History. 

1 Gen. xv. 18-21. The " river of in Gen. xviii. 23, occurs in the le- 
Egypt" (here only) is the Nile. It gends (Beer's Leben Abrahams, 88), 
is inserted, evidently, as the extreme where, after the overthrow of Jeru- 
western limit of Jewish thought and salem, the figure of Abraham emerges 
dominion. from the ruins to plead for the 

2 A fine passage, which unites the repentance and restoration of his 
thought of the vision of Gen. xv. 12, people. 

with the universal prayer of Abraham 




It is an advantage of visiting a country once civil- 
ized but since fallen back into barbarism, that The first 
its present aspect more nearly reproduces to us jJSJ'SSJ 
the appearance which it wore to its earliest Holy Land 
inhabitants, than had we seen it in the height of its 
splendor. Delphi and Mycense, in their modern deso- 
lation, are far more like what they were as they burst 
upon the eyes of the first Grecian settlers, than at 
the time when they were covered by a mass of tem- 
ples and palaces. Palestine, in like manner, must ex- 
hibit at the present day a picture more nearly re- 
sembling the country as it was seen in the days of 
the Patriarchs, than would have been seen by David, 
or even by Joshua. Doubtless many of the hills 
which are now bare were then covered with forest; 
and the torrent beds which are now dry throughout 
the year were, at least in the winter, foaming streams 
But, as far as we can trust the scanty notices, the 
land must have been in one important respect much 
what it is now. It is everywhere intimated that its 
population was thinly scattered over its broken surface 
of hill and valley. Here and there a wandering shep- 
herd, as now, must have been driving his sheep over 
the mountains. The smoke of some worship, now ex- 
tinct foi ages, may have been seen going up from the 


rough, upright stones, which, like those of Jtonehenge 
or Abury, in our own country, have survived every form 
of civilized buildings, and remain to this day standing 
on the sea-coast plain of Phoenicia. Groups of wor- 
shippers must have been gathered from time to time 
on some of the many mountain heights, or under some 
of the dark clumps of ilex ; " For the Canaanite was 
ft then in the land." But the abodes of settled life 
are described as confined to two spots : one, the oldest 
city in Palestine, the city of Arba, or the Four Giants, 
as it was called, in the rich vale of Hebron ; the other, 
" the circle " of the five cities in the vale of Jordan. 
These were the earliest representatives of the civil- 
ization of Canaan ; the Perizzites, or, as they were 
usually called, " the Hittites," the dwellers in the 
open villages, who gave their name to the whole 
country ; so much so, that the children of Heth are 
called " the children of the land," and the land itself 
was known both on Egyptian and Assyrian monu- 
ments as the land of " Heth." 1 Mingled with these. 
on the mountain-tops, as their name implies, were 2 
the warlike Amorite chiefs, Mamre and his two broth- 
ers. Along the southern coast, and the undulating 
land called u the south country," between Palestine 
and the desert, were the ancient predecessors of the 
Philistines, probably the Avites; not, like their future 
conquerors, a maritime people of fortified cities, but a 
pastoral, nomadic race, though under a ruler entitled 
"king." On the east of the Jordan, round the sanc- 
tuary of the Horned Ashtaroth, and southward as far 
us the Dead Sea, were remnants of the gigantic abo- 
riginal tribes, not yet ejected by the encroachments 

i Gen. xxiii. 7. See Ewald, i. 317. to in war, as the Hittites (xxiii. 7) 
2 Gen. xiv. 13. They are applied in peace. 


of Edom, Amnion, or Moab, — the Horites, dwellers in 
the caves of the distant Petra, the Emim and Zam- 
zummim on the east of the Jordan, and the Rephaim, 1 
whose name long lingered in the memory of the 
later inhabitants, and was used to describe the shades 
of the world beyond the grave. 

I. Such must have been the general outline of Pal- 
estine when Abraham "passed over" from Damascus, 
and " passed through the land." Let us briefly Haltin „_ 
note his halting-places, as he roves, almost at P laces - 
will, through the unknown country to which we are 
specially invited by the Sacred narrative, and also by 
the account of the Patriarchal wanderings in the speech 2 
of S. Stephen, which gives us a warrant, even from a 
higher point of view, for touching on these rapid 
transitions from place to place. They bring before us 
the point often forgotten, which that great precursor 
of S. Paul was specially endeavoring to impress upon 
his hearers, that the migration was still going on . 
that the Patriarch " had no inheritance in the land, 
"no, not so much as to set his foot on." Fixed 
locality was to form no essential part of the true 
religion. Abraham was still the first Pilgrim, the first 
Discoverer ; " not knowing whither he went." 3 The 
words which Reuchlin used to Melanchthon leaving 
his father's home were directly and without effort 
taken from the call to Abraham, to go out u from his 
" country and from his kindred and from his father's 
" house." The figures which we thus employ, in prose 
and poetry, in allegory and sermon, are the direct 
bequest of the Patriarchal pastoral age. In the sight 

1 Gen. xiv. 5-7; Deut. ii. 10-12, 2 Acts vii. 2-16. 

20-23. See Lecture IX. For the 3 Heb. xi. 8. 
Rephaim see G*senius (in voce). 


of that primitive time the symbols and realities, which 
we now regard as separate from each other, were 
blended in one. The curtain of the picture of life, if 
T may use the expression of the < Greek artist, was to 
'.hern the picture itself. 

1. Look at the Patriarchal wanderings in this light, 
*hechem. and it will not be thought misspent time to 
3 well for a short space on the successive stages of 
their advance. The first was " the place," as it is 
called, of Shechem; then, as it would seem, only 
marked by the terebinths 1 of Moreh. It is the 
earliest instance of these primitive wanderers pitching 
their tents, for shelter against wind or rain, under 
the shade of some spreading tree. As a rock or 
a palm-grove in the desert, so in Palestine itself was 
the isolated terebinth or ilex, the most massive and 
majestic of its native trees, and therefore legitimately, 
though not quite correctly, rendered by the English 
parallel of u the oak." The oak of Moreh, like that 
of Mamre, to which we shall presently come, probably 
derived its name from some ancient chief, and was 
perhaps already regarded as in some measure sacred. 
Here, doubtless, by the side of the gushing streams 
of the vale of Shechem, the first encampment was 
described to have been made, and the altar of the 
earliest holy place in the Holy Land to have been 
consecrated. Even the oak remained for many cen- 
turies the object of national reverence. The sanctity 
of the place lasts even to this day. 

2. The second halt was a day's journey farther 
Bethel. scuth, on the central ridge of Palestine, at 
Bethel; then doubtless only known, if known at all, 
by its ancient name of Luz ; and to this same spot 

1 Gen. xii. 6. See Sinai and Palestine, 142, 235. 


Abraham returned after the journey from Egypt, of 
which we will presently speak more at length. This 
was more than a halting-place ; it is represented as 
the turning point of his life. In the philosophical 
and religious traditions of all countries there is often 
described a separation as between two parting roads, 
a divortiam, or "watershed," as the Romans called it, 
^here those who have been companions up to a cer- 
tain point are thenceforth severed asunder. In Greek 
teaching the choice is described, through the well- 
known fable of Hercules, between the rugged path of 
Virtue and the easy descent of Pleasure. In Mussul- 
man legends, Mahomet stands on the mountain above 
Damascus, and, gazing on the glorious view, turns 
away from it with the words, " Man has but one para- 
" dise, and mine is fixed elsewhere." Often, too, in 
the lives and conversions of good men in later times, 
shall we see this same necessity of selection brought 
before us in the spiritual world. Here it is pre- 
sented to us in one of those instances which I just 
noticed, in which the spiritual lesson and the out- 
ward image are so blended together as to be indis- 
tinguishable. The two emigrants from Mesopotamia 
had now swelled into two powerful tribes, and the 
herdsmen of Abraham and Lot strove together, and 
the first controversy, the first primeval pastoral con- 
troversy, divided the Patriarchal Church. a Let there 
" be no strife, I pray thee " (so the Father of the 
Faithful replied in language which might well ex- 
tend beyond the strife of herdsmen and shepherds, to 
the strife of "pastors and teachers" in many a 
church and nation), "Let there be no strife, I pray 
* thee, between thee and me, between my herds- 
" men and thy herdsmen, for we are brethren. Is 



" not the whole land before thee ? Separate thyself, 
66 1 pray thee, from me. If thou wilt take the left 
" hand, then I will go to the right ; or, if thou depart 
" to the right hand, I will go to the left." 1 

It was the first instance of u agreeing to differ," in 
later times so rarely found, so eagerly condemned; and 
vet not less suitable to all times, because of the ex- 
treme simplicity of its earliest application. 

Meanwhile let us take our stand with them on the 
mountain east of Bethel. The indications of the sacred 
text, and the peculiar position of the localities, enable 
us to fix the very spot. On the rocky summit of that 
hill, under its grove of oaks, Abraham had pitched his 
tent and built his altar, — the first of the high places 
which so long continued in Palestine amongst his 
descendants. And now, from this spot, he and his kins- 
man made the choice which determined the fate of 
each, according to the view which that summit com- 
mands. Lot looked down on the green valley of the 
Jordan, its tropical luxuriance visible even from thence, 
beautiful and well-watered as that garden of Eden of 
which the fame £till lingered in their own Chaldeean 
hills, as the valley of the Nile m which they had so 
lately sojourned. He chose the rich soil, and with it 

1 Gen. xiL 8; xiii. 3-17. There "called the name Calumny, because 

is another like passage in the history " they strove with him. And they 

of Isaac : I give it as it appears in " digged another well, and strove for 

vhe Vulgate. This, by translating the " that also ; and he called the name 

Hebrew proper names, preserves the " of it Strife. And he removed from 

spirit of the original, which in our " thence and digged another well, 

version is entirely lost : " Isaac's " and for that they strove not ; and 

" servants dialed in the valley, and " he called the name of it Latitude. 

" found there a well of springing " and he said, For now the Lord hath 

" water ; and the herdsmen of Gerar " made latitude for us, and we shall 

"did strive with Isaac's herdsmen, "be fruitful in the land." — Gen 

'saying, The water is ours; and he xxvi. 19-22. 


the corrupt civilization which had grown np in the rank 
climate of that deep descent ; and once more he turned 
his face eastward, and left to Abraham 1 the hardship, 
the glory, and the virtues of the rugged hills, the sea- 
breezes, and the inexhaustible future of Western Pales- 
tine. It was Abraham's henceforward ; he was to " arise 
" and walk through the length and through the breadth 
" of it, for God had given it to him." This was the first 
appropriation, the first consecration of the Holy Land. 
3. "Then Abraham removed his tent, and came and 
" dwelt in the 6 oak-grove ' of Mamre, which is The oak of 
" in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the Mamre - 
" Lord." 2 Here we have the third and chief resting-place 
of the wandering Patriarch. The modern town of He- 
bron, or, as it is now called after its first illustrious occu- 
pant, a El Khalil," u The Friend," lies on the northern 
slope of a basin formed by the confluence of two broad 
valleys, whose superior cultivation and vegetation have 
probably caused the long historical celebrity of this spot 
as the earliest seat of the civilization and power, if not 
of Palestine, at least of Judasa. The hills which rise 
above it on the north present for a considerable distance 
a level table-land slightly broken by occasional depres- 
sions, now mostly occupied by cornfields. It is on this 
high ground, in one of the depressions, that a large 
square enclosure of ancient masonry marks in all prob- 
ability the remains of the sanctuary which the Kings 
of Judah built round what is still called by Jews and 
Arabs a The House," or a The Height," 3 of Abraham. 
On this spot, in the time of Josephus, a gigantic tere- 

1 It is on this divergence of the 2 Gen. xiii. 18. See Sinai and Pal~ 

characters of Lot and Abraham that estine, 142, 164. 

ts founded the legend of the Holy 3 Itamet el Khalil. See Robinsoi* 

Cross, commemorated in the con- Bib. Res. \. 216. 
rent of that name near Jerusalem. 


binth was shown as coeval with the Creation, and as 
being that under which the tent of the Patriarch was 
pitched. A fair used to be held under its branches, in 
which Christians, Jews, and Arabs assembled every 
summer, when each with his peculiar rites honored the 
sacred tree with the images and pictures which hung 
from its branches. Constantine destroyed the images 
but left the tree ; and its trunk, standing in the midst 
of the church, was still visible in the seventeenth 
century. Now, the only indication of the exact 
spot is a deep well, 1 being in truth precisely what 
one would expect to find hard by the Patriarchal 

This is the nearest approach to a home that the 
wanderings of Abraham present. Underneath the tree 2 
his tent was pitched when he sat in the heat of the 
Eastern noon. Thither came the mysterious visitants 
whose reception was afterwards commemorated in one 
of the pictures hung from the sacred oak. In their en- 
tertainment is presented every characteristic 3 of genuine 
Arab hospitality, which has given him the name of u The 
Father of Guests." Bat there is another spot in He- 
bron which gives a yet more permanent and domestic 
character, to its connection with Abraham's life. When 
Darius pursued the Scythians into their wilderness, they 
told him that the only place which they could appoint 
cave of f° r a meeting was by the tombs of their fathers. 
Machpeiah. ^he ancestral burial-place is the one fixed 
element in the unstable life of a nomadic race ; and 
this was what Hebron furnished to the Patriarchs. The 

1 Early Travellers, p. 87. This well and throughout, " plain "-==" oak- 

(at the south-west corner of the en- grove." 

closure) is not mentioned by Robin- 3 For the haste (Gen. xviii. 6-8) 

son. of Arabian hospitality, see Porter's 

9 Genesis xviii. 4, " the tree," Damascus, i. 


one spot of earth which Abraham could call his own, 
the pledge which he left of the perpetuity of his in- 
terest in a the land wherein he was a stranger/' was the 
sepulchre which he bought with four hundred shekels 
of silver from Ephron the Hittite. It was a rock with 
a double cave ("Machpelah"), standing amidst a grove 
of olives or ilexes, on the slope of the table-land where 
the first encampment had been made, its valley prob- 
ably occupying the same position with regard to the 
ancient town of Hebron, that the sepulchral valley of 
Jehoshaphat did afterwards to Jerusalem. Bound this 
venerable cave the reverence of successive ages and 
religions has now raised a series of edifices which, whilst 
they preserve its identity, conceal it entirely from view. 
But there it still remains. Within the Mussulman 
mosque, within the Christian church, within the massive 
stone enclosure built by the Kings of Judah, is, beyond 
any reasonable question, the last resting-place of Abra- 
ham and Sarah, of Isaac and Rebecca ; a and there Jacob 
"buried Leah;" and thither, with all the pomp of 
funeral state, his own embalmed body was brought 
from the palaces of Egypt. Of all the great Patriarchal 
family, Rachel alone is absent. All that has ever been 
seen of the interior of the mosque (held by Mussulman 
pilgrims to be the fourth most sacred in the world) is 
the floor of the upper chamber, containing six chests, 
placed there, as usual in Mussulman sepulchres, to 
represent the tombs of the dead. But it is said that 
here, as in the analogous case of the tomb of Aaron on 
Mount Hor, the real cave exists beneath ; divided by 
an artificial floor into two compartments, into the upper 
one of which only the chief minister of the mosque is 
admitted to pray in times of great calamity. The lower 
compartment, containing the actual graves, is entirely 


closed, and has never been seen by any one 1 within the 
range of memory or tradition. 

4. Although the oaks of Mamre and the cave of Mach- 
„ u v pelah rendered Hebron the permanent seat of 

Beersheba. x L 

Patriarchal life beyond any spot in Palestine; 
and although they are always henceforth described as 
lingering around this green and fertile vale, there is 
yet another circle of recollections more in accordance 
with their ancient pastoral habits. Even at the moment 
of the purchase of the sepulchre, Abraham represents 
himself as still " a stranger and a sojourner in the land ;" 
and as such his haunts were elsewhere. " He journeyed 
; fr\ m thence toward the south country, and dwelt be 
u tween Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar.' 
None of these particular spots are known with cer 
tainty; but it is evident that we are now far away 
from the hills of Judaea, in the wide upland valley, or 
rather undulating plain, sprinkled with shrubs, and with 
the wild flowers which indicate the transition from the 
pastures of Palestine to the desert, — marked also by the 
ancient wells, dug far into the rocky soil, and bearing on 
their stone or marble margins the traces of the long 
ages during which the water has been drawn up from 
their deep recesses. Such are those near the western 
extremity of the plain, still bearing in their name their 
identification with " the well of the oath," or " the well 
of the Seven," 2 — Beer-sheba — which formed the last 
point reached by the patriarchs, the last centre of their 
wandering flocks and herds ; and, in after- times, from 
being thus the last inhabited spot on the edge of the 
desert, the southern frontier of their descendants. This 

1 See, however, Benjamin of Tudela sheba " in Dr. Smith's Dictionarj of 
'II Early Travellers, p. 87. the Bible. 

2 See Mr. Grove's articles on " Beer 


southernmost sanctuary marks the importance which, 
in the migratory life of the East, was and is always 
attached to the possession of water. Here the solemn 
covenant was made, according to the significant Arab 
forms, of placing the seven lambs 1 by themselves, be- 
tween Abraham and the only chief of those region? 
who could dispute his right, the neighboring king of 
the Philistines or Avites. " And Abraham," still faith- 
ful to the practice which he had followed in Canaan 
itself, "planted there a sacred grove," 2 — not now of 
ilex or terebinth, which never descend into those wild 
plains, but the light feathery tamarisk, the first and the 
last tree which the traveller sees in his passage through 
the desert, and thus the appropriate growth of this spot. 
Beneath this grove and beside these wells his tents 
were pitched, and "he called there on the name of the 
" Lord, the everlasting God." It was the same wilder- 
ness into which Ishmael had gone forth and become an 
archer, and was to be made a great nation. Is it not 
as though the strong Bedouin (shall we add the strong 
parental) instinct had, in his declining days, sprung up 
again in the aged Patriarch? — as if the unconquerable 
aversion to the neighborhood of walls and cities, or 
the desire to meet once more with the first-born son 
who recalled to him his own early days, drew him down 
from the hills of Judaea into the congenial desert ? At 
any rate in Beersheba, we are told, he sojourned " as 
a stranger " many days. In Beersheba Rebekah was 
received by his son Isaac into Sarah's vacant tent ; and 
in the wilderness, as it would seem, " he gave up the 
* ghost and died in a good old age," in the arms of his 
two sons, — Isaac the gentle herdsman and child of 

1 Herod, iii. 8. Compare Biihr's 2 Gen. xxi. 33. Sinai and Pales* 
Symbolik, 200. tine, 21. 


promise, Ishmael the Arabian archer, untamable as the 
wild 1 ass of the desert, — u and they buried him in the 
u cave of Machpelah." 

II. We turn from this external framework to the 
Simplicity g enera I effect of the Patriarchal age, as sug- 
triarchaf*" g es ^ed, amongst many other scenes, by the few 
age. words which have just been quoted describing 

the end of Abraham. They bring home to us, beyond 
any other writings, the force and the beauty of simple 
feeling and natural affection. It is Homer, and more 
than Homer, carried at once into the hands and hearts 
of every one. We all know the instantaneous effect pro- 
duced upon us in countries, however distant, in classes 
or races of men, however different from our own, by 
hearing the cry of a little child ; with what irresistible 
force it reminds us that we belong to the same human 
family ; how suddenly it recalls to us, however far 
away, the thought of our own home. Is not this the 

exact effect of reading the story of Ishmael ? 

Remote as it is in language, garb, and manner 
from ourselves, we instantly recognize the testimony 
to our common nature and kindred in the prayer of 
Abraham for his first-born, Ishmael, — the child w r ho 
had first awakened in his bosom the feeling of parental 
love: — "0 that Ishmael might live before Thee:" 2 or 
yet more in the pathetic scene where the imperious 
caprice of the Arab chieftainess forbade Hagar and her 
son to remain any longer in the tent, and " the thing 
" was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his 
a son. Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took 

* bread and a ' skin ' filled with water, and gave it to 
" Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and 

* sent her away into the wilderness." 

1 Gen. xvi. 12 (Heb.). 2 Compare Milman's Hist, of Jews, i. 13 


Or look at the story of the other son, the child of 
laughter and joy, the gentle Isaac. Read the narrative 
of Eliezer's mission to fetch Eebekah. Track every 
Btage of that journey — our first introduction in early 
childhood to the pictures of Oriental life, only deepened 
more strongly by the sight of the reality. Watch the 
long pilgrimage over river and mountain, retraced back 
to the original settlement of the race. See the camels 
kneeling beside the well without the city ; 

& , f ' Retekah. 

Rebekah descending the flight of steps with 
the pitcher on her shoulder, exactly as the traveller 
Niebuhr met the Syrian damsels at one of these very 
wells. Look at the different characters as they come 
out, one by one, in the interview, — Eliezer, the faith- 
ful slave bent solely on discharging his mission : " I will 
" not eat till I have told mine errand. Hinder me not, 
" seeing that the Lord hath prospered my way." " Send 
u me away, that I may go to my master ; " — the aged 
Bethuel always in the background; 1 — Laban's hard 
temper relaxing when he sees the exact ornaments still 
so dear to Arab acquisitiveness in this very region, the 
ear-ring or nose-ring, and the bracelets on his sister's 
hands ; — Rebekah, eager to receive, forward to go, the 
same high spirit as we shall see afterwards in her future 
home. " I will draw water for thy camels also till they 
" have done drinking." " We have both straw and 
" provender enough, and room to lodge in." " And they 
u called Rebekah, and said unto her : Wilt thou go with 
" this man ? and she said, I will go." a And they sent 
" away Rebekah, their sister, and her nurse. And they 
* blessed Rebekah and said unto her, Thou art our sister- 
u be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let 

1 This is well brought out by Professor Blunt, Veracity of the Books oj 
Moses, ch. v. 



K thy sc-ed possess the gate of them that hate thee." 
Nor can we overlook the first touch of what may be 
called sentimental feeling, in the close of the journey, 
when the mournful meditations 1 of Isaac, by the well 
at eventide, are suddenly interrupted by the arrival 
of the bride : " And he brought her into his mother 
a Sarah's tent, and Rebekah became his wife ; and he 
u loved her, and Isaac was comforted after his mother's 
" death." 

What an insight into the primitive age ! but what a 
cradle also for the earliest religious history ! We often 
say that in the family is to be found the Patriarchal 
Church, in the father of the family the Patriarchal 
Priest. It is indeed so in more senses than one. When 
we think of the many periods in which the relations of 
brother and sister, father and child, husband and wife, 
have, even by good men, been thrust into the back- 
ground as unworthy of a place in the religious rela- 
tions of mankind, we may well hail this first chapter of 
Ecclesiastical History, as possessing far more than a 
merely poetical value. It is like one of those ancient 
Patriarchal wells so often mentioned in the history. Its 
waters are still fresh and clear in its deep recess. It 
has outlasted all other changes. It ministers indeed 
only to human affections and feelings, but it is precisely 
to those feelings which are as lasting: as the human 
heart itself, and which therefore give and receive from 
the record which so responds to them, a testimony 
which will never pass away. 

III. And now turn from the Patriarchal household 
External to its points of contact with the external world. 

relations of *- 

Abraham. These are perhaps what most escape us as we 

1 " Mournful." See Blunt, Vera- " By the well," LXX. Gen. xxiv 
nty of the Books of Moses, °V. v. 63. 


read it for other purposes, and therefore what may be 
most fitly noticed here. 

1. The general relations of Abraham to the Canaan- 
itish tribes have a twofold aspect. On the one To the 

. Canaanites 

hand, as if with the full consciousness of the generally. 
separation which was to exist between his seed and the 
tribes of Canaan, and also of its future superiority over 
them, he always keeps himself distinct from them : he 
professes to be a stranger amongst them- he will accept 
no favor at their hands ; he will not have any inter- 
marriage between his race and theirs ; he refuses the 
gift of the sepulchre from Ephron, and of the spoils 
from the King of Sodom. The tomb of Machpelah is 
a proof standing to this day, of the long predetermined 
assurance that the children of Abraham should inherit 
the land in which this was their ancestor's sole, but most 
precious possession. It is like the purchase of the site 
of Hannibal's camp by the strong faith and hope of the 
besieged senators of Rome. 

But on the other hand, there is not in his actual deal- 
ings with the Canaanites a trace of the implacable en- 
mity of later ages ; no shadow cast before, of long wars 
of extermination waged against them ; no indication 
of what, in modern times, has been supposed to be 
the origin of so many dark legends, and severe accu- 
sations, — the national hatred of rivals and neighbors. 
The anticipation of distinctness and superiority is not 
more decided in one class of incidents than the absence 
of any anticipation of war or animosity is in another. 
Abimelech, Ephron, Mamre, Melchizedek, all either wor- 
ship the same God, or, if they worship Him under 
another 1 name, are all bound together by ties of hos- 

1 The God of Melchizedek (Gen. xiv. 18) was not Blank or Elohi/n, but 
Khun, the name given to the God of Phoenicia by Sanehoniathon (Kenricl^ 
Plan. 288). 


pitality and friendship. The times when the Canaanite 
is to be utterly destroyed, when the Amalekite is to be 
hewn in pieces, when the Jews are to have no deal- 
ings with the Samaritans, are still very far beyond 
us : we are still above the point of separation be- 
tween the various tribes of Syria : distinction has not 
yet grown into difference ; u the iniquity of the Amo- 
u rites is not yet full." To overlook the unity, the 
comparative unity, between Abraham and the neigh- 
bor races of Palestine, would be to overlook one of 
the most valuable testimonies to the antiquity, the 
general Patriarchal spirit of the record as it has been 
handed down to us. 

2. Further, there are the more special occasions on 
which Abraham is drawn, as it were, out of the pas- 
toral or individual life, into wider relations. The chief 
of these is the journey into Egypt. 

I shall not endeavor here, or elsewhere, to deter- 
mine, where uncertainty still prevails, the . special 
points where the history or chronology of Egypt or 
Judea cross each other's path : neither shall I draw 
out at any length, what in this instance is but 
slightly noticed by the sacred story, the impression 

Abraham ^^ by ^gypt on the mind of this, the first 
in Egypt. f ^ e mvT i a( j travellers who have visited the 

valley of the Nile. But it is impossible not to pause 
for a moment on the few points which this event 
suggests to us. It is the earliest known appearance 
in Egypt of the nomadic races of Asia, who, under 
the Shepherd Kings, exercised so great an influence 
over its destinies in its primitive history, — who, un- 
der the Arab conquerors, have now for thirteen cen- 
turies occupied it as their own. Charlemagne is said 
to have wept in anticipation of the coming misfor- 


tunes of his empire when he saw the sail of the first 
Norman ship on the waters of the Mediterranean. 
And the ancient Pharaoh, whoever he was, might 
have wept in like manner, could he have foreseen in 
that innocent, and venerable figure the first of the 
long succession of Asiatic wanderers, like in outward 
form, though unlike in almost all beside, attracted to 
the valley of the Nile by the very same motives, 
coming down from the table-lands or parched valleys 
of their own deserts or mountains, because " the famine 
f 'was grievous in the land," and sojourning in Egypt, 
because its river gave the plenteous sustenance which 
elsewhere they sought in vain. 1 

If the Egyptian may have been startled by the 
sight of Abraham, much more may Abraham have 
been moved to • awe by his approach into Egypt. 
Whatever may be said in legendary tales of his con- 
nection with Nimrod and the Assyrian powers, this 
arrival in Egypt is the only indication given by the 
sacred historian of any conscious entrance into the 
presence of a great earthly kingdom. The very craft 
into which the Patriarch is betrayed "as he was come 
u near to enter into Egypt " is not without its signifi- 
cance. u They will kill me, but they will save thee 
" alive ; say, J pray thee, thou art my j sister, and it 
" shall be well with me for thy sake, and my soul 
" shall live because of thee." His faith and courage 
are unnerved at the prospect and at the sight of the 
great potentate amidst his princes in his royal house, 
with his harem and his treasures around him. Yet 
it is also characteristic of the Biblical narrative, that 
the impression left upon us by this first contact of 
the Church with the World is not purely unfavorable. 

1 Isaac was going down in like manner, when he was stopped. Gen. xxvi. 2 


It has been truly remarked 1 that throughout the 
Scriptures the milder aspect of the world is always 
presented to us through Egypt, the darker through 
Babylon. Abraham is the exile from Chaldsea, but he 
is the guest, the client of the Pharaohs. He dwells, 
according to the account of a Pagan historian, many 
years in the sacred city of On, where afterwards his 
descendants lived so long, and there teaches the Egyp- 
tians astronomy. 2 He receives (as we infer from the 
sacred narrative) the gifts of male and female slaves, 
of asses and camels, with which then as now the 
streets of the Egyptian cities abounded. He departs 
in peace. And such as Egypt is described in this 
narrative, such both in its secular greatness and in its 
religious neutrality it appears to have been in those 
of her monuments which alone can -be with certainty 
ascribed to its most ancient period. The range of 
the thirty pyramids, in all probability, even at that 
early time looked down on the plain of Memphis. 
They remain to indicate the same long anterior state 
of civilization which the story of Abraham itself im- 
plies, yet exhibit neither in their own sepulchral cham- 
bers, nor in those which immediately surround them, 
any of those signs of grotesque idolatry which give 
additional point to the story of the Exoglus, and which 
exist in the later monuments of Thebes and Ip- 

3. The next notice of Abraham's connection with 
War with the outer world is of a wholly different kind, 
iaomer. and is far more in accordance with the secu- 
lai aspect of his life presented in Gentile historians 
than anything else which the sacred narrative pre- 
sents. "Abram the Hebrew" (so, as if from an ex- 

1 Arnold, Sermons on Prophecy. 2 Eupolernus (Eus. Prcep. ix. 1 7). 


ternal point of view the fragment, apparently of some 
ancient record/ represents him) was dwelling in state 
at Hebron, in the midst, not merely of his familiar 
circle, but of his three hundred and eighteen trusty 
slaves, and confederate not merely with the peaceful 
Ephron, but, after the manner of the Canaanite chiefs 
of later 2 times, with the Amorite mountaineers, Marare, 
and his brothers Aner and Eshcol. Suddenly a mes 
senger of woe appeared by the tent of the Hebrew. 
From the remote East, a band of kings 3 had descended 
on the circle of cultivation and civilization w T hich lay 
deep ensconced in the bosom of the Jordan valley. 
They had struck dismay far and wide amongst the 
aboriginal tribes of the desert, all along the east of 
the Jordan and down to the remote wilds of Petra, 
and up into the mountain fastness and secluded palm- 
grove of Engedi. In the green vale beside the shores 
of the lake the five Canaanite kings rose against the 
invaders on their return, but were entangled in the 
bituminous pits of their own native region. The con- 
querors swept them away, and marched homewards 
the whole length of the valley of the Jordan, carry- 
ing off their plunder, and above all the war 4 horses 
for which afterwards Canaan became so famous. But 
from the defeat in the vale of Sidclim had escaped 
one who climbed the wall of rocks that overhang the 
field of battle, and announced to the new colony 
established beneath the oak of Hebron that their 
kinsman had been carried away captive. Instantly 
Abraham called his allies together, and with thorn 

1 For the character and importance of Chedorlaomer and Amraphel hai 
of this chapter as an historical record, been found in the Assyrian monu- 
lee Ewald, Gesch. i. 401, &c. ments. Rawlinson's Herod, i. 436, 

2 Josh. x. 3; xi. 1, 2, &c. 446. 

3 Some slight likeness to the names 4 Gen. xiv. 11, 21 (LXX.). 


and his armed retainers he pursued the enemy, and 
(if we may add the details from Josephus 3 ) on the 
6fth day, at the dead of night, attacked the host as 
it lay sleeping round the sources of the Jordan. 
They fled over the range of Antilibanus, and once 
more Abraham beheld the scene of his first conquest, 
the city of Damascus, and in its neighborhood, in a 
village still bearing the same name (Hobah), 2 he finally 
routed the army and rescued the captives, and returned 
again to the banks of the Jordan. In a vale or level 
spot not far from the river, called probably from this 
encounter " the vale of the king " or " of the kings," the 
victorious chief was met by two grateful princes of 
the country which he had delivered; one was the 
King of Sodom, the other was one whose name in 
Meichiz- itself commands respectful awe, — Melchizedek, 
the King of Righteousness. Whence he came, 
from what parentage, remains untold, nay even of 
what place he was king remains uncertain (for Salem 
may be either Jerusalem or the smaller town of which 
in after-times the ruins were shown to Jerome, not 
far from the scene of the interview). He appears for 
a moment, and then vanishes from our view altogether. 
It is this which wraps him round in that mysterious 
obscurity which has rendered his name the symbol 
of all such sudden, abrupt apparitions, the interrup- 
tions, the dislocations, if one may so say, of the ordi- 
nary even succession of cause and effect and matter 
of fact in the various stages of the history of the 
Church, " without father, without mother, without be- 

1 Ant. i. 10, 1. Compare also Eus. mosque of Abraham, still the object 
Prcep. ix. 17. of pilgrimage, an hour north of Da- 

2 Gen. xiv. 15. The scene of this mascus. Porter, i. 82. 
is commemorated in a chapel or 


" ginning or end of days." No wonder that in Jewish 
times he was regarded as some remnant of the earlier 
world — Arphaxad * or Shem. No wonder that when, 
in after-times, there arose One whose appearance was 
beyond and above any ordinary influence of time or 
place or earthly descent, the author of the Epistle to the 
Hebrews could find no fitter expression for this aspect 
of his character than the mysterious likeness of Melchiz- 
edek. But there is enough of interest if we merely 
confine ourselves to the letter of the ancient narrative. 
He was the earliest instance of that ancient, sacred, 
though long corrupted and long abused name, not yet 
disentangled from the regal office, but still of sufficient 
distinctness to make itself felt : " Priest of the Most 
" High God." That title of Divinity also appears for the 
first time in the history ; and we catch from a heathen 
author a clew to the spot of the earliest primeval 
sanctuary where that Supreme Name was honored 
with priestly and regal service. Tradition 2 told that 
it was on Mount Gerizim Melchizedek ministered. On 
that lofty summit, from Melchizedek even to the pres- 
ent day, when the Samaritans still maintain that 
" on this mountain " God is to be worshipped, the 
rough rock, smoothed into a natural altar, is the only 
spot in Palestine, perhaps in the world, that has never 
ceased to be the scene of sacrifice and prayer. But 
what is now the last relic of a local and exhausted 
though yet venerable religion, was in those Patri- 
archal times the expression of a wide all-embracing 
worship, which comprehended within its range the 
amient chiefs of Canaan and the founder of the chosen 

1 Jerome, Epist. ad Evangelum, 2 Eupolemus (Eus. Prcep. Ev ix. 
§ 5 ; and Liber Hebr. Qucest in Gen- 17). 
esim, ad loc. 



people. The meeting of the two in the " King's Dale " 
personifies to us the meeting between what, in latei 
times, has been called Natural and Kevealed Religion ; 
and when Abraham 1 received the blessing of Melchiz- 
edek, and tendered to him his reverent homage, it 
is a likeness of the recognition which true historical 
Faith will always humbly receive and gratefully render, 
when it comes in contact with the older and everlast- 
ing instincts of that religion which "the Most High 
" God, Possessor of Heaven and Earth," has implanted 
in nature and in the heart of man, in a the power of 
"an endless life." 

4. There is yet another occasion on which Abraham 
Abraham appears in connection, not indeed with the 
chfe-for- the revolutions of armies or of empires, but with 
plam ' the more awful convulsions which agitate the 
fabric of the world itself. What were the precise 
special means by which the fertile vale of Siddim was 
blasted with eternal barrenness — how and to what 
extent the five guilty cities of the plain were over- 
thrown, is still a vexed question equally with theo- 
logians and geologists. 2 We need only here consider 
the aspect of the catastrophe, as it was presented to 
the Patriarch. I will not weaken by repetition the 
well-known words in which the " Friend of God " and 
of man draws near to plead before the Judge of all 
the earth against the indiscriminate destruction of the 
righteous with the wicked. Such an union of the 
yearnings of compassion with the sense of justice and 
of profound resignation, such a sympathy with the 
calamities, not only of his own countrymen but of a 

1 Jerome, Epist. ad Evangelum, § 6, ham gave tithes to Melchizedek oi 
justly remarks that the narrative Melchizedek to Abraham. 
leaves it ambiguous whether Abra- 2 Sinai and Palestine, 289. 


foreign and a detested race, must in that distant age be 
counted (to say the least) as a marvellous anticipa- 
tion of a higher morality and religion, such as we are 
accustomed to think peculiarly our own. Head and 
study that chapter well ; we may go much farther 
and fare much worse, even in modern and Christian 
times, in seeking a true justification of the ways of 
God to man. " And on the morrow Abraham gat up 
"early in the morning to the place where he stood 
" before the Lord." The hill is still pointed out * 
amongst the many summits near Hebron command- 
ing a view down into the deep gulf which parts the 
mountains of Judaea from those vast, unknown, un- 
visited ranges which, with their caves and wide table- 
lands, invite the fugitives from the plain below. The 
subsequent history of that chasm was like a perpetual 
memorial of Abraham's prayer. The guilty cities dis- 
appear forever. The descendants of the innocent fugi- 
tives become the powerful nations, of mixed character 
and dark origin, — Ammon and Moab. 

IV. Lastly, the history of the world and of the 
Church requires us to notice the act of faith sacrifice of 
which takes us back into the innermost life 
of Abraham himself, and marks at least one critical 
stage in the progress of the True Religion. 2 There 
have been in almost all ancient forms of Religion, in 
most modern forms also, strong tendencies, each in itself 
springing from the best and purest feelings of human- 
ity, yet each, if carried into the extremes suggested 
by passion or by logic, incompatible with the other 

1 Now called Bcni-naim; probably -396; Maurice, Doctrine of Sacrifice, 
ihe ancient Caphar-Barucha. See 33; Evvald, i. 430; iv. 76; Bunsen's 
Jerome, Epit. Paulce, § 11 ; and Rob- Golt in Geschichte, i. 170; and (in 
jison, i. 490. part) Kurtz's History of the Old 

2 See Arnold's Sermons, vol. ii. 394 Covenant, i. § 15. 


and with its own highest purpose. One is the crav- 
ing to please, or to propitiate, or to communicate with 
the Powers above us by surrendering some object near 
and dear to ourselves. This is the source of all Sac- 
rifice. The other is the profound moral instinct that 
the Creator of the world cannot be pleased or pro- 
pitiated or approached by any other means than a 
pure life and good deeds. On the exaggeration, on 
the contact, on the collision, of these two tendencies, 
have turned some of the chief corruptions, and some 
of the chief difficulties, of Ecclesiastical History. The 
earliest of these we are about to witness in the life 
of Abraham. There came, we are told, the Divine 
intimation, u Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, 
u whom thou lovest, and . . . offer him for a burnt- 
a offering on one of the mountains which I will tell 
" thee of. " It was in its spirit the exact expres- 
sion of the feeling of self-devotion without which 
Religion cannot exist, and of which the whole life of 
the Patriarch had been the great example. But the 
form taken by this Divine trial or temptation 1 was 
that which a stern logical consequence of the ancient 
view of Sacrifice did actually assume, if not then, yet 
certainly in after-ages, among the surrounding tribes, 
and which cannot therefore be left out of sight in 
considering the whole historical aspect of the narra- 
tive. Deep in the heart of the Canaanitish nations 
was laid the practice of human sacrifice ; the very 

1 That this temptation or trial, where the same temptation, w.Jch in 

through whatever means it was sug- one book is ascribed to God, is in 

gested, should in the sacred narrative another ascribed to Satan : " The Lord 

be ascribed to the overruling voice of moved David to say, Go, nuuibc r 

God, is in exact accordance with the Israel" (2 Sam. xxiv. 1). "Satan 

general tenor of the Hebrew Scrip- provoked David to number Israel* 

tures. A still more striking instance (1 Chron. xxi. 1). 
b contained in the history of David, 


offering here described, of " children passing through 
" the fire," " of their sons and of their daughters," 
" of the first-born for their transgressions, the fruit of 
" their body for the sin of their soul." On the altars 
of Moab, and of Phoenicia, and of the distant Canaanite 
settlements in Carthage and in Spain, nay even, at 
times, in the confines of the Chosen People itself, in 
the wild vow of Jephthah, in the sacrifice of Saul's sons 
at Gibeah, in the dark sacrifices of the valley of Hin- 
nom under the very walls of Jerusalem — this almost 
irrepressible tendency of the burning zeal of a primi- 
tive race found its terrible expression. Such was the 
trial which presented itself to Abraham. From the 
tents of Beersheba he set forth at the rising of the 
sun, and w r ent unto the place of which God had told 
him. It was not the place, which Jewish tradition 
has selected on Mount Moriah at Jerusalem, still less 
that which Christian tradition shows, even to the 
thicket in which the ram was caught, hard by the 
church of the Holy Sepulchre ; still less that which 
Mussulman tradition indicates on Mount Arafat at 
Mecca. Rather w r e must look to that ancient sanctu- 
ary of which I have already spoken, the natural altar 
on the summit of Mount Gerizim. 1 On that spot, at 
that time the holiest in Palestine, the crisis was to 
take place. One, two, three days' journey from land 
of the Philistines — in the distance the high crest of 
the mountain appears. And "Abraham lifted up his 
"eyes and saw the place afar off" . . . 

The sacrifice, the resignation of the will, in the 
Fa ther and the Son 2 was accepted ; the literal sacri- 

1 Sinai and Palestine, 251. pathos in the collection of legends in 

2 The dialogue between Abraham Beer's Leben Abrahams, 56-70. 
»nd Isaac is given with considerable 


fice of the act was repelled. On the one hand, the 
great principle was proclaimed that mercy is better 
than sacrifice — that the sacrifice of self is the high- 
est and holiest offering that God can receive. On the 
other hand, the inhuman superstitions, towards which 
the ancient ceremonial of sacrifice was perpetually 
tending, were condemned and cast out of the true 
worship of the Church forever. 1 

There are doubtless many difficulties which may be 
raised on the offering of Isaac; but there are few, if 
any, which will not vanish away before the simple 
pathos and lofty spirit of the narrative itself, provided 
that we take it, as in fairness it must be taken, as a 
whole ; its close not parted from its commencement, 
nor its commencement from its close, — the subordi- 
nate parts of the transaction not raised above its 
essential primary intention. And there is no diffi- 
culty which will not be amply compensated by re* 
fleeting on the near approach, and yet the complete 
repulse, of the danger which might have threatened 
the early Church. Nothing is so remarkable a proof 
of a divine and watchful interposition, as the deliver- 
ance from the infirmity, the exaggeration, the excess, 
whatever it is, to which the noblest minds and the 
noblest forms of religion are subject. We have a 
proverb which tells us that "Man's extremity is God's 
opportunity." S. Jerome tells 2 us that the corre- 
sponding proverb amongst the Jews was "In the 

1 According to the Phoenician tra- " occasion of a great national calamity 

dition, " Israel, king of the country, " adorned him with royal attire, and 

" having by a nymph called Anobret " sacrificed him on an altar which he 

" [' the Hebrew fountain'] an only " had prepared." — SancJionia(hon,see 

v< son, whom they called Ieoud, the Ken rick's Phoenicia, 288. 

4 Phoenician word for only son," [so 2 In his Qucestiones Hebraica on 

applied to Isaac, Gen. xxii. 2] on Gen. xxii. 14. 


mount of the Lord it shall be seen." or " In the 
mountain the Lord will provide/' — that is. " As He 
had pity on Abraham, so He will have pity on us." 
A few words remain to be added on the relation of 
this crowning scene of the beginning of sacred history 
to the crowning scene of its close. The thoughts of 
Christian readers almost inevitably wander from one 
to the other; and without entering into details of 
controversy or doctrine which would be here out of 
place, there is a common ground which no one need 
fear to recognize. The doctrine of the types of the 
Ancient Dispensation has often been pushed to excess. 
But there is a sense in which the connection indicated 
thereby admits of no dispute, and which may be illus- 
trated even by other history than that with which we 
are now concerned. Not only in Sacred, but even 
in Grecian and Roman history, do the earliest records 
sometimes foreshadow and represent to us the latest 
fortunes of the nation or power then coming into 
existence. Whoever is (if we may thus combine the 
older and the more modern use of the word) the 
type of the nation or race at any marked period of 
its course is also the type of its final consummation. 
Abraham and Abraham's son, in obedience, in resig- 
nation, in the sacrifice of whatever could be sacrificed 
short of sin, form an anticipation, which cannot be 
mistaken, of that last and greatest event which closes 
the history of the Chosen People. We leap, as by a 
natural instinct, from the sacrifice in the land of 
Moriah to the sacrifice of Calvary. There are many 
differences — there is a danger of exaggerating the 
resemblance, or of confounding in either case what is 
subordinate with what is essential. But the general 
feeling of Christendom has in this respect not gone 


Tar astray. Each event, if we look at it well, and 
understand it rightly, will serve to explain the other. 
In the very point of view in which I have just been 
speaking of it, the likeness is most remarkable. Human 
sacrifice, it has been well said, which in outward form 
most nearly resembled the death on the Cross, is in 
Spirit the furthest removed from it. Human sacri- 
fice, as we have seen, which was in outward form 
nearest to the offering of Isaac, was in fact and in 
spirit most entirely condemned and repudiated by 
it. The union of parental love with the total denial 
of self is held up in both cases as the highest model 
of human, and therefore as the shadow of Divine, 
Love. ic Sacrifice " is rejected, but " to do Thy will, 
God," is accepted. 1 

Questions have often arisen on the meaning of the 
words which bring together in the Gospel history the 
names of Abraham and of the true and final Heir of 
Abraham's promises. But to the student of the whole 
line of the Sacred history, they may at least be 
allowed to express the marvellous continuity and 
community of character, of truth, of intention, between 
this, its grand beginning, and that, its still grander 

a Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he 
"saw it, and was glad" 2 

Note. To the illustrations of the Israelite History from Egypt, ante, p. 48, 
and post, p. 85, may be added some details which can be found in Brugsch'a 
Egypt, i. 56 ; Sharpe's History of Egypt, book ii. § 16 ; Bunsen's Egypt, v. 
51 J, 545, 561 ; as also the new light thrown upon the Temples of the Sun 
(a? given in Lecture IV. 96) by the complete excavation of the Temple of 

1 Heb. x. 5, 7. 9 John viii. 39, 56, 58. 

Lect III. JACOB. 57 



"Abraham was a hero, Jacob was 'a plain man, 
% dwelling in tents/ Abraham we feel to be Contrast of 

-iTiiTi , Abraham 

u above ourselves, Jacob to be like ourselves." and Jacob. 
So the distinction between the two great Patriarchs 
has been drawn out by a celebrated theologian. 1 
" Few and evil have the day 's of the years of my life been, 
" and have not attained unto the days of the years of the 
" life of my fathers in the days of their jpilgrimager So 
the experience of Israel himself is summed up in the 
close of his life. Human cares, jealousies, sorrows, cast 
their shade over the scene — the golden dawn of the 
Patriarchal age is overcast : there is no longer the 
same unwavering faith ; we are no longer in com- 
munion with the " High Father," the a Friend of God ; " 2 
we at times almost doubt whether we are not with His 
enemy. But for this very reason the interest attach- 
ing to Jacob, though of a less lofty and universal 
kind, is more touching, more penetrating, more at- 
tractive. Nothing but the perverse attempt to demand 
perfection of what is held before us as imperfect could 
blind us to the exquisite truthfulness which marks the 
delineation of the Patriarch's character. 

1 Newman's Sermons, v. 91. his birthright (Beer's Leben Abra 

2 It is a striking legend that Abra- hams, 84). 
ham died on the day that Esau sold 

58 JACOB. Lect. Ill 

I. Look at him, as his course is unrolled through 
the long vicissitudes which make his life a faithful 
mirror of human existence in its most varied aspects. 
Characters Look at him. as compared with his brother 

of Jacob . 

and Esau. Esau. Unlike the sharp contrast of the earlier 
pairs of Sacred history, in these two the good and 
evil are so mingled, that at first we might be at a 
loss which to follow, which to condemn. The distinct- 
ness with which they seem to stand and move before 
us against the horizon of the clear distance is a new 
phase in the history. Esau, the shaggy red-haired 1 
huntsman, the man of the field, with his arrows, his 
quiver, and his bow, coming in weary from the chase, 
caught, as with the levity and eagerness of a child, 
by the sight of the lentil soup, — "Feed me, I pray 
" thee, with the ' red, red ' 2 pottage," — yet so full of 
generous impulse, so affectionate towards his aged fa- 
ther, so forgiving towards his brother, so open-handed, 
so chivalrous : who has not at times felt his , heart 
warm towards the poor rejected Esau; and been tempt- 
ed to join with him as he cries with " a great and ex- 
ceeding bitter cry," "Hast thou but one blessing, my 
" father ? bless me, even me also, my father ! " 
And who does not in like manner feel at times his 
indignation swell against the younger brother ? " Is 
"he not rightly named Jacob, for he hath supplanted 
" me these two times ? " He entraps his brother, he 
deceives his father, he makes a bargain even in his 
prayer ; in his dealings with Laban, in his meeting 

1 Esau (hair)') Arabic word. " As horse (Zech. i. 8 ; vi. 2). So also of 

rf with a cloak of hair (Adrath Seir)." lentils (Gen. xxv. 30), or blood (Isa. 

■ — Zech. xiii. 4. Edmoni (LXX. 7ru/3- lxiii. 2). Compare Scott's description 

bd\ve) is "red-haired" here, and in of " Rob Roy" (ch. 7). 
Bpeaking of David. Edom (red), as of 2 Gen. xxv. 30 (in the original) 

the hair of a cow (Num. xix. 2), or 


with Esau, he still calculates and contrives ; he dis- 
trusts his neighbors, he regards with prudential in- 
difference the insult to his daughter, and the cruelty 
of his sons ; he hesitates to receive the assurance of 
Joseph's good-will ; he repels, even in his lesser traits, 
the free confidence that we cannot withhold from the 
Patriarchs of the elder generation. 

But yet, taking the two from first to last, how 
entirely is the judgment of Scripture and the judg- 
ment of posterity confirmed by the result of the 
whole. The mere impulsive hunter vanishes away, 
light as air : tt he did eat and drink, and rose up. 
"and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birth- 
u right." The substance, the strength of the Chosen 
family, the true inheritance of the promise of Abra- 
ham, was interwoven with the very essence of the 
character of a the plain * man, dwelling in tents," 
steady, persevering, moving onward with deliberate 
settled purpose, through years of suffering and of 
prosperity, of exile and return, of bereavement and 
recovery. The birthright is always before him. Ra- 
chael is won from Laban by hard service, " and the 
a seven years seemed unto him but a few days for 
" the love he had to her." Isaac, and Rebekah, and 
Rebekah's nurse, are remembered with a faithful, filial 
remembrance ; Joseph and Benjamin are long and 
passionately loved with a more than parental affec- 
tion, — bringing down his gray hairs for their sakes 
" in sorrow to the grave." This is no character to 
be contemned or scoffed at; if it was encompassed 
with much infirmity, yet its very complexity demand.* 

1 Gen. xxv. 27. The word trans- has softened, probably from a sens- 
.ated "plain" implies a stronger ap- of the difficulty, 
probation, which the English Version 

60 JACOB. Lsct. 1JJL 

our reverent attention; in it aie bound up, as his 
double name expresses, not one man, but two ; by 
toil and struggle, Jacob, the Supplanter, is gradually 
transformed into Israel, the Prince of God ; the harsher 
and baser features are softened and purified away : he 
looks back over his long career with the fulness of 
experience and humility. " I am not worthy of the 
K least of all the mercies and of all the truth which 
" Thou hast shown unto Thy servant." * Alone of the 
Patriarchal family, his end is recorded as invested with 
the solemnity of warning and of prophetic song. 
ft Gather yourselves together, ye sons of Jacob ; and 
" hearken unto Israel your father." We need not fear 
to acknowledge that the God of Abraham and the 
God of Isaac was also the God of Jacob. 

Most unworthy indeed we should be of the gift of 
Esau the ^he Sacred narrative, if we foiled to appre- 
tiwEdom- C ^ e ^ in this, its full, its many-sided aspect. 
ites; j n ^ie Jewish history, what a foreshadowing 

of the future ! We may even venture to trace in the 
wayward chieftain of Edom the likeness of the fickle, 
uncertain Edomite, now allied, now hostile to the seed 
of promise ; the wavering, unstable dynasty which came 
forth from Idumsea, Herod the magnificent and the 
cruel; Herod Antipas, who "heard John gladly" and 
slew him ; Herod Agrippa, u almost a Christian " — half 
Jew and half heathen. " A turbulent and unruly race," 
so Josephus describes the Idumseans of his day : " al- 
" ways hovering on the verge of revolution, always 
" rejoicing in changes, roused to arms by the slightest 
* motion of flattery, rushing to battle as if they were 
u going to a feast." 2 But we cannot mistake the type of 
the Israelites in him whom, beyond even Abraham and 

1 Gen. xxxii. 10. 2 Josephus, B. J. iv. 4, 1. 


Isaac, they recognized as their father Israel. 1 His doubt- 
ful qualities exactly recall to us the meanness of Jacob f 
character, which, even to a proverb, we call in the Jews - 
scorn " Jewish? By his peculiar discipline of exile and 
suffering, a true counterpart is produced of the special 
faults and special gifts, known to us chiefly through his 
persecuted descendants in the Middle Ages. Professor 
Blunt has with much ingenuity pointed out how Jacob 
seems to have a learned like maltreated animals to have 
u the fear of man habitually before his eyes." 2 In 
Jacob we see the same timid, cautious watchfulness that 
we know so well, though under darker colors, through 
our great masters of fiction, in Shylock of Venice and 
Isaac of York. But no less, in the nobler side of his 
career, do we trace the germs of the unbroken endur- 
ance, the undying resolution, which keeps the nation 
alive still even in its present outcast condition, and 
which was the basis, in its brighter days, of the heroic 
zeal, long-suffering, and hope, of Moses, of David, of 
Jeremiah, of the Maccabees, of the twelve Jewish 
Apostles, and the first martyr, Stephen. 

We cannot, however, narrow the lessons of Jacob's 
history to the limits of the Israelite Church. All 
Ecclesiastical History is the gainer by the sight of 
such a character so delineated. It is a character not 
all black nor all white, but checkered with the mixed 
colors which make up so vast a proportion of the 
double phases of the leaders of the Church and world 
in every age. The force of the Scripture Examples 

. • i i of mixed 

narrative may be seen by its contrast with the characters 

1 Hos. xii. 8,4,5, 12. Once only " proventus niajoribus suis clariorem 

Jacob is mentioned in Pagan records; "fecit." — Jusfin, xxxvi. 2. 
( Post Damascum Azelus, mox Adores, * Veracity of the Books of Moses, 

1 ct Abraham, et Isrdhel reges fuere. eh. viii. 
* Set! Isratu'lem f'elix decern filiorum 

62 JACOB. Lect. Ill 

dark hues in which Esau is painted by the .Rabbinical 
luthors. 1 He is hindered in his chase by Satan ; Hell 
>pens as he goes in to - his father ; he gives his father 
log's flesh instead of venison ; he tries to bite Jacob 
on his return ; he commits five sins in one day. This 
is the difference between mere national animosity and 
the high impartial judgment of the Sacred story, evenly 
balanced and steadily held, yet not regardless of the 
complicated and necessary variations of human thought 
and action. For students of theology, for future pas- 
tors, for young men in the opening of life, what a series 
of lessons, were this the place to enlarge upon it, is 
opened in the history of those two youths, issuing from 
their father's tent in Beersheba ! The free, easy, frank 
good-nature of the profane Esau is not overlooked ; the 
craft, duplicity, timidity, of the religious Jacob is duly 
recorded. Yet, on the one hand, fickleness, unsteadi- 
ness, weakness, want of faith and want of principle, ruin 
and render useless the noble qualities of the first ; and 
on the other hand, steadfast purpose, resolute sacrifice 
of present to future, fixed principle, purify, elevate, turn 
to lasting good even the baser qualities of the second. 
And, yet again, whether in the two brothers or their 
descendants, we see how in each the good or evil strove 
together and worked their results almost to the end. 
Esau and his race cling still to the outskirts of the 
Chosen People. " Meddle not," it was said in after- 
times, " with your brethren the children of Esau, for I 
a will not give you of their land, because I have given 
" Mount Seir 2 to Esau for a possession." Israel, on the 
other hand, is outcast, thwarted, deceived, disappointed, 
bereaved, — "all these things are against me;" in him, 
and in his progeny also, the curse of Ebal is always 

1 Otho, Lex Babb. 207. 2 Deut. ii. 5. 


blended with the blessings of Gerizim. Remember 
these mingled warnings as we become entangled in the 
web of the history of the whole Church. How hardly 
Esau was condemned, how hardly Jacob was saved. 
We are kept in long and just suspense ; the prodigal 
may, as far as human eye can see, be on his way 
home ; the blameless son, who " has been in his father's 
house always," may be shutting himself out. Yet the 
final issue, to which on the whole this primitive history 
calls our attention, is the same which is borne out by 
the history of the Church even in these later days of 
complex civilization. There is, after all, a weakness in 
selfish worldliness, for which no occasional impulse can 
furnish any adequate compensation, even though it be 
the generosity of an Arabian chief, or the inimitable 
good-nature of an English king. There is a nobleness 
in principle and in faith which cannot be wBolly de- 
stroyed, even though it be marred by the hardness or 
the duplicity of the Jew, or the Jesuit, or the Puritan. 

II. Let us now follow the Patriarch through the suc- 
cessive scenes of his life ; again, as in the case of Abra- 
ham, dwelling upon those special points which admit 
of geographical or historical elucidation, or general 
application of ecclesiastical and spiritual truth. 

1. "And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went 
u toward Haran." It is, if one may so say, the Jacob at 
first retrograde movement in the history of BetheL 
the Church. Was the migration of Abraham to be 
reversed ? Was the westward tide of events to roll 
back upon itself? Was the Chosen Race to sink back 
into the life of the Mesopotamian deserts ? The first 
halt of the Wanderer revealed his future destinies. 
' The sun w r ent down ; " the night gathered round ; 
he was on the central thoroughfare, on the hard 

64 JACOB. Lect. Ill 

backbone * of the mountains of Palestine ; the ground 
was strewn with wide sheets of bare rock ; here and 
there stood up isolated fragments, like ancient Druidical 
monuments. On the hard ground he lay down for 
lest, and in the visions of the night the rough stones 
formed themselves into a vast staircase, reaching into 
the depth of the wide and open sky, which, without 
any interruption of tent or tree, was stretched over the 
sleeper's head. On that staircase were seen ascending 
and descending the messengers of God ; and from above 
there came the Divine Voice which told the houseless 
wanderer that, little as he thought it, he had a Pro- 
tector there and everywhere ; that even in this bare 
and open thoroughfare, in no consecrated grove or cave, 
" the Lord was in this place, though he knew it not." 
" This was Bethel, the House of God ; and this was the 
" gate of Heaven." 

The monument, whatever it was, that was still in 
after-ages ascribed to the erection of Jacob, must have 
been, like so many described or seen in other times 
and countries, a rude copy of the natural features of 
the place, as at Carnac in Brittany, the cromlechs of 
Wales and Cornwall, or the walls of Tiryns, where 
the play of nature and the simplicity of art are 
almost indistinguishable. In all ages of primitive his- 
tory such monuments are, if we may so_ call them, the 
earliest ecclesiastical edifices. In Greece there were 
rude stones at Delphi, still visible in the second cen- 
tury, anterior to any temple, and, like the rock of 
Bethel, anointed 2 with oil by the pilgrims who came 
thither. In Northern Africa, Arnobius, after his con- 
version, describes the kind of fascination which had 
drawn him towards one of those aged stones. 

1 See Sinai and Palestine, 220. 2 Paus. vii. 22; x. 24 


streaming and shining with the sacred oil which 
had been 1 poured upon it. The black stone of the 
Arabian Caaba reaches back to the remotest antiquity 
of which history or tradition can speak. 

In all these rough anticipations of a fixed structure 
or building, we trace the beginnings of what in the 
case of Jacob is first distinctly called "Beth-el," the 
house of God, a the place of worship " — the " Beit- 
allah " of Mecca, the " Bsetulia " of the early Phoeni- 
cian worship. When we see the rude remains of 
Abury in our own country, there is a strange interest 
in the thought that they were the first architectural 
witness of English religion. Even so the pillar or 
cairn or cromlech of Bethel must have been looked 
upon by the Israelites, and may still be looked upon 
in thought by us, as the precursor of every u House 
of God," that has since arisen in the Jewish and 
Christian world — the temple, the cathedral, the 
church, the chapel; nay more, of those secret places 
of worship that are marked by no natural beauty and 
seen by no human eye — the closet, the catacomb, 
the thoroughfare, of the true worshipper. There was 
neither in the aspect nor in the ground of Bethel 
any " Religio loci" but the place was no less " dreadful," 
u full of awe." The stone 2 of Bethel remained as the 
memorial that an all-encompassing Providence watches 
over its chosen instruments, however unconscious at 
the time of what and where they are. " The Shep- 
herd of the stone of Israel" was one of the earliest 

1 Arnobius adv. Gent. i. 39. He (Tac. Hist. ii. 2 ; Herod, v. 3 ; Gese- 

speaks also (vi. 11) of the special nius, Man. Phozn. 387) refers rather 

worship of "infamies lapides" by the to their being thought the habitation* 

Arabs. of the Deity. 

8 The worship of meteoric stones 


66 JACOB Lect. Ill 

names by which " the God of Jacob " was known. 1 
The vision of the ascending and descending messen- 
gers received its highest application in a Divine mani- 
festation, yet more universal and unexpected. 2 

2. The chief interest of the story of Jacob's twenty 
Jacob in years' service with Laban lies in its reopening 

Mesopota- nl i • -, i i •-r^i 

mia. of the relations between the settlers m Pales- 

tine and the original tribe of Mesopotamia, which 
appeared on Abraham's migration to have been closed. 
These chapters are an instance of the compensation 
which is constantly going on in the losses and gains 
of theological study. If a shade of uncertainty is 
thrown here and there over the meaning and nature 
of the narrative, which a hundred or a thousand years 
ago would not have occurred; yet, on the other hand, 
with how far deeper a pleasure than in any preceding 
age do we enter into the beauty of those primitive 
scenes. We are more than interested ; we are re- 
freshed ; we are edified ; we become again like little 
children, as that pastoral life rises before our own 
worn-out time. Like the aged patriarch, "whose eyes 
a were dim that he could not see," and who " longed 
" for the savoury meat that he loved, that he might 
a eat it before he died," we too in the haze of many 
centuries which surrounds our vision, " smell the smell 
"of the raiment" of those ancient chiefs, and we bless 
them, and we feel that it is " as the smell of a field 
"which the Lord hath blessed," full of the dew of 
heaven and of the fatness of the virgin earth. 

" Then Jacob ' lifted up his feet ' and came into the 
" land of c the children ' of the East. And he looked, 
* and behold a well in the field ; and lo ! three flocks 

1 Gen. xlix. 24. Ewald, Geschichte, i. 523, note. 2 John i. 51. 


• c of sheep lying by it, and a great stone was on the 
K well's mouth." The shepherds were there ; they had 
advanced far away from u the city of Nahor." It was 
not the well outside the walls, with the hewn stair- 
case, down which Rebekah descended with the pitcher 
on her head. Rachel 1 com^s, guiding her father's 
flocks, like the daughters of the Bedouin chiefs at 
the present day; and Jacob claims the Bedouin right 
of cousinship : " And it came to pass when Jacob saw 
" Rachel, the daughter of Laban, his mother's brother, 
u and the sheep of Laban, his mother's brother [ob- 
" serve the simplicity of the juxtaposition], that Jacob 
" went near and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, 
" and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother ; 
" and Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice and 
" wept." Everything which follows is of the same 
color. Bethuel, the aged head of the family in Re- 
bekah's time, is dead ; and Laban has succeeded, the 
true type of the hard-hearted, grasping Sheik of an 
Arabian tribe ; Laban, the ordinary likeness of one 
side of the Arabian character, as Esau is of the other. 
Then begins the long contest of cunning and perse- 
verance, in which true love wins the game at last 
against selfish gain. Seven years, the service of a 
slave, thrice over, did Jacob pay. He is the faithful 
Eastern " good shepherd ; " " that which was torn of 
" beasts he brought not unto his master 5 he bare the 
" loss of it ; of his hand " did his hard taskmaster 

* require it, whether stolen by day or stolen by night ; 

* in the day the drought" of the desert "consumed 
' him, and the frost " in the cold Eastern nights ; " and 

1 The spring at Orfa was pointed " seven years he served his uncle La- 
out by Jews, Turks, and Armenians " ban for fair and beautiful Rachel.' 
m Jacob's well, where "for twice — Travels, in Hark tan Coll. i. 716. 

68 JACOB. Lect. III. 

" his sleep departed from him." In Edessa, as we have 
seen, was laid up for many centuries what professed 
to be the tent in which he had guarded his master's 
flocks. And at last his fortunes were built up ; the 
Jacob at slave became a prince ; and the second mi- 
Giiead. oration took place from Mesopotamia into 
Palestine, "with much cattle, 'with male and female 
'' ' slaves/ with camels and with asses." * The hour 
was come. As in the earlier flight of Abraham from 
the same region, the double motive is put before us : 
a And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and 
" behold it was not towards him as before." " And the 
"Lord said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy 
" fathers and to thy kindred, and I will be with thee." 2 
"He rose up," and once again high upon the backs 
of camels he set his sons and his wives, and he fled 
with all that he had ; and Eachel stole the teraphim, 
the household gods of her family ; and " he rose up 
" and passed over the " great " river, and set his face " 
— not, as Abraham, towards Damascus, — but right 
away to the south-west, to the long range of Gilead, 
the li le of heights on the east of the Jordan which 
stand as outposts between Palestine and the Assyrian 
desert. On the seventh day the pursuers overtook 
the fugitives. On the undulating downs of Gilead the 
two lines of tents were pitched ; and in the midst of 
the encampment of Jacob rose the five tents of him- 
self and of his wives, the camels and the cattle moored 
around, the seats and furniture of the camels stowed 
within the covering of the tents. As in later times, 
the fortress on these heights of Gilead became the 
frontier post of Israel against the Aramaic tribe that 
occupied Damascus, so now the same line of heights 

l Gen. xxx. 43. 2 Gen. xxxi. 2, 3. 

Lect. III. HIS RETURN. 69 

became the frontier between the nation in its youth 
and the older Aramaic family of Mesopotamia. As 
now the confines of two Arab tribes are marked by the 
rude cairn or pile of stones erected at the boundary 
of their respective territories, so the pile of stones 
and the tower or pillar erected by the two tribes of 
Jacob 1 and Laban, marked that the natural limit of 
the range of Gilead should be their actual limit also. 

* The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor" — 
here for the first and last time mentioned together — 
•''was to judge betwixt them." The variation of the 
dialects of the two tribes appears also for the first 
and last time in the two names of the memorial. The 
sacrificial feast of the covenant was made on the 
mountain-top ; u And early in the morning Laban rose 
'-' up and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed 
" them ; and Laban departed, and returned to his 
u place ; " and in him and his tribe, as they sweep 
out of sight into the Eastern Desert, we lose the last 
trace of the connection of Israel with the Chaldsean 
Ur or the Mesopotamian Haran. 

3. It was the termination also of the dark and un- 
certain prelude of Jacob's life. The original JacnI) at 
sin, the exile, the transgression in which the Mahaiiaim - 
founder of the Israelites was born and bred, was held 
up always before their eyes, a mixed ground of warning 
and thanksgiving. " Thy first father hath sinned." 2 

* Thou wast called a transgressor from the womb." 3 
" Thou shalt say, A Syrian ready to perish was my 
'•' father." 4 But this is now over. Every incident and 
expression in the Sacred narrative tends to fix our 
attention on this point of the Patriarch's story, as the 

1 Gen. xxxi. 47, 48, 49. 3 Isa. xlviii. 8. 

2 Isa. xliii. 27. 4 Dcut. xxvi. 5. 

70 JACOB. Lecl Ill 

climax and turn of the whole. He is the exile return- 
ing home after years of wandering. He is the chief, 
raised by his own efforts and God's providence to a 
high place amongst the tribes of the earth. He stands 
like Abraham on the heights of Bethel ; like Moses on 
the heights of Pisgah; overlooking from the watch- 
tower, "the Mizpeh" of Gilead, the whole extent of 
the land which was to be called after his name. The 
deep valley of the Jordan, stretched below, recalls the 
mighty change of fortune. " With my staff I passed 
66 over this Jordan, and now I am become two bands." 
The wide descent of the valley southward towards the 
distant mountains of Seir reminds him of the contest 
which may be in store for him from the advancing tribe 
of his brother of Edom. But the story sets before us a 
deeper than any mere external change or struggle. It 
is as though the twenty years of exile and servitude 
had wrought their work. Every incident and word is 
fraught with a double meaning ; in every instance 
earthly and spiritual images are put one over against 
the other, hardly to be seen in the English version, 
but in the original clearly intended. Other forms 
than his own company are surrounding him ; another 
Face than that of his brother 1 Esau is to welcome his 
return to the land of his birth and kindred. He was 
become two "bands" or "hosts;" he had divided his 
people, his flocks and herds and camels into two 
"hosts;" he had sent "messengers" before to an- 
nounce his approach. But " as Jacob went on his way 
fi the ' messengers' of God met him;" as when he had 

1 " Afterward I will see his (Esau's) " face to face," xxxii. 30. " I have 

M face." — Gen. xxxii. 20. Jacob " seen thy face (Esau's) as though I 

called the name of the place " the " had seen the face of God," xxxiii. 

4 Face of God : for I have seen God 10. 

Lect. III. HIS RETURN. 71 

seen them ascending and descending the stair of heaven 
at Bethel ; and u when Jacob saw them, he said, This 
" is God's host : and he called the name of that place 
" Mahanaim ;" that is, " The Two Hosts." The Jacob at 
name was handed on to after-ages, and the Penie1 ' 
place became the sanctuary of the Transjordanic tribes. 
He was still on the heights of the Transjordanic hills, 
beyond the deep defile where the Jabbok, as its name 
implies, u wrestles " with the mountains through which 
it descends to the Jordan. In the dead of night he 
sent his wives and sons and all that he had, across 
the defile, and he was left alone ; and in the darkness 
and stillness, in the crisis of his life, in the agony of 
his fear for the issue of the morrow, there "wrestled" 
with him One whose name he knew not, until the 
dawn rose over the hills of Gilead. They a wrestled," 
and he prevailed; yet not without bearing away the 
marks of the conflict. 1 He is saved, as elsewhere, in 
his whole career, so here ; " saved, yet so as by fire." 
In that struggle, in that seal and crown of his life, he 
wins his new name. 2 "Thy name shall be called no 
"more Jacob ('The Supplanter'), but Israel ('The 
" Prince of God '), for as a prince hast thou power with 
u God and with man, and hast prevailed." The dark 
crafty character of the youth, though never wholly 
lost — for "Jacob" he still is called even to the end 
of his days — has been by trial and affliction changed 
into the prince-like, godlike character of his manhood. 
And what was He with whom he had wrestled in the 
visions of the night, and who vanished from his grasp 
as the day was breaking ? " Tell me, I pray thee, 

1 Like the thorn in the flesh, 2 Cor. play on the word sarah, " to be a 
DL 7 (Ewald, i. 461, note). prince" and also " to fight" (Gese- 

2 "Israel" seems to be a double nius, Thes. 1338). 

72 JACOB. LEcr. Ill 

" thy name. And He said, ' Wherefore is it that thou 
" dost ask after My name ?' And He blessed him 
" there. And Jacob called the name of the place 
"Peniel (that is, ' The Face of God');— for I have 
" seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. 
" And as he passed over Penuel, the sun," of which 
the dawn had been already breaking, "< burst' upon 
" him ; and he halted upon his thigh." * 

Many memorials, outward and inward, remain of 
that vision. " The children of Israel," and the children 
of Abyssinia also, " eat not of the sinew which shrank, 2 
"unto this day." This was one remembrance traced 
back to the old ancestral victory. Another was the 
watch-tower of Peniel, which years afterwards guarded 
the passes of the Jordan, when Gideon 3 pursued the 
Midianites who were retreating back into their eastern 
haunts, by the same approach through which the tribe 
of Jacob was now advancing. But a more enduring 
memorial is the application, almost without an alle- 
gory, into which that mysterious encounter shapes 
itself, as an image of the like struggles and wrestr 
lings, in all ages of the Church, on the eve of some 
dreadful crisis, in the solitude and darkness of some 
overhanging trial. It was already so understood in 
part by the Prophets, — "He had power over the 
" angel and prevailed ; he wept and made supplication 
"unto him."* And in modern times this aspect of the 

1 The moral aspects of this story in italics are independent of the ac- 
are well brought out by Mr. Robert- count in Gen. xxxii. 27. Dr. WolfF 
6on (Sermo?is, i. 40). describes the religious exercises of 

2 The Jews abstain on this account the Dervishes as resembling an actual 
from the backs of animals. See Ro- wrestle, and conducted with such 
genmiiller ad loc. vehemence as actually to dislocate 

3 Judges viii. 8, 9. their joints. — Travels and Adven- 

4 Hos. xii. 4. The words quoted tures t ch. xxii. 


story finds its best application in the noble hymn of 
Charles Wesley : 

" Come, O thou Traveller unknown, 

Whom still I hold, but cannot see I 
My company before is gone, 

And I am left alone with Thee : 
With Thee all night I mean to stay, 
And wrestle till the break of day. 

" Yield to me now, for I am weak ; 

But confident in self-despair : 
Speak to my heart, in blessings speak : 

Be conquer'd by my instant prayer. 
Speak ! or thou never hence shalt move, 
And tell me if thy Name be Love. 

" My prayer hath power with God: the grace 
Unspeakable I now receive ; 
Through faith I see Thee face to face — 

I see Thee face to face and live ! 
In vain I have not wept and strove — 
Thy Nature and thy Name is Love." 

4. The dreaded meeting with Esau has passed ; the 
two brothers retain their characters through The retire- 

... , .. ment of 

the interview : the generosity or the one, and Esau, 
the caution of the other. And for the last time 
Esau retires to make room for Jacob ; he leaves to 
him the land of his inheritance, and disappears on his 
way to the wild mountains of Seir. 1 In those wild 
mountains, in the red hills of Edom, in the caves and 
excavations to which the soft sandstone rocks so 
readily lend themselves, in the cliffs which afterwards 
gave to the settlement the name of a Sela " or iC Petra," 
lingered the ancient aboriginal tribe of the Horites 2 

l Seir = woody, hairy. There is Compare Josh. xi. 17 ; xii. 7 ; Joseph. 

Btill the es-Sherah, or downs, slightly Ant. i. 20, § 3. 

ufted and possibly contrasted with 2 " Seir " and " the Horite " go to 

„he bald mountains of Petra itself, gether, Gen. xxxvi. 20. 

74 JACOB. Lect. HI 

or dwellers in the holes of the rock. These " the 
u children of Esau succeeded, and destroyed from before 
* them, and dwelt in their stead." 1 It was the rough 
rocky country described in their father's blessing : a 
savage dwelling, " away 2 from the fatness of the earth 
" and the dew of heaven ; " by the sword they were 
to live j a race of hunters among the mountains ; their 
nearest allies, the Arabian tribe Nebaioth. 3 Together 
dwelt the conquering Edomites and the remnant of 
the Horites, each under their respective chiefs, 4 whose 
names are preserved in long lines down to the time 
of David. Petra, the mysterious, secluded city, with 
its thousand caves, is the lasting monument of their 
local habitation. 

May we not also trace their connection with a 
The Book monument still more instructive, — the name 
of Job. an( ^ foe scene of the book of Job ? When, 
where, and by whom that wonderful book was written, 
we need not here pause to ask. Yet, as we take 
leave of Esau and his race, we can hardly forbear to 
notice the numerous traces which connect the scene 
of the story with the land of Edom, with the mys- 
terious rocks of Petra. Uz, Eliphaz, Teman, are all 
names more or less connected with the Idumaean 
chiefs. The description of the aboriginal tribes, ex- 
pelled from their seats and living in the cliffs and 
caves of the rocks, well suits the flight of the Horites 
before the conquering Edomites. 5 The description of 
the wonders of Egypt — the war-horse, the hippo- 

1 Pent. ii. 12, 22. 4 Alluph = "ox," or "companion," 

2 This seems the most probable almost always used of Edom ; trans- 
rendering of Gen. xxvii. 39 (see Ka- lated "duke" (Gen. xxxvi. 15-19, 
lisch ad luc.) ; comp. Jos. Ant. i. 18, 21, 29, 30 ; 1 Chron. i. 51). 
§ 7. 5 Job xxx. 3-8 ; comp. Deut. ii. 22. 

3 Gen. xxviii. 9 ; xxxvi. 3. 


potamus, and the crocodile — well suits the dweller in 
Idumasan Arabia. 1 So the Septuagint translators 
understood even the name of Job, as identical with 
the Edomite Jobab, and fixed his exact place in the 
history of the tribe. 2 Perhaps, after all, the position 
of the story is left in designed obscurity. But it 
would be in strict accordance with the tenderness 
which the older Scriptures exhibit towards the better 
qualities of Esau, that the one book admitted into the 
Sacred Canon, of which the subject is not a member 
of the Chosen People, should bring before us those 
better qualities in their purest form, — suspected inno- 
cence frankly asserting itself against false religious 
pretensions; the generosity of the Patriarchal chief 
without his levity. " When the ear heard him, then 
"it blessed him; when the eye saw him, it gave 
"witness to him. He chose out their way, and sat 
"chief, and dwelt as a king in the army, as one that 
" comforteth the mourners." 3 

So we part with the house of Esau, at least for the 
time, in peace, and return to the main stream of the 
history, Jacob and his latter days. 

5. He too moves onward. From the summit' of 
Mount Gerizim the eye rests on the wide opening in 
the eastern hills beyond the Jordan, which marks the 
issue of the Jabbok into the Jordan valley. Through 
that opening, straight towards Gerizim and Shechem, 
Jacob 'descends - in peace " 4 and triumph. 

At every stage of his progress henceforward we are 
reminded that it is the second, and not the settlement 
first settlement of Palestine, that is now un- atShechem ' 

1 Job. xxxix. 18; xli. 34. 3 Job xxix. 11, 25. 

2 lb. xlii. 16 (LXX.). For Jobab * Gen. xxxiii. 18, "to Shalera ; u 
*ee Gen. xxxvi. 33. Comp. also Fa- more accurately, " in peace." For 
bricius Cod. pseudepigr. 796-798. the " triumph " see xlviii. 22. 

76 JACOB. Lect. Ill 

folding itself. It is no longer, as in the case of 
Abraham, the purely pastoral life ; it is the gradual 
transition from the pastoral to the agricultural. Jacob, 
on his first descent from the downs of Gilead, is no 
longer a mere dweller in tents ; he " builds him an 
" house : " he makes u booths " or " huts " for his cattle, 
and therefore the name of the place is called "Succoth." 
He advances across the Jordan ; he conies to Shechem 
in the heart of Palestine, whither Abraham had come 
before him. But it is no longer the uninhabited 
a place " and grove ; it is " the city " of Shechem, and 
66 before the city " his tent is pitched. And he comes 
not merely as an Arabian wanderer, but as with a 
fixed aim and fixed habitation in view. He sets his eye 
on the rich plain which stretches eastward of the city, 
now, as eighteen centuries ago, and then, as twenty 
centuries yet before, " white already to the harvest " 2 
with its waving cornfields. This, and not a mere 
sepulchre like the cave of Machpelah, is the possession 
which he purchases from the inhabitants of the land. 
The very pieces of money with which he buys the 
land are not merely weighed, as in the bargain with 
Ephron ; they are stamped with the earliest mark of 
coinage, the figures of the lambs of the flocks. 3 In 
this vale of Shechem the Patriarch rests, as in a per- 
manent home. Beersheba, Hebron, even Bethel, are 
nothing to him in comparison with this one chosen 
portion, which is to descend to his favorite son. Yet 
it is not his altogether by the peaceful occupation 
which at first seems implied. Two indications remain 
to us of a more warlike character. One is the word 
of the aged Patriarch to his son Joseph, as of the 

1 Gen. xxxiii. 17. 3 Q 6 n. xxxiii. 19. See Cardinal 

2 John iv. 35. Wiseman's Lectures^ ii. 197. 


expiring flash of the spirit of an ancient conqueror : 
"Moreover I have given to thee one portion above 
"thy brethren, which I took out of the hand of the 
"Amorite with my sword and with my bow." 1 ' It 
may allude to the bloody conquest of Shechem by 
Simeon and Levi; but the turn of expression ("/have 
" given thee .... with my sword and my bow ") 
rather points to incidents of the original settlement, 
not preserved in the regular narrative. The other in- 
dication is omitted altogether in the Hebrew record, 
but remains even unto this day. Outside the green 
vale of Shechem, but in u the portion of the field east 
a of the city," is the ancient well, which can hardly 
be doubted to be the one claimed at the Christian 
era by the Samaritans as "the well of their father 
"Jacob, who drank thereof himself, and his children, 
" and his cattle." 2 A natural question arises at the 
sight of this well, why it was necessary to dig it at 
all, when so close at hand in the valley which falls 
into this plain are streams of living water, which might 
have been thought to render it superfluous ? The 
answer has been made 3 with all appearance of proba- 
bility, that it could only have been so dug by one 
who was unwilling to trust for his supply of water to 
the stronger and hostile inhabitants of the cultivated 
valley. It is, if so, an actually existing monument of 
the suspicious attitude of the old Patriarch towards 
his neighbors, and of his habitual prudence, — "fearful 
" lest, he being few in number, the inhabitants of the 
"land should gather themselves together and slay him 
'*' and his house." 

1 Gen. xlviii. 22. 

2 John iv. 12. See Sinai and Palestine, ch. v. 

3 Robinson, B. R. ii. 286. 

78 JACOB. Lect. Ill 

6. It is with the latest portion of Jacob's life that 
are most closely interwoven those cords of natural 
and domestic affection which so bind his name round 
Oak of our hearts. He revisits then his old haunts 
Deborah. at Bethel and Beersheba. The ancient ser- 
vant of his house, Deborah, his mother's nurse, the 
only link which survived between him and the face 
which he should see no more, dies, and is not forgot- 
ten, but is buried beneath the hill of Bethel, under 
the oak well known to the many who passed that 
way in later times as Allon-bachuth, "The Oak of 
Tears." He advances yet a day's journey southward. 
They draw near to a place then known only by its 
ancient Canaanite name, and now for the first time 
mentioned in history, a Ephratah, which is Bethlehem." 
The village appears spread along its narrow ridge, 
but they are not to reach it. " There was but a little 
66 way to come to Ephrath, and Rachel travailed, and 
" she had hard labour. . . . And it came to pass, as 
a her soul was in departing, for she died, that she 
" called the name of the child Ben-oni (that is, i the 
"son of sorrow'); but his father called him Ben-jamin 
"(that is, 'the son of my right hand'). And Rachel 
" died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath. And 
The grave " Jacob set a pillar on her grave, that is the 
of Rachel, a pin ar f Rachel's grave unto this day." 1 
The pillar has long disappeared, but its memory has 
remained. After the allotment of the country to the 
several tribes, the territory of the Benjamites was ex- 
tended by a long strip far into the south to include 
the sepulchre of their beloved ancestress. 2 As late 
as the Christian era, when the infants of Bethlehem 3 
were slaughtered by Herod, it seemed to the Evan- 

1 Gen. xxxv. 16-20. 2 i Sam. x. 2. 3 Matt. ii. 18. 


gelist as though the voice of Rachel were heard 
weeping for her children from her neighboring grave 
On the spot indicated by the sacred narrative, a 
rude cupola, under the name of Eachel's tomb, still 
attracts the reverence of Christians, Jews, and Mus- 

Beside a the watch-tower of the flocks," a in the same 
region where centuries afterwards there were still 
" shepherds abiding in the fields, watching over their 
" flocks by night," Israel spread his desolate tent ; 
and onward he w r ent yet again to Hebron, u to bury 
" his father in the cave of Machpelah," and The st at 
to linger awhile at the spot " in the land Hebron - 
" wherein his father was a stranger." In the mixture 
of agricultural and pastoral life which now gathers 
round him is laid the train of the last and most 
touching incidents of Jacob's story. It is whilst they 
are feeding their father's flocks together, that the 
fatal envy arises against the favorite son. It is whilst 
they are binding the sheaves in the well-known corn- 
field that Joseph's sheaf stands upright in his dream. 
On the confines of the same field at Shechem the 
brothers were feeding their flocks, when Joseph was 
sent from Hebron to " see whether it was well with 
"his brethren, and well with the flocks, and to bring 
u his father word again." And from Shechem he fol- 
lowed them to the two wells of Dothan, 2 in the 
passes of Manasseh, when the caravan of Arabian 
merchants passed by and he disappeared from his fa- 
ther's eyes. His history belongs henceforth to a wider 
sphere. The glimpse of Egypt, opened to us for a 
moment in the life of Abraham, now spreads into a 
vast and permanent prospect. 

1 Edar. Gen.xxxv. 21 ■ Luke ii. 8. 8 Sinai and Palestine, 247. 

80 JACOB. Lect. Ill 

7. This shall be reserved for the consideration of 
rhe descent the general relations of Israel to Egypt. But 
into Egypt, the story itself, though too familiar to be re- 
peated here, too simple to need any elaborate eluci- 
dation, is a fitting close to the life of Jacob. Once 
more he is to set forth on his pilgrimage. The 
old wanderer, the Hebrew Ulysses, has still a new 
call, a new migration, new trials, and new glory 
before him. The feeling so beautifully described 
by the modern poet is there first shadowed forth in 
action : 

" Something ere the end, 
Some work of noble note may yet be done . . . 
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world .... 
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will 
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield." 

He came to the frontier plain of Beersheba; he re- 
ceived the assurance that beyond that frontier he was 
to descend yet further into Egypt. " God spake unto 
" Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, 
u Jacob. And he said, Here am I. And He said, I am 
" God, the God of thy father ; fear not to go down 
u into Egypt, for I will there make of thee a great 
u nation." He a went down " from the steppes of 
Beersheba; he crossed the desert and met his son 
on the border of the cultivated land ; he was brought 
into the presence of the great Pharaoh ; he saw his 
race established in the land of Egypt. And then the 
time drew near that Israel must die ; and his one 
thought, oftentimes repeated, was that his bones 
should not rest in that strange land ; not in pyramid 
or painted chamber, but in the cell that " he had 
" digged for himself," in the primitive sepulchre of his 


fathers. "Bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt, but 1 

u will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out 

" of Egypt, and bury me in their burial-place. . . . Bury 

"me with my fathers, in the cave that is in the field 

" of Ephron the Hittite, in the cave that is in the 

* field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the 

" land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the 

u field of Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a 

" burial-place. There they buried Abraham and Sarah 

" his wife ; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his 

" wife ; and there I buried Leah. The purchase of 

a the field and of the cave that is therein was from 

." the children of Heth. And when Jacob had made 

" an end of commanding his sons, he gathered The death 

" up his feet into the bed and yielded up the of Jacob - 

" ghost, and was gathered to his people." His body 

was embalmed after the manner of the Egyptians. 

A vast funeral procession bore it away ; the asses 

and the camels of the pastoral tribe mingled with 

the chariots and horsemen characteristic of Egypt. 

They came (so the narrative seems to imply) not by 

the direct road which the Patriarchs had hitherto 

traversed on their way to Egypt by El-Arish, but 

round the long circuit by which Moses afterwards led 

their descendants, till they arrived on the banks of 

the Jordan. Further than this the Egyptian escort 

came not. But the valley of the Jordan resounded 

with the loud shrill lamentations peculiar to their 

ceremonial of mourning ; and with the funeral games 

with which, then as now, the Arabs encircle the 

tomb of a departed chief. From this double tradition 

the spot was known in after-times as "the meadow," 

or " the mourning," tt of the Egyptians," Ahel-Mizraim ; 

and as Beth-hogla, "the house of the circling dance." 

82 JACOB. Lect. III. 

"And his sons carried him into the land of Canaan 
" and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpe- 
" lah. . . . And Joseph returned into Egypt, he and all 
" his brethren, and all that went up with him, . . . 
" after he had buried his father." 




The appearance of Joseph in Egypt is the first dis- 
tinct point of contact between sacred and secular his- 
tory, and it is, accordingly, not surprising that in later 
times this part of his story should have become the 
basis of innumerable fancies and traditions outside the 
limits of the Biblical narrative. His arrival in Egypt, 
his acquisition of magical art, his beauty, his interpre- 
tation of dreams, his prediction of the famine, his favor 
with the king, are told briefly but accurately in the 
compilation of the historian Justin. 1 The feud of the 
modern Samaritans and Jews is carried up by them 
to the feud betw r een Joseph and his brethren. 2 The 
history of Joseph and Asenath is to this day one of 
the canonical books of the Church of Armenia. To the 
description of the loves of Joseph and Zuleika in the 
Koran, Mahomet appealed as one of the chief proofs of 
his inspiration. Christian pilgrims of the Middle Ages 
took for granted that the three or the seven pyramids 
which they saw from the Nile could be nothing else 
than Joseph's barns. 3 The well of Joseph and the canal 
of Joseph are still shown to unsuspecting travellers by 
unsuspecting guides, from a wild but not unnatural con- 
fusion of his career with that of his great Mussulman 

1 Justin, xxxvi. 2. Comp. also 8 Wolff, Travels, &c. ch. vii. 
Artapanus, in Euseb. Pr. Ev. ix. 23. 3 Maundeville, in Early Trav* 15*. 


namesake, the Sultan Yussuf, or Joseph, Saladin I. But 
the most solid links of connection between the story of 
Joseph and the state of the ancient world are those 
which are supplied by the simple story itself on the 
one hand, and our constantly increasing knowledge 
of the Egyptian monuments on the other hand. 

I. It has been said that Egypt x must have presented 
Joseph in to ^ ne nomadic tribes of Asia the same con- 
Egypt, trast and the same attractions that Italy and 
the southern provinces of the Eoman Empire pre- 
sented to the Gothic and Celtic tribes who descended 
upon them from beyond the Alps. Such is, in fact, 
the impression left upon our minds when we are first 
introduced into the full view of Egypt, as we follow 
in the track of the caravan of Arabian merchants who 
carried off Joseph from the wells of Dothan. We need 
only touch on the main incidents in the story to see 
that it is the chief seat of power and civilization then 
known in the world, and that it is the same as that 
of which the memorials have been so wonderfully p re- 
Egypt, served to our own time. What I have said of 
the retention of the outward appearance of the Pa- 
triarchs in the unchangeable customs of the Arabian 
tribes, is true, in another sense, of the retention of 
the outward appearance of the Pharaohs in the un- 
changeable monuments of Egypt. The extraordinary 
clearness and dryness of the climate, the singular 
vicinity of the desert sands which have preserved 
what they have overwhelmed, the passionate desire 
of the old Egyptians to perpetuate every familiar and 

1 The Biblical names of Egypt are — the one in the Arabic name of Cairo, 

Mizraim (possibly from the two banks, Misr : the other in the word " al- 

3r the uppe? and lower districts), and chemy" " chemistry," as derived from 

Ham (dark). Traces of both remain, the medical fame of ancient Egypt. 


loved object as long as human power and skill could 
reach, have all contributed to this result. The wars, 
the amusements, the meals, the employments, the 
portraits, nay even the very bodies, of those ancient 
fathers of the civilized world are still amongst us. We 
can form a clearer image of the court of the Pha- 
raohs, in all external matters, than we can of the 
court of Augustus. And, therefore, at each successive 
disclosure of the state of Egypt in the Sacred narra- 
tive, we find ourselves amongst old friends and familiar 
faces. We know not whether we may not have 
touched a human hand that was pressed by the hand 
of Jacob or Joseph. We are sure, as we gaze on the 
contemporary pictures of regal or social life, that we 
are seeing the very same customs and employments 
in which they partook. 

We see Pharaoh surrounded by the great officers 
of his court, each at the head of his department, re- 
sponsible, as at the present day, for the conduct of 
every one beneath him ; the prison, the bakery, the 
vintage, the wise men, the stewards, 1 the priests, the 
high priest. The Nile presents itself to us for the 
first time under its peculiar Hebrew name, 2 which in- 
dicates its strange and unique significance amongst the 
rivers of the earth. The papyrus, 3 which then grew 
in its stream, is now extinct ; but the green slip of 
land, acku, — *' meadow," as it is translated, 4 runs along 
its banks now, as then. Out of its waters, swimming 
across its stream, come up the buffaloes or the sacred 

1 See Mr. Goodwin's Essay (Cam- word "Nile" is derived from an 
bridge Essays, 1858, p. 248). Egyptian word signifying " blue." 

2 " lor" and " Sichor" (Sinai and Wilkinson, v. 57; Sharpe, 145. 
r'alestine, Appendix, § 36). In Egyp- 3 J b viii. 1 1 ; Isa. xviii. 2 ; Ex. ii. 3. 

ian it was " Hapi-Mu," the genius * Gen. xli. 2 ; Sinai and Palestine, 
[Apis) of the waters (mu). The App. § 18. 


kine, as in Pharaoh's dream, the fit symbols of the 
leanness or the fertility of the future years. The 
drought which withers up the herbage of the sur- 
rounding countries, brings famine on Egypt also. The 
Nile * (so we must of necessity interpret the vision of 
Pharaoh and its fulfilment), from the failure of the 
Abvssinian rains, fell short of its due level. Twice 
only, in the eleventh and in the twelfth centuries of 
the Christian era, such a catastrophe is described by 
Arabian historians in terms which give us a full con- 
ception of the calamity from w r hich Joseph delivered 
the country. The first lasted, like that of Joseph, for 
seven years : of the other, the most fearful details are 
given by an eye-witness. a Then the year presented 
" itself as a monster whose wrath must annihilate all 
u the resources of life and all the means of subsist- 
u ence. The famine began . . . large numbers emi- 
" grated. . . . The poor ate carrion, corpses, and 
66 dogs. . . . They went further, devouring even little 
tt children. The eating of human flesh became so com- 
" mon as to excite no surprise. . . . The people sjDoke 
" and heard of it as of an indifferent thing. ..." As 
" for the number of the poor who perished from hun- 
" ger and exhaustion, God alone knows w T hat it w r as. 
"... A traveller often passed through a large vil- 
" lage without seeing a single living inhabitant. . . . 
" In one village we saw the dwellers of each house 
" extended dead, the husband, the w T ife, and the chil- 
" dren. ... In another, where till late there had 
" been four hundred weaving shops, we saw in like 
" manner the weaver dead in his corn-pit, and all his 
K dead family round him. We were here reminded of 

1 It is explained by Osburn (Monu- of a great inland lake, and the conse- 
mental Egypt, ii. 135) by the bursting quent reaction. 


%i the text of the Koran, ' One single cry was heard, 
" and they all perished.' The road between Egypt 
" and Syria was like a vast field sown with human 
u bodies, or rather like a plain which has just been 
" swept by the scythe of the mower. It had become 
u as a banquet hall for the birds, wild beasts, anc 
u dogs, which gorged on their flesh." These are bin 
a few 1 of the horrors which Abd-el-Latif details, and 
which may well explain to us how tt the land of Egypt 
" fainted by reason of the famine," — how the cry came 
up year by year to Joseph : u Give us bread, for why 
" should we die in thy presence ? Wherefore shall we 
u die before thine eyes, both we and our land ? Buy 
* us and our land for bread, and we and our land will 
u be i slaves ' to Pharaoh ; and give us seed that we 
" may live and not die, and that the land be not 
" desolate. . . . Thou hast saved our lives ; let us 
" find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be 
" Pharaoh's c slaves.' " What were the per- Joseph as 
manent results of the legislation ascribed to viceroy. 
Joseph, and what its relations to the regulations 
ascribed to others in Gentile historians, are questions 
which belong to the still obscure region of Egyptian 
history. But there is no difficulty in conceiving from 
what is to be seen in the past and the present state 
of Egypt the causes and the nature of Joseph's great- 
ness ; how the Hebrew slave, through the rapid transi- 
tions of Oriental life, became the ruler of the land ; in 
language, dress, and appearance a member of the great 
Egyptian aristocracy, " binding their princes at his 

1 The whole narrative is given by Travel, ch. 20. The earlier famine 

Abd-el-Latif (Relation de VEgypte, ii. (a. d. 1064-1071) is described by El- 

ih. 2, a. d. 1200). Large extracts are Macrizi (see Dr. Smith's Dictionat 

given in Miss Martineau's Eastern of the Bible, " Famine "). 


u pleasure, and teaching their senators wisdom." He 
is invested with the golden chain or necklace as with 
an order, exactly according to the investiture of the 
royal officers, as represented in the Theban sculptures. 1 
He is clothed in the white robe of sacred state, that 
appears in such marked contrast on the tawny figures 
of the ancient priests. He bears the royal ring, such 
as are still found in the earliest sepulchres. He rides 
in the royal chariot that is seen so often rolling its 
solemn way in the monumental processions. Before 
him goes the cry of some Egyptian shout (Abrech /), 2 
evidently resembling those which now in the streets 
of Cairo clear the way for any great personage driv 
ing 3 through the crowded masses of man and beast. 
His Hebrew name of Joseph disappears in the sound- 
ing Egyptian title, whichever version of it we adopt, 
— Zapnath Paaneach, " Revealer of secrets," or Pson- 
thom Phanech, 4 " Saviour of the age." He becomes 
the son-in-law of the High Priest of the Sun-God in 
the sacred city of On. He and his wife Asenath, the 
servant of the goddess Neith (the Egyptian Athene 
or Minerva), may henceforth be conceived, as in the 
many connubial monuments of the priestly order, each 
with their arms intertwined round the other's neck, 
each looking out from the other's embrace with the 
peculiar placid look which makes these old Egyptian 
tablets the earliest type of the solemn happiness and 
calm of a stately marriage. The multiplication of his 
progeny is compared, not to the stars of the Chal- 
:lsean heavens, or to the sand of the Syrian shore, but 

1 See Wilkinson, plate 80. 4 This is the form given to the 

2 Gen. xli. 43. name in the Septuagint. See Kno- 

3 Compare 1 Sam. viii. 11 ; 2 Sam. bel's Genesis, 284. 
kv. I ; 1 Kings i. 5. 


to the countless fish swarming in the great Egyptian 
river. 1 Not till his death, and hardly even then, does 
he return to the customs of his fathers. He is em- 
balmed with Egyptian skill, and laid in the usual 
Egyptian case or coffin. He rests not in any Egyp- 
tian tomb, but yet not, even as his father, in the an- 
cestral cave of Machpelah. An Israelite at heart but 
an Egyptian in outward form, "separate from his 
- brethren " by the singular Providence that had chosen 
him foi a special purpose, he was to lie apart from 
the great Patriarchal family in the fairest spot in Pal- 
estine marked out specially for himself. In the rich 
cornfield, hard by his father's well, centuries after- 
wards, " the bones of Joseph, which the children of 
" Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in 
u Shechem, in the parcel of ground which Jacob 
" bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem 
" for a hundred pieces of silver." The whole region 
round became by this consecration u the inheritance 
" of the sons of Joseph." 2 And if the name of Joseph 
never reached the same commanding eminence as 
that of Abraham or Jacob, it was yet a frequent des- 
ignation of the whole people, and a constant desig- 
nation of the larger portion. 3 

II. Thus ended the career of the Hebrew viceroy 
of the Pharaohs. And so " Israel abode in stay of 
" Egypt, and Jacob was a stranger in the land Egypt. 
a of Ham." In this transplantation of the Chosen 
People, the vine was to strike its first roots. From 
the same valley of the Nile, whence flowed the culture 
of Greece, was to flow also the religion of Palestine 

1 Gen. xlviii. 20 Heb. (with Mr. 2 Joshua, xxiv. 32. 

3rove's comments in Dictionary of 3 Ps. lxxvii. 15; lxxviii. 67 ; lxxx 

he Bible, "Manasseh"). 1 ; lxxxi. 5. 


That same land of ancient learning, which in the 
schools of Alexandria was, ages afterwards, the first 
settled home and shelter of the wandering Christian 
Church, was also the first settled home and shelter 
of the wandering Jewish nation. Egypt was the 
meeting point, geographically and historically, of the 
three continents of the ancient world. It could not 
but bear its part in the nurture of that people which 
was itself to influence and guide them all. 

In considering the stay of Israel in Egypt, two com- 
plicated questions arise. The first refers to the rela- 
tion of Israel to the dynasty of the Hyksos, or Shepherd 
Kings, of whom we read in Manttho. 1 Were they the 
same ? or, if different, did the Shepherd Kings precede, 
or accompany, or succeed the settlement of the Israel- 
ites ? The second question, partly dependent on the 
first, refers to the length of the period of the Israelite 
settlement. Was it two hundred and fifteen years 2 
(according to the Septuagint), or four hundred and 
thirty years (according to the Hebrew), or a thousand 
years according to the modern computations of Egyp- 
tian chronology ? We need not enter on any detailed 
answer. Not only are the present materials too 
conflicting and too scanty to justify any certain con- 
clusion, but there is, we may trust, a reasonable pros- 
pect that any conclusion now formed may be modi- 
fied or reversed by fresh discoveries in Egyptian 
investigations. Two facts, however, emerge out of the 

1 Joseph, c. Apion,\. 26. For the 430 years: (1) Hebrew 

2 For the 215 years: (1) LXX. and of Ex. xii. 40; (2) Gen. xv. 13-16 ; 
Samaritan text of Ex.xii. 40 ; (2) Jos. (3) Acts vii. 6 ; (4) Jos. B. J. ii. 9, 
Ant. ii. 15, § 2 ; viii. 3, § 1 ; (3) The 1 ; v. 9, 4 ; (5) 600,000 fighting men 
division implied in Gal. iii. 17; (4) (6) Genealogy of Joshua, 1 Chron 
tre/xirrfi yevea, Ex. xiii. 18, LXX.; (5) vii. 27. 

Genealogy of Moses, Ex. vi. 16-20. 


obscurity, essential to the understanding of the future 

1. First, whatever may be the true version of the in- 
vasion of the Shepherd Kings, the migration The 
of the Israelites into Egypt was undoubtedly Kingsfand 
that of a pastoral people, distinct in manners, JSteof 
customs, and origin from the nation with whom Israel * 
they sojourned. " The shepherds," even then, " were 
" an abomination to the Egyptians," and when Herod- 
otus was told that the Pyramids were built by the 
shepherd Philition, 1 who used to feed his flocks at 
their base, it was an echo of the long-protracted 
hatred which the Egyptians still cherished against the 
memory of the pastoral tribe of Palestine. " Thy 
" servants are shepherds, thy servants' trade hath been 
" about cattle from our youth, even until now ; both 
u we and also our fathers ; they have brought their 
"flocks and herds, and all that they have." 2 They 
were a Bedouin tribe still, as truly as the Arab tribes 
who now tend their camels underneath the Pyramids. 
The only incidents of their history during this period 
belong to this pastoral state, — the incursion of the 
inhabitants of Gath to drive away the cattle of the 
Ephraimites, and the revenge of the Ephraimites. 3 The 
land of Goshen was the frontier land, reckoned as in 
Arabia rather than in Egypt; on the confines of the 
green valley, yet on the verge of the yellow desert, 
they fed their flocks, they watched the royal herds. 
In one of the most ancient of all the tombs of Egypt, 
that called from the wild Arab tribe which once dwelt 
in it, Beni Hassan, — the children of Hassan, — is 
depicted a procession which used once to be called 

1 Herod, ii. 127. 3 i Chron. vii. 21-23 ; viii. 13. 

2 Gen. xlvi. 32, 34; xlvii. 3. 


the presentation of Joseph's brethren. This it cer- 
tainly is not. There is no person in the picture cor- 
responding either to Joseph or Pharaoh. Nor is there 
any exactness of likeness either in the numbers of the 
persons represented, or of the produce which they 
bring. But, though not bearing any direct reference 
to this special event, it is yet an instructive illustration 
of the general relation of the Israelites to Egypt. 
The dresses, physiognomy, and beards of the procession 
point them out to be foreigners ; J whilst their atti- 
tude and appearance equally show that they are not 
captives. The produce they bring is evidently from 
the desert, long herds of ostriches. The character 
which pervades the whole — children carried in pan- 
niers on the backs of asses 2 — exactly agrees with the 
Patriarchal nature of the first Israelite settlement. 

2. If this, and like indications, illustrate the earlier 
The servi- portion of the stay in Egypt, the ancient repre- 
israei. sentations and the modern customs, which seem 
to have retained through all the changes of govern- 
ment a peculiar character of their own, illustrate the 
second portion. When the " new king arose that 
* knew not Joseph," whether from change of dynasty 
or character, they sank lower still ; they became, like 
so many ancient tribes in older times, the public serfs 
or slaves of the ruling race. Like the Pelasgians in 
Attica, like the Gibeonites afterwards in their own 
Palestine, they were employed, if not in those gigantic 
works which still speak of the sacrifice and toil of the 
multitudes by whom they were erected, yet in making 
bricks for treasure cities and fastnesses, as may be 
seen in the representations of the Theban tombs, where 
Asiatics at least, if not Jews, are shown working by 

1 SeeBrugscb, Hist, de VEgypte, i. 62. 2 See below, p. 104. 


hundreds at this very occupation. Not only was there 
the well-known brick pyramid, probably long anterior 
to the Israelite migration, but all the outer enclosures 
of cities, temples, and tombs, were high walls 1 of crude 
brick. And they were also drawn away from their 
free trade of shepherds to the hard labor of " service 
in the field," 2 such as we still see along the banks of 
the Nile, where the peasants, naked under the burning 
sun, work through the day, like pieces of machinery, 
in drawing up the buckets of water from the level of 
the river for the irrigation of the fields above. 3 The 
cruel punishment which is described as aggravating 
their bondage, as when Moses saw the Egyptian strik- 
ing the Israelite, and as when the Israelite officers set 
over their countrymen were themselves beaten for 
their countrymen's shortcomings, is the exact likeness 
of the bastinado, which appears equally on the ancient 
monuments and in the modern villages of Egypt. The 
complaint of the Israelites against their own officers is 
the same feeling which in popular songs is heard from 
modern Egyptian peasants, for the same reason, against 
the chiefs of their own village : " The chief of the vil- 
" lage, the chief of the village, may the dogs tear him, 
" tear him, tear him ! " It is said that in the gangs 
of boys and girls set to work along the Nile is to be 
heard the strophe and antistrophe of a melancholy cho- 
rus : u They starve us, they starve us," — " They beat 
u us, they beat us ; " to which both alike reply, a But 
" there's some one above, there's some one above, who 
u : will punish them well, who will punish them well." 4 

1 See the engraving in Brugsch, - Deut. xi. 10. 

<06, 174, 176. 4 MS. Journal of a Stay in Egypt, 

3 See Lane's Modern Egyptians, by Mr. Nassau Senior : 185G. 
3h. 14, the Shadoof. 


This, with but very slight changes, must have been 
the cry which went up from the afflicted Israelites 
" by reason of their taskmasters." 

III. Whatever may have been the precise length of 
Effects of their sojourn or their bondage, it was at any 

their stay J ° 7 J 

in Egypt. ra te long enough to have rendered Egypt 
thoroughly familiar to them. They seem indeed to 
have left but slight traces of themselves on Egypt or 
its monuments. Memphis, which would have been most 
likely to retain indications of their visit and of their 
Exodus, has been buried or swept away ; and no di- 
rect mention of the Jews occurs in any Egyptian sculp- 
ture or picture, till the representation of the conquest 
of Judah by Shishak, many centuries later. But on 
the Israelites, whether by w T ay of contrast or illustra- 
tion, the Egyptian worship and manners left an im- 
pression almost as distinct and as durable as that which 
the Eoman Empire, under analogous circumstances in 
long subsequent ages, implanted on the customs and 
feelings of the early Christian Church. 

1. Take first the scene with which they were most 
Heiiopoiis. likely to come into contact. We know not 
with certainty the chief city of the Egyptian empire 
at the time of the entrance or of the flight of the 
Israelites. Memphis was probably the capital, at least 
of Lower Egypt, and the constant mention of the 
river implies that Pharaoh was then living on its 
banks. Zoan, or Tanis, is the only town 1 directly 
mentioned in connection with this early age. Its sit- 
uation in the Delta would correspond with the neigh- 
borhood of Goshen ; and as it was undoubtedly at one 
period of Egyptian history the seat of a royal dynasty, 
so it may have been at the time of the Exodus, 

1 Num. xiii. 22; Psalm lxxviii. 12. 


There is, however, another city, not the residence of 
the court, but which is constantly brought before us 
in connection with the whole history of Israel, which 
still in part remains, and which, with the illustrations 
that it receives from the other Egyptian monuments, 
may well serve as a framework to our whole concep- 
tion of Egypt as it appeared to the Israelites. On, 1 
Heliopolis, the city of the Sun, was the spot in which 
heathen tradition fixed the residence of Abraham ; 
and, with more certainty, the education — according 
to one version the birth — of Moses. It was undoubt- 
edly the dwelling-place of Joseph's bride. It was near 
the land of Goshen. It was close by the later colony 
of Leontopolis set up by the second settlement of 
Israel in Egypt, after the Babylonian captivity. It 
contains the sacred fig-tree shown to pilgrims for many 
centuries as that under which the Holy Family rested 
when, for the last time, the ancient prophecy was 
fulfilled, " Out of Egypt have I called my Son." It is 
thus connected with every stage of the Sacred history; 
but its special concern is with the period preceding 
the Exodus. Even if it was not actually the school 
of Moses, it nuist have been constantly within his 
sight and that of his countrymen, as they passed to 
and fro between their pastures and the Nile. 

It stands on the edge of the cultivated ground. 
The vast enclosure of its brick walls still remains, 
now almost powdered into dust; but, according to the 
tradition of the Septuagint, the very walls built by 
the Israelite bondmen. Within this enclosure, in the 
space now occupied by tangled gardens, rose the great 
Temple of the Sun, 2 which gave its name and object 

1 See Brugsch, 254. (LXX. Ovv) it is called Bethshemesh 

2 On = Light. In Jer. xliii. 13 (the house of the sun), as it was and 


to the city. How important in Egypt was that wor- 
ship, may be best understood by remembering that 
from it were derived the chief names by which Kings 
and Priests were called — " Pha-raoh," u The Child of 
the Sun:" « Potiphe-rah/' "The Servant of the Sun." 
And what its aspect was in Heliopolis may be known 
partly from the detailed description which Strabo has 
left of its buildings, as still standing in his own time ; 
and yet more from the fact that the one Egyptian 
temple which to this day retains its sculptures and 
internal arrangements almost unaltered, that of Ipsam- 
bul, is the temple of Ra. or the Sun. In Heliopolis, 
as elsewhere, was the avenue of sphinxes leading to 
the huge gateway, whence flew, from gigantic flag- 
Btaffs, the red and blue streamers. Before and behind 
the gateway stood, two by two, the colossal petrifac- 
tions of the sunbeam, the obelisks, 1 of which one alone 
now remains to mourn the loss of all its brethren. 
Close by was the sacred spring 2 of the Sun, a rare 
sight in Egypt, and therefore the more precious, and 
probably the original cause of the selection of this 
remote corner of Egypt for so famous a sanctuary. 
This too still remains, almost choked by the rank lux- 
uriance of the aquatic plants which have gathered 
over its waters. Round the cloisters of the vast courts 
into which these gateways opened were spacious man- 
sions, forming the canonical residences, if one may so 

is still called Ain-shems (the spring of = " finger of the sun." With one 

the sun). In Amos i. 5, and Ezek. exception, in Fayum, it only occurs 

xxx. 17, it is called " Aven " (vanity), on the eastern bank. Bunsen, i. 371 

an a play on the word On. Wilkinson, iv. 294. 

1 The "obelisk" (which is merely 2 It is represented in the Praenes- 

the Greek name of "spit," applied in tine Mosaic. It appears in Breyden- 

a disparaging spirit to the great works bach's plan, and in the Apocryphal 

of Egypt) is said to be uben-ra, or Gospels, as the Spring of the Virgin. 

uben-la = " sunbeam," or petobphra See Clarke, v. 142. 


call them, of the priests and professors of On : for 
Heliopolis, we must remember, was the Oxford of an- 
cient Egj^pt, the seat of its learning in early times, as 
Alexandria was in later times ; the university, or rather 
perhaps the college, gathered round the Temple of the 
Sun, as Christ Church round the old cathedral or 
shrine of S. Frideswide. Thither Herodotus came to 
gather information for his travels ; and thither, cen- 
turies later, the more careful and accurate Strabo. 1 
The city in his time was in a state of comparative 
desolation ; it had never fully recovered the shock 
of the fanatical devastation of Cambyses. A long 
vacancy, a vacation of centuries, had passed over it. 
Priests and philosophers, canons and professors, alike 
were gone, and only a few chaplains and vergers 2 
lingered in the sacred precincts, to carry on the ser- 
vice of the temple and to show strangers over the 
silent quadrangles and deserted cloisters. Amongst 
these was pointed out to Strabo the house in which 
Plato had lived for thirteen years. Perhaps he may 
have been also shown, or, had he been there a few 
generations earlier, would have been shown, the house 
which had received Moses when he studied there 
under the Egyptian name of Osarsiph. 3 In the cen- 
tre of all stood the Temple itself. Over the portal, 
we can hardly doubt, was the figure of the Sun-god ; 
not in the sublime indistinctness of his natural orb, 
nor yet in the beautiful impersonation of the Grecian 
Apollo, but in the strange grotesque form of the Hawk- 
headed monster. Enter; and the dark Temple opens 
and contracts successively into its outermost, its inner, 
and its innermost hall; the Osiride figures in their 

1 xvii. 1. 3 J os . c. Apion, i. 26, 28. 

* Uponovoi Kal kt-ijyTjTcu, 

98 ISRAEL IN EGYPT. Ltoi. */ 

placid majesty support the first, the wild and savage 
exploits of kings and heroes fill the second; and in the 
furthest recess of all, underneath the carved figure of 
the Sun-god, and beside the solid altar, sat in his 
gilded cage the sacred hawk, 1 or lay crouched on his 
purple bed the sacred black calf, 2 Mnevis, or Urmer; 
each the living, almost incarnate, representation of the 
deity of the Temple. Thrice a day before the deified 
beast the incense was offered, and once a month the 
solemn sacrifice. 3 Each on his death was duly em- 
balmed and deposited in a splendid sarcophagus. One 
such mummy calf is still to be seen at Cairo. He 
was the great rival of the bull Apis at Memphis ; and 
Hadrian, when in Egypt, had to determine a contro- 
versy respecting their precedence. 4 The sepulchres 
of the long succession of deified calves at Heliopolis 
corresponded to those of the deified bulls at Mem- 
phis. 5 It was after seeing such a strange and mon- 
strous climax to so much power and splendor, and 
wisdom, that the Israelites were likely both to need 
and to feel the force of the warning voice : " Thou 
" shalt not make any likeness of anything that is in 
" the heaven above or in the earth beneath ; . . . the 
" likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the like- 
" ness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air." 6 
The molten calf in the .wilderness, the golden calves 
of Dan and Bethel, were reminiscences, not to be 
wiped out of the national memorj^ for centuries, of 
the consecrated calf of Ra, the god Mnevis. 

2. There w^as yet another form of idolatry, never 

1 Wilk. v. 207. For its mode of were shown the sacred lions, which 
maintenance, see Diod. Sic. i. 83. gave its name to the adjacent city of 

2 Brugsch, 257. Leontopolis. Wilk. iv. 290, v. 173. 

3 Wilk. v. 315. 5 Brugsch, 259. 

* In another part of the precincts 6 Deut. iv. 16, 17; v. 8. 


out of sight in Egypt, and brought out with immense 
force in the whole Mosaic description. What Idolatry of 
were the dynasties that ruled at that time over kings * 
the valley of the Nile, one or many, we need not 
determine. But the name of " Pharaoh " clearly ex- 
presses that the same virtue of regal consecration ran 
through them all ; and the name of " Rameses," as 
applied to one of the treasure cities 1 built by the 
Israelites, implies, with very great probability, that 
this name had already become famous amongst the 
Egyptian kings. The statue, found near the ruins 
of what is almost certainly the site of Rameses, points 
without doubt to the second of that name. What then 
were the Pharaohs collectively in the eyes of the .na- 
tion ? and what was Eameses in particular ? and what, 
above all, was Rameses II. ? We often hear it said 
that Egypt was governed by a theocracy ; that is, as 
the word is meant when so applied, by a priestly 
caste. This is not the answer given by her own au- 
thentic monuments. Who is the colossal figure that sits, 
repeated again and again, at the entrance of every 
temple ? Who is it that rides in his chariot, leading 
diminutive nations captive behind him ? To whom is 
it, that, in the frontispiece of every gateway, the gods 
give the falchion of destruction, with the command 
to u Slay, and slay, and slay " ? Whose sculptured im- 
age, in the interior of the Temple, is it that we see 
brought into the most familiar relations with the highest 
powers, equal in form and majesty, suckled by the 
greatest goddess, fondled by the greatest god, sitting 
beside them, arm entwined within arm, in the recesses 

1 The treasure cities are : (1) Ra- Sarou, the fortress of the Tyrans 
nicses = Heroopolis (Abukeshib). (i. e. probably from the Israelites). 
(2) Pithoin (in Egyptian Pachioum- Brugsch, i. 156. (3) On, LXX. 


of the most holy place ? It is no priest, or prophet, 
or magician, or saint, but the King only — the Pha- 
raoh, the Child of the Sun, the Beloved of Amnion. 
Rameses ii. And, if there is one king who towers above 
all the rest in all the long succession, it is he whose 
name first dimly appears to us in the history of 
the Exodus, the great Rameses, 1 the Sesostris of 
the classical writers. As of all objects of idolatry 
in the natural world of those early times, the stars 
and sun were the most overwhelming in their fas- 
cination, so in all the world of man, there was noth- 
ing to be compared to those mighty kings, least 
of all to the mighty conqueror who has left his traces 
throughout all the haunts of ancient 2 civilization 
in Asia, and from end to end of his own country. 
With a certainty beyond that with which Alexander 
was acknowledged as the greatest sovereign of the 
Grecian, or Caesar of the Roman world, must Rameses 
II. have been hailed or feared as the hero of the pri- 
meval age before Greece and Rome were born. 3 His 
very form and face are before us, with a vividness 
which belongs only to these colossal representations, 
that refuse to be forgotten. We see his profound yet 
scornful repose, expressed both in countenance and 
attitude. We see the long profile, majestic and beau- 
tiful beyond any of his successors or predecessors. 
We see even the peculiar curl of his nostrils, and the 
fall of his under lip. Such was the Pharaoh who 
must have looked down on the Israelite sojourners 
during some one period or generation of .their stay 

1 By Brugsch (i. 156) identified 3 He reigned for sixty-six years, 
with the Pharaoh of Moses. coming to the throne very young, 

2 Near Sardis, near Beyrout, in like Louis the Fourteenth. Brugsch, 
Nubia, in Memphis, in Thebes. (See i. 137. 

Sinai and Palestine, p. Ii., 117.) 


in Egypt, probably during the time of their oppres- 

And such, not in detail but in its general outline, 
is the image presented to us by the Pharaoh Pharaoh. 
of Scripture. There is no other king of the Patri- 
archal times represented as nearly on the same level. 
Nimrod the mighty hunter has been indeed invested, 
by Oriental tradition — perhaps he appears in Assy 
rian sculptures — with something of the same sanctity 
and majesty. But he does not so appear in any part 
of the Sacred narrative. Pharaoh is the only poten- 
tate whom Abraham and Jacob alike approach with 
awful reverence. From Joseph and from Moses alike, 
whether as friend or foe, he commands the submissive 
respect of a subject who can of himself do nothing 
against the royal will. "What God is about to do 
" He showeth unto Pharaoh." " I am of uncircumcised 
" lips, and how shall Pharaoh hearken unto me ? " 
The supreme oath, by which safety of person and 
property is secured, is " By the life of Pharaoh." 
King-like and priest-like, he stands by the side of the 
sacred river, and sees in visions the good and evil 
fortunes of Egypt coming up from its stream. At 
sunrise he goes out to look upon its beneficent wa- 
ters, as if it were all his own. At a word he sum- 
mons princes, and priests, and magicians, and wise 
men, and interpreters round him. At a word he 
plants a stranger over his people. u See, I have set 
" thee over all the land of Egypt. ... I am Pr araoh, 
u and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or 
'' his foot in all the land of Egypt." And when the 
'ast great struggle comes on between his power and 
that of a Greater than himself, it is the struggle rather 
of a god against the Lord, than of a man against 


man. He has hardened his heart like the Indian Re- 
harna, rather than like a mortal prince of modern 
days. If there were any prouder state or loftier dream 
in the primeval monarchies of Central Asia, it is re- 
markable that the Eastern traditions of the Exodus 
merge them in the person of the Egyptian sovereign ; 
and in the Mahometan version of the Exodus, Nimrod 
and Pharaoh, the builder of the Tower of Babel and 
the builder of the Pyramids, are blended together in 
one and the same gigantic, self-sufficing, God-defying 
king. He stands with one foot on each of the two 
great Pyramids, and darts his spear into the sky in 
the hope of killing the Divine Adversary, who from 
the unseen heavens laughs him to scorn. If we take 
the Pharaoh of Scripture from first to last, still the 
awful impression remains the same. "Say unto Pha- 
"raoh," was the language even of one of the latest 
Prophets, how much more of these earlier times, — 
" say unto Pharaoh, Whom art thou like in thy great- 
" ness ? " Those who had lain prostrate under such a 
monarchy would feel doubly the contrast of the free- 
dom into which they were called. The Exodus was 
a deliverance, not only from idolatry of false divinities, 
but from the idolatry of human strength and tyranny. 
In the long democracy of Israel, and the hesitation 
with which that democracy, "where every man did 
"what was right in his own eyes," was exchanged 
even for the monarchy which was to produce a David 
and a Solomon, we see the protest against the awful 
form of government which had once bowed them 

The evils of this ambiguous and degraded state fast 
developed themselves. The old freedom, the old en- 
ergy, above all, the old religion, of the Patriarchal age 


faded away. Not in the Pentateuch, but in the later 
books, the participation of Israel in the idolatry of 
Egypt is expressly stated. " Your fathers served other 
" gods . . in Egypt." ! u They forsook not the idols 
;t of Egypt." 2 The Sabbath, if it had existed in some 
shape amongst their fathers, as seems likely, was for- 
gotten; the rite of circumcision, by which the cove- 
nant with God had been made, fell into disuse; its 
loss became a reproach in the eyes even of their 
Egyptian masters, to whom, as to the rest of the an- 
cient Eastern world, it was a necessary sign of all 
cleanliness and of all civilization. 3 Like slaves, too, 
like all those wandering populations which hang at 
the gates of nations or classes more wealthy and more 
stable than themselves, they learned to cling with a 
kind of sensual affection to the land of their bondage, 
to the green meadows of the Nile valley, to " the 
" ilesh-pots, and melons, and cucumbers, and onions," 
which it gave them in profusion ; to the land " where 
" they sowed their seed and watered it with their 
u foot, as a garden of herbs." We shall have to bear 
this in mind during their whole subsequent history, 
in order to appreciate both the necessity and the ef- 
fect of the vicissitudes which were dispensed to them. 
The bare Desert and the bald hills of Palestine formed 
a wholesome and perpetual contrast to the magnifi- 
cence and the fertility of Egypt. They formed, as it 
were, a natural Monasticism, a natural Puritanism, — 
in which the luxuries, and the superstitions, and the 
barbarism of their servile state were set aside by 
sterner and higher influences. But they were always 
taught, with pathetic earnestness, never to forget, nay 

1 Josh. xxiv. 2, 14. 3 Ex. iv. 24 ; Josh. v. 2-9. 

9 Ezek. xx. 8. 


even, in a certain sense, to feel for and with, the 
condition of slavery which had been their original 
portion. a Remember that thou wast a ' slave ' in the 
"land of Egypt." On this recollection, as on an im- 
movable thought never to be erased from their minds, 
are made to repose even the great institutions of the 
Sabbath and the Jubilee. 1 

3. There were two other traces of their dependent 
Leprosy, position in Egypt, which may be noticed as 
having left indelible marks both on their records and 
those of the nation which cast them out. One is 
the disease of leprosy, 2 — which for the first time 
appears after the stay in Egypt, — is it too much 
to suppose ? — generated by the habits incident to 
their depressed state and crowded population. In the 
Israelite annals it appears only in individual though 
most significant instances, — the hand of Moses, the 
face of Miriam. But the severe provisions of the Le- 
vitical law imply its wider spread; and in the Egyp- 
tian traditions the remembrance, as was natural, took 
a stronger and more general color of aversion and 
disgust, and represented the w r hole people as a nation 
of lepers, cast out on that account. 

4. The other relic of repugnance between the two 
rp , e races, though slight in itself, is both more 

The use of " o o ? 

the Ass. deeply seated in their original diversity of 
customs, and more lasting in its results. There is one 
animal which, even more than the camel, is from first 
to last identified with the history of Israel. With 
he-asses and she-asses Abraham returned from Egypt ; 
with the ass Abraham went up with Isaac to the 
sacrifice ; 3 on asses Joseph's brethren came thither j 

1 Deut. v. 15, vi. 21 ; Lev xxv. 2 Jos. c. Apion, i. 26, 34. 
42, 55. 3 Gen. xxii. 3, 5. 


on an ass Moses set his wife and his sons on his 
return from Arabia to Egppt ; 1 an old man seated on 
an ass was the likeness of him which, according to 
Gentile traditions/ his countrymen delighted to honor. 
On white asses or mules, through the whole period 
of the early history 3 till their first contact with 
foreign nations in the reign of Solomon, their princes 
rode in state ; the prophecy, fulfilled in the close of 
their history, was that " their King should come 
"riding on an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass." It 
was the long-continued mark of their ancient, pas- 
toral, simple condition. The rival horse came into 
Palestine slowly and unlawfully, and was always spoken 
of as the sign of the pride and power of Egypt ; in 
the funeral procession of Jacob the chariots and horses 
of Egypt are specially contrasted with the asses of 
the sons of Israel ; they who in later times put their 
trust in Egypt founded that trust in her chariots and 
horses. But we know not only the Israelite, but the 
Egyptian feeling also. Whilst on the Theban monu- 
ments the war-horse is always at hand, the ass, in 
their minds, was regarded as the exclusive, the con- 
temned, symbol of the nomadic race who had left 
them. On asses they were described as flying from 
Egypt ; 4 asses, it was believed, had guided them 
through the desert; 5 in the Holy of Holies (to such 
a pitch of exaggeration was the story carried) the 
mysterious object of Jewish worship was held to be 
an ass's head ; and so deeply and so generally was 
this persuasion communicated to the heathen world, 

1 Exod. iv. 20. 4 Plutarch de Iside, ch. 31. 

2 Diod. Sic. xxxiv. 1. 5 Tac. Hist. v. 3. See Lecture VI 

3 Judg. v. 10, x. 4, xii. 14 ; 2 Sam. 
*vi. 1, 2; 1 Kings i. 33, 38. 



that when a new Jewish sect, as it was thought, arose 
under the name of a Christian," the favorite theme of 
reproach and of caricature was that they worshipped 
in like manner an ass, the son of an ass, even on the 
Cross itself. l So long and far were the effects visible 
of this primitive diversity between the civilized king- 
dom of the Pharaohs and the pastoral tribe of the land 
of Goshen. So innocent was the occasion of this long- 
standing calumny, — a calumny not of generations or 
centuries, but of millenniums' growth before it was 
dispelled; perhaps the most remarkable of all the 
many like slanders and fables invented, in the course 
of ecclesiastical history, by the bitterness of national 
or theological hatred. 

5. Such are some of the points, greater or smaller, 
of lasting antagonism which their original relations 
Points of l e ft between Egypt and Israel. But there are 
contact. a j SQ p 0m ^ s f contact. It would be against 

the analogy of the whole history, to suppose that this 
long period was wasted in its effect on the mind of 
the Chosen People ; that the same Divine Providence 
which in later times drew new truths out of the Chal- 
daean captivity for the Jewish Church, out of the 
Grecian philosophy and the Eoman law for the 
Christian Church, should have made no use of the 
greatness of Egypt in this first and most important 
stage of the education of Israel. 

We need not go to heathen records for the assur- 
ance that Moses was "learned in all the wisdom of 
u the Egyptians." Whatever that wisdom was, we can- 
not doubt it was turned to its own good purpose in 
the laws through him revealed to the people ol God. 

1 The Palatine inscription (Dublin Rev. April, 1857). Josephus, c. Ap 
li. 7 ; Tertullian, Apol. ch. 16. 


The very minuteness of the law implies a stage of 
existence different to that in which the Patriarchs 
had lived, but like to that in which we know that 
the Egyptians lived. The forms of some of the most 
solemn sacrifices — as, for example, the scapegoat — 
are almost identical. The white linen dresses of the 
priests, the Urim and Thummim on the high-priest's 
breast-plate, are, to all appearance, derived from the 
same source as the analogous emblems amongst the 
Egyptians. The sacred ark, as portrayed on the 
monuments, can hardly fail to have some relation to 
that which was borne by the Levites at the head of 
the host, and which was finally enshrined in the Tem- 
ple. The Temple, at least in some of its most re- 
markable features, — its courts, its successive chambers, 
and its adytum, or Holy of Holies, — is more like those 
of Egypt than any others of the ancient world with 
which we are acquainted. In these and in many 
other instances we may fairly trace a true affiliation 
of such outward customs and forms, as in like manner, 
at a later period, the Christian Church took from the 
Pagan ritual of the empire in which it had sojourned 
for its four hundred years. It is but an expansiou 
of the one fact which has always arrested the atten- 
tion of commentators, and which in its widest sense 
is a salutary warning against despising the greatness 
and the wisdom of the heathen. 

" This world of thine, by him usurp'd too long, 
Now opens all her stores to heal thy servants' wrong." 1 

Rachel carried off her father's teraphim from Meso- 
potamia ; the wives and daughters of Israel carried off 
from Egypt the sacred gems and vestments, which 

1 Ewald, ii. 87, 8, on Exod. iii. 22; xii. 45. Keble's Christian Year (3d 
8. in Lent). 


afterwards served to adorn the priestly services of the 
Tabernacle. " When ye go, ye shall not go empty 
" But every woman shall borrow of her neighbour ... 
"jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and 
" ye shall put them upon your sons and upon your 
u daughters. . . . And the Lord gave the people 
" favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they 
" lent unto them such things as they required, and 
" they spoiled the Egyptians." 

Yet the contrast was always greater than the like- 
Points of ness. When we survey the vast array of an- 
cient ideas represented to us in the Egyptian 
temples and sepulchres, the thought forced upon us is 
rather of the fewness than of the frequency of illus- 
trations which thev furnish. Of this absence of in- 
fmence perhaps the most remarkable instance lies in 
the fact that whilst the Egyptian sculptures abound 
with representations of the future state, and of the 
judgment after death, the Jewish Scriptures, at least 
in the Pentateuch, abstain almost entirely from any 
direct or distinct mention of either. A wider connec- 
tion, indeed, might be maintained if we could trust 
the later descriptions of Egyptian theology and philos- 
ophy. It was strongly believed in the Greek schools 
of Alexandria, that behind the multitude of forms, 
human, divine, bestial, grotesque, which filled the 
Egyptian shrines, there was yet in the minds of the 
sacred and the learned few a deep-seated belief in 
One Supreme Intelligence, and thus the distinguishing 
mark of the Mosiac Revelation would have been, not 
so much that it disclosed and insisted on this funda- 
mental truth, but that what had been hitherto confined 
to a priestly caste was for the first time made the com- 
mon property of a whole people. Such may possibly 


have been the case. But it is not the natural impres- 
sion left by the monuments. The crowd of gods and 
goddesses, above all, the overwhelming deification of 
the Pharaohs, of which I have before spoken, seems 
almost impossible to reconcile with any strong Mono- 
theistic belief in Egypt, however far withdrawn into 
the recesses of schools or priesthoods. One ever-re- 
curring symbol, however, of such a belief appears in 
color and sculpture on the Egyptian monuments, as in 
the Hebrew records it appears also both in word and 
act. Everywhere, but especially under the portal of 
every Temple, are stretched out the wide-spread wings, 
— blue, as if with the cloudless blue of the overarch- 
ing heavens, — covering the sanctuary, as if with the 
shelter of some invisible protector. This may be the 
accidental recurrence of a symbol simply and naturally 
expressive of a beneficent overruling Power. But it 
is the nearest authentic approach which the Egyptian 
monuments furnish to such an idea. It is the image 
to which, in one sublime passage, at least, the Divine 
presence is directly compared, " as it were a paved work 
" of a sapphire stone, as it were the body of heaven in 
" his clearness." * It is an exact likeness of the winy;s 
which formed the covering of the ark in the Taber- 
nacle and the Temple, — of the feeling which has been 
made immortal in the words, a Under the shadow of 
* Thy wings shall be my refuge." 2 

1 Ex. xxiv. 10. Compare our own of the detailed relations of Egyptian 

use of the word " Heaven." to Israelite history, see Hengsten 

3 Ps. lvii. 1. For the amplification berg's Egypt and the Books of Moses 




1. (a) The last four books of the Pentateuch (Hebrew and Sep- 

(b) Ps. Ixxvii. 12-20 ; lxxviii. 12-54 ; lxxxi. 5-16 ; xc. ; xcv. 3-11 ; 
cv. 23-44; cvi. 7-33; cxiv. ; cxxxv. 8-9 ; cxxxvi. 10-16: 
Isa. lxiii. 11-14: Hos. xii. 13 : Micah vi. 4-9: Ecclus. xlv. 
1-22: 2 Mace. ii. 10. 

2. The Jewish traditions, preserved 

(a) In the New Testament (Acts vii. 20-38 ; 2 Tim. iii. 8, 9 ; 

Heb. xi. 23-28 ; Jude 9) : in Josephus {Ant. ii. 9-iv. 8, 49) : 
and Philo (De vita Moysis). 

(b) In the Talmud, the Targum Pseudojonathan, and the Midrashim ; 

extracted in Otho's Lexicon rabbinicum. 

3. The Heathen traditions of Eupolemus, Artapanus, Ezekielus, and 

Demetrius (Eusebius, Prcep. Ev. ix. 26-29) : Manetho, Chaere- 
mon, Lysimachus (Josephus, c. Apion, i. 26-34) : Apion (ib. ii. 
2) : Strabo (xvi. 2) : Diodorus Siculus (xxxiv. 1, xl. from He- 
catasus) : Tacitus (Hist. v. 3, 4) : Justin (xxxvi. 2) : Clemens 
Alexandrinus Stromata, i. 22-25. 

4. The Mussulman traditions in the Koran, ii. v. vii. x. xi. xviii. xx. 

xxviii. xl. ; collected in Lane's Selections from the Kur-an, §§ 
xv. xvi. ; Weil's Biblical Legends, p. 91; D'Herbelot's Bibl. 
Orientale ("•Moussa," " Caroun " i. e. Korah, " Feraoun ") ; and 
Jalaladdin, ch. xvi. 

5. The Christian traditions in Apocryphal books: — (1) Prayers of 

Moses, (2) Apocalypse of Moses, (3) Ascension of Moses, (4) 
Prophecy of Balaam, Book of Jannes and Jambres, &c, in Fa- 
briciu3, God. Pseudepigr. Vet. Test. i. 801-871. 




The History, strictly speaking, of the Jewish church 
begins with the Exodus. In one sense, indeed, u His- 
" tory herself was born on that night when Moses led 
u forth his countrymen from the land of Goshen." l 
Traditions, genealogies, institutions, isolated incidents, 
isolated characters, may be discovered here and there, 
long before. In Pagan records there is no continuous 
narrative of events. In the sacred records, whatever 
history exists is the history of a man, of a family, of 
a tribe, but not of a people, a nation, a commonwealth. 
This marked beginning, visible even in the Jewish 
annals themselves, is yet more clearly brought out, 
when considered from an external point of view. To 
the outer heathen world the earlier period of the 
Hebrew race, with the single exception of Abraham, 
was an entire blank. Their origin in the far East, 
their first settlement in Canaan, the name of their 
first father, whether Jacob or Israel, these were all 
but unknown to Greeks and Eomans. It is the Exodus 
that reveals the Israelite to the eyes of Europe. 
Egj 7 pt was the only land which the Gentile inquirers 
recognized as the birthplace of the Jews. Moses was 

1 Bunsen's Egypt, i. 23. 

114 THE EXODUS. Lect. V 

the character who first appears, not only as the law- 
giver, but as the representative of the nation. In 
many wild, distorted forms the rise of this great 
name, the apparition of this strange people was con- 
ceived. Let us take the brief account — the best that 
has been handed down to us — from the careful and 
truth-loving Strabo. 

"Moses, an Egyptian priest, who possessed a con« 
" siderable tract of Lower Egypt, unable longer to 
" bear with what existed there, departed thence to 
" Syria, and with him went out many who honored 
"the Divine Being (to ©ciov). For Moses maintained 
" and taught that the Egyptians were not right in 
" likening the nature of God to beasts and cattle, nor 
" yet the Africans, nor even the Greeks, in fashioning 
" their gods in the form of men. He held that this 
"only was God, — that which encompasses all of us, 
a earth and sea, that which we call Heaven, and the 
" Order of the world, and the Nature of things. Of 
" this who that had any sense would venture to in- 
" vent an image like to anything which exists 
u amongst ourselves ? Far better to abandon all stat- 
" uary and sculpture, all setting apart of sacred pre- 
" cincts and shrines, and to pay reverence, without 
" any image whatever. The course prescribed was, 
" that those who have the gift of good divinations, 
" for themselves or for others, should compose them- 
" selves to sleep within the Temple ; and those who 
" live temperately and justly may expect to receive 
"some good gift from God, — these always, and none 
" besides." l 

1 Strabo, xvi. 760. He probably further and less accurate details in 
takes his account from Hecataeus (see Diodorus (xl.). 
Ewald, ii. 74), which is given with 


These words, unconsciously introduced in the work 
of the Cappadocian geographer, occupying but a single 
section of a single chapter in the seventeen books of his 
voluminous treatise, awaken in us something of the same 
feeling as that with which we read the short epistle of 
Pliny, describing with equal unconsciousness, yet with 
equal truth, the first appearance of the new Christian 
society which was to change the face of mankind. With 
but a few trifling exceptions, Strabo's account is, from 
his point of view, a faithful summary of the mission 
of Moses. What a curiosity it would have roused in 
our minds, had this been all that remained to us con- 
cerning him ! That curiosity we are enabled to gratify 
from books which lay within Strabo's reach, though 
he cared not to read them. Let us unfold from their 
ancient pages the leading points of the signal deliv- 
erance, when " Israel came out of Egypt, and the 
" house of Jacob from among the strange people." 

The life of Moses, in the later period of the Jew- 
ish history, was divided into three equal portions of 
forty years each. 1 This agrees with the natural ar- 
rangement of his history into the three parts, of his 
Egyptian education, his exile in Arabia, and his gov- 
ernment of the Israelite nation in the Wilderness and 
on the confines of Palestine. But whilst the first two 
will be contained in the present Lecture, the last ex- 
tends itself over the rest of this portion of the his- 

I. The early period of the life of Moses, as related 
in the Pentateuch, is so closely bound up with the 
later traditions concerning it, that it may be well to 
present it in the form in which it appeared to his 
nation at the time of the Christian era. His birth 2 

l Acts vii. 23, 30. 3 Jos. Ant. ii. 9, § 2-4. 

116 THE EXODUS. Leot. V. 

— so ran the story — had been foretold to Pharaoh 
The birth ^7 ^ ne Egyptian magicians, and to his father 
of Moses. Amram by a dream, as respectively the future 
destroyer and deliverer. The pangs of his mother's 
labor were alleviated so as to enable her to evade the 
Egyptian midwives. The beauty of the new-born babe 

— in the later version of the story amplified into a 
beauty and size almost divine l — induced the mother to 
make extraordinary efforts for its preservation from the 
general destruction of the male children of Israel. For 
three months the child, under the name of Joachim, 
was concealed in the house. Then his mother placed 
him in a small boat or basket of papyrus (perhaps 
from a current Egyptian 2 belief that that plant was 
a protection from crocodiles), closed against the water 
by bitumen. This was placed among the aquatic 
vegetation by the side of one of the canals of the 
Nile. The mother departed as if unable to bear the 
sight. The sister lingered to watch her brother's fate. 
The basket floated 3 down the stream. 

The princess 4 came down, in primitive simplicity, 
Hiseduca- to bathe in the sacred river. Her attendant 
slaves followed her. She saw the basket in 
the flags, or borne down the stream, and despatched 
divers after it. The divers, or one of the female 
slaves, brought it. It was opened, and the cry of the 
child moved the princess to compassion. She deter- 
mined to rear it as her own. The sister was then at 
hand to recommend a Hebrew nurse. The child was 
brought up as the princess's son, and the memory of 

1 Jos. Ant. ii. 9, § 1, 5. i kmelogr& 4 Thermuthis (Jos. Ibid. § 5), or 

y?w, Acts vii. 20. Merrhis (Artap. in Eusebius), daugb> 

a Plut. Is. et Os. 358. ter of the king of Heliopolis, wife of 

3 Jot Ant. ii. 9, § 4. the king of Memphis. 

Lect. V. MOSES IN EGYPT 117 

the incident was long cherished in the name given to 
the foundling of the water's side — whether according 
to its Hebrew or Egyptian form. Its Hebrew form is 
Mosheh, from masah, u to draw out" — "because I have 
" drawn him out of the water." But this is probably 
the Hebrew termination given to an Egyptian word 
signifying u saved from the water." 1 The " Child of 
the water" was adopted by the childless princess. Its 
beauty came to be such, that passers-by stood fixed 
to look at it, and laborers left their work to steal a 
glance. 2 Such was the narrative, as moulded by suc- 
cessive generations, and finally adopted by Josephus 
and Clement of Alexandria, from the simpler, but still 
thoroughly Egyptian, incidents of the Biblical story. 

From this time for many years Moses must be con- 
sidered as an Egyptian. In the Pentateuch, whether 
from absence of authentic information, or stern disdain, 
or native simplicity, this period is a blank. But the 
well-known words of Stephen's speech, which describes 
him 3 as "learned in ail the wisdom of the Egyptians" and 
u mighty in words and deeds" are in fact a brief sum- 
mary of the Jewish and Egyptian traditions which fill 
up the silence of the Hebrew annals. He was edu- 
cated at Heliopolis, 4 and grew up there as a priest, 
under his Egyptian name of Osarsiph 5 or Tisithen. 6 

1 In Coptic, mo = water, and usJie toire d'Egypte, 157, 173) renders the 

= saved. This is the explanation name Mes or Messon = child, borne 

given by Josephus (Ant. ii. 9, 6 ; c. by one of the princes of Ethiopia 

Apion, i. 31), and confirmed by the under Rameses II., as also in the 

Greek form of the word adopted in names Amosis and Thuth- Mosis. 
the LXX., Miovaijg, and thence in 2 Jos. Ant. ii. 9, § 6. 

the Vulgate, Moyses (French Mo'ise). 3 Acts vii. 22. 
This form is retained in the Au- * Compare Strabo, xvii. 1. 

thorized Version of 1611., in 2 Mac- 5 " Osarsiph " is derived by Mane« 

:abees — " Moises." In the later tho from Osiris. Jos. c. Ap. i. 26, 31 
editions it is altered. Brugsch (His- 6 Chaeremon, Ibid. 32. 

118 THE EXODUS. Lect. V 

" He learned arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, medi- 
u cine, and music. He invented boats and engines for 
" building — instruments of war and of hydraulics — 
" hieroglyphics — division of lands." He taught Or- 
pheus, and was hence called by the Greeks Musaeus, 1 
and by the Egyptians Hermes. He was sent on an 
expedition against the Ethiopians. He got rid of the 
serpents of the country to be traversed by letting 
loose baskets full of ibises upon them. 2 The city of 
Hermopolis was believed to have been founded to 
commemorate his victory. 3 He advanced to the capi- 
tal of Ethiopia, and gave it the name of Meroe, from 
his adopted mother Merrhis, whom he buried there. 
Tharbis, the daughter of the king of Ethiopia, 4 fell in 
love with him, and he returned in triumph to Egypt 
with her as his wife. 5 

The original account reopens with the time when 
he was resolved to reclaim his nationality. Here, 
again, the Epistle to the Hebrews, following in the 
same track as Stephen's speech, preserves the tradition 
in a distincter form than the narrative of the Penta- 
teuch. " Moses, when he was come to years, refused 
" to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter ; choosing 
" rather to suffer affliction with the people of God 
" than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season ; es- 
u teeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than 
u the treasures (the ancient accumulated treasures of 
" Khampsinitus and the old kings) of Egypt." 6 In his 
earliest infancy he was reported to have refused the 
milk of Egyptian nurses, and, when three years old, 
to have trampled under his feet the crown which 

1 Artapanus, in Eusebius. * Comp. Num. xii. 1. 

2 Jos. Ant. ii. 10, § 2. 5 J os . Ant. ii. 10,. § 2. 

3 Artapanus. 6 Heb. xi. 24-26. 

Lect. V. MOSES IN EGYPT 111) 

Pharaoh had playfully placed on his head. 1 According 
to the Egyptian tradition, although a priest of Heli- 
opolis, he always performed his prayers according to 
the custom of his fathers, outside the walls of the city, 
in the open air, turning towards the sunrising. 2 The 
king was excited to hatred by his own envy, or by 
the priests of Egypt, who foresaw their destroyer. 3 
Various plots of assassination were contrived against, 
him, which failed. The last was after he had His escape, 
already escaped across the Nile from Memphis, warned 
by his brother Aaron, and when pursued by the as- 
sassin he killed him. The same general account of 
conspiracies against his life appears in Josephus. 4 All 
that remains of these traditions in the Sacred narra- 
tive is the single and natural incident, that seeing an 
Israelite suffering the bastinado from an Egyptian, and 
thinking that they were alone, he slew the Egyptian 
(the later tradition said, 5 "with a word of his mouth"), 
and buried the corpse in the sand, — the sand of the 
desert, then, as now, running close up to the culti- 
vated tract. The same fire of patriotism which thus 
roused him as a deliverer from the oppressors, turns 
him into the peace-maker of the oppressed. It is char- 
acteristic of the faithfulness of the Sacred records 
that his flight is occasioned rather by the malignity of 
his countrymen than by the enmity of the Egyptians. 
And in Stephen's speech 6 it is this part of the story 
which is drawn out at greater length than in the 
original, evidently with the view of showing the iden- 
tity of the narrow spirit which had thus displayed 
itself equally against their first and the last Deliverer 

1 Jos. Ant. ii. 9, § 5, 7. 4 Ant. ii. 10, § 1. 

2 Id c. Apion, ii. 2. 5 Clem. Alex. Strom, i. 23. 

3 Artapanus. 6 Acts vii. 23-39. 

120 THE EXODUS. Lect. V 

II. Where these later traditions end, the Sacred 
The can of history begins. Whatever may have been the 
Moses. preparation provided by Egyptian war or wis- 
dom, it is in the unknown, unfrequented wilderness 
of Arabia, — in the same school of solitude and of 
exile, which in humbler spheres has so often trained 
great minds to the reception of new truths, — that the 
mission of Moses was revealed to him. In that won- 
derful region of the earth, where the grandeur of 
mountains is combined, as hardly anywhere else, with 
the grandeur of the desert, — amidst the granite 
precipices and the silent valleys of Horeb, — as to his 
people afterwards, so to Moses now was the great 
truth to be made manifest, of which, as we have seen, 
he was recognized even by the heathen world to have 
been the first national interpreter. " Now Moses kept 
" the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the Priest of 
" Midian : and he led the flock to the back of the 
a wilderness " far from the shores of the Red Sea, 
where Jethro seems to have dwelt, a and came to the 
" mountain of God, even to Horeb." We know not 
the precise place. Tradition, reaching back to the sixth 
century of the Christian era, fixes it in the same deep 
seclusion as that to which in all probability he after- 
wards led the Israelites. The convent of Justinian 
is built over what was supposed to be the exact spot 
where the shepherd was bid to draw his sandals from 
ofT his feet. The valley in which the convent stands 
is called by the Arabian name of Jethro. 1 But whether 
this, or the other great centre of the peninsula, Mount 
Serbal, be regarded as the scene of the event, the 
appropriateness would be almost equal. Each has at 
different times been regarded as the sanctuary of the 

1 Shoaib = Hobab (Ewald, Gesch. ii. 58j note). 

Lbct. V. THE CALL OF MOSES. 121 

desert. Each presents that singular majesty, which, as 
Josephus tells us, 1 and as the sacred narrative implies, 
had already invested " The Mountain of God " with an 
awful reverence in the eyes of the Arabian tribes, as 
though a Divine Presence rested on its solemn heights. 
Around each, on the rocky ledges of the hill-side, or 
in the retired basins, withdrawn within the deep re- 
cesses of the adjoining mountains, or beside the springs 
which water the adjacent valleys, would be found 
pasture of herbage or of aromatic shrubs for the flocks 
of Jethro. On each, in that early age, though The bum- 
now found only on Mount Serbal, must have ing ush ' 
grown the wild acacia, the shaggy thorn-bush of the 
Seneh, the most characteristic tree of the whole range. 
So natural, so thoroughly in accordance with the scene, 
were the signs, in which the call of Moses makes itself 
heard and seen. Not in any outward form, human 
or celestial, such as the priests of Heliopolis were wont 
to figure to themselves as the representatives of Deity, 
but out of the midst of the spreading thorn, the out- 
growth of the desert wastes, did " the Lord appear 
unto Moses." A flame of fire, like that which seemed 
to consume and waste away His people in the furnace 
of affliction, 2 shone forth amidst the dry branches of 
the thorny tree, and a behold ! the bush," the massive 
thicket, u burned with fire, and the bush was not con- 
sumed." And when the question arose, with what he 
should work the signs by which his countrymen shall 
believe and hearken to his voice, the same character re- 
curs. No sword of war, such as was wielded by Egyp- 
tian kings, no mystic emblem, such as was borne by 
Egyptian gods, but — "'What is that in thine hand?' 

1 Ant. ii. 12, § 1. Compare Sinai and Palestine, 17, 20 

2 See Philo, Vita Mosis, i. M. 45, 46. 


122 THE EXODUS. Lect. V. 

"And he said, 6 A rod,' " 1 — a staff, a shepherd's crook. 
The shep- the- staff which indicated his return to the pas- 

herd's staff. ^^ ^fa q{ ^ fatherg? the gtaff Qn which 

he leaned amidst his desert wanderings, the staff with 
which he guided his kinsman's flocks, the staff like 
that still borne by Arab chiefs, — this was to be the 
humble instrument of divine power. " In this," as 
afterwards in the yet humbler symbol of the Cross, 
— in this, the symbol of his simplicity, of his exile, 
of his lowliness, — "the world was to be conquered." 
These were the outward signs of his call. And, 
whatever the explanation put on their precise im- 
port, there is this undoubted instruction conveyed in 
their description, that they are marked by the pecul- 
iar appropriateness and homogeneousness to the pe- 
culiar circumstances of the Prophet, which marks all 
like manifestations, through every variety of form, to 
the Prophets, the successors of Moses, in each suc- 
ceeding age. In grace, as in nature, God, if we may 
use the well-known expression, abhorret saltam, abhors a 
sudden, unprepared transition. a The child is father of 
" the man : " the man is father of the prophet — the days 
of both are "bound each to each by natural piety." 
It is the first signal instance of the prophetic revela- 
tions. Its peculiar form is the key of all that follow. 
But, as in all these Revelations, it is the substance 
rhe Name an ^ spirit of the message, rather than its 
of Jehovah. ou t war( j form, which carries with it the most 
enduring lesson, and the surest mark of its heavenly 
origin. " Behold, when I shall come to the children 
u of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your 
'' fathers hath sent me unto you, and they shall say, 

1 In the Mussulman traditions it that worked the wonders. D'Herbe- 
was the white shining hand of Moses lot (" Moussa "). 


" c What is His name ? ' what shall I say unto them ? 
"And God said unto Moses, I am that I am. . . . 
" Thus shall thou say unto Ihe children of Israel, i I AM 
" hath sent me unto you! " 

It has been observed, that the great epochs of the 
history of the Chosen People are marked by the sev- 
eral names, by which in each the Divine Nature is 
indicated. In the Patriarchal age we have already 
seen that the oldest Hebrew form by which the most 
general idea of Divinity is expressed is " El-Elohim," 
" The Strong One," " The Strong Ones," * The Strong." 
" Beth-El," " Peni-El," remained even to the latest times 
memorials of this primitive mode of address and wor- 
ship. But now a new name, and with it a new truth, 
was introduced. "I am Jehovah; I appeared unto 
" Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, by the name of El-Shad- 
" dai (God Almighty); but by my name JEHOVAH 
u was I not known unto them." l The only certain 
use of it before the time of Moses is in the name 2 of 
u Jochebed," borne by his own mother. It has been 
beautifully conjectured 3 that in the small circle of 
that family a dim conception had thus arisen of the 
Divine Truth, which was through the son of that 
family proclaimed forever to the world. It was the 
rending asunder of the veil which overhung the 
temple 4 of the Egyptian Sais. " I am that which has 
" been, and which is, and which is to be ; and my veil 
" no mortal hath yet drawn aside." It was the decla- 
ration of the simplicity, the unity, the self-existence 
of the Divine Nature, 5 the exact opposite to all the 

1 Ex. vi. 2, 3. 4 Plutarch, De hid. et Os. c. 9. 

2 Ibid. 20. Jochebed is a con- 5 The word Lord, by which we 
traction of Jeho-chebed = " Jehovah render it, is the translation of icvptoc, 
ny glory." (Gesenius, sub voce.) in the LXX., which again is the 

3 Ewald, ii. 204, 5. translation of Adonai, the word used 

124 THE EXODUS. Lect. V 

multiplied lomis of idolatry, human, animal, and celes- 
tial, that prevailed, as far as we know, everywhere 
else. " The Eternal." This was the moving spring of 
the whole life of Moses, of the whole story of the 
Exodus. In viewing the history, even as a mere na- 
tional record, we cannot, if we would, dispense with 
the impulse, the elevation, of which the name of 
" Jehovah " was at once the cause and the symbol. 
Slowly and with difficulty it won its way into the 
heart of the people. We can trace it, through its 
gradual incorporation, into the proper names begin- 
ning with the transformation of Hoshea into Jehoshua. 
We can trace its deep religious significance in the 
frequent usage which separates those portions of the 
Sacred records where the name a Jehovah " occurs 
from those where the older name of a Elohim " occurs. 
The awe which it inspired w r ent on, as it would seem, 
increasing rather than diminishing with the lapse of 
years. A new turn was given to it under the mon- 
archy, when it becomes encompassed with the attri 
butes of the leader of the armies of earth and heaven, 
"Jehovah Sabaoth," "The Lord of Hosts." And in 
later times it lies concealed, enshrined, behind the 
word which the trembling reverence of the last age 
of the Jewish people substituted for it, and which ap- 
pears in the Greek and in the English version of the 
Scriptures, — " Adonai," " Kurios," " the Lord," — a sub- 
stitution which, whilst it effaced the historical meaning 
of the name, prepared the way for the still nearer 
and closer revelation of God in Him w r hom we now 
emphatically acknowledge as " Our Lord." 

oy the excessive reverence of the Jehovah is the French " L'Eteinel," 

later Jews in the place of Jehovah, whence Bunsen has taken, in kii 

The only modern translation which Bibelwerk, " der Ewige." 
has preserved the true rendering of 


But we must return to the original circumstances 
under which the Revelation was first made. The return 
It is characteristic of the Biblical history that of Moses - 
this new name, though itself penetrating into the 
most abstract metaphysical idea of God, yet in its 
effect was the very opposite of a mere abstraction. 
Moses is a Prophet, — the first of the Prophets, — but 
he is also a Deliverer. Israel, indeed, through him 
becomes a a chosen people," " a holy congregation," — 
in one word, a Church. But it also through him be- 
becomes a nation : it passes, by his means, from a pas- 
toral, subject, servile tribe, into a civilized, free, inde- 
pendent commonwealth. It is in this aspect that the 
more human and historical side of his appearance pre- 
sents itself. It is true that even here we see him very 
imperfectly. In him, as in the Apostles afterwards, 
the man is swallowed up in the cause, the messenger 
in the message and mission with which he is charged. 
Yet from time to time, and here in this opening of 
his career more than elsewhere, his outward and 
domestic relations are brought before us. He returns 
to Egypt from his exile. In the advice of his father- 
in-law to make war upon Egypt, 1 in his meeting with 
his brother in the desert of Sinai, may be indications 
of a mutual understanding and general rising of the 
Arabian tribes against the Egyptian monarchy. 2 But 
in the Sacred narrative our attention is fixed only 
on the personal relations of the two brothers, now 
fiV.'t mentioned together, never henceforth toHisper- 

-n l • t sonal ap- 

be parted. From that meeting and coopera- pearance 
tion we have the first indications of his indi- character, 
vidual character and appearance. We are accustomed 
to invest him with all the external grandeur which 

1 Artapanus. 2 Ewald, ii. 59, 60. 

126 THE EXODUS. Lect. V, 

would naturally correspond to the greatness of his 
mission. The statue of Michael Angelo rises before 
us in its commanding sternness, as the figure before 
which Pharaoh trembled. Something, indeed, of this 
is justified by the traditions respecting him. The 
long shaggy hair and beard, 1 which infold in their vast 
tresses that wild form, appear in the heathen repre- 
sentations of him. The beauty of the child is, by the 
same traditions, continued into his manhood. " He 
u was," says the historian Justin 2 (with the confusion 
so common in Gentile representations), a both as wise 
" and as beautiful as his father Joseph." But the only 
point described in the Sacred narrative is one of sin- 
gular and unlooked-for infirmity. u my Lord, I am 
" not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast 
" spoken to thy servant ; but I am slow of speech, 
u and of a slow tongue ; . . . how shall Pharaoh hear 
" me, which am of uncircumcised lips ? " — that is, slow 
and without words, "stammering and hesitating" (so 
the Septuagint strongly expresses it), like Demos- 
thenes in his earlier youth, — slow and without words, 
like the circuitous orations of the English Cromwell, 3 
— " his speech contemptible," like the Apostle Paul. 
How often had this been repeated in the history of 
the world, — how truly has the answer been repeated 
also : "Who hath made man's mouth ? . . . Have not 
" I the Lord ? . . . I will be thy mouth, and teach 
fi thee what thou shalt say." 

And when the remonstrance w T ent up from the true, 

1 An old man, with a long beard, hue, tinged with gray, as given by 

seated on an ass, was the idea of Artapanus. 

Moses, as given by Diodorus (xxxiv.) ; 2 xxxvi. 2. 

or tall and dignified in appearance, 3 See Carlyle's Cromwell, ii. 219. 
and long streaming hair of a reddish 

Lect. V. AARON. 127 

disinterested heart of Moses, " my Lord, send, I 
" pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou Relations oi 
u wilt send " (" Make any one thine Apostle so Aaron. 
u that it be not me "), the future relation of the two 
brothers is brought to light. u Is not Aaron the 
" Levite thy brother ? I know that he can speak 
66 well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet 
" thee, and when he seeth thee he will be glad in his 
" heart. And thou shalt speak unto him, and put 
" words in his mouth. . . . And he shall be thy 
" spokesman unto the people, and he shall be, even 
u he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou 
" shalt be to him instead of God." In all outward ap- 
pearance, — as the Chief of the tribe of Levi, as the 
head of the family of Amram, as the spokesman and 
interpreter, as the first who u spake to the people and 
" to Pharaoh all the words which the Lord had spoken 
u to Moses," and did the signs in the sight of the 
people, as the permanent inheritor of the sacred staff 
or rod, the emblem of rule and power, — Aaron, not 
Moses, must have been the representative and leader 
of Israel. But Moses was the inspiring, informing soul 
within and behind ; and, as time rolled on, as the 
first outward impression passed away and the deep 
abiding recollection of the whole story remained, Aaron 
the prince and priest has almost disappeared from the 
view of history ; and Moses, the dumb, backward, dis- 
interested Prophet, continues for all ages the foremost 
leader of the Chosen People, the witness that some-, 
thing more is needed for the guidance of man than 
high hereditary office or the gift of fluent speech, — 
a rebuke alike to an age that puts its trust in priests 
and nobles, and an age that puts its trust in preach- j 
ars and speakers. 

128 THE EXODUS. Lr, • * 

As his relations with Aaron give us a glimpse into 
His wife his personal history, so his advance towards 

undchil- r J . . . . . 

dren. Egypt gives us a glimpse into his domestic his- 

tory. His wife, whom he had won by his chivalrous 
attack on the Bedouin shepherds by "the well" of 
Midian, and her two infant sons, are with him. She 
is seated with them on the ass, — the usual mode of 
travelling, for Israelites at least, in those parts. He 
walks by their side with his shepherd's staff On 
the journey a mysterious and almost inexplicable in- 
cident occurs in the family. The most probable ex- 
planation seems to be, that at the caravansary either 
Moses or his eldest child was struck with what seemed 
to be a mortal illness. In some way, not apparent to 
us, this illness was connected by Zipporah with the 
fact that her son had not been circumcised — whether 
in the general neglect of that rite amongst the Israel- 
ites in Egypt, or in consequence of his birth in Midian. 
She instantly performed the rite, and threw tha sharp 
instrument, stained with the fresh blood, at the feet 
of her husband, exclaiming in the agony of a mother's 
anxiety for the life of her child, "A bloody husband 
" thou art to cause the death of my son." Then, when 
the recovery from the illness took place (whether of 
her son or her husband), she exclaims again : •' A 
" bloody husband still thou art, but not so as to cause 
" the child's death, but only to bring about his cir- 
u cumcision." x 

It would seem as if in consequence of this event, 

1 So Ewald (Alterth. 105), and for " marriage " being a synonyme for 

Bunsen (Bibelwerk, i. 112), taking the "circumcision." It is possible that 

sickness to have visited Moses. Rosen- on this story is founded the tradition 

miiller makes Gershom the victim of Artapanus (Eusebius), that the 

(see Ex. iv. 25), and makes Zipporah Ethiopians derived circumcision from 

address Jehovah, the Arabic word Moses. 


whatever it was, that the wife and her children were 
sent back to Jethro, and remained with him till 
Moses joined them at Rephidim. 1 Unless Zipporah is 
the Cushite w r ife 2 who gave such umbrage to Miriam 
and Aaron, we hear of her no more. 

The two sons also sink into obscurity. Their names, 
though of Levitical origin, relate to their foreign birth- 
place. Gershom, the a stranger," and Eli-ezer, * God is 
my help," commemorated their father's exile and es- 
cape. 3 Their posterity lingered in obscurity down to 
the time of David. 4 

From the Deliverer we proceed to the Deliverance. 
We need not repeat what has been already said of 
the condition of Egypt at this time, and of the pecul- 
iar oppression of the Israelites. 

The deliverance, in its essential features, is the like- 
ness of all such deliverances. a When the tale The Deliv _ 
u of bricks is doubled then comes Moses." erance - 
This is the proverb which has sustained the Jewish 
nation through many a long oppression. The truth 
contained in it, the imagery of the Exodus, have 
doubtless been more than the types, they have often 
been the sustaining causes and consolations, of the 
many successful struggles which from that day to this 
the oppressed have waged against the oppressor. But 
that which is peculiar in the story of the Exodus is 
the mode by which it was effected. First, it was not 
a mere case of ordinary insurrection of a slave popu- 
lation against their masters. The Egyptian version 
of the event represents it as a dread, an aversion 

1 Ex. xviii. 2-6. 3 Ex. xviii. 3, 4. 

2 Num. xii. 1. Compare the juxta- * 1 Chr. xxiii. 16, 17; xxlv. 24; 
position of " Cusban " and " Midian " xxvi. 25-28. See also Judg. xviii. 
in Ilab. iii. 7. 30. 


130 THE EXODUS. Lect. V, 

entertained by the oppressors towards the oppressed 
as towards an accursed and polluted people. It was 
a mutual hatred. The king, according 1 to the con- 
stant Egyptian tradition, was troubled by dreams, and 
commanded by oracles to rid himself of the nation 
of lepers. And this, from another point of view, is 
also the prevailing sentiment of the Egyptians, as 
given in the Sacred writers. " Eise up, and get you 
" forth from among my people. . . . Egypt was 
u glad at their departing — for they were afraid of 
" them." 

And it is impossible, as we read the description of 
The the Plagues, not to feel how much of force 

Plagues. * s adcigd t ^ by a knowledge of the peculiar 

customs and character of the country in which they 
occurred. It is not an ordinary river that is turned 
into blood ; it is the sacred, 2 beneficent, solitary Nile, 
the very life of the state and of the people, in its 
streams and canals and tanks, and vessels of. wood 
and vessels of stone, then, as now, used for the filtra- 
tion of the delicious water from the sediment of the 
river-bed. It is not an ordinary nation that is struck 
by the mass of putrefying vermin lying in heaps by 
the houses, the villages, and the fields, or multiplying 
out of the dust of the desert sands on each side of 
the Nile valley. It is the cleanliest of all the ancient 
nations, clothed in white linen, anticipating, in their 
fastidious delicacy and ceremonial purity, the habits 
of modern and northern Europe. It is not the ordi- 
nary cattle that died in the field, or ordinary fish that 
died in the river, or ordinary reptiles that were over- 
come by the rod of Aaron. It is the sacred goat of 
Mendes, the ram of Ammon, the calf of Heliopolis, 

1 Jos. c. Apion, i. 26, 32, 34. 2 philo, V. M. I 1 7. 


the bull Apis, the crocodile 1 of Ombos, the carp of 
Latopolis. It is not an ordinary land of which the 
flax and the barley, and every green thing in the 
trees, and every herb of the field are smitten by the 
two great calamities of storm and locust. It is the 
garden 2 of the ancient Eastern world, — the long line 
of green meadow and cornfield, and groves of palm 
and sycamore and fig-tree, from the Cataracts to the 
Delta, doubly refreshing from the desert which it in- 
tersects, doubly marvellous from the river whence it 
springs. If these things were calamities anywhere, 
they were truly u signs and wonders " — speaking signs 
and oracular wonders — in such a land as " the land 
of Ham." In whatever way we unite the Hebrew 
and the Egyptian accounts, there can be no doubt 
that the Exodus was a crisis in Egyptian as well as 
in Hebrew history, " a nail struck into the coffin of 
" the Egyptian monarchy." 3 

But, secondly, the Israelite annals, unlike the rec- 
ords of any other nation, in ancient or modern times, 
which has thrown off the yoke of slavery, claim no 
merit, no victory of their own. There is no Marathon, 
no Regillus, no Tours, no Morgarten. All is from 
above, nothing from themselves. 4 In whatever propor- 
tions the natural and the supernatural are intermin- 
gled, this result equally remains. The locusts, the 
flies, the murrain, the discolored river, the storm, the 
darkness of the sandy wind, the plague, are calamities 
natural 5 to Egypt, though rare, and exhibited here in 

1 The "serpent" of Exod. vii. 9, 3 Bunsen, Bibelurkunden, i. 107. 
10, 12 (a different word from that in 4 See the version of the plagues 
Lv. 3; vii. 15), is evidently a " croco- given by Artapanus (Eusebius). 
dile." 5 This is the view taken in Henjjst- 

2 Gen. xiii. 10 ; "a garden of the enberg's Egypt and the Books of 
1 Lord, the land of Egypt." Moses. 

132 THE EXODUS. Lkct. V 

aggravated and terrible forms. But not the less are 
they the interventions of a Power above the power 
of man, — not the less did they call the mind of the 
Israelite from dwelling on his own strength and glory, 
to the mighty Hand and the stretched-out Arm, on 
which alone, through his subsequent history, he was 
to lean. It is in the final issue of the Exodus that 
this most clearly appears, and here we can approach 
more nearly to the events as they actually presented 
themselves ; especially with the additional light thrown 
upon it by the allusions in the Psalms, by the parallel 
story of Josephus, and by the customs through which 
it was commemorated in after-times. 

There are some days of which the traces left on 
The the mind of a nation are so deep that the 

events themselves seem to live on long after 
they have been numbered with the past. Such was 
the night of the month Nisan in the eighteenth cen- 
tury before the Christian era. "It is a night to be 
"much observed unto the Lord, for bringing them 
" out of the land of Egypt ; this is that night of the 
" Lord to be observed of the children of Israel in 
66 their generations." Dimly we see and hear, in the 
darkness and the confusion of that night, the stroke 
which at last broke the heart of the king and made 
him let Israel go. " At midnight the Lord smote all 
"the first-born in the land of Egypt, from the firstr 
" born of Pharaoh that sat on his throne, to the first- 
" born of the captive that was in the dungeon ; and 
" all the first-born of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in 
" the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyp- 
" tians ; and there was a great cry in Egypt," — the 
loud, frantic, funeral wail characteristic of the whole 
Qation, — " for there was not a house where there was 

Lect. V. THE PASSOVER. 133 

"not one dead." In the Egyptian accounts this de- 
struction was described l as effected by an incursion 
of the Arabs. The Jewish Psalmist ascribes it to the 
sudden visitation of the plague. u He spared not their 
u soul from death, but gave their life over unto the 
u pestilence." 2 Egyptian and Israelite each regarded 
it as a divine judgment on the worship, no less than 
the power, of Egypt. "The Egyptians buried their 
u first-born whom the Lord had smitten ; upon their 
" gods also did the Lord execute judgment." 3 

But whilst of the more detailed effect of that night 
on Egypt we know nothing, for its effects on Israel 
it might almost be said that we need not go back to 
any written narrative. It still moves and breathes 
amongst us. 

Amongst the various festivals of the Jewish Church, 
one only (till the institution of those which The Pass _ 
commemorated the much later deliverances over * 
from Hainan and from Antiochus Epiphanes) was dis- 
tinctly historical. In the feast of the Pesach, Pascha 
or Passover, the scene of the flight of the Israelites, 
its darkness, its hurry, its confusion, was acted year 
by year, as in a living drama. In part it is still so 
acted throughout the Jewish race; in all its essential 
features (some of which have died out everywhere else) 
it is enacted, in the most lively form, by the solitary 
remnant of that race which, under the name of Sa- 
maritan, celebrates the whole Paschal sacrifice, year 
by year, on the summit of Mount Gerizim. 4 Each 
householder assembled his family round him ; the feast 
was within the house ; there was no time or place 

1 Jos. c. Apion, i. 27-. * From this ceremony, described 

2 Psalm lxxviii. 51. to me by an eye-witness, most of the 

3 Num. xxxiii 4. following account is taken. 

134 THE EXODUS. Lect. V 

for priest or sacred edifice, — even after the establish 
merit of the sanctuary at Jerusalem this vestige of 
the primitive or the irregular celebration of that night 
continued, and not in the Temple courts, but in the 
upper chamber 1 of the private houses, was the room 
prepared where the Passover was to be eaten. The 
animal slain and eaten on the occasion was itself a 
memorial of the pastoral state of the people. The 
shepherds of Goshen, with their flocks and herds, 
whatever else they could furnish for a hasty meal, 
would at least have a lamb or a kid, — "a male of 
" the first year from the sheep or from the goats." 
They struck its blood on the door-posts of the house 
as a sign of their deliverance. At Gerizim the Samar- 
itan community rushes forward, and, as the blood flows 
from the throat of the slaughtered lamb, they dip 
their fingers in the stream ; and each man, woman, 
and child, even to the child in arms, is marked on 
the forehead with the red stain. On the cruciform 
w r ooden spit — this we know from Justin 2 Martyr was 
the practice in ancient times, and the Christian spec- 
tator on Gerizim starts as he sees it at this day — 
on the cruciform spit the lamb is left, after the manner 
of Eastern feasts, to be roasted whole during the re- 
maining hours of the day. 

Night falls ; the stars come out ; the bright moon 
is in the sky : the household gathers round ; and then 
takes place the hasty meal, of which every part is 
marked by the almost frantic haste of the first cele- 
bration, when Pharaoh's messengers were expected 
every instant to break in with the command, " Get 
u you forth from among my people ; Go ! Begone ! " 

1 Mark xiv. 15, sqq. 

2 Dial. c. Tryphone ; Bochart, Hieroz. " de Agno Paschali.' 

Lect. V. THE PASSOVER. 135 

The guests of each household at the moment of the 
meal rose from their sitting and recumbent posture, 
and stood round the table on their feet. Their feet, 
usually bare within the house, were shod as if for a 
journey. Each member of the household, even the 
women, had staffs in their hands, as if for an imme- 
diate departure ; the long Eastern garments of the 
men were girt up, for the same reason, round their 
loins. The roasted lamb was torn to pieces, each 
snatching and grasping in his eager fingers the mor- 
sel which he might not else have time to eat. Not 
a fragment is left for the morning, which will find 
them gone and far away. The cakes of bread which 
they broke and ate were tasteless from the want of 
leaven, which there had been no leisure to prepare ; 
and, as on that fatal midnight they a took their dough 
u before it was leavened, their kneading troughs being 
" bound up in their clothes on their shoulders," so the 
recollection of this characteristic incident was stamped 
into the national memory by the prohibition of every 
kind of leaven or feVment, for seven whole days dur- 
ing the celebration of the feast — the feast, as it was 
from this cause named, of unleavened bread. And, 
finally, in the subsequent union of later and earlier 
usages, the thanksgiving for their deliverance was 
always present. The reminiscence of their bondage 
was kept up by the mess of bitter herbs, which gave 
a relish to the supper; and that bitter cup again was 
sweetened by the festive character which ran through 
the whole transaction, and gave it in later genera- 
tions what in its first institution it could hardly have 
had, — its full social and ecclesiastical aspect ; the wine* 
cups of blessing, and the long-sustained hymn from 
^he 113th to the 118th Psalm, of which the thrilling 

136 THE EXODUS Lect V 

parts must always have been those which sing how 
u Israel came out of Egypt ; " * how " not unto them 
"not unto them, but unto Jehovah's name was the 
iC praise to be given for ever and ever." 2 

So lived on for centuries the tradition of the De- 
liverance from Egypt ; and so it lives on still, chiefly 
in the Hebrew race, but, in part, in the Christian 
Church also. Alone of all the Jewish festivals, the 
Passover has outlasted the Jewish polity, has over- 
leaped the boundary between the Jewish and Chris- 
tian communities. With the other festivals of the 
Israelites we have no concern : even the name of the 
weekly festival of the Sabbath only continues amongst 
us by a kind of recognized solecism, and its day has 
been studiously changed. But the name of the Pas- 
chal feast in the largest proportion of Christendom is 
still, unaltered, the name of the greatest Christian 
holiday. The Paschal Lamb, in deed or in word, is 
become to us symbolical of the most sacred of all 
events. The Easter full moon, which has so long 
regulated the calendars of the Christian world, is, one 
may say, the lineal successor of the bright moonlight 
which shed its rays over the palm-groves of Egypt on 
the fifteenth night of the month Nisan ; Jew and Chris- 
tian, at that season, both celebrate what is to a cer- 
tain extent a common festival; even the most sacred 
ordinance of the Christian religion is, in its outward 
form, a relic of the Paschal Supper, accompanied by 
hymn and thanksgiving, in the upper chamber of a 
Jewish household. The nature of the bread which is 
administered in one large section of the Christian 
Church bears witness, by its round unleavened wafers, 
to its Jewish origin, and to the disorder of the hour 

i Ps. cxiv. 1. a Ps. cxv. 1. 

Lbct. V. THE FLIGHT. 137 

when it was first eaten. And as, in the course 
of history, ecclesiastical as well as civil, events the 
most remote and the most trivial constantly ramify 
into strange and unlooked-for consequences, — the 
attempt of the Latin Church to perpetuate, and of 
the Eastern Church to cast off, this historical con- 
nection with the peculiar usage of the ancient people 
from which they both sprang, became one of the 
chief causes or pretexts of their final rupture from 
each other. 

It is difficult to conceive the migration of a whole 
nation under such circumstances. This diffi- The night. 
culty, amongst others, has induced the well-know r n 
French commentator 1 on the Exodus, with every 
desire of maintaining the letter of the narrative, to 
reduce the numbers of the text from 600,000 to 600 
armed men. The great German scholar defends the 
correctness of the original numbers. 2 In illustration 
of the event, a sudden retreat is recorded of a whole 
nomadic people, — 400,000 Tartars, — under cover of a 
single night, from the confines of Russia into their 
native deserts, as late as the close of the last century. 3 
We may leave the question to the critical analysis of 
the text and of the probabilities of the case, and con- 
fine ourselves to what remains equally true under 
either hypothesis. Those who have seen the start of 
the great caravans of pilgrims in the East may form 
some notion of the silence and order with which even 
very large masses break up from their encampments, 
and, as in this instance, usually in the darkness and 
the cool of the night, set out on their journey, the 
torches flaring before them, the train of camels and 

1 Laborde on Exodus and Numbers. 3 See Bell's History of liussia, ii 

2 Ewald, ii. 253, sqq. App. C. 


138 THE EXODUS. Lect. V 

asses spreading far and wide through the bioad level 

From Eameses the first start was made. This the 
Rameses, Septuagint fixed on the north-east skirts of 
the Delta, and to the same locality we are directed 
bv the most recent discoveries. All that follows is 
wrapt in too great an obscurity to justify any de- 
tailed description. The spots are indeed named with 
an exactness which provokes and tantalizes in propor- 
tion to the certainty with which they must once have 
been known, and the uncertainty which has rested 
upon them since. Still the general direction of the 
flight, and the general features of the resting-places 
may be gathered. Southeastward they went, — not 
by the short and direct road to Palestine, but by the 
same circuitous route, through the wilderness of the 
Red Sea, which their ancestors had followed in bear- 
ing away the body of Jacob, as now they were bear- 
ing off, with different thoughts and aims, the coffin 
which contained the embalmed remains of Joseph. 
The nomenclature of the several halts indicates some- 
thing of the country through which they passed. The 
Succoth, first was " Succoth," — the place of a booths " 
or u leafy huts" — the last spot where they could have 
found the luxuriant foliage of tamarisk and sycamore 
and palm, "branches of thick trees to make booths, 
" as it is written." How deeply that first resting-place 
was intended to be sunk into their remembrance may 
be gathered from the fact, that this, rather than any 
of the numerous halts in their later wanderings, was 
selected to be represented after their entrance into 
Feast of Palestine, as a memorial of their stay in the 

Taberna- . 7 J 

sies, wilderness. The Feast of Tabernacles, or Suc- 

coth, was a feast not of tents, — but of huts woven 


together from " the boughs of goodly trees, branches 
" of palm-trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and 
"willows of the brook," that "all their generations 
"might know that the Lord made the children of 
" Israel to dwell in booths, when He brought them up 
u out of the land of Egypt." ] It was the first step 
that involved the whole; it was the first step, there- 
fore, the last lingering on the confines of Egyptian 
vegetation and civilization, the first step into the wan- 
dering state of the desert, that was to be hence- 
forward commemorated. The next halt was Etham. 
Etham, on u the edge of the wilderness." Cities they 
had left behind them at Rameses ; the groves and 
villages they had left behind at Succoth; the green 
land of Egypt, cut off as with a knife from the hard 
desert tract on which they now entered, they left 
behind at Etham. They were now fairly in the wil- 

And now came the command " to turn," not to go 
straight forward, as they would have expected, round 
the head of the gulf, but " to turn " and a encamp be- 
" tween Migdol and the sea, beside the sea, before 
u Pi-hahiroth, over against Baal-zephon." Here is ex- 
actly a case of that precision which guaran- Passage 

J . . L _.*? of the Red 

tees to us that the spot was once well known, Sea. 
yet which now serves us but little. 2 Could we but 
discover the site of the pastures of Pi-hahiroth (such 
must be the meaning of that Egyptian word) or the 
sanctuary of Typhon (such must be the meaning of 
Baal-zephon), the controversy respecting the local ity 
and the nature of the passage of the Bed Sea would 
be at an end. As it is, we are led in two opposite 
directions, — on the one hand, the extreme northern 

1 Lev. xxiii. 40-43. 2 Sinai and Palestine, 34-37. 

140 THE EXODUS. Leci. V. 


point (beyond the spot where the present gulf ter- 
minates, but to which it must anciently have extend- 
ed) is indicated by the mention of Migdol, which can 
hardly be any other than the well-known town or 
tower called by the Greeks Magdolon ; on the other 
hand, the narrative of Josephus speaks distinctly of 
u the mountain " as that which " entangled and shut 
" them in," which can be no other than the lofty 
range of the Jebel Attaka, the Mountain of Deliver- 
ance, south of the modern Suez. But whichever of 
these it be, the narrative compels us to look for the 
passage somewhere near the head of the then gulf, 
whence the width would be such as to allow the host 
to pass over in a single night, and the waters to be 
parted by the means described, namely, by a strong 
wind. 1 The ancient theory adopted by the Rabbinical 
and early Christian writers, that the Israelites merely 
performed a circuit in the sea and returned again to 
the Egyptian shores, will now be maintained by no 
one who has any regard to the dignity of the story 
or the grandeur of the event described. Dismissing, 
therefore, these geographical considerations, we may 
fix our minds on the essential features of this great 
deliverance, as it will be acknowledged without dis- 
pute by every reader. 

The Israelites were encamped on the western shore 
of the Red Sea, when suddenly a cry of alarm ran 
through the vast multitude. Over the ridges 2 of the 
desert hills were seen the well-known horses, the ter- 
rible chariots of the Egyptian host : " Pharaoh pursued 
a after the children of Israel, and they were sore 
a afraid." 

1 Not necessarily " east." See LXX. 2 Philo, V. M. i. 30. 
(Ex. xiv. 21), and Philo, V. Mi. 32. 


" They were sore afraid ; " and in that terror and 
perplexity the sun went down behind the huge moun- 
tain-range which rose on their rear, and cut off their 
return to Egypt; and the dark night 1 fell over the 
waters of ine sea which rolled before them and cut 
off their advance into the desert. So closed in upon 
them that evening ; where were they when the morn- 
ing broke over the hills of Arabia? where were they, 
and where were their enemies ? 

They stood in safety on the further shore ; and 
the chariots, and the horsemen, and the host of Pha- 
raoh had vanished in the waters. Let us calmly con- 
sider, so far as our knowledge will allow us, the ex- 
tent of such a deliverance, effected at a moment so 

First, we must observe what may be called the 
whole change of the situation. They had Passage 
passed in that night from Africa to Asia; to Asia: 
they had crossed one of the great boundaries which 
divide the quarters of the world ; a thought always 
thrilling, how much more when we reflect on what a 
transition it involved to them. Behind the African 
hills, which rose beyond the Eed Sea, lay the strange 
land of their exile and bondage, — the land of Egypt 
with its mighty river, its immense buildings, its mon- 
ster-worship, its grinding tyranny, its overgrown civ- 
ilization. This they had left to revisit no more : the 
Eed Sea flowed between them ; u the Egyptians whom 
"they saw yesterday they will now see no more again 
" for ever." And before them stretched the level plains 
of the Arabian desert, the desert where their fathers 
and their kindred had wandered in former times, 

1 Being the 18th or 19th of the month, the moon would not rise till some 
hours after nightfall. 

142 THE EXODUS. Lect. V. 

where their great leader had fed the flocks of Jethro, 
through which they must advance onwards till they 
from slavery reacn ^ ne Land of Promise. Further, this 
to freedom. cnan g e f local situation was at once a change 

of moral condition. From slaves they had become 
free; from an oppressed tribe they had become an 
independent nation. It is their deliverance from sla- 
very. It is the earliest recorded instance of a great 
national emancipation. In later times Religion has 
been so often and so exclusively associated with ideas 
of order, of obedience, of submission to authority, that 
it is well to be occasionally reminded that it has had 
other aspects also. This, the first epoch of our relig- 
ious history, is, in its original historical significance, 
the sanctification, the glorification of national inde- 
pendence and freedom. Whatever else was to suc- 
ceed to it, this was the first stage of the progress of 
the Chosen People. And when in the Christian Scrip- 
tures and in the Christian Church we find the Pas- 
sage of the Red Sea taken as the likeness of the 
moral deliverance from sin and death, — when we 
read in the Apocalypse of the vision of those who 
stand victorious on the shores of "the glassy sea 
" mingled with fire, having the harps of God and 
* singing the song of Moses the servant of God, and 
" the song of the Lamb," — these are so many sacred 
testimonies to the importance, to the sanctity of free- 
dom, to the wrong and the misery of injustice, op- 
pression, and tyranny. The word " Redemption," which 
has now a sense far holier and higher, first entered 
into the circle of religious ideas at the time when 
God " redeemed His people from the house of bond 
« age." 

But it was not only the fact but the mode of their 

' f.ct. V. PASSAGE OF THE RED SEA. 143 

deliverance which made this event so remarkable in 
itself, in its applications, and in its lasting con- its myste- 

TTT 1 1 P * f» r ^ 0US 

sequences. We must place it before us, if character, 
possible, not as we conceive it from pictures and from 
our own imaginations, but as in the words of the 
Sacred narrative, illustrated by the Psalmist, and by 
the commentary of Josephus and Philo. 1 The Passage, 
as thus described, was effected not in the calmness 
and clearness of daylight, but in the depth of mid- 
night, amidst the roar of the hurricane which caused 
the sea to go back — amidst a darkness lit up only 
by the broad glare of the lightning as " the Lord 
" looked out " from the thick darkness of the cloud. 
" The waters saw Thee, God, the waters saw Thee 
" and w r ere afraid ; the depths also were troubled. The 
u clouds poured out water ; the air thundered ; Thine 
" arrows went abroad ; the voice of Thy thunder was 
u heard round about ; the lightnings shone upon the 
" ground ; the earth was moved and shook withal." 2 
We know not, they knew not, by what precise means 
the deliverance was wrought : we know not by what 
precise track through the gulf the passage was effected. 
We know not, and we need not know ; the obscurity, 
the mystery, here as elsewhere, was part of the les- 
son. " God's w r ay was in the sea, and His paths in 
"the great waters, and His footsteps were not known" 
All that we see distinctly is, that through this dark 
and terrible night, with the enemy pressing close be- 
hind, and the driving sea on either side, He "led His 
"people like sheep by the hand of Moses and Aaron." 
Long afterwards was the recollection preserved in 

1 V. M. i. 32. history as given by Josephus (Arit. ii 

2 That the storm of rain, thunder, 16, § 3), and Philo (V. M. i. 32), 
and lightning is a genuine part of the appears from Ps. lxxvii. 12-21. 

144 THE EXODUS Lect. V. 

all their religious imagery. Living as they did apart 
from all maritime pursuits, yet their poetry, their 
devotion, abounds with expressions which can be 
traced back only to this beginning of their national 
history. They had been literally " baptized unto 
" Moses in the cloud and in the sea." And, as in the 
case of the early Christians, the plunge in the baptis- 
mal bath was never forgotten, so even in the dry in- 
land valleys of Palestine, danger and deliverance were 
always expressed by the visions of sea and storm. 
" All Thy waves and storms are gone over me." 
" The springs of waters were seen, and the foundations 
" of the round world were discovered at Thy chiding, 
" Lord, at the blasting of the breath of Thy dis- 

* pleasure He drew me out of many waters." 

Their whole national existence was a thanksgiving, a 
votive tablet, for their deliverance in and from and 
through the Red Sea. 

But another and a still more abiding impression 
its provi- was that this deliverance — the first and greatr 

dential .,.,. rvn i i • 

character, est in their history — was effected, not by their 
own power, but by the power of God. There are 
moments in the life both of men and of nations, both 
of the world and of the Church, when vast blessings 
are gained, vast dangers averted, through our own 
exertions, — by the sword of the conqueror, by the 
genius of the statesman, by the holiness of the saint. 
Such, in Jewish history, was the conquest of Palestine 
by Joshua, the deliverances wrought by Gideon, by 
Samson, and by David. Such, in Christian history, 
were the revolutions effected by Clovis, by Charle- 
magne,, by Alfred, by Bernard, and by Luther. But 
there are moments of still higher interest, of still more 
solemn feeling, when deliverance is brought about not 


by any human energy, but by causes beyond our own 
control. Such, in Christian history, are the raising 
of the siege of Leyden and the overthrow of the 
Armada, and such, above all, was the Passage of the 
Red Sea. 

Whatever were the means employed by the Al- 
mighty — whatever the path which He made for Him- 
self in the great waters, it was to Him, and not to 
themselves, that the Israelites were compelled to look 
as the source of their escape. "Stand still 1 and see 
" the salvation of Jehovah," was their only duty. 
" Jehovah hath triumphed gloriously," was their only 
song of victory. It was a victory into which no feel- 
ing of pride or self-exaltation could enter. It was a 
fit opening of a history and of a character, which was 
to be specially distinguished from that of other races 
by its constant and direct dependence on the Supreme 
Judge and Ruler of the world. Greece and Rome 
could look back with triumph to the glorious days 
when they had repulsed their invaders, had risen on 
their tyrants, or driven out their kings. But the 
birthday of Israel, — the birthday of the religion, of 
the liberty, of the nation, of Israel, — was the Passage 
of the Red Sea ; — the likeness in this, as in so many 
other respects, of the yet greater events in the begin- 
nings of the Christian Church, of which it has been 
long considered the anticipation and the emblem. 2 
It was the commemoration, not of what man has 
wrought for God, but of what God has wrought for 
man. No baser thoughts, no disturbing influences, 
could mar the overwhelming sense of thankfulness with 
which, as if after a hard-won battle, the nation found 

1 See the celebrated sermon of Dr. 2 Ewald, ii. 94. 
Pusey on that text, Nov. 5, 1837. 


its voice in the first Hebrew melody, in the first burst 
of national poetry, 1 when Moses and the children of 
Israel met on the Arabian shore, met " Miriam the 
Prophetess, the sister of Aaron," the third member, 
the eldest born, of that noble family, whose name 
now first appears in the history of the Church, after- 
wards to become so renowned through its Grecian 
and European form of Maria and Mary. She came 
forth, as was the wont of Hebrew women after some 
great victory, to meet the triumphant host, with her 
Egyptian timbrels, and with dances of her country- 
women, — Miriam, who had watched her infant brother 
by the riverside, and now greeted him as the deliv- 
erer of her people, or rather, if we may with rever- 
ence say so, greeted the Divine Deliverer, by the new 
and awful Name, now first clearly proclaimed to her 
family and her nation : 

" Sing unto Jehovah, for He is ' lifted up on high, on high.' 
The horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea. 
My strength and song is Jah, and He is become my salvation. 
He is my God, and I will praise Him ; my father's God, and I will exalt 

Jehovah is a man of war, Jehovah is His name. 
Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath He cast into the sea. 
His chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea. 
The depths covered them, they sank to the bottom as a stone. 
Thy right hand, Jehovah, is become glorious in power: Thy right hand, 

Jehovah, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. 
And in the greatness of Thy height Thou hast overthrown them that rose 

up against Thee. 
Thou sentest forth Thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble : 
And with the blast of Thy nostrils the waters were gathered together : 
The floods stood upright as a heap ; the depths were congealed in the heart 

of the sea : 
Thb enemy said I will pursue, I will devastate, I will divide the spoil: my 

desire shall be satisfied upon them : I will draw my sword, my hand 

shall destroy them. 

1 Compare Maurice's History of Moral and Metaphysical Philosophy, 11 

Lect. V. MOSES Am) THE EXODUS. 147 

Thou didst blow with Thy blast ; the sea covered them : they sank like leaa 

in the mighty waters. 
Who is like unto Thee, Jehovah, amongst the gods ? Who is like unto 

Thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders ? 
Jehovah shall reign for ever and ever." 




From the Exodus begins the great period of the 
The com- life of Moses. On that night, he is described 

panions of .._ . 

Moses. as first taking the decisive lead. Up to that 
point he and Aaron and Miriam 1 appear almost on 
an equality. But after that, Moses is usually men- 
tioned alone. Aaron still held the second place, but 
the character of interpreter to Moses which he had 
borne in speaking to Pharaoh is withdrawn, and it 
would seem as if Moses henceforth became altogether, 
what hitherto he had only been in part, the Prophet 
of the people. Miriam, too, though always holding 
the independent position to which her age entitled 
her, no more appears as lending her voice and song 
to enforce her brother's prophetic power. Another 
who occupies a place nearly equal to Aaron, though 
we know but little of him, is Hur, of the tribe of 
Judah, husband of Miriam, and grandfather of the 
artist Bezaleel. The guide in regard to the route 
through the wilderness was, as we shall see, Jethro : 
the servant, occupying the same relation as Elisha 
afterwards to Elijah, or Gehazi to Elisha, was the 
youthful Hoshea, afterwards Joshua. 

But Moses is incontestably the chief personage of 

1 I sent before thee Moses and Aaron and Miriam (Micah vi. 4). 


the whole history. In the narrative, the phrase 
is constantly recurring, " The Lord spake unto Importance 
" Moses," " Moses spake unto the children of of Moses " 
" Israel." In the traditions of the desert, whethet 
late or early, his name predominates over that of 
every one else : " The Wells of Moses " on the shores 
of the Red Sea, "The Mountain of Moses" (Jebel 
Miisa) near the convent of S. Catherine, " The Eavine 
of Moses" (Shuk Miisa) at Mount S. Catherine, "The 
Valley of Moses " ( Wady Musa) at Petra. " The Books 
of Moses" are so called (as afterwards the Books 
of Samuel), in all probability, from his being the 
chief subject of them. The very word "Mosaic" has 
been in later times applied, in a sense not used of 
any other saint of the Old Testament, to the whole 
religion of which he was the expounder. 1 

It has sometimes been attempted to reduce this 
great character into a mere passive instrument of the 
Divine Will, as though he had himself borne no con- 
scious part in the actions in which he figures, or the 
messages which he delivers. This, however, is as in- 
compatible with the general tenor of the Scriptural 
account, as it is with the common language in which 
he has been described by the Church in all ages. 
The frequent addresses of the Divinity to him no 
more contravene his personal activity and intelligence, 
than in the case of Elijah, Isaiah, or S. Paul. In the 
New Testament the legislation of the Jews is expressly 
ascribed to him. " Moses gave you circumcision." a 

1 Even as applied to tessellated the representative of the religion of 

pavement ("mosaic," musivum, fiov- Moses (see an Essay of Redslob, Zeit- 

7ciov, fiovoainbv), there is some proba- schrift. der Deutsch. Morgenl. Gesells 

bility that the expression is derived xiv. 663). 
from the variegated pavement of the 2 John vii. 22. 

'ater Temple, which had then become 


"Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, suf- 
fered you." 1 "Did not Moses give you the law?" 2 
Moses "accuseth you." 3 S. Paul goes so far as to 
speak of him as the founder of the Jewish religion • 
" They were all baptized unto Moses" 4 He is con- 
stantly called "a Prophet." In the ancient language 
both of Jews and Christians, he was known as " the 
great Lawgiver," u the great Theologian," " the great 
Statesman." 5 He must be considered, like all the 
saints and heroes of the Bible, as a man of marvel- 
lous gifts, raised up by Divine Providence for the 
highest purpose to which men could be called ; and 
so, in a lesser degree, his name has been applied in 
later times: Ulfilas was called after him the Moses 
of the Goths ; Arpad, the Moses of the Hungarians ; 
Benedict, the Moses of the Monastic Orders. 

The union of the Leader and the Prophet was such 
as Eastern religion has always admitted more easily 
than Western. Mahomet, Abd-el-kader, Schamyl, are 
all illustrations of its possibility. But, amongst the 
heroes and saints of the true religion, no such union 
occurs again after Moses. This double career may be 
divided into three parts : the approach by Rephidim 
to Sinai ; the stay at Sinai ; the march from Sinai to 
Palestine by Kadesh and by Moab. In the first and 
third of these he appears chiefly as the Leader ; in 
the second, as the Prophet. Whatever is to be said 
on minute matters of topography has been said else- 
where ; and, with regard to all the details of the 
Israelite journey, there are many reasons why we 
should be content to remain in suspense for the pres- 

1 Matt, xviii. 3. 5 All these terms are freely used 

2 John vii. 19. in Euseb. Prcep. Evang. vii. 8 ; Philo, 

3 John v. 45. V. M . i. 80 ; Clem. Alex. Strom, i. 22, 
* 1 Cor. x. 2. 24. 


ent. Long as the desert of Sinai has been known tc 
Christian pilgrims, yet it may almost be said never tc 
have been explored before the beginning of this cen- 
tury. We are still at the threshold of our knowledge 
concerning it. The older travellers never troubled 
themselves to compare the general features of the 
desert with the indications of the Sacred narrative, 
and therefore they usually missed the cardi- uncertain- 

t t A n ties of the 

nal points ol dispute. A signal instance of Desert, 
this may be seen in the travels of Pococke, Professor 
of Hebrew at Oxford in the seventeenth century, who, 
taking with him all the Oriental learning which that 
office implies, yet gives an account of the Sinaitic des- 
ert, such as entirely conceals from us the very localities 
which are most important for the whole comparison 
of the history and geography. He says nothing of 
the plain at the foot of one of the claimants to the 
name of Sinai; he says nothing of the commanding 
mountain which from the earliest times has been the 
other claimant. He went through the sacred locali- 
ties with his eyes closed to the impressions which all 
now see to be most important and most significant. 
We are still therefore in the condition of discoverers, 
and if we are thus compelled to abstain from positive 
conclusions, it is a suspense which we need not be 
afraid to avow, and which in this instance is the less 
inconvenient, because the very uniformity of nature 
by which it is occasioned also enables us to form an 
image of the general scenes, even where the particu- 
lar scene is unknown ; and many will feel at a dis- 
tance, what many, I doubt not, have felt on the spot, 
that, in speaking of such sacred events, uncertainty 
is the best safeguard for reverence ; and suspense as 
to the exact details of form and locality is the most 


fitting approach for the consideration of the presence 
of Him who has " made darkness His secret place, His 
" pavilion round about Him with dark water, and thick 
" clouds to cover them." 

1. In the flight from Egypt, the people of Israel 
disappear once more from the view of the Gentile 
world. The notices, scanty as they were, which we 
have of their earlier history, almost entirely cease on 
their entrance into the desert. A solitary glimpse of 
their wanderings, recorded by Tacitus, is all that has 
penetrated into Pagan records. He relates 1 how, in 
the absence of water, they threw themselves on the 
ground in despair, when a herd of wild asses guided 
them to a rock overshadowed by palm-trees, where 
Moses discovered for them a copious spring. A seven 
days' journey brought them to Palestine ; and the sab- 
bath was instituted to commemorate their safe arri- 
val within that period, as their deliverance from thirst 
in the desert was commemorated by the erection of 
the image of an ass in their most holy place. On 
this scene the curtain falls, and, as far as the Western 
world is concerned, it is no more lifted up, till Pom- 
pey entered the Holy of Holies, and found, not as he 
doubtless expected this strange memorial of the wil- 
derness, but " vacuam sedem, inania arcana." 2 

To us, on the other hand, the history which fills 
Theim- this space, and especially the earlier portion 
fhfwude /- °f it, has become almost a part of our minds. 
christian The onward march of the history, the suc- 
i story; cessive localities through which it takes us, 
at least till the conquest of Canaan, are an epitome 
of human life itself. The reaction which followed at 
the Waters of Strife, upon the exultation of the Pas- 

1 Hist. v. 3. 2 Tacitus, Hist. v. 9. 


sage of the Bed Sea, has been fitly described as the 
likeness of the reaction which, from the days of Moses 
downwards, has followed on every great national 
emancipation, on every just and beneficent revolution ; 
when a the evils which it has caused are felt, and the 
" evils which it has removed are felt no longer." 3 
The wilderness, as it intervenes between Egypt and 
the Land of Promise, with all its dangers and conso- 
lations, is, as Coleridge would have said, not allegori- 
cal, but tautegorical, of the events which in almost 
unconscious metaphor we designate by those figures. 
It is startling, as we traverse it even at this day, to 
feel that the hard stony track under our feet, the 
springs to which we look forward at the end of our 
day's march, the sense of contrast with what has been 
and with what is to be, are the very materials out 
of which the imagination of all ages has constructed 
its idea of the journey of life. 

But this period had a special bearing on the history 
of Israel. It was their beginning as a people : t0 Jewish 
it was their conversion or their reconversion hlstor * v ; 
to the true faith ; it had all the faults and all the ex- 
cellences which such a new start of life always pre- 
sents. With all its faults and shortcomings, it was the 
spring-time of their national existence. "I remember 
u thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine 
" espousals, when thou wentest after Me in the wilder- 
" ness, in a land that was not sown." 2 " When Israel 
u was a child, then I loved him." 3 The Law, we are 
told, was " a school-master to bring men to Christ." 
"Mount Sinai in Arabia" is opposed, both in prepara- 
tion and in contrast, to the heavenly and free Jerusa- 

1 Ma^aulay's History of England, 2 Jer. ii. 2. 
ih. xi. 3 Hos. xi. 1. 



lem which is above. But, even in the earlier stages 
of the history of the Jewish Church, the Law was a 
school-master, and Mount Sinai was a school, for the 
dispensation and for the possession even of the earthly 

2. It is difficult, under the circumstances, to con- 
its pecu- ceive a fitter scene for a new revelation than wag ^q wilderness of Sinai to the Israelites. 
They had left the land of Egypt : they had come out 
of the house of bondage, into a land as different, into 
a life as new, as it was possible to conceive. Instead 
of the green valley of the one abundant, beneficent 
river, where water and vegetation never failed, they 
were in "the great and terrible wilderness,'* where a 
spring in each day's march, — the bitter waters of 
Marah here, the isolated grove of Elim there, — was 
all that they could expect to cheer them. Instead of 
the endless life and stir which ran through the teem- 
ing population of Egypt, the song and dance and 
feast ; the armies passing through the hundred gates ; 
the flags with their brilliant colors flying from the 
painted gateways ; the king at the head of vast pro- 
cessions with drum and cymbal, and the rattle of his 
thousand chariots ; there was the deep silence of the 
desert broken by no echo of human voice, by no cry 
of innumerable birds, by no sound of rushing waters, 
— broken only by the trumpet, which at early dawn 
and fall of day roused the tribes from their slumbers, 
or called them to their rest. For a time the Ked Sea 
was in sight. Once, after they had struck far into 
the desert, the lulls opened 1 before them (we may be 
allowed to dwell upon it as the most authentic spot 
ascertainable in their wanderings), and the familiar 

1 Num. xxxiii. 10. See Sinai and Palestine, 38, 70. 


sea, their ancient enemy and their ancient friend, 
burst with its flashing waters upon them, and they 
encamped once more upon its shining beach ; and 
looked once more upon the distant range of the Afri- 
can hills, the hills of the land of their captivity. It 
was a moment, such as occurs from time to time in 
the history of men and of nations to remind them 
from what dangers and by what means they have es- 
caped. Onwards they went, and the desert itself now 
changed into vaster and stranger shapes than they 
had ever known before. Here and there, it may be, 
amongst the host, was an Israelite who had seen the 
granite hills of Ethiopia ; but, taking them generally, 
the ascent of these tremendous passes, the sight of 
those towering peaks, must have been to them as the 
awful retreats of Delphi to the invaders of Greece, as 
the Alps to the invaders of Italy. Rumors of these 
mysterious mountains no doubt had reached them even 
in their house of bondage. "A three days' journey 
u into the desert to sacrifice to the Lord " was a pro- 
posal not unfamiliar to the ears of Pharaoh : and, as 
they now mounted into the higher region of that 
desert, they would perceive traces that the Egyptians 
had been there before them. Here they might see a 
lonely hill, surrounded by ancient monuments, — sepul- 
chres, temples, quarries, — unquestionably the work of 
Egyptian hands. ] There they would see, in a retired 
valley, hieroglyphics carved deep in the soft sandstone 
rock, extending back to the builder of the great 
pyramid, whose figure can be traced here in the 
desert cliffs, when it has perished everywhere in his 
own tomb and country. But no report, no experience 
of individuals, could have prepared them for the scene. 

1 Sinai and Palestine. 24. 49. 


as it must have presented itself to a whole host (tak- 
ing it at its largest or its smallest numbers) scaling 
that fortress, that towering outpost of the Holy Land. 
Staircase after staircase, formed by no human hand in 
the side of the rocky walls, brought them (by what- 
ever approach they came) into the loftier and still 
loftier regions of the mountain platform. Well may 
the Arab tribes suppose that these rocky ladders were 
called forth by the rod of Moses, to help their upward 
progress. 1 

3. And now they approach the first great halting- 
Rephidim. place, known by that special name Rephidim, 
" the places of rest." We know not the spot with 
certainty. Yet of all localities hitherto imagined, that 
which was believed to be so in the fifth century at 
least answers the requirements well ; — the beautiful 
palm-grove, now and for many ages past called the 
valley of Paran or Feiran. 

At any rate some such spot is implied both by the 
name and by the twofold encounter which here for the 
first time occurs with the native tribes of the desert. 
We are too much accustomed to think that the Pen- 
insula of Sinai, when the Israelites passed through, 
was entirely uninhabited. This, however, is not the 
case even now, still less was it so then. Two main 
streams of population at present occupy the pastures 
of the wilderness, and two also appear at the time 
Amaiek. of the Israelite migration. The first was the 
great tribe of Amaiek, ruled, as it would seem, by a 
chief who bore the title of king, and the hereditary 
name of Agag, 2 — themselves a wide-spreading clan, — 
"first of the nations;" 3 and, like the feebler Bedouins 

1 Sinai and Palestine, 71. 3 Num. xxiv. 20. 

2 Num. xxiv. 7 ; 1 Sam. xv. 

Lkct. VI. REPHIDIM. 157 

of modern days, extending their excursions far into 
Palestine, and leaving their name, even before history 
commences, on mountains in the centre of the coun- 
try. 1 This fierce tribe, occupying as it would seem 
the whole north of the peninsula, were, as might natu- 
rally be expected, the first to contest the entrance of 
the new people. Wherever Rephidim may be, Battle of 
it was evidently a place of sufficient impor- Re P hldim - 
tance to induce the Amalekites to defend it to the 
uttermost. According to the account of Josephus, they 
had gathered to this spot all the forces of the desert 
tribes from Petra to the Mediterranean, and, accord- 
ing to a portion of the Mosaic narrative, they began 
the attack by harassing the rear of the Israelite host. 
It is a scene of which the significance is indicated, 
not so much by the description of the event itself, 
as by its accompaniments and its consequences. The 
battle is fought and won by the youthful warrior w r ho 
here appears for the first time, — Joshua, the Ephraim- 
ite. But Moses is on " the hill," overlooking the fight ; 
he stands, in the Oriental attitude of prayer, his hands 
stretched out, as if to draw down and receive bless- 
ings from above. Beside him, holding up his arms 
as they fail from weariness, are his brother and (if we 
may trust Josephus 2 ) his brother-in-law, one whose 
name occurs but seldom, yet always so as to show a 
high importance beyond what we are actually told 
concerning him, Hur, of the tribe of Judah, grand- 
father of the builder of the tabernacle, husband of 
the prophetess Miriam. The victory is gained ; and 
n the summit of the hill was erected a rude altar, 

1 Judg. v. 14 ; xii. 15. Compare also north of Jerusalem. Robinson, Bib 
the "Tombs of the Amalekites," an- Res. iii. 287. 
:ient monuments so called, a few miles 2 Jos. Ant. iii. 2. 4. 


named or inscribed by two words signifying "Jehovah 
is my banner ; " and a fragment of the hymn of 
victory was transmitted through Joshua to after-ages, 
probably in the book of the Wars of Jehovah, " As 
" the hand is on the throne of Jehovah, 1 so there 
'*' shall be war between Jehovah and Amalek from 
u generation to generation." The situation well ac- 
cords with the spot consecrated in Christian times as 
the sanctuary of Paran. In the fifth century, a city, 
a church, an episcopal palace, had gathered round it ; 
and pilgrims flocked to it in considerable numbers. 
In the Jewish Church the memory of the first ene- 
my of the Chosen People was long preserved ; and 
the slaughter which Joshua had begun was carried 
out to extermination, first under Saul and then under 
David. Its last trace appears in the offensive name 
of "Agagite," applied to Haman in the book of Esther. 
This was the first hostile encounter. Immediately 
The in connection with this we read of the friendly 

encounter with that other tribe, which is here 
frequently mentioned in the same close contact and 
contrast with Amalek. On the shores, as it would 
seem, of the Gulf of Akaba, dwelt the Kenites, a clan 
jethro. of the vast tribe of Midian. We have already 
seen its Chief or Priest, variously named Jethro or 
Hobab (which in the form 2 of Shouaib is his usual 
Arab designation at the present day). Of all the 
characters that come across us in this stage of their 
history, he is the purest type of the Arabian chief 
In the sight of his numerous flocks feeding round the 
well in Midian, in his courtesy to the stranger whc 

1 Exod. xvii. 16 ; see a similar ex- 2 Ewald, Geschichte, ii. 59, note, 
pression as an adjuration in Gen. xiv. 
22, and Deut. xxxii. 40 

Lect. VI. THE KENITES. J 59 

became at once his slave and his son-in-law, we seem 
to be carried back to the days of Jacob and Laban. 
And now the old chief, 1 attracted from far by the 
tidings of his kinsman's fame finds him out in the 
heart of the mountains of Sinai, " encamped by the 
u Mount of God." u I, Jethro, thy father-in-law, am 
" come unto thee, and thy wife, and her two sons 
u with her. And Moses went out to meet his father- 
" in-law, and did obeisance, and kissed him," — gave 
the full Arab salutation on each side of the head, — 
" and they asked each other of their welfare," — the 
burst of question and answer, which renders these 
meetings so vociferous at first, rapidly subsiding into 
total silence, as then, hand in hand, "they come into 
" the tent," and confer privately of what each really 
wishes to know. He listens, and with his own priestly 
sanctity acknowledges the greatness of his kinsman's 
God ; he officiates (if one may so say) like a second 
Melchizedek, the High Priest of the Desert; "he took 
" a burnt offering and sacrifices for God ; and Aaron 
" came," even Aaron the future priest of Israel, a and 
" all the elders of Israel, to eat bread," to join in the 
solemn feast of thanksgiving, "with Moses' father-in- 
" law, before God." He is the first friend, the first 
counsellor, the first guide, that they have met, since 
they cut themselves off from the wisdom of Egypt, 
and they hang upon his lips like children. He sees 
Moses wearing himself away by undertaking labor 
that is too heavy for him ; and he suggests to him 
the same subordination of rulers and judges, of elders 
or sheiks, that still forms the constitution of the 
Arabs of the peninsula; and "Moses hearkened to the 

1 In the Mussulman traditions he ous El Khudr. (See D'HerbeloU 
is here represented as the mysteri- M Moussa.") 


K voice of his father-in-law, and did all that he had 
iC said." And out of this simple arrangement sprang 
the gradations that we trace long afterwards in the 
constitution of the Hebrew commonwealth. " And 
" when he was to depart to his own land and to his 
" own kindred, Moses prayed him not to leave them ; " 
in the trackless desert, he, with his Bedouin instincts 
and his knowledge of the wilderness, would " know 
" how they were to encamp, and would be to them 
" instead of eyes." The alliance so formed was never 
broken. In subsequent ages, when Israel had long 
since become a settled and civilized people, in their 
own land, a strangers eye would have at once dis- 
cerned little groups of settlers here and there retain- 
ing their Arabian customs, yet one with the masters 
of the soil. In the caverns of Engedi, on the south- 
ern frontier of Judah, the " children of the Kenite " 
were to be seen dwelling among the people. The 
valley opening down from the east to the Jordan, 
opposite Jericho, still bears the name of Hobab. Far 
in the north, by Kedesh-Naphtali, a grove of oaks 
was called from the nomad encampment hard by, 
" the oak of the loading of tents." It is the tent of 
Heber the Kenite, whose wife Jael will make use of 
the show of Arabian hospitality to slay the enemy 
of Israel. In the streets of Jerusalem, during the final 
siege, a band of wild Arabs will be seen, dwelling in 
tents, drinking no wine. They are " the children of 
" Jehonadab the son of Rechab," " the Kenites that came 
" of Hemath the father of the house of Rechab." l 

4. Besides the dangers from the desert tribes, this 
Thediffi- earlier stage of the wanderings also brings 
the Desert, out those natural difficulties of the clesert- 

1 Judg. i. 16, iv. 11 ; Jer. xxxv. 2 ; 1 Chron. ii. 55. 


journey, which, through the guidance of Moses, were 
to be overcome. It is not here intended to entei 
upon the vexed question of the support of Israel in 
the wilderness. There are two classes of readers to 
whom it presents no perplexity, — those who are dis- 
posed to treat the whole as poetry rather than as 
history, and those who have no scruple in inventing 
miraculous interferences which have no foundation in 
the sacred narrative. 1 It concerns those only who feel 
the truth and soberness of the narrative too strongly to 
venture on either of these expedients. They, be they 
few or many, may be content to withhold a hasty 
judgment on points which the Scripture has left un- 
determined, and to which the localities and the phe- 
nomena of the desert give no certain clew. We can- 
not repudiate altogether the existence of natural 
causes, unless we go so far as to maintain that moun- 
tains and palm-trees, quails and waters, wind and 
earthquake, were mere creations of the moment to 
supply momentary wants; we cannot repudiate alto- 
gether the intervention of a Providence, strange, un- 
expected, and impressive, in the highest degree, unless 
we are prepared to reject the whole story of the stay 
in the wilderness. 

In the case of each of the main supports of the 
Israelites, there have been memorials preserved down 
to our own time, of the hold acquired on the recol- 
lections of the Jewish and the Christian Church. The 
flowing of the water from the rock has been L The 
localized in various forms by Arab traditions. water ' 
The isolated rock in the valley of the Leja, near 
Mount S. Catherine, with the twelve mouths, or fis- 
sures, for the twelve tribes, was pointed out as the 

1 Sinai and Palestine, 24-27. 


monument of the wonder at least as early as the 
seventh century. The living streams of Feiran, of 
Shuk Miisa, of Wady Musa, have each been connected 
with the event by the names bestowed upon them. 
The Jewish tradition, to which the Apostle alludes, 
amplified the simple statement in the Pentateuch to 
the prodigious extent of supposing a rock or ball of 
water constantly accompanying them. 1 The Christian 
image, based upon this, passed on into the Catacombs, 
where Peter, under the figure of Moses, strikes the 
rock, from which he takes his name ; and it has found 
its final and most elevated application in one of the 
greatest of English hymns, — 

u Rock of Ages, cleft for me, 
Let me hide myself in Thee." 

The manna, in like manner, according to the Jew- 
2 The ish tradition of Josephus, and the belief of 
manna. fae Arab tribes, and of the Greek Church of 
the present day, is still found in the droppings from 
the tamarisk bushes which abound in this part of the 
desert. 2 The more critical spirit of modern times has 
been led to dwell on the distinction between the ex- 
isting manna, and that described in the Book of Num- 
bers; 3 and the identification is further rendered pre- 
carious by the insufficiency of the present supply 4 in 
the Desert of Sinai. It became afterwards a favorite 
figure in Christian writings, to express the heavenly 
sustenance of the soul, either in the Eucharist or in 
our spiritual life generally. Of all the typical scenes 

1 See the article " Beer," in Smith's 4 In Persia, however, and in South 
Dictionary of the Bible. Africa, the sustenance afforded by 

2 Sinai and Palestine, 26, note. this kind of manna is said tc be very 

3 Num. xi. 7, 8. considerable. 

Uct. VI. THE MANNA. 163 

represented in the celebrated Ammergau Mystery, 
none is more natural or touching, than that in which 
the whole multitude of the Israelites, in every vari- 
ety of age, sex, and character, appear looking up 
with one ardent expectation to the downward flight 
of the celestial food, fluttering over the hundreds of 
upturned heads, according to that fanciful and child 
like but beautiful conception of the descent of the 
manna. The historical origin of this sacred figure 
was always carried back beyond Palestine to the 
desert; a portion of it was laid up as a relic 1 by the 
Ark for this very purpose, "that they might see the 
a bread wherewith their fathers were fed in the wil- 
"derness." 2 And a Christian poet has well caught, 
in a The Song of the Manna-Gatherers," the freshness, 
the monotony, and the transitional character of the 
whole passage through the desert, and at the same 
time has blended together the natural and the super- 
natural in that union which is at once most Biblical 
and most philosophical: — 

" Comrades, haste ! the tent's tall shading 
Lies along the level sand, 
Far and faint: the stars are fading 

O'er the gleaming western strand, 
Airs of morning 
Freshen the bleak burning land. 

" Haste, or e'er the third hour glowing 
With its eager thirst prevail, 
O'er the moist pearls, now bestrowing 
Thymy slope and rushy vale. 

" Comrades — what our sires have told us, 
Watch and wait, for it will come. 

1 Ex. xvi. 32-34 ; Hebr. ix. 4. 2 J hn v i. 31, 49 ; 1 Cor. x. 8. 


" Not by manna show'rs at morning 

Shall our board be then supplied, 
But a strange pale gold, adorning 
Many a tufted mountain's side, 

Yearly feed us, 
Year by year our murmurings chide. 

u There, no prophet's touch awaiting, 

From each cool deep eavern start 
Bills, that since their first creating 

Ne'er have ceased to sing their part ; 

Oft we hear them 
In our dreams, with thirsty heart/' * 

1 Keble's Lyra Innocentium. 




Rephidim was but the threshold of Sinai. "In the 
" third month they departed from Rephidim, March 
" and pitched in the wilderness of Sinai." On- phidim. 
wards and upwards, after their long halt, exulting in 
their first victory, they advanced deeper and deeper 
into the mountain-ranges, they knew not whither. 
They knew only that it was for some great end, for 
some mighty sacrifice, for some solemn disclosure, such 
as they had never before witnessed. Onwards they 
went, and the mountains closed around them ; upwards 
through winding valley, and under high cliff, and over 
rugged pass, and through gigantic forms, on which the 
marks of creation even now seem fresh and powerful ; 
and at last, through 1 all the different valleys, the whole 
body of the people were assembled. On their right 
hand and on their left rose long successions of lofty 
rocks, forming a vast avenue, like the approaches 
which they had seen leading to the Egyptian tem- 
ples between colossal figures of men and of gods. At 
the end of this broad avenue, rising immediately out 
of the level plain on which they were encamped, tow- 

1 With regard to the locality I have expressions sufficiently wide to include 

seen no cause to alter the opinion any spot which may be selected in 

maintained in Sinai and Palestine, the neighborhood of Jebel Mousa. 
43-44 ; but I have purposely left the 


ered the massive cliffs of Sinai, like the huge altar 
of some natural temple ; encircled by peaks of every 
shape and height, the natural pyramids of the desert. 
In this sanctuary, secluded from all earthly things, 
raised high above even the wilderness itself, arrived, 
as it must have seemed to them, at the very end of 
the world — they waited for the Revelation of God. 
How would He make Himself known to them ? Would 
it be, as they had seen in those ancient temples of 
Egypt, under the similitude of any figure, "the like- 
" ness of male or female, the likeness of any beast 
" that is upon the earth, or the likeness of any fowl 
" that flieth in the air, or the likeness of anything that 
" creepeth on the ground, or the likeness of any fish 
" that is in the waters under the earth ? " Would it 
be any, or all of these forms, under which they would 
at last see Him, who, with a mighty hand, had brought 
them up out of the land of Egypt ? 

These questions, or like to these, are what must 
have occurred to the Israelites on the morning of the 
mighty day when they stood beneath the Mount. 

The outward scene might indeed prepare them for 
Sinai. what was to come. They stood, as I have 
described, in a vast sanctuary, not made with hands, 
— a sanctuary where every outward shape of life, ani- 
mal or vegetable, such as in Egypt had attracted their 
wonder and admiration, was withdrawn. Bare and un- 
clothed, the mountains rose around them ; their very 
shapes and colors were such as to carry their thoughts 
back to the days of old creation, "from everlasting to 
" everlasting, before the mountains were brought forth, 
" or ever the earth and the world were made." * At last 

1 See Ps. xc. 2, ascribed to Moses. For this aspect of the mountains, see 
Sinai and Palestine, pp. 12, 13. 

Lect. VII. 



the morning broke, and every eye was fixed on the 
summit of the height. Was it any earthly form, was 
it any distinct shape, that unveiled itself? . . . . 
There were thunders, there were lightnings, there was 
the voice of a trumpet x exceeding loud ; but on the 
Mount itself there was a thick cloud — darkness, and 
clouds, and thick darkness. It was " the secret place 
" of thunder." 2 On the summit of the mountain, Prophetic 

.,.. mission of 

on the skirts of the dark cloud, or within it, Moses. 
was Moses himself withdrawn from view. It is this 
which represents to us the seclusion so essential to 
the Eastern idea — within certain limits, so essential to 
any idea — of the Prophet; that, 

" Separate from the world, his breast 
Might deeply take and strongly keep 
The print of Heaven." 

1 It is well known that no volcanic 
phenomena exist in the desert to ac- 
count for these appearances. In fact, 
all the expressions used in the Sacred 
writers are those which are usually 
employed in the Hebrew Scriptures 
to describe a thunder-storm. For the 
effects of a thunder-storm at Mount 
Sinai, compare Dr. Stewart's Tent 
and Khan, 139, 140: " Every bolt as 
" it burst, with the roar of a cannon, 
" seemed to awaken a series of dis- 
44 tinct echoes on every side ; . . . . 
44 they swept like a whirlwind among 
" the higher mountains, becoming 
" faint as some mighty peak inter- 
4 vened, and bursting with undimin- 
44 ished volume through some yawning 
M cleft, till the very ground trembled 
4 with the concussion. ... It seemed 
4 as if the mountains of the whole pen- 
4 insula were answering one another 
44 in a chorus of the deepest bass. 
4 Ever and anon a flash of lightning 

44 dispelled the pitchy darkness and 
44 lit up the Mount as if it had been 
44 day ; then, after the interval of a 
44 few seconds, came the peal of thun- 
44 der, bursting like a shell, to scatter 
44 its echoes to the four quarters of the 
44 heavens, and overpowering for a 
44 moment the loud howlings of the 
44 wind." Mr. Drew witnessed a thun- 
der-storm at Serbal, and exclaimed, 
unconsciously, 44 How exactly like the 
sound of a trumpet ! " Compare the 
descriptions of the event in Jos. Ant. 
iii. 5, 2 ; Judg. v. 4 ; Ps. lxviii. 7, 8, 
9 ; in each of which, to the other im- 
ages of a storm, are added the torrents 
of rain, — "The heavens dropped;" 
44 The clouds dropped water ; " 44 A 
44 plentiful rain ; " 44 Violent rain." A 
like description occurs in Hab. iii. 3- 
11. Compare Ps. xviii. 7-16; xxix 

2 Ps. lxxxi 7. 


I. This was the first and chief impression, which 
Negative the Israelites and their leader alike were in- 


of Sinai, tended to receive at Mount Sinai. They saw 
not God ; and yet they were to believe that He was 
there. They were to make no sign or likeness of God, 
and yet they were to believe that He was then and 
always their one and only Lord. 

How hard it was for them to receive and act on 
this, may be imagined from what has been said of 
their previous state — may be seen from their subse- 
quent history. Even on that very plain, beneath that 
very Mount, they could not bear to think that they 
were to serve a God who was invisible ; they returned 
to Egypt in their hearts. Then ensued a scene which 
Josephus, after the manner of much Ecclesiastical His- 
tory of later times, shrinks from describing, but which 
the Sacred historian does not fear to relate at length. 
Aaron, the great High Priest, in the absence of his 
Thewor- greater brother, was shaken. He framed a 

ship of the . ' - 

Caif. visible form, the likeness of the sacred beast 

of Heliopolis, and proclaimed it as " the God, 1 which 
a had brought them up from the land of Egypt." An 
altar rose before it, like that which still exists beneath 
the nostrils of the Sphinx ; a three days' festival was 
proclaimed, with all the licentious rites of song and 
dance which they had learned in Egypt. And not 
then only, but again and again, both in the history 
of the Jewish and of the Christian Church, has the 
same temptation returned. The Priest has set up 
what the Prophet has destroyed. Graven images have 
been set up in deed or in word, to make the Unseen 
visible, and the Eternal temporal. But the Revelation 

1 That " Elohim " is singular ap- xxxii. 4, and also from the parallel ir 
pears both from the context in Ex. Neh. ix. 8 


of Sinai has prevailed. Slowly and with many reverses 
did the great truth then first imparted gain possession 
of the hearts of Israel, and, through them, of the 
whole world, — that we are neither to imagine that 
we see God when we do not, nor that because we do 
not see Him, are we to doubt that He has been, and 
is, and yet shall be. This was the marvel which the 
Jewish worship presented, even to the best and wisest 
heathens who were perplexed by what seemed to them 
a Religion without a God. It is to us the declaration 
that there must be a void created by the destruction 
of errors, by the removal of false images of God, 
before we can receive the true image of the Truth 
itself. 1 

II. But it was not only a negative form that the 
Revelation of Sinai assumed. This blank, this Positive 

•t-i'-ii • i »t i • Revelation 

void, this darkness without a similitude, this of Sinai. 
vague infinity, as a heathen would have called it, sup- 
plied the enthusiasm, the ardor, the practical basis of 
life, which most nations in the old world, and many 
in the modern world, have believed to be compatible 
only with the most elaborate imagery and the most 
definite statements. 

The idea of God in the Jewish Church, which can 
be traced to nothing short of Mount Sinai, was the 
very reverse of a negation or an abstraction. It was 
the absorbing thought of the national mind. It was 
not merely the Lord of the Universe, but " the Lord 
" who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, 
" out of the house of bondage." 2 It was in the recep- 
tion and promulgation of this Revelation that the pro- 

1 I cannot forbear to refer, for the amplification of this idea, to Mr 
Clough's remarkable verses (Poems, p. 27.) 

2 Ewald, Geschichte, ii. 93-122. 



phetic character of Moses is chiefly brought out. He 
had been called to his prophetic mission, as we have 
seen, in the vision of the Burning Bush. But the 
mission itself, properly speaking, dates from this time, 
and is indicated in a form nearly corresponding to 
that of his original call. u I beseech Thee, show me 
" Tlry glory," was the petition which burst from the 
Prophet in the hour of bitter disappointment and iso- 
lation, when he found that his brother and his people 
had fallen away from him. The wish was thoroughly 
Egyptian. The same is recorded of Amenoph, 1 the 
Pharaoh preceding the Exodus. But the difference in 
the answer to the two prayers well expresses the dif- 
ference between the Egyptian and the Mosaic religion. 
" Thou canst not see My face, for there shall no man 
" see Me and live." He was commanded to hew two 
blocks like those which he had destroyed. He was to 
come absolutely alone. Even the flocks and herds 
which fed in the neighboring valleys were to be re- 
moved out of sight of the mountain. He took his 
place on a well-known or prominent rock — u the " 
rock. 2 The legendary locality is still shown, and the 
importance of the incident, told equally in the Bible 
and the Koran, 3 is attested by the fact, that from this, 
rather than from any more general connection, the 
mountain derives its name of the " Mount of Moses." 
It was a moment of his life second onlv to that when he 
received the first revelation of the Name of Jehovah. 
" The Lord passed by and proclaimed, The Lord, the 
" Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering and 
u abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for 

1 Manetlio in Josephus, C. Ap. i. 26. 3 v ii. 139 See Sinai and Palestine 

2 Exod. xxxiii. 18, 20, 21 ; xxxiv. 30. 


u thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and 
" sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty." 
The union of the qualities, so often disjoined in man. 
so little thought of in the gods of old, "justice and 
" mercy/' " truth and love," became henceforward the 
formula, many times repeated — the substance of the 
Creed of the Jewish Church. And this union, which 
was disclosed as the highest revelation to Moses, was 
exactly what received its fullest exemplification in the 
Revelation for which it was a preparation : when in 
the most literal sense of the words, u grace and truth " 
— the tenderness of grace, the sternness and justice 
of truth — " came by Jesus Christ." 

How marked an epoch is thus intended appears from 
the mode of the Divine manifestations, which Prophetic 

.. . . mission of 

are described as commencing at this juncture, Moses. 
and perpetuated with more or less continuity through 
the rest of his career. Immediately after the catas- 
trophe of the worship of the calf, and, apparently in 
consequence of it, Moses removed the chief tent — his 
own tent, according to the Septuagint 1 — outside the 
camp, and invested it with a sacred character under 
the name of a the Tent or Tabernacle of the Con- 
gregation." This tent became henceforth the chief 
scene of his communications with God. He left the 
camp, and it is described how, as in the expectation 
of some great event, all the people rose up and stood 
every man at his tent-door, and looked — gazing after 
Moses until he disappeared within the Tabernacle. 
As he disappeared, the entrance was closed behind 
him by the cloudy pillar, at the sight of which the 
people prostrated themselves. 2 The communications 
within the Tabernacle were still more intimate than 

1 Exod. xxxiii. 7, Ewald, Alter thiimer, p. 329 2 Exod. xxxiii. 10 


those on the mountain. " Jehovah spake unto Moses 
K face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend." l 
He was apparently accompanied on these mysterious 
visits by his attendant Hoshea (or Joshua), who re- 
mained in the Tabernacle after his master had left 
it. 2 

It was during these Prophetic visions that a pecu- 
liarity is mentioned which apparently had not been 
seen before. It was on his final descent from Mount 
Sinai, after his second long seclusion, that a splendor 
shone on his face, as if from the glory of the Divine 
Presence ; 3 which gradually faded away, till, conceal- 
ing its extinction by a veil, he returned to the Divine 
Presence, once more to rekindle it there. It is from 
this incident, that, by no very remote analogy, the 
Apostle draws the contrast between the fearlessness, 
the openness, of the New Dispensation, and the con- 
cealment and doubtfulness of the Old. a We have 
" no fear, as Moses had, that our glory will pass 
" away." 

It is only by thus looking forwards to the end, that 
we see the full importance of the Prophetic Mission 
of Moses. But it is only by looking back to the 

1 Exod. xxxiii. 11. " he had put on the veil." But in the 

2 Ibid. Vulgate and Septuagint, he is said to 

3 It is from the Vulgate trans- put on the veil, not during, but after, 
lation of Jceren — " cornutam habens the conversation with the people, — 
faeiem," that the Western Church has in order to hide, not the splendor, but 
adopted the conventional representa- the vanishing away of the splendor, 
tion of the horns of Moses. In the and to have worn it till the moment 
English and most Protestant transla- of his return to the Divine Presence, 
tions, Moses is said to wear a veil in order to rekindle the light there, 
in order to hide the splendor. In With this reading agrees the obvious 
order to produce this sense, the Au- meaning of the Hebrew words, and it 
thorized Version reads, Exod. xxxiv. is this rendering of the sense, which is 
83, " And [till] Moses had done speak- followed by St. Paul in 2 Cor. iii. 13, 
ing with them ; " and other versions, 14. 


beginning, that we understand its peculiar signi6- 

That the consciousness of a present Ruler, in the 
closest moral relation with man, as above described 

7 J 

was a part of the Mosaic Revelation, properly so 
called, — that it had its origin in the solitudes of 
Sinai, and not in any later growth of the people of 
Israel, — seem proved by the place which it holds as 
the basis of their most striking peculiarities. Two 
may be selected as illustrations of this position. 

First, the Jewish religion is characterized in an 
eminent degree by the dimness of its concep- Abgence of 
tion of a future life. From time to time there of^fotSre* 
are glimpses of the hope of immortality. But hfe * 
for the most part, it is in the present life that the 
faith of the Israelite finds its full accomplishment. 
u The grave cannot praise thee ; death cannot cele- 
" brate thee, . . . the living, the living, he shall praise 
" thee, as I do this day." x 

It is needless to repeat here the elaborate contrast 
drawn out by Bishop Warburton in this respect be- 
tween the Jewish Scriptures and the religions of 
Paganism. Nor need we adopt the paradoxical expe- 
dient by which, from this apparent defect, he infers 
the Divine Legation of Moses. But the fact becomes 
of real religious importance, if we trace the ground 
on which this silence respecting the Future state was 
based. Not from want of religion, but (if one might 
use the expression) from excess of religion, was this 
void left in the Jewish mind. The Future Life was 
not denied or contradicted, — but it was overlooked, 
set aside, overshadowed, by the consciousness of the 
living, actual presence of God Himself. That truth. 

1 Isaiah xxxviii. 18, 19 ; Ps. lxxxviii. 12. 


at least in the limited conceptions of the youthful 
nation, was too vast to admit of any rival truth, 
however precious. When David or Hezekiah, as in 
the passages just quoted, shrank from the gloomy 
vacancy of the grave, it was because they feared lest, 
when death closed their eyes on the present world, 
they should lose their hold 1 on that Divine Friend, 
with whose being and communion the present world 
had in their minds been so closely interwoven. Such 
a sense of the overwhelming greatness and nearness 
of God, the root of feelings so peculiar as those which 
I have described, must have lain too deep in the 
national belief to have had its beginning in any later 
time than the epoch of Moses. It is the primary 
stratification of the Religion. We should invert the 
whole order of the nation, if we placed it amongst 
the secondary formations of subsequent ages. 

Secondly, it is to this period that we must refer in 
TheTheoc- ^ s ^ u ^ extent, in its most literal meaning, 
racy. what is often called the Theocracy of the 

Jewish people. The word is derived from Josephus's 
account of this time. He, as it would seem, invented 
the phrase to express an idea for which ordinary 
Greek could furnish no adequate term. " Our law- 
giver," he says, 2 "had no regard to monarchies, oli- 
garchies, democracies, or any of those forms ; but he 
ordained our government to be what by a forced ex- 
pression may be called 'a Theocracy?" It is a term 
which has been often employed since ; usually in the 
sense of a sacerdotal rule, which is almost exactly the 
reverse of that in which it was used by its first in- 
ventor. The "Theocracy" of Moses was not a gov- 
ernment by priests, as opposed to kings ; it was a 

1 Ewald, Geschichte, ii. 121. 2 C. Apion, ii. 17. 


government by God Himself, as opposed to the gov- 
ernment by priests or kings. It was, indeed, Religious 
in its highest sense, as appeared afterwards in the nation, 
the time of David, compatible both with regal and 
sacerdotal rule ; but, in the first instance, it excluded 
all rule, except the simplest forms which the freedom 
of desert life could furnish. The assembly of all the 
tribes in the armed congregation, the chieftains or 
elders of the various tribes as established by Jethro. 
were the constituent elements of the primitive He- 
brew commonwealth, in its ordinary social relations 
But in its highest aspect, it was distinguished from 
the other nations of antiquity by its comparative ab- 
sence of caste, by its equality of religious relations. 
An hereditary priesthood, it is true, was established, 
after the manner of Egypt, in the tribe of Levi, in 
the family of Aaron. But it was a subse- Subordina- 
quent 1 appendage to the fundamental pre- priesthood. 

1 Some eminent divines have sup- up his sacred mission (ib. 32). He 

posed that the Levitical ritual was an craved and he received a new and 

after-growth of the Mosaic system, special revelation of the attributes of 

necessitated or suggested by the in- God to console hiin (ib. xxxiii. 18). A 

capacity of the Israelites to retain the fresh start was made in his career (ib. 

higher and simpler doctrine of the xxxiv. 29). His relation with his coun- 

Divine Unity, — as proved by their trymen henceforth became more awful 

return to the worship of the Helio- and mysterious (ib. 32-35). In point 

politan calf under the sanction of the of fact, the greater part of the details 

brother of Moses himself. There is of the Levitical system were subse- 

no direct statement, of this connection quent to this catastrophe. The insti- 

in the sacred narrative: but there are tution of the Levitical tribe grew di- 

indirect indications of it, sufficient to rectly out of it (ib. xxxii. 28). And 

give some color to such an explanation the inferiority of this part of the sys- 

The event itself, as we have seen, is tem to the rest is expressly stated in 

described as a crisis in the life of Moses, the Prophets, and expressly connected 

almost equal to that in which he re- with the idolatrous tendencies of the 

ceived his first call. In an agony of nation — "Wherefore I gave them 

vexation and disappointment he de- " statutes that were not good, and 

stroyed the monument of his first rev- "judgments whereby they should not 

elation (Ex. xxxiv. 19). He threw " live " (Ezek. xx. 25). 


cepts, to the first declaration of the religion : in its 
hereditary functions, in its sacred dress, in its minute 
regulations, rather a part of the mechanism of the 
religion, than its animating spirit. The Levitical caste 
never corresponded to what we should call " the 
clergy." The fact that the Levites were collected in 
single cities is of itself a fatal objection to so regard- 
ing them. 1 They never claimed or were intended to 
govern the nation. They hardly claimed even to 
teach. Levi was not the ruling tribe, even though 
the two great leaders belonged to it ; its consecration 
dated from no essential ordinance of the Law, but 
from the sudden emergencv which arose out of the 
apostasy at the time of the molten calf. Aaron, 
though the head of that tribe, and the founder of 
the sacerdotal family, was not the ruling spirit of the 
people. He was but the weaker erring helpmate of 
Moses, who was the Guide, the Prophet, but not the 

We shall see how, like the equality of the primi- 
tive Christian Church, this first development of Israel- 
ite independence gradually passed into other forms, — 
to what disorders it gave rise when every man did 
what was right in his own eyes, and there was no 
king in Israel ; how, as in the case of the Christian 
Church of later times, all the complicated relations 
of state and of hierarchy afterwards sprang up within 
the framework of a society at its beginning so simple. 
But the twin truths, which seem incorporated with 
the very localities of Sinai, — the Unseen Ruler in the 
thick clouds on the top of the awful Mountain, and 
the sacredness of the whole congregation as it lay 
6pread over the level Plain beneath, — were never lost 

1 Michaelis, Laws of Moses, art. 52. 


to the Jewish Church, and have been the constant 
springs of religious freedom and responsibility to the 
Christian Church. Even at the very outset of the 
Revelation was announced the great principle — the 
Gospel, as it has been well called, 1 of the Mosaic dis- 
pensation — so new to the nation of slaves, who had 
hitherto seen truth only through the long vista of 
mystical emblems and sacred incorporations. "Thus 
" shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the 
" children of Israel ; Ye have seen what I did to the 
" Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, 
" and brought you unto Myself. Now therefore, if 
" ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My cove- 
'•' nant, then shall ye be a peculiar treasure unto Me 
" above all people ; for all the earth is Mine. And ye 
" shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy 
" nation." 2 " Ye shall be holy, for I am holy." 3 

Inspiration, communion with God, in the case of the 
Pagan religions, was for the most part con- Universal . 
fined to sacred families or local oracles; * n prophetic 
the case of the Mussulman religion, was con- ins P iratlon - 
fined to its first founder and his sacred volume. But 
in the case of Israel it extended to the whole nation. 
The history of Israel, from Moses downwards, is not 
the history of an inspired book or an inspired order, 
) at of an inspired people. When Joshua, in his 
youthful zeal, entreated Moses to forbid the prophe- 
sying of Eldacl and Medad, because they remained in 
the camp, Moses answered: "Enviest thou for my 
" sake ? Would that all the Lord's people were proph- 
tt ets, and that the Lord would put His Spirit upon 
"Ihem!" 4 In different forms and in different degrees 

1 Ewald, Geschichte, ii. 126. 3 Lev. xix. 2. 

8 Ex. xix. 3-6. 4 N um . x i. 26-30. 


178 SINAI AND THE LAW. Lect. Vtt 

that noble wish was fulfilled. The acts of the hero, 
the songs of the poet, the skill of the artificer, — 
Samson's strength, the music of David, the architect- 
ure of Bezaleel and Solomon, are all ascribed to the 
inspiration of the Divine Spirit. It was not a holy 
tribe, but holy men of every tribe that spake as they 
were moved, carried to and fro, out of themselves, 
by the Spirit of God. The Prophets, of whom this 
might be said in the strictest sense, were confined to 
no family or caste, station or sex. They rose, indeed, 
above their countrymen, their words were to their 
countrymen, in a peculiar sense, the words of God. 
But they were to be found everywhere. Like the 
springs of their own land, there was no hill or valley 
where the prophetic gift might not be expected to 
break forth. Miriam and Deborah, no less than Moses 
and Barak ; in Judah and in Ephraim, no less than in 
Levi; in Tekoah and Tishbe, and, as the climax of all, 
in Nazareth, no less than in Shiloh or Jerusalem, 
God's present counsel might be looked for. By this 
constant attitude of expectation, if one may so call it, 
the ears of the whole nation were kept open for the 
intimations of the Divine Ruler under whom they 
lived. None knew beforehand who would be called. 
As Strabo well says, in his description of the Mosaic 
dispensation which I have before quoted, "all might 
" expect to receive the gift of good dreams " for 
themselves or their people, " all who lived temper- 
" ately and justly, — those always and those only." 
In the dead of night, as to Samuel; in the plough- 
ing of the field, as to Elisha ; in the gathering of the 
sycamore figs, as to Amos; the call might come. 
" Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth," was to be 
the ready and constant answer. And thus, even in 


its first establishment, the Theocracy, in its true 
sense, contained the warrant for its complete develop- 
ment. Moses was but the beginning ; he was not, he 
could not be the end. The light on his countenance 
faded away, and had to be again and again rekindled 
m the presence of the Unseen. But his appearance, 
his character, his teaching, accustomed, familiarized 
the nation to this mode of revelation ; and it would 
be at their peril, and against the whole spirit of the 
education received from him, if they refused to re- 
ceive its later manifestations, from whatever quar- 
ter. a The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a 
" Prophet, from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like 
" unto me. Unto him shall ye hearken? The same 
event, it has been truly remarked, never repeats it- 
self in history. Yet a like event in one age is al- 
ways a preparation for a like event in another, es- 
pecially when the first event is one which involves 
the principle of the second. Moses, — the expounder 
of the Theocracy, the founder of the Hebrew Proph- 
ets, the interpreter between God on Mount Sinai 
and Israel in the plain below, was the necessary fore- 
runner, because the imperfect likeness, of the Last 
Prophet of the last generation of the Jewish theoc- 
racy. In the fullest sense might it be said to that 
generation : * There is one that accuseth you, even Moses, 
"in tvhom ye trust ; for had ye believed Moses, ye zvould 
"have believed Me; but if ye believe not his writings, how 
" mil ye believe My words ? " 1 

III. There was another point in the Revelation of 
Sinai not less permanent, and equally charac- t e Law. 
teristic. We speak of it as a revelation of a Religion." 
But this was not the name by which it was known 

i John v. 45-4 7. 


in ancient times. The Israelite spoke not of the 
" Religion " but of the " Law " of Moses. Moses was 
a Lawgiver 1 even more than he was a Prophet. In 
this aspect the Revelation presented itself, and from 
this were derived some of its most important features. 
At first sight it might appear as if iC the Law " was 
not the form of truth for which the wild desert and 
the return to the wandering Arab life would have 
predisposed them; and as regards the minuteness of 
many of the enactments, Egypt, as I have before ob- 
served, and not Sinai, must be considered the fitting 
school of preparation. But those who have studied 
the Bedouin tribes know that there is no contradic- 
tion between their wild habits and an elaborate 
though purely traditional system of social and legal 
observances. Such a system has been carefully col- 
lected and expounded by the traveller Burckhardt, 
who thus closes the first portion of his remarkable 
work : " The present state of the great Bedouin com- 
" monwealth of Arabia . . offers the rare example of 
" a nation which, notwithstanding its perpetual state 
66 of warfare, without and within, has preserved, for a 
" long succession of ages, its primitive laws in all their 
« vigor. . . . But," he adds, tt of the origin of these 
u laws nothing is known. . . . The ancient code of 
a one Bedouin tribe only has reached posterity. . . . 
" The Pentateuch was exclusively given to the Beni- 
" Israel." 2 

It is this code of the Beni-Israel, — the "sons of 
Israel," (the name itself is an enduring mark of their 
first Patriarchal state,) — this one extant code of an 
ancient Bedouin tribe, which, bearing in mind this 

1 He is twice so called in the Pen- 8 Notes on the Bedouins, i. 381. 

tateuch, Num. xxi. 1 8 ; Deut. xxxiii. 


peculiarity of its first appearance, we have now to 
examine. Here, as elsewhere, it is only by remem- 
bering what there was immediate, historical, and local, 
that we shall be able fully to appreciate what there 
is of eternal and universal. 

It has been a question often debated amongst 
scholars, how far the code of the Pentateuch was a 
collection of earlier, later, or contemporaneous cus- 
toms, under one general system. It will here suffice 
to name those portions of the Law which, by direct 
connection with the life of the Desert, can be traced 
back to the Sinaitic period. 

1. There is no express enactment of any form of 
government in the Mosaic Law. But the Constitutiou 

. . of the 

elders or chiefs of the tribes, who appear as Desert. 
the background of the primitive constitution, are dis- 
tinctly Arabian, and in part existed before the Exo- 
dus, 1 in part, at least, may be ascribed to Jethro. 
The word is almost identical with the "Sheik" 2 of 
modern times, and is the same which designates the 
chiefs of the Bedouin tribes of Midian. Their original 
names are preserved. 3 Together they formed a coun- 
cil of seventy, of which, as it would seem, Hur was 
the head. 4 They were chosen by the people, and 
dedicated by Moses. The priests were not part of 
them. 5 Through all the changes of the office, the 
name still continued. From time to time it appears 
in the settled period of the monarchy. 6 On the dis- 
solution of the kingdom it reasserts something of its 
original importance. 7 Out of the elders or Sheiks of 

1 Ex. iv. 29. 5 2 Chron. xxxi. 2. 

- Zaken, Num. xxii. 4 ; see Gese- <> For instance, 1 Ks. viii. 1 ; 2 Ks. 
«ius, sub voce. xxiii. 1. 

3 Num. ii. 3-29; x. 14-27. 1 Jer. xxix. 2; Ezek. viii. 11, 12; 

4 Num. xi. ; Ex. xxiv. 9, 14. 1 Mac. xii. 1, 35. 


the desert thus grew the elders of the synagogues; 
and out of the elders of the synagogues, — with no 
change of name except that which took place in 
passing from Hebrew to Greek and from Greek to 
the languages of modern Europe. — the "Presbyters," 
" Prestres," and "Priests" of Christendom. That word 
and that office, so limited in its present meaning, is 
the direct descendant of the rudest and most primi- 
tive forms of the Jewish nation. The Christian Pres- 
byter represents, not the high priest Aaron, but the 
Bedouin Jethro, — not the sacerdotal, but the primi- 
tive element of the ancient Church. 

2. The Encampment and its movements were pe- 
„ culiar to the desert. Never again, after the 

Encamp- f-> ? 

ment. fl rs £ settlement in Canaan, could the sight 

have been conceived of the detailed arrangements 
which called forth the passionate burst of Balaam's 
admiration : " How goodly are thy tents, Jacob, 
" and thy tabernacles, Israel ! " Many usages men- 
tioned in connection with it must have perished at 
once on their entrance into settled life. But relics 
of such a state are long to be traced both in their 
language and in their monuments. The very words 
" camp " and a tents " remained long after they had 
ceased to be literally applicable. u The tents of the 
" Lord " were in the precincts of the Temple. The 
cry of sedition, evidently handed down from ancient 
times, was, " To your tents, Israel." " Without the 
' ( camp " * was the expression applied even to the very 
latest events of Jerusalem. In like manner, the na- 
tional war-cries, always the oldest of national com- 
positions, go back to this early state. The shout. 
" Rise up, Lord, and let Thine enemies be scattered : 

1 Heb. xiii. 13. 


"let them also that hate thee flee before Thee/' was 
incorporated into the Psalms of the monarchy ; bnt its 
first force came from the time when, morning by 
morning, it was repeated as the ark was slowly and 
solemnly raised on the shoulders of the Levites, and 
went forth against the enemies of God in the desert. 1 
* Arise, Lord, into Thy resting place ! Thou and the 
" ark of Thy strength." " Give ear, Shepherd of 
u Israel, Thou that leadest Joseph like a flock ; Thou 
" that dwellest between the cherubim, shine forth ! 
"Before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up 
" Thy strength and come and help us." 2 Grand and 
touching as is this address, taken in its application to 
the latest decline of the Jewish kingdom, it is still 
more so, when we see in it the reflected image of 
the order of the ancient march, when the ark of God 
went forth, the pillar of fire shining high above it, 
surrounded by the armed Levites, its rear guarded 
by the warrior tribes of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Ma- 
nasseh, the brother and the sons of Joseph, doubtless 
intrusted with the embalmed remains of their mighty 

And if from these fragments of sacred speech we 
look at the actual relics of antiquity (in the literal 
sense of relics), their desert lineage is still more indis- 

Down to the latest times of the monarchy was pre- 
served, in the innermost sanctuary of the The Ark. 
Temple, the ancient ark or coffer of wood, purporting 
to be the same which had been made at Mount Sinai 
and carried through all their wanderings. Its form, 
as we have seen, possibly its religious significance, 
was derived from Egypt. But its material was such 

1 Num. x. 35, 36 ; Ps. Ixviii. 1. 2 Ps. lxxx. 1 ; Ps. cxxxii. 8. 


as can hardly be explained, except by the account 
given of its first appearance. It was not of oak, the 
usual wood of Palestine, nor of cedar, 1 the usual wood 
employed in Palestine for sacred purposes, but of 
shittim or acacia, a tree of rare growth in Syria, but 
the most frequent, not even excepting the palm, in 
the Peninsula of Sinai. 

What lay within the Ark, also of this period, shall 
be mentioned hereafter. Two lesser objects of in- 
terest were laid up, we know not for how long a 
time, in front of it, both relics of Sinai. One was the 
The pot of P°t °f manna. Many a perplexed controversy 
on the nature of the food which sustained 
the Israelites in the desert would have been spared, 
could we have but caught one glance at this its 
authentic perpetuation. It has been conjectured by 
Reland, (and, in a matter of such obscurity, even the 
conjecture of so great a scholar may be worth notice,) 
that the existence of this vessel, with the handles or 
ears by which it was supported, may have lent a 
pretext to the strange fable already quoted from 
Tacitus, that the Jewish sanctuary contained the 
figure of an ass's head, in commemoration of the 
events in the wilderness. Another object which lay 
The staff beside the vessel of manna was the staff or 
of Aaron. roc [ f amionc i wood, — the sceptre of the tribe 
of Levi, — sometimes borne by Moses, 2 sometimes by 
Aaron, the emblem of the ancient shepherd life, when 
sceptre and crook were one and the same. The like 

Rabbinical writers, in their igno- the desert, we must, as was observed 

ranee, interpret shittim as " cedar." in Lecture VI., exchange the histor- 

If we translate shittim as " cedar," ical ground of the narrative for twe 

and tachash (vide infra) as " badg- imaginary miracles. 

2r," neither of which are found in 2 See Num. xvii. 6 ; xx. 8--1C 


staff is still carried by the present chiefs of the Sina 
itic Peninsula. 

But the most remarkable vestige of the nomadic 
state of the nation was the Tabernacle or The Taber . 
Tent, which was the shelter of the Ark long nacIe * 
after the entrance into Canaan, and which was finally 
laid aside and treasured up in the chambers of the 
Temple, when the erection of that stately building 
rendered its further use superfluous. The Temple it- 
self was in some important respects but a permanent 
and enlarged copy of the Tabernacle. The name of 
the Sacred Tent was thus used for the Temple long 
after it had itself been discontinued. 1 In these its 
later imitations and reminiscences, much more whilst 
it stood as the one Sanctuary of the nation, it was a 
constant memorial of the wandering state, in which 
they received their earliest forms of architecture and 
of worship. No Gothic or Byzantine style can reveal 
to us more clearly the dates of the churches and 
cathedrals of modern Europe, than those rough boards 
of acacia wood, those coarse tent-cloths of goat's-hair 
and ram-skin, dyed red after the Arabian fashion, in- 
dicated the epoch of the primitive Jewish sanctuary. 
Not a Druidical cromlech, like the Patriarchal Bethel, 
not a fixed house like the palatial structures of Pha- 
raoh or of Solomon, but a tent, distinguished only by 
its larger dimensions and more costly materials from 
the rest of the Israelite encampment, was " the Taber- 
" nacle of the Lord which Moses made in the wilder- 
" ness." On this simple dwelling, as of the Unseen 
Chief and Ruler of the host, was lavished all the art 
and treasure that the region could supply ; skins of 

1 Ezek. xli. 1 ; Ps. lxxvi. 2 ; lxxxiv. 1 ; ." a resemblance of the Holy Tab- 
ernacle." Wisdom ix. 8. 


seals or fishes * from the adjoining gulfs of the Red Sea 
linen coverings from the Egyptian spoils, to clothe 
the tent as though it were itself a living object, — 
almost as, at the present day, the sanctuary of Mecca 
is year by year clothed and reclothed with sumptuous 
velvets, the gifts of Mussulman devotion. 2 The names 
of the architects of the Temple of Solomon have 
perished, but the names of the builders of the Taber- 
nacle, — the first founders of Jewish architecture, the 
rude beginners of Israelite, and through them of all 
religious, Art, are emphatically recorded, — Bezaleel, 
the grandson of the great but mysterious Hur, and 
his companion Aholiab of the tribe of Dan. a See, the 
" Lord hath called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, 
" the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah • and He hath 
66 filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in 
" understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner 
" of workmanship ; and to devise curious works, to 
" work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in the 
" cutting of stones to set them, and in carving of 
" wood, to make any manner of cunning work. And 
" He hath put in his heart that he may teach, both 
" he and Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe 
« of Dan." 3 

3. Amidst the various elements of worship which 
Sacrifice, were to be carried on in and around the 
tabernacle, the most conspicuous was, so far as we 
can judge, peculiarly fitted to the mind of an Ara- 
bian tribe. We may indulge in philosophical or theo- 
logical speculations concerning the institution of Saori- 

1 Such is the probable meaning of 2 Burton's Pilgrimage, iii. 295. 

vhe word translated " badger." See 3 Ex. xxxv. 30-34. 
Gesenius under Tachash. Also Rob- 
nson, Bib. Researches, i. 116. 


fice ; but, historically (and this is the only point of 
view in which we are now to consider it), we cannot 
overlook its adaptation to the peculiar period of the 
Israelitish existence, in which we find it first de- 
scribed at length. Some of the forms are identical 
with those of Egypt and of India. But it is remark 
able that the institution (taken in its most general 
aspect), after having perished everywhere else among 
the worshippers of One God, still lingers among that 
portion of the Semitic nations which more than any 
other represent the condition of Israel at Sinai. Ex- 
tinct almost entirely in the Jewish race itself, it is 
still an important part of the worship of the Bedouin 
Arabs. In the desert of Sinai itself, sacrifice is still 
almost the only form which Bedouin religion takes, 
at the chief sanctuary of the peninsula, the tomb of 
Sheik Saleh, 1 and on the summit of Serbal. 2 When 
Burckhardt wished to penetrate into the then inac- 
cessible fastness of Petra, the pretext which afforded 
him the greatest security was that of professing a 
desire to sacrifice a goat at the tomb of Aaron In 
the pilgrimage to Mecca, " the sacrifices in the valley 
" of Muna are so numerous and so intricate, that it 
" is believed that none but the Prophet knew them." 3 
Whatever difficulty we have in analyzing the feelings 
of an ancient Israelite in shedding the blood of a bull 
or a goat, or in wringing the neck of a pigeon be- 
fore the altar, exists equally in the case of the like 
rites of a modern Mussulman. Simple as we may 
suppose the religion of that earliest stage of the 

1 Sinai and Palestine, 57. thrown over the rocks. Comp. the 

2 Drew's Scripture Lands, 61. A scapegoat. (Lev. xvi. 22.) 

Bheep is sacrificed on the summit, and 3 Burton's Pilgrimage, iii. 226, 303- 



national life of the Israelites to have been, Sacrifice 
is, by what we know of the Arabian religion, one 
of the most necessary forms which it could have as- 

And as the sacrificial system was one which would 
The tribe b e specially understood and felt at this early 
of Levi. period, so also historically did the Levitical 
priesthood spring from the then existing framework 
of events. The "tribe" of Levi of itself indicates the 
nomad division. It has even down to this day pre- 
served the recollection of that division, when all 
the other like distinctions of the Jewish nation have 
perished. The tribe of Levi, the family of Aaron, are 
almost the only permanent signs of the personal great- 
ness of Moses and his brother. The supremacy of 
Israel was in later times shifted from one tribe to 
another, Ephraim, Benjamin, Judah. But this is the 
only period in which the leading spirits of the nation 
came from the tribe of Levi ; and in which, therefore, 
its moral preeminence gave a ground for its ceremonial 
preeminence also. Such a ground, implied doubtless 
in the case of Aaron, is expressly stated in the case 
of the tribe at large, when we are told that the 
origin of their consecration was to be found in the 
fierce zeal with which they rallied round Moses at the 
time of the Golden Calf, and " slew every man his 
" brother, and every man his companion, and every 
" man his neighbour." l The triple benediction, the 
especial function of the sacerdotal office, preserved in 
the family till this day, and commemorated even in 
the triple division of the fingers, and carved on the 
gravestones of those who are supposed to be Aaron's 
descendants, bears on its front the marks of the 

1 Ex. xxxii. 27. Compare Deut. xxxiii. 9. 


primitive age, in which alone it could have orig 
mated. 1 

4. The distinction betw r een various kinds of food is 
one which furnished the earliest questions of Thedis- 

. . i t • i tinctiona of 

casuistry m the transition from the J ewish to food. 
the Christian Church, and which lingers in the rem- 
nants of the Jewish race to this day. It may be 
difficult to account entirely for the grounds of the 
distinction, but they may be traced with the greatest 
probability to the peculiarities of the condition of Is- 
rael at the time of the giving of the Law. The ani- 
mals of which they might freely eat were those 
which belonged especially to their pastoral state, — 
the ox, the sheep, and the goat, to which were added 
the various classes of chamois and gazelle. As we 
read the detailed permission to eat every class of 
what may be called the game of the wilderness, — 
" the wild goat, and the roe, and the red-deer, and 
" the ibex, and the antelope, 2 and the chamois," — a 
new aspect is suddenly presented to us of a large 
part of the life of the Israelites in the desert. It 
reveals them to us as a nation of hunters ; it shows 
them to us, clambering over the smooth rocks, scal- 
ing the rugged pinnacles of Sinai, as the Arab cha- 
mois hunters of the present day, with bows and ar- 
rows instead of guns. Such pursuits they could only 
in a limited degree have followed in their own coun- 
try. The permission, the perplexity implied in the 
permission, could only have arisen in a place where 
the animals in question abounded. High up on the 
cliffs of Sinai the traveller still sees the herds of ga- 

1 Num. vi. 24. Compare the grave- 2 Its name, Dishon, is that of the 
atones in the Jewish cemetery at son of Seir (Gen. xxxvi. 21, 30). 


zelles standing out against the sky; and no image 
was more constantly before the pilgrims, of whatever 
age they may be, who wrote the mysterious inscrip- 
tions in the Wady Mukatteb, and on the rock of 
Hermiat Haggag, than the long-horned ibex. In 
every form and shape of exaggeration it is there to 
be seen. What makes the enumeration more exclu- 
sively 1 Arabian in its character is the omission of 
the " reem," 2 or buffalo, so frequently mentioned in 
connection with the wild pastures east and north of 
Palestine. In like manner the strict prohibitions may 
almost all be traced either to the intention of draw- 
ing some slight distinction between Israel and the 
mere wanderers of the desert, as in the case of the 
camel and jerboa, or to the strong recoil from Egypt, 
as in the case of the leprous swine and the serpent, 
in all its forms and shapes, so closely connected in 
Egypt with the mystical or obscene ceremonial from 
which they were now set free. We are accustomed, 
in the French and Saxon names used in our language 
for the various kinds of food, to trace the relative 
social position of the Normans and Saxons after the 
Conquest. A similar inference as to the original con- 
dition of the Israelites, may, in like manner, be de- 
duced from the permission or prohibition of clean 
and unclean food, which must have long outlived the 
practical occasion whence they derived their first 
meaning and intention. 

5. A whole class of law appears to be explained, 

1 The spots on the cliffs of the 2 Unless the word tedh, iS.Pl, oc- 

Dead Sea, east and west, where the curring only in Deut. xiv. 5, and 

Ibex is to be found, are enumerated In translated " wild ox," is so to be 

Ritter, ii. 534, 562, 580, 584, 585, taken. 
587, 595, 596, 660, 673, 1096. 


on the one hand, by the peculiar state against which 
they are aimed ; on the other hand, by their Blood 
high elevation above that state, indicating the reven s e - 
higher than any merely national source from whence 
they came. Of all the virtues of civilization, the one 
which most incontestably follows in its train, and is 
most rarely anticipated in earlier ages, is humanity. 
And rare as this is everywhere in barbarous nations, 
it is rarest in the East. In the East and West the 
value of animal and of human life is exactly re- 
versed. An Arab, who will be shocked at the notion 
of shooting his horse, will have no scruple in killing 
a man. And what was the fierceness of the ancient 
Semitic race, especially, is apparent both from the 
later Jewish history, and from that of the kindred 
nations of Phoenicia and Carthage. Against this 
the laws of Moses, in war, in slavery, and in the 
social relations of life, stand out, as has been often 
observed, in marvellous contrast. But there was one 
form of ferocity, then as now, peculiar to the Bedouin 
tribes, that of revenge for blood. To the fourth gen- 
eration (it is the exact limit laid down both in the 
Bedouin custom and in the Mosaic law), the lineal 
descendant of a murdered man is to this day charged 
with the duty of avenging his blood. 1 This institu- 
tion, so deeply seated in the Arab race as to have 
defied the course of centuries, and the efforts of three 
religions, was assumed and tolerated, like slavery, 
polygamy, or any of the other ancient Asiatic usages, 
which more or less lasted through the Jewish times. 
But it was restrained by the establishment of cities of 
the cities of refuge. If, for the hardness of Refu e e - 

1 The God ("redeemer") of the the Arab. Michaelis, Laws of Moses, 
Hebrew is the Tair (" survivor") of art. 131. 


the Bedouin heart, Moses left the Avenger of Blood 
as he found him; yet, for the tenderness of heart in- 
fused by a a more excellent way," he reared those 
barriers against him. The common law of the desert 
found itself kept in check by the statute law of Pal- 
estine, and the six cities became (as far as we know 
from history) rather monuments of what had been, and 
of what might have been, than remedies of what was. 
6. These are the most obvious instances of a direct 
The Law. connection of any part of the Mosaic Law with 
the code of the desert. Of the rest of the Law, there 
is, for the most part, nothing which specially connects 
itself with the desert life, though its general savor of 
antiquity throws it back to the earliest period of 
which criticism will admit. The growth of general 
laws or customs out of particular occasions — as for 
example the rule for the marriage of heiresses within 
their own tribe arising out of the case of the daugh- 
ters of Zelophehad, 1 and the dispensation for accidental 
defilement from the incident of the dead body in the 
camp 2 — is precisely the primitive stage of ancient 
law which we recognize in the " Themis " or u The- 
mistes" of the Homeric age. 3 "He cast a tree into 
" the waters, and the waters were made sweet : there 
" he made for them a statute and an ordinance." This 
indication of the origin of the first Mosaic law at the 
well of Marah, though left unexplained, is probably a 
sample of the rise of many others. Again, the mode 
in which the religious, civil, moral, and ceremonial 
ordinances "are mingled up together, without any re- 
" gard to differences in their essential character," has 
been well observed 4 to be consistent only with that 

1 Num. xxxvi. 8-11. 3 See Maine, Ancient Law, p. 4. 

2 Num. ix. 6. 4 Ibid. 16. 

Lect. VII. THE LAW. 193 

early stage of thought, when law was not yet severed 
from morality, nor religion from law, nor ceremony 
from religion. It is, in fact, this primitive blending of 
heterogeneous elements which has given rise to the pe- 
culiar relations occupied by the Mosaic Law towards 
the Christian Church. * No law," says Michaelis, 1 a of 
" such high antiquity has, in one connected body, reached 
u our times, and it is, on this account alone, very re- 
u markable .... and, so long as it remains unknown, 
* the genealogy of our existing laws may be said to 
" be incomplete." Beyond this general descent of all 
modern laws from the code of the Jewish legislator, 
it is extremely difficult to point out any principle on 
which parts have been retained, and parts abolished. 
The Mosaic prohibition of usury continued in force 
throughout Christendom till the seventeenth century. 
The Mosaic sanction of slavery is still a strong sup- 
port of that institution in the Southern States of 
North America. Our own marriage laws are mainly 
based on the Levitical code ; and the question of 
Henry's divorce, which formed the occasion of the 
separation of the English from the Koman Church, 
turned on a minute point of Levitical casuistry. Even 
in its most general aspect, the relation of the Mosaic 
Law to the Gospel presents questions hardly yet 
answered by History or Theology. What was the 
Law of which the Psalmist spoke as that in the keep- 
ing of which he found light, and life, and peace, and 
comfort, and salvation ? 2 or what the Law of which 
the Apostle spoke as though it were his personal 
enemy, the cause of death, and the strength of sin? 3 

1 Laws of Mose?, p; 2. Law, the Strength of Sin " (Commcn- 

2 Ps. xix., cxix. tary on S. Paul's Epistles, 2d ed ., ii. 

3 Rom. vii. 7-11; 1 Cor. xv. 56. 493-502). 
See Professor Jowett's Essay on " The 



What was that Law of which "not one jot or tittle 
" should pass away, till all was fulfilled ? " or that, 
which with all its ordinances was " blotted out," 
" taken out of the way," " abolished " ? x The solution 
of these problems must be sought elsewhere. It is 
enough here to indicate them. They are proofs of 
the remote antiquity of the code and the institution, 
which could thus be personified, idealized, and applied 
in senses so different. They are proofs, also, of the 
freedom with which these various senses are used in 
the Sacred records both of the Jewish and Christian 
Churches. It was this most ancient and venerable 
of all the parts of the Old Dispensation, that fur- 
nished the antithesis, now become almost proverbial, 
between the " letter that kills," and " the spirit that 
" quickens." 

There is one portion of the Law, however, which 
remarkably illustrates most of these questions, and 
which is evidently a monument of this earliest period 
of the history, as well as the kernel of the whole 

We read that when the Ark was carried in the 
The Ten reign of Solomon to its last retreat within the 

Command- . 

ments. newly erected Temple, it was opened for the 
first time within the memory of man, to examine its 
sacred contents. It is impossible not to feel the in- 
terest of the moment, when the ancient lid of acacia 
wood was lifted up, and those who had heard of its 
hidden wonders saw its dark interior. "There was 
" nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone, which 
" Moses put there at Horeb, when the Lord made a 
u covenant with the children of Israel, when they came 
" out of Egypt." Nothing save these. We know not 

i Matt. v. 18 ; Col. ii. 14 ; Eph. ii. 15. 


their form or size. But we know the hard, imper- 
ishable granite of which they must have been hewn ; 
we know its red hue ; the style of engraving must 
have been such as can be still discerned in the Des- 
ert Inscriptions. These venerable fragments of the 
rock of Sinai, seen then, were seen, as far as we know, 
for the last time. They must have perished, or at 
least disappeared, when the Ark itself perished or dis- 
appeared in the capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchad- 
nezzar. But their contents have survived the wreck, 
not only of the Ark and Temple, but of the whole 
system of worship, of which they were the basis. The 
Ten Commandments delivered on Mount Sinai have be- 
come embedded in the heart of the religion which 
has succeeded. Side by side with the Prayer of our 
Lord, and with the Creed of His Church, they appear 
inscribed on our churches, read from our altars, taught 
to our children, as the foundation of all morality. 

The form in which they were presented to Israel, in 
the wilderness is but of slight importance. Their out- 

-\r n • ii i • ward ap- 

Yet live points may be observed, as mdicat- pearance. 
ing their primitive, impenetrable simplicity. First, the 
number, Ten, as drawn from the most obvious form 
of calculation, becomes, as if in imitation of this sa- 
cred code, the form in which many of the lesser 
enactments are cast. As many as six groups of this 
kind may be traced 1 in the different parts of the Pen- 
tateuch. Secondly, the fact that they were on two 
blocks of stone, probably of nearly equal size, and the 
variations in the versions of Exodus and Deuteronomy, 
almost necessarily lead to the inference that the Com- 

1 (1) Ex. xxi. 2-11. (2) Ex. xxii. (6) Levit. vii. 11-21. Ewald, ii. 157- 
6-26. (3) Ex. xxiii. 1-9. (4) Ex. 159. He gives others, but they seem 
txiii. 10-19. (5) Levit. vii. 1-10. too uncertain to deserve notice. 


mandments alone must have been engraven without 
the reasons for their observance. Thirdly, the same 
general consideration, combined with the form in which 
the Commandments run, indicates that the original di- 
vision of the Tables differed from that of all modern 
churches. Five Commandments were in all probability 
on the first, and five on the second table ; amongst 
those on the first would thus be included that which 
now usually ranks at the head of the second, but 
which then was placed amongst the general command- 
ments of reverence to superiors whether divine or 
human. 1 Fourthly, unlike our modern idea of the 
Commandments, but like the written rocks of the 
desert, the inscriptions run over both sides : " the ta- 
" bles were written on both their sides ; on the one 
" side and the other were they written." 2 This was 
probably to give the impression of their completeness. 
Fifthly, they are not properly " the Ten Commandments" 
but "the Ten Words"* — Decalogue. Hence the first 
of them is, in the Jewish division, not a command- 
ment at all. 

This was the form: what was the substance of the 
Ten Commandments ? . . . What has the human 
Their iden- race gained by its adoption of what Burckhardt 
of morality called " the code of the Beni-Israel ? " It is, 

find rG~ 

Hgion. in one word, the declaration of the indivisible 
unity of morality with religion. It was the boast of 
Josephus, 4 that whereas other legislators had made re- 
ligion to be a part of v:'rtue, Moses had made virtue 
to be a part of religion. Of this, amongst all other 
indications, the Ten Commandments are the most 

1 As Pietas amongst the Romans. 2 Ex. xxxii. 15. 
Ewald, ii. 151. So Philo and Jose- 3 See margin of Exod. xxxiv. 28. 
phus, and Irenaeus (Hcer. ii, 13). 4 C. Apion, ii. 17. 


remarkable and enduring example Delivered with 
every solemnity of which place and time could admit, 
treasured up with every sanctity w r hich Religion could 
confer, within the holiest shrine of the holiest of the 
holy places, — more sacred than altar of sacrifice, or 
altar of incense, — they yet contain almost nothing of 
local or ceremonial injunction. However sacred the 
ritual with which they and the other moral laws were 
surrounded, yet we have the highest authority for dis- 
tinguishing between what was essential and non-essen- 
tial in the Mosaic institutions, and for believing that 
even the whole sacrificial system was as nothing com- 
pared with the Decalogue and its enforcements. " I 
u spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them, 
" in the day that I brought them out of the land of 
" Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices. But 
" this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, 
" and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people." l 
If there was in the Fourth commandment the injunc- 
tion to consecrate, by unbroken rest, the seventh day 
of every week, yet experience has shown how widely 
adapted the principle of this observance has been to 
all times and countries. Even those who most zeal- 
ously repudiate the obligation of the Mosaic Law, and 
who dwell most forcibly on the distinction between 
the Jewish Sabbath and the Christian Sunday, acknowl- 
edge that no other ancient ceremony has so main- 
tained its hold on the world, and that without its 
antecedent support the observance of Sunday would 
hardly have exercised the beneficial influence which 
none deny to it. The Patriarchal rites of Circumcision 
and of Sacrifice have vanished away, but the name of 
the Sabbath of the Decalogue, the Sabbath of Mount 

l Jer. vii. 21-23. 


Sinai, — as if it partook of the universal spirit of the 
code in which it is enshrined, — is still, as though by 
a natural anomaly, revered by thousands of Gentile 
Christians. If this be so even in the one exception 
to the spiritual and moral character of the Decalogue, 
much more is it with the remaining nine of these fun- 
damental laws. " Thou shalt have none other gods but 
" One," tt Thou shalt do no murder," " Thou shalt not 
" commit adultery," u Thou shalt not steal," are still as 
impressive and as applicable as when first heard and 
written. And if in the Second, and Fourth, and Fifth 
commandments some expressions retain a local and 
temporary character, yet these do but serve as proofs 
of the hoary antiquity from which they have come 
down to us. The words were u written by the finger 
66 of God," but the Tables were not less surely fragments 
hewn out of the rock of Horeb. Hard, stiff, abrupt as 
the cliffs from which they were taken, they remain as 
the firm, unyielding basis on which all true spiritual 
religion has been built up and sustained. Sinai is not 
Palestine, — the Law is not the Gospel; but the Ten 
Commandments, in letter and in spirit, remain to us 
as the relic of that time. They represent to us, both 
in fact and in idea, the granite foundation, the immova- 
ble mountain on which the world is built up ; without 
which all theories of religion are but as shifting and 
fleeting clouds ; they give us the two homely fun- 
damental laws, which all subsequent Eevelation has 
but confirmed and sanctified, — the Law of our duty 
towards God, and the Law of our duty towards our 




The close of the history of the Wanderings bears 
on its face the marks of confusion and omission. 

Two stages alone of the journey are distinctly 
visible, from Sinai to Kadesh, and from Kadesh to 

I. I have elsewhere pointed out the profound ob- 
scurity in which the Mosaic narrative has Journey 

•-I-ITVT from Sinai 

wrapt the first of these two periods. 1 Not to Kadesh. 
merely are the names of nearly all the encampments 
still lost in uncertainty, but the narrative itself draws 
the mind of the reader in different directions ; and 
the variations, in some instances as it would seem, 
of the text itself, repel 2 detailed inquiry still more 

To this outward confusion corresponds the inward 
and spiritual aspect of the history. It is the period 
of reaction, and contradiction, and failure. It is chosen 
by S. Paul 3 as the likeness of the corresponding fail- 
ure of the first efforts of the primitive Christian 
Church ; — the one u type " of the Jewish History ex- 
pressly mentioned by the writers of the New Testa- 

1 Sinai and Palestine, 92. " types " in the original. This is the 

2 Comp. Deut. x. 6. 7, with Num. true meaning of the word ; and it ia 
xxxiii. 30-36. the only ease in which it is applied in 

3 1 Cor. x. 11. " These things hap- the New Testament to the Jewish 
pened unto them for examples " — History. 


ment. It left hardly any permanent trace on the 
history of the people, and, therefore, according to the 
plan laid down in these Lectures, may be passed with 
the same rapidity with which it is passed by the 
Sacred Record itself. Some few institutions, or frag- 
ments, however, of institutions, come down to the 
Jewish, and even into the Christian Church, from that 
time ; and some few salient points emerge full of 
eternal significance. 

The brazen plates which covered the ancient wooden 
The brazen altar, and which were perpetuated in " the 

plates of ' pot 

the altar. u brazen altar " of Solomon's temple, were 
traced back to the relics of the censers of brass 
which had belonged to the chiefs of the great con- 
spiracy of the tribes of Levi and Reuben against the 
rule of the two prophet-brothers of the family of 
conspiracy Aaron. Never again did Levi make the at- 

of Levi and . . n . . 

Reuben. tempt to gam the possession 01 the priest- 
hood ; nor Reuben to seize the reins of government. 
The two tribes afterwards became entirely parted 
asunder in their characters and fortunes : the one was 
incorporated into the innermost circle of the settled 
civilization of Palestine ; the other hovered on the 
very outskirts of the Holy Land and chosen people, 
and dwindled away into a Bedouin tribe. But the 
story of Korah belongs to a time when they, with 
Simeon, still breathed the same fierce and uncontrol- 
lable spirit of their Arabian ancestry ; when Levi was 
still fresh from the great crisis in Sinai, by which 
their tribe had been consecrated and divided from 
the rest; when the recollection of the birthright of 
Reuben still lingered in the minds of his descendants. 
In the desert they marched side by side ; and their 
joint conspiracy naturally grew out of their joint 


neighborhood. 1 It was the last expiring effort of the 
old traditions of the Beni-Israel against the constitu 
tion of the new order of things, which every gener- 
ation would more firmly establish. "Thou leddest 
u Thy people like sheep by the hand of Moses and 
" Aaron." 

Another relic of that dark time was one which re- 
mained till the time of Hezekiah in the Jew- The Brazen 
ish Church, but which, partly in symbol Ser P ent - 
and partly in pretensions to the reality, has prevailed 
even to our own day in the Christian Church. " The 
u serpent of brass that Moses had made " was long 
cherished as a sacred image in the sanctuaries of 
Judah and Jerusalem. Incense was offered to it, and 
a name conferred on it ; 2 and, even after its destruc- 
tion by Hezekiah, the recollection of it was still so 
endeared to the nation, that from it was drawn one 
of the most sacred similitudes of the New Testament ; 
and even the Christian Church claimed for centuries 
to have preserved its very form intact in the church 
of S. Ambrose, at Milan. The snakes against which 
the brazen serpent was originally raised as a protec- 
tion, were peculiar to the eastern portion of the 
Sinaitic desert. There, and nowhere else, and in no 
other moment of their history, could this symbol have 

Amidst the general obscurity and doubts of this 
period of the wanderings, one spot emerges, if not 
into certainty, at least into unmistakable prominence. 

1 See Blunt's Undesigned Coinci- words " one called it," i. e., " it was 
dtnces, Ft. i. § xx. commonly called." See Mr. Wright 

2 2 Kings xviii. 4. Our translation in Diet, of the Bible, " Nehushtan." 
treats the name Nehushtan as a title The name seems to combine the sigf- 
of contempt applied to it by Hezekiah, nifications of" serpent," " brass," u div- 
put it is more accurate to render the " ination." 


202 KADESH. Lect. VIII 

It is in this stage of the history, almost what Sinai 
was in the first. "He brought them to Mount Sinai 
Kadesh. " and to Kadesh Barnea." ' It is the only 
place dignified by the name of a " city." Its very 
name implies its sanctity, — a the Holy Place ; " as if, 
like Mount Sinai itself, it had a sacredness of its own 
before the host of Israel encamped within its precincts : 
possibly from the old oracular spring of judgment 2 
described in the earliest times of the Canaanitish his- 
tory. The encampment there is distinct in character 
from any other in the wilderness, except the stay at 
Sinai. Once, if not twice, " they abode there many 
days." Situated as it was within the Edomite terri- 
tory, its close connection with Israel invested with a 
kind of Sinaitic glory the whole range of the Idu- 
mean mountains. a Jehovah, when Thou wen test 
" out of Seir, when Thou marchedst out of JEdom." 3 
" God came from Teman, and the Holy One from 
" Mount Paran." 4 " Jehovah came from Sinai and rose 
" up from Mount Seir unto them : He shined forth 
" from Mount Paran, and He came with the ten thou- 
" sands of Kadesh." 5 

On what precise spot amongst the rocks of Edom this 
Petra. " Holy Place ". was enshrined, is a question even 
more uncertain than that which regards the exact lo- 
cality of Sinai. But nothing has been yet discovered 
to shake the substantial truth of the Jewish, Mussulman, 
and Christian traditions, which have fixed it in the 
neighborhood of the city afterwards known by t e 
name of the a CliffJ" or " Rock." That huge sandstone 
* cliff," through which the most romantic of ravines 

1 Judith v. 14. 3 Judg. v, 4. 

2 En-Mishpat, " Spring of Judg- * Hab. iii. 3. 

iient," — "which is Kadesh," Gen. 5 So the LXX. in Deut. xxxiii. 2 
xiv. 7. See Ewald, ii. 257. 


admits the stream of living water to fertilize the ba- 
son of Petra, and which, doubtless, was the origin of 
the later Hebrew and Greek title of the city, still 
bears the name of Moses ; and in its rent the Arabian 
tribes still believe that they see the mark of his won- 
der-working staff. 

It is this scene of the giving of water to the angry 
Israelites and " their beasts " (" The Thirst " of Murillo's 
famous picture), on which our attention is chiefly fixed, 
and which is identified either with the new name, or 
the new turn given to the old name of the place, 
" Meribah Kadesh," 1 " Strife and Sanctity \" But there 
are two other events which more distinctly mark the 
stage of the history at which we have arrived. In 
Kadesh passed away the eldest born of the ruling 
family of Israel. ft Miriam died there and was Death and 
buried there," in one of the rock-hewn tombs Miriam. 
which perforate the whole range of the hills surround- 
ing Petra ; it may be, in that secluded spot still known 2 
by the sacred name of the a Convent," still scaled by 
the long ascent cut out of the rock for the approach 
of pilgrims in ages beyond the reach of history. The 
mourning for her death, according to Josephus, 3 lasted 
for thirty days, and was terminated 4 by the ceremony 
which remained to the last days of the Commonwealth, 
the sacrifice, as if in special allusion to the departed 
Prophetess, of the red Heifer. Close in the neighbor- 
hood of Kadesh passed away the second of the family. 
On the summit of Mount Hor, immediately Death and 

. burial of 

facing that other sanctuary of which we just Aaron, 
now spoke, has, for at least two thousand years, been 

1 Numb. xx. 12, 13. she was buried in state on the top of 

2 See Sinai and Palestine, 96. Mount Sin. 

3 He states {Ant. iv. 4, § 6) that 4 Josephus, Ant. iv. 4, § 6. 

204 KADESH. Lkut. VIII 

shown the grave of Aaron. From that craggy top he 
— like his younger brother, forbidden to enter the 
Promised Land — surveyed, though in a far more dis- 
tant view, the outskirts of Palestine. He surveyed, 
too, in its fullest extent, the dreary mountains, barren 
platform, and cheerless valley, of the desert through 
which they had passed. It was a Pisgah, not of pros- 
pect, but of retrospect : it was, if we may venture so 
far to draw out its meaning, the appropriate end of 
the chief representative of the sacerdotal order of his 
nation, clinging to the past, looking back to Egypt, 
with no encouraging word for the future ; — the oppo- 
site of that wide and varied vista which opened be- 
fore the first of the Prophets. The succession of the 
Priesthood, that link of continuity between the past 
and present, now first introduced into the Jewish 
Church, and amidst all changes of form never entirely 
lost in the Christian Church, — was continued to his 
son Eleazar. Tt was made through that singular usage, 
preserved even to the latest days 1 of the Jewish hie- 
rarchy, by the transference of the vestments and dra- 
pery of the dead High Priest to the living successor. 
u Moses stripped Aaron of his garments and put them 
u upon Eleazar his son, and Aaron died there in the 
u top of the mount ; and Moses and Eleazar came down 
u from the mount, and when all the congregation saw 
" that Aaron was dead, they mourned for Aaron thirty 
u days, even all the house of Israel." In this, their 
first great national sorrow, they parted from Kadesh, 
from Mount Hor, and from the inhospitable race of 
their kindred tribe of Esau; under the now undivided 
sway of the youngest, and greatest, and only remain- 
ing child of the family of Amram. 

1 Ewald, Geschichte, v. 13. 


Even he had borne his share in the gloom of this 
period. In the incident of the calling forth of Doubtsof 
the water from the cliff of Kadesh, occurs the Moses ' 
expression of distrust on the part not only of Aaron 
but of Moses. 1 It is but a single blot in the career 
of the Prophet, and it is but slightly touched by the 
Sacred narrative. Still it was thought sufficiently im- 
portant for Josephus, after his manner, to suppress all 
mention of it; and it just reveals that shade of weak- 
ness in the character of Moses, which adds so much 
to its general strength. 

He doubted, and his doubt is not concealed. He 
doubted once in a moment of gloom and irritation ; 
but he did not, therefore, doubt everything and al- 
ways : and he is not less revered as the chief Prophet 
of the Jewish Church. It is to this side of his char- 
acter that, in the Koran, is attached the remarkable 
story intended to repress his murmurs against the in- 
scrutable ways of Providence, which tells how he met, 
by the shores of the Red Sea, the mysterious visitant 
from the other world, El Khudr, " The Green, storv of E1 
" or Immortal One, One of the servants of God." Khudr - 
And Moses said unto him, "Shall I follow thee, that 
" thou mayest teach me part of that which thou hast 
" been taught for a direction unto me ? " He answered, 
"Verily thou canst not bear with me; for how canst 
" thou patiently suffer those things the knowledge 
" whereof thou dost not comprehend ? " Moses re- 
plied, u Thou shalt find me patient if God please ; 
" neither will I be disobedient unto thee in anything." 
He said, " If thou follow me, therefore, ask me not con- 

1 "Shall we," *. e. '■can we' (not the ground of his exclusion from Pal- 
shall we') "fetch water out of this estine, in Num. xxvii. 12-14, Deut 
cliff/ " Num. xx. 10. It is only made xxxii. 51. 

206 KADESH. Lbct. VTII 

u cerning anything nntil I declare the meaning thereof 
" unto thee." They proceed on their journey. The 
stranger successively makes a hole in a ship on the 
sea, slays an innocent youth, and rebuilds a tottering 
wall in a city where they had been unjustly treated. 
At each transaction Moses asks the reason and is re- 
buked. At the conclusion the explanation is given. 
" The vessel belonged to certain poor men, and I was 
a minded to render it unserviceable, because there was 
" a certain King behind them who took every sound 
a ship by force. The youth, had he grown up, would 
" have vexed his parents by ingratitude and perverse- 
" ness. The wall belonged to two orphan youths, and 
" under it was hidden a treasure ; and their father was 
" a righteous man ; and thy Lord was pleased that they 
u should attain to their full age, and take forth this 
a treasure by the mercy of thy Lord. And I did not 
" what thou hast seen by my own will, but by God's 
" direction. This is the interpretation of that which 
" thou couldest not hear with patience." * 

II. From this point, the geography and the history 
journey a ^ once begin to clear up. We trace the course 
Ka'desh to °f the nos ^ w ^ n the utmost distinctness down 
Moab - the Arabah to the Gulf of Elath. At the head 
of the gulf — to be no more revisited by Israelitish 
wand-erers, till it became the exit of Solomon's com- 
merce — they turned the southern corner of the Idu- 
mean range by the Wady Ithm, and then skirting the 
eastern frontier of Edom, finally crossed into what 
became their home for many months, perhaps years, 
— the vast range of forest and pasture on the east 
of the Jordan. 

1 Koran, c. xviii. 64-81. This is most universally interesting of ths 
the story adopted in Parnell's Hermit, traditions concerning Moses. 
I have incorporated it here, as the 


It was a marked epoch in their journeyings — al- 
most an anticipation of the passage of the Passa „ eof 
Jordan itself — when, after having crossed the the Zered - 
watercourse or torrent, shaded or overgrown by wil 
lows, 1 that formed the first boundary of the desert, they 
passed the stream of the Arnon, — the first that Passageof 
they had seen since the Nile, — which, flowing the Arncn 
through its deep defile of sandstone rocks, parts the 
cultivated land of Moab from the wild mountains of 
Edom. Two fragments of ancient song remain, cele- 
brating with triumphant strains these two memorable 
fords, — 

" Now rise up, 
And get you over the watercourse of Zered." 2 

And again, in still more emphatic language, — 

" What he did in the flags by the river side, 
And in the torrents of Arnon, 
And at the pouring forth of the brooks 
That goeth down to the dwellings of Ar 
And lieth on the border of Moab." 3 

Their first halt brings before us a scene, such as 
had before, doubtless, marked their encamp- The n f 
ments in the desert, but now with an indica- the heroes - 
tion that they were approaching the cultivated land. 
It was no longer by the natural springs, as of Elim 
or Maralj, nor by the living stream gushing out of 
the rock, as at Horeb and Kadesh, that they rested. 
Here, as on the southern frontier of Palestine, Beer- 
sheba, and 2?££r-lahai-roi, we find " the well," the deep 
cavity sunk in the earth by the art of man. Long 
afterwards the spot was known, from tlr o the first 

1 The watercourse of Zered, "the vi. 14) is spoken of as the southern 
abundant tree," (Deut. ii. 13, 18) or frontier of Moab. 
of "the willows" (Isa. xv. 7; Amos 2 Deut. ii. 13. 

3 Num. xxi. 14, 15. 

208 PISGAH. Lect. VIII. 

visit, as Beer-elim} " the well of the heroes." Rab- 
binical tradition represented it as the last appearance 
of the spring or well of Miriam, that had followed 
them through their wanderings, and had bubbled up 
once more before it finally plunged into the Lake of 

But the original account of it is more touching even 
than this picturesque legend, 2 — 

" That is the well whereof the Lord said unto Mo- 
* ses — 

" Gather the people together, 
I will give them water." 

The nation long preserved the song addressed, as if 
with a passionate invocation, to the water which lay 
hid in this well, by those who came to draw from it. 

" Spring up, O well ! sing ye unto it ! 
The well which the princes digged, 
The nobles of the people digged it 
With the sceptre of the Lawgiver, 
With the ' staves of their tribes.' " 

It was the expression of the thankful feeling that in 
that simple but precious gift of water all had borne 
their part from the least to the greatest: that it was 
no ordinary tool, no staff of divination, but the rod of 
their great leader Moses, the sceptres of the chiefs of 
the tribes that had wrought this homely work, and 
left the refreshing boon to posterity. There are many 
who hail this clear, undoubted burst of primitive 8 
Hebrew poetry, out of the disjointed structure of the 
Sacred History, almost as gratefully as the event which 
it commemorates was hailed by the Israelites them- 

1 Isa. xv. 8; see Sinai and Pales- on "Beer" and " Beer-eliui," in Diet, 
tine, Appendix, § 56. of Bible. 

2 See Lecture VI., and Mr. Grove 3 Compare Herder (Spirit of He- 

brew Poetry, vol. xxxiv. p. 225). 


From their entrance into the territory of Moab the 
history presents itself under two distinct as- The last 

J r it days of 

pects. The first is that of the earliest stage Moses. 
of the conquest of Palestine. The second is that of 
the last days of Moses. The first of these will be 
most conveniently considered in detail in the next 
Lecture. But the general results of this conquest in- 
troduce a scene in the history which can only be con- 
sidered in this place, because it suddenly gives us, 
before we finally take farewell of the great Prophet 
of Israel, a glimpse of another Prophet, who for a mo- 
ment fills our whole view, and who, though he leaves 
no enduring mark on the history of the Jewish Church, 
has occupied so large a place in Christian theology as 
to rank amongst the most interesting characters of the 
Old Dispensation. 

A unity of place links together the Two Prophets, 
else so wide apart ; and, as if with a consciousness of 
this, the shadow of the great mountain, where the two 
scenes which connect them were enacted, is thrown 
before at the very beginning of this portion of the 
narrative. " They came from Nahali-el to Bamoth, ' the 
" high places,' and from Bamoth to the ' ravine ' that 
u is in the field of Moab, to the top of ' Pisgah which 
" looketh towards Jeshimon, 1 the waste.' " 

1. It is one of the striking proofs of the Divine uni- 
versality of the Old Testament, that the veil Balaam, 
is from time to time drawn aside, and other charac- 
ters than those which belonged to the Chosen People 
appear in the distance, fraught with an instruction 
which even transcends the limits of the Jewish Church, 
and not only in place, but in time, far outruns the 
teaching of any peculiar age or nation. Such is the 

1 Num. xxi. 20. 


210 PISGAH. Lect. VIIL 

discussion of the profoundest questions of religious 
philosophy in the book of the Gentile Job. Such is 
the appearance of the Gentile Prophet Balaam. He 
is one of those characters of whom, whilst so little is 
told that we seem to know nothing of him, yet, what- 
Hisposi- ever that little is, raises him at once to the 
tion. highest pitch of interest. His home is beyond ] 

the Euphrates, amongst the mountains where the vast 
streams of Mesopotamia have their rise. But his fame 
is known across the Assyrian desert, through the Ara- 
bian tribes, clown to the very shores of the Dead Sea. 
He ranks as a warrior chief (by that combination of 
soldier and prophet, already seen in Moses himself) 
with the five kings of Midian. 2 He is regarded 
throughout the whole of the East as a Prophet, whose 
blessing or whose curse was irresistible, the rival, the 
possible conqueror of Moses. In his career is seen that 
recognition of Divine Inspiration outside the Chosen 
People, which the narrowness of modern times has been 
so eager to deny, but which the Scriptures 3 are al- 
ways ready to acknowledge, and, by acknowledging, 
admit within the pale of the teachers of the Universal 
Church, the higher spirits of every age and of every 

His character, Oriental and primeval though it be, is 

1 Num. xxii. 5, xxiii. 7, xxiv. 6 ; " the the prosaic fashion of Josephus. But 
river " = Euphrates. the spirit of it is perfectly just and 

2 lb. xxxi. 8. applies to the Bible generally. Ba- 

3 Josephus (Ant. iv. 6,§ 13) consid- laam was no more a member of the 
ers it a special matter of commenda- Jewish Church than was Socrates, 
tion on Moses that, in spite of Balaam's He was as great an enemy of the 
hostility to the chosen people, he yet Church as Julian. But not the less 
" rightly honored him by thus record- has the sacred historian done that jus- 
ing his prophecies," which he might tice to the alien and the enemy, which 
have appropriated to himself. The many Christian theologians have mack 
form of this statement is conceived in it a point of honor to deny. 

Lect. VIII. BALAAM. 211 

delineated with that fineness of tonch which has ren- 
dered it the storehouse of theologians and mor- His char . 
alists in the most recent ages of the Church. acter * 
Three great divines have from different points of view 
drawn out, without exhausting, the subtle phases of 
his greatness and of his fall. The self-deception which 
persuades him in every case that the sin which he com- 
mits may be brought within the rules of conscience 
and revelation ; ! the dark shade cast over a noble 
course by standing always on the ladder of advance- 
ment, and by the suspense of a worldly ambition never 
satisfied ; 2 the combination of the purest form of re- 
ligious belief with a standard of action immeasurably 
below 3 it; these have given to the story of Balaam, 
the son of Beor, a hold over the last hundred years, 
which it never can have had over any period of the 
human mind less critical or less refined. 

One feels a kind of awe in the gradual preparation, 
with which he is brought before us, as if in the fore- 
boding of some great catastrophe. The King of the 
civilized Moabites unites with the Elders, or Sheiks, 
of the Bedouin Midianites, to seek for aid against the 
powerful nation who (to use their own peculiarly pas- 
toral image) u licked up all that were round about 
u them, as the ox licked up the grass of the field " 4 
of Moab. Twice, across the whole length of the As- 
syrian desert, the messengers, with the Oriental bribes 
of divination in their hands, are sent to conjure forth 
the mighty seer from his distant home. 5 In the per- 
mission to go when, once refused, he presses for a 
favorable answer, which at last comes, though leading 

1 Butler's Sermons, vii. 5 Compare, for this extended inter- 

2 Newman's Sermons, iv. 21. course between such distant localities, 

3 Arnold's Sermons, vi. 55, 56. Blunt's Coincidences, Pt. I. § xxiii. 

4 Num. xxii. 4. 

212 PISGAH. Lect. VIII. 

him to ruin, we see the peculiar turn of teaching 
which characterizes the purest of the ancient heathen 
oracles. It is the exact counterpart of the elevated 
rebuke of the Oracle at Cumae to Aristodicus, and of 
His jour- ^ ne Oracle of Delphi to Glaucus. 1 Reluctantly, 
ney * at last he comes. The dreadful apparition on 

the way, the desperate resistance of the terrified ani- 
mal, the furious determination of the Prophet to ad- 
vance, the voice, however explained, 2 which breaks from 
the dumb creature that has saved his life, all heighten 
The first the expectation of the message that he is to 
o^Baiaam deliver. When Balaam and Balak first meet, 
and Baiak. ^ e short dialogue, preserved not by the Mosaic 
historian but by the Prophet Micah, 3 at once exhibits 
the agony of the King and the lofty conceptions of 
the great seer. " my people, remember what Ba- 
" lak, king of Moab, consulted, and what Balaam, the 
" son of Beor, answered. i Wherewith shall I come before 
" ' the Lord, and bow myself before the High God ? Shall 
" c I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves of a 
" 6 year old ? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of 
"'rams, or ivith ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I 
66 ' give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my 
" 'body for the sin of my sold ?' " So speaks the super- 
stitious feeling of all times, but, in a peculiar sense, 
of the royal house of Moab, always ready, in a na- 
tional crisis, to appease offended Heaven by the sacri- 
fice 4 of the heir to the throne. The reply is such as 

1 Herod, i. 53, 55 ; vi. 85 ; compare Grove on " Moab " in Diet, of Bible). 
1 Kings xxii. 22 ; Ezek. xiv. 5. This coincidence seems of itself suffi- 

2 Hengstenberg (Geschichte Bile- cient to show that this passage of Mi- 
ttms, 50-54) represents it as a dream cah vi. is not, as some have supposed, 
or trance. a merely general statement, but is in- 

3 Micah vi. 5, &c. tended for the dialogue between Ba- 

4 Comp. 2 Kings iii. 27 (see Mr. laam and Balak. 

Lect. VIII. BALAAM. 213 

breathes the very essence of the Prophetic spirit, such 
as had at that early time hardly expressed itself dis. 
tinctly even within the Mosaic Kevelation itself. " He 
u hath shoivcd thee, man, what is good ; and what doth the 
a Lord require of thee hut to do justly, and to love mercy, and 
" to walk humbly ivith thy God" 

If this is, indeed, intended to describe the first 
meeting of the King and the Seer, it en- The divi . 
hances the pathos of the struggle which con- natlons - 
tinues through each successive interview. Sometimes 
the one only, sometimes both together, are seen striv- 
ing to overpower the voice of conscience and of God 
with the fumes of sacrifice, yet always failing in the 
attempt, which the Prophet had himself at the outset 
declared to be vain. The eye follows the Two, as 
they climb upwards from height to height along the 
extended range, to the " high places " 1 dedicated 
to Baal, on the tt top of the rocks," — u the bare 
hill " 2 close above it, — the " cultivated field " 3 of the 
Watchmen (Zophim) on the top of Pisgah, 4 — to the 
peak where stood " the sanctuary of Peor, that looketh 
toward the waste." It is at this point that the 
scene has been caught in the well-known lines of the 
poet, — 

" Oh for a sculptor's hand 

That thou mightst take thy stand, 
Thy wild hair floating on the eastern breeze, 

Thy tranc'd yet open gaze 

Fix'd on the desert haze, 
As one who deep in heav'n some airy pageant sees. 

" In outline dim and vast 
Their fearful shadows cast, 

1 Bamoih, Num. xxii. 41 3 Sadeh, lb. xxiii. 14. 

' Shefi, lb. xxiii. 3, 9. * Num. xxiii. 28; Deut. xxxiv. 1, 

214 PISGAH. Lkct. VIII 

The giant forms of Empire on their way 

To ruin : one by one 

They tow'r and they are gone. 
Yet in the Prophet's soul the dreams of avarice stay." l 

Behind him lay the vast expanse of desert extend- 
ing to the shores of his native Assyrian river. On 
his left were the red mountains of Edom and Seir : 
opposite were the dwelling-places of the Kenite, in 
the rocky fastnesses of Engedi ; further still was the 
dim outline of the Arabian wilderness, where ruled 
the then powerful tribe of Amalek ; immediately be- 
low him lay the vast encampment of Israel, amongst 
the acacia groves of Abel Shittim, — like the water- 
courses of the mountains, 2 like the hanging gardens 
beside his own river Euphrates, 3 with their aromatic 
shrubs, and their wide-spreading cedars. Beyond 
them, on the western side of Jordan, rose the hills 
of Palestine, with glimpses through their valleys o ' 
ancient cities towering on their crested heights. And 
beyond all, though he could not see it with his bodily 
vision, he knew well that there rolled the deep waters 
of the great sea, with the Isles of Greece, the Isle of 
Chittim, — a world of which the first beginnings of 
life were just stirring, of which the very name here 
first breaks upon our ears. 

Those are the points indicated in the view which 
lay before the Prophet as he stood on the Watchers' 
Field, on the top of Pisgah. What was the vision 
which unrolled itself as he heard the words of God, 
as he saw the vision of the Almighty, " falling " 4 pros- 
trate in the prophetic trance, " but having the eyes " 

1 Keble's Christian Year, 2d Sun- 3 Nahar (Ibid.) 
lay after Easter. 4 The same word as in 1 Sam. xix 

9 Nachal, Num. xxiv. 6. 24; comp. Jos. Ant. iv. 6, § 12. 

Lect. VIII. BALAAM. 215 

of his mind and his spirit a open " ? The outward 
forms still remained. He still saw the tents below, 
goodly in their array; he still saw the rocks, and 
hills, and distant desert : but, as his thought glanced 
from height to height, and from valley to mountain, 
the future fortunes of the nations who dwelt there 
unfolded themselves in dim succession, revolving round 
and from the same central object. 

From the midst of that vast encampment he seemed 
to see streams, as of w r ater flowing to and fro The vision. 
over the valleys, giving life to the dry desert and to 
the salt sea, 1 He seemed to see a form as of a 
mighty lion couched amidst the thickets, 2 or on the 
mountain fastnesses of Judah, " and none should rouse 
u him up ; " or the u wild bull " 3 raging from amidst 
the archers of Ephraim, trampling down his enemies, 
piercing them through with the well-known arrows 4 of 
the tribe. And yet again, in the more distant future, 
he "saw, but not now," — he "beheld, but not nigh," 
— as with the intuition of his Chaldsean art, — "a 
" Star," bright as those of the far Eastern sky, " come 
" out of Jacob ; " and " a sceptre," like the shepherd's 
staff that marked the ruler of the tribe, " rise out of 
u Israel : " and then, as he watched the course of the 
surrounding nations, he saw how, one by one, they 
would fall, as fall they did, before the conquering 
sceptre of David, before the steady advance of that 
Star which then, for the first time, rose out of Beth- 
lehem. And, as he gazed, the vision became wider 
and wider still. He saw a time when a new tem- 
pest would break over all these countries alike, 
from the remote east, — from Assur, from his own 

1 Num. xxiv. 7, as in Ezek. xlvii. 8. 3 Ibid. 8, Auth. Vers, "unicorn." 

2 Ibid. 9. 4 Compare Ps.. lxxviii. 9. 

216 PISGAH. Lect. VIII. 

native land of Assyria. "Assur shall carry thee 
" away captive." But at that word another scene 
opened before him, and a cry of horror burst from 
his lips: "Alas! who shall live when God doeth this!" 
For his own nation, too, was to be at last overtaken. 
"For ships shall come from the coast of Chittim," — 
from the island of Cyprus, which, as the only one 
visible from the heights of Palestine, was the one 
familiar link with the western world — " and shall 
a crush Assur, and shall crush Eber, 6 the people be- 
u 'yond the Euphrates,' and he also shall perish for 
" ever." 

So it came to pass, when the ships of Cyprus, of 
Greece, of Europe, then just seen in the horizon of 
human l hopes and fears, did at last, under the great 
Macedonian conqueror, turn the tide of eastern in- 
vasion backwards ; and Asshur and Babylon, Assyria 
and Chaldaea, and Persia, no less than the wild 
hordes of the desert, " perished for ever " from the 
earth. 2 

It has often been debated, and no evidence now 
remains to prove, at what precise time this grandest 
of all its episodes was introduced into the Mosaic nar- 
rative. But, however this may be determined, the 
magnificence of the vision remains untouched ; and it 
stands in the Sacred record, the first example of the 

1 The earliest known event to which preserved. But the exchange of the 
this could refer was the attack on the familiar island of Cyprus for the 
colony of Sardanapalus in Cilicia by country', at that time unknown and 
the Cyprian fleet. Euseb. Chron. Arm. unintelligible to the East, of Italy, 
i. pp. 26, 2 7. For the general relations well illustrates the difference between 
of Cyprus to the East see Sharpe. Prophecy as it appears in the Bible, 

2 For 4 ' ships of Chittim " the Vul- and as it appears in the theories of 
gate reads " galleys from Italy." The later ages. See Lecture XX. 
general sense of " the West " is still 

Lect. VIII. BALAAM. 217 

Prophetic utterances respecting the destinies of the 
world at large ; founded, like all such utterances, on 
the objects immediately in the range of the vision of 
the seer, but including within their sweep a vast 
prospect beyond. Here first the Gentile world, not 
of the East only but of the West, bursts into view ; 
and here is the first sanction of that wide interest in 
the various races and empires of mankind, not only 
as bearing on the fortunes of the Chosen People, but 
for their own sakes also, which the narrow spirits of 
the Jewish Church first, and of the Christian Church 
since, have been so slow to acknowledge. Here, too, 
is exhibited in its most striking form the irresistible 
force of the Prophetic impulse overpowering the baser 
spirit of the individual man. The spectacle of the 
host of Israel, even though seen only from its utmost 
skirts, is too much for him. The Divine message 
struggling within him, is delivered in spite of his own 
sordid resistance. Many has been the Balaam whom 
the force of truth or goodness from without, or the 
force of genius or conscience from within, has com- 
pelled to bless the enemies whom he was hired to 

" Like the seer of old, 
Who stood on Zophim, heav'n-controll'd." 

"And Balaam rose up and went and returned to 
u his own place." The Sacred historian, as if touched 
with a feeling of the greatness of the Prophet's mis- 
sion, drops the veil over its dark close. Only by the 
incidental notice 1 of a subsequent part of the narra- 
tive, are we told how Balaam endeavored to effect 2 

1 Josephus amplifies the single word elaborate embassy to the Euphrates. - 
rf the Biblical narrative into another Ant. iv. 6, § 5-8. 

a Num. xxxi. 8, 16. 


by the licentious rites of the Arab tribes, the ruin 
which he had been unable to work by his curses ; 
and how, in the war of vengeance which followed, he 
met with his mournful end. 

2. The intermingling of the narratives of the Book 
Farewell °^ Numbers, the Book of Deuteronomy, the 
of Moses. Book of Joshua ; the rise of new names, 
Eleazar, Phineas, Jair; indicate that we are approach- 
ing the confines of another generation, and another 
stage of the history. But the main interest still 
hangs round Moses, and round the heights of Pisgah. 
We need not here discuss the vexed question of the 
Deuter- precise time when the Book of Deuteronomy 1 
onomy. assumed its present form. It is enough to 
feel that it represents to us the long farewell of the 
Prophet and Lawgiver, as he stood amongst the groves 
of Abel Shittim, and recapitulated the course of his 
career and of his legislation. Parts, at least, have 
every appearance of belonging to that stage .of the 
history and to no other ; when they were still beyond 
the Jordan, when the institutions of the conquest and 
the monarchy were still undeveloped. And, if the 
features of the earlier law are from time to time 
transfigured with a softer and a more spiritual light, 
this change, whilst it may have received some touches 
from the later spirit of the great Prophetic age, yet 
is also in close harmony — it may be, dramatic har- 
mony — with the soothing and widening process which 
belongs to the old age, not merely of every nation, 
but of every individual. Deuteronomy has been some- 

i At the time of the Christian era, 8, § 48 ; Phil. V. M. iii. 39.) This hy- 

and probably long afterwards, the ac- pothesis is worth recording as an ex 

count of the death and burial of Moses ample of interpretation now entirely 

was supposed to have been written by superseded, 
himself as a prediction. (Jos. Ant. iv. 


times said to be to the earlier books of the Law, as the 
Fourth Gospel to the earlier Three. The comparison 
may hold good in regard no less to the actual advance 
in the character of Moses the Lawgiver and Moses 
the expiring Prophet, and the character of the Son 
of Thunder and the aged Evangelist. 

In this last representation of Moses, one feature is 
brought out more forcibly than ever before. The 
poetic utterances, regarded as an indispensable accom- 
paniment of the prophetic gift, now come forth in 
full strength ; the vox cycnea of the departing seer. 

Two of these, at least in their general conception, 
belong exclusively to this epoch, the Eve of The two 
the Conquest : the Song of battle and of warn- Moses. 
ing by which Joshua was to be cheered, and the 
Blessing, it might almost be said the war-cry, of the 
several tribes. In some minute points, also, we seem 
to trace the feeling of this particular crisis of the his- 
tory. The name by which, in the Song of Moses, the 
God of Israel is called, must, in the first instance, 
have been suggested by the Desert-wanderings, — 
" The Rock." Nine times in the course of this single 
Hymn is repeated this most expressive figure, taken 
from the granite crags of Sinai, and carried thence, 
through psalms and hymns of all nations, like one of 
the huge fragments which it represents, to regions as 
remote in aspect as in distance, from its original birth- 
place. If u The Rock " carries us back to the desert, 
the pastoral riches to which the Song refers confine 
us to the eastern bank of the Jordan. "The butter 
" of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and 
" rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the 
• fat of kidneys of wheat." * It would be too bold tc 

l Deut. xxxii. 13, 14. 


say that these words could not have occurred to any 
one in Western Palestine; but they are so far more 
appropriate to the Eastern downs and forests, that 
we may fairly see in them a stamp of that peculiar 

The third hymn, which, by its title, belongs to this 
The Prayer period, is of far more universal interest. 

or P s & 1 m 

of Moses. " The Prayer of Moses the man of God " 1 
which contrasts the fleeting generations of man with 
the mountains at whose feet they wandered, and the 
eternity of Him who existed a before ever those 
mountains were brought forth," has become the fune- 
ral hymn of the world, and is evidently intended to 
be treated as the funeral hymn of the Prophet him- 
self. The most recent criticism, whilst hesitating to 
receive it as actually the composition of Moses, re- 
joices to see in it his spirit throughout. " The Psalm 
" has something in it unusually arresting, solemn, and 
" sinking deep into the depths of the Divinity. Moses 
" might well have been seized by these awful thoughts 
a at the close of his wanderings, and the author, who- 
" ever he be, is clearly a man grown gray with vast 
" experience, who here takes his stand at the end of 
" his earthly course." 2 

The end was at last come. It might still have 
The last seemed that a triumphant close was in store 

view from . _ _ _ TT . ... 

pisgah. for the aged Prophet. " His eye was not dim 
nor his natural force abated." He had led his people 
to victory against the Amorite kings ; he might still be 
expected to lead them over into the land of Canaan. 
But so it was not to be. From the desert plains of 
Moab he went up to the same lofty range whence 
Balaam had looked over the same prospect. The 

1 Ps. xc. 2 Ewald Psalmen, 91. 


same, but seen with eyes how different ! The view 
of Balaam has been long forgotten; but the view of 
Moses had become the proverbial view of all time 
It was the peak dedicated to Nebo on which he stood. 
" He lifted up his eyes westward, and northward, and 
u southward, and eastward." * Beneath him lav the 
tents of Israel ready for the march ; and u over against " 
them, distinctly visible in its grove of palm-trees, the 
stately Jericho, key of the Land of Promise. Beyond 
was spread out the whole range of the mountains of 
Palestine, in its fourfold masses ; " all Gilead," with 
Hermon and Lebanon in the east and north ; the hills 
of Galilee, overhanging the Lake of Gennesareth ; the 
wide opening where lay the plain of Esdraelon, the 
future battle-field of the nations ; the rounded summits 
of Ebal and Gerizim ; immediately in front of him the 
hills of Judaea, and, amidst them, seen distinctly through 
the rents in their rocky walls, Bethlehem on its nar- 
row ridge, and the invincible fortress of Jebus. To 
him, so far as we know, the charm of that view — 
pronounced by the few modern travellers who have 
seen it to be unequalled of its kind — lay in the as- 
surance that this was the land promised to Abraham, 
to Isaac, and to Jacob, and to their seed, the inheri- 
tance — with all its varied features of rock and pas- 
ture, and forest and desert — for the sake of which he 
had borne so many years of toil and danger, in the 
midst of which the fortunes of his people would be 
unfolded worthily of that great beginning. To us, as 
we place ourselves by his side, the view swells into 
colossal proportions, as we think how the proud city 
of palm-trees is to fall before the hosts of Israel ; how 
the spear of Joshua is to be planted on height aftei 

1 Deut. iii. 27. 


height of those hostile mountains; what series of 
events, wonderful beyond any that had been witnessed 
in Egypt or in Sinai, would in after-ages be enacted 
on the narrow crest of Bethlehem, in the deep basin 
of the Galilean lake, beneath the walls of "Jebus, 
" which is Jerusalem." 

All this he saw. He " saw it with his eyes, but he 
"was not to go over thither." It was his last view. 
From that height he came down no more. Jewish, 
Mussulman, and Christian traditions crowd in to nil 
up the blank. " Amidst the tears of the people, the 
"women beating their breasts and the children giv- 
" ing way to uncontrolled wailing, he withdrew. At 
"a certain point in his ascent he made a sign to the 
"weeping multitude to advance no further, taking 
"with him only the elders, the high priest Eliezer, 
"and the general Joshua. At the top of the moun- 
tain he dismissed the elders, and then, as he was 
" embracing Eliezer and Joshua, and still speaking to 
"them, a cloud suddenly stood over him, and he van- 
ished in a deep valley." So spoke the tradition as 
preserved in the language, here unusually pathetic, 
of Josephus. Other wilder stories told of the Divine 
kiss which drew forth his expiring spirit; others of 
the " Ascension of Moses " amidst the contention of 
good and evil spirits over his body. 1 The Mussul- 
mans, regardless of the actual scene of his death, have 
raised to him a tomb on the western side of the Jor- 
dan, frequented by thousands of Mussulman devotees. 
But the silence of the Sacred narrative refuses to be 
broken. "In" that strange land, "the land of Moab, 
a Moses the servant of the Lord died according to 
u the word of the Lord." " He buried him in ' a ra- 

1 Jude 9. Fabricius, Cod. Pseudep. i. 839-846- 


"vine* in the land of Moab, over against the idol 
•' temple of Peor." Apart from his countrymen, hon- 
ored by no funeral obsequies, visited by no grateful 
pilgrimages, "no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto 
"this day." 

Two impressive truths are involved in this repre- 
sentation of the death of Moses, truths which hardly 
occur again with equal force in the history till we 
meet them again in the end of Him, of whom, in 
the New Testament, Moses is so often made the illus- 
tration and likeness. First, the mystery, the The grave 
uncertainty, which overhangs the burial-place of Mosep- 
of the greatest character of the Jewish Church, is a 
sample of the general feeling with which these local 
sanctuaries were regarded. Doubtless, as in the case 
of the Patriarchal sepulchres at Hebron, and the 
royal sepulchres at Jerusalem, the natural instinct of 
reverence for the tombs of the illustrious dead, often 
asserted its own rights. But, as if to show that this 
is a secondary and not a primary element of relig- 
ious sentiment, when we come to the highest cases 
of all, the grave on Mount Nebo, the grave on Gol- 
gotha, the darkness closes upon the sacred spot : a no 
mar knoweth of his sepulchre until this day." 

Secondly, the scene on Pisgah is at once the fitting 
end of the life of Moses, and the exemplifica- The End o , 
tion of a general law. In one sense it might Moses * 
seem mournful, incomplete, disappointing; but in an- 
other and higher sense, how fully in accordance with 
his whole career, how truly the crowning point of his 

The personal characteristics of the Prophet are too 
faintly drawn to admit of any fuller delineation. But 
one feature is indisputably marked out. No modern 


word seems exactly to correspond to that which our 
translators have rendered " the meekest of men," — 
but which rather expresses u enduring," " afflicted," 
" heedless of self." This at any rate is the trait most 
strongly impressed on all his actions from first to 
last. So in Egypt he threw himself into the thank- 
less cause of his oppressed brethren ; at his earliest 
call he prayed that Aaron might be the leader in- 
stead of himself; at Sinai he besought that his name 
might be blotted out if only his people might be 
spared; in the desert, he wished that not only he, 
but all the Lord's people might prophesy. He found- 
ed no dynasty ; his own sons were left in deep ob- 
scurity; his successor was taken from the rival tribe 
of Ephraim. He himself receives for once the regal 
title " the King * in Jeshurun ; " but the title dies 
with him. It is as the highest type and concentra- 
tion of this endurance and self-abnegation, that the 
last view from Pisgah receives its chief instruction. 

To labor and not to see the end of our labors ; to 
sow and not to reap ; to be removed from this earthly 
scene before our w r ork has been appreciated, and when 
it will be carried on not by ourselves, but by others, 
— is a law so common in the highest characters of 
history, that none can be said to be altogether ex- 
empt from its operation. It is true in intellectual 
matters as well as in spiritual; and one of the finest 
applications of any passage in the Mosaic history, is 
that made by Cowley, and extended by Lord Macau- 
ley to the great English philosopher, who — 

" Did on the very border stand 
Of the blessed Promised Land ; 

1 Deut. xxxiii. 5. 

Lbct. vhi. the END OF MOSES. 225 

And from the mountain's top of his exalted wit 
Saw it himself, and show'd us it ; 
But life did never to one man allow 
Time to discover worlds and conquer too." 

a In the first book of the Novum Organum we see 
"the great Lawgiver looking round from his lonely 
" elevation on an . infinite expanse 5 behind him a wil- 
" derness of dreary sands and bitter waters, in which 
" successive generations have sojourned, always mov- 
"ing, yet never advancing, reaping no harvest and 
u building no abiding city : before him a goodly land, 
"a land of promise, a land flowing with milk and 
" honey. While the multitude below saw only the 
" flat sterile desert in which they had so long wan- 
a dered, bounded on every side by a near horizon, or 
u diversified only by some deceitful mirage, he was 
66 gazing from a far higher stand, on a far lovelier 
u country, following with his eye the long course of 
" fertilizing rivers, through ample pastures, and under 
u the bridges of great capitals, measuring the dis- 
u tances of marts and barns, and portioning out all 
" these wealthy regions from Dan to Beersheba." 1 

The imagery thus nobly used to describe the prom* 
ise and the self-denial of intellectual labor, is still 
more true of the many reformers, martyrs, and mis- 
sionaries, John Huss, Tyndale, Francis Xavier, How- 
ard, who, in all times of the Church, have died on 
the threshold of their reward, in hope, not in posses- 
sion. Events have moved too slow, and the genera- 
tion passes away which should have supported the 
saint or the chief; or events have moved too fast, 
and the rising generation has superseded the want 
of a leader; or a word has been spoken unadvisedly 

1 Macaulay's Essays, vol. iii. p. 493. 


with his lips, and his prospects are suddenly over- 
cast; or he is struck by decay of power, or by sud- 
dejci, untimely death; again and again the Moses of 
the Church, of the commonwealth, lingers there, u dies 
u there in the land of Moab, and goes not over to 
" possess that good land ; " and Canaan is won, not by 
the first and greatest of the nation, but by his sub- 
ordinate minister and successor, Joshua the son of 







1. (1.) Num. xxi. 21-35 ; xxv., xxxi., xxxii., xxxiv. ; Deut. ii. 1 ; iii. 

31; iv. 41-49; xxix. 7, 8 ; Joshua i.-xxiv. ; Judg. i. 1-36; xi. 
15-26; xviii. 1-31; 1 Chron. ii. 20-24. (2.) Ps. xliv. 1-4; 
lxxviii. 55 ; cxiv. 3, 5 ; cxxxvi. 17-22 ; Ecclus. xlvi. 1-12. 
(3.) The Characteristics of the tribes, Gen. xlix. ; Deut. xxxiii. 

2. Jewish traditions. (1.) Josephus, Ant. iv. 5, 6, 7 ; v. 1. (2.) Rab- 

binical legends, in Otho's Lex. rabbin. 332 ; Fabricius's Codex 
pseudepigraph. Vet. Test. 871-873. (a.) Joshua's Prayer. 
(b.) Joshua's Ten Decrees. (3.) Philo, De Caritate. (4.) Sa- 
maritan Book of Joshua, edited by Juynboll, 1848. [It was 
written in Arabic — probably in the 12th century — in Egypt, 
and is chiefly valuable as representing the traditions and feelings 
of the Samaritan community.] 

3. Heathen traditions, mentioned by Suidas (sub voce Xavaai/) ; Moses 

Choren. (Hist. Arm. i. 18) ; Procopius (Bell. Vand. ii. 4). 




" The Conquest of Palestine " introduces us to c ne 
of the most secular portions of the Sacred TheCot . 
history. The very phrase is to some minds an quest 
offence. It suggests the likeness of other conquests. 
It compels us to regard the geography, the battles, 
the settlement of Israel, as we should consider the 
like circumstances in .other countries. Such an of- 
fence is, to a certain degree, inevitable. But this 
stage of the history, secular as it is, presents also a 
religious aspect, on which, according to the plan of 
these Lectures, it will be my object to lay the chief 
stress, though not to the omission of those general 
considerations which here, as in other ecclesiastical 
history, are necessary to the understanding of the 
purely religious incidents intertwined with them. 

The period of the Conquest, properly speaking, 
commences before the time of Joshua and its stages. 
extends far beyond it. It began from the passage 
of the brook Zered under Moses : it was not finally 
closed till the capture of Jerusalem by David. But, 
in a more limited sense, it may be confined to the 
period during which the territory, afterwards known 
by the name of Palestine, was definitively occupied as 


their own by the Israelites. This divides itself into 
two stages : the first, including the occupation of the 
district east of the Jordan; the second, and most im- 
portant, including the occupation of Western Pales- 
tine in its three great divisions, the valley of the 
Jordan, the southern and central mountains after- 
wards known as Judaea and Samaria, and the north- 
ern mountains afterwards known as Galilee. 

The Israelite conquest of Palestine, although it 
stands above all other like events from its intrinsic 
grandeur, yet is in itself but one amongst a succes- 
sion of waves which have swept over the country, 
and each of which may be used as an illustration of 
those that have gone before and after. The Egyp- 
tians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, Ara- 
bians, Turks, Crusaders, French, English, have fol- 
lowed in their wake ; the Philistines, the Canaanites, 
the aboriginal inhabitants, accompanied or preceded 

It is of these earlier conquests alone that we need 
Theeariv nere speak. The aboriginal inhabitants have 
o D f h WeSern already 1 been briefly described. They be- 
Paiestme. i on g e( j s0 entirely to the dim distance, that 
their name, " Bephaim," was used in after-times to 
designate the huge guardians or the shadowy ghosts 2 
of the world below. But we can just discern their 
forms before they vanish, and some remnants of them 
lingered till later times. Their lofty stature is often 
noticed. It is possible that this impression may be 
partly derived from the contrast between them and 
the diminutive Hebrews, in like manner as a similar 
description, from the like contrast between the north- 

1 Lecture II. 10; Prov. ii. 18; ix. 18; xxi. 16 ; Isa. 

2 See Gesenius, in voce ; Ps. lxxxviii. xxvi. 14, 19. 


ern races of Europe and the small limbs and features 
of the Italians, is given, by Roman historians and 
poets, of the gigantic Gauls. On the west of the 
Jordan this race appears chiefly under two names: 
the "Anakim" in the southern mountains, and the 
"Avites" on the maritime plain. 1 The centre of the 
race of Anak was, as we have seen, Hebron or Kir- 
jath-Arba. The Avites, it would seem, were still com- 
paratively secure in their western corner. Their con- 
querors, the Philistines, 2 had not yet appeared; at 
least not in any overwhelming force. But in all the 
rest of Palestine, already in the Patriarchal The Ca _ 
age the " ancient solitary reign " of these abo- naanites - 
riginal tribes had been disturbed by the appearance 
here and there of powerful chiefs belonging to the 
Phoenician or Canaanite branch of the Semitic race. 
The variations in the usage of the words, sometimes 
the variations of the text, prevent us from accurately 
fixing the mutual relations of the several Canaanite 
tribes to each other. Thus much, however, is clear. 3 
The Canaanites, 4 or " Lowlanders," properly so called, 
occupied the sea-coast as far south as Dor, a consider- 
able portion of the plain of Esdraelon, and some spots 
in the valley of the Jordan. ■ The Amorites, or moun- 
taineers, occupied the central and southern hills with 
the Hittites and Hivites. Of these intruders, the Amo- 
rites seem to have been the most ancient and the most 
warlike, perhaps allied to the old gigantic race with 
which from time to time they appear in connection. 5 
The Hittites belong to the more peaceful occupants, 

1 Deut. ii. 21, 23. xiii. 29; and compare, throughout" 

2 See Lecture XVI. Ewald, i. 301-342. 

3 The most exact account of the 4 Deut. i. 7. 

••elation* of these tribes is in Num. 5 Deut. iv. 47; xxxi. 4 ; Jos. ix. 10 

Amos ii. 9. 


and their name is that by which Palestine in these 
early ages was chiefly known in foreign countries 
The Hivites, like the Phoenicians of the north, in- 
clined to a more regular form of political organization. 
Of the lesser subdivisions, the Jebusites are attached 
to the Amorites, the Perizzites to the Hittites, and the 
Girgashites to the Hivites. 

Tf, from the bare enumeration of names and geo- 
graphical situations, we pass to the outward appear- 
ance, or the moral and social condition of the inhabi- 
tants of Syria, when the Israelites broke in upon them, 
the task is far more difficult. They seem to rise be- 
fore us only to vanish away. Hardly a dying word 
escapes. The Sacred historian turns away as if in 
silent aversion. Yet the picture, which from the 
Israelite point of view is so dark and shadowy, receives 
The Phoe- a sudden light from a quarter then unknown 
Canaanites. and unthought of. It is startling; to be remind- 
ed that " Canaanite " is but another name l for * Phoe- 
nician;" that the detested and accursed race, as it 
appears in the Books of Joshua and Judges, is the 
same as that to which from Greece we look back as 
the parent of letters, of commerce, of civilization. The 
Septuagint translators wavered between preserving the 
original Hebrew word, or adopting the - name of 
* Phoenician," as already recognized by the Greek lan- 
guage. Had they chosen in all cases, as they have 
in some, 2 the latter of these two alternatives, it is 
curious to reflect how essentially our ideas of the an- 
cient inhabitants of Palestine might have been modi- 
lied. Yet, in fact, the illustrations of the Phoenician 

For the name of" Canaanite" as 2 The, word is so translated by the 
coextensive with " Phoenician," see LXX. in Ex. xvi. 35 ; Josh. v. 1. 
Kenrick's Phoenicia, 42, 52. 


or Canaanite history from Gentile sources coincide 
substantially with what we learn from the Jewish an- 
nals. In both, we see the same dusky complexion 
of the race, 1 distinguished alike from the western 
Greeks and the eastern Israelites. In both, we track 
them advancing: into Palestine from the extreme south. 2 
In both, the coexistence, side by side, of monarchical, 
federal, 3 and aristocratic institutions can be traced. In 
both, their general equality, if not superiority, in social 
arts to the surrounding nations and to the Israelites 
themselves, is acknowledged. They are in possession 
of fortified towns, treasures of brass, iron, gold, and 
foreign merchandise. They, no less than the Egyp- 
tians and Israelites, retain the mark of an ancient 
sacred civilization in the rite of circumcision. 4 And 
in both accounts, their religious rites are described in 
the same terms, — human sacrifices, licentious orgies, 
the worship of a host of divinities. But the differ- 
ence between the two representations, which has, in 
fact, almost blinded us to the fact of the identity of 
the nation described by the two authorities, is more 
instructive than their likeness. The Israelite version, 
on the one hand, we must freely grant, takes no heed 
of the nobler aspect which this great people present- 
ed to the western world ; or, at least, not till the 
wider prophetic view of Isaiah and Ezekiel compre- 
hended within the sympathy of the Jewish Church 

1 For the dark color of the race see tional case of the Philistines, 1 Sam. 
the arguments adduced both from xviii. 25-27 ; 2 Sam. i. 20, combined 
Gen. x. 7, and from Strabo, xii. 144, with the historical statement in Herod, 
in Kenrick's Phoenicia, 50, 52. ii. 104, is convincing. From Gen. 

2 Kenrick, 50. xxxiv. 15, it would appear that the 

3 See Ewald, ii. 337, and Lecture early Shechemites were not cireum* 
XV. cised. 

4 The argument from the excep- 



the grander elements of Sidonian power and Tynan 
splendors But, on the other hand, the Gentile ac 
counts are insensible to the cruel, debasing, and name- 
less sins which turned the heart of the Israelite sick, 
in the worship of Baal, Astarte, and Moloch. It is 
true that these are but the same divinities, whom 
we regard leniently, if not indulgently, when we find 
them in the forms of Jupiter, Apollo, Venus, Hercules, 
Adonis. But the other phase is not to be forgotten ; 
and when Milton took these names of Syrian idols 
to represent the evil spirits of Pandemonium, and 
thus renewed, as it were, to them a lease of exist- 
ence which seemed long since to have died out, he 
did but place us, though but for a moment, in the 
condition of the soldiers of the first conquest of Pales- 
tine, to whom Beelzebub and Moloch were living 
powers of evil, as hateful as though they actually 
personified the principles with which he has identified 
them. 1 The bright side of Polytheism is so familiar 
to us in the mythology of Greece, that it is well 
to be recalled for a time to its dark side in Pales- 

From the general consideration of the Conquest, we 
Conquest of turn to the first stage of it in the territory 

Eastern _ , _ _ , . 

Palestine, east oi the Jordan, — that mysterious eastern 
frontier of the Holy Land, so beautiful, so romantic, 
so little known, whether we look at it through the 
distant glimpses and hasty surveys of it obtained by 
modern travellers, or the scanty notices of its first 
conquest in the Book of Numbers. 

On the eastern side of the Jordan valley two frag- 

1 "Before Milton, if Moloch, Belial, and distinct poetic existence." Mil* 
Mammon, &c, were not absolutely un- man's Latin Christianity, book xiv, 
known to history, they had no proper ch. 2. 


merits of the aboriginal race had existed under the 
name of a Emim," and " Zamzummim " or a Zuzim." * 
These old inhabitants had been expelled by the kin- 
dred tribes of Moab and Ammon. But they in turn 
had, just before the point of the history at which we 
have now arrived, been dispossessed by two Canaanite 
chiefs of a considerable portion of the territory which 
(hey had themselves acquired. 

On this motley ground the Israelites appeared in 
the double light of conquerors and deliverers. The 
story is briefly told ; but its main features are dis- 
cernible, and it illustrates in many points the greater 
conquest for which it prepared the way. 

The attack on the two Canaanite kings was assist- 
ed by a strange visitation which had just befallen the 
Transjordanic territory. Immense swarms of hornets, 
always common in Palestine, 2 burst upon the country 
with unusual force. 3 The chiefs were thus probably 
driven out of their fastnesses, and forced into the 
plain, where the final conflict took place. 

The first onslaught was upon Sihon. He occupied 
the whole district between the Arnon and smon, 
Jabbok, through which the approach to the Heshbon. 
Jordan lay. He had wrested it from the predecessor 
of Balak, and had established himself, not in the an- 
cient capital of Moab — Ar, but in the city, still con- 
spicuous to the modern traveller from its wide pros- 
pect and its cluster of stone-pines — Heshbon. The 
recollection of his victory survived in a savage war- 

1 Gen. xiv. 5; Deut. ii. 10, 20. the most natural. See Mr. Cyril 

2 Deut. i. 44 ; Ps. cxviii. 12, and the Graham's " Ancient Bashan " in Cam- 
name of Zoreah (= hornet) Josh. xv. bridge Essays, 147. 

33. These passages make a literal 3 Ex. xxiii. 28 ; Deut. vii. 21 ; 
acceptation of the texts above cited Josh. xxiv. 12; Wisd. xii. 18. 


song, 1 which passed into a kind of proverb in after* 
times : — 

" Come home to Heshbon ; 
Let the city of Slhon be built and prepared, 
For there is gone out a fire from Heshbon, 
A flame from the city of Sihon. 
It hath consumed Ar of Moab, 
And the lords of the high places of Arnon : 
Woe to thee, Moab: thou art undone, thou people of Chemosh! 
He hath given his sons that escaped, and his daughters, into captivity 
To the King of the Amorites, Sihon." 

The decisive battle between Sihon and his new foes 
Battle of took place at Jahaz, probably on the confines 
of the rich pastures of Moab and the desert 
whence the Israelites emerged. It was the first en- 
gagement in which they were confronted with the 
future enemies of their nation. The slingers and 
archers of Israel, afterwards so renowned, now first 
showed their skill. Sihon fell; the army fled 2 (so ran 
the later tradition), and, devoured by thirst, like the 
Athenians in the Assinarus, on their flight from Syra- 
cuse, was slaughtered in the bed of one of the moun- 
tain streams. The memory of this battle was cherished 
in triumphant strains, in which, after reciting, in bitter 
irony, the song, just quoted, of the Amorites' triumph, 
they broke out into an exulting contrast of the past 
greatness of the defeated chief and his present fall : — 

" We have shot at them : Heshbon is perished : 
We have laid them waste : even unto Nophah : 
With fire : 3 even unto Medeba." 

Subject to Sihon, as vassals, 4 were five Arabian 

1 Num. xxi. 27-29 repeated, as if where the same word is used of the 
well known, in Jer. xlviii. 45, 46. Midianite chiefs Oreb and Zeeb. 

2 Jos. Ant. iv. 5, § 2. They are called " kings," Num. xxxi. 

3 Num. xxi. 30 (LXX.). 8; " princes," Josh, xiii 91 ; "elders," 
< The word translated " dukes," Num. xxii. 4. 

Josh. xiii. 21. Comp. Ps. lxxxiii. 11, 


chiefs, of the great tribe of Midian. Their names 
are preserved to us, 1 ■*— Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, Defeat of 
and Reba. It was they who, doubtless ter- Midian - 
rified at the fall of their sovereign, persuaded the 
King of Moab to rid himself of the dangerous, though 
at first welcome intruders, by the curse of Balaam. 
When this failed, and when the more sure and fatal 
ruin of the contagion of the licentious rites of Midian 
provoked the religious and moral feeling of the better 
spirits of the nation to that terrible retribution of 
which the later conquest was one long exemplification, 
a sacred war was proclaimed. It was headed, not by 
the soldier Joshua, but by the Priest Phinehas. The 
Ark went with the host. The sacred trumpets were 
blown. The chiefs of Midian were slain : 2 the great 
prophet of the East fell with them. 3 Their stone 
enclosures 4 were taken. 5 Their pastoral wealth fell to 
their conquerors, as in the case of the second great 
defeat of their tribe achieved by Gideon, 6 — ornaments 
of gold, and thousands of oxen, sheep, and asses. 
And then took place the first wholesale extermination 
of a conquered tribe. 7 

The way was now clear to the Jordan. But the 
career of conquest opened on its eastern bank 0g? King 
was not easily closed. It is possible that the of Bashan * 
thought of pushing forward in this direction was sug- 
gested to them by the neighboring and kindred tribe 

1 Num. xxxi. 8. * Translated "castles" in Gen. 

a Ibid. 6, 7, 8. xxv. 16. 

a In the Samaritan Joshua (ch. 8), 5 Num. xxxi. 10. 

he is dragged out of the temple by 6 Judg. viii. 26 ; Num xxxi. 36, 

Joshua, who wishes to spare him ; 37-39. 

out the fierce Simeon ites insist on 7 See Lecture XI. 
Ais being put to death, lest he should 
fascinate them by his spells. 


of Amnion, "too strong" to be subdued, and ever 
more interested than themselves in the expulsion of 
the second Canaanite chief, who had occupied the 
territory north of Ammon, apparently at the same 
time that Sihon had occupied the territory east of 

This was Og, king of the district which, under the 
name of Bashan, extended from the Jabbok up to the 
base of Hermon. There is no direct notice, as in the 
case of Sihon, of his having invaded the country, and 
this omission, combined with the mention of his gigan- 
tic stature, warrants the conjecture that he was one 
of the leaders of the aboriginal race, for which Bashan 
had always been renowned. 

In this joint expedition of Israel and Ammon, the 
commanders were two heroes of the tribe of Manas- 
seh, Jair and Nobah. 1 

The fastness of Og was the remarkable circular dis- 
Battie of trict formerly known by the name of Argob, 
or the " stony," rendered by the Greeks 
" Trachonitis ; " or Chebel, " rope," as if from the 
marked character of its boundary, 2 rendered by the 
corresponding Arabic word " Leja." It is described as 
suddenly rising from the fertile plain, an island of 
basalt : its rocky desolation, its vast fissures, more re- 
sembling the features of some portions of the moon, 
than any formation on the earth. At the entrance 
of this fastness, as if in the Thermopylae of the king- 
dom, is Edrei. Here Og met the invaders. 8 The bat- 
tle was lost, and Bashan fell. Ashtaroth-Karnaim, the 

1 In Numb, xxxii. 39-42, Josh. 8 See Article " Argob," Dictionary 

xvii. 1, " Machir " is mentioned, but of the Bible, p. 42. 

it would seem that this (like Judah 3 Num. xxi. 33. Mr. Cyril Gra- 

and Simeon in Judg. i. 17) is a per- ham in Cambridge Essays, i. 145.—- 

unification of the tribe. Porter's Damascus, ii. 220. 


sanctuary of the Horned Astarte, 1 and perhaps the 
6ame as the capital Kenath, surrendered. It had 
been already the scene of a signal defeat in still 
more primitive times, when the aboriginal inhabi- 
tants were attacked by the Assyrian invaders from 
the East. 2 

The Ammonites 3 carried off as their trophy the 
"iron bedstead" (perhaps the basaltic coffin, Settlement 
like that of Esmunazar recently found at Sidon) of Bashan - 
of the gigantic Og. The Israelites occupied the whole 
country, remarkable even then for its sixty cities, 4 
strongly walled and fortified. Here, as throughout 
the Transjordanic territory, the native names were 
altered, and new titles imposed by the Israelites, as 
if at once determined on making a permanent settle- 
ment. The basaltic character of the country lent 
itself to these cities, as naturally as the limestone of 
Palestine and sandstone of Edom opened into habita- 
tions in holes and caves. The country which thus 
fell into their hands was that known by the name of 
Gilead, — a name which it never lost, and which out- 
lived and superseded the divisions of the three con- 
quering tribes. The two Israelite chiefs took, as it 
would seem, different portions. Jair 5 occupied the 
more pastoral part, and founded thirty nomadic vil- 
lages, called after his name, u the villages of Jair." 6 

1 Figures and coins with a crescent But their existence unquestionably 
have been found at Kenath. — Porter's illustrates those mentioned in Deut. 
Damascus, ii. 106-114. iii. 4, 5. 

2 Gen. xiv. 5. 5 J a j r was j n some way allied with 

3 Deut iii. 3-11. the family of Caleb, 1 Chron. ii. 23 ; 

4 Porter's Damascus, ii. 196, 206. but the statement is too confused to 
Graham in Cambridge Essays, 160. furnish any basis of additional infor* 
Lengerke's Kenaan, 392. I do not mation. 

pretend to pronounce an opinion on 6 Num. xxxii. 41 ; Jos. xiii 30 
'.he age of the cities as thus described. Ewald, ii. 298. 


Nobah took possession of Kenath, the capital, of which 
he must have been the captor, and to this he also 
gave his name, though the old one, as so often in 
Syria, returned. 

Of these two chiefs we know but little more. It 
Jair. is possible that Jair is the same as the stately 

head ! of a vast family mentioned amongst the Judges. 
His name lingered down to the time of the Chris- 
tian era ; when, in the same region as that which 
he conquered, we find " a ruler of the synagogue 
named Jair," "whose daughter 2 was at the point of 

Nobah occurs nowhere else in the Hebrew Scrip- 
Nobah. tures. But a certain grandeur must have 
attached to his career to cause his selection as the 
representative of the Transjordanic tribes in the Sa- 
maritan Book of Joshua. 3 There, under the name of 
Nabih, he receives from Joshua the solemn investiture 
of royalty over the Eastern tribes, and sits in state, 
clothed in green, on his throne of judgment. The 
portion of the Manassite tribe which he represented, 
and which lay beyond the limits of Gilead, must have 
furnished the more civilized and settled part of the 
Transjordanic population, which dwelt in the walled 
cities left by the expelled Canaanites. 

Whether the settlement of the Eastern territory of 
Causes of Palestine was accomplished, as the Book of 

the settle- . 

ment. Numbers would lead us to infer, within a few 
months, or, as the Books of Joshua and Judges would 
imply, in a period extending over many years, must 
be left uncertain. But the causes which led to it 
are natural in themselves, and are expressly pointed 
out in the Biblical narrative. The Transjordanic terri* 

l Judg. x. 3-5. 2 Luke viii. 41. 3 Chap. 12, 24. 


tory was the forest-land, the pasture-land of Palestine. 
The smooth downs received a special name, 1 Natural 

1 ^ ' features of 

" Mishor," expressive of their contrast with the Trans- 

7 x jordanic 

the rough and rocky soil of the west. The district - 
" oaks " of Bashan, which still fill the traveller with 
admiration, were to the prophets and psalmists of 
Israel the chief glory of the vegetation of their com- 
mon country. The vast herds of wild cattle which 
then wandered through the woods, as those of Scot- 
land through its ancient forests, were, in like manner, 
at once the terror and pride of the Israelite, — u the 
fat bulls of Bashan." The King of Moab was but a 
great "sheep-master," and "rendered" for tribute "an 
" hundred thousand lambs, and an hundred thousand 
" rams with the wool." And still the countless herds 
and flocks may be seen, droves of cattle moving on 
like troops of soldiers, descending at sunset to drink 
of the springs, — literally, in the language of the 
Prophet, "rams and lambs, and goats, and bullocks, 
" all of them fatlings of Bashan." 

In the encampment of Israel, two tribes, Eeuben 
and Gad, were preeminently nomadic. They had " a 
"very great multitude of cattle." For this they de- 
sired the land, and for this it was given to them, 
" that they might build cities for their little ones, 
" and folds for their sheep." 2 In no other case is the 
relation between the territory and its occupiers so ex- 
pressly laid down, and such it continued to be to the 
end. From first to last they alone of the tribe* 
never emerged from the state of their Patriarchal an 
cestors. Gad and Reuben accordingly divided the 
kingdom of Sihon between them, that is, the terri 
tory between the Arnon and the Jabbok, and the 

1 Sinai and Palestine, App. § 6. 2 Num. xxxii. 16, 24. 



eastern side of the Jordan valley up to the Lake of 
Chinnereth, 1 or Gennesareth. 

Reuben was the more purely pastoral of the two, 
Reuben. and therefore the more transitory. "Unstable 
"as water," he vanishes away into a mere Arabian 
"tribe ; his men are few;" 2 it is all that he can do "to 
" live and not die." The only events of their subse- 
quent history are the multiplication of " their cattle 
"in the land of Gilead;" their "wars" with the Bedouin 
"sons of Hagar;" 3 their spoils of "camels fifty thou- 
sand, and of sheep two hundred and fifty thousand, 
"and of asses two thousand." In the chief struggles 
of the nation Reuben never took part. The complaint 
against him in the Song of Deborah is the summary 
of his whole history, "By the ' streams' of Reuben," 4 
that is, by the fresh streams which descend from the 
eastern hills into the Jordan and the Dead Sea, on 
whose banks the Bedouin chiefs then, as now, met to 
debate. "By the ' streams' of Reuben great were 
"the c debates.' Why dwellest thou among the sheep 
" ' troughs ' to hear the ' pipings ' of the flocks ? By 
" the l streams ' of Reuben great were the searchings 
"of heart." 

Gad has a more distinctive character. In the forest 
Gad. region south of the Jabbok, "he dwelt as a 

"lion." 5 Out of his tribe came the eleven valiant chiefs 
who crossed the fords of the Jordan in flood-time to 
join the outlawed David, " whose faces were like the 
" faces of lions, 6 and were as swift as the ■ gazelles,' 
"upon the mountains." These heroes also were the 

1 Josh. xiii. 15-28; Num. xxxii. 2 Deut. xxxiii. 6. The English 

34-38. See Mr. Grove's article on version, without any authority, adds 

Gad in Diet, of the Bible. the word " not." 

3 1 Chr. v. 10. 4 J u dg. v. 15, 16. 

5 Deut. xxxiii. 20. 8 1 Chr. xii. 8-13. 


Bedouins of their own time. The very name of Gad 
expressed the wild aspect which he presented to the 
wild tribes of the East. a Gad is ' a troop of plun- 
u derers ; r l a troop of plunderers shall 6 plunder ' him 3 
"but he shall ' plunder' at the last." 

The northern outposts of the eastern tribes were 
intrusted to that portion of Manasseh which Manasseh. 
had originally attacked and expelled the Amorite in- 
habitants from Gilead. The same martial spirit which 
fitted the western Manasseh to defend the passes of 
Esdraelon, fitted " Machir, the first-born of Manasseh, 
* the father of Gilead/' to defend the passes of Hauran 
and Anti-Libanus ; " because he was a man of war, 
"therefore he had Gilead and Bashan." The pastoral 
character common to Gad and Reuben was shared, 
but in a much less degree, by these descendants of 
the ruling tribe of Joseph. 

It is evident that with a country so congenial, and 
a geographical separation so complete, a disruption 
might be at once anticipated between these pastoral 
tribes and their western brethren, similar to that 
which some centuries later, from other causes, dis- 
membered the monarchy of David. 

One of the most famous texts in the Bible is 
founded on the apprehension of this probable calamity, 
when Moses warned the Transjordanic tribes that they 
were bound to follow their brethren to assist in the 
conquest of Western Palestine. " If ye will not do so, 
u behold, ye have sinned against the Lord : and be sure 
" your sin will find you out." 2 How it would have found 
them out, we can see from the fate of Reuben. The 

1 Gen. xlix. 19. which have been published on thia 

2 Num.xxxii. 23. IntheLXX."Ye text, I cannot forbear to refer to 
ihall know your sin when it finds you one of remarkable excellence by the 
out.' Amongst the many sermons late Rev. J. H. Gurney. 


nearest actual approach to a breach was on the re- 
contro- turn of the Eastern tribes after the western 
^we?nthe conquest, when their simple pastoral monu- 
westtm and men t °f stones was mistaken by the other 
tribes. tribes for an altar. It was put up, apparently, 
by Bohan, the Keubenite, and called after his name, 
between the fords and the mouth of the Jordan. 1 
They were pursued by Phinehas, 2 ready for another 
sacred war, like that in which he had destroyed the 
Midianites. The whole transaction is an instance of 
what has often occurred afterwards in ecclesiastical 
history. What was meant innocently, though, perhaps, 
without due regard for the consequences, is taken for 
a conspiracy, a rebellion, an attempt to overthrow the 
faith. There are always theologians keen-sighted to 
see heresy in the simplest orthodoxy, and superstition 
in the most harmless ceremony. There have been 
places, where it has been impossible, without incur- 
ring dangerous suspicions of idolatry, to mention the 
Cross of Christ. There have been those, from the 
first ages of the Church downwards, before whom it 
has been impossible, without incurring dangerous sus- 
picions of Atheism, even to profess the Christian re- 
ligion. The solution of the controversy between the 
two pastoral eastern tribes and their western brethren 
in the Jewish Church, is one which might have saved 
the schism of the Eastern Church from the Western, 
and have prevented many bitter controversies and 
persecutions in all Churches. 

On the one hand, the Eeubenites and their com- 
panions said : " The Lord God of Gods, the Lord God 
{i of Gods, He knoweth. and Israel he shall know. If 
* it be in rebellion, or if in transgression against the 

l Josh. xv. 6, xxii. 11. 2 lb. xxii. 13. 


* Lord, save us not this day." l It is a text invested 
with a mournful interest — for it is that on which 
Welsh, the minister of the army of the Covenanters 
preached before the Battle of Bothwell Bridge. 
Whether or not it was sincerely used in that latter 
application, on this, its first occasion, it truly ex- 
pressed the absence of any sinister intention, and it 
was accepted as such even by the fierce, un- Its inten- 
compromising Phinehas. " This day we per- tl0n - 
" ceive that the Lord is among us, because ye have 
" not committed this trespass against the Lord : now 
" ye have delivered the children of Israel out of the 
" hand of the Lord." He did not push matters to 
extremities — he was thankful to have been spared the 
great crime of attacking as a moral sin what was only 
an error (if so be) of judgment. Alas ! how seldom in 
the history of religious divisions have thanks been re- 
turned for a deliverance from a crime which many re- 
ligious leaders have regarded as a duty and a blessing. 

The Eastern tribes returned to their distant homes. 
Their reward was that, in after-ages, slight as the 
connection might be with the rest of the nation, it 
was never entirely broken. 

One reminiscence of this connection is preserved in 
a splendid legend of the Samaritans. It re- Legend of 
cords how, when at the close of his campaigns, Nu " ah - 
Joshua was beset not merely with the armies, but with 
the enchantments, of the Canaanites and Persians, and 
imprisoned within a sevenfold wall of iron, a carrier 
pigeon conveyed the tidings of his situation to Nobah, 
who sprang from his judgment^seat, and, with a shout 
that rang to the ends of the universe, summoned his 
Transjordanic troops around him. They came in thou- 

1 Josh. xxii. 22. 


sands. One band, clothed in white, rode on red horses. 
Another, clothed in red, rode on white horses ; a third, 
in green, on black horses, a fourth, in black, on spot- 
ted horses. Nobah himself rode at their head on a 
steed, beautiful as a panther, fleet as the winds. He 
approaches, under cover of a hurricane, which drives 
the birds to their nests, and the wild beasts to their 
lairs, and enters the plain of Esdraelon. The mother 
of the Canaanite king, like the mother of Sisera, or 
like the watchman on the walls of Jezreel, 1 goes up 
to the tower to worship the sun. She sees the ad- 
vancing splendors, and she rushes down to announce 
to her son that a the moon and the stars are rising 
" from the East : woe to us, if they be enemies ! bless- 
" ed are we, if they are friends ! " A single combat 
takes place between Nobah and the Canaanite king, 
each armed with his mighty bow. At last the king 
falls — by the spring that gushed forth, " known even 
" to this day as the Spring of the Arrow." At Joshua's 
bidding, the priests within the seven iron walls blow 
their trumpets — the walls fall — the sun stands still, 
and the winds fly to his aid, and the horses of the 
conquerors plunge up to their nostrils in the blood 
of the enemy. 2 

This wild story points no doubt to the bond of 
union which in the great extremities of war was kept 
up between the two banks of the Jordan. The battle- 
cry of the Eastern portion of Manasseh seems to have 
extended to the whole tribe — " Whosoever is fearful 
" and afraid, let him depart from Mount Gilead." 3 But 
their usual relations belong to a more touching class 
of recollections and anticipations. 

1 Judg. v. 28 ; 2 Kings ix. 17. 3 Judg. vii. 3. See Lecture XV 

2 Samaritan Joshua, ch. 37. 


Those Eastern hills were to the Western Israelites 
the land of exile, — the refuge of exiles. One The East 
place there was in its beautiful uplands con- o f ie t jf uge 
secrated by the presence of God in primeval West ' 
times. a Mahanaim " marked the spot where Jacob 
had divided his people into "two hosts/' and seen the 
" Two Hosts " of the angelic vision. 1 To this scene of 
the great crisis in their ancestor's life the thoughts of 
his descendants returned in after-years, whenever for- 
eign conquest or civil discord drove them from their 
native hills on the west of Jordan, — when Abner fled 
from the Philistines, when David fled from Absalom, 
when the Israelite captives lingered there on the way 
to Babylon, when David's greater Son found there a 
refuge from the busy world which filled Jerusalem and 
the Sea of Galilee, when the infant Christian Church 
of Palestine escaped to Pella from the armies of Titus. 
From these heights, one and all of these exiles must 
have caught the last glimpse of their familiar moun- 
tains. There is one plaintive strain which sums up 
all these feelings, — the 42d Psalm. Its date and au- 
thorship are uncertain, but the place is beyond doubt 
the Transjordanic hills, which always behold, as they 
are always beheld from, Western Palestine. As, before 
the eyes of the exile, the u gazelle " of the forest of 
Gilead panted after the fresh streams of water which 
thence descend to the Jordan, so his soul panted after 
God, from whose outward presence he was shut out. 
The river, with its winding rapids, " deep calling to 
deep," lay between him and his home. All that he 
could now do was to remember the past, as he stood 
% in the land of Jordan," as he saw the peaks of a Her- 
mon," as he found himself on the eastern heights of 

1 See Lecture III. 


Mizar, which reminded him of his banishment and sol- 
itude. The Peroean hills are the " Pisgah " of the ear* 
Her history. To the later history they occupy the 
pathetic relation that has been immortalized in the 
name of the long ridge from which the first and the 
last view of Granada is obtained ; they are u the Last 
Sigh " of the Israelite exile. In our own time, per- 
haps in all times of their history, they have furnished 
to the familiar scenes of Western Palestine a shadowy 
background, which imparts to the tamest features of 
the landscape a mysterious and romantic charm, a 
sense as of another world, to the dweller on this side 
of the dividing chasm almost inaccessible, yet always 
overhanging the distant view with a presence not to 
be put by. And with this thought there must have 
been blended, in large periods of the Jewish history, 
a feeling which has now long since died away, — that 
from these Eastern mountains, and from the desert 
beyond them, would be the great Eeturn of the scat- 
tered members of the race. " Mine own will I bring 
" again from Bashan." " How beautiful on the moun- 
" tains [of the East] are the feet of him that bringeth 
" good tidings." — " Make straight in the desert [be- 
" yond the Jordan] a highway for our God. 77 * 

l Ps. lxviii. 22 •, Isa. lii. 7 ; xi. 3. 





The Conquest of Eastern Palestine has been drawn 
out at length in the preceding Lecture, because, from 
the scanty and fragmentary notices of it in the nar- 
rative, we are in danger of losing sight altogether of 
a remarkable portion both of the Holy Land and of 
the Sacred history. But it is a true feeling which 
has caused the chief attention to be fixed on the 
conquest of the western rather than of the eastern 
shores of the Jordan, as the turning-point, in this 
stage, of the fortunes of the Jewish Church and 

We have seen what the Eastern territory was, — 
how congenial to the nomadic habits of a Conquest 

, , ..-.. of Western 

hitherto pastoral people : a land in some re- Palestine, 
spects so far superior, both in beauty and fertility, 
to the rugged mountains on the further side. " The 
Lord had made them ride on the high places of 
" the earth, that they might eat the increase of the 
" fields ; and he made them to suck honey out of the 
"'cliff,' and oil out of the flinty rock; butter of kine 
and milk of sheep ; with fat of lambs, and rams of 
" the breed of Bashan, and goats ; with the fat of kid- 
" neys of wheat and . . . the pure blood of the grape." 1 

l Deut. xxxii. 13, 14. 


So, we are told, spoke their Prophet-leader, whilst 
the j were still in enjoyment of this rich country. 
Yet forwards they went. It was the same high call- 
ing — whether we give it the name of destiny, or 
Providence — which had already drawn Abraham from 
Mesopotamia, and Moses from the court of Memphis. 
They knew not what was before them; they knew 
not what depended on their crossing the Jordan, — 
on their becoming a settled and agricultural, instead 
of a nomadic people, — on their reaching to the shores 
of the Mediterranean sea, and from those shores re- 
ceiving the influences of the Western world, and 
sending forth to that Western world their influences 
in return. They knew not, but w r e know; and the 
more we hear of the beauty of the Transjordanic ter- 
ritory, the greater is the wonder — the greater, we 
may almost say, should be our thankfulness — that 
they exchanged it for Palestine itself; inferior as it 
might naturally have seemed to them, in every point, 
except for the high purposes to which they were 
called, and for which their permanent settlement on 
the eastern side of the Jordan would, humanly speak- 
ing, have wholly unfitted them. 

It was to inaugurate this new era, of a dangerous 
present and a boundless future, that a new character 
appears on the scene. In the Eastern conquest, we 
have but faintly perceived the hands by which the 
victory was won, and the people guided. Moses, in- 
deed, is still living ; but his command in battle is 
hardly noticed. Of Jair and Nobah we know scarce 
anything but the names. The most remarkable leader 
Phinehas. of that transitional period, whose career over- 
laps also that on which we are now entering, is the 
famous son of the High Priest Eleazar, who in his 

Lect. X. JOSHUA. 251 

Egyptian * name bore the last trace of their Egyptian 
sojourn. Phinehas, rather than his father, figures 
throughout this period as the leading member of the 
hierarchy. In the conflict with Midian, 2 in the dispute 
with the Reubenites, in the war with the Benjamites, 3 
he is the chief oracle and adviser. On him is pro- 
nounced the blessing which secured to his descendants 
the inheritance of the priesthood, as though up to 
that time the succession had been in uncertainty. 
He was lono; known as the ruler or commander of 
the Levite guard, 4 and as the type of indomitable 
zeal. In later Jewish traditions, he is supposed to 
have received, through the blessing upon his zeal, 
the gift of immortality, 5 and to have continued on 
the earth till he reappeared as Elijah; and thus, in 
Mussulman fancy, he claims, with Elijah, Jethro, and 
S. George, to be identified with the mysterious •* an- 
derer, who goes to and fro on the earth, to set 
right the wrong and to make clear the dark. 6 

But the fierce Priest was not to be the successor 
of the first of the Prophets. It was from an- Joshua. 
other tribe, and from another class of character, that 
Moses had chosen his constant companion, his minis- 
tering servant. Every great prophet had such an 
attendant, and the attendant of Moses was Joshua 
the son of Nun. He, according to Jewish tradition, 7 
was the bosom friend, the first example of pure and 
dear friendship in the Jewish Church ; and to him. 
rather than to any hereditary kinsman, was the guid- 
ance of the nation intrusted. 

1 Brugsch, Efjypt, 174. 5 See Lecture VHI. 

2 See Lecture IX. 6 Fabricius, Cod. Pseudep. i. 893 

3 See Lecture XIII. 894. 

4 Num. xxv. 13 ; Ps. cvi. 30 ; 1 Chr. » Philo, Be Caritate, ii. 384, 385. 
ix. 20. 

252 jushua. lect. x 

Never, in the history of the Chosen People, could 
there have been such a blank as that when they 
became conscious that "Moses the servant of the 
" Lord was dead." He who had been their leader, 
their lawgiver, their oracle, as far back as their 
memory could reach, was taken from them at the 
very moment when they seemed most to need him. 
It was to fill up this blank that Joshua was called. 
The narrative labors to impress upon us the sense 
that the continuity of the nation and of its high 
purpose was not broken by the change of person 
and situation. "As I was with Moses, so will I be 
" with thee. I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee/' l 
There was, indeed, as yet, no hereditary or fixed suc- 
cession. But the germ of that succession is better 
represented by the very contrast between Moses and 
Joshua, than in any other passage in the Sacred 

" The voice that from the glory came, 

To tell how Moses died unseen, 
And waken Joshua's spear of flame 

To victory on the mountains green, 
Its trumpet tones are sounding still, 

When kings or parents pass away ; 
They greet us with a cheering thrill 

Of power or comfort in decay." 2 

The difference, indeed, was marked as strongly as 
His char- possible. Joshua was the soldier, — the first 
acter ' soldier, consecrated by the Sacred history. 

He was not a teacher, not a Prophet. 3 He, one may 

1 Josh, i 5. whole poem well carries out the 

2 This poem in Keble's Christian thought. 

Year is suggested by the Service for 3 In the Eastern Church Joshua 

the Accession of the English Sover- is sometimes reckoned as a prophet. 

3igns, on which day this portion of Josephus {Ant. v. 1, §4) seems to im- 

the Book of Joshua is read. The ply that he had an attendant piophet, 

oect. X. HIS CHARACTER. 253 

say, hated the extension of Prophecy with a feeling 
which recalls a well-known saying of the great war- 
rior of our own age. He could not restrain his 
indignation when he heard that there were two un- 
authorized prophesiers within the camp. a My Lord 
Moses, forbid them." 1 He was a simple, straightfor- 
ward, undaunted soldier. His first appearance is in 
battle. a Choose out men, go out, light with Amalek." 2 
He is always known by his spear, or javelin, slung 
between his shoulders or stretched out in his hand. 3 
The one quality which is required of him, and de- 
scribed in him, is that he was "very courageous." 
" He was strong and of a good courage." 4 " He was 
not afraid nor dismayed." He turned neither to the 
right hand nor to the left ; but at the head of the 
hosts of Israel he went right forward from Jordan to 
Jericho, from Jericho to Ai, from Ai to Gibeon, to 
Beth-horon, to Merom. He wavered not for a mo- 
ment ; he was here, he was there, he was everywhere, 
as the emergency called for him. He had no words 
of wisdom, except those which shrewd common sense 
and public spirit dictated. 5 To him the Divine Revela- 
tion was made not in the burning bush nor in the 
still small voice, but as " the Captain of the Lord's 
host, with a drawn sword in his hand;" 6 and that 
drawn and glittering sword was the vision which 

through whom the divine commands * Num. xi. 28. 

were given to him. But this has no a Ex. xvii. 9. 

ground in the n irrative, and the Mus- 3 Josh. viii. 18, 26. It was the chi- 

sulman traditions expressly exclude don or light javelin ; see the article 

him from that rank. (Weil's Biblical Arms, in Diet, of Bible. 

Legend*, p. 144.) It is probably on 4 J osn . i. j i 9 ? 18. 

other grounds that the Book of Joshua 5 See Lecture XII. 

is placed amongst the " Prophets " 6 Josh. v. 13. 

in the Jewish canon. See Lecture 


254 JOSHUA. Lect. X 

went before him through the land, till all the kings 
of Canaan were subdued beneath his feet. 

It is not often, either in sacred or common history 
His name, that we are justified in pausing on anything 
so outward and (usually) so accidental as a name. 
But, if ever there be an exception, it is in the case 
of Joshua. In him it first appears with an appropri- 
ateness which the narrative describes as intentional. 
His original name, Hoshea, u salvation," is transformed 
into Jehoshna, or Joshua, " God's salvation ; " and this, 
according to the modifications which Hebrew names 
underwent in their passage through the Greek lan- 
guage, took, in the later ages of the Jewish Church, 
sometimes the form of Jason, but more frequently that 
which has now become indelibly impressed upon his- 
tory as the greatest of all names — JESUS. 3 

Slight as may be this connection between the first 
and the last to whom this name was given with any 
religious significance, it demands our consideration for 
the sake of two points which are often overlooked, 
and which may in this relation catch the attention 
of those who might else overlook them altogether. 
One is the prominence into which it brings the true 
meaning of the sacred Name, as a deliverance, not 
from " imputed " or a future " or " unknown " dangers, 
but from enemies as real as the Canaanitish host. 
The first Joshua was to save his people from their 
actual foes. The Second was to "save His people 
from their sins" 2 . Again, the career of Joshua gives a 
note of preparation for the singularly martial, soldier- 
like aspect — also often forgotten — under which his 
Namesake is at times set forth. The courage, the 

- LXX. throughout, and, in the N. 2 Matt. i. 21. 
T , Acts vii. 45 ; Hebr. iv. 8. 


cheerfulness, the sense of victory and of success, which 
runs both through the actual history of the Gospels, 
and through the idealization of it in "the Conqueror" 
of the writings of S. John, 1 finds its best illustration 
from the older church in the character and career of 

The first stage of Joshua's Conquest was the occu- 
pation of the vast trench, so to speak, which The Pas- 

■t ' x sage or th« 

parted them from the mass of the Promised J° r <*an 
Land. Between it and them lay the deep valley of 
the Jordan with its mysterious river. a To pass over 
"the Jordan and go in and possess the land," was a 
crisis in their fate, such as they had not experienced 
since the crossing of the Red Sea. 

The scene of the passage of the Jordan is presented 
to us in the Sacred narrative in a form so distinct, 
and at the same time so different from that which is 
usually set forth in pictures and allegories, that it shall 
here be given at length, so far as it can be made out 
from the several notices handed down to us, namely, 
the two separate accounts in the Book of Joshua, 2 
further varied by the differences between the Received 
Text and the Septuagint, the narrative of Josephus, 
and the 114th Psalm. 

For the first time they descended from the upper 
terraces of the valley, they " removed from the acacia 
« groves and came to the Jordan and 6 stayed the night ' 
" there before they passed over." 3 

It was probably at the point near the present south- 

1 Not only in the Apocalypse (ii. our Salvation " (Heb. ii. 10) derives 

7 11, 17, 26 ; iii. 5, 12, 21 ; v. 5 ; vi. its martial sound only from the Eng» 

2 ; xi. 7 ; xii. 1 1 ; xiii. 7 ; xv. 2 ; xvii. lish, not from the original. 
14 ; xxi. 7) but in the Gospel (John 2 Josh. iii. 3-1 7 ; iv. 1-24. 

xvi. 33), and Epistles (1 John ii. 13, 3 Josh. iii. 1 

14 ; iv. 4 ; v 4, 5). " The Captain of 


ern fords, crossed at the time of the Christian era by a 
The river, bridge. 1 The river was at its usual state of 
flood at the spring of the year, so as to fill the whole 
of the bed, up to the margin of the jungle with which 
the nearer banks are lined. On the broken edge of 
the swollen stream, the band of priests stood with the 
Ark on their shoulders. At the distance of nearly a 
mile in the rear was the mass of the army. Suddenly 
the full bed of the Jordan was dried before them. 
High up the river, * far, far away," 2 " in Adam, the 
" city which is beside Zaretan," 3 " as far as the parts 
" of Kirjath-jearim," 4 that is, at a distance of thirty 
miles from the place of the Israelite encampment, 
u the waters there stood which i descended ' ' from the 
" heights above/ — stood and rose up, as if gathered 
a into a waterskin ; 5 as if in a barrier or heap, 6 as if 
" congealed ; 7 and those that ' descended ' towards the 
u sea of i the desert,' the salt sea, failed and were cut 
" off." Thus the scene presented is of the " descending 
"stream" (the words employed seem to have a special 
reference to that peculiar and most significant name 
of the "Jordan") not parted asunder, as we generally 
fancy, but, as the Psalm expresses it, 8 " turned back- 

1 So we may infer from Jos. Ant. 5 So Symmachus's version, as the 
v. i. 3. LXX. in Ps. xxxiii. 7. 

2 iiaxpav ododpa otyodp&g, LXX. ; Josh. 6 The word here used, ned, is only 
Hi. 16. used of " water" with regard to the 

3 Josh. iii. 16. Not " from Adam," Jordan river, and the waves of the 
but " in Adam." See Keil ad loc. sea poetically (Ps. xxxiii. 7 ; Ex. xv. 
Zaretan is near Succoth, at the mouth 8). The Vulgate makes this to be 
of the Jabbok, 1 Kings vii. 46. " as high as a mountain." The Sa- 

4 Josh. iii. 16 (LXX.), unless this maritan Joshua makes it " wave ris- 
be another reading for Kirjath-Adam " ing upon wave till it reached the 
(the citr of Adam). [Comp. Kiria- " height of a lofty mountain." 
thaim, in the same neighborhood, Gen. 1 Wjypa, LXX. ; Josh. iii. 16 

xiv. 5.] 8 p s . CX1V . 3. 


" wards ; " the whole bed of the river left dry from 
north to south, through its long windings ; the huge 
stones lying bare here and there, embedded in the 
soft bottom ; 1 or the shingly pebbles drifted along the 
course of the channel. 2 

The Ark stood above. The army passed below. The 
women and children, according to the Jewish The Pag . 
tradition, 3 were placed in the centre, from the sage ' 
fear lest they should be swept away by the violence 
of the current. The host, at different points probably, 
rushed across. 4 The priests remained motionless, their 
feet sunk in the deep mud of the channel. 5 In front, 
contrary to the usual order, 6 as if to secure that they 
should fulfil their vow, went the three Transjordanic 
tribes. They were thus the first to set foot on the 
shore beyond. Their own memorial of the passage 
was the monument already described. 7 But the na- 
tional memorial was on a larger scale. Carried aloft 
before the priests as they left the river-bed, 8 were 
" twelve stones," selected by the twelve chiefs of the 
tribes. These were planted on the upper terrace of 
the plain of the Jordan, and became the centre of the 
first sanctuary of the Holy Land, — the first place pro- 
nounced u holy," the " sacred place " of the Jordan 
valley, 9 where the tabernacle remained till it was 
fixed at Shiloh. 10 Gilgal long retained reminiscences of 
its ancient sanctity. The twelve stones taken up from 

1 As implied in Josh. iv. 9, 18. 6 Num. xxxii. 20 ; Josh. iv. 12. 

2 Jos. Ant. v. 1, § 3. 7 Lecture IX. 

3 Ibid. 8 The LXX. reads in Josh. iv. 11, 

4 " Hasted," Josh. iv. 10. « the stones," instead of" the priests." 

5 This is implied in the word trans- 9 Josh. v. 13-15. 
iated " lifted up ; " but more properly 10 Josh, xviii. 1. 
as in the margin, " plucked up." Josh. 

't. 18. 


258 GILGAL. Lect. X. 

the bed of the Jordan continued at least till the 
time of the composition of the Book of Joshua, 1 and 
seem to have been invested with a reverence, which 
came to be regarded at last as idolatrous. 2 The name 
was joined with that of the acacia groves on the far- 
ther side, in the title, as it would seem, given in pop- 
ular tradition or in ancient records, to this passage of 
the history : " From Shittim to Gilgal." 3 

But its immediate connection was with the first 
Giigai. stage of the Conquest. The touching alle- 
gory by which in the " Pilgrim's Progress " the pas- 
sage of the Jordan is made the likeness of the pas- 
sage of the river of Death to the land of rest beyond, 
has but a slight ground in the language of the Bible, 
or the course of the history. The passage of the 
Jordan was not the end, but the beginning of a long 
and troubled conflict. Of this, the first step was the 
occupation of Gilgal. It became immediately the 
frontier fortress, such as the Greeks under the name 
of epiteichisma, and the Romans under the name of 
colojiia, always planted as their advanced posts in a 
hostile country, such as at Kufa the Arab conquerors 
founded before the building of Bagdad, 4 and at Fostat 
before the building of Cairo. It was also, as Jose- 
phus well says, the " place of freedom." 5 There they 
cast off the slough of their wandering life. The un- 
The cir circumcised state, regarded as a deep reproach 
eumcision. j^ fae higher civilization of the East, was now 
to be " rolled away." The ancient rite was performed 
once more, and the knives of flint used on the occa- 

1 Josh. iv. 5. For the question of 2 Judg. iii. 26 ; Hosea iv. 15 ; lx 
the double memorial, see the com- 15; xii. 11; Amos i v. 1 ; v. 5 
mentators on this place. The LXX. 3 Micah vi. 5. 
text (iv. 9) supposes two. 4 Ewald ii. 244. 

5 Ant. v 1, § 4. 

Lect. X. JERICHO. 259 

sion were preserved as sacred relics. The hill where 
the ceremony had taken place — one of the many 
argillaceous hills on the terraces of the valley — was 
called by a name commemorating the event, as was 
Gilgal itself. 1 A Jewish sect is reported still to exist 
at Bozra, which professes to have broken off from Is- 
rael at this time. They are said to abhor not only 
circumcision, but everything which can remind them 
of it — all cutting with knives, even at meals. One 
other sign of the desert ceased at the same time. 
For the first time since leaving Sinai, the Passover 
was celebrated, and the cakes were made no longer 
of manna, but of the corn of Palestine, bread found 
in the houses of the old inhabitants. 

It was on Jericho that the attention of Joshua had 
been already fixed before the Passage of the Jericho. 
Jordan. Following the plan which seems to have 
been universal in the warfare of those times, he sent 
two spies, as he and his eleven companions had once 
gone before from the south, as the spies were after- 
wards sent to explore Ai 2 and Bethel. 3 They, like 
the wild Gadites in David's time, swam the flooded 
river, and out of their adventure grew the one gentle 
incident of this part of the history, — the kindness 
and honor dealt to Rahab, the first convert to the 
Jewish faith. 

Jericho was the most, indeed the only, important 
town in the Jordan valley. Not only was it conspic- 
uous amongst the other Canaanitish towns, for its 
walls and gates, and its rich temple, filled with gold, 
silver, iron, brass, and even Mesopotamian drapery, 4 
but its situation was such as must always have ren- 

1 Jos. Ant. v. 3, § 7. 3 J u dg. i. 23. 

9 Josh. vii. 2. 4 Josh. vii. 21. 

260 FALL OF JERICHO. Lect. X. 

dered its occupation necessary to any invader from 
that quarter. It was the key of Western Palestine, 
as standing at the entrance of the two main passes 
into the central mountains. From the issues of the 
torrent of the Kelt on the south, to the copious 
spring, afterwards called "the fountain of Elisha," on 
the north, the ancient city ran along the base of the 
mountains, and thus commanded the oasis of the 
desert valley, the garden or park of verdure, which 
clustering round these waters has, through the various 
stages of its long existence, secured its prosperity and 

Beautiful as the spot is now in utter neglect, it 
must have been far more so when it was first seen 
by the Israelite host at Gilgal. Gilgal was about 
five miles distant from the river banks; at the east- 
ern outskirts, therefore, of the great forest. Jericho 
itself stood at its western extremity, immediately where 
the springs issue from the hills. From that scene of 
their earliest settlement in Palestine, the Israelites 
looked out over the intervening woods to what was 
to be the first prize of the conquest. The forest it- 
self did not then consist, as now, merely of the pict- 
uresque thorn, but was a vast grove of majestic 
palms, nearly three miles broad, and eight miles long. 
It must have recalled to the few survivors of the old 
generation the magnificent palm-groves of Egypt, such 
as may now be seen stretching along the shores of 
the Nile at Memphis. Amidst this forest — as is, to a 
certain extent, the case even now — would have been 
seen, stretching through its open spaces, fields of ripe 
corn ; for it was " the time of barley harvest." Above 
the topmost trees would be seen the high walls and 
towers of the city, which from that grove derived its 

Lect. X. JLKICHO. 261 

proud name, "Jericho, the city of palms," "high, and 
fenced up to heaven." Behind the city rose the jag 
ged range of the white limestone mountains of Judaea, 
here presenting one of the few varied and beautiful 
outlines that can be seen amongst the southern hills 
of Palestine. This range is " the mountain " to which 
the spies had fled whilst their pursuers vainly sought 
them on the way to the Jordan. 

The story of the Fall of Jericho, and the Passage 
of the Jordan, carries with it the same im- its fail. 
pression as that of the Exodus ; that it was not by 
their own power, but by a Higher, that the Israelites 
were to effect their first entrance into the Promised 
Land. Whatever might be their own part in what 
followed — whatever might be their own even in this 
— the sagacity of Joshua, the venturesomeness of the 
spies, the fidelity of Rahab, the seven days' march, 
the well-known and terrible war-cry ; yet the river is 
crossed, and the city falls, by other means. It may 
be that these means were found in the resources of 
the natural agencies of earthquake or volcanic con- 
vulsion, 1 which mark the whole of the Jordan valley, 
from Gennesareth down to the Dead Sea, and which 
are perpetually recurring in its course, not only dur- 
ing the sacred history, but to our own time. If so, 
we have a remarkable illustration and confirmation 
of the narrative, the more so, because the secondary 
causes of these phenomena must have been to the 
sacred historians themselves unknown. But, if we are 
denied this external testimony to the events, the 
moral, which the relation of them is intended to 

1 Instances — obvious, indeed, with- lustration of these events, by Dr. 

out any special enumeration — are King, in his Morsels of Criticism, iiL 

fiven both of the effect on waters 287, 305. 
and on cities, by earthquakes, in il- 

262 FALL OF JERICHO. i^ect. ^. 

teach, and which no doubt it did teach, remains the 
same, and is well expressed in the Psalm of later 

" We have heard with our ears, O God ; 

" Our fathers have told us what Thou didst in their days, in the times of 

" How Thou didst drive out the heathen with Thy hand, and plantedat 
them ; 

" How Thou didst afflict the people, and cast them out. 

" For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, 

M Neither did their own arm save them ; 

" But Thy right hand, and Thine arm, and the light of Thy countenance, 

" Because Thou hadst a favour unto them." l 

The ultimate importance of the fall of Jericho is 
marked by the consecration of its spoil, and by the 
curse on its rebuild er. But its immediate conse- 
quences lay in the opening which it afforded for 
penetrating into the hills above. It was a critical 
moment, for it was exactly at the similar stage of 
Fan of Ai. their approach to Palestine from the south, 
that the Israelites had met with the severe repulse 
at Hormah, which had driven them back into the 
desert for forty years. " Joshua " accordingly " sent 
" men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Bethaven, 
" on the east side of Bethel, and spake unto them, 
u saying, Go up and view the country." The precise 
position of Ai is unknown ; but this indication points 
out its probable site in the wild entanglement of hill 
and valley at the head of the ravines running up 
from the valley of the Jordan. The two attempts of 
the Israelites that followed upon the report of the 
spies, are quite in accordance with the natural feat- 
ures of the pass. In the first attempt the inhabi- 
tants of Ai, taking advantage of their strong position 

l Ps. xliv. 1-3. 

Lect. X. FALL OF AI. 263 

on the heights, drove the invaders "from before the 
gate/' . . . and smote them in "the going down" 
of the steep descent. In the second attempt, after the 
Israelites had been reassured by the execution of 
Achan "in the valley of Achor," probably one of the 
valleys opening into the Ghor, the attack was con- 
ducted on different principles. An ambush was 
placed by night high up in the main ravine be- 
tween Ai and Bethel. Joshua himself took up his 
position on the north side of " the ravine," apparently 
the deep chasm through which it joins the ravine of 
Jericho. From this point the army descended into 
the valley, Joshua himself, it would seem, remaining 
on the heights ; and, decoyed by them, the King of 
Ai with his forces pursued them as before into the 
u desert " valley of the Jordan ; whilst the ambush, 
at the signal of Joshua's uplifted spear, rushed down 
on the city ; and then, amidst the mingled attack at 
the head of the pass from behind, and the return of 
the main body from the desert of the Jordan, the 
whole population of Ai was destroyed. A heap of 
ruins on its site, and a huge cairn over the grave of 
its last king, 1 remained long afterwards as the sole 
memorials of the destroyed city. 

The passes were now secured, and the interior of 
the country was accessible. Two peaceful memorial -5 
remained of this stage of the conquest. The first 
was the adoption of Eahab into the commu- Rahab. 
nity. "She dwelleth among the people to this day." 
The stringency of the Mosaic law prohibiting inter- 
marriage with the accursed race was relaxed in her 
favor. To her was traced back the princely lineage 
of David, and of a greater than David. Her trust. i» 

1 Joshua viii. 28, 29. 


G ofl ? and her friendly hospitality whilst yet a hea- 
then, were treasured up by the better spirits of the 
later Jewish and early Christian Church/ as a signal 
instance of the universality of Divine mercy and of 
religious faith. 

The other was the league with the Gibeonites. 
The The historical peculiarities of this transaction 

Gibeonites. eX p] am themselves. The situation and char- 
acter of Gibeon at once placed it in an exceptional 
position. Planted at the head of the Pass of Beth- 
horon, and immediately opposite the opening of the 
Pass of Ai, it would have been the next prey on 
which the Israelite host would have sprung. On the 
other hand, its organization, being apparently aristo- 
cratic, or federal, — itself at the head of a small 
band of kindred cities, 2 — separated it from the inter- 
ests of the royal fortresses of the rest of Palestine. 
Their device is full of the quaint humor which marks 
its antiquity. It is observable that they represent 
themselves as not having yet heard of the aggression 
on Western Palestine, only of the by-gone conquest 
of the Amorite kings beyond the Jordan. 

The remembrance of the league was kept up 
The through the whole course of the subsequent 

league. history. The massacre of the Gibeonites by 
Saul was not excused by the fact that they were an 
alien race. David was faithful to the vow which 
Joshua had first made. That vow and its observance, 
even though darkened by its sanguinary consequences 

1 Heb. xi. 31 ; James ii. 25 ; Clem. Biblical narrative into conformity 

Ep ad Cor. ; Lightfoot, Hor. Heb. with a preconceived hypothesis of 

ad Matt. i. 5. The change of " har- the perfection of everything to which 

lot " into " hostess " is one of the it relates, 

many attempts made in later times 2 Josh. ix. 1 7. 
to force the fearless simplicity of the 


in the sacrifice of the sons of Saul, stands out in the 
careers of Joshua and of David as an example, rare 
in the historj' of the Christian Church, of faith kept 
with heretics and infidels. When in the fifteenth 
century Ladislaus of Hungary had made a solemn 
treaty with Amurath II., and when tidings arrived of 
unlooked-for succors to the Christian host, no less a 
personage than Cardinal Julian Ceesarini, in an elabo- 
rate argument, urged the king to break the league. 1 
The chief of the Polish clergy, in a spirit more worthy 
both of the Old and the New Dispensation, protested 
against the treacherous act. But he protested alone, 
and King and Cardinal broke their plighted faith, 
and hurried on the Christian army to what proved 
its destruction. Not so the leaders of Israel under 
Joshua, when public opinion clamored for vengeance 
on the Gibeonite deceivers. " All the congregation 
" murmured against the princes. But ail the princes 
a said unto all the congregation, We have sworn unto 
" them by the Lord God of Israel ; now, therefore, we 
u may not touch them. This we will do to them : we 
" will even let them live, lest wrath be upon us be- 
" cause of the oath which we sware unto them." 2 

Their lives w T ere spared. They willingly undertook 
the tributary service w r hich was levied upon them. 
Under " the great high place " on which the Taber- 
nacle — at least during part of the subsequent his- 
tory — was raised, they remained in after-times a 
monument of this early league. With what fidelity 
the promise was observed, and with what important 
consequences, will be best seen by describing the 
great event to which it directly led, — the Battle of 

1 Life of CardinalJulian, pp. 329-341. - Josh. ix. 18-20 






The battle of Beth-horon or Gibeon is one of the 
Battle of most important in the history of the world ; 
Beth-horon. an( ^ y Q ^ gQ p ro found has been the indiffer- 
ence, first of the religious world, and then (through 
their example or influence) of the common world, to 
the historical study of the Hebrew annals, that the 
very name of this great battle is far less known to 
most of us than that of Marathon or Cannae. 

It is one of the few military engagements which 
belong equally to Ecclesiastical and to Civil History 
— which have decided equally the fortunes of the 
world and of the Church. The roll will be complete 
if to this we add two or three more which we shall 
encounter in the Jewish History ; and, in later times, 
the battle of the Milvian Bridge, which involved the 
fall of Paganism; the battle of Poitiers, which sealed 
the fall of Arianism; the battle of Bedr, which se- 
cured the rise of Mahometanism in Asia; the battle 
of Tours, which checked the spread of Mahometanism 
in Western Europe ; the battle of Lepanto, which 
checked it in Eastern Europe ; the battle of Lutzen, 
which determined the balance of power between Ro 
man Catholicism and Protestantism in Germany. 

The kings of Palestine, each in his little mountain 

Lect. XI. BATTLE OF BETH-H0110N. 26V 

fastness, — like the kings of early Greece, crowded 
thick together in the plains of Argos and of Thebes, 
when they were summoned to the Trojan war 3 — 
were roused by the tidings that the approaches to 
their territory in the Jordan valley and in the passes 
leading from it were in the hand of the enemy. 
Those w r ho occupied the south felt that the crisis 
was yet more imminent when they heard of the ca- 
pitulation of Gibeon. Jebus, or Jerusalem, even in 
those ancient times, was recognized as their centre. 
Its chief took the lead of the hostile confederacy. 
The point of attack, however, was not the invading 
army, but the traitors at home. Gibeon, the Siege of 
recreant city, was besieged. The continuance G,beon - 
or the raising of the siege, as in the case of Orleans 
in the fifteenth century, and Vienna in the seven- 
teenth, became the turning question of the war. The 
summons of the Gibeonites to Joshua was as urgent 
as words can describe, and gives the key-note to the 
whole movement. "Slack not thy hand from thy 
" servants ; come up to us quickly, and save us, and 
" help us ; for all the kings of the Amorites that 
" dwell in the mountains are gathered together against 
" us." Not a moment was to be lost. As in the bat- 
tle of Marathon, everything depended on the sudden- 
ness of the blow which should break in pieces the 
hostile confederation. On the former occasion of 
Joshua's visit to Gibeon, it had been a three days' 
journey from Gilgal, as according to the slow pace 
of eastern armies and caravans it might well be. Bui 
now, by a forced march, "Joshua came unto them 
u suddenly, and went up from Gilgal all night." When 
the sun rose behind him, he was already in the o^en 
ground at the foot of the heights of Gibeon, wher<* 


the kings were encamped (according to tradition a ) 
by a spring in the neighborhood. The towering hill 
at the foot of which Gibeon lay, rose before them on 
the west. The besieged and the besiegers alike were 
taken by surprise. 2 

As often before and after, so now, "not a man 
First stage " could stand before " the awe and the panic 
of the battle. Q £ ^q sudden sound of that terrible shout — 
the sudden appearance of that undaunted host, who 
came with the assurance not "to fear, nor to be dis- 
" mayed, but to be strong and of a good courage, for 
" the Lord had delivered their enemies into their 
" hands." The Canaanites fled down the western pass, 
and "the Lord discomfited them before Israel, and 
" slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and 
" chased them along the way that goeth up to Beth- 
" horon." This w T as the first stage of the flight. It 
is a long rocky ascent, 3 sinking and rising more than 
once, before the summit is reached. From the sum- 
mit, which is crowned by the village of Upper Beth- 
horon, a wide view opens over the valley of Ajalon, 
of a Stags " or " Gazelles," which runs in from the 
plain of Sharon. Jaffa, Bamleh, Lydda, are all visible 

"And it came to pass as they fled before Israel, 
Second a and were in the going doivn to Beth-horon, 

stage of 

the battle. u that the Lord cast down great stones from 
" heaven upon them unto Azekah." This was the 
second stage of the flight. The fugitives had out- 
stripped the pursuers ; they had crossed the high ridge 
of Beth-horon the Upper ; they were in full flight to 

1 Josephus, Ant. v. 1, § 17. " battle: God is His name" (Samar- 

2 In the Samaritan tradition the itan Joshua, ch. 20, 21). 

war-cry was, "God is mighty in 3 The actual amount of elevation in 

this ascent is perhaps doubtful. 


Beth-horon the Nether. It is a rough, rocky road, 
sometimes over the upturned edges of the limestone 
strata, sometimes over sheets of smooth rock, some- 
times over loose rectangular stones, sometimes over 
steps cut in the rock. It was as they fled The storm. 
down this slippery descent, that, as in the fight of 
Barak against Sisera, a fearful tempest, " thunder 
"lightning, and a deluge of hail," 1 broke over the 
disordered ranks ; " they were more which died of the 
" hailstones 2 than they whom the children of Israel 
" slew with the sword." 

So, as it would seem, ended the direct narrative of 
this second stage of the flight. But at this point, as 
in the case of the defeat of Sisera, we have one of 
those openings, as it were, in the structure of the 
Sacred history, which reveal to us a glimpse of an- 
other, probably an older, version, lying below the sur- 
face of the narrative. In the victory of Barak, we 
have the whole account, first in prose and then in 
verse. Here we have, in like manner, first, the prose 
account ; and then, either the same events, or the 
events immediately following, related in poetry — 
taken from one of the lost books of the original 
canon of the Jewish Church, the Book of Jasher. 3 

On the summit of the pass, where is now the ham- 
let of the Upper Beth-horon, looking far down Joshua > s 
the deep descent of the Western valleys, with Pra - ver * 

1 Jos. Ant. v. 1, § 17. Compare 3 We know this book only from tho 
Judg. iv. 15 ; v. 20 ; 1 Sam. vii. 10. two fragments (Josh. x. 12-14, 2 Sam. 

2 The stones have been interpreted i. 17-27) which have come down 
as meteoric stones; but the explana- to us. But, according to a probable 
tion of them in the Hebrew text, and conjecture, first started by Theodoret 

he tradition in the LXX. and Jose- (Qucesliones in Jesum Jilium Nave), it 
phus, are decisive in favor of the hail- was a volume containing songs of the 
storm. departed " heroes " or "just ones." 


the green vale of Ajalon stretched out in the dis- 
tance, and the wide expanse of the Mediterranean 
Sea beyond, stood, as is intimated, the Israelite chief. 
Below him was rushing down, in wild confusion, the 
Amorite host. Around him were " all his people of 
war, and all his mighty men of valor." Behind him 
were the hills which hid Gibeon — the now rescued 
Gibeon — from his sight. But the sun stood high 
above those hills, u in the midst of heaven," x for the 
day had now far advanced, since he had emerged 
from his night-march through the passes of Ai; and 
in front, over the western vale of Ajalon, may have 
been the faint crescent of the waning moon, visible 
above the hailstorm driving up from the sea in the 
black distance. Was the enemy to escape in safety, 
or was the speed with which Joshua had " come 
u quickly, and saved and helped " his defenceless allies, 
to be rewarded, before the close of that day, by a sig- 
nal and decisive victory ? 

It is doubtless so standing on that lofty eminence, 
with outstretched hand and spear, as on the hill above 
Ai, that the Hero appears in the ancient song of the 
Book of Heroes. 

" Then spake Joshua unto Jehovah 
In the day ' that God gave up the Amorite 
Into the hand of Israel,' (LXX.) 
When He discomfited them in Gibeon, 

' And they were discomfited before the face of Israel.' (LXX.) 
And Joshua said : 

1 Be thou still,' O Sun, upon Gibeon, 

And, thou Moon, upon the valley of Ajalon ! 

And the Sun was still, 

And the Moon stood, 

2 If the expression " upon Gibeon," " the midst of Heaven " in x. 13, then 
in Joshua x. 12, be exact, then the it must be the noon, 
eaily morning must be intended j if 


Until * the nation * (or LXX. ' until God ') had avenged them upon theii 

And the sun stood in ' the very midst' of the heavens, 
And hasted not to go down for a whole day. 
And there was no day like that before it or after it, 
That Jehovah heard the voice of a man, 
For Jehovah fought for Israel. 1 
And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp in Gilgal." 

So ended the second stage of the flight. In the 
lengthened day thus given to Joshua's prayer. Third 

. stage of 

comes the third stage. " The Lord smote them the battle. 
•• to Azekah and unto Makkedah, and these five kings 
" fled and hid themselves in the cave at Makkedah." 
But Joshua halted not when he was told ; the same 
speed was still required, — the victory was not yet 
won. The mouth of the cave was blocked by huge 
stones, and a guard stationed to watch it whilst the 
pursuit was continued. We know not pre- The 
cisely the position of Makkedah ; but it must f™h e hter 
have been, probably, at the point where the kmgs * 
mountains sink into the plain, that this last struggle 
took place ; and thither, at last, u all the people of 
" Israel returned in peace ; none moved his tongue 
" against any of the people of Israel." A camp was 
formed round the royal hiding-place. It was a well- 

1 I have given at length what leaves out the closing verse of the ex- 
appears to be the extract from the tract (verse 15), from the just feel- 
Poetical Book (Josh. x. 12-15). In ing that it interrupts the historical 
some respects it seems to be better narrative ; but apparently overlook- 
preserved in the LXX. ; in others, in ing its connection with the distinct 
the Received Text. The LXX. has document from Jasher. Besides the 
given the first portion (verse 12) in metre of the passage, some of the 
the metrical form, which the Re- phrases seem to indicate its poetic 
ceived Text has reduced to prose ; character. For example, the unusual 
and has left out the reference to the use of the word Goi (nation), for the 
Book of Jasher, which the Received people of Israel (in verse 13), and 
Text inserts in the middle of the ex- the expression of the sun " being S* 
bract. On the other hand, the LXX. lent/' as if awe-struck. 


known cave, u the cave," ] overshadowed by a grove 
of trees. The five kings were dragged out of its re- 
cesses, for the first time, to the gaze of their enemies. 
Their names and cities were handed down in various 
versions, 2 to later times. Hoham or Elam, of Hebron ; 
Piram or Phidon, of Jarmuth ; Japhia or Jephtha, of 
Lachish ; Dabir or Debir, either of Eglon or Adullam : 
and their leader, Adoni-zedek or Adoni-bezek, of Jeru- 
salem. If the former ("the Lord of Righteousness") is 
the name, it suggests a confirmation of the tradition 
that the Salem where Melchi-zedek, a the King of 
u Righteousness," reigned, was Jerusalem, thus confer- 
ring on its rulers a kind of hereditary designation. If 
the latter, he must have had a connection, more or less 
close, with the terrible chief who had seventy cap- 
tive princes grovelling under his table, 3 after the sav- 
age custom of Oriental despots. An awe is described 
as falling on the Israelite warriors, when they saw 
the prostrate kings. At the Conqueror's bidding, they 
draw near ; and according to the usage portrayed in 
the monuments of Assyria and Egypt, planted their 
feet on the necks of- their enemies. It was reserved 
for Joshua himself to slay them. The dead bodies 
were hung aloft, each on its own separate tree, be- 
side the cave, and remained (so it would seem) tt un- 
til the evening," when, at last, that memorable sun 
•'•' went down." The cave where they had been hid 
became the royal sepulchre. The stones which on 
that self-same day had cut them off frum escape, 
closed the mouth of their tomb ; 4 and the destruction 

1 The cave in the Hebrew and in 2 The variations appeal in the 
the LXX. Josh. x. 16, 17. For the LXX. 
trees see x. 26. 3 Judg. i. 7. 

« See Keil on Josh. x. 27. 


of the neighboring town of Makkedah "on that day," 
completed their dreadful obsequies. 

So ended the day to which, in the words of the 
ancient sacred song, " there was no day like, before 
or after it." 1 The possession of every place, sacred for 
them and for all future ages, through the whole centre 
and south of Palestine, — Shechem, Shiloh, Gibeon, 
Bethlehem, Hebron, and even for a time, Jerusalem, 
was the issue of that conflict. "And all these kings 
" and their land did Joshua take at one time, because 
16 the Lord God fought for Israel." a And Joshua re- 
" turned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp to 
" Gilgal." 2 It is the only incident of this period ex- 
pressly noticed in the later books of the Old Testa- 
ment. a The Lord shall rise np as in Mount Perazim ; 
"He shall be wroth as in the valley by Gibeon." z The 
very day of the week was fixed in later tradi- importance 
tions. With the Samaritans it was Thursday ; 4 Battle. 

1 This first victory of their race arms at the interval of nearly fifteen 

may well have inspirited Judas Mac- hundred years. From their camp 

cabeus, who, himself a native of the at Gibeon, the Romans, as the Ca- 

neighboring hills, won his earliest naanites before them, were dislodged ; 

fame in the same "going up and they fled in similar confusion down 

coming down of Beth-horon," where the ravine to Beth-horon, the steep 

in like manner " the residue " of the cliffs and the rugged road rendering 

defeated army fled into " the plain," cavalry unavailable against the iner- 

" into the land of the Philistines." ciless fury of their pursuers : they 

And again over the same plain was were only saved — as the Canaanites 

carried the great Roman road from were not saved — by the too rapid 

Caesarea to Jerusalem, up which Ces- descent of the shades of night over 

tins advanced at the first onset of the mountains, and under the cover 

the Roman armies on the capital of of those shades they escaped to An- 

Judaea, and down which he and his tipatris, in the plain below, 

whole force were driven by the in- 3 Josh. x. 28-43. 

surgent Jews. By a singular coin- 3 I sa . xxviii. 21. 

cidence the same scene thus wit- 4 Sam. Joshua, ch. 21, where the 

nossed the first and the last great news of the victory was brought to 

victory that crowned the Jewish Eleazar by a carrier-pigeon. 


with the Mussulmans it was Friday ; ] and this has 
been given as a reason for that day being chosen as 
the sacred day of Islam. 

Immediately upon its close, follows the rapid suc- 
cession of victory and extermination which swept the 
whole of Southern Palestine into the hands of Israel, 
It is probable, indeed, from what follows, 2 either that 
the subjugation and destruction were less complete 
than this narrative would imply, or that the deeds of 
Joshua's companions and successors are here ascribed 
to himself and to this time. But the concentration 
of the interest of the conquest on this one event, if 
not chronologically exact, yet no doubt justly repre- 
sents the feeling that this was the one decisive bat- 
tie, involving all the other consequences in its train. 

There are two difficulties which have been occa- 
Difficuities. sioned by this event, or rather by its inter- 
pretation, which have not been without influence on 
the history of the Christian Church. 

I. The first has arisen from the words of Joshua, 
The sun " Sun 6 be thou still ' on Gibeon, and thou, 

standing . 

still. " Moon, over the valley of Ajalon : or, as 

read in the Vulgate, which first gave the offence, 
" Sun, move not thou towards Gibeon, nor thou, Moon, 
a towards the valley of Ajalon." These words in the 
Book of Joshua were doubtless intended to express 
that in some manner, in answer to Joshua's earnest 
prayer, the day w T as prolonged till the victory was 
achieved. How, or in what way, we are not told : 
and if we take the words in the popular and poetical 

1 Buckingham's Travels, p. 302. " Joshua made war a long time with 

Jelaleddin, Temple of Jerusalem, 287. " all those kings .... and at that 

a For example, Hebron and Debir " time came Joshua and cut off the 

are taken or retaken (Judg. i. 10). " Anakims from the mountains, from 

Compare also Josh. xi. 18-21 — " Hebron, from Debir, &c." 


sense in which from their style it is clear that they 
are used, there is no occasion for inquiry. That some 
such general sense is what was understood in the 
ancient Jewish Church itself, is evident from the 
slight emphasis laid upon the incident by Josephus, 1 
and the Samaritan Book of Joshua; and from the ab- 
sence of any subsequent allusion to it (unless, indeed, 
in a similar poetic strain 2 ) in the Old or New Testa- 
ment. But in later times men were not content with- 
out taking them in their literal, prosaic sense, and 
supposing that the sun and the moon actually stood 
still, and that the system of the universe was arrested. 
It was this interpretation which invested the passage 
with a new and alarming importance when the Coper- 
nican system was set forth by Galileo ; when it ap- 
peared that the sun, being always stationary, could 
not be said to stand still or to move. Round this 
famous prayer was fought a battle of words in eccle- 
siastical history, hardly less important than the battle 
of Joshua and the CanaaniteS. It raged through the 
lifetime of Galileo ; its last direct traces appear in the 
preface of the Jesuits to their edition of Newton's 
Principia, defending themselves for their apparent, but 
(as they state) only hypothetical, sanction of a theory 
which, by supposing the earth's motion, runs counter 
to the Papal decrees. It continues still in the terrors 
awakened in many religious minds by the analogous 
collisions between the letter of Scripture and the ad- 

1 Ant. v. 1, § 17. " He then heard " increase, and was longer than usual, 

" that God was helping him, by the " is told in the books laid up in the 

• signs of thunder, lightning, and un- " Temple." The Samaritan book sim- 
' usual hailstones ; and that the day ply says, " that the day was prolonged 
'* was increased, lest the night should " at his prayer" (ch. 20). 

* check the zeal of the Hebrews. ... 2 Hab. iii. 11. 
1 That the length of the day did then 


vances of science in geology, ethnology, and philol- 
ogy. But, in fact, the victory was won in the per- 
son of Galileo. Even the Court of Rome has since 
admitted its mistake. It is now universally acknowl- 
edged that on that occasion "the astronomers were 
" right and the theologians were wrong." The prin- 
ciple was then once for all established, that the Bible 
was not intended to teach scientific truth. This inci- 
dent in the Sacred narrative has thus, instead of a 
stumbling-block, became a monument of the recon- 
ciliation of religion and science ; and the advance in 
our knowledge of the Bible since that time has still 
further tended to diminish the collision which then 
seemed so frightful, because it has shown us far more 
clearly than could be seen in former times, that the 
language employed is not only popular but poeti- 
cal and rhythmical; 1 and that the attempt to inter- 
pret it scientifically is based on a total misconception 
of the intention of the words themselves. But, even 
with the imperfect knowledge of Biblical criticism 
then possessed, the defence of their position by the 
two great astronomers sums up the question in terms 

1 It is well known that various superfluous. But, if there be any to 

scientific expedients have been in- whom such explanations appear not 

vented to solve the question. Some only improbable in themselves, but 

have imagined a long-prepared scheme contrary to the plain tenor of the 

for the arrest of the solar system, and Sacred narrative, it may be a satis- 

a succession of secret miracles to avoid faction to adopt the statement given 

the consequences of such a universal above, which is, in fact, the unan- 

shock. Others have supposed a re- imous opinion of all German theo- 

fraction, a parhelion, or a multip>lica- logians of whatever school. The 

tion of parhelions. Others have seen expression, " the stars in their courses 

in the passage the intimation of a sus- " fought against Sisera " (Judg. v. 

pended deluge. To those who may 20), has never been distorted from 

/egard any of these explanations as its true poetical character, and has 

authorized either by reason or Scrip- therefore, given rise to no alarms and 

ture, what has here been said will be no speculations. 


which not only meet the whole of this case, but ap 
ply to any further questions of the kind which may 
meet us hereafter. 

Galileo, with the caution which belonged to his char- 
acter and situation, mainly relies on the author- Angwer of 
ity of others. But these were almost the high- Glllleo - 
est that he could have named. The first is Baronius, the 
chief ecclesiastical historian of the Roman Church : " The 
"intention of Holy Scripture is to show us how to go 
" to heaven, not to show us how the heaven goeth." 1 
The second was Jerome, the author of the most ven- 
erable translation of the Bible : " Many things are 
a spoken in Scripture according to the judgment of 
" those times wherein they were acted, and not ac- 
" cording to that which truth contained." 2 

Kepler, with that union of courage and piety which 
marks his whole career, explains the text him- Answer ot 
self. u They will not understand that the only Kep er * 
a thing which Joshua prayed for, was that the moun- 
" tains might not intercept the sun from him. Be- 
" sides, it had been very unreasonable at that time to 
u think of astronomy, or of the errors of sight ; for if 
" any one had told him that the sun could not really 
u move on the valley of Ajalon, but only in relation to 
" sense, w r ould not Joshua have answered that his de- 
" sire was that the day might be prolonged, so it were 
" by any means whatsoever ? " 3 

So far the wise astronomer speaks of the actual his- 
toric incident. But I may be excused for adding the 
conclusion of his treatise, in words equally profitable to 
the learned and the unlearned student. u He who is so 
6 stupid as not to comprehend the science of astron- 

1 Galileo's Tract on rash Citations 2 Jerome (Ibid. 448). 
from Scripture (Salisbury's Mathe- 3 Kepler's Tract (Ibid. 463.) 
matical Tracts* ». 436.) 


" omy, or so weak as to think it an offence of piety 
a to adhere to Copernicus, him I advise — that, leav- 
ing the study of astronomy and censuring the opin- 
" ions of philosophers at pleasure, he betake himself 
u to his own concerns, and that desisting from further 
a pursuit of those intricate studies, he keep at home 
" and manure his own ground ; and with those eyes 
" wherewith alone he seeth, being elevated towards this 
" much-to-be-admired heaven, let him pour forth his 
"whole heart in thanks and praises to God the Cre- 
" ator, and assure himself that he shall therein per- 
form as much worship to God as the astronomer on 
" whom God hath bestowed this gift, that though he 
* seeth more clearly with the eye of his understand- 
ing, yet whatever he hath attained to he is both 
" able and willing to behold his God above it. 

66 Thus much concerning Scripture. Now as touch- 
" ing the authority of the Fathers. Sacred was Lac- 
" tantius, who denied the earth's rotundity : sacred was 
"Augustine, who admitted the earth to be round but 
66 denied the antipodes : sacred is the liturgy of our 
"moderns, who admit the smallness of the earth but 
" deny its motion. But to me more sacred than all 
" these is — Truth." 1 

II. The second difficulty is that which belongs to the 
The general question of the extermination of the Ca- 

!Tf a the Cres naanites ; but which is brought out so much 
canaamtes. more forcibly by the detail of the successive 
massacres which followed the battle of Beth-horon, 
that this seems the best place for considering it. 

There are few who hear the closing scenes of the 
10th chapter of the Book of Joshua read without ask- 
ing how such a total extirpation could have been car 

1 Kepler ( Salisbury's Mathematical Tracts, i. 437). 


ried out without the demoralization of those concerned 
or how any sanction to it could be given in a book 
claiming to be, at least, one stage in the Divine rev 

Many explanations have been given — the denial 
of the fact, the treatment of the whole as an allegory, 
the alleged parallels in the promiscuous destruction of 
human life by earthquake and pestilence. 

It is believed, however, that most reflecting minds 
will acquiesce in the general truth of an answer Answer of 
given long ago by Chrysostom, and founded on tomf 
the express and fundamental teaching of Christ and 
his Apostles. 

He is speaking of the verse in the 139th l Psalm, 
— "I hate them with a perfect hatred," and wishes 
to reconcile it with the duty of Christian charity. 
"Now? he says, "a higher philosophy is required of 
"us than of them. . . . For thus they are ordered to 
" hate not only impiety, but the persons of the im- 
a pious, lest their friendship should be an occasion of 
" going astray. Therefore he cut off all intercourse, 
" and freed them on every side." 

The difference in this respect between the Old and 
New dispensation is laid down in the strongest Answer of 

- 1 # ° our Lord. 

manner by our Lord himself. 

"Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for 
u an eye, and a tooth for a tooth : but I say unto you, 
" That ye resist not evil : but whosoever shall smite 
" thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other 
* also." 2 

u Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt 
•' love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say 
' unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse 

l Chrysost. on 1 Cor. xiii. 2 Matt. v. 38, 39 


"you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for 
K them which despitefully use you, and persecute you ; 
u that ye may be the children of your Father which is 
" in heaven : for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil 
" and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and 
" on the unjust." l 

" And when His disciples James and John saw this. 
u they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to 
" come down from heaven, and consume them, even as 
"Elijah did? But He turned, and rebuked them, 2 and 
" said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. 
"For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's 
" lives, but to save them." 

And further, that this inferiority of the Old dispen- 
, - sation was an acknowledged element in the 

Answer or o 

to e the pisUe U g ra dualness and partialness " of Revelation, 
Hebrews, inevitably flows from the definition of Reve- 
lation as given by the author of the Epistle to the 
Hebrews. " God who at sundry times and in divers 
"manners spake in times past to our fathers." 3 

How necessary this accommodation may have been 
niustra- t° that rude age, w r e see from analogous 
tions. instances in later history. Not only in the 
ancient world do w r e read, even approvingly, of like 
conduct in the Homeric or the early Roman heroes, 
but even in Christian times we can point to cases in 
which no shock has been given to the general moral 
sense by an impulse or command of this destructive 
character, and in which the general moral character 
lias risen above this particular depression of its hu- 
maner instincts. I refer not merely to the darker 

1 Matt. v. 43-45. But they must represent a very earl) 

2 Luke ix. 54, 55, 56. The last tradition, 
words are omitted in the best MSS. 3 Heb. i. 1. 


periods of Christendom, more nearly resembling the 
Judaic spirit of the age of Joshua, but even to our 
own. We have no right to find objections to these 
portions of the Old Testament, when we acknowledge 
the same feelings in ourselves or others without repro- 
bation. Two instances may suffice. 

(1.) In the late Indian mutiny, at the time when 
the belief in the Sepoy atrocities (since ex- From the 

1 ^ ... Indian 

plodecl) prevailed throughout India, it will be mutiny, 
in the memory of some that letters were received 
from India, from conscientious and religious men, con- 
taining phrases to this effect. u The Book of Joshua is 
" now being read in church" (in the season when this 
chapter forms one of the first Lessons of the services 
of the Church of England). "It expresses exactly 
" what we are all feeling. I never before understood 
" the force of that part of the Bible. It is the only 
" rule for us to follow." I do not quote this senti- 
ment to approve of it. I quote it to show that 
what could be felt, even for a moment, by civilized 
Christendom now, might well be pardoned, or even 
commended, in Jewish soldiers three thousand years 

(2.) Oliver Cromwell, in the storming of Drogheda, 
ordered an almost promiscuous massacre of From 
the Irish inhabitants. Of the act itself I do n ™™Zrcs at 
not speak. It is now generally admitted that rogie a ' 
the Puritans attached an undue authority to the de- 
tails of the Jewish Scriptures. But the point to be 
observed is, that Cromwell's act has received a high 
eulogy in our own time from one who, as well by his 
genius and learning as by his command of the sym- 
pathies of the rising generation, in a great measure 
represents the most advanced intelligence of our age 



" Oliver's proceedings here have been the theme of 
" much loud criticism, and sibylline execration, into 
"which it is not our plan to enter at present. Ter- 
" rible surgery this; but is it surgery and judgment, 
" or atrocious murder merely ? That is a question 
" which should be asked, and answered. Oliver Crom- 
" well did believe in God's judgments; and did not 
u believe in the rose-water plan of surgery ; — which, 
tt in fact, is this editor's case too ! 

" The reader of Cromwell's Letters, . . . who still 
" looks with a recognizing eye on the ways of the 
" Supreme Powers with this world, will find here, in 
" the rude practical state, a phenomenon which he 
" will account noteworthy. An armed soldier, solemnly 
" conscious to himself that he is the soldier of God 
" the Just, — a consciousness which it well beseems 
a all soldiers and all men to have always, — armed 
" soldier, terrible as Death, relentless as Doom ; doing 
"God's judgments on the enemies of God! It is a 
" phenomenon not of joyful nature ; no, but of aw- 
" ful, to be looked at with pious terror and awe." l 

Finally, whether we justify this or any like applica- 
The moral tion of Joshua's example in later times, there 
remains (as, indeed, is implied in the passage 
just quoted) one permanent lesson, — the duty of 
keeping alive in the human heart the sense of burn- 
ing indignation against moral evil, — against selfish- 
ness, against injustice, against untruth, in ourselves 
as well as in others. That is as much a part of the 
Christian as of the Jewish dispensation. In this case, 
the severe curse of the Psalm on which Chrysostom 
comments is still true. "Do not I hate them that 
% hate thee ? yea, I hate them with a perfect hatred, 

1 Carlyle's Cromwell, ii. 453, 454. 


" even as though they were mine enemies." It is im- 
portant to divide between the evil principle and the 
person in whose mixed character the evil is found. 
To make such a distinction is one main peculiarity 
of the Gospel. But it is also important to hate the 
evil with an undivided and perfect hatred. "A good 
hater," in this sense, is a character required alike 
by the Gospel and the Law. And the evil, which, ac- 
cording to the imperfect twilight of those times, was 
confounded with those in whom it was personified, 
was one which even at this distance we see to have 
been of portentous magnitude. It has been well 
shown that the results of the discipline of the Jew- 
ish nation may be summed up in two points, — a 
settled national belief in the unity and spirituality of 
God, and an acknowledgment of the paramount im- 
portance of purity, as a part of morality; and further, 
that these two ideas are cardinal points in the edu- 
cation of the world. 1 It was these two points espe- 
cially which were endangered by the contact and 
contamination of the idolatry and the sensuality "of 
the Phoenician tribes. "It is better" — so spoke a theo- 
logian of no fanatical tendency, 2 in a strain, it may be, 
of excessive, but still of noble indignation — " it is 
" better that the wicked should be destroyed a hun- 
" dred times over than that they should tempt those 
" who are as yet innocent to join their company. 
" Let us but think what might have been our fate, 
" and the fate of every other nation under heaven at 
" this hour, had the sword of the Israelites done its 
u work more sparingly. Even as it was, the small 
'' portions of the Canaanites who were left, and the 

1 See Dr. Temple's Essay on the 2 Arnold's Sermons, vi. 35-37 
Education of the World, 11-13. " Wars of the Israelites." 


u nations around them, so tempted the Israelites by 
u their idolatrous practices, that we read continually 
" of the whole people of God turning away from his 
" service. But had the heathen lived in the land in 
a equal numbers, and, still more, had they intermar- 
" ried largely with the Israelites, how was it possible, 
" humanly speaking, that any sparks of the light of 
" God's truth should have survived to the coming of 
" Christ ? Would not the Israelites have lost all their 
" peculiar character ? and if they had retained the 
a name of Jehovah as of their God, would they not 
a have formed as unworthy notions of his attributes, 
" and worshipped him with a worship as abominable, 
a as that which the Moabites paid to Chemosh, or 
" the Philistines . to Dagon ? 

" But this was not to be, and therefore the nations 
" of Canaan were to be cut off utterly. The Israel- 
" ites' sword, in its bloodiest executions, wrought a 
u work of mercy for all the countries of the earth to 
" the very end of the world. They seem of very 
" small importance to us now, those perpetual contests 
" with the Canaanites, and the Midianites, and the 
" Ammonites, and the Philistines, with which the Books 
a of Joshua and Judges and Samuel are almost filled. 
" We may half wonder that God should have inter- 
" fered in such quarrels, or have changed the course 
a of nature, in order to give one of the nations of 
" Palestine the victory over another. But in these 
" contests, on the fate of one of these nations of Pal- 
" estine, the happiness of the human race depended. 
" The Israelites fought not for themselves only, but 
" for us. It might follow that they should thus be 
" accounted the enemies of all mankind, — it might 
u be that they were tempted by their very distinct- 


" ness to despise other nations ; still they did God's 
" work, — still they preserved unhurt the seed of 
" eternal life, and were the ministers of blessing to 
" all other nations, even though they themselves failed 
a to enjoy it." 





The battle of Beth-horon is represented as the most 
important battle of the Conquest, because, being the 
first, it struck the decisive blow. But, in all such 
struggles, there is usually one last effort made for the 
defeated cause. This, in the subjugation of Canaan, 
was the battle of Merom. 

It was a tradition floating in the Gentile world, that 
at the time of the irruption of Israel, the Canaanites 
were under the dominion of a single king. 1 This is 
inconsistent with the number of chiefs who appear in 
the Book of Joshua. But there was one such, who 
appears in the final struggle, in conformity with the 
Phoenician version of the event. High up in the north 
Hazor. was the fortress of Hazor ; and in early times 
the king who reigned there had been regarded as the 
head of all the others. 2 He bore the hereditary name 
of Jabin or " the Wise," and his title indicated his 
supremacy over the whole country, tt the King of Ca- 
naan." 3 Its most probable situation is on one of the 
rocky heights of the northernmost valley of the Jor- 
dan. The name still lingers in various localities along 
that region. One of these spots is naturally marked 
out for a capital by its beauty, its strength, as well 

J Suidas, in voce Canaan. 2 Josh. xi. 10 3 Judg. iv. 2, 2-5. 


as by the indispensable sign of Eastern power and 
civilization — an inexhaustible source of living water, 1 
and there in later times arose the town of Csesarea 
Philippic from which, in Jewish tradition, Jabin was 
sometimes called the King of Caasarea. On the other 
hand, the place which Hazor holds in the catalogues 
of the cities of Naphtali 2 points to a situation farther 
south, and on the western side of the plain. Which- 
ever spot be regarded as the residence of Jabin, it 
was under his auspices that the final gather- Ga(hering . 
ing of the Canaanite race came to pass. Eound canaanite 
him were assembled the heads of all the tribes k,ngs - 
who had not yet fallen under Joshua's sw r ord. As the 
British chiefs were driven to the Land's End before 
the advance of the Saxon, so at this Land's End of 
Palestine were gathered for this last struggle, not only 
the kings of the north, in the immediate neighbor- 
hood, but from the desert-valley of the Jordan south 
of the sea of Galilee, from the maritime plain of Phi- 
listia, from the heights above Sharon, and from the 
still unconquered Jebus, to the Hivite who dwelt tt in 
" the valley of Baalgad under Hermon ; " all these 
u went out, they and all their hosts with them, even 
" as the sand that is upon the sea-shore in multitude, 
" . . . and when all these kings were met together, 
" they came and pitched together at the waters of 
" Merom to fight against Israel." 

The new and striking feature of this battle, as dis- 
tinct from those of Ai and Gibeon, consisted in the 
" horses and chariots very many," which now for the 
first time appear in the Canaanite warfare ; and it svas 
the use of these which probably fixed the scene of 

1 See Sinai and Palestine, 397. 2 Josh. xix. 35-37: 2 Kings xv 

29. See Robinson, Bibl. Res. iii. 365 


the encampment by the lake, along whose level shores 
they conld have full play for their force. It was this 
new phase of war which called forth the special com 
mand to Joshua, nowhere else recorded : a Thou shalt 
" hough their horses, and burn their chariots with fire." 
Nothing is told us of his previous movements. Even 
the scene of the battle is uncertain. " The waters of 
Merom " have been usually identified with the upper- 
most of the three lakes in the Jordan valley, called 
by the Greeks u Samachonitis," and by the Arabs " Hu- 
leh." Its neighborhood to what under any hypothesis 
must be the site of Hazor renders this probable. But 
on the other hand, the expressions both of Josephus 
and of the Sacred narrative point in a somewhat dif- 
ferent direction ; l and it is therefore safer to consider 
it as an open question whether the fight actually took 
The Battle pl ace on the shores of the lake, or by a spring 
of Merom. Qr we jj Qn ^q upland plain which overhangs 

it. The suddenness of Joshua's appearance reminds ua 
of the rapid movement by which he raised the siege 
of Gibeon. He came, we know not whence or how, 
within a day's march on the night before ; and then 
on the morrow, a dropped " like a thunderbolt upon 
them " in the mountain " 2 slopes before they had time 
to rally on the level ground. Now for the first time 
was brought face to face the infantry of Israel against 
the cavalry and war-chariots of Canaan. No details 
of the battle are given — the results alone remain. 
" The Lord delivered them into the hand of Israel, 
" who smote them and chased them," by what passes 

1 Josephus, who mentions the Lake 18). The expression " waters" (Josh 

Samachoritis in Ant. v. 5, 1, omits all xi. 7) is never used elsewhere for a 

mention of it here, and speaks of the lake, 

battle as fought at Beeroth (the wells), 9 Josh. xi. 7. (LXX.) 
near Kadesh Naphtali (Ant. v. 1, § 


we know not, westward to the friendly Sidon, and east- 
ward to the plain, wherever it be, of Massoch or Miz- 
peh. 1 The rout was complete, and the dumb instru- 
ments of "Canaanite warfare were here visited with the 
same extremities which elsewhere we find applied only 
to the living inhabitants. The chariots were burnt as 
accursed. The horses, only known as the fierce ani- 
mals of war and bloodshed, 2 and the symbols of foreign 
dominion, were rendered incapable of any further use. 
The war was closed with the capture of Hazor. Its 
king was taken, and, unlike his brethren of the south, 
who were hanged or crucified, underwent the nobler 
death of beheading. 3 This city, chief of all those 
taken in this campaign, was, like Ai, burnt to the 
ground. 4 

II. And now came the apportionment of the terri- 
tory among the tribes, which has made the lat- Settlement 
ter half of the Book of Joshua the geograph- tribes. 
ical manual of the Holy Land, the Domesday-Book of 
the Conquest of Palestine. 

Two principles have been adopted in the division 
of land by the conquerors of a new territory — one, 
specially characteristic of the modern world, and ex- 
emplified in the Norman occupation of England, by 
which the several chiefs appropriated portions of the 
newly conquered country, according to their own power 
or will ; the other, specially characteristic of the ancient 
world, and exemplified in Greece and Rome, where an 
equal assignment to the different portions of the con- 
quering race took effect by the deliberate act of the 

1 Josh. xi. 8. (LXX.) every subsequent mention of it. See 

2 This is the first appearance of the " Horse " in Dictionary of the Bible. 
horse in the Jewish history. What 3 Josh. xi. 10. 

is here said is borne out by almost * Ibid. 11. 



State. Both of these modes were adopted in the al- 
lotment of land in Palestine ; though, as might be ex 
pected, the latter principle prevailed. 1 

The first of these methods is seen in the predatory 
Separate expeditions of individuals to occupy particular 
conquests. S p £ s hitherto unconquered, or to reclaim those, 
of which the inhabitants had again revolted. Of this 
kind were apparently the conquests in the Transjor- 
Jairand danic territory, already mentioned, 2 by Jair and 
Nobah. Another instance, which belongs more 
properly to the next Lecture, and which was the last 
Dan. wave of the Israelite migration, is that of the 

Danite expedition to the north. 3 A third is the attack 
Attack on °f ^ ie Ephraimites on the ancient sanctuary 
Bethel. f B e tbel. Its capture, briefly told, is a repe- 
tition of the capture of Jericho. The spies go before ; 
a friendly Canaanite encounters them; the town is 
stormed and sacked ; the betrayer of the place escapes, 
like Rahab ; and, like her, has a portion assigned to 
his inheritance " in the land of the Hittites." But the 
judah. chief instance is in the tribe of Judah. It is 
in these early adventures that this great tribe first ap- 
pears before us. Its vast prospects are still in the dis- 
tant future, beyond the limits of the period comprised 
in this volume. Yet to this first appearance of Judah 
belongs the beginning of the Jewish Church, propeily 
so called. It is by a pardonable anachronism that we 
extend the word to the whole of the nation. But we 
must not the less distinctly mark the point when the 
name of "Judah" or "Jew" first rises above the hori- 
zon, destined to bear in after-years so vast an alter- 
nate burden of honor and of shame. The founder, so 
Caleb. to speak, of the glories of Judah was not un- 

1 See Arnold's Rome, i. 265. 2 See Lecture IX. 3 Se* Lecture XIII 

Lect. XII. CALEB. 291 

worthy of its later fame. Caleb, in the Desert, is hardly 
known. It may be, as has been conjectured from some 
of the links in his descent, that, though occupying this 
exalted place in the tribe of Judah, he obtained it in 
the first instance by adoption rather than by birth. He 
is said to u have his part and his inheritance among 
* the children of Judah," not as by right but u because 
"he wholly followed Jehovah the God of Israel." 1 And 
the names of Kenaz, Shobal, Hezron, Jephunneh, amongst 
his forefathers or his progeny, all point to an Idumean, 
rather than an Israelite origin. 2 If so, we have a 
breadth given to the name of Judah, even from its 
very first start, such as we have already noticed in 
the case of Abraham. But, Israelite or proselyte, he 
was the one tried companion of Joshua, and his claims 
rested on a yet earlier and greater sanction, that of 
Moses himself. He was to have a portion of the land, 
on which " his feet had trodden." 3 

The spot, on which Caleb had set his heart, was the 
fertile valley of Hebron. Of all the country Hebron. 
which the twelve spies, with Joshua and Caleb at 
their head, had traversed, this is the one scene which 
remains fixed in the sacred narrative, as if because 
fixed in the memory of those who made their report. 
There was the one field in the whole land which they 
might fairly call their own, — the field which contained 
the rocky cave of Machpelah, with the graves of their 
first ancestors. But it was not even this sacred enclos- 
ure which had most powerfully impressed the simple 
explorers of that childlike age. It was the winding 
valley, whose terraces were covered with the rich verd- 

1 Josh. xiv. 9-14 ; xv. 13. on " Caleb" in Dictionary of the Bible , 

* See Lord Arthur Hervey's article and Ewald, i. 338. 

3 Joshua xiv. 9. 


ure and the golden clusters of the Syrian vine, sc 
rarely seen in Egypt, so beautiful a vesture of the 
bare hills of Palestine. In its rocky hills are still to 
be seen hewn the ancient wine-presses. Thence came 
the gigantic cluster, 1 the one relic of the Promised 
Land, which was laid at the feet of Moses. Thither, 
now that he found himself within that land, Caleb was 
resolved to return. In that valley of vineyards — in 
that primeval seat, as it was supposed, of the vine 
itself — "by the choice vine, Judah was to bind his 
" foal ; he was to wash his garments in wine, his clothes 
" in the blood of grapes." This was the prize for Caleb. 
This he claimed from Joshua. But he was to win it 
for himself, and it was no easy task. It was the main 
fastness of the aboriginal inhabitants of the South. 
Even, as it might seem, after the Canaanites had fled, 
the chiefs of the older race still lingered there. It was 
the city of u the Four Giants " — Anak and his three 
gigantic sons. Within its walls the Last of the Anakim 
held out against the conquerors. But thrice over the 
old warrior of Judah insists on his unbroken "strength." 
A pitched battle takes place outside the walls ; 2 he 
drives them out ; and Kirjath-Arba, with all its ancient 
recollections, becomes "Hebron," the centre of the 
mighty tribe, which was there to take up its chief 
abode. Far and wide his name extended, and, alone 
of all the conquerors on the west of the Jordan, he 
succeeded in identifying it with the territory which 
he had won. 3 But this was but the nucleus of a circle 
of the like spirit of adventure, radiating from this 
centre. South of Hebron lay a sacred oracular place, 
as it would seem, " The oracle," a the city of books," 

1 Nun. xiii. 22-24. 2 Judg. i. 10 : " And Hebron came 

3 1 Sam. xxv. 3; xxx. 14. "forth against Judah." (LXX.) 


Debir, 1 Kirjath-sepher. On this too Caleb fixed his 
heart; and announced that his daughter Ach- Kirjath . 
sah should be the reward of the successful sepher " 
assailant. From his own family sprang forth the cham- 
pion, his nephew or his younger brother Othniel, who 
won the ancient fortress. And yet again from the same 
family another claim was put forth. Achsah, worthy 
of her father and her husband, demands some better 
heritage than the dry and thirsty frontier of the desert. 
Underneath the hill on which Debir stood is a deep 
valley, rich with verdure, from a copious rivulet, which, 
rising at the crest of the glen, falls, with a continuity 
unusual in the Juclaean hills, down to its lowest depth. 
On the possession of these upper and lower " bub- 
blings," so contiguous to her lover's prize, Achsah had 
set her heart. The shyness of the bridegroom to ask, 
the eagerness of the bride to have, are both put be- 
fore us. She comes to Othniel's house, seated on her 
ass, led by her father. She will not enter. According 
to our Version, she gently descends from her ass : ac- 
cording to the Septuagint, she screams, or she murmurs, 
from her seat. Her father asks the cause, and then 
she demands and wins "the blessing" of the green 
valley ; the gushing stream from top to bottom, 
which made the dry and barren hill above a rich 
possession. 2 

1 Like Byblos afterwards. See Ew- covered by Dr. Rosen, {ZeitschriftD. 
aid, i. -286. M. G. 1857, p. 50-64,) and under his 

2 Josh. xv. 18; Judg. i. 14. In the guidance I saw it in 1862. The word 
former passage, the LXX. makes Ach- gullotli translated " springs," but more 
sah (as in the E. V.) the moving properly " waves " or " bubblings,' 
cause ; in the latter, Othniel. In well applies to this beautiful rivulet 
Doth, Achsah is represented, not as The spots are now called Ain-Nunkuf 

lighting off," but as " shouting" or and Dewir-Ban, about one hour S.W. 
murmuring " " from the ass." The of Hebron, 
cene of this incident was first dis- 


On one more enterprise the active spirit of Judah 
entered. This time we see it not in any individual; 
but personified in the name of the two ancestors of 
the kindred tribes Judah and Simeon. Whoever may 
have been the chiefs of the tribes thus intended, they 
aimed at yet one greater prize than all besides, and had 
almost won the glory which was reserved for their de- 
scendant centuries afterwards. Jerusalem, as it would 
seem for a time, but only for a time, fell into the hands 
of the warrior tribe. When next it appears, it is still 
in possession of the old inhabitants. We must not an- 
ticipate the future. It is enough to have seen the 
series of simple and romantic incidents which gave to 
Judah the desert frontier, the southern fastnesses, and 
the choice vineyards, which play so large a part in 
the History of the Jewish, in the imagery of the 
Christian Church, hereafter. 

2. The second, or more regular mode of assign- 
Assigna- ment, which, as has been well observed, 1 places 
tribes. the conquest of Palestine, even in that re- 
mote and barbarous age, in favorable contrast with 
the arbitrary caprice by which the lands of England 
were granted away to the Norman chiefs, was inau- 
gurated, so to speak, by Joshua's quaint but decisive 
Ephraim. answer to his own tribe of Ephraim, when 
they claimed more than their due. The apportion- 
ment of this great tribe was, in fact, a union of the 
two principles. One lot, and one only, they were to 
have ; the rest they were to carve out for themselves 
from the hills and forests of their Canaanite enemies. 
« Why hast thou given me but one lot and one por- 
u tion to inherit, seeing I am a great people, foras- 
much as the Lord hath blessed me hitherto ? " 

l Arnold's Hist, of Rome, i. 266. 

Lect. XII. BENJAMIN. 295 

Their public-spirited leader replied : — "If thou be a 
" great people, get thee up to the wood country, and 
" cut down for thyself there. The mountain shall be 
" thine, for it is a wood, and thou shalt cut it down ; 
" and the outgoings shall be thine ; for thou shalt 
u drive out the Canaanites, for they have iron chariots, 
u and ' for ' they are strong." x The wild bull or buf- 
falo of the house of Joseph 2 was to guard the north, 
as the lion of Judah was to guard the south. 3 One 
half of the tribe of Manasseh, as we have already 
seen, had that post on the east of the Jordan ; the 
other half, with Ephraim, had the same on the west. 

The two great tribes being thus provided, the re- 
maining seven had their property assigned according 
to the strictest rule of the ancient u assignation." 

The warlike little band of Benjamites, which had 
marched in the desert side by side with the Benjamin 
mighty sons of Joseph, was not parted from them in 
the new settlement. It hung on the outskirts of 
Ephraim. Thus a group was formed in the centre of 
Palestine, firmly compacted of the descendants of Rachel, 
cut off on the north by the broad plain of Esdraelon, 
and on the south by the precipitous ravine of Hin- 
nom. Hemmed in as it was between the two power- 
ful neighbors of Ephraim and Juclah, the tribe of 
Benjamin, nevertheless, retained a character of its 
own, eminently indomitable and insubordinate. The 
wolf which nursed the founders of Rome was not 
more evidently repeated in the martial qualities of 
the people of Romulus, than the wolf, to which Ben- 
jamin is compared in his father's blessing, appears 
•n the eager, restless character of his descendants 

1 Josh. xvii. 14-18; Ewald, ii. 315. 3 J osn . xviii. 5. 

2 Deut. xxxiii. 17. 


u After thee, Benjamin/' 1 was its well-known war- 
cry. It furnished the artillery (so to speak) of the 
Israelite army, by its archers and slingers. 2 For a 
short time it rose to the highest rank in the com- 
monwealth, when it gave birth to the first king. Its 
ultimate position in the nation was altered by the 
one great change which affected the polarity of the 
whole political and geographical organization of the 
country, but of none more than that of Benjamin, 
when the fortress of Jebus, hitherto within its terri- 
tory, was annexed by Judah, and became the capital 
of the monarchy. 

In the wild aspect which Simeon henceforward as- 
simeon. sumes on the edge of the southern desert, we 
trace the perpetuation of the fierce temper which had 
drawn down the curse of Jacob. It has been ingen- 
iously conjectured that the first blow which broke the 
numbers and the spirit of the tribe was the pestilence 
that visited the camp after the Midianite orgies, and 
which would naturally have fallen with peculiar force 
on Simeon, the tribe of the chief offender ; 3 and that 
this accounts for its total omission, at least in one 
version of the blessing of Moses. But this is hardly 
needed. Simeon is the exact counterpart of Reuben. 
With Reuben he marched through the desert : with 
Reuben he is joined in another version of the Mosaic 
benediction. 4 As Reuben in the east, so Simeon in 
the west, blends his fortunes with those of the Arab 
hordes on the frontier, and dwindles away accord- 

1 Judg. v. 14 ; Hosea v. 8. 4 In Deut. xxxiii. 6. In the Alex- 

2 Jud£. xxi. andrian MS. the reading; is, " Let 

3 Blunt's Undesigned Coincidences, " Reuben live and not die, and let 
93-98, founded on a comparison of " Simeon be many in number." 
Num. i. 23 • xxiv. 1, 14 ; xxv. 11. 


ingly, 1 and only reappears in the dubious, but charac- 
teristic, exploits of his descendant Judith. 2 

The four tribes of Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, and 
Naphtali, obtain contiguous portions in the Zebulun 
north of Palestine, as they were allied in JjJJer*!!^ 
birth, and as they marched through the desert. Na P htah - 
They formed, as it were, a state by themselves. A 
common sanctuary seems to have been intended for 
them in Mount Tabor. The forests of Lebanon, the 
fertility of the plain of Esdraelon, the port of Accho, 
even the glassy deposit of the little stream of Belus. 
figure in the blessings pronounced upon them. 3 But, 
with the exception of the transient splendor of the 
days of Barak and of Gideon, they hardly affect the 
general fortunes of the nation. It is not till the Jew- 
ish is on the point of breaking into the Christian 
Church, that these northern tribes acquire a new in- 
terest. " Galilee," then, by the very reason of its pre- 
vious isolation, springs into overwhelming importance. 
" The land of Zebulun, the land of Naphtali, by the 
" way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gen- 
66 tiles ; the people which sat in darkness saw great 
" light, and to those who sat in the region and shadow 
" of death light is sprung up." 4 

The last of the tribes that received its due was 
Dan, the smallest of all, — at times overlooked, Dan. 
— and in the last catalogue of the tribes that appears 
in the Sacred volume, 5 dropped out altogether. It 
was, as it were, squeezed into the narrow strip be- 
tween the mountains and the sea, in the plain already 

1 1 Chron. iv. 39-43. 2 Judith ix. 2. 

3 Gen. xlix. 14; Deut. xxxiii. 18; 4 Isa. fx. ; Matt. iv. 15, IS. 
lee Sinai and Palestine, 348 ; Ewald, 5 Rev. vii. 4-8. 
: i. 379, &c. 



occupied by the expelled races, 1 as if in the only spot 
that was left for them. Its energies were great be- 
yond its numbers ; and hence, as we shall see in the 
next generation it broke out from its narrow terri- 
tory and won a seat in the distant north, 2 on the con- 
fines of Naphtali, 3 with which it appears blended in the 
later history. There was, indeed, an outlet for its 
powers on the west ; for it held the port of Jaffa, and 
thither retired " to abide in its ships," 4 when the sur- 
rounding territory was too hot to hold it. But it is 
characteristic of the essentially inland tendencies of 
the Israelite nation, that this possession never raised 
the tribe to any eminence. The privilege of Dan 
was, that he was to lie in wait for the invader from 
the south or from the north. "A serpent," 5 an in- 
digenous, home-born a adder," to a bite the heels " of 
the invading stranger's horse ; a " lion's whelp," 6 small 
and fierce, " to leap from the heights of Bashan," on 
the armies of Damascus, or Nineveh. "For thy sal- 
u vation, Lord, have I waited," 7 seems to have been 
his war-cry, as if of a warrior in the constant atti- 
tude of expectation. Once, only, in the history of 
the tribe, so far as we know, was this expectation 
fully realized, — in the life of Samson. 

Levi, alone, had no regular portion. Its original 
Levi. character of a tribe without a fixed home, was 

preserved. It remained, as we have seen, a monument 
of the early age of the desert, in which its consecra- 
tion originated. Four cities were allotted to it in each 
tribe, if possible (with the exception of the great cen- 

1 Judg. i. 34. 4 Judg. v. 1 7. 

2 Judg. xviii. ; see Lecture XIII. 5 Gen. xlix. 1 7. 

3 See Blunt's Undesigned Colnci- 6 Deut. xxxiii. 22. 
dences, 119. 7 Gen. xlix. 18. 

Lect. XII. LEVI. 299 

tral sanctuaries of Shiloh and Bethel) the holy places 
of earlier times. The lands round those cities, 1 how- 
ever, were not fields for agriculture, but pastures for 
cattle. The old life was, in their case, never entirely 
to subside into the new. They were still to keep up, 
— in their dress, in their separation, in their sacrificial 
ministrations, in their pastoral employments, in their 
wild, barbarian habits, an image of the past. In the 
curses of Jacob there is no distinction drawn between 
them and the nomadic Simeon. u Cursed be their an- 
" ger, for it was fierce, and their wrath, for it was cruel. 
a I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Is- 
u rael." 2 The uncompromising zeal, which had first pro- 
cured their consecration in the wilderness, and which 
ultimately insured their perpetuity, even beyond that 
of any other of the tribes, is just visible here and there 
in that early period. a They shall teach Jacob Thy 
"judgments, and Israel Thy law. They shall put in- 
" cense before Thee, and whole burnt sacrifice upon 
" Thine altar. Bless, Lord, his substance, and accept 
"the work of his hands. Smite through the loins of 
" them that rise against him, and of them that hate 
a him, that they rise not again." 3 So the brighter 
side is brought out in the blessing of Moses ; but its 
realization must be reserved for the change of their 
position in the altered state of the Jewish Church and 
nation under the monarchy. 

III. With the conquest of Canaan and the settle- 
ment of the tribes, Jewish history entered on Effects of 

the con- 

a new phase. quest. 

1. The Conquest was the final settlement of the 
Chosen People as a nation. It was the en-' Settlement 
trance into the Land of Promise, — "Das Ge- nation. 

1 Joshua xxi 2, 12. The word 2 Cen. xlix. 7. 

translated "suburbs." 3 Deut. xxxiii. 10, 11. 


lobte Land/' — the oasis of that portion of Asia. From 
a wandering Arabian tribe, they were now turned 
into a civilized, and, in a considerable degree, an ag- 
ricultural commonwealth. The feeling of repose, of 
enjoyment, of thankfulness, which breathes through 
the 104th and 105th Psalms, now first became possi- 
ble. The festivals of the harvest and the vintage, in 
the Feast of Weeks, and (to a large extent) in the 
Feast of Tabernacles, were commemorations of this 
consciousness of permanent possession. a Begin to 
a number the seven weeks from such time as thou 
" beginnest to put the sickle to the corn. 
" Thou shalt observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven 
" days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and 
" thy wine : and thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, 
" and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy man servant, 
" and thy maid-servant, and the Levite, the s Granger, 
" and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within 
" thy gates . . . in the place which the Lord shall 
66 choose : because the Lord thy God shall bless thee 
" in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine 
" hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice." l The 
name of one of these feasts, " Pentecost," has passed 
into our Whitsuntide ; 2 the spirit of the other, in many 
respects, corresponds to our Christmas ; and even the 
spiritual signification of both the Christian festivals 
might gain from a recollection of the actual enjoy- 
ment which marked, and which still marks, those an- 
cient Israelite solemnities. When the modern Jew, in 
whatever part of the world he may be, puts together 
the branches in the court of his house, and with his 

1 Deut. xvi. 9, 13-15. vice for Pentecost (Form of prayer 

2 The 68th Psalm, used in the ser- according to the custom of the Span- 
vices of the Christian Church for ish and Portuguese Jews). 
Whitsundav, forms the Jewish ser- 

Lect. XII. THE HOLY LAND. 301 

whole family partakes of his meal underneath their 
shade, it is a literal perpetuation of the gayety of 
heart with which his ancestors sat down, each under 
his fig-tree and his vine, in their newly-acquired homes, 
— an ever-recurring anniversary of the triumph of the 

" And when their wondrous march was o'er, 
And they had won their homes, 
Where Abraham fed his flocks of yore 
Among their fathers' tombs : 
A land that drinks the rain of heav'n at will, 
Where waters kiss the feet of many a vine-clad hill. 

" Oft as they watch'd at thoughtful eve 

A gale from bowers of balm 
Sweep o'er the billowy corn, and heave 

The tresses of the palm ; 
It was a fearful joy, I ween, 

To trace the heathen's toil, 
The limpid wells, the orchard green, 

Left ready for the spoil." l 

2. It was, further, the occupation of a country hith- 
erto inhabited, and still to a great degree, by contact 
an alien race. The contest was severe, and its c^naan- 
traces still remained. The whole subsequent ltes ' 
history, down to the Captivity, was colored by the wars, 
by the customs, by the contagion, of Phoenician and 
Canaanite rites, to which, for good or evil, they were 
henceforth exposed. It was truly, though on a smaller 
scale, like the entrance of the Christian Church on the 
inheritance of the pagan classical world, at the con- 
version of the Roman empire, at the revival of letters, 
and, it may be, on the possession of still wider treas- 
ures hereafter. 

1 Keble's Christian Year, 3d S. of expression ; but the general feeling 
after Trinity. I have omitted a few is as true to geography as it is to his- 
jne8 which contain a slight inaccuracy tory. 



3. It was the occupation of " the Holy Land/' — the 
Occupation land set apart for the " Holy People." I have 

of the Holy _ r . . J L __ 

Land. described elsewhere what may be called the 
geographical evidence for the Providence which guided 
the steps of Israel. 1 By its absolutely unique confor 
mation, — by the unparalleled peculiarity of the Jordan 
valley, — by its seclusion, through sea, and land, and 
desert, and river, from the surrounding world, — the 
country has a mark set upon it, corresponding to those 
features which have caused the Jews to " dwell alone " 
among the nations. And yet also its central situation 
between Assyria and Egypt, and its opening to the 
Mediterranean, gave it the power of at last bursting 
its bonds. Its smallness and narrowness gave it the 
compactness, and, at the same time, the outward in- 
significance, which, as in the case of Greece, so highly 
enhances the moral grandeur of the Church and State 
that rose within its boundaries. And, within these 
bounds, the variety and diversity of features, — sea, 
mountain, plains, desert, tropical vegetation, springs, 
earthquakes, perhaps volcanoes, sharp divisions between 
one state and another, — made it the fit receptacle of 
a nation which was to give birth to the Sacred book 
of all lands ; which was to be the parent and likeness 
of a Church whose name was to be a Catholic," and 
whose chief distinction was to be its variety of gifts 
and diversity of character. 

4. From this time, also, for the Israelite common- 
Laws of wealth, sprang up by degrees that state ol 
property. soc i e ty for which, as has been often observed, 
the country was so well suited, and which, in time, 
so well favored the growth of individual liberty, of 
national independence, and of general purity of do- 

1 Sinai and Palestine, ch. ii. 


mestic life. To Joshua, a fixed Jewish tradition as- 
cribed ten decrees, 1 laying down precise rules, Decrees of 
which were instituted to protect the prop- Joshua - 
erty of each tribe, and of each householder, from law- 
less depredation. Cattle, of a smaller kind, were to 
be allowed to graze in thick woods, not in thin 
woods; in woods, no kind of cattle, without the own- 
er's consent. Sticks and branches might be gathered 
by any Hebrew, but not cut. Herbs, of any kind, 
might be gathered, with the exception of pease. 
Woods might be pruned, provided that they were 
not olives or fruit-trees, and that there was sufficient 
shade in the place. Each district or town was to 
have its river and its spring for its own use. Fish 
might be caught in the Lake of Gennesaret with 
hooks, but nets or fishing-boats were only to be used 
by the members of those tribes who lived on its? 
shores. The roads were to be kept free from public 
nuisance. Any one lost in a vineyard might proceed 
in it without trespass, till he reached his home. If 
the roads became impassable they might be left for 
by-paths. A dead body might be buried wherever 
found, provided that it were not near or in a town. 
These rules, whatever may be their date, both show 

the traditional estimate of Joshua, as the Jewish 

. house- 
founder of the common law of property in holders. 

Palestine, and also the general framework of society 
at least in some early period of the history. The 
glimpses into the private life of the Jewish house- 
holders are naturally so few that we can hardly form 
any conclusion as to the extent to which the inten- 
tions of the Mosaic law and of the settlements of 
Joshua were carried out. Some instances, however 

l Selden, De Jure Naturali, book vi. ; Fabricius, Cod. Pseudep. V. T. i. 874. 


remain to us in later times, which, bearing as they 
do on their face every appearance of long-inherited 
usage, may be fairly taken as samples of the rest. 
Boaz, 1 the owner of the cornfields of Bethlehem, in 
the midst of his reapers and gleaners ; Nabal, 2 the 
rich shepherd on the slopes of the southern Carmel ; 
Barzillai, 3 the powerful chief beyond the Jordan, with 
his patriarchal possessions of sheep and cattle; Na« 
both, 4 the independent owner of the vineyard on the 
hill of Jezreel, — all in their different forms, present 
the same picture of the established usages in indi- 
vidual and family life ; and the reluctance even of 
kings to break through these usages, and the vehe- 
mence with which the Prophets denounce any such 
attempt on the part either of kings or of nobles, 
showed the firm hold that the traditions of the Con- 
quest kept on the national mind. 

IV. The survey of this great event would not be 
Remains of complete without a last glance at the fate 
quered" °f the conquered inhabitants. The disturbed 
races ' state of the whole subsequent period, reserved 

for the next Lecture, shows how far less sweeping 
than at first would appear was the extirpation of the 
vanquished race. It will be sufficient here briefly to 
indicate the traces of them which were permanently 
left in the country. 

The usual relation of the conquering and the con- 
quered occupants was, as a general rule, reversed. 
We find the old inhabitants taking refuge not in 
the mountains but in the plains : the invaders re- 
pelled from the plains, but victorious in the moun- 
tains. This, we are expressly told, 5 arose from the 

i Ruth ii. 4. 4 1 Kings xxi. 1-3. 

2 1 Sam. xxv. 2. 5 Judg. i. 19. 

3 2 Sam. xvii. 28. 


respective forces of the combatants. The strength of 
the Canaanites was in their chariots and horses; of 
the Israelites, in their invincible infantry. In one in- 
stance only, the battle of Merom, the victory was 
won on level ground against the formidable array of 
Jabin's cavalry. Another resource in the hands of 
the old inhabitants was the strength of their for- 
tresses. "The cities, great and fenced up to heav- 
en," 1 had always been a subject of alarm to their 
less civilized invaders ; and, though in the first onset 
some had fallen, yet, after the fervor of the Conquest 
was passed away, the native inhabitants, especially 
when on the edge or in the midst of the friendly 
plains, recovered spirit, and maintained their ground 
for generations, if not centuries, after the time of 

Amongst these the five cities of Philistia, 2 although 
three of them (Gaza, Askelon, and Ekron) Philistine 
were for a short time in the hands of the l01tresses - 
Israelites, resisted the attempts of Judah. The abo- 
riginal Avites also lingered beside them. Je- Jebus. 
bus, the only instance of a completely mountain fast- 
ness which remained un taken, was conspicuous for its 
defiance of the same great tribe, defended by the 
steep natural trench of its deep valleys. 

Along the sea-coast were all the Phoenician cities 
from Dor and Accho as far as Zidon, 3 not The sea _ 
to speak of Arvad in the farther north. In coast * 
the plain between Beth-horon and the sea was the 
little kingdom of Gezer, which remained indepen- 
dent till it was conquered by the king of Egypt, and 
given as a dowry to Solomon's queen. 4 

l Deut. i. 28. 3 j u( ]g. j. si. 

9 Josh. xiii. 2 ; Judg. i. 21 < 1 Kings ix. 16 ; Judg. L 29. 



In the north the strong towns along the plain of 
Fortresses in Esdraelon held out against even the vigor of 
Esdraeion. Manasseh, 1 though expressly charged with the 
duty of expelling them, which properly belonged to 
the less warlike tribes of Issachar and Asher. These 
were Taanach and Megiddo, the future encampments 
of Sisera's army ; Endor, hence naturally the abode 
of the witch whom Saul consulted ; Ibleam in the 
same region ; Bethshan, with its temple of Astarte, 
the Jebus of the north, which remained, under the 
name of Scythopolis, a heathen and Gentile city, even 
to the Christian era. 

On the northern frontier, four remnants of the an- 
cient inhabitants survived both the shock of the in- 
vasion of Machir, and also of the battle of Merom. 
At the source of the Jordan was the Phoenician 
colony of Laish. 2 Beyond this was the fortress of 
Maacah. Its situation in the upland plain, above the 
sources of the Jordan, and thus beyond the actual 
frontier of Palestine, gave it a natural independence, 
which was still further sustained by the oracular rep- 
utation of the wisdom of its inhabitants. It was 
known from its position in that well-watered plateau 
as Abel-Be th-Maacah, " the Meadow of the House of 
Maacah." 3 On the east of the same plateau was the 
tribe of the Geshurites, 4 ruled by a race of indepen- 
dent kings. Still more remote, but yet within con- 
tact of Israel, was the Hivite settlement on Lebanon 
and round the sanctuary of Baalgad on the sacred 
heights of Hermon. 5 

These (till David's time) were independent. Others 

i Judg. i. 27 ; Josh. xvii. 11-13. * J os h. xiii. 11-13 ; 2 Sam. xv. 8. 

2 See Lecture XIII. 5 Judg. iii. 3. 

3 Josh. xiii. 13 ; 2 Sam. xx. 15. 


remained either in friendly relations or tributary. 
Amongst the friendly tribes may be reckoned Tributary 
the Kenites, or Arabian kinsmen of Jethro, tnbes ' 
in the south and north ; the Gibeonites, with the 
towns in their league ; the second Luz, founded by 
the secret ally who had betrayed the first; and a 
remnant of Hittites in or near Shechem. Amongst 
the tributaries were the four comparatively obscure 
towns of Kitron, Nahalol, Bethshemesh, and Betha- 
nath; 1 and the general population who appear in that 
capacity in the reign of Solomon. 2 

Less conspicuous vestiges of the Canaanite race may 
be found in the names of towns, struggling for exist- 
ence with the new names imposed by the conquerors, 

— Kirjath-arba w r ith Hebron, Kirjath-sepher with Debir, 
Kenath with Nobah, Luz with Bethel, Ephratah with 
Bethlehem ; and yet again, in a more striking form, 
in the few individuals w 7 ho, from time to time, ap- 
pear in the service or alliance of the Israelite kings, 

— Uriah the Hittite, Ittai of Gath, Araunah the Je- 

That any escaped by migration, is never expressly 
said, but is so probable, that w r e may well Migration. 
accept even very slight confirmations of it from other 
sources. Two traditions are preserved to this effect. 
When Procopius was in Africa, in the army of Beli- 
sarius, two pillars of white marble w r ere pointed out 
to him near Tangier, bearing an inscription in Phoe- 
nician characters, which was thus explained to him : 

* We are they that fled from before the face of the 

* robber Joshua, the son of Nun." 3 The genuineness. 

1 Judg. i. 30, 33. and Moses Chorenensis (i. 18). The 

2 1 Kings ix. 20, 21. arguments against the genuineness of 

3 Procopius {Bell. Vand. ii. 10) this inscription by Kenriek (Phoenicia, 
lupported by Suidas (in voce Canaan) p. 67), and Ewald (ii. 298), are very 


or even the antiquity, of the monument may be more 
than doubtful ; but it shows the belief which lingered 
amongst the remnant of the Phoenician colonies on 
the coast of Africa. Another story, preserved in Rab- 
binical legends, represented that when Alexander ar- 
rived in Palestine, the Gergesenes, or Girgashites, who 
had fled to Africa, came to plead their cause before 
him against the Israelites, for unlawful dispossession. 1 
Trivial as these traditions may be in themselves, they 
have some interest, as showing the last lingering rem- 
iniscences — if not in the conquered, at least in the 
conquerors — of the old race which they had cast out 
and superseded. 

V. One final effect of this epoch must be noticed, 
The the establishment of the first national sanc- 

Capitais. tuary, and the first national capital in Pales- 
tine. Bethel — which by its sacred name and asso- 
ciations would have been naturally chosen — was, at 
this early stage of the Conquest, still in the hands 
shiioh. of the Canaanites. Shiloh, therefore, became 
and remained the seat of the Ark till the establish- 
ment of the monarchy ; and thus was, as long as it 
lasted, a memorial of the peculiar accidents of the 
Conquest in which it first originated. The general 
appearance of the sanctuary and its ultimate fate be- 
long to the ensuing period of the history. But the 
selection of the site belongs to this period, and could 
belong to no other. The place of the sanctuary was 
naturally fixed by the place of the Ark. This, as 
we have seen, was, in the first instance, Gilgal. But, 
as the conquerors advanced into the interior, a more 

.strong. But there is no reason to (See Rawlinson's Bampton Lectures* 

doubt that such a monument was p. 381.) 

seen by Procopius, and the inscrip- l Otho, Lex Rdbb. 25. 

tion interpreted to him, %s he states. 

Lbct. XII. SHECHEM 309 

central situation became necessary. This was found in 
a spot unmarked by any natural features of strength 
or beauty, or by any ancient recollections ; recom- 
mended only by its comparative seclusion, near the 
central thoroughfaie of Palestine, yet not actually upon 
it. Its ancient Canaanite name seems to have been 
Taanath. 1 The title of ft Shiloh " was probably given 
to it, in token of the "rest" which the weary con- 
querors found in its quiet valley. 

But Shiloh — although it succeeded to Gilgal as the 
Holy Place of the Holy Land, and although from 
thence was made the survey and apportionment of 
the territory — was intended only as a temporary 
halt. It was still not the city, but the u camp of 
Shiloh." 2 The spot which the conquerors fixed as 
the capital was Shechem, the ancient city siiechem. 
before which Jacob had first encamped, and now the 
centre of the great tribe of Ephraim, the tribe of 
Joshua himself. When he first arrived at this his 
future home, is uncertain. In the variations of the 
Hebrew and Septuagint texts, 3 we may be allowed to 
follow the guidance of Josephus, and connect the 
celebration of this marked event in his life with its 
closing scenes, which unquestionably took place in 
that most beautiful of all the sites of Western Pales- 
tine. In that central valley of the hills of Ephraim, 
which commands the view of the Jordan valley on the 
east, and the sea on the west — a complete draught 
through the heart of the country — was the fit seat 
of the house of Joseph, the ancient portion of their 
ancestor, given by Jacob himself. Here were the two 

1 Josh. xvi. 6 ; xviii. 1. This is the immediately after the fall of Jericho ; 
dew of Kurtz (ii. 70). in the LXX. after the fall of Ai ; in 

2 Judg. xxi. 12. Josephus (Ant. v. 1, §§ 19, 20), at the 

3 In the Received Text he arrives close of his life. 


sacred mountains, Ebal and Gerizim, marked out for 
the curses and blessings of the Law. From the low- 
er spurs of those hills, all but meeting across the nar- 
rowest part of the valley, those curses and blessings 
were first chanted, and the loud Amen from the vast 
multitudes below echoed back by the surrounding 
hills. Ebal stretching along the northern side of- the 
valley became, as its many rock-hewn tombs still in- 
dicate, the necropolis of the new settlement. Gerizim 9 
the oldest sanctuary in Palestine, reaching back even 
to the days of Abraham and Melchizedek, became the 
natural shelter of the capital. From its steep sides 
and slopes burst forth the thirty-two springs which 
have filled the valley with a mass of living verdure. 
Here the two tribes of the house of Joseph depos- 
ited, at last, the sacred burden they had borne with 
them through the wilderness, — the Egyptian coffin 
containing the embalmed body of Joseph himself, to 
be buried in the rich cornfields which his father had 
given to the favorite son of his favorite Rachel. 1 

This was a the border of the sanctuary, the moun- 
" tain which the right hand of God had purchased," 2 
for the tribe which now through its victorious leader 
stood foremost amongst them all, and which hence- 
forth retained its supremacy till it fell, in the fall, 
though but for a time, of the nation itself. 3 How 
closely the grandeur of Ephraim and the selection of 
this seat of their power are connected with the career 
Joshua. of Joshua, may be seen from the fact that he 
alone of all the Jewish heroes after the time of Moses, 
is enshrined in the traditions of the Samaritan. He 

1 For Shechem (now NablGs), see and the Samaritans" (in Vacation 

Sinai and Palestine, ell. v , Dr. Rosen Tourists, 1861). 

(Zeitschrift Deutsch. Morg. Gesell- 2 Ps. lxxviii. 54. 

tchaji, xiv. 634), Mr. Grove, " Nablus 3 Lecture XVII. 

Lbct. XII. HIS GRAVE. 311 

is * King Joshua " : he takes up his abode on the 
'' Blessed Mountain," as Gerizim is always called: on 
its summit are still pointed out the twelve stones 
which he laid in order : he builds a citadel on the 
adjacent site of Samaria : he confers once a week 
with the high priest Eleazar : he leaves his power to 
his son Phinehas, and in this confusion the His fare _ 
history of Israel abruptly terminates. 1 But 
the connection of Joshua with Shechem and with 
Ephraim, though more soberly, is not less clearly 
marked in the Sacred narrative. He appears there as 
the representative of his tribe ; yet, as we have seen, 
checking that overbearing pride which at last caused 
their ruin. Beneath the old consecrated oak of Abra- 
ham and Jacob, 2 of which the memory still lingers in 
a secluded corner of the valley, under the northeast- 
ern flank of Gerizim, he made his farewell address 
and set up there the pillar which long remained as 
his memorial. 3 In and around Shechem arose the 
first national burial-place, a counterpoise to the patri- 
archal sepulchres at Hebron. Joseph's tomb His grave. 
was already fixed : its reputed site is visible to this 
day. A tradition, current at the time of the Chris- 
tian era, 4 ascribed the purchase of this tomb to Abra- 
ham, and included within it the remains, not only of 
Joseph, but of the twelve Fathers of the Jewish 
tribes, and of Jacob himself. Eleazar 5 was buried in 

1 Samaritan Joshua, chaps. 24, 12. The Mussulmans call it " Rigad el 

2 Josh. xxiv. 26. A mad" "the place of the pillar," 

3 Ibid. 27 ; Judg. ix. 6, 37. This or " Sheykh-el-Amad" "the saint of 
spot, called in Gen. xii. 6, and xxxv. the pillar." 

i, "Allon-Moreh" " the oak of Moreh " 4 Acts vii. 15, 16. 

or of Shechem, is called by the Sa- 5 Josh. xxiv. 33. Ilia tomb is sti. 

maritans Ahron-Moreh, "the Ark of shown in a charming little close over- 

Moreh," from a supposition that in a shadowed by venerable terebinths, at 

vault underneath is buried the Ark. A wertah, a few miles S. E. of Nablfls 


the rocky sides of a hill which bore the name of his 
more famous son, Phinehas, who was himself, doubt- 
less, interred in the same sepulchre. It is described 
us being in the mountains of Ephraim, and is pointed 
out by Samaritan tradition on a height immediately 
east of Gerizim. The grave of Joshua has been by 
the Mussulmans claimed for a far distant spot. On the 
summit of the Giant's Hill, overlooking the Bosphorus 
and the Black Sea, his vast tomb is shown, with the 
gigantic proportions in which Orientals delight. But 
the reverence of his own countrymen cherished the 
remembrance of it with a more accurate knowledge, 
in the inheritance which had been given to him — 
as though he were a sole tribe in himself — in Tim- 
nath-serah, or Heres, "on the north side of the hill 
of Gaash ; " l and in the same grave (according to a 
very ancient tradition) were buried the stone knives 
used in the ceremony of circumcision at Gilgal, which 
were long sought out as relics by those who came 
in after-years to visit the tomb of their mighty De- 
liverer. 2 

l Ibid. xix. 44-50; xxiv. 30. A 2 Josh.xxiv. 29 (LXX.). The spot 

Rabbinical tradition supposes it to be is not known with certainty, but is 

called Heres, from an image of the probably in the hills southwards of 

sun to commemorate the battle of Shechme. See Hitter's Palestine, iii 

Beth-horon. But it is probably only 563, 564 
the transposition of the letters of 





1. (a) The Book of Judges ; the Book of Ruth ; 1 Sam. i.-vii. 

f Hebrew and LXX.). (b) Ps. lxxviii. 56-66; lxxxiii. 9-12; 
Isa. ix. 4; x. 26 ; xxviii. 21; Jer. vii. 12; xxvi. 6; Ecclus. 
xlvi. 11-20; Heb. xi. 32-34. 

2. The Jewish Traditions preserved in Josephus (Ant. v. 2-vi. 1), 

and the Jewish Chronicle Seder Olam (c. 11, 12, 13). 

8. The Heathen Traditions (Sanchoniathon ? in Eus. Prcej. Ev. i. 9). 



We are now arrived at the last stage of the first period 
of the history of the Chosen People. We have character- 

, . , . . istics of the 

seen the nation of slaves turned into a nation of period. 
freemen in the deliverance from Egypt. We have seen 
them become the depositaries of a new religion in 
Mount Sinai. We have seen them in their first flush 
of conquest in the Promised Land. We have now to 
see the gradual transition from their primitive state, 
and to track them through the interval between the 
death of Joshua and the rise of Samuel — between the 
establishment of the sanctuary at Shiloh on the first 
occupation of the country, and its final overthrow by 
the Philistines. 

The characteristics of this period are such as es- 
pecially invite our critical and historical inquiries. 
Other portions of Scripture may be more profitable 
" for doctrine, for correction, for reproof, for instruc- 
" tion in righteousness ; " but for merely human inter- 
est — for the lively touches of ancient manners — for 
the succession of romantic incidents — for the con- 
ciousness that we are living face to face with the per- 
sons described — for the tragical pathos of events and 
characters — there is nothing like the history of the 


Judges from Othniel to Eli. No portion of the Hebrew 
Scriptures, whether by its actual date or by the vivid- 
ness of its representations, brings us so near to the 
times described ; and on none has more light been 
thrown by the German scholar, to whose investiga- 
tions we owe so much in the study of the Older Dis- 
pensation. It would seem, if one may venture to sav 
so, as if the Book of Judges had been left in the Sacred 
Books, with the express view of enforcing upon us the 
necessity which we are sometimes anxious to evade, 
of recognizing the human, national, let us even add, 
barbarian element which plays its part in the sacred 
history. In other portions of the Hebrew annals, the 
Divine character of the Revelation is so constantly 
before us, or the character of the human agents reaches 
so nearly to the Divine, that we may, if we choose, 
almost forget that we are reading of men of like pas- 
sions with ourselves. But in the history of the Judges, 
the whole tenor of the book, especially of its conclud- 
ing chapters, renders this forge tfulness impossible. The 
angles and roughnesses of the sacred narrative, which 
elsewhere we endeavor to smooth down into one uni- 
form level, here start out from the surface too visibly 
to be overlooked by the most superficial observer. Like 
the rugged rock which, to this day, breaks the plat- 
form of the Temple area at Jerusalem, and reminds us 
of the bare natural features of the mountain that must 
have protruded themselves into the midst of the mag- 
nificence of Solomon, — so the Book of Judges recalls 
our thoughts from the ideal, which we imagine of past 
and of sacred ages, and reminds us by a rude shock, 
that, even in the heart of the Chosen People, even in 
the next generation after Joshua, there were irregu- 
larities, imperfections, excrescences, which it is the glory 


of the Sacred Historian to have recorded faithfully, 
and which it will be our wisdom no less faithfully to 

"In those days there was no king in Israel, 1 but every 
u man did that which was right in his own eyes." 
" In those days there was no king in Israel." " It 
u came to pass in those days when there was no king in 
" Israel." " In those days there was no king in Israel." 
" every man did that which was right in his own eyes." 
This sentence, thus frequently and earnestly repeated, 
is the key-note of the whole book. It expresses the 
freedom, the freshness, the independence, — the license, 
the anarchy, the disorder, of the period. It tells us 
that we are in a period of transition, gradually draw- 
ing near to that time when there will be a " king 
in Israel," when there will be " peace on all sides 
" round about him, Judah and Israel dwelling safely, 
" every man under his vine and under his fig-tree, from 
" Dan unto Beersheba." But meantime the dark and 
bright sides of the history shift with a rapidity unknown 
in the latter times of the story — " The children of 
" Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord," and " The 
" children of Israel cried unto the Lord." 2 Never 
was there a better instance than in these two al- 
ternate sentences, ten times repeated, that we need 
not pronounce any age entirely bad or entirely good. 

I. First, then, look at the outward relations of the 
country. The Conquest was over, but the up- outward 
heavings of the conquered population still con- stru ss ,es - 
tinued. The ancient inhabitants, like the Saxons un- 
der , the Normans, still retained their hold on large 
tracts, or on important positions throughout the coun- 

1 Judg. xvii. 6; xviii. 1; xix. 1; 2 Judg. ii. 4, 11, 18, 19 ; iii. 7,9,12, 
xxi. 25. 15 j iv. 1, 3 ; vi. 1, 7 ; x. 6, 10 ; xiii. 1 


try. The neighboring powers still looked on the new- 
comers as an easy prey to incursion and devastation, 
if not to actual subjugation. Against these enemies, 
both from without and from within, — but chiefly from 
w T ithin, a constant struggle had to be maintained ; 
with all the dangers, adventures, and trials incident 
to such a state, — a war of independence such as was 
not to occur again till the struggle of the Maccabees 
against the Greek kings, or even of the last insur- 
gents against the Romans. A glance at the first 
chapter of the Book of Judges will show in a mo- 
ment the motley, parti-colored character which Pales- 
tine must have presented after the death of Joshua. 
Nearly the whole of the sea-coast, all the strongholds 
in the rich plain of Esdraelon, and, in the heart of 
the country the invincible fortress of Jebus, were 
still in the hands of the unbelievers. 1 Every one of 
continua- these spots was a focus of disaffection, a bone 

tion of the . _ 

Conquest, of contention, a natural field of battle. Or 
look at the relations of conquerors and conquered as 
they appear in the story of Abimelech. 2 The insur- 
rection, which then was nearly successful, of the an- 
cient Shechemites — the u sons of Emmor, the father 
of Sychem" — reveals the fires which must have been 
smouldering everywhere throughout the land, and which 
would have broken out more frequently, had the gov- 
ernment oftener fallen into worthless hands. Or look 
at the migration of the sons of Dan. It is like the 
story of the whole nation epitomized over again in 
the portion of a single tribe. a In those days the 
u tribe of the Danites sought them an inheritance to 
* dwell in." 3 They were still unprovided. Spies were 

1 See Lecture XII. 3 Josh. xix. 47 ; Judg. xviii. 1-31. 

a See Lecture XV. 


sent forth, as formerly by Moses and by Joshua. 
They return with the account of a land "very good," 
" a place where there is no want of anything ; " and 
their kinsmen follow their guiding. They leave the 
trace of their encampment on their road, 1 like a sec- 
ond Gilgal, and they track the Jordan to its source, 
and, in the secluded corner under Mount Hermon, fall 
on the easternmost of the Phoenician colonies, and es- 
tablish themselves in that beautiful and fertile spot, 
with a sanctuary of their own, and a priesthood of 
their own, during the whole period of which we are 

Slowly, gradually, the dominion of the Chosen Peo- 
ple was left to work its way. First, they re- successive 
pel distant invaders from Mesopotamia. This confllcts - 
is the special work of the Lion of the tribe of Judah, 
— of the last hero of the old generation. Then, under 
Deborah and Barak, they encounter the final rising 
of the Canaanites. 2 The battle of Merom is repeated 
over again by the waters of Megiddo. In that cen- 
tral conflict of the period, Israel and Canaan met to- 
gether for the last time face to face in battle. Then 
follows the most trying invasion to which the country 
had been ever subjected, 3 — the wild Midianite hordes 
from the desert. How great was the crisis, is proved 
by the greatness of the champion who was called 
forth to resist it. In Gideon and his family we see 
the nearest approach to a king that this epoch pro- 
duces. Finally, they are brought into collision with 
the new enemies, — the race of strangers, — who, as it 
would seem, had barely settled in Palestine at the 
time of the first conquest, — the " Philistines," * ** and 

l Judg. xiii. 25 ; xviii. 12. 3 See Leeture XV. 

* See Lecture XIV. * See Lecture XVI. 


amidst the death-struggle with them under Samson, 
Eli, and Samuel, ends this period of the history. 

It was a hard discipline ; it must have checked the 
Military progress of arts, of civilization, of refinement. 
onie'na- But ^ was the fitting school through which 
tion. they were to pass. It was the formation of 

the military character of the people. It prepared 
the way for the inauguration of the new name by 
which, in the next period of their history, God would 
be called, — the " Lord of Hosts." Though a succes- 
sion of failures, they stumbled into perfection. Amidst 
these struggles for independence was nourished no 
less a youth than that of David. " Therefore the 
" Lord left those nations, without driving them out 
"' hastily : " to prove " Israel by them ; even as many as 
" had not known the wars of Canaan ; only that the 
" generations of Israel might know to teach them war, 
" at the least such as before knew nothing thereof." l 
Without this discipline, they might have sunk into 
mere Phoenician settlements, like the " people of Laish, 
" dwelling careless, after the manner of the Zidonians, 
" quiet and secure," 2 having no business with any man, 
" in a large land, where there was no want of any- 
" thing that is in the earth." Like their Phoenician 
neighbors, like their own descendants in later times, 
they might have become a mere nation of merchants : 
" Dan would have abode in his ships, and Asher would 
u have remained in his creeks by the sea-shore," and 
not a a shield or spear would have been seen amongst 
" forty thousand in Israel." But their spirit rose to 
the emergencies. Faithful tribes, like Zebulun and 
Naphtali, were always found amongst the faithless, ready 
to jeopardize their lives for the nation. Reversing 

1 Judg. ii. 23 ; iii. 1, 2. 2 Ibid, xviii. 7-9. 


the Prophetic visions of an ideal future, their pruning- 
hooks were turned into spears, and their ploughshares 
into swords. They had " files to sharpen their coul- 
ters, their mattocks, 1 and their goads ; " and Shamgar, 
the son of Anath, came with his rude ox-goad, and 
Samson with his quaint devices, — the jawbone of an 
ass, and the firebrands at the tails of jackals, — devas- 
tating the country of their enemies. 

II. But it is chiefly in their internal relations that 
this transitional state appears. " There was no king 
in Israel," no fixed capital, no fixed sanctuary, no 
fixed government. It was a heptarchy, a dodecarchy, 
of which the supremacy passed, as in the early ages 
of our own country, first to one tribe and then to 

Even in a religious point of view, now one, now 
another place presents itself as the rallying- i nte rnai 
point of the nation. The sacred solitary palm- dlsorder - 
tree was the spot to which at one time the children 
of Israel came up for judgment. 2 Another was the 
sanctuary of Micah, 3 visited as an oracle by wandering 
travellers and pilgrims. A third was the greensward 
on the broad summit of Tabor, 4 the gathering-place 
of the northern tribes. A fourth was the little capi- 
tal of the northern Dan, already mentioned, beside 
the sources of the Jordan. Doubtless amidst all these 
variations, the national feeling still turned chiefly to 
two spots, the okl primeval stone or structure called 
"the House of God " — " Bethel ; " the other, the 
modern sanctuary of Shiloh, set up by Joshua. But 
even these were tokens of division and independence. 
At the close of the period, the High Priesthood, the 

- 1 Sam. xiii. 21. 3 Lecture XIII. 

« See Lecture XIV. 4 Lectures XIV. XV. 



one great office which had been bequeathed by the 
Mosaic age, appears at Shiloh. But in its earlier 
years, we find it established at Bethel, and the 
Ark itself, as if suffering in the general disintegra- 
tion of the people, reposed not within the sacred 
tent of Shiloh, but within the primitive sanctuary 
of Bethel. 

In like manner, no one tribe exercises undisputed 
preeminence. Ephraim, on the whole, retains the 
primacy, but not exclusively. Judah, after the death 
of Othniel, disappears almost entirely. " There was 
no king in Israel," there was no succession of Proph- 
ets. Long blanks occur in the history, of which we 
know nothing. From time to time deliverers were 
The office raised up, as occasion called, and the Spirit 
judges." of the Lord came upon them ; and again, on 
their death, the central bond was broken, and the 
thread of the history is lost. The office, which gives its 
name to the period, well describes it. It was occasion- 
al, irregular, uncertain, yet gradually tending to fixed- 
ness and perpetuity. Its title is itself expressive. The 
Ruler was not regal, but he was more than the mere 
head of a tribe, or the mere judge of special cases. 
We have to seek for the origin of the name not 
amongst the Sheiks of the Arabian desert, but amongst 
tie civilized settlements of Phoenicia. Shofet — Sho- 
fetim, 1 the Hebrew word which we translate "Judge," 
is the same as we find in the "Suffes," 2 "SufTetes," 
of the Carthaginian rulers at the time of the Punic 
Wars. As afterwards the office of u king" was taken 

1 Josephus (c. Apion, i. 21) de- dices." The office most nearly eor- 
scribes judges (dLaacTai) as succeed- responding to it in the West was that 
fng to the Tyrian kings. of " iEsymnetes " in Greek nistory 

2 Liv. xxx. 7 ; xxviii. 37. In xxxiii. See Aristotle, Politics, iii. 9. § 5, iv. 8 
46, xs\iv. 61, they are called "ju- §2. 


from the nations round about, so now if not the 
office, at least the name of "judge" or "shofet," 
seems to have been drawn from the Canaanitish cities 
with which for the first time Israel came into contact. 
It is the first trace of the influence of the Syrian 
usages on the fortunes of the Chosen People, the first- 
fruits of the Pagan inheritance to which the Jewish 
and the Christian Church has succeeded. Gradually 
the office so formed consolidates itself. Of Othniel, 
Ehud, and Shamgar, we know not whether they ruled 
beyond the limits of the special crisis which called 
them forth. But in Deborah and Gideon we see the 
indications of a rule for life. In Gideon, we find the 
attempt at a regular monarchy made and rejected, 
yet still virtually maintained in his lifetime, and for- 
mally revived, after his death, by his son Abimelech. 
In the succession of obscure rulers who follow, the 
hereditary principle has established itself. Sons and 
grandsons inherit, if not the power, at least the pomp 
and state of their father and grandfather. 1 And. 
finally, the two offices, which in the earlier years of 
this period had remained distinct, — the High Priest 
and the Judge, — were united in the person of Eli ; 
and Samuel, who acted as the interpreter between 
the old and the new order of his people, had actu- 
ally transmitted the office by hereditary succession 
to his sons, and they for the first time appear exer- 
cising those "judicial" 2 functions which alone are 
expressed in the modern translation of Shophet into 
u Judge." 

III. In connection with this Phoenician origin of 
the name of these rulers, other customs, as Phoenician 
nriight be expected from the near neighbor- lnfluence>l 

l Judg. x. 3, 4; xii. 8-14. 2 i Sam. viii. 3 


hood, now first appear, in every shade of good and 
evil, from the same source. The temptations to idol- 
atry are no longer of the same kind as in Mesopo- 
tamia, or in Egypt. Two forms of worship rise above 
The name au< others, — the two Phoenician deities, Baal 
of Baai. an j Astarte, — as seducing the Israelites from 
their allegiance, marked everywhere by the image and 
altar, or the grove of olive or ilex round the sacred 
rock or stone on which the altar was erected. Relics 
of such worship continued long afterwards in the 
names, probably derived from this period, both of 
places and persons. Everywhere throughout the land 
lingered the traces of the old idolatrous sanctuaries, 
— Baal-Gad, Baal-Hermon, Baal-Tamar, Baal-Hazor, 
Baal-Judah, Baal-Meon, Baal-Perazim, Baal-Shalisha, 
like the memorials of Saxon heathenism, or of medi- 
aeval superstition, which furnish the nomenclature of so 
many spots in our own country. And even in fam- 
ilies, as in that of Saul, 1 we find that the title of the 
Phoenician god appears, as in the names so common 
in Tyre and Carthage, — Maherbal, Hannibal, Asdrubal. 
But the most distinct and peculiar mark of the 
Thewor- Phoenician worship at this time — and not un- 
BaaiBe- naturally adopted in the license given to 
every form of independent organization and 
association — is that of cities congregated in leagues 
round such a temple of Baal, hence called Baal Be- 
rit-h, " Baal of the League ; " 2 as in the combination 
of Tyre, Sid on, and Arvad to found Tripolis, as in 
the Carthaginian settlements which in Sicily formed 
themselves round the Temple of Astarte at Eryx, as 
in the Canaanitish League of Gibeon. The chief in- 

l Baal, Eshbaal, and Meribbaal, 1 3 See Ewald, ii. 445 ; Lecture 

Chron. viii. 30, 33, 34. XV. 


stance of it is the League of Shechem and Thebez 
round the Temple of the League at Shechem, under 
the half-Canaanite king Abimelech, the first organized 
form of Canaanite polity and worship within the pre- 
cincts of Israel. 

Another practice, which falls in with the wild 
usages of the time, has also a direct affinity Phoenician 
with Phoenician customs, — the frequent use vows * 
of vows. One memorable instance of a Phoenician 
vow has been handed down to us, so solemn in its 
origin, so grand in its consequences, that even the 
vows of the most sacred ages need not fear compari- 
son with it. The impulse from his early oath which 
nerved the courage and patriotism of Hannibal from 
childhood to age, in his warfare against Rome, 1 may 
well be taken as an illustration of the feeling which, 
in its highest and noblest forms, led to the consecra- 
tion of Samson and Samuel, and, in its unauthorized 
excesses, to the rash vows, of the whole nation 
against the tribe of Benjamin, of Jephthah against 
his daughter, of Saul against Jonathan. These spas- 
modic efforts after self-restraint are precisely what 
we should expect in an age which had no other 
mode of steadying its purposes amidst the general 
anarchy in which it was enveloped, and accordingly 
in that age they first appear, and within its limits 

IV. But whatever traces there may be of foreign 
influence, the heart of the people and their Primitive 
manners remained essentially Israelite, and of lite. 
the disorders of the time breathe always the air 
rather of the desert than of the city. We see the 
princes and the judges riding in state on their asses, 

1 See Arnold's Rome, iii. 33. 


the asses of the Bedouin tribe, abhorred of Egypt 
"Speak, ye that ride on she-asses, dappled with 
white," is the address of Deborah to the victorious 
chiefs returning from battle. The thirty sons of Jair 
ride on their thirty ass colts, which the play on the 
word connects with their thirty cities. 1 As in the 
wilderness, the assemblies of the people are still gath- 
ered by the fresh springs or the running streams. 
" At the places " 2 or " amongst the companies of the 
66 drawing of water, are rehearsed the righteous acts 
" of the Lord." " By the streams of Reuben are the 
" divisions and searchings of heart." Tents may still 
be seen beside the settled habitations. The Arab 
Kenites still linger in the south. A settlement of 
the same tribe is planted far north also, under the 
ancient oak, called from their encampment " the oak 
"of the unloading of tents," 3 and underneath the tent 
of Jael, the wife of Heber, every Bedouin custom was 
as purely preserved as in the time of Abraham. The 
sanctuary of Shiloh itself was still a tent; or rather, 
according to the Rabbinical representations, which 
have every appearance of truth, a low structure of 
stones with a tent drawn over it, exactly like the 
Bedouin village, an intermediate stage between a 
mere collection of tents and a fixed precinct of build- 
ings. And although a city grew round it, and a 
stone gateway rose in front of it, yet it still retained 
its name of the " camp of Shiloh ; " and the sanctuary 
was only known as the "tabernacle or tem 1 that God 
'* had pitched among men." 4 

Accordingly the whole period breathes a primitive 

1 Judg. x. 4. 4 Mishna (Surenhusius) vol. v. 59 

2 Ibid. v. 11, 15, 16. Seder Olam, c. 11. Ps. lxxviii. 60 

3 See Lecture XIV. See Lecture XVII. 


simplicity which peculiarly belongs both to the crimes 
and the virtues of this earliest stage of the occupation 
of Canaan. The Book of Judges closes with three 
pictures, of which the two first, at least, appear to 
have been inserted with the express purpose, so un- 
usual in the sacred history, — so unusual, one ma}^ 
add, in any history, till within the most recent times, 
— of giving an insight into what we should call the 
state of society in Judea, How precious to us would 
be any details of the private life and incidental cus- 
toms of Greece or Eome, equal to what are afforded 
in the stories of Micah, of the war with Benjamin, 
and of Ruth ! Though appended to the close of the 
book, they form, both by their style and by the actual 
order of the events which they relate, its natural 
preface. 1 

1. Take the expedition of the Danites. They start, 
as we have seen, once more to seek new set- The st 
tlements — they track the Jordan to its source, Unites 
and then mark out for their prey the easy and Mlcah * 
colonists from Sidon in the rich and beautiful seclu- 
sion of that loveliest of the scenes of Palestine. It is 
the exact likeness of the Frankish or Norman migra- 
tions, reopening the path of conquest and discovery, 
when it had seemed all closed and ended with the 
final settlement of Europe. And still more character- 
istic is the incident which is interwoven with their 
expedition, and which opens another vista into the 
mingled superstition and religion which swayed the 
feelings of the time. We are introduced to the house 
of Micah, on the ridge of the hills of Ephraim; we 
hear the frank disclosure of Micah to his mother, how 

1 This arrangement is actually adopted by Josephus (Ant. v. 2, §§8-12- 
*, § I)- 


he was the thief who had carried off her shekels — 
and we see the mother's grateful dedication of her re- 
stored property. Their isolation from the central wor- 
ship of Palestine soon manifests itself. The house 
becomes a castle ; and not only a castle, but a temple. 
The Sane- Like the sanctuary of Shiloh itself, it stands 
tuary. m a cour t ? entered by a spacious gateway, 
Round about it gather houses of those who take a 
common interest in this worship, and a caravansary 
for strangers. Within is a chamber, called " the House 
of God," and in this chamber are two silver images, 
one sculptured, one molten, clothed in a mask and 
priestly mantle, 1 so as to represent as nearly as possi- 
ble the Priestly Oracle at Shiloh. And when we in- 
quire further into the worship of this little sanctuary, 
still stranger scenes disclose themselves. The fiwe 
Danite warriors, as they pass by, and lodge in the car- 
avansary, are arrested by the sound of a well-known 
voice. It is the voice of a Levite of Bethlehem, whom 
they had known whilst in their southern settlement 
They ask him, " Who brought thee hither ? and what 
a makest thou in this place ? and what hast thou here ? " 
They ask him, and we, with our precise notions of Le- 
vitical ritual, may well ask him too. He tells his own 
wild story. He, like them, had been a wanderer for 
a better home than he found in the little village of 
Bethlehem. He, like them, had halted by the house 
of Micah, on the ridge of Ephraim; and the supersti- 
tion of Micah and the interest of the Levite combined. 
The one, like many a feudal noble, was eager to se- 

1 Judg. xvii. 4. Of these two im- oracles, Zech. x. 2, and as appurte- 

ages, one (apparently as large as a nances of public worship, Hos iii. 4 , 

man, 1 Sain. xix. 16), from its mask, and the custom was finally put down 

was called Teraphim, from its mantle by Josiah, 2 Kings xxiii. 24. (See 

Ephod. Such images were used as Ewald, A u erth. 256-8). 


cure the services and sanction of a regular chaplain 
for his new establishment. The other, like many a feu- 
dal priest, was willing to secure " ten shekels of silver 
" by the year, and a suit of apparel, and his victuals." 
So the Levite went in, and u was content to dwell with 
the man," was unto him as one of his sons ; and Mi- 
cah consecrated the Levite, and the young man be- 
came his priest, and occupied one of the dwellings by 
the house of Micah. 1 Then said Micah, " Now know I 
" that the Lord will do me good, seeing I have a Le- 
" vite to my priest." 

But as the story unravels itself, still further does it 
lead us into the manners and the spirit of the time. 
The same feelings which had prompted Micah to 
secure the wandering treasure, were shared by the 
Danite warriors, who had recognized in him their old 
acquaintance. They had received his blessing on their 
enterprise as they passed by on their first expedition. 
They suggested to their countrymen, on their advance 
to accomplish their design, that here was the religious 
sanction which alone they needed to render it success- 
ful. a Do ye know," they said as they ap- The theft 
proached the well-known cluster of houses on relics. 
the hill-side — u Do ye know that there is in these 
" houses an ephod, and teraphim, and a graven image, 
" and a molten image ? Now therefore consider what 
" ye have to do." In the centre of the settlement rose 
the house of Micah, and at its gateway was the dwell- 
ing of the Levite. By the gateway the six hundred 
armed warriors stood conversing with their ancient 
leighbor, whilst the five men stole up the rocky court, 
and into the little chapel, and fetched away the im- 
ages with teraphim and ephod ; and, long before they 

1 Judg. xviii. 15. 


were discovered, were far along their northern route 
The priest has raised his voice against the theft for a 
moment. " What do ye ? " But there is a ready bribe. 
" Hold thy peace, lay thine hand upon thy mouth, and 
" go with us ; and be to us a father and a priest : is it 
" better for thee to be a priest unto the house of one 
" man, or that thou become a priest unto a tribe and 
u family in Israel ? " ] 

" Hold thy peace, lay thine hand upon thy mouth/' 
— so almost in the same words was the like bribe offered 
by one of the greatest religious houses of England to 
the monk w T ho guarded the shrine of one of the most 
sacred relics in the adjacent cathedral of Canterbury. 
— a Give us the portion of S. Thomas's skull which is 
" in thy custody, and thou shalt cease to be a simple 
" monk ; thou shalt be Abbot of S. Augustine's." 2 As 
Roger accepted the bait in the twelfth century after 
the Christian era, so did the Levite of Micah's house 
in the fifteenth century before it. "And the priest's 
" heart was glad, and he took the ephod, and the tera- 
" phim, and the graven image, and went in the midst 
" of the people." The theft was so adroitly managed, 
that the soldiers were far awav before Micah and his 
neighbors overtook them, and uttered a wail of grief 
and rage. The whole neighborhood had a common 
interest in the sanctuary ; and Micah, in particu- 
lar, felt that his importance was gone. " Ye have 
" taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, 
" and ye are gone away ; and what have I more ? " 
But they are too strong for him, and they advance 
to the easy conquest which gives them their new 

In the biography of this one Levite, thus acciden 

i Judg. xviii. 14-19. a Thome's Chronicle, 1176. 


tally, as it were, brought to view, we have a sample 
of the darker side of his tribe, as brought The sanc- 

r> t t mi t • tuar} r at 

out m the curse of Jacob, — "I will divide Dan. 
"them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel," — lending 
himself to the highest bidder, to Micah first for ten 
shekels a year and food and clothing, to the Danites 
afterwards, that he might become a Priest of a tribe 
and family in Israel rather than to the house of one 
man. He had his reward ; he became a Father and 
Patriarch to the new commonwealth. Under his aus- 
pices on the green hill by the sources of the Jordan 
a new sanctuary was established ; the graven image 
remained there undisturbed during the whole period 
of the Judges, u all the time that the House of God 
" was in Shiloh ; " and he and his sons founded a long 
line of Priests, for the same period, " Priests to the 
" tribe of Dan until the day l of the captivity of the 
" land." And who was this stranger Levite ? this 
founder of a schismatical worship ? Was he of some 
obscure family, that might be thought to have escaped 
the higher influences of the age ? So from the larger 
part of the narrative, so from the dexterous alteration 
of the text by later copyists in the one passage which 
reveals the secret, it might have been inferred. But 
that one passage, according to the reading of several 
Hebrew manuscripts, and of the Vulgate, and according 
to an ancient Jewish tradition, and to the almost cer- 
tain conjecture both of Kennicott and of Ewald, tells 
us who he was : — u Jonathan, the son of Gershom, — 
the son " — not, as we now read, of Manasseh, 2 The grand- 
but " of Moses." Whether it was from the Moses 

1 Judg. xviii. 30, 31. For these is, in the Hebrew text, by the inser- 
sxpressions, see Lecture XVII. tion of a single letter, turned into Ma- 

2 Judg. xviii. 30. The wt>rd Moseh nasseh. In 1 Chron. xxiii. 15, 16 


general laxity of the time, or from the obscurity which 
throughout envelops the family of the great lawgiver, 
there can be little doubt that this type of the wander 
ing, ambitious, lawless Priest of this and so many after- 
ages, was no less than the grandson of the Prophet 
Moses. What Jewish copyists have done here by 
endeavoring to change the honored name of Moses 
into the hated name of Manasseh, is what has been 
often attempted in the later history of the church, by 
endeavoring to conceal, or to palliate, the excesses or 
errors or irregularities of the inferior successors of 
noble predecessors. Let the story of the grandson of 
Moses be at once an illustration of the fact, and a 
warning to us not to make too much of it. A profli- 
gate and heretical Pope in a profligate or heretical 
age, a turbulent or timeserving Reformer in a turbu- 
lent or timeserving age, are not of such importance 
for the succeeding or preceding history, as that we 
should be very eager either to conceal or to affirm 
the fact of their existence. Each age has its own er- 
rors and sins to bear. Jonathan the son of Gershom, 
and the long succession of the priesthood which he 
transmitted, are indeed illustrative of the time to which 
they belonged, are exact likenesses of what has occurred 
again and again in like confusions of the Christian 
Church, — but prove nothing beyond themselves, and 
need not either be kept out of sight, on the one hand, 
or made into standing arguments, on the other hand, 
against the Church which, for the time, they repre- 

2. No less characteristic of the good and evil of the 

occurs Shebuel, son of Gershom, son Diet, of Bible, "Jonathan," " Mana» 
of Moses. — Jerome (Qu. Heb. ad Z.) seh.") 
lays that he was Micah's Levite, (See 


period is the story of the war of the eleven tribes 
against their brother Benjamin for the outrage The story 
committed by the inhabitants of Gibeah. Here, °f Hen™ 
again, is a roving Levite of irregular life. jamin ' 
Every step of his journey shows us a glimpse of the 
state of the country. His father-in-law entertains him 
with true Arabian hospitality, day after day, night af- 
ter night. Amidst the shadows of the evening, " when 
" the day is far spent," we see the towers of " Jebus 
" which is Jerusalem," still in the hands of the Ca- 
naanites. The apprehension of the travellers as they 
find themselves overtaken by darkness is exactly that 
which still attends the fall of night in any country 
where the unsettled state of the government makes 
itself felt in robbers and outlaws. Outside the town 
of Gibeah, in the open space beneath the walls, on 
what in the " Arabian Nights " are so often called 
" the mounds," the little band encamps. Then comes 
the aged countryman from the fields, and the dark 
crime which follows, and the ferocious summons of the 
whole people to vengeance by the signal of the di- 
vided bones of the outraged woman. 1 Both the atro- 
city and the indignation which it excites belong alike 
to the primitive stage of a people, when, as the his- 
torian observes, tanto amor apud majores id virtidibus 
gloria, iia flagitiis poenitentia. There is nothing in later 
times like the original outrage. But neither is there 
anything in later times like the universal burst of hor- 

1 Judjr. xix. 29. A like summons then tore her body open in the pres- 

is issued within this same period, 1 ence of the tribe, and found that she 

Sam. xi. 7. A similar incident is said was innocent. The slanderer was then 

to have occurred recently in the tribes judged. Her tongue was cut out, and 

flear Damascus. An Arab woman she was hewn into small pieces, which 

having been accused of unchastity by were sent all over Uie desert 
mother, was killed by her father, who 


ror. " We will not any of us go to his tent, neither 
iC will we any of us turn into his house ; but now this 
u shall be the thing which we will do unto Gibeah . 
" . . according to the folly that they have wrought 
" in Israel. So all the men of Israel were gathered 
u together against the city, knit together as one man." 
There are many wars in Israel after this, civil and 
foreign, but none breathing so ardent a spirit of zeal, 
excessive, extravagant zeal it ma}^ be, against moral 
evil. As in the former story, so here, we meet with 
one who had known the old generation. As before it 
was the grandson of Moses, so here it is the grandson 
Phinehas. of Aaron. But Phinehas the son of Eleazar 
was made of sterner and better stuff than Jonathan 
the son of Gershom. He was u before the Ark in those 
days," and in the fierce, unyielding, yet righteous 
desire for vengeance which animated the whole peo- 
ple, we seem to see the same spirit which appeared 
when, in the matter of Baal-Peor, " Phinehas arose and 
"executed judgment, and that was counted unto him 
" for righteousness among all generations for ever- 
" more ; " " because he was zealous for his God, and 
"brought an atonement for the children of Israel." 
And the sudden change of feeling, no less primitive 
and natural, the return of compassion towards the 
remnant of the Benjamites, is still in accordance with 
the only other trait which we know of the character 
of the aged Priest. They wept sore and said, " Lord 
" God of Israel, why is this come to pass in Israel that 
u there should be to-day one tribe lacking in Israel ? 
" And the children of Israel repented them for Ben- 
(i jainin their brother." Even so, when for the fancied 
offence of the Transjordanic tribes, the rest of the na- 
tion with Phinehas at their head had set off to exter- 


urinate them, the same tender brotherly feeling revived, 
when the same Phinehas heard and accepted the ex- 
planation of the act. It is the same union of a wild 
sense of justice and religion, combined with a keen 
sense of national and family union, such as marks an 
early age, and an early age only. In the later dis- 
sensions of the nation, we find no such hasty vows, no 
such measures of sudden and total destruction. But 
neither do we find such ready and eager forgiveness, 
such frank acknowledgment of error. The early feuds 
of nations and churches are more violent, but they are 
often less inveterate and malignant than the sectarian- 
ism and party-spirit of later years. The one is a fit- 
ful frenzy, the other is a chronic disorder. Doubtless 
there was something fierce and terrible in the oracles 
of the ancient Phinehas, Priest and Warrior in one ; 
but he was in the end a milder counsellor than the 
High Priest who, in the latest days of the nation, in 
all the fulness of civilization and of statesmanship, 
gave his counsel that " it was expedient that one man 
should die for the people, that the whole nation perish 

The details of the story agree with its general char- 
acter. The resolute determination of the Benjamites 
not to give up the guilty city is a trait of the bond 
of honor and of clanship which, in an early age, out- 
weighs the ties of country and public interests. We 
catch here, too, the first glimpse of the romantic, and, 
as it were, secret alliance between Jabesh-gilead and 
Benjamin. Hence their absence from the fatal mas- 
sacre ; hence the chase of their maidens for the future 
wives of Benjamin ; hence, in a later generation, their 
application for help to the great chief of the Benja- 
mite tribe; hence their fidelity to him after defeat 


and death. 1 The remnant of the tribe, intrenched on 
the cliff of " the Pomegranate/' 2 reveals to us the 
fierce daring of the time. The dances in the vineyards 
of Shiloh reveal to us its simplicity and tenderness. 

3. Thirdly, the story of Ruth (in the ancient edi- 
The story tions of the Hebrew Scriptures always joined 
in the Book of Judges) reveals to us a scene 
as primitive in its simple repose as the others are in 
their violence and disorder. 3 It is one of those quiet 
corners of history which are the green spots of all 
time, and which appear to become greener and greener 
as^ they recede into the distance. Bethlehem is the 
starting-point of this story, as of the two which pre- 
ceded, but now under different auspices. We see 
amidst the cornfields, whence it derives its name, 
u the House of Bread," the beautiful stranger gleaning 
the ears of corn after the reapers. 4 We hear the ex- 
change of salutations between the reapers and their 
master ; " Jehovah be with you," u Jehovah bless thee." 5 
We are present at the details of the ancient custom, 
which the author of the book describes almost with 
the fond regret of modern antiquarianism, as one 
which was "the manner of Israel in former times," — 
the symbolical transference of the rights of kinsman- 
ship by drawing off the sandal. 6 We have the first 
record of a solemn nuptial benediction ; with the first 
direct allusion to the ancient patriarchal traditions of 
Rachel and Leah, 7 of Judah and Tamar. And whilst 

1 Judg. xxi. 9-14 ; 1 Sam. xi. 4 ; ever, agrees with the seclusion of 
ixxi. 11, 12. the tribe of Judah throughout this 

2 Rimmon ; Judg. xx. 47. period. 

3 It is useless (with so few data) 4 Ruth ii. 2. 
to attempt to fix the exact time of 5 Ibid. ii. 4. 
the events related in the Book of 6 Ibid. iv. 7. 
Ruth. Its general character, how- 7 Ibid. iv. 11, 12. 

Lect. Xm. THE STORY OF RUTH. 337 

these touches send us back, as in the two dark stories 
which precede this tranquil episode, to the earlier stage 
of Israelite existence, there is in this the first germ 
of the future hope of the nation. The book of Ruth 
is, indeed, the link of connection between the old and 
the new. There was rejoicing over the birth of the 
child at Bethlehem which Euth bare to Boaz : u and 
" Naomi took the child and laid it in her bosom, and 
" became nurse to it." ' It would seem as if there 
was already a kind of joyous foretaste of the birth 
and infancy which, in after-times, was to be forever 
associated with the name of Bethlehem. It was the 
first appearance on the scene of what may by antici- 
pation be called even then the Holy Family, for that 
child was Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of 
David. Nor is it a mere genealogical connection be- 
tween the two generations. The very license and in- 
dependence of the age may be said to have been the 
means of introducing into the ancestry of David and 
of the Messiah an element which else would have 
been, humanly speaking, impossible. " An Ammonite 
" or a Moabite shall not enter into the congregation." 2 
This was the letter of the law, and in the greater 
strictness that prevailed after the return from the 
captivity, it was rigidly enforced. But in the isolation 
of Juclah from the rest of Israel, in the doing of 
every man what was right in his own eyes, the more 
comprehensive spirit of the whole religion overstepped 
the letter of a particular enactment. The story of 
Euth has shed a peaceful light over w r hat else would 
be the accursed race of Moab. We strain our gaze 
to know something of the long line of the purple 
hills of Moab, w T hich form the background at once of 

1 Ruth iv. 16. 2 Deut xxiii. 3 ; Ezra ix. 1 ; Neh. xiii. 1 



the history and of the geography of Palestine. It is 
a satisfaction to feel that there is one tender associa- 
tion which unites them with the familiar history and 
scenery of Judaea, — that from their recesses, across the 
deep gulf which separates the two regions, came the 
gentle ancestress of David and of the Messiah. 

Y. "And now" (if I may venture for a moment to 
use the language of the sacred book * which in the 
New Testament has thrown itself with the greatest ar- 
dor and sympathy into this troubled period), "what 
" shall I more say ? for the time would fail me to tell 
" of Gideon and of Barak, and of Samson and of Jeph- 
" than." 

Eeserving the details, let me say thus much by 
Mixed char- way of prelude to all these characters. I have 
the period, dwelt on the unsettled, transitory, unequal 
state of the time in which they lived, because only 
in the light of that time can they be fairly considered. 
Mixed characters they are, as almost all the charac- 
ters in Scripture are — but in them the ingredients 
are mixed more closely, more strongly than in any 
others, in proportion to the mixed character of the 
period which produced them. It is this which gives 
to the narrative of the Book of Judges its peculiar 
charm. And, although as I have said, it stands, by 
its own confession, on a lower moral level than other 
portions of the Sacred record, although it portrays a 
time when u every man did w T hat was right in his 
" own eyes," and when a the children of Israel did 
" that which was evil in the sight of the Lord," yet 
there is in this very circumstance a lesson which we 
should sorely miss if it were lost to us. It represents 
a period of ecclesiastical history, with all the check* 

l Heb. xi. 32 


ered colors of real life. It gives a play to those nat- 
ural qualities which, though not strictly religious, are 
yet too noble, too lively, too attractive, to be over- 
looked in any true, and therefore (in the highest 
sense) any religious view of the world. We cannot 
pretend to say that Samson and Jephthah, hardly 
that Gideon or Barak, are characters which we should 
have selected as devout men, as servants of God. We 
should, at least if we had met with them in another 
history, have regarded them as wild freebooters, as 
stern chieftains, at best as high-minded patriots. They 
are bursting with passion, they are stained by revenge, 
they are alternately lax and superstitious. Their vir- 
tues are of the rough kind, which make them sub- 
jects of personal or poetic interest rather than of 
sober edification ; their words are remarkable, not so 
much for devotion or wisdom, as for a burnino; en- 
thusiasm, like the song of Deborah ; for a chivalrous 
frankness, as in the acts of Phinehas and of Jephthah ; 
for a ready presence of mind, as in the movements 
of Gideon ; for a primitive and racy humor, as in the 
repartees of Samson. Yet these characters are with- 
out hesitation ranked amongst the lights of the Chosen 
People : the world's heroes are fearlessly enrolled 
amongst God's heroes ; the men in whom we should 
be inclined to recognize only the strong arm which 
defends us, and the rough wit which amuses us, — 
are described as " raised up by God." No modern 
theory of " inspiration " checks the sacred writers in 
speaking of "the Spirit of the Lord" as "clothing" 
Gideon 1 as with a mantle for his enterprise, as "de- 
scending " 2 upon Othniel and Jephthah for their wars, 
as " striking " the soul of Samson like a bell or drum, 5 

1 Judg. vi. 34 (Hebrew) 3 Judg. xiii. 25 (Hebrew). 

2 Ibid. iii. 10: xi. 29. 


or as " rushing " upon him with irresistible force foi 
his heroic deeds. 1 In a lower degree, doubtless, and 
mingled with many infirmities, the wild chiefs of this 
stormy epoch, with their Phoenician titles, their Bed- 
ouin lives, and their * muscular " religion, partook of 
the same Spirit which inspired Moses and Joshua be- 
fore them, and David and Isaiah after them. The 
imperfection of their characters, the disorder of their 
times, set forth the more clearly the one redeeming 
element of trust in God that lurked in each of them, 
and, through them, kept alive the national existence. 
" By faith" as the author of the Epistle to the He- 
brews is not afraid to say, they, too, in their uncon- 
scious energy " subdued kingdoms .... obtained 
" promises, stopped the mouths of lions . . . . es- 
" caped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were 
" made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight 
" the armies of the aliens." 

Such an acknowledgment of these characters is a 
double boon. Nothing should be lamented, nothing 
should be despised, which brings within the range of 
our religious sympathy, within the sanction of Reve- 
lation, qualities and incidents which in common life 
we cannot help admiring, which history and common 
sense command us to admire, but which yet, from our 
narrow construction of God's Providence, we are afraid 
to recognize in our theological or ecclesiastical systems. 
We gain by being made at one with ourselves : Scrip- 
ture gains by being made at one with us. Had the 
history of the Chosen People been framed on the 
principle of many a later history of the Church, who 
can doubt that these inestimable touches of human 
life and character would have been altogether lost to 

1 Judg. xiv. 6 ; xv. 1 4. 


us ? How would Samson have fared with Milner ? to 
what would Deborah have been reduced in the refined 
speculations of Neander ? 

And there is a yet further affinity between us and 
them, which the Sacred history impresses upon The claS8i _ 
us. Is it not the case that, in this period, we jftJe 22? 
see for the first time, and more distinctly than tory ' 
elsewhere, that approximation which is developed, ir- 
regularly, obscurely, but still perceptibly, as time goes 
on, between some elements of the Hebrew character 
and those of the western and European world? It is 
a matter which must be stated carefully and cautiously, 
lest we seem to encourage the extravagant theories 
which, on the right hand and on the left, have beset 
every such view of the question. But the very fact 
of such theories having arisen implies a common 
ground, which is really a matter of solid interest and 
instruction. Few, if any, will now maintain the hy- 
pothesis of our old divines of the last century, that the 
stories of Iphigenia and Idomeneus are stolen from the 
story of Jephthah's daughter, or the labors of Hercules 
from the labors of Samson ; few, if any, will now main- 
tain, with some Germans of the last generation, the 
reverse hypothesis that Samson and Jephthah are 
mere copies of Hercules and Agamemnon. But the 
resemblance between the two sets of incidents is an 
undoubted indication that there was something in the 
Hebrew race which did more readily produce incidents 
and characters, if we may use the expression, of a 
classical, western, Grecian type, than we find in any 
other branch of the Semitic, we might almost add, of 
the Oriental world. It is a likeness, which, as I have 
said, goes on increasing from this time forward. It 
is as if, from the moment that the tribes of Israel 


caught sight of the Mediterranean waters, — of the 
ships of Chittim, — of the isles of the sea, — the spirit 
of the West began to be mingled with the spirit of 
their native East, and they began to assume that 
position in the world which none have occupied 
except the inhabitants of Palestine, — links between 
Asia and Europe, between Shem and Japhet, be- 
tween the immovable repose of the Oriental, and 
the endless activity and freedom of the Occidental 

We may, as we read the story of the Judges, feel 
that the sacred characters are gradually drawing 
nearer to us, flesh of our flesh, and bone of our bone. 
The figures of speech which they use are familiar to 
us in the imagery of our own West. In the parable 
of Jotham — the earliest known fable — we fall upon 
the first instance of that peculiar kind of composition, 
in which the Eastern and Western imagination coin- 
cide. The fables of iEsop are alike Grecian and Indian. 
The fable of Jotham might, as far as its spirit goes, 
have been spoken in the market-place of Athens or 
of Rome as appropriately as on the height of Gerizim. 
Of the classical elements in the stories of Jephthah 
and Samson we shall have to speak in detail. In the 
case of Samson especially, the classical tendency has 
been put to the severest conceivable test, for it has 
been chosen by the most classical of all English poets 
as the framework of a drama, which, even after 
all that has been clone since in our own day for fin- 
ished imitations of the Grecian style, with Grecian 
scenery and Grecian mythology for their basis, must 
yet be considered the most perfect likeness of 
an ancient tragedy that modern literature has pro 


VT. Finally, there is, perhaps, no period of the Jew- 
ish history which so directly illustrates a cor- Analogy of 
responding period of Christian history. It is, to the 
no doubt, a grave error, both m taste and m Ages. 
religion, to institute a too close comparison between 
sacred history and common history. There is a bar- 
rier between them which, with all their points of 
resemblance, cannot be overleaped. But we are ex- 
pressly told that the things which " were written 
" aforetime " " happened to them for ensamples," that 
they were " written for our admonition, upon whom 
" the ends of the world are come." If so, we cannot 
safely decline to recognize the undoubted likenesses 
of ourselves and of our forefathers which those ex- 
amples contain. And, in this case, I know not where 
we shall find a better guide to conduct us, with a 
judgment at once just and tender, through the med- 
iaeval portion of Christian ecclesiastical history, than 
the sacred record of the corresponding period of the 
history of the Judges. The knowledge of each period 
reacts upon our knowledge of the other. The diffi- 
culties of each mutually explain the other. We can- 
not be in a better position for defending mediaeval 
Christianity against the indiscriminate attacks of one- 
sided Puritanical writers, than by pointing to its coun- 
terpart in the Sacred record. We cannot wish for a 
better proof of the general truth and fidelity of this 
part of the Biblical narrative, than by observing its 
exact accordance with the manners and feelings of 
Christendom under analogous circumstances. We need 
only claim for the doubtful acts of Jephthah and of 
Jael the same verdict that philosophical historians 
have pronounced on the like actions of Popes and 
Crusaders, — a judgment to be measured not by our 


age, but by theirs, not by the light of full Christian 
civilization, but by the license of a time when 6i every 
" man did what was right in his own eyes," — and 
when the maxim of them of old time still prevailed 
over every other consideration, — "Thou shalt love 
" thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy." We need only 
claim for the Middle Ages the same favorable hearing 
which religious men of all persuasions are willing to 
extend to the Judges of Israel. The difficulty which 
uneducated or half-educated classes of men find in 
rightly judging, or even rightly conceiving, of a state 
of morals and religion different from their own, is one 
of the main obstacles to a general diffusion of com- 
prehensive and tolerant views of past history. What 
we want is some common ground, on which the poor 
and unlearned can witness the application of such 
views no less than the highly cultivated. Such a 
ground is furnished by many parts of the sacred nar- 
rative ; but by none so much as the Book of Judges. 
If we urge that the Middle Ages must be judged by an- 
other standard than our own ; that the excesses which 
are now universally condemned were then united with 
high and noble aspirations ; to half the world we shall 
be saying words without meaning. But if we can 
show that the very same variation of judgment is al- 
lowed and enforced in the sacred and familiar instance 
of the Judges, we shall, at any rate, have a chance of 
being heard. Here, as elsewhere, the Bible will dis- 
charge its proper function of being the one book of all 
classes, — the one history and literature in which rich 
and poor can meet together and understand each other. 
These resemblances between the mediaeval history 
of the Jewish Church and the mediaeval history of 
the Christian Church are seen at every turn, and 


perhaps more felt than seen. Take any scene, almost 
at random, from this period ; and, but for the names 
and Eastern coloring, it might be from the tenth or 
twelfth century. The house of Micah and his Levite 
set forth the exact likeness of the feudal castle and 
feudal chieftain of our early civilization. The Danites, 
eager to secure to their enterprise the sanction of a 
sacred personage and of sacred images, are the fore- 
runners of that strange mixture of faith and super- 
stition, which prompted in the Middle Ages so many 
pious thefts of relics, so many extortions of unwilling 
benedictions. The Levite bribed by the promise of 
a higher office is, as we have already observed, the 
likeness of the faithless guardian of a venerated shrine 
tempted by the vacant Abbacy in some neighboring 
monastery to betray the sacred treasure committed 
to him. In Micah and his armed men pursuing their 
lost teraphim, and repulsed with rough taunts by the 
stronger band, we read the victory obtained by the suc- 
cessful relic-stealers over their less ready or less pow- 
erful rivals. The whole story of the Benjamite war 
has been introduced as a mediaeval tale into a cele- 
brated historical romance, 1 perhaps with questionable 
propriety, but in such exact conformity to the cos- 
tume and fashion of the time, as to furnish of itself 
a proof of the graphic faithfulness of the sacred nar- 
rative, which could lend itself so readily to the meta- 
morphosis. The summons of the tribes by the bones 
of the murdered victim, and of the slaughtered ani- 
mal, is the same as the summons of the Highland 
clans by the fiery cross dipped in blood. The vows 
of monastic life, the vows of celibacy, the vows of 
pilgrimage, which exercise so large an influence over 

1 See Scott's Ivanhoe, c. xv. 


mediaeval life, have their prototypes in the vows al 
ready noticed in the early struggles of Israel — the 
same excuses, the same evils, and many of the same 
advantages. The insecurity of communication — the 
danger of violence by night — is the same in both 
periods. The very roads fall, if one may so say, into 
the same track. "The highways become unoccupied, 
and the travellers," alike in Judaea and in England, 
" walk along the by-ways," l under the skirt of the 
hills and through the dark lanes which may screen 
them from notice. We are struck at Ascalon and in 
the plains of Philistia by finding the localities equally 
connected with the history of Eichard Coeur-de-Lion 
and of Samson ; but they are, in fact, united by moral 
and historical, far more than by any mere local, coin- 
cidences. In both ages there is the same long cru- 
sade against the unbelievers. The Moors in Spain, 
the Tartars in Russia, play the very same part as the 
Canaanites and Philistines in Palestine. The caves of 
Palestine furnish the same refuge as the caves of As- 
turias. Priests and Levites wander to and fro over 
Palestine : mendicant friars and sellers of indulgences 
over Europe. Hophni and Phinehas become at Shiloh 
the prototypes of the bloated pluralists of the Mediae- 
val Church of Europe. "In those days there was no 
king in Israel," there was no settled government in 
Christendom, — all things were as yet in chaos and 
confusion. Yet the germs of a better life were 
everywhere at work. In the one, the Judge, as we 
have seen was gradually blending into the hereditary 
King. In the other, the feudal chief was gradually 
passing into the constitutional sovereign. The youth 
of Samuel, the childhood of David, were nursed under 

1 Judg. v. 6. 


this wild system. The schools of the prophets, the 
universities of Christendom, owe their first impulse to 
this first period of Jewish and of Christian History. 

The age of the Psalmists and Prophets was an im 
mense advance upon the age of the Judges. Yet Psalm- 
ists and Prophets look back with exultation and delight 
to the day when the rod of the oppressor was broken, 1 
when the hosts of Sisera perished at Endor, when 
Zeba and Zalmunna were swept away as the stubble 
before the wind. Our age is an immense advance 
upon the age of chivalry and the Crusaders; but it 
is well, from time to time, to be reminded that there 
are virtues in chivalry and in barbarism,, as well as in 
reason and civilization; and the author of the Epistle 
to the Hebrews has taught us that even the most 
imperfect of the champions of ancient times may be 
ranked in the cloud of the witnesses of faith, — 
••' God having provided some better thing for us, that 
* they without us might not be made perfect." 2 

i Isaiah ix. 4 ; x. 26 ; Ps. lxxxiii. 9-11. 2 Heb. xi. 40. 




The great war of the earlier period of the history 
is heralded by two or three lesser conflicts. 

Othniel only appears as the last of the generation 
othniei, of conquerors. 1 In him the Lion of Judah, 
which had won the southern portion of Palestine 
under Caleb, appears for the last time, till the resus- 
citation of the warlike spirit of the tribe by David. 
All the other indications of its history during this 
period are peaceful ; the pastoral simplicity of Boaz 
and Ruth, its absence from the gathering under 
Barak, its retiring demeanor in the story of Samson. 
The enemy whom Othniel attacked is also a solitary 
exception. Chushan-Rishathaim is the only invader 
from the remote East till the decline of the mon- 
archy, and his name has as yet received no illustra- 
tion from the Assyrian monuments or history. 

The story of Ehud throws a broader light over the 
Ehud. darkness of the time. The Moabite armies, the 
most civilized of the Transjordanic nations, exasperat- 
ed, perhaps, by the increasing inroads of Gad and Reu- 
ben, place themselves at the head of the more no- 
madic tribes of Amnion and Amalek, cross the Jordan, 
and (like the Israelites on their first passage) estab- 
lish themselves at Gilgal and Jericho. Beyond the 

1 Judg. iii. 9. 

Lect. XIV. EHUD. 349 

mountain barrier they did not reach ; * but their do- 
minion extended itself over the neighboring tribe of 
Benjamin, 2 and a village bearing the name of the 
:i hamlet of the Ammonites " 3 was probably the me- 
morial of this conquest. From Benjamin, accordingly, 
a yearly tribute was exacted. There was in the trib^ 
a youth 4 of the name of Ehud, who had acquired a 
fame for prophetic power in the country. He was 
naturally intrusted with the charge of carrying the 
tribute to the Moabite fortress. After he had de- 
livered the gifts, he paid a visit to the sacred enclos- 
ure 5 or "images" at Gilgal, left his two attendants, 6 
and returned, with his increased knowledge of the 
localities, to the presence of the king. The whole 
scene is full of the contrast between the slight, wily, 
agile Israelite, and the corpulent, 7 credulous, unwieldy 
Moabite. The king is seated in a chamber on the 
roof of the house for the sake of catching a cool air 
in the sultry atmosphere of the Jordan valley, with 
his attendants around him. Ehud announces that he 
has a secret oracle to disclose. The king, with an 
instantaneous "Hush!" 8 orders his attendants to with- 
draw. Ehud, still fearing lest his blow should miss 
its aim, repeats the announcement of the divine mes- 
sage. This was to raise the king from his sitting 
posture, and expose him to the stroke more easily. 
Eglon falls into the snare. With the respect always 
paid in the East to a sacred personage, he rises and 
comes towards the assassin. In that moment, from 

1 Judg. iii. 13. the word translated " quarries," Judg. 

2 Ibid. 26. iii. 19, 26. 

3 Josh, xviii. 24. 6 Joseph. Ant. v. 4, § 2 ; oiivdvoiv 
* Joseph. Ant. v. 4, § 2 ; veaviac, oUeraig. 

JtavloKOQ. 7 Judg. iii. 1 7. 

5 This seems to be the meaning of 8 Ibid. 19 (Hebrew). 

350 DEBORAH. Lect. XIV 

the long mantle, 1 which as the leader of the tribe he 
wore round him, Ehud, left-handed likQ so many ol 
his tribesmen, 2 drew the long dagger concealed on his 
right thigh. Its flash 3 is seen for an instant, before 
the flesh of the portly king closes in upon it. Ehud 
escapes by the gallery round the roof, locking the 
door behind him. He regains the sanctuary at Gilgal, 
then darts into the mountains, and rouses his coun- 
trymen by the rude blasts of his cow-horns, blown in 
every direction over the hill-side. The upper cham- 
ber at Jericho, meanwhile, remains shut. The attend- 
ants stand outside. They cannot account for the long 
closing of the door, except on the supposition that 
their lord had retired there for purposes which Orien- 
tal delicacy reserves for seclusion. At last their hope 
fails. 4 They find the huge corpse stretched on the 
ground. They fly panic-stricken ; but, by the time 
they reach the ford of the Jordan, they find it inter- 
cepted by the Israelite warriors, and the narrative 
ends as it had begun, with its half-humorous allusion 
to the well-fed 5 carcasses of those, who, corpulent 
like their chief, lay dead along the shore of the river. 
But the crowning event of this period, both in its 
Deborah, intrinsic interest and our knowledge of it, is 
the victory of Deborah and Barak. It is told both 
in prose and poetry, and the poem is one of the 
most incontestable remains of antiquity that the Sa- 
cred records contain, and the increased pleasure and 
instruction with which we are enabled to read it 
furnish a signal proof of the gain added to our Bib- 
lical knowledge by the advance of Biblical criticism. 

1 The word translated "raiment," 2 Ibid. xx. 16;^1 Chron. xii. 2. 

Judg. in. 16. 4 Judg. iii. 25 (Hebrew). 

3 LXX. <p%6ya. Comp. Nahum iii. 5 Ibid. 29. The word translated 

8* Judg. iii. 22 ; Job xxxix. 23. " lusty," always elsewhere " fat." 

Lkct. XIV. DEBORAH. 351 

If, in the story of Ehud and Eglon, we trace some- 
thing of what may be called the comic vein of the 
Sacred History, in the story of Deborah and Sisera 
we come across the tragic vein in its grandest style. 
The power of the northern kings, which Joshua 
had broken down at the waters of Merom, revived 
under a second Jabin, also king of Hazor. The for- 
midable chariots, as before, overran the territories of 
the adjacent tribes. The whole country was disor- 
ganized with terror. The obscure tortuous paths be- 
came the only means of communication. 1 As long 
afterwards in the time of Saul, regular weapons dis- 
appeared from the oppressed population. u There was 
u not a spear or shield seen among forty thousand in 
"Israel." 2 Shamgar, the son of Anath, defended him- 
self against the enemies of the south with a long pole 
armed at the end with a spike still used by the 
peasants of Palestine. In this general depression, the 
national spirit was revived by one whose appearance 
is full of significance. On the heights of Ephraim, on 
the central thoroughfare of Palestine, near the sanc- 
tuary of Bethel, stood two famous trees (if we may 
be permitted to distinguish them), both in after-times 
known by the same name. One was "the oak-tree," 
or u Terebinth " u of Deborah," underneath which was 
buried, with many tears, the nurse of Jacob. 3 The 
other was a solitary palm, which, in all probability, 
had given its name to an adjacent sanctuary, Baal- 
Tamar, 4 " the sanctuary of the palm," but which was 
also known in after-times as u the palm-tree of Deb- 
orah." 5 Under this palm, as Saul afterwards under 

1 Judg. v. 5. • 4 Judg. xx. 33. 

2 Ibid. 8. 5 Her name, on which Josephua 

3 Gen. xxxiv. 8, and possibly " the (Ant. v. 5) lays stress, as the Sacred 
aak of Tabor," 1 Sam. x. 3. Bee or " Queen Bee " of Palestine, 

352 DEBORAH. Lkct. XIV 

the pomegranate-tree of Migron, 1 as S. Louis undei 
the oak-tree of Vincennes, dwelt Deborah the wife of 
Lapidoth, to whom the sons of Israel came up to 
receive her wise answers. She is the magnificent 
impersonation of the free spirit of the Jewish peo- 
ple and of Jewish life. On the coins of the Eoman 
Empire, Judaea is represented as a woman seated 
under a palm-tree, captive and weeping. It is the 
contrast of that figure which will best place before 
us the character and call of Deborah. It is the same 
Judoean palm, under whose shadow she sits, but not 
with downcast eyes and folded hands, and extin- 
guished hopes; with all the fire of faith and energy, 
eager for the battle, confident of the victory. Like 
the German prophetess who roused her people against 
the invaders from Rome, like the simple peasant-girl, 
who by communing with mysterious angels' voices 
roused the French nation against the English do- 
minion, when princes and statesmen had wellnigh 
given up the cause, — so the heads of Israel " ceased 
" and ceased, until that she, Deborah, arose, that she 
" arose, a mother in Israel." Her appearance was like 
a new epoch. They chose new chiefs that came as 
new gods 2 among them. It was she who turned her 
eyes and the eyes of the nation to the fitting leader. 
As always in these wars, he was to come from the 
tribe that most immediately suffered from the yoke of 
the oppressor. High up in the north, almost within 
sight of the capital of Jabin, was the sanctuary of 
Kedesh- the tribe of Naphtali, — Kedesh-Naphtali. It 
Naphtah. - g a g p ^ w ] 1 i c ] 1? though only mentioned here 

may be perhaps derived from her Dissertation on the Song of Debo» 
patriarchal namesake, by whose tomb rah. 
she sat. Compare Donaldson's Latin \ 1 Sam. xiv. 2. 

2 Judg. v. 8 


in direct connection with the sacred history, retained 
its sanctity long afterwards. 1 Planted on a hill over- 
looking a double platform, or green upland plain, 
amongst the mountains of Naphtali, its site is cov- 
ered with ancient ruins beyond any other spot in 
western Palestine, if we except the ancient capitals 
of Hebron, Jerusalem, and Samaria. Tombs of every 
kind, rock-hewn caves, stone coffins thrust into the 
earth, elaborate mausoleums, indicate the reverence 
in which it must have been held by successive gen- 
erations of the Jewish people. In this remote sanc- 
tuary lived a chief, who bore the significant name 
— which afterwards reappears amongst the warriors 
of Carthage — " Barak " — " Barca " — « Lightning." 2 
His fame must have been wide-spread to have reached 
the prophetess in her remote dwelling at Bethel. 
From his native place she summoned him to her 
side, and delivered to him her prophetic command. 
He, as if oppressed by the presence of a loftier spirit 
than his own, refuses to act, unless she were with 
him to guide his movements, and (according to the 
Septuagint version) to name the very day which 
should be auspicious for his effort : u For I know not 
" the day on which the Lord will send his good angel 
" with me." 3 She replies at once with the Hebrew 
emphasis: "I will go, I will go!" but adding the res- 
ervation, that the honor should not rest with the 
man who thus leaned upon a woman, but that a 
woman should reap the glory of the day of which a 
woman had been the adviser. It was from Kedesh 

1 It is described in Robinson, iii. appears in the present text is still 
367. I saw it in 1862. more thorouo-hlv brought out in Jose- 

2 Joseph. (Ant. v. 5, § 2) dwells phus, Ant. v. 5, § 3. The emphasis is 
on this. on " thou." — " The way which thou 

3 Judg. iv. 9. The ambiguity which goest." 


354 DEBORAH. Lect. XIV. 

that the insurrection, thus organized, spread from 
The tribe to tribe. The temperature of the zeal 

the tribe", of the different portions of the nation can be 
traced almost in proportion to their nearness to the 
centre of the agitation. The main support of the 
cause was naturally derived from the northern tribes, 
who were the chief sufferers from the oppressor, and 
who fell most immediately within the range of Barak's 
influence. The leading tribe, conjointly with Barak's 
own clan of Naphtali, but even more conspicuously, 
was Zebulun, 1 as though the spirit of the neighboring 
population was less crushed than that which lay close 
under the walls of Jabin's capital. The sceptres or 
standards of Zebulun stamped themselves on the 
mind of the beholders, as the two kindred tribes, 
drew near to " the high places of the field " 2 of the 
upland plain of Kedesh, ready "to throw" their lives 
headlong into the mortal struggle. With them, but 
in a subordinate place, were the chiefs of Issachar, 3 
roused apparently by Deborah herself, as she passed 
over the plain of Esdraelon on her way to Kedesh. 
To her influence also must be ascribed the rising of 
the central tribes around her residence at Bethel. 
From the mountain which bore the name of Amalek 
came a band of Ephraimites. The war-cry of Benja- 
min, " After thee, Benjamin ! " 4 was raised, and from 
the north-eastern portion of Manasseh came repre- 
sentatives bearing some high title, which distinguished 
them from the surrounding chiefs. 5 

1 The two occur together, Judo-, iv of iv. 14 with ver. 10, rather favors 
10; v. 18; but Zebulun first; and the former. The Vulgate translates 
Zebulun also appears in chap. v. 14. it in rer/ione Merom. 

2 Judg. v. 18. The "high places of ' 3 Judg. v. 15. 
the field," here more especially asso- 4 Ibid. 14. 

ciated with Naphtali, may be either 5 Ibid. 14, (Hebrew). 
Kedesh or Tabor. Thi comparison 


Three portions of the nation remained aloof. Of 
Judah nothing is said. Dan and Asher, the two mari- 
time tribes, clung the one to his ships in the harbor 
of Joppa, the other to his sea-shore by the bay of 
Acre. The Transjordanic tribes met by one of the 
rushing streams of their native hills — the Arnon or 
the Jabbok — to decide on their course. u Great was 
the debate." The pastoral Reuben preferred to linger 
among the sheepfolds, among the whistling pipes of 
the shepherds. 1 " Great was the wavering " that fol- 
lowed. And the nomadic Gileadites abode in their 
tents or their cities, safe beyond the Jordan valley. 

These, however, were exceptions. It w r as a general 
revival of the national spirit, such as rarely occurred. 
The leaders are described as filling their places with 
an ardor worthy of their position. " The chiefs be- 
came the chiefs," in deed, 2 as well as in name. 
u The lawgivers of Israel willingly offered themselves 
iC for the people." 3 " The Lord came down amongst 
" the mighty." And to this the nation responded with 
a readiness, unlike their usual sluggishness, as under 
Gideon and Saul. " The people willingly offered them- 
a selves." 4 " They that rode on white asses, they that 
u sate on rich carpets of state, they that humbly 
u walked by the way," 5 all joined in this solemn en- 

The muster-place was Mount Tabor. The marked 
isolation of the mountain, the broad green- ^ 

© The meot- 

sward on its summit, possibly the first begin- jgj> ° n t 
nings of the fortress which crowned its height Tabor - 

« See Ewald, iif. 88 note. " On 2 J u( Jg. v . 15, 1G (Hebrew). 

Lebanon we met a troop of goats, the 3 Ibid. 9, 13 (Hebrew). 

goatherds singing in chorus to the 4 Ibid. 2. 

music of a well-played reed-pipe." 5 Ibid. 10 
(Miss Beaufort's Travels, i. 283.) 

356 DEBORAH. Lect. XiV 

in later times, pointed it out as the encampment oi 
the northern tribes, in the centre of which it stood. 
It has been already noticed that, in all probability, 
this was the mountain to which the people of " Zebu- 
lun and Issachar " are called by Moses " to offer sac- 
rifices of righteousness." 1 There two at least of the 
tribes, Zebulun and Naphtali, waited under their leaders 
for the appearance of the enemy. A village on the 
wooded slope of the hill still bears the name of Debo- 
rah, possibly from this connection with her history. 

The enemy were not without tidings of the insur- 
rection. Close beside Kedesh-Naphtali was a tribe, 
hovering between Israel and Canaan, which we shall 
shortly meet again, through which (so we are led to 
infer 2 ) this information came. From Harosheth of the 
Gentiles — the " woodcuttings " or " quarries " of the 
mixed heathen population on the outskirts of Lebanon 
— came down the Canaanite host, with the chariots 
of iron, in which, after the manner of their country- 
men, they trusted as invincible. Their leader, the first, 
indeed the only, commander of whom we hear by 
name on the adverse side of these long ^ wars, was 
himself a native of Harosheth, and a potentate of suf- 
ficient grandeur to have his mother recognized in the 
surrounding tribes as a kind of queen-mother of the 
place ; and whose family traditions had struck such 
root, that the name of u Sisera " occurs long after- 
wards in the history, and the great Jewish Eabbi 
Akiba 3 claimed to be descended from him. Jabin 
himself seems not to have been present. But, as 
in the former battle by the waters of Merom, so now, 
several kings of the Canaanites had joined him; 4 and 

1 Deut. xxxiii. 19. 2 Judg. iv. 11. 

3 See Milman's Hist, of the Jews, 4 Judg. v. 3, 19. 
iii. 115. 


they, with all their forces, encamped in the plain of 
Esdraelon, now for the first time the battle-field of 
Israel, where their chariots and cavalry could act 
most effectively. They took up their position in the 
south-west corner of the plain, where a long spur, now 
clad with olives, runs out from the hills of Manasseh 
On this promontory still stands a large stone village, 
in its name of Taanak, 1 marking the site ofTaanach. 
the Canaanitish fortress of Taanach, beside which, 
doubtless, as occupied by a kindred unconquered pop- 
ulation, the Canaanite kings were intrenched. It is 
just at this point that the traveller catches the first 
distinct view of the arched summit of Tabor. From 
that summit Deborah must have watched the gradual 
drawing of the enemy towards the spot of her pre- 
dicted triumph. She raised the cry, which twice over 
occurs in the story of the battle, "Arise, Barak." 2 
She gave with unhesitating confidence to the doubtr 
ing troops the augury which he had asked before the 
insurrection began, — u This" this and no other, " is 
the day when the Lord shall deliver Sisera into thy 
hand." 3 Down from the wooded heights descended 
Barak and his ten thousand men. It is emphatically 
repeated that they were " on foot," 4 and thus contrast- 
ed in the most forcible manner with the horses and 
chariots of their enemies. 

From Tabor to Taanach is a march of about thir- 
teen miles, and therefore the approach must have been 
long foreseen by the Canaanitish forces. They moved 
westwards along the plain, which here forms, as it 
tfere, a large bay to the south, between the projecting 

l Judg. i. 27 ; v. 19. 2 ibid. iv. 14 (Hebrew) ; v. 12. 

3 Ibid. iv. 8 (LXX.). 14; Joseph. 4 Ibid. iv. 10; v. 15. 
Am. v. 5, § 3 

358 DEBORAH. Lect. XIV 

promontory of Taanach and the first beginnings of 
Carmel. The plain is luxuriant with weeds and corn. 
One solitary tree rises from the midst of it. The great 
caravan route from Damascus to Egypt passes, and 
probably at that time already passed, across it. At the 
head of this curve stood another unsubdued Canaanitish 
The waters fortress, Megiddo, afterwards the station of a 
cfMegiddo. R oman « Legion," whence its present name, Led- 
jun. Towards the cover of this, it may be, securer fast- 
ness, but still keeping along the level plain, the Canaan- 
itish army moved. Its final encampment was beside the 
numerous rivulets which, descending from the hills of 
Megiddo into the Kishon, as it flows in a broader stream 
through the cornfields below, may well have been known 
as " the waters of Megiddo." 1 It was at this critical 
moment that (as we learn directly from Josephus, 2 and 
indirectly from the song of Deborah) a tremendous storm 
of sleet and hail gathered from the east, and burst 
over the plain, driving full in the faces of the advan- 
cing Canaanites. " The stars in their courses fought 
with Sisera." 3 As in like case in the battle of Cressy, 
1he slingers and the archers were disabled by the rain, 
the swordsmen were crippled by the biting cold. The 
Israelites, on the other hand, having the storm on their 
rear, were less troubled by it, and derived confidence 
from the consciousness of this Providential aid. The 
confusion became great. The " rain descended," the 
four rivulets of Megiddo were swelled into powerful 

1 Judg. v. 19. The whole of this repetition of the word " fought " from 
scene I traversed in 1862. the previous verses, suggests the pos- 

2 Ant. v. 5, § 4. sibility that what is meant is the con- 

3 Judg. v. 20. I have taken this trast between the fighting of the stars 
verse, as it is usually rendered, as if for Sisera, and the flood of the Kishon 
:< against." But the ambiguity of the against him. 

original " with," combined with the 


streams, the torrent of the Kishon rose into a flood 
the plain became a morass. The chariots and the 
horses, which should have gained the day for the Ca- 
naanites, turned against them. They became entangled 
in the swamp ; the torrent of Kishon — the torrent 
famous through former ages — swept them away in 
its furious eddies ; and in that wild confusion " the 
"strength" of the Canaanites "was trodden down," and 
" the horsehoofs stamped and struggled by the means 
" of the plungings and plungings of the mighty chiefs '' 
in the quaking morass and the rising streams. Far 
and wide the vast army fled, far through the The flight. 
eastern branch of the plain by Endor. There, between 
Tabor and the Little Hermon, a carnage took place 
long remembered, in which the corpses lay fattening 
the ground. 1 Onwards from thence they still fled over 
the northern hills to the city of their great captain, — 
Harosheth of the Gentiles. 2 Fierce and rapid was the 
pursuit. One city, by which the pursuers and pur- 
sued passed, gave no help. " Curse ye Meroz, curse 
" ye with a curse its inhabitants, because they The fall of 
" came not to the help of Jehovah." So, as it Meroz - 
would seem, spoke the prophetic voice of Deborah. 3 
We can imagine what was the crime and what the 
punishment from the analogous case of Succoth and 
Penuel, which, in like manner, gave no help when 
Gideon pursued the Midianites. The curse was so fully 
carried out, that the name of Meroz never again ap- 
pears in the sacred history. 4 Of the Canaanite fugitives. 
none reached their own mountain fortress : even the 

1 " Which perished at Endor, and 3 " The messenger of the Lord." 
lecame as dung for the earth." (Ps. (Jud^. v. 23.) 

Lxxxiii. 10.) 4 Eusebius and Jerome, however 

2 Judg. iv. 16 mention a spot near Dothan, of this 

name. (Onomastieon de Locis Heb.) 

360 DEBORAH. Lect. XIV. 

tidings of the disaster were long delayed. From the 
high latticed windows of Harosheth, the inmates of 
Sisera's harem, his mother, and her attendant prin 
cesses, are on the stretch of expectation for the sight 
of the war-car of their champion, with the lesser 
chariots around him. They sustain their hopes by 
counting over the spoils that he will bring home, — 
rich embroidery for themselves ; female slaves for each 
of the chiefs. The prey would never come. That 
well-known chariot of iron would never return. It 
was left to rust on the banks of the Kishon, like Rod- 
erick's by the shores of the Guadalete. In the moment 
of the general panic, Sisera had sprung from his seat, 
and escaped on foot over the northern mountains 
towards Hazor. It must have been three days after 
the battle that he reached a spot, which seems to 
gather into itself, as in the last scene of an eventful 
drama, all the characters of the previous acts. Be- 
tween Hazor, the capital of Jabin, and Kedesh-Naph- 
tali, the birthplace of Barak, — each within a day's 
journey of the other, — lies, raised high above the 
plain of Merom, amongst the hills of Naphtali, 1 a green 
plain, which joins almost imperceptibly with that over- 
hung by Kedesh-Naphtali itself. This plain is still, 
The oak of an d was then, studded with massive terebinths. 
Zaanaim. Naphtali itself seems to have derived from 
them the symbol of its tribe, " a towering terebinth." 2 
They were themselves marked in that early age by a 
sight unusual in this part of Palestine. Underneath 
the spreading branches of one of them there dwelt, 
unlike the inhabitants of the surrounding villages, a 

1 Josh. xix. 33, Allon-Zaananim. 2 Gen. xlix. 21 (Hebrew). 
Judg. iv. 11, mistranslated "Plain of 


settlement of Bedouins, living, as if in the desert, with 
their tents pitched, and their camels and asses around 
them, whence the spot had acquired the name of a the 
Terebinth," or " Oak, of the Unloading of Tents." Be- 
tween Heber, the chief of this little colony, and the 
king of Hazor, there was peace. It would even seem 
that from him, or from his tribe, thus planted on the 
debatable ground between Kedesh and Hazor, Sisera 
had derived the first intelligence of the insurrection. 1 
Thither, therefore, it was that, confident in Arab fidelity, 
the wearied general turned his steps. He approached 
the tent, not of Heber, but for the sake of greater 
security, 2 the harem of the chieftainess, Jael, the 
a Gazelle." It was a fit name for a Bedouin's wife — 
especially for one whose family had come from the 
rocks of Engedi, " the spring of the wild goat " or 
" chamois." The long, low tent was spread under the 
tree, and from under its cover she advanced Jaei. 
to meet him with the accustomed reverence. " Turn 
"in, my lord, turn in, and fear not." She covered 
him with a rough wrapper, or rug, on the slightly 
raised divan inside the tent; and he, exhausted with 
his flight, lay down, and then, lifting up his head, 
begged for a drop of water to cool his parched lips. 
She brought him more than water. She unfastened 
the mouth of the large skin, such as stand by Arab 
tents, which was full of sweet milk from the herds or 
the camels. She offered, 3 as for a sacrificial feast, in 
the bowl used for illustrious guests, 4 the thick curded 

1 Judg. iv. 12. 4 "The milk was presented to us in 

2 From the security of the wife's a wooden howl ; the liquid butter in an 
*ent, the valuables, culinary utensils, earthenware dish " (Irby and Mangles, 
5cc, are kept in it. 481). " Once we had milk sweetened 

3 The word translated " brought and curdled to the consistency of liq- 
forth," Judg. t. 25, has this meaning, uid jelly, too thick to be drunk, and 


362 DEBORAH. Lect. XIV. 

milk, frothed like cream, and the weary man drank, 
and then (secure in the Bedouin hospitality which re- 
gards as doubly sure the life of one who has eaten 
and drunk at the hand of his host) he sank into a 
deep sleep, as she again drew round him the rough 
rhemur- covering which for a moment she had with- 
drawn. Then she saw that her hour was come. 
She pulled up from the ground the large pointed peg 
or nail ] which fastened down the ropes of the tent, 
and held it in her left hand ; with her right hand she 
grasped the ponderous hammer or wooden mallet of 
the workmen of the tribe. Her attitude, her weapon, 
her deed, are described both in the historic and poetic 
account of the event, as if fixed in the national mind. 
She stands like the personification of the figure of 
speech, so famous in the names of Judas the Macca- 
,*ee? and Charles Martel ; the Hammer of her country's 
enemies. Step by step we see her advance ; first, the 
Jead silence with which she approaches the sleeper, 
"slumbering with the weariness of one who has run 
"far and fast," then the successive blows with which 
she " hammers, crushes, beats, and pierces through and 
"through" the forehead of the upturned face, till the 
point of the nail reaches the very ground on which 
me slumberer is stretched ; and then comes the one 
startling bound, the contortion of agony, with which 
the expiring man rolls over from the low divan, and 

only to be taken up with the hands" sel, round like a pan, to be drunk by 

'482). In a meal with Aghyle Aga, raising it to the lips. In both were 

- Bedouin chief, between Tiberias and dipped the large flexible cakes of Arab 

Vaborin 1862, we had both these bev- bread, which lay in profusion on the 

ages. The sour milk (Lebban) was carpets. 

t a large pewter vessel, like a small l lion, in Jos. Ant. v. 5, § 4. 

irrel ; a cup floated in it to skim and 2 The word Maccab ( u Hammer " ) 

drink the contents. The sweet milk is the very one used in Judg v. 21. 
(Halib) was in a smaller pewter ves- 


lies weltering in blood between her feet as she strides 
over the lifeless corpse. 1 

At this moment Barak, the conqueror, appeared. 
He might be in direct pursuit of the fugitive chief. 
He might be approaching his native place, now hard 
by. Out from the tent, as before, came the undaunted 
chieftainess, and showed the dead corpse as it lay 
with the stake or tent-pin fixed firm in the shat- 
tered head. With this ghastly scene of the Three 
Neighbors of the hills of Naphtali, thus at last brought 
face to face, under the Terebinth of Kedesh, the di- 
rect narrative suddenly closes, as though its work 
were done. But Deborah's song of victory breaks in, 
and continues in its highest strains the echo The song 
of that day. In company with the returning rah. 
conqueror, or herself leading the chorus, after the 
manner of Hebrew women, the Prophetess poured 
forth the hymn which marks the greatness of the 
crisis. It could be compared to nothing short of the 
day when Israel passed through the desert. The 
storm which had been sent to discomfit the Canaanite 
host, recalled the trembling of the earth, the heavens 
and the clouds dropping water, the mountains melt> 
ing from before the Lord. Barak, with his long train 
of spoils and prisoners, had " led captivity captive." 
The sentiment even of the woman's delight in the 
dresses won in the spoils transpires through the war- 
like rejoicing : the pieces of embroidery are counted 
over in imagination, as they are torn away from the 
mother and the harem of Sisera for the women of 
Israel. The feelings and the words of the son"* rano 
on through subsequent times, and in the Prophet 

1 AH these details may be seen by examining word by word the original 
rf Judg. iv. 21 ; v. 26, 27. 

364 DEBORAH. Lect. XIV 

Habakkuk, and still more in the 68th Psalm, we 
catch again the very same strains ; the march through 
the desert ; the flight of kings ; the dividing of the 
spoil by those who tarried at home. 1 It was, as the 
close of the hymn expresses it, like the full burst of 
the sun out of the darkness of the night or the 
blackness of a storm, " a hero in his strength." 2 

The likeness of the outward features of this deci- 
Effectof s ^ ve Da ttle to that of Cressy has been already 
the Battle. p 0m t e d out ; the storm, the cold, the burst 
of sunlight, are all in each. A still more striking re- 
semblance is the defeat of the Carthaginians, by Timo- 
leon, at the battle of the Crimesus, in Sicily. 3 It 
opens with the spirit-stirring or prophet-like speech 
of Timoleon, "as though a Gocl were speaking with 
him." His encampment, like Barak's, is on the hill 
above the river. The chariots of his opponents are 
broken by the Greek infantry. The violent storm of 
wind, rain, hail, thunder and lightning, beating in the 
faces of the Carthaginians, but only on the backs of 
the Greeks; the confusion in the river, becoming 
every moment fuller and more turbid through the 
violent rain, so that numbers perished in the torrent ; 
the total rout, the capture of the chariots — the 
spoils of ornamented shields — are the exact counter- 
parts of the victory of Barak over Sisera. But, in its 
moral aspect, the triumph of Barak was far greater, 
even than the triumph of Greek civilization over 
Carthaginian barbarism. It was the enemies of Jeho- 
vah who had perished. It was the securing of the 
tiue religion from the attempt of the old Paganism 

1 Habak. iii. 3, 10, 13, 14; Ps. 3 Grote's Hist, of Greece, xi. 246. 
\xviii. 7, 8, 12, 13. The likeness was pointed out to me 

8 Judg. v. 31. by a friend. 


to recover its ascendency in the Holy Land. It 
ranks, in the Sacred History, next after the Battle 
of Beth-horon, amongst the religious battles of the 

And, therefore, not unworthily of this object in the 
song of Deborah we have the only prophetic utter- 
ance that breaks the silence between Moses and 
Samuel. Hers is the one voice of inspiration (in the 
full sense of the word) that breaks out in the Book 
of Judges. In her song are gathered up all the les- 
sons which the rest of the book teaches indirectly. 
Hers is the life, both in her own history and in the 
whole period, that expresses the feelings and thoughts 
of thousands, who were silent till " she, Deborah, arose 
a mother in Israel." Hers is the prophetic word 
that gives an utterance and a sanction to the thoughts 
of freedom, of independence, of national unity, such 
as they had never had before in the world, and have 
rarely had since. 

It is this religious aspect of the battle, this pro- 
phetic character of its chief leader, that has caused 
the difficulty, or the instruction, which is to be de- 
rived from her benediction of the assassination of 

Few persons read the chapter without a momentary 
perplexity. Even in the humblest classes, and The biess- 
holiest hearts, a question not of sinful doubt, Jaei. 
but of most religious inquiry, arises, — What is the 
purpose of thus recording and of thus blessing an act 
which is so repugnant to our notions of Christian and 
European morality? 

There have been numerous answers given to this 
question; that for example of the Rabbis, that the 
act of Jael was in self-defence against a personal out- 

366 DEBORAH. Lect. XIV. 

rage of Sisera; or of Augustine, 1 that it was dictated 
by a sudden divine impulse or revelation. It is suf- 
ficient to say of both these solutions that they are 
gratuitous inventions, equally without the slightest 
foundation in the narrative itself. And in the case 
>>f the latter hypothesis, the difficulty would not be* 
removed, but would be greatly increased by this at- 
tempt to push it back into a still more sacred region. 

It has been argued, again, that the act of Jael is 
not commended in the Sacred History. But though 
this is a true answer to many so-called difficulties in 
the Old Testament, which arise merely from investing 
with an imaginary perfection every subject which it 
treats ; and though this act is not commended ex- 
pressly by the words of the narrative, it is commended 
by its general spirit ; and also both by the spirit and 
the words of the song of Deborah. That song, as has 
just been observed, is the one prophecy of the period \ 
and, therefore, if we do not find the inspiration of the 
Book of Judges here, we find it nowhere. It gives 
the key-note to the whole book, and must be regarded 
as the fittest exponent of its meaning. 

But in fact, the same answer is to be given which 
covers not only this, but hundreds of similar cases. 
Deborah, it is true, spoke as a prophetess, but it was 
as a prophetess enlightened only with a very small 
portion of that Divine Light which went on brighten- 
ing ever more and more unto the perfect day. She 
saw clearly for a little way — but it was only for a 
little w T ay. Beyond that, the darkness of the time still 
rested upon her vision. 

ui Curse ye Meroz,' said the angel of the Lord; cuise 
'ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof," sang Deborah, 

l Opp. iii. pp. 1, 603. 


" Was it," asks our eminent philosophic theologian, 
u that she called to mind any personal wrongs — rap- 
K ine or insult — that she, or the house of Lapidoth, 
66 had received from Jabin or Sisera ? 

" No, she had dwelt under her palm-tree in the 
u depth of the mountains. But she was a 6 Mother in 
" Israel ; ' and with a mother's heart, and with the 
" vehemency of a mother's and a patriot's love, she 
" had shot the light of love from her eyes, and poured 
a the blessings of love from her lips, on the people that 
"had 'jeoparded their lives unto the death,' against 
" the oppressors ; and the bitterness, awakened and 
a borne aloft by the same love, she precipitated in 
" curses on the selfish and coward recreants who ' came 
a not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord 
66 against the mighty.' As long as I have the image 
" of Deborah before my eyes, and while I throw my- 
" self back into the age, country, and circumstances of 
" this Hebrew Boadicea, in the yet not tamed chaos 
" of the spiritual creation ; as long as I contemplate 
" the impassioned, high-souled, heroic woman, in all the 
" prominence and individuality of will and character, 
" I feel as if I were among the first ferments of the 
" great affections, — the proplastic waves of the micro- 
" cosmic chaos, swelling up against and yet towards the 
" outspread wings of the Dove that lies brooding on 
" the troubled waters. So long all is well, all replete 
" with instruction and example. In the fierce and in- 
" ordinate, I am made to know and be grateful for the 
" clearer and purer radiance which shines on a Chris- 
u tian's path, neither blunted by the preparatory veil, 
M nor crimsoned in its struggle through the all-enwrap- 
'' ping mist of the world's ignorance : whilst in the self- 
' oblivion of these heroes of the Old Testament — their 

368 DEBORAH. Lect. XIV 

u elevation above all low and individual interests, above 
" all, in the entire and vehement devotion of their to- 
" tal being to the service of their Divine Master — 1 
" find a lesson of humility, a ground of humiliation, 
a and a shaming, yet rousing, example of faith and 
" fealty." l 

And when, from the inspiration of Deborah, we pass 
to the deed of Jael, we must be content there also to 
admit the same imperfection of moral perceptions, 
which the Highest authority has already recognized 
in the clearest terms. 

" Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt 
" love thy neighbour and hate thine enemy." 2 Jael did 
hate her enemy with a perfect hatred. For the sake 
of destroying him, she broke through all the bonds of 
hospitality, of gratitude, and of truth. But then, it 
must not be forgotten, that if there is any portion of 
the Sacred History, where we should expect these 
bonds to be loosened, and a higher light obscured, it 
would be in this period of disorder, " when there was 
" no king in Israel, and when every one " — the Isra- 
elite warrior here — the Arabian chieftainess there — 
u did what was right in his or her eyes." The allow- 
ance that, according to our Saviour's rule, we make for 
Ehud, for Jael, for Deborah, is precisely the same that, 
if it were not Sacred History, we should at once ac- 
knowledge. We do not condemn the Greeks, according 
to the light which they had, for praising Harmodius 
and Aristogiton in their plot against the tyrants of 
Athens. We ourselves are almost inclined, in consid- 
eration of the greatness of the necessity, and the con- 
fusion of the time, to praise the murder of Murat by 

1 Coleridge's Confessions of an En- 2 Matt. v. 43 ; see Lecture X. 
quiring Spirit, pp. 33, 34, 35. 


Charlotte Corday, "the angel of assassination," as she 
has been termed by an historian of unquestioned hu- 
manity. Why should we not be as indulgent to the 
characters of Sacred History, as we are to those of 
common history ? Why should not a blessing, even 
a Divine blessing, according to the only light which 
they were then able to bear, be bestowed on an act, 
which the most philosophic observer does not scruple 
to bestow as he looks back on the various imperfect 
acts of heroism and courage that have been wrought 
in troubled and violent times ? 

And, if we ask further, what can we learn from it ? 
and why should this deed and this commendation of 
it still be read in our churches ? the answer is this : - 

* The spirit of the commendation of Jael is that God 
" allows largely for ignorance where He finds sincerity ; 
u that they who serve Him honestly up to the measure 
u of their knowledge are, according to the general course 
" of His Providence, encouraged and blessed ; that they 
" whose eyes and hearts are still fixed on duty and 
" not on self, are plainly that smoking flax which He 
u will not quench, but cherish rather until it be blown 
" into a flame. . . . When we read some of those 
" sad but glorious martyrdoms where good men — alas ! 
"the while for human nature — were both the victims 
" and the executioners, amidst all our unmixed admi- 
16 ration for the sufferers, may we not in some instances 
" hope and believe that the persecutors were moved 
" with a most earnest though an ignorant zeal, and 
" that like Jael they sought to please God, though 
like her they essayed to do it by means which Christ's 
* Spirit condemns ? . . . Right and good it is that 
" we should condemn the acts of many of those com- 
8 mended in the Old Testament ; for we have seen what 


370 DEBORAH. Lect. XIV. 

8 prophets and righteous men for many an age were 
u not permitted to see ; but no less right and needful 
" it is that we should imitate their fearless zeal, with- 
a out which we in our knowledge are without excuse ; 
" with which they, by means of their unavoidable ig- 
" liorance, were even in their evil deeds blessed." * 



For the leading of the Leaders in Israel, 
For the free self-offering of the People. 
Praise Jehovah ! 

Hear, O Kings ; give ear, O Princes ; 

I to Jehovah, even I will sing, 

Will sound the harp to Jehovah, the God of Israel. 


Jehovah, when thou wentest out of Seir, 
"When thou marchedst out of the field of Edom, 
The earth trembled, the skies also dropped, 
The clouds also dropped water. 

The mountains melted from before the face of Jehovah, 
Sinai itself from before the face of Jehovah, the God of Israel 


In the days of Shamgar, the son of Anath, 
In the days of Jael, ceased the roads ; 
And they that walked on highways, walked through crooked roads. 

There ceased to be heads in Israel, ceased to be, 
Till I, Deborah, arose, 
Till I arose, a mother in Israel. 

1 Arnold's Sermons, vi. 86-88. knowledge of Hebrew, I have ad- 

2 For the sake of convenience I hered, as closely as I could, to the 
have here inserted the Song. A well- version of Ewald (Hebraische Poesie, 
known and spirited translation of it p. 125), following always the order of 
is to be found in Milman's Hist, of the the words, and their exact force in 
Jews, i. 194. In my own imperfect the original. 



They chose gods that were new, 

Then there was war in the gates ; 
Shield was there none or spear, 

In forty thousand of Israel. 

My heart is towards the lawgivers of Israel, 
Who offered themselves willingly for the people. 
Praise Jehovah ! 

Ye that ride on white dappled she-asses, 
Ye that sit on rich carpets, 
Ye that walk in the way, 

Meditate the song ! 

From amidst the shouting of the dividers of spoils, 

Between the water-troughs, 

There let them rehearse the righteous acts of Jehovah, 

The righteous acts of His headship in Israel ; 

Then went down to the gates the people of Jehovah. 

Awake, awake, Deborah ! 

Awake, awake, utter a song ! 
Arise, Barak ! and lead captive thy captives, 

Thou son of Abinoam. 


Then came down a remnant of the nobles of the people. 
Jehovah came down to me among the heroes. 

Out of Ephraim came those whose root is in Amalek, 

After thee, O Benjamin, in thy people ; 
Out of Machir came down lawgivers, 

And out of Zebulun they that handle the staff of those that numoei 
the host ; 
And the princes in Issachar with Deborah, and Issachar as Barak, 

Into the valley he was sent on his feet. 


By the streams of Reuben great are the decisions of heart. 

Why sittest thou between the sheepfolds ? 

To hear the piping to the flocks ? 
At the streams of Reuben great are the searchings of heart 

372 DEBORAH. Lect. XIV 

Gilead beyond the Jordan dwells, 
And Dan, why sojourns he in ships ? 
Asher sits at the shore of the sea, 
And on his harbors dwells. 


Zebulun is a people throwing away its soul to death, 
And Naphtali on the high places of the field. 

There came kings, and fought ; 

Then fought kings of Canaan — 
At Taanach, on the waters of Megiddo; 

Gain of silver took they not. 
From Heaven they fought ; 
The stars from their courses 

Fought with Sisera. 
The torrent of Kishon swept them away, 

The ancient torrent, the torrent Kishon. 
Trample down, O my soul, their strength. 
Then stamped the hoofs of the horses, 
From the plungings and plungings of the mighty ones. 


Curse ye Meroz, said the messenger of Jehovah ; 
Curse ye with a curse the inhabitants thereof; 
Because they came not to the help of Jehovah, 
To the help of Jehovah, with the heroes. 


Blessed above women be Jael, 

The wife of Heber the Kenite, 

Above women in the tent, blessed ! 

Water he asked, milk she gave ; 

In a dish of the nobles she offered him curds. 

Her hand she stretched out to the tent-pin, 

And her right hand to the hammer of the workmen; 

And hammered Sisera, and smote his head, 

And beat and struck through his temples. 

Between her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay, 

Between her feet he bowed, he fell ; 

Where he bowed, there he fell down slaughtered. 



Through the window stretched forth and lamented 

The mother of Sisera through the lattice : 

" Wherefore delays his car to come ? 

" Wherefore tarry the wheels of his chariots ? " l 

The wise ones of her princesses answer her, 
Yea, she repeats their answer to herself: 
" Surely they are finding, are dividing the prey, 
" One damsel, two damsels for the head of each hero. 
" Prey of divers colors for Sisera, 
" Prey of divers colors, of embroidery, 

" One of divers colors, two of embroidery, for the neck [of the 


So perish all Thy enemies, O Jehovah ; 

But they that love Thee are as the sun, when he goes forth like 
a giant. 

1 A remarkable parallel to this is the Received Text, for which Ewald 

to be seen in the Greek Klephtic songs, proposes to substitute shegal (the 

belonging to a somewhat similar stage queen). Otherwise the connection 

of society. of the word "prey" must be sup- 

2 Shellal, " prey," is the reading of plied. 

374 GIDEON. Lect. XV 



In the defeat of Sisera the last attempt of the old 
Inhabitants to recover their sway was put down. The 
next event is wholly different. It is the invasion of 
The Midi- ^ ne fri Des of the adjoining desert. The name 
amtes. f Jiidi an? though sometimes given peculiarly 
to the tribe on the south-east shores of the Gulf of 
Akaba, 1 was extended to all Arabian tribes on the east 
of the Jordan, — a the x\malekites, and all the children 
of the East." They have already appeared at the 
time of the first passage of Israel through the Trans- 
jordanic territory. In this, as on the former occasion, 
they are governed by Princes or Chiefs whose names 
are preserved. Two superior chiefs having the title 
of " king," Zeba and Zalmunna ; 2 two inferior, Oreb 
and Zeeb, — " the Raven and the Wolf," — bearing the 
title of " princes." 3 Their appearance is brought vividly 
before us. Like the Arab chiefs of modern days, they 
are dressed in gorgeous scarlet robes ; 4 on their necks 
and the necks of their camels are crescent-like orna- 
ments, such as were afterwards worn by Jewish ladies 
of high rank. 5 All of them wore rings, either nose- 
rings or ear-rings of gold. 6 

1 1 Kings xi. 18. See Ewald, ii. * Ibid. viii. 26. 

*35, &c. 5 Ibid. viii. 26 ; and Isa. iii. 10, 18 

2 Judg. viii. 5. 6 Gen. xxiv. 47 ; xxxv. 4. 

3 Ibid. vii. 25. 

Lect. XV. 



When these wild tribes, taking advantage perhaps o ' 
the weakening of the intervening kingdoms of Am- 
nion and Moab, burst upon the country, their fierce 
aspect struck consternation wherever they went. " Let 
K us take to ourselves the pastures of God," 1 — so in 
true nomadic phrase they are supposed to speak. 
They over-ran the whole country. Like the Bedouins 
who now make incursions into the plains of Esdraelon 
and Philistia; like the Scythians, who in the reign of 
Josiah spread southward a as far as Gaza ; " 2 so they, 
reaching to the same limits, were to be seen every- 
where, with their innumerable tents and camels, like 
the sand in the bay of Acre, — like one of those ter- 
rible armies of locusts described by the Prophet Joel. 3 

The panic was proportionably great. The Israelite 
population left the plains and took refuge The flight 
in the hills. Three places of refuge are spe- raefites. 
cially mentioned. First, the catacombs or galleries 
which they cut out of the rock, which are mentioned only 
in this place, and which, apparently, were pointed out, 
in after-times, as the memorials of these troubled days. 4 
Secondly, the craggy peaks, such as the rock of Rimmon 
and the inaccessible Masada. Thirdly, the limestone 
caves, here first mentioned, and afterwards often used, 
like the Corycian cave in Greece, during the Persian 
invasion, and the caves of the Asturias in Spain, during 
the occupation of the Moors. It was returning to the 
old Troglodyte habits of the Horites and Phoenicians. 5 

From this great calamity Israel was rescued by n 
great deliverer — the most heroic of all the Gideon. 
characters of this period. 

1 Ps. lxxxiii. 12. 

2 Zeph. ii. 5, 6 ; Judg. vi. 4. 
i Joel ii. 1-11. 

4 Jud^. vi. 2 : Rosenmuller ad loc. 
Comp. Job xxviii. 10. 

5 Job xxx. 6. Herder, Spirit of 
Hebrew Poetry, p. 74 

376 GIDEON. Lkct XV 

As in the other invasions and oppressions, so here, 
the deliverer is to be sought in the locality nearest 
to the chief scene of the invasion. Overhanging the 
plain of Esdraelon, where the vast army of the Mid- 
ianites was encamped, were the hills of the Western 
Manasseh. It was from a small family of this proud 
tribe l that the champion of Israel unexpectedly rose. 
The mas- There had already been collisions between 
Mount* 11 them and the invaders. As in the time ol 
Tabor. Barak, so now the northern tribes seem to 
have met at the sanctuary of Mount Tabor, and there 
the elder sons of Joash the Abiezrite had been over- 
taken and slain by the Midianite kings. 2 They were 
a magnificent family — every one of them was like a 
Prince. And not the least regal was the sole survivor, 
Gideon. He was apparently the youngest ; but had 
already one high-spirited son, — the boy Jether. 3 Even 
in the depressed state of his country and family, he 
kept up a dignity of his own. He had his ten slaves 4 
and his armor-bearer, whose name, Phurah, has been 
preserved to us in the celebrity of his master. 5 His 
name was already great, as a "mighty hero," 6 both 
amongst the Israelites and their invaders. It was 
whilst he was brooding over the wrongs of his family 
and his country that the call came upon him. 7 The 
scene was long preserved, and the manner of the 
call carries us back to the visions of the Patriarchal 

There were vineyards round his native Opbrah, 8 

1 Judg. vi. 15; viii. 2. "My 4 Ibid. vi. 27. 

thousand is the poor one." Comp. 5 Ibid. vii. 10. 

Deut. xxxiii. 17 (the thousands, t. e 6 Ibid. vi. 12, 29, vii. 14 

families, of Manasseh). 7 Ibid. 15 ; viii. 19. 

2 Judg. viii. 18. 8 Ibid. viii. 2. 

3 Ibid. 20. 


and by the wine-press, in which the grapes would 
be trodden out in the coming autumn, he now, The vision 
in the summer months, doubtless with his at °P h,ah - 
father's bullocks, 1 was threshing out the newly gath- 
ered wheat. Close by the smooth level was a cave, 
into which the juice of the grapes ran off through a 
channel cut in the rocky reservoir, and which Gideon 
now used to hide the corn from the rapacious invad- 
ers. Above this cave, as it would seem, stood a rock, 
in the midst of a grove of trees, amongst which the 
most conspicuous was a well-known terebinth, spread- 
ing its wide branches alike over the rock and the 
wine-press. The grove was dedicated (so deeply had 
the Canaanitish worship spread even into the purest 
families) to Astarte. The rock, with an altar on its 
summit, was consecrated to Baal, and was venerated 
as a stronghold or asylum 2 by the neighborhood. A 
Prophet — whose name is not preserved to us 3 — had 
already been amongst the people, with warnings and 
encouragements. The message to Gideon is described 
ill language of a more mysterious and solemn kind. 
" A messenger of the Lord " — a youth, according to 
the tradition in Josephus 4 — suddenly appears, leaning 
on a staff. The meal which Gideon had prepared for 
him beneath the terebinth becomes a sacrifice. The 
sacrifice is laid on the summit of the consecrated rock, 
as upon a natural altar. At the touch of the way- 
farer's staff it is consumed in flames, and the heavenly 
messenger vanishes amidst the cries of alarm which 
the terrified Gideon utters at the consciousness of the 

1 Judg. vi. 25, 26. poetical books, occurs here alone in 

2 The word Maoz, used for it in prose. 

Judg. vi. iG, though employed in the 3 Judg. vi. 8. 

* Jos. Ant. v. 6, § 8. 

378 GIDEON. Lect. XV 

Divine Presence, till he receives the assurance of "the 
Peace of Jehovah." 

There may be difficulties in the details of this nar- 
rative. But it faithfully exhibits the twofold call to 
Gideon which forms the framework of the rest of his 

1. The first call, which is less distinctly described, 
The over- is the mission — almost of a prophetic charac- 

throw of ., _ . . 

the wor- ter — to strike a decisive blow at the growing 
Baai. tendency to Phoenician worship in the central 

tribes of Palestine. On the morning, we are told, of 
the following day, the villagers assembled for their 
worship. They found that the consecrated trees were 
cut down. Their ashes were seen on the rock. A 
bullock had been consumed whole in the flames of 
the pile that had been heaped up. The altar had 
been swept away, and another new altar reared in its 
place to receive this sacrificial pile. The answer of 
Joash to those who charged his son with this act of 
sacrilege is based on that grand principle which runs 
through so large a part of the history of the Jewish 
Church, — that the real impiety is in those who believe 
that God cannot defend Himself. " Will ye take upon 
a yourselves to plead Baal's cause ? Let Baal plead 
" for himself." * Of this struggle, and of this icono- 
clasm, two distinct memorials remained. One was the 
new altar, which remained into the times of the mon- 
archy on the sacred rock, bearing in its name an 
allusion to the events which caused its erection, — 
Jehovah, Peace. 2 The other was the name adopted by 
Gideon, and perpetuated in different forms as Jerub- 
baal, Jerub-bosheth, Hierobaal, and Hierombal. Either 

1 Judg. vi. 31. Compare Gamaliel's 2 Judg. vi. 23, 24. 
speech, Acts v. 38 39 


as the destroyer of the old, or the constructor of the 
new sanctuary, of which he afterwards became the 
Priest and Oracle, this name remained side by side 
with that which he bore as the deliverer from Midian, 1 
and was the one which, alone of the names of this 
period, penetrated into the Gentile world. 2 

2. The second call is that by which in later time? 
Gideon has been chiefly known, — the war of The insur . 
insurrection against Midian. His own char- [J^insl 
acter is well indicated in the sign of the Mulian - 
fleece 3 — cool in the heat of all around, drv when all 
around were damped by fear. Throughout we see 
three great qualities, decision, caution, and magnanimity. 
The summons, as usual, by the well-known horn, first 
convenes his own clan of Abiezer ; next, his own 
tribe of Manasseh ; and lastly, the three northern 
tribes. Zebulun and Naphtali are still the faithful 
amongst the faithless, the nucleus of independence, 
as in the war of Deborah, as in the final war of Jew- 
ish patriotism against Rome. Asher has this time left 
his home by the shores of Accho ; but Issachar, over- 
run by the Arab tribes, is absent. 

The career of Gideon is more than a battle, it is 
a campaign or war, which divides itself into three 

The first is the battle of Jezreel. The Midianite 
encampment was on the northern side of the The battle 
valley, between Gilboa and Little Hermon. of JezreeL 
The Israelite encampment was on the slope of Mount 
Gilboa, by the spring of Jezreel, called, from The Spring 
the incident of this time, "the Spring of Trem- Ming. 

1 Judg. vii. 1 , viii. 29; 1 Sam. xii. Hierombal see Euseb. Pr. Ev. i. 9, 
11. Ewald, ii. 

2 For Hierobaal see LXX. For 3 Ewald, ii. 500. 

380 GIDEON. Lect. XV 

bling." There had been the usual war-cry — " What 
" man is there that is fearful and faint-hearted ? Let 
" him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren's 
" heart faint as well as his heart." 1 It was modi- 
fied on this occasion by its adaptation either to the 
peculiar war-cry of Manasseh, or to the actual scene 
of the encampment — u Whosoever is afraid, let him 
return from Mount Gilead," 2 or (according to another 
reading) a from Mount Gilboa ." This had removed 
the cowards from the army. The next step was to 
remove the rash. 3 At the brink of the spring, those 
who rushed headlong down to quench their thirst, 
throwing themselves on the ground, or plunging 
their mouths into the water, were rejected, those 
who took up the water in their hands, and lapped 
it with self-restraint, were chosen. 

Gideon, thus left alone with his three hundred men, 
now needed an augury for himself. This was granted 
to him. It was night, when he and his armor-bearer 
descended from their secure position above the spring 
to the vast army below. They reached the outskirts 
of the tents amidst the deep silence which had fallen 
over the encampment, where the thousands of Arabs 
lay rapt in sleep or resting from their plunder, 
with their innumerable camels moored in peaceful 
repose around them. One of the sleepers, startled 
from his slumbers, was telling his dream to his fellow. 
A thin round cake of barley bread, of the most home- 
The panic, ly bread, 4 from those rich cornfields, those nu- 
merous threshing-places, those deep ovens sunk in 
the ground, which they had been plundering, came 

1 Deut. xx. 8. 2 Judg. vii. 3. See Lecture IX. 

3 This, in the Koran (ii. 250-252), 4 Josephus, Ant. v. 6, §4. Thorn 

is ascribed to Saul. son's Land and Book, p. 449 


rolling into the camp, till it reached the royal tent 
in the centre, which fell headlong before it, and was 
turned over and over, till it lay flat upon the ground. 
Like the shadow of Richard, which, centuries later, 
was believed to make the Arab horses start at the 
sight of a bush, one name only seemed to occur 
as the interpretation of this sign : " The sword of 
Gideon, the son of Joash." The Aw r ful Listener heard 
the good omen, bowed himself to the ground in 
thankful acknowledgment of it, and disappeared up 
the mountain-side. The sleepers and the dreamers 
slept on to be waked up by the blast of the pas- 
toral horns, and at the same moment the crashing 
of the three hundred pitchers, and the blaze of the 
three hundred torches, and the shout of Israel, always 
terrible, which broke through the stillness of the mid- 
night air from three opposite quarters at once. In a 
moment the camp was rushing hither and thither in 
dark confusion, with the dissonant " cries " peculiar to 
the Arab race. Every one drew his sword against 
every other, and the host fled headlong down the 
descent to the Jordan, to the spots known as the 
House of the Acacia, and the margin of the Meadow 
of the Dance. 

Their effort was to cross the river at the fords of 
Bethbarah. It was immediately under the The battle 

J . of the Rock 

mountains of Ephraim, and to the Ephraim- of oret>. 
ites accordingly messengers were sent to interrupt 
the passage. The great tribe,* roused at last, was 
not slow to move. By the time that they reached 
the river, the two greater chiefs had already crossed. 
*nd the encounter took place with the two lesser 
chiefs, Oreb and Zeeb. They were caught and slain . 
Dne at a wine-press, known afterwards as the wine- 

382 GIDEON. Lkct. XV. 

press of Zeeb, or the Wolf; the other on a rock, which 
from him took the name of the Rock of Oreb, or the 
Raven ; round which, or upon which, the chief car- 
nage had taken place, — so that the whole battle was 
called in after-times, " The slaughter of Midian at the 
Rock of Oreb." 1 The Ephraimites passed the Jordan, 
and overtook Gideon, and presented to him the severed 
heads. Their remonstrance at not having before been 
called to take part in the struggle, is as characteristic 
of the growing pride of Ephraim, as his answer is of 
the forbearance and calmness which places him at 
the summit of the heroes of this age. The gleaning 
of Ephraim in the bloody heads of those chieftains, he 
told them, was better than the full vintage of slaugh- 
ter, in the unknown multitudes, by the little family 
of Abi-ezer. 

He, meantime, was in full chase of his enemies. 
"Faint, yet pursuing," is the expressive description 
of the union of exhaustion and energy which has 
given the words a place in the religious feelings of 
mankind. Succoth and Penuel, the two scenes of 
Jacob's early life, on the track of his entrance from 
the East, as of the Midianites' return towards it, were 
Gideon's two halting-places, — the little settlement in 
the Jordan valley, now grown into a flourishing town, 
with its eighty-seven chiefs, — the lofty watch-tower 
overlooking the country far and wide. At Karkor, 
The battle ^ ar * n * ne desert, beyond the usual range of 
of Karkor. ^he nomadic 'tribes, he fell upon the Arabian 
host. They 2 had fled with a confusion which could 
only be compared to clouds of chaff and weeds flying 
before the blast of a furious hurricane, or the rapid 

1 Tsa. x. 26. 2 Ps.lxxxiii. 9-11. See Mr. Grov€ 

on Oreb in the Diet, of Bible. 


spread of a conflagration where the flames leap from 
tree to tree and from hill to hill in the dry forests of 
the mountains ; and in the midst of this were taken 
the two leaders of the horde, Zeba and Zalmunna. 
Then came the triumphant return, and the vengeance 
on the two cities for their inhospitalities. The tower 
of the Divine Vision was razed ; the chiefs of Succoth 
were beaten to death with the thorny branches of 
the neighboring acacia groves. The two kings of 
Midian, in all the state of royal Arabs, were brought 
before the conqueror on their richly caparisoned 
dromedaries. They replied with all the spirit of Arab 
chiefs to Gideon, who for a moment almost gave way 
to his gentler feelings at the sight of such fallen 
grandeur. But the remembrance of his brothers' 
blood on Mount Tabor steels his heart, and when his 
boy, Jether, shrinks from the task of slaughter, he 
takes their lives with his own hand, and gathers up 
the vast spoils, the gorgeous dresses and ornaments, 
with which they and their camels were loaded. 

How signal the deliverance was, appears from its 
many memorials : the name of Gideon's altar, of the 
spring 1 of Harod, of the rock of Oreb, of the wine- 
press of Zeeb ; whilst the Prophets and Psalmist al- 
lude again and again to details not mentioned in the 
history, — "The rod of the oppressor broken as in 
" the day of Midian " 2 — the wild panic of " the 
K confused noise and garments rolled in blood " — 
the streams of blood that flowed round " the rock of 
Oreb " — the insulting speeches, and the desperate 
rout, as before fire and tempest, of the four chiefs 
whose names passed even into a curse, — " Make thou 

1 Mistranslated " well " in the Au- 2 Isa. ix. 4 ; x. 26 ; Ps. lxxxiii. 9-11 
Xorizel Version. 

384 GIDEON. LeCt. XV 

" their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb, yea, all theii princes 
"like Zeba and Zalmunna." 

But the most immediate proof of the importance 
of this victory was that it occasioned the first direct 
Royal attempt to establish the kingly office, and ren- 

state of r . ° J . ' 

Gideon. der it perpetual in the house of Gideon. " Rule 
" thou over us, both thou and thy son, and thy son's 
a son : for thou hast delivered us from the hand of 
" Midian." Gideon declines the office. But he reigns, 
notwithstanding, in all but regal state. His vast mil- 
itary mantle receives the spoils of the whole army. 1 
He combines, like David, the sacerdotal and the regal 
power. An image, clothed with a sacred ephod, is 
made of the Midianite spoils, and his house at Ophrah 
becomes a sanctuary, and he apparently is known 
even to the Phoenicians as a Priest. 2 He adopts, like 
David, the unhappy accompaniment of royalty, polyg- 
amy, with its unhappy consequences. It is evident 
that we have reached the climax of the period. We 
feel " all the goodness " ? of Gideon. There is a sweet- 
ness and nobleness, blended with his courage, such as 
lifts us into a higher region, — something of the past 
greatness of Joshua, something of the future grace of 
David. But he was, as we should say, before his age. 
The attempt to establish a more settled form of gov- 
ernment ended in disaster and crime. He himself 
remains as a character apart, faintly understood by 
others, imperfectly fulfilling his own ideas, staggering 
under a burden to which he was not equal. In his 
union of superstition and true religion, in his myste- 
rious loneliness of situation, he recalls to us one of 
the greatest characters of heathen history, with the 
additional interest of the high sacred element. " His 

1 Judg. viii. 25 (Hebrew). « Eus. Pr. Eo. i. 9. 3 Judg. viii. 35. 


" mind rose above the state of things and men ; " so 
we may apply to him what has been said of Scipio 
Africanus — "his spirit was solitary and kingly; he was 
a cramped by living amongst those as his equals whom 
" he felt fitted to guide as from a higher sphere ; and 

* he retired to his native " Ophrah " to breathe freely, 
" since he could not fulfil his natural calling to be a 

* hero-king." l 

The career of Gideon, so poetical, so elevated, so 
complete in itself, seems at first sight but unevenly 
combined with the impotent conclusion of the prosaic 
and almost secular story of Abimelech. But this story 
has an interest of its own, independently of the grander 
narrative to which it is a close sequel in the liveliness 
of its details. 

We are suddenly introduced for the first and only 
time in the Book of Judges to the ancient capital of 
the nation in Shechem. In that beautiful and Riseof 
venerable city, the old inhabitants had still lin- AbimeIech 
gered after the conquest. One of the maidens of the 
city had become a slave of the great Gideon, and by 
her he had added another son to his already numer- 
ous offspring. 2 Abimelech inherited the daring energy 
of his father, without his self-control and magnanimity. 
He determined to avail himself, on the one hand, of 
the growing tendency to a monarchical form of govern- 
ment ("Is it better that threescore and ten persons 
"or that one reign over you?"); and, on the other 
hand, he appealed to the common element of race 
between himself and the subject Shechemites, like our 
Henry, the first Norman son of a Saxon mother, 
" Remember that I am your .bone and your flesh." 3 
To this appeal they at once responded, " He is our 

I Arnold's Rome, iii. 314. 2 Judg. viii. 31. 3 Ibid. ix. 2. 


386 GIDEON. Lect. XV 

brother." From the treasury of the sanctuary, 1 which 
they in league with the neighboring cities had estab- 
lished, they granted him a subsidy ; and with this and 
a body of insurgents he marched on Ophrah, where 
his seventy brothers still held their aristocratic court, 
and slew the whole family on "one stone," probably 
on that same consecrated rock whence, years before, 
his father had thrown down the altar of Baal. It is 
the first recorded instance of the dreadful usag-e of 
Oriental monarchies, — * the slaughter of the brothers 
of kings," which has continued down to our own days 
in the Turkish Empire, and has passed long ago into 
Bacon's famous proverb. To Shechem, his birthplace, 
and the seat of the ancient government of Joshua, of 
the future monarchy of Israel, Abimelech retired in 
triumph ; and there, beside the oak whence Joshua 
had addressed the nation, where probably in after-days 
the princes of Israel were inaugurated, Abimelech re- 
ceived, the first in the sacred history, the name of 
King. It was in the midst of this festive solemnity 
that a voice was heard from the heights of Gerizim, 
memorable in this crisis of Shechem, but memorable 
also in the history of the Church, for it is the first re- 
Parabie of corded Parable. One only child of the family 
jotham. £ Q^ eon h a( } escaped, — Jotham, who in this 
quaint address develops the quiet humor and sagacity 
of his father and grandfather, who had each turned 
away the wrath of their hearers by a short apologue. 
He from his concealment had suddenly presented 
himself on one of the rocky spurs that project from 
Gerizim over the valley, probably from the conspicu- 
ous cliff that rises precipitously above what must have 
been the exact situation of the ancient Shechem. From 

1 See Lecture XIII. 


thai lofty pulpit/ inaccessible, but audible from below, 
he broke forth, no doubt in the chant or loud lament 
in which Eastern story-tellers recite their tales, with 
the fable, describing the disadvantages of government 
and of monarchy in all countries, but drawn from the 
very imagery which lay beneath him at the moment. 
It is the earliest parable. Like all the parables of the 
earlier times of the Jewish nation, it turns on the 
vegetable world. The vine, the cedar, the thistle, 2 in 
the fables of Palestine, take the place which, in the 
fables of India or of Greece, is occupied by the talk- 
ing beasts or birds. His eye rested on that unparal- 
leled mass of living verdure in which, alone of all the 
cities of Palestine, Shechem is embosomed. He imag- 
ined the ancient days of the earth when all those trees 
were endued with human instincts and human speech, 
and bade his hearers listen to them as they gathered 
themselves together in that green council to elect their 
king. First (so we may fill up the outline which then 
must have been supplied by the actual sight of the 
hearers) came all the lower trees to the chief of all 
that grow in that fertile valley, — the venerable Olive. 
But the Olive could not leave his useful and noble task 
of supplying the sacred purposes of God and man, and 
remained rooted in his ancient place. Next they ap- 
proached the broad green shade of the Fig-tree. But 
he, too, had the delicious sweetness of his good fruit 
to care for, and his answer was the same as that of 
the Olive. Then they addressed the luxuriant Vine, 
as he threw his festoons from tree to tree, along the 
side of the hill. But the Vine clings to his appointed 
work of "cheering God and man," and he, too, abjured 

1 This was pointed out to me by Dr. 2 Judg. ix.' 12 ; Isa. v. 1 ; 2 Kings 
Rosen in 1862. xiv. 9. 

388 GIDEON. Lect. XV 

the idle state of monarchy. One and all the noblei 
trees were the true likenesses of the noble race of 
Gideon, — in his usefulness, his sweetness, and his gayety 
of speech and life. It was to a lower growth that the 
trees must descend before they could find any that 
would undertake the thankless task of ruler. The 
Brier, the Bramble, the Thorn that crept along the 
barren side of the mountain, or under the cover of the 
walls of the vineyard or the orchard, had no loftier 
cares to distract him from the calling they proposed. 
It was the Brier, with which, doubtless then, as now 
in the sacrificial feast on Mount Gerizim, huge fires 
were kindled; and from him, useless and idle as he 
seemed to be, a blaze would come forth in which friends 
and foes alike would burn, — a wide-spreading conflagra- 
tion which would fly from hill to hill, till it swept within 
its range the distant cedars of Lebanon. This was the 
true likeness of the worthless but fierce Abimelech, of the 
first tyrant of the Jewish nation. So, from the rock, 
the youthful Seer pronounced his curse, — in that faith- 
ful picture of the degraded politics of a degenerate or 
a half-civilized state, when only the worst take any con- 
cern in public interests, when all that is good and noble 
turns away in disgust from so thankless and vulgar an 
ambition. He spoke like the Bard of the English Ode, 
and, before the startled assembly below could reach the 
rocky pinnacle where he stood, he was gone. Imme- 
diately behind him (if we have rightly conjectured the 
spot where he stood) vast caverns open in the moun- 
tain-side. There he might halt for the moment. But 
he stayed not till he was far away in the south, per* 
haps beyond the Jordan. 1 

l " He fled to Beer." Ewald conjee- 16, on the frontier of Moab. If thii 
tares that it was the Beer of Num. xxi. seems too remote, it may be Beeroth 


The three years' reign of Abimelech which follows 
discloses to us the interior of society in this internal 

mi t i • i i • state of 

centre of Palestine. That light which the in- Shechem. 
ventive genius of Walter Scott and the briliant exag- 
geration of Thierry threw on the complicated rela- 
tions of Anglo-Saxon and Norman long after the 
Conquest of England, is thrown by this simple and 
vivid narrative on the like relations of Canaanite 
and Israelite after the Conquest of Palestine. The 
supporters of Abimelech, as we have seen, were the 
native Shechemites, — the a lords " of Shechem, as they 
are called, by a name specially appropriate to the 
native races of Canaan. 1 This remnant of the original 
population, with the adherents gained from amongst 
the conquerors, had elevated Shechem into a kind of 
metropolitan dignity amongst the neighboring towns ; 
who thus formed a religious league, of which the 
Temple was at Shechem, under the name of Baal- 
Berith, or Baal of the League. Beth-Millo, Arumah s 
Thebez, are named as amongst the dependent cities. 
The Temple 2 itself was a fortress, 3 containing the 
Sacred Treasury. 4 

Over this entangled system, Abimelech, the Bram- 
ble King, undertook to rule. He himself seems to 
have lived at one of the lesser towns of the league, 
Arumah, 5 leaving his vicegerent, Zebul, to govern his 
unruly kinsmen of Shechem. Zebul took advantage 

in the tribe of Benjamin (the modern 12 ; and the ruffians of Gibeah, Judg. 

Bireh), or Baalath-Beer, in Judah. xx. 5. (See Diet, of Bible, i. 14G.) 

1 Baali-Sliecliem, translated " men 2 See Lecture XIII., and compare 

of Shechem." It is thus used of Jer- the parallel case of Jupiter Latiaril 

'cho, Josh. li. 4; xxiv. 11: and of at Home. 
Uriah the Ilittite, 2 Sam. xi. 26. The 3 Judg. ix. 46. 

word elsewhere is only applied to the 4 Ibid. ix. 4. 

warriors of Jabesh-Gilead, 2 Sam. xxi. 5 Ibid. ix. 41. 

390 GIDEON Lect. XV. 

of the disorganized state of the country to place 
troops of banditti along the tops of the neighboring 
Fan of mountains to plunder the travellers through 
Abimeiech. Central Palestine. It was in the midst of 
this union of despotism and anarchy, that the Feast 
of the Vintage — chief among the festivals of Pales- 
tine — came on, with the usual religious pomp and 
merriment 1 with which it was celebrated in the Jew- 
ish Church during the Feast of Tabernacles ; but at 
Shechem, in the precincts of the God of the League. 
In a population thus excited, the words of a native 
Shechemite fell with still greater force than those of 
Abimeiech himself at the commencement of what may 
be called this movement of the oppressed nationality. 2 
He pointed out to them that Abimeiech was but half 
a kinsman, — "Is he not the son of Jerubbaal?" — 
and called upon them to choose their own native 
rulers, — "Serve the men of Hamor the father of 
" Shechem ; why should ive serve him ? " 

Zebul gives the alarm. By three desperate on- 
slaughts the insurrection is quelled. In the first, we 
see the troops of Abimeiech stealing over the moun- 
tain-tops at break of day, by the well-known tere- 
binth, and by some sacred spot called a the navel of 
the land/' In the second, the main battle is fought 
in the wide cornfields at the opening of the valley 
of Shechem. 3 This ends in the rout of the native 
party, now deprived of their chief, and the total de- 
struction of the city of Shechem, to appear no more 
again till the time of the monarchy. In the third 
and last conflict, the remnant of the insurgents takes 
refuge in the lofty tower in the stronghold of the 

i Judg. ix. 27. 3 « The Jield," Judg. ix. 42-44. 

3 Ibid. 28. Ewald, ii. 335. 


Temple of the League. Not far off was the moan- 
tain of Zalmon, 1 famous in the winter for its snow, 
in the summer for its shady forests. Thither the 
new king, with an energy worthy of his father, led 
his followers, axe in hand. Like a common wood- 
cutter, he hewed down a bough and threw it over 
his shoulder. The whole band followed the royal 
example • and in the smoke and flames kindled round 
the fortress, the insurgents perished. One other strong- 
hold of the mutiny remained, — a similar fortress at 
Thebez ; 2 and there, too, the same expedient was tried. 
Men and women alike, as at Shechem, were crowded 
within the tower, and mounted to the top. From 
this eminence they commanded a full view of the 
besiegers; and when the fearless king ran close to 
the gate to fire it with his own hands, one of the 
women above seized her opportunity and dashed 
upon his head a fragment of a millstone. He fell ; 
but in his fall remembered the dignity of himself 
and of his race ; and, like his next successor in the 
regal office, invoked the friendly sword of his armor- 
bearer to give him a soldier's death. In this violent 
end of a noble house, the nation recognized the 
Divine Judgment on the murderer of his brothers; 
in the sweeping destruction of the ancient Shechem, 
and the conflagration of its famous sanctuary, was 
recognized no less the fulfilment of the Curse of 
Jotharn. 3 With Abimelech expired this first abortive 
attempt at monarchy. In the obscure rulers, who 
follow, the same tendency is still perceptible. Jair 

1 Zalmon, " shady," Judg. ix. 48 ; Tubas, on a mound among the bills, 
Ps. lxviii. 15 (misspelt Salmon). ten miles N. E. of Nablus. 

2 Judg. ix. 50. Thebez probably 3 Judg. ix 56, 57. 
survives in the modern village of 

392 GIDEON. Lect> xv 

and Ibzan cause their state to descend to the nu- 
merous sons of their wives or concubines; and the 

dignity of Abdon reaches even to his grandsons. 1 

But the true King of Israel is still far in the dis- 

1 Judg. x. 9 ; xii. 9-14. 




As Gideon is the highest pitch of greatness to 
which this period reaches, Jephthah and Samson are 
the lowest points to which it descends. In them, in 
different forms, the violence of the age breaks out 
most visibly. 

I. Jephthah is the wild, lawless freebooter. His ir- 
regular birth, in the half-civilized tribes be- Jephthah. 
yond the Jordan, is the key-note to his life. The 
whole scene is in those pastoral uplands. Not Bethel, 
or Shiloh, but Mizpeh, the ancient watch-tower which 
witnessed the parting of Jacob and Laban, is the place 
of meeting. Ammon, the ancient ally of Israel against 
Og, is the assailant. The war springs out of the dis- 
putes of that first settlement. The battle sweeps over 
the whole tract of forest from Gilead to the borders 
of Moab. 1 The quarrel which arises after the The Trans . 
battle between the Transjordanic tribe and the Character of 
proud western Ephraimites, is embittered by the ^ uarrel - 
the recollection of taunts and quarrels, then, no doubt, 
full of gall and wormwood, now hardly intelligible. 
u Fugitives of Ephraim are ye : Gilead is among the 
" Ephraimites and among the Manassites." Was it, as 

1 " From Aroer " — to the '• Meadow intervening links are lost in a hopeless 

if the Vineyards," Judg. xi. 33. The confusion of the text. 

304 JEPHTHAH. Lect. XVI. 

Ewald conjectures, 1 some allusion to the lost history 
of the days when the half tribe of Manasseh separated 
from its Western brethren ? If it was, the Gileadites 
had now their turn, — a the fugitives of the Ephraim- 
ites," as they are called in evident allusion to the for- 
mer taunt, are caught in their flight at the fords of the 
Jordan, the scene of their victory over the Midianites, 
and ruthlessly slain. The test put to them was a word 
of which the very meaning is now doubtful, but which, 
familiar then from its allusion to the " harvests " or 
" floods " 2 of Palestine, has revived in the warfare of 
Shib . Christian controversy, Shibboleth. Many a party 

boieth. watchword, many a theological test has had 
no better origin than this difference of pronunciation 
between the two rough tribes, which has thus appro- 
priately become the type and likeness of all of them. 
In the savage taunt of Jephthah to the Ephraimites, 
compared with the mild reply of Gideon to the same 
insolent tribe, we have a measure of the inferiority of 
Eastern to Western Palestine, — of the degree to which 
Jephthah sank below his age, and Gideon rose above 
it. But in his own country, as well as in the Church 
at large, it is the other part of Jephthah's story which 
The vow. has been most keenly remembered. The fatal 
vow at the battle of Aroer belongs naturally to the 
spasmodic efforts of the age ; like the vows of Samson 
or Saul in the Jewish Church of this period, or of 
Clovis or Bruno in the Middle Ages. But its literal 
execution could hardly have taken place had it been 
undertaken by any one more under the moral re- 
straints, even of that lawless age, than the freebooter 

1 Ewald, ii. 419, on Judg. xii. 4. ;uc l-»ilead in the midst of Ephraim 
This is almost equally the case if we and in the midst of Manasseh." 
*dopt the version of the LXX. — "Ye a Both explanations are given of 

Sihibboleth. Judg. xii. 6. 

Lect. XVI. HIS vow. 395 

Jephthah, nor in any other part of the Holy Land 
than that separated by the Jordan valley from the 
more regular institutions of the country. Moab and 
Amnion, the neighboring tribes to Jephthah's native 
country, were the parts of Palestine where human 
sacrifice lingered longest. It was the first thought of 
Balak in the extremity of his terror. 1 It was the last 
expedient of Balak's successor in the war with Jehosh- 
aphat. 2 Moloch, to whom even before they entered 
Palestine the Israelites had offered human sacrifices, 3 
and who is always spoken of as the deity who was thus 
honored, w r as especially the God of Ammon. It is but 
natural that a desperate soldier like Jephthah, breath- 
ing the same atmosphere, physical and social, should 
make the same vow, and having made it, adhere to 
it. There was no High Priest or Prophet at The Sacri . 
hand to rebuke it. They were far away in fice * 
the hostile tribe of Ephraim. He did what was right 
in his own eyes, and as such the transaction is de- 
scribed. Mostly it is but an inadequate account to 
give of these doubtful acts to say that they are men- 
tioned in the Sacred narrative without commendation. 
Often where no commendation is expressly given, it 
is distinctly implied. But here the story itself trem- 
bles with the mixed feeling of the action. The de- 
scription of Jephthah's wild character prepares us for 
some dark catastrophe. The admiration for his hero- 
ism and that of his daughter struggles for mastery 
in the historian with indignation at the dreadful deed. 
He is overwhelmed by the natural grief of a father 
"Oh! oh! my daughter, thou hast crushed me, thou 
" hast crushed me ! " She rises at once to the gran- 
deur of her situation as the instrument whereby the 

1 Micah \i. 7. 2 2 Kings iii. 27. 3 Ezek- xx. 26 ; Jer. xlix. 1. 

396 JEPHTHAIl. Lkct. XVI 

victory had been won. If the fatal word had escaped 
his lips she was content to die, " forasmuch as the 
a Lord hath taken vengeance of thee, upon thine ene- 
" mies, even the children of Amnion." It is one of 
the points in Sacred History where, as before said, 
the likeness of classical times mingles with the He- 
brew devotion. It recalls to us the story of Idome- 
neus and his son, of Agamemnon and Iphigenia. And 
still more closely do we draw near, as our attention 
is fixed on the Jewish maiden, to a yet more pathetic 
scene. Her grief is the exact anticipation of the 
lament of Antigone, sharpened by the peculiar horror 
of the Hebrew women at a childless death, — descend- 
ing with no bridal festivity, with no nuptial torches 
to the dark chambers of the grave — 

u tv(j.(3oc, u vvfiQelov, u KaTaaKa^Tjg 
olni]oic ueitypovpog, ol nop£vo( . . . 
nal vvv ayei fie did, x^puv oiiru Xu(3ov 
ukEKrpov, uvvfievaiov, ovrs rov yufiov 
ftepoc Ti&xovoav, ovre Traideiov Tpocpqg* 

Into the mountains of Gilead she retires for two 
months, — plunging 2 deeper and deeper into the gorges 
of the mountains, to bewail her lot, with the maidens 
who had come out with her to greet the returning 
conqueror. Then comes the awful end, from which 
the sacred writer, as it were, averts his eyes. "He 
did with her according to his vow." In her the 
house of Jephthah became extinct. " She knew no 
man." But for years afterwards, even to the verge 
of the monarchy, the dark deed was commemorated. 
Four days in every year the maidens of Israel went 
up into the mountains of Gilead, — and here the He- 
brew language lends itself to the ambiguous feeling 

l Soph. Ant. 890. 2 J u dg. xi. 38 (Hebrew) 

Lect. XVI. HIS vow. 39T 

of the narrative itself, — a to praise " ! or tt to lament n 
* the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite." 

The record which thus transparently represents the 
wavering thought of the Sacred Historian has re- 
ceived also the reflections of the successive stages of 
feeling with which the Church has subsequently re- 
garded the act. As far back as we can trace the 
sentiment of those who read the passage, in Jonathan 
the Targumist, and Josephus, and through the whole 
of the first eleven centuries of Christendom, the story 
was taken in its literal sense as describing the death 
of the maiden, although the attention of the Church 
was, as usual, diverted to distant allegorical Expiana- 

,, l*^ ^V^l, U J..^ W W U ^ Ul.. JU l**X W U^Vsg 

tions of the 

meanings. 2 Then, it is said, from a polemical Sacrifice. 
bias of Kimchi, arose the interpretation that she was 
not killed, but immured in celibacy. From the Jewish 
theology this spread to the Christian. By this time 
the notion had sprung up that every act recorded in 
the Old Testament was to be defended according to 
the standard of Christian morality; and, accordingly, 
the process began of violently wresting the words of 
Scripture to meet the preconceived fancies of later 
ages. In this way entered the hypothesis of Jeph- 
thah's daughter having been devoted as a nun ; con- 
trary to the plain meaning of the text, contrary to 
the highest authorities of the Church, contrary to all 
the usages of the old Dispensation. In modern times, 

1 Judg. xi. 40. notare veraciter"), follows an expla- 

2 After a reasonable exposition, by nation of Jephthah as " opener " (" He 
Augustine (III. Part i 613), of the opened their hearts"); the land of 
general commendation implied in Heb. Tob (" good " — the land of the resur- 
xi. 32, 33, Judg. xi. 39, as compatible rection) ; his daughter, " the Church ; " 
with great faults (" Sacra Scriptura 60 days, the 6 ages ; 4 days, the 4 
quorum fidem ct justitiam veraciter quarters of the world; 42,000 Eph- 
laudat, noii hincimpeditureorum etiam raimites, 6 times 7; and Jephthah's 
»eecata,s*qua norit etoportere judicet, 6 years, also the 6 ages. 

398 JEPHTHAH. Lect. XVI 

a more careful study of the Bible has brought us 
back to the original sense. And with it returns the 
deep pathos of the original story, and the lesson which 
it reads of the heroism of the father and the daugh- 
ter, to be admired and loved, in the midst of the 
fierce superstitions across which it plays like a sun- 
beam on a stormy sea. 

So regarded, it may still be remembered with a sym- 
pathy at least as great as is given to the heathen 
immolations, just cited, which awaken a sentiment of 
compassion wherever they are known. The sacrifice 
of Jephthah's daughter, taking it at its worst, was not 
a human sacrifice in the gross sense of the word — 
not a slaughter of an unwilling victim, as when the 
Gaul and Greek were buried alive in the Romnn Fo- 
rum ; but the willing offering of a devoted heart, to 
free, as she supposed, her father and her country from 
a terrible obligation. It was, indeed, as Josephus says. 
an act in itself hateful to God. But, nevertheless, it 
contained just that one redeeming feature of pure obe- 
dience and love, which is the distinguishing mark of 
all true Sacrifice, and which communicates to the whole 
story those elements of tenderness and nobleness well 
drawn out of it by two modern poets, to each of whom, 
in their different ways, may be applied what was said 
by Goethe of the first, — that at least one function 
committed to him was that of giving life and form to 
the incidents and characters of the Old Testament. 

" Though the virgins of Salem lament, 
Be the judge and the hero unbent ; 
I have won the great battle for thee, 
And my father and country are free. 

" When this blood of thy giving has gush'd, 
When the voice that thou lovest is hushed, • 

Lkct. XVI. HIS VOW. 399 

Let my memory still be thy pride, 
And forget not I smiled as I died." 1 

Or. in the still more exact language of the more re- 
cent poet — 

" The daughter of the warrior Gileadite, 

A maiden pure ; as when she went along 
From Mizpeh's tower'd gate with radiance light 
With timbrel and with song. 

• • • • • 

" ' My God, my land, my father — these did move 
' Me from my bliss of life, that Nature gave, 
' Lower'd softly with a threefold cord of love, 
4 Down to a silent grave. 

" ' And I went mourning,' ' No fair Hebrew boy 
4 Shall smile away my maiden blame among 

* The Hebrew mothers ; ' emptied of all joy, 

* Leaving the dance and song, 

M * Leaving the olive-gardens far below, 

4 Leaving the promise of my bridal bower, 
'The valleys of grape-loaded vines that glow 
' Beneath the battled tower. 

• • • • • 

44 4 When the next moon was roll'd into the sky, 

* Strength came to me, that equall'd my desire — 

* How beautiful a thing it was to die 

4 For God and for my sire ! 

r< ' It comforts me in this one thought to dwell, 
' That I subdued me to my father's will ; 
1 Because the kiss he gave me, ere I fell, 
4 Sweetens the spirit still. 

• < . . . 

44 4 Moreover, it is written that my race 

' Hew'd Ammon, hip and thigh, from Aroer 
4 On Arnon unto Minnith.' " . . .2 

II. From the lawlessness of Jephthah on the ex- 
treme eastern frontier of Palestine, we pass to Samson. 

1 Lord Byron's Hebrew Melodies. 2 Tennyson's Poems, 197. 

400 SAMSON. Lect. XVI 

a manifestation of the same tendency in a different, 
but not less incontestable form, on the extreme west- 
ern frontier. At the same time the new enemies, in 
whose grasp we now find the Israelites, remind us that 
we are approaching a new epoch in their history: 
that which is to close the period on which we are 
now engaged. 

"The Philistines" present themselves to our notice, 
The pw- if n °t absolutely for the first time, yet for the 
first time as a powerful and hostile nation. 
In the original conquest by Joshua, they are hardly 
mentioned. Their name appears to indicate their late 
arrival, — " the Strangers ; " l and the scattered indica- 
tions of their origin lead to the conclusion that they 
were settlers from some foreign country, from Asia 
Minor and its adjacent islands, probably from Crete. 2 

With this agree the notices of their character and 
pursuits. Like the Cretans, they were employed as 
mercenaries. Like the Cretans, too, they were distin- 
guished amongst the marauding tribes for the strength 
and variety of their armor. The most complete vo- 
cabulary of arms that exists in the Old Testament is 
taken from the panoply of a Philistine warrior. 3 Un- 
like the rest of the inhabitants of Canaan, they were 

1 The LXX. throughout the Pen- directly intended is Crete. Cherethite 
tateuch and Joshua keep the Hebrew and Philistine, in Zeph. ii. 5, Ezek. 
word ^vTuoTieifj., but in all the sub- xxv. 16. 1 Sam. xxx. 14, and appar- 
sequent books translate it uIIlqQvXoi ently 2 Sam. xx. 23, 2 Kings xi. 4, 
"aliens." Comp. u?Jiorpio)v } Heb. xi. 19, are used as synonymous terms; 
34. (Ewald, i. 292-294.) and this is confirmed not only by the 

2 In Gen. x. 14,1 Chron. i. 12, they characteristics mentioned in the text, 
are derived, together with Caphtorim, but by the confused statement of Ta- 
froni Casluhim, son of Mizraim ; and citus that the Jews themselves came 
in Amos ix. 7, Deut. ii 23, Jer. xlvii. from Crete (Hist. v. 2), and by the 
+, from Caphtor. Caphtor by the name of Minoa given to Gaza (Steph 
LXX. is rendered Cappadocia. But Byz.). 

orobably the country directly or in- 3 1 Sam. xvii. o-7. 


uncircumcised, and appear to have stood on a lower 
level of civilization. They were almost, it may be said, 
the laughing-stock of their livelier and quicker neigh- 
bors, from their dull, heavy stupidity; the easy prey 
of the rough humor of Samson, or the agility and cun- 
ning of the diminutive David. 

The older Avites whom they dispossessed, probably 
occupied the southern part of the country, 1 generally 
called in the Patriarchal History " the valley of Gerar." 
Possibly the Philistines may have been called in by 
them as allies against the invading Israelites, and then, 
as in the ancient fable, 2 made themselves their mas- 
ters. Possibly, also, they may have become so closely 
incorporated with them, as to produce that interchange 
of names which, in some of the Sacred Books, 3 has 
identified the earlier with the later race. The gigan- 
tic stature, too, which marks some of the Philistine 
families, may have arisen from their connection with 
the aboriginal giants, who lingered in the maritime 
plains 4 after their expulsion from the nations. 

In these maritime plains, the u Shefela " 5 or " Low 
Country," as it was called, on the south-west of Ca 
naan, was their original seat after their first settle- 
ment ; and in this situation lay their security, as that 
of the northern Phoenicians, against the mountain in- 
fantry of Israel. Chariots and horses with them, as 
with their Phoenician neighbors on the north, and 
their Egyptian neighbors on the south, formed their 
chief strength. Unlike the Phoenicians, they were 
indisposed to commerce. Of the three possible har- 
bors on their unbroken line of sandy coast near 


i Deut. ii. 23 ; Josh. xiii. 3. 2 Comp. Ewald, i. 310. 

3 As in Gen. xxi. 34, xxvi. 18; Ex. 4 Josh. xi. 22. 

»v. 14 ; xiii. 17. 5 Sinai and Palestine, 256. 

402 SAMSON. Lect. XVL 

Gaza, Ascalon, and Jabneel, they made no use. The 
only traces of their maritime l origin and situation were 
to be found in their worship. The chief deity was 
the fish god Dagon, 2 whose image was that of the 
trunk of a fish with the head and hands of a man. 
Some slight indications of the architecture of his chief 
temple are given, its door-way, 3 and its two massive 
pillars, supporting the roof and standing sufficiently 
close together to be embraced at once. 4 The traces 
of his worship were scattered throughout the country ; 
in the numerous " houses of Dagon," 5 of which the 
names still linger in different parts of the south of 
Palestine. A similar form was ascribed to the female 
divinity, Derceto, 6 who in their mythology took the 
place of Astarte. The only other special deity of the 
Philistines known to us, is Baal-Zebub, 7 a the Lord of 
" the Flies," who had a sanctuary in Ekron, as Dagon 
and Derceto had theirs in Ashdod, Gaza, and Ascalon. 8 
These, with Gath, formed the original federation of 
the nation ; each raised on its slight eminence above 
the plain, and ruled by its own king or prince. Their 
main support, and the main value of their country, 
lay in the vast corn-fields, which almost without a 
break reached from the sandy shore to the foot of 
the Judsean hills ; and which even to the Israelites 
furnished a resource in case of famine. 9 Such were 
the Philistines, the longest and deadliest enemies of 
the Chosen People, whose hostilities, commencing in 

1 In the LXX. version of 1 Sam. 5 Josh. xv. 41 ; and see Diet, of 
v. 0, it is said that "the hand of the Bible, " Beth-Dagon." 

Lord brake out against their ships." 6 Diod. Sic. ii. 4. 
But this may be a misreading. 7 2 Kings i. 2-16. 

2 1 Sam. v. 4. The word is the * 8 Judg. xvi. 23; 1 Chron. x 10; 
same as in the river Tagus. 1 Mace. x. 84. 

3 1 Sam v 5. 9 2 Kings viii. 2. 

4 Judjr. xvi. 25-29. 

Lect. XVI. AS A NAZARITE. 403 

the close of the period of the Judges, lasted through 
the two first reigns of the monarchy, and were not 
finally extinguished till the time of Hezekiah, 1 and 
who yet, by a singular chance, have, through the con- 
tact of the Western world with their strip of coast, 
succeeded in giving their own name of " Philistia " 
or "Palestine," 2 properly confined within that narrow 
etrip, to the whole country occupied by Israel. 

Of all the tribes of Israel, that on which these new 
coiners pressed most heavily was the small tribe of 
Dan, already straitened between the mountains and the 
sea, and communicating with its seaport Joppa only by 
passing through the Philistine territory. Out of this 
tribe, accordingly, the deliverer came. It was Birth of 
in Zorah, 3 planted on a high conical hill over- Samson - 
looking the plain, which from its peculiar relation to 
these hills was called " the root of Dan," 4 that the 
birth of the child took place, who was by a double 
tie connected with the history of this peculiar period, 
as the first conqueror of the Philistines, and as the 
first recorded instance of a Nazarite. In both respects 
he was the beginner of that work which a far greater 
than he, the Prophet Samuel, carried to a completion. 
But what in Samuel were but subordinate functions, 
in Samson were supreme, and in him were further 
united with an eccentricity of character and career 
that gives him an absolutely singular position amongst 
the Israelite heroes. 

It was, as we have remarked, the age of vows, and 
•t is implied in the account that such special The Nazv 
vows as that which marked the life of Sam- rite8, 

1 2 Kings xviii. 8. listia. (See Palestine, in Diet, of 

2 « Palestine " was the Gentile Bible.) 

name for the Holy Land. In the 3 Robinson, B. R. iiL 153. 

A. V it is always used for Phi- 4 See Sinai and Palestine, 278. 

404 SAMSON. Lect. XVI. 

son were common. The order of Nazarites, which 
we find actually described in the code of the Mosaic 
Law, was already in existence. It was the nearest 
approach to a monastic institution that the Jewish 
Church contained. 1 It was, as its name implies, a sep- 
aration from the rest of the nation, partly by the ab- 
stinence from all intoxicating drink, partly by the 
retention of the savage covering of long flowing 
tresses of hair. The order thus begun continued to 
the latest times. Not only was Samuel thus devoted, 
but Elijah in outward appearance was under the same 
rule ; in the time of Amos, there was a flourishing 
institution of Nazarites ; 2 and at the very close of the 
Jewish Church there were at least two who bore in 
their habits and aspect the likeness of the earliest of 
these ascetics — John, 3 the son of Zachariah, the aus- 
tere preacher in the wilderness, and Jacob, or James, 4 
the Bishop of the Christian Church at Jerusalem. It 
was as the first fruits of this institution, no less than 
as his country's champion, that the birth of Samson 
is ushered in with a solemnity of inauguration which, 
whether we adopt the more coarse and literal repre- 
sentation of Josephus, 5 or the more shadowy and re- 
fined representation of the Sacred narrative, seems to 
announce the coming of a greater event than that 
which is comprised in the merely warlike career of 
the conqueror of the Philistines. 

Wherever the son of Manoah appeared in later life, 
iiisaus- he was always known by the Nazarite mark, 
tenty. Like the Merovingian kings, whose long tresses 

1 See Ewald, Alterthumer, 9 7, &c. sents " the angel " or " man of God " 

2 Amos ii. 11. as a youth of transcendent beauty, who 

3 Luke i. 15. excites the frantic jealousy of Ma- 
* Hegesippus, in Euseb. H. E. ii. 23 noah. 

6 Josephus (Ant. v. 8, §§ 2, 3) repre- 

Lkct. XVI. HIS HUMOR 405 

were the sign of their royal race, which to lose was to 
lose royalty itself, — like the hierarchy of the Eastern 
Church, whose long beards are in like manner the 
inalienable sign of their priestly functions, — so the 
early vow of Samson's mother was always testified by 
his shaggy, un tonsured head, and by the seven sweep- 
ing locks, 1 twisted together, yet distinct, which hung 
over his shoulders ; and in all his wild wanderings and 
excesses amidst the vineyards of Sorek and Timnath 
he is never reported to have touched the juice of 
one of their abundant grapes. 

But these were his only indications of an austere 
life. It is one of the many distinctions be- His 
tween the manners of the East and West, be- humor - 
tween ancient and modern forms of religious feeling, 
that the character of the Jewish chief who most 
nearly resembles the founder of a monastic order 
should be the most frolicsome, irregular, uncultivated 
creature, that the nation ever produced. Not only 
was celibacy no part of his Nazarite obligations, but 
not even ordinary purity of life. He was full of the 
spirits and the pranks, no less than of the strength, 
of a giant. His name, which Josephus interprets in 
the sense of a strong," was still more characteristic. 
He was. " the Sunny," — the bright and beaming, 
though wayward likeness of the great luminary which 
the Hebrews delighted to compare to a " giant rejoic- 
ing to run his course," "a bridegroom coming forth 
u out of his chamber." 2 Nothing can disturb his 
radiant good-humor. His most valiant, his most cruel 
actions, are done with a smile on his face, and a jest 
in hi3 mouth. It relieves his character from the stern- 
ness of Phoenician fanaticism. As a peal of hearty 

1 Judg. xvi. 13. 2 Psalm xix. 5. 

406 SAMSON. Lect XVI 

laughter breaks in upon the despondency of indi- 
vidual sorrow, so the joviality of Samson becomes a 
pledge of the revival of the greatness of his nation. 
It is brought out in the strongest contrast with the 
brute coarseness and stupidity of his Philistine enemies, 
here, as throughout the Sacred History, the butt of 
Israelitish wit and Israelitish craft. 

Look at his successive acts in this light, and . they 
assume a new significance. Out of his first achieve- 
ment he draws the materials for his playful riddle. 
His second and third achievements are practical jests 
on the largest scale. The mischievousness of the con- 
flagration of the corn-fields, by means of the jackals, 
is subordinate to the ludicrousness of the sight, as, 
from the hill of Zorah, the contriver of the scheme 
must have watched the streams of fire spreading 
through corn-fields and orchards in the plain below. 
The whole point of the massacre of the thousand 
Philistines lies in the cleverness with which their 
clumsy triumph is suddenly turned into discomfiture, 
and their discomfiture is celebrated by the punning 
turn of the hero, not forgotten even in the exultation 
or the weariness of victory. " With the jawbone of 
u an ass have I slain one mass, two ?nasses ; with the 
"jawbone of an ass I have slain an onload of men." 1 
The carrying off the gates of Gaza derives all its force 
from the neatness with which the Philistine watchmen 
are outdone, 2 on the very spot where they thought 
themselves secure. The answers with which he puts 
off the inquisitiveness of Delilah derive their vivacity 
from the quaintness of the devices which he suggests, 
and the ease with which his foolish enemies fall into 

1 So the original may be repre- 2 Judg. xvi. 2, 3. 
sented : Judg. xv. 16. 


them, trap after trap, as if only to give their conqueror 
amusement. The closing scenes of his life breathe, 
throughout, the same terrible, yet grotesque irony. 
When the captive warrior is called forth, in the mer- 
riment of his persecutors, to exercise for the last time 
the well-known raillery of his character, he appears as 
the great jester or buffoon of the nation ; the word 
employed expresses alike the roars of laughter and 
the wild gambols with which he " made them sport ; " 
and as he puts forth the last energy of his vengeance, 
the final effort of his expiring strength, it is in a stroke 
of broad and savage humor that his indignant spirit 
passes away. " Lord Jehovah, remember me now ; 
a and strengthen me now, only this once, God, that 
u I may be avenged of the Philistines " [not for both 
'-' of my lost eyes — but] " for one of my two eyes." 
That grim playfulness, strong in death, lends its par- 
adox even to the act of destruction itself, and over- 
flows into the touch of triumphant satire with which 
the pleased historian closes the story ; u The dead 
" which he slew at his death were more than they 
" which he slew in his life." 

These are the general features of Samson's life. The 
sudden breaks in the narrative, 1 showing more Local coi- 
clearly than elsewhere the imperfect state in his life, 
which the history of these times has come down to 
us, warn us off from a too close scrutiny of its de- 
tails. But there is no portion of the sacred story 
more stamped with a peculiarly local color. Unlike 
the heroes of Grecian, Celtic, or Teutonic romance, 
whose deeds are scattered over the whole country or 
the whole continent where they lived — Hercules, or 

1 Such arc the gnps between Judg. xiii. 24 and 25; between xv. 20 and 
ivl 1. (Evald, ii. 529, &.-.) 

408 SAMSON. Lect. XVI 

Aithur, or Charlemagne, — the deeds of Samson are 

confined to that little corner of Palestine in which was 

pent up the fragment of the tribe to which he be- 

Thechan- longed. He is the one champion of Dan. To 
pion o an. ^-^ ^ ^ an y one ^ mns £ De ^} ie reference in 

the blessing of Jacob ; " Dan shall judge his people 
as one of the tribes of Israel." In his biting wit and 
cunning ambuscades, which baffled the horses and 
chariots of Philistia, must probably be seen u the ser- 
" pent by the way, the adder in the path, that biteth 
" the horse's heels, so that his rider shall fall back- 
" wards." l 

It was at a spot well known in the history of his 
His first tribe — in Mahaneh-Dan, or the " Camp of 

inspira- . _ . 

tion. Dan " — that the first aspirations of his career 

showed themselves. There, underneath the mountains 
of Judah, the little band which broke away to the 
north at the commencement of this stormy period, 
had pitched their first encampment, 2 and there also 
was the ancestral burial-place of his family. 3 Amongst 
his fathers' tombs, and amidst the recollections of 
his fathers' exploits, " the Spirit of Jehovah began to 
" move him " — to strike, as the expression implies, 
on his rough nature 4 as on a drum or cymbal, 
till it resounded like a gong through his native 

Then began what were literally his u descents " of 
His local l° ve an d of war upon the plain of Philistia 
exploits. f rom Zorah on the hills above. The vines on 
the slopes of these hills, the vineyards of Timnath 
and of Sorek, were famous throughout Palestine. It 

1 Gen. xlix. 16, 17. 3 J u dg. X vi. 31. 

9 Judg. xiii. 25; xviii. 12; Josb. 4 Ibid. xiii. 25 (Hebrew), 
iv. 33. See Lecture XIII. 

Lect. XVI. HIS GRAVE. 409 

was probably amongst these, as the maidens whom 
the Benjamites surprised amongst the vineyards of 
Shiloh, that he met both his earliest and his latest 
love. The names of the surrounding villages bear 
traces of the wild animals whom he encountered, and 
used as instruments of his great exploits — Lebaoth 
("the lionesses"), 1 Shaalbim ("the jackals''), 2 Zorah 
("the hornets"). The corn-fields of Philistia — then, 
as now, interspersed with olive-groves, 3 then, also, with 
vineyards — lay stretched in one unbroken expanse 
before him, to invite his facetious outrage. Once he 
wandered beyond the territory of his own tribe, and 
that of his enemies, but it was only into the neigh- 
boring hills of Judah. In some deep cleft, such as 
doubtless could easily be found in the limestone hills 
around the vale of Etam (the Wady Urtas), he took 
refuge. The Philistines then, as afterwards in David's 
time, had planted a garrison in the neighborhood. 4 
The lion of Judah was cowed by their presence. 
" K no west thou not the Philistines are rulers over 
us ? " Out of the cleft he emerges, and sweeps them 
away with the rude weapon that first comes to hand. 
The spring and the rock which witnessed the deed, 5 
though now lost, were long pointed out as memorial 
of the history. The scene of his death is the His grave, 
great Temple of the Fish God at Gaza, in the ex- 
tremity of the Philistine district. But his grave was 

1 Josh. xv. 32, 33 ; Juclg. i. 35. fare a mortal outrage. (Burckhardt, 

2 It is said that jackals exist, or did 331.) 

xist, in great numbers, in the plain 3 Judg. xv. 5. 

f R.imleh, where they were hunted 4 Judg. xv. 7; 2 Sam. xxiii. 14. 

flown and thrown into the sea. (Has- 5. The connection between the story 

selquist, 115-277.) To set fire to the and the place is indicated in the name 

harvest of an enemy is in Arab war- "Lehi," or "Jawbone," Judg. xv. J), 

15, 16, 17, 19. 

410 SAMSON. Lect. XVI. 

in the same spot which had nourished his first youth- 
ful hopes. From the time of Gideon downwards, the 
tombs of the Judges have been carefully specified. In 
no case, however, does the specification suggest a more 
pathetic image, than in the description of the funeral 
procession, in which the dead hero is borne by his 
brothers and his kinsmen, a up " the steep ascent to 
his native hills, and laid, as it would seem, beside the 
father who had watched with pride his early deeds, 
" between Zorah and Eshtaol, in the burial-place of 
Manoah his father." 

The arrangement of the narrative into its separate 
parts — the manner in which the humor, the strength, 
the headstrong rashness of Samson are worked up to 
the catastrophe — have not unnaturally suggested to 
the great Hebrew critic of our age the supposition 
that the story may even in early times have been 
wrought into a dramatic poem. But it is a remark- 
able proof of the latent force of the Biblical history, 
that a series of incidents and characters so peculiarly 
local, so abruptly and faintly depicted, should yet have 
furnished to our own poet the materials for a drama, 
which not only, as has been before observed, is the 
best likeness in modern form of the ancient classical 
tragedies, but is also, beyond any other of his works, 
interwoven with the modern experiences of his own 
eventful life. 

Even in Milton's earlier days he seems to have 
Milton's dwelt with unusual pleasure ©n the gran- 

use of 

the story, deur and the fall of Samson, as the image of 
what he most admired and most cherished in the 
troubled world of English politics ; as when he thinks 
that he " sees in his mind a noble and puissant na- 
" tion rousing herself like a strong man after sle^p 


u and shaking her invincible locks ; " * * or as when, in 
more elaborate style, he draws out the fine allegory, 
specially suitable to his own times, but, with slight mod- 
ifications, applicable also to the general relations of 
rulers and Churches : — "I cannot better liken the 
" state and person of a king than to that mighty 
" Nazarite, Samson ; who, being disciplined from his 
" birth in the precepts and the practice of temper- 
" ance and sobriety, grows up to a noble strength 
" and perfection, with those his illustrious and sunny 
" locks, the Laws, ' waving and curling about his god- 
" like shoulders. And, while he keeps them undimin- 
a ished and unshorn, he may with the jawbone of an 
a ass, that is, with the word of his meanest officer, 
" suppress and put to confusion thousands of those 
" that rise against his just power. But laying down 
" his head amongst the strumpet flatteries of prelates, 
" while he sleeps and thinks no harm, they wickedly 
" shaving off all those bright and weighty tresses of 
u his laws and just prerogatives, which were his orna- 
" ment and his strength, deliver him over to indirect 
tt and violent councils, which, as those Philistines, put 
" out the fair and far-sighted eyes of his natural mind, 
" and make him grind in the prison-house of their 
" sinister ends, and practise upon him ; till he, know- 
" ing this prelatical razor to have bereft him of his 
" wonted might, nourish again his puissant hair, the 
" golden beams of law and right, and they, sternly 
* shook, thunder with ruin upon the heads of those 
r< his evil counsellors, but not without great affliction 
"'to himself." 2 

The richness of the story becomes still more evi- 

1 " Speech for the Liberty of un- 2 " Reasons of Church Govern- 
ticeused Printing," i. 324. ment," i. 149. 




To the crash of the Philistine Temple, and the 
silent burial of Samson, succeeds a blank in the 
sacred history, such as well serves to indicate its 
fragmentary character. When we again take up the 
thread, the existing condition of the nation gives us 
a backward glimpse into some of the unrecorded in- 
cidents of the lost interval. 1 

We find at the head of the nation a man, of whose 
rise nothing has been told : Eli, at once Judge and 
High Priest, already far advanced in years. This 
sudden apparition reveals, that, in the dark period 
The change preceding, there has been a change in the 
Priesthood, order of the Priesthood. Eli is not of the 
regular house of Eleazar, 2 the eldest son of Aaron, in 
which the succession ought to have continued. There 
has been a transfer to the house of the younger and 
comparatively obscure Ithamar, which had struck such 
deep root, that it continued, in spite of the agitations 
of the period, till its final overthrow in the reign of 
Solomon. The transfer had been made since the ap- 
pearance of Phinehas, who is the last legitimate High 

1 I have forborne to enlarge on the Ewald (ii. 475) with Jael of Judg. v. 

history of the obscurer Judges, Tola, 6, and with Jair, of Eastern Manasseh. 

Jair (Judg. x. 1-5), Elon, Abdon Bedan has been variously connected 

(Ibid. xii. 11-15), Bedan (1 Sam. with Barak, Abdon, and Samson, 

jui. 11). Jair has been identified by 2 1 Chron. vi. 4-15; xxiv. 4. 


Priest we can trace. The Rabbinical commentators 
allege that the change took place because of the 
share of Phinehas in the sacrifice of Jephthah's 
daughter. Can this be possibly some faint reminis- 
cence of a tradition indicating the submersion of the 
house of Eleazar in the general disorder of the age, 
of which that dark event was undoubtedly a conse- 
quence ? It appears, further, that the Philistines had 
been repulsed from the position which they had 
occupied in the time of Samson. 1 Was this effected 
through some heroic deed of Eli's youth? And did 
this raise him to the office of High Priest or of 
Judge ? Such a supposition is rendered probable by 
the union of Warrior and Priest in Phinehas; and a 
like transference of the Pontificate from a like cause 
appears in the only other time of the history when 
it reaches to a like eminence, — when the Priestly 
house of the Maccabees became also the rulers of 
their countrymen. 

In the union of Judge and Priest in Eli we have 
a gradual approximation to the consolidation union of 
of power in the monarchy. It was the only priest! ai 
part of what is commonly called tt the theocratic 
period," in which the government was theocratic in 
the modern sense of the word — that of Priestly 
government, of ecclesiastical supremacy and indepen- 
dence, such as has been occasionally advocated by the 
Christian Church. But this very peculiarity is not 
the culmination of the Mosaic period, so muc T . as a 
temporary transition to the next stage of the second 
history, when the powers of Priest and Rul r weie 
indeed united, not however in the person of the 
High Priests, but of the Kings and Princes ol Judah. a 

1 1 Sam. iv. I. 2 King.s vi. 14, 17, 18; Sam. xx 

2 See (in Hebrew and LXX ) 26; viii. 17, 18; Ps. ex. -11. 


The reign of Eli, therefore, combines in a remark- 
able manner the fall of the old and the rise of the 
new order. 

Of all the portions of the sacred history this is the 
one which most clearly sets before us, in the light 
which precedes its final overthrow, the sanctuary of 
sinioh. Shiloh. The ancient tent of Shiloh — me- 
morial of the old nomadic state, containing the Ark, 
the relic of Mount Sinai — has been already de- 
scribed. Tombs, which still remain in a rocky val- 
ley near the site of the ancient town, had been 
hewn in the steep sides of the hill. A city (as in 
the case of Micah's rival sanctuary, but here doubt- 
less on a larger scale), had sprung up round it. 1 The 
sanctuary itself was so encased with buildings, as to 
give it the name and appearance of " a house " or 
" temple." 2 As in Micah's sanctuary, there was a 
gateway, 3 with a seat inside the doorposts or pillars 
which supported it. 4 It was the "seat," or "throne," 
of the ruler or judge (as afterwards in the Palace of 
Solomon). Here Eli sat on days of religious or po- 
litical solemnity, and surveyed the worshippers as they 
came up the eminence on which the sanctuary was 

To this consecrated spot pilgrims and worshippers 
Thewor- were attracted, as to the religious centre of 
shippers, their country, at the yearly feast, the chief 
feast of the year — that of " The Bowers," or " Tab- 
ernacles," which coexisted with the Festival of the 
vintage. The sides of the valley in which Shiloh lay 

1 1 Sam. iv. 13. on the supposition that the words 

2 Ibid. i. 9 ; iii. 3. are used with intentional exactness. 

3 Judg. xviii. 16, 17. The word They may, however, have been (like 
used in 1 Sam. l. 9, for " post," is the the phrase in 1 Sam. iv. 4) transferred 
same as that in Ex. xii. 7 ; xxi. 6 ; from the later Temple. 

Deuc. vi. 9, for " door-post." This is * 1 Sam. i. 9 ; iv. 13, 18. 


were clothed with vineyards, and in these vineyard! 
the maidens of Shiloh came out to dance, and the 
whole population, of pilgrims and of the inhabitants, 
men and women alike, gave themselves up to the 
usual merriment of eating and drinking. 1 

In this miscellaneous assemblage, were to be seen 
worshippers of the most various characters. One 
group of frequent occurrence, year by year, was that 
of Elkanah, from the neighboring hills of Eikanah. 
Ephraim, with his numerous family. He is a rare 
instance of polygamy amongst the common ranks of 
the nation. It may have been one of the results of 
the disordered state of the times. It may have 
arisen (as still in the Samaritan sect) from the 
barrenness of one of his tw r o wives. His sacri- 
fice on these occasions was looked forward to in 
his house as a grand feast in which every mem- 
ber of the family had a portion of the sacrificial 

But it is on one individual of the house that our 
attention is specially fixed : his best beloved Hannah, 
but childless wife, who bears the Phoenician name 2 
which now first appears, "Hannah," or "Anna;" af- 
terwards thrice 3 consecrated in the sacred story. 
She was herself almost a prophetess and Nazarite. 4 
She is the first instance of silent prayer. Her song 
of thanksgiving is the first hymn, properly so called, 
— the direct model of the first Christian hymn of 
" the Magnificat," the first outpouring of individual as 
distinct from national devotion, the first indication of 

1 Judg. xxi. 19-21; 1 Sam. i. 9, i. 9.) Anna, the daughter of Phanuel 
13, 14. (Luke ii. 36) ; Anna, the wife of Jo- 

2 1 " Anna," the mother of Dido. achim, the traditional mother of th« 

* Anna, the wife of Tobit ; (Tobit Virgin. 

4 1 Sam. i. 15; ii. I. 


the coming greatness of the anointed king/ whether 
in the divine or human sense. 

To this group is at last added the child, who 
Samuel. though of no Priestly tribe, was consecrated 
to a more than Priestly office, 2 with the offerings of 
three bullocks, flour, and a skin of wine, and who 
from his earliest years ministered in the sacred vest- 
ments within the Tabernacle itself, the future inau- 
gurator of the new period of the Church. 

Other pilgrims were there of a far other kind ; 
and the eyes of others than the aged Eli were fixed 
Hophni upon them. Hophni and Phinehas, his two 

and Phi- r _ r . ' . 

nehas. sons, are for students of ecclesiastical history, 
characters a of great and instructive wickedness." 
They are the true exemplars of the grasping and 
worldly clergy of all ages. It was the sacrificial 
feasts that gave occasion for their rapacity. It was 
the dances and assemblies of the women in the vine- 
yards, and before the sacred tent, 3 that gave occasion 
for their debaucheries. They were the worst devel- 
opment of the lawlessness of the age ; penetrating, 
as in the case of the wandering Levite of the book 
of Judges, into the most sacred offices. But the 
coarseness of their vices does not make the moral less 
pointed for all times. The three-pronged fork which 
fishes up the seething flesh is the earliest type of 
grasping at pluralities and church-preferments by base 
means ; the open profligacy at the door of the Tab- 
ernacle is the type of many a scandal brought on 
the Christian Church by the selfishness or sensuality 
of its ministers. An additional touch of nature is 
given by the close connection of these Priestly vices 

1 1 Sam. ii. 10. The first mention 2 2 Chron. xiii. 9 ; 1 Sam. i. 24. 

of the Messiah. 3 Judg. xxi. 21 ; 1 Sam. ii. 22. 


with the weak indulgence of Eli, and the blameless 
purity of Samuel. The judgment which falls on the 
house of Ithamar is the likeness of the judgment 
which has followed the corruption and the nepotism 
of the clergy everywhere. It was to begin with the 
alienation of the people from the worship of the 
sanctuary — it was to end in a violent revolution 
which should overthrow with bloodshed, confiscation, 
and long humiliation the ancient hereditary succes- 
sion and the whole existing hierarchy of Israel. 1 
" Men abhorred the offerings of the Lord." . . . " I 
" said indeed that thy house and the house of thy 
" father should walk before me forever. But now 
" the Lord saith, ' Be it far from me.' ' All the in- 
" ' crease of thy house shall die " by the sword." ' 
" Every one that is left in thine house shall crouch to 
" him for a piece of silver, and a morsel of bread, and 
" shall say, Put me, I pray thee, into one of the 
" priests' offices, that I may eat a piece of bread." 

The judgment, of which the earliest indication 
comes from some unknown prophet, is first solemnly 
announced from an unexpected quarter, and in a 
form which shows that the thunders and lightnings, 
the oracular warnings-, of the older period, are about 
to be superseded by a a still small voice " of a wholly 
different kind. 

It was night in the sanctuary. As afterwards in the 
great Temple, so now, the High Priest slept in The floom 
one of the adjacent chambers, and the attend- jJoussof 
ant ministers in another. In the centre, on Ithamar - 
the left of the entrance, stood the seven-branch eel 
3andlestick, 2 now mentioned for the last time ; super- 

1 1 Samuel ii. 17, 29, 30, 33, 36 2 Ex. xxv. 31 ; xxxvii. 17, 18 , Lev 

(LXX.). xxiv. 3 ; 2 Chron. xiii. 11. 


seded in the reign of Solomon, by the ten separate 
candlesticks, but revived after the Captivity by the 
copy of the one candlestick with seven branches, as 
it is still seen on the Arch of Titus. It was the only 
light of the Tabernacle during the night, was solemnly 
lighted every evening, as in the devotions of the 
Eastern world, both Mussulman and Christian, and 
extinguished just before morning, when the doors 
were opened. 1 

In the deep silence of that early morning, before 
the sun had risen, when the sacred light was still 
burning, came, through the mouth of the innocent 
child, the doom of the house of Ithamar. 

The first blow in the impending tragedy came 
from the now constant enemy of Israel. The Philis- 
tines revived their broken strength. The conflict took 
place at a spot near the western entrance of the 
The battle ^ ass °f Beth-horon, known by the name of 
of Aphek. Aphek, D1 rt in later times — from the memory 
of a victory which effaced the recollection of this dark 
day, — " Eben-Ezer." 2 A reverse roused the alarm of 
the Israelite chiefs. In that age, as in the Mediaeval 
period of the Christian Church, to which we have so 
often compared it, the ready expedient was to turn 
the sacred relics of religion into an engine of war. 
The Philistines themselves were in the habit of bring- 
ing the images of their gods to the field of battle/" 
To these must be opposed the symbol of the Divine 
Presence in Israel, the Ark of the Covenant. Such 
an application of the Ark was not without example 
before or after ; but it is evidently described as against 
the higher spirit of the religion which it was intended 

1 1 Sam. iii. 15; 1 Chron. ix. 27. 3 2 Sam. v. 21. 

2 See Lecture XVIII. 


to support. Hoplmi and Phinehas were with it as 
representatives of the Priestly order. To the profli- 
gate vices of their youth they joined the sin of super 
stition also. Their appearance with the Ark roused 
as with a spasmodic effort the sinking spirit of the 
army. The well-known cheer of the Israelites — terri- 
ble to their enemies at all times — ran through the 
camp so that " the earth rang again/' 1 and the Phi- 
listines were roused to the last pitch of desperate 
courage in resisting, as they thought, this new and 
Divine enemy. 

On that day the fate of the house of Eli was to be 
determined. It was the crisis of the nation. It was, 
as the Philistines expressed it, to decide whether the 
Philistines were to be the slaves of the Hebrews, or 
the Hebrews of the Philistines. On the success of 
this wager of battle, the Priestly rulers of the nation 
had staked the most sacred pledge of their religion. 
The whole city and sanctuary of Shiloh waited for 
the result in breathless expectation. Two above all 
others, Eli and the wife of Phinehas, were wrapt in 
dreadful expectation, — he blind and feeble with age, 
— she near to the delivery of her second child. In 
the evening of the same day there rushed The tid- 
through the vale of Shiloh a youth from the defeat, 
camp, one of the active tribe of Benjamin, — his 
clothes torn asunder, and his hair sprinkled with dust, 
as the two Oriental signs of grief and dismay. 2 A 
Houd wail, like that which on the announcement of 
any great calamity, runs through all Eastern towns, 
rang through the streets of the expectant city. The 
aged High Priest was sitting in his usual place be- 
side the gate-way of the sanctuary. He caught the 

1 1 Sam. iv. 5. 9 Ibid. iv. 12. 


cry ; he asked the tidings. He heard the defeat of 
the army ; he heard the death of his two sons ; he 
heard the capture of the Ark of God. It was this 
The death ^ as ^ tidings, " when mention was made of the 
of Eh. ^k £ q oc j ? » ^hat broke the old man's heart. 
He fell from his seat and died in the fall. 

The news spread and reached the home of Phine* 
The birth nas - The pangs of labor overtook the widow 
of ichabod. of the fallen p r i est# Not even the birth of a 

living son could rouse her. " Their Priests," ] as the 
Psalmist long afterwards expressed it, " had fallen, and 
their widows made no lamentation." With her as with 
her father-in-law, her whole soul was absorbed in one 
thought, and with her last breath she gave to the 
child a name which should be a memorial of that 
awful hour, — " I-chabod," " The glory is departed ; for 
* the Ark of God is taken." 

" The Ark of God was taken." These words ex- 
TheCap- pressed the whole significance of the calamity. 

tivitv of * 

the Irk. It was known, till the era of the next great, 
and still greater overthrow of the nation, at the 
Babylonian exile, as a the Captivity." a The day of 
the captivity'''' was the epoch which closed the irregu- 
lar worship of the sanctuary at Dan. 2 u He delivered 
his strength into captivity, and his glory," 3 (that " glory" 
of the Divine Presence, which was commemorated in 
the name of I-chabod) " into the enemy's hand." The 
Septuagint title of the 96th Psalm, "when the house 
of God was built after the captivity ; " and the allusion* 
in the 68th Psalm, "Thou hast led captivity captive," 4 
most probably refer to the period of these disasters. 

1 1 Sam. iv. 19, 20; Ps. Ixxviii. 3 p s . lxxviii. 61. The word, how 
34. ever, is different. 

2 Judg. xviii. 30. 4 Ps. lxviii. 18. 


The grief of Israel may be measured by the tri- 
umph, not unmingled with awe, of the Philistines. It 
was to them as if they had captured Jehovah Him- 
self; and a custom long continued in the sanctuary 
of Dagon in their chief city of Ashdod, to commemo- 
rate the tradition of the terror which this new Pres- 
ence had excited. The priests and the worshippers 
of Dagon would never step on the threshold, 1 where 
the human face and human hands of the Fish God had 
been found broken off from the body of the statue as 
it lay prostrate before the superior Deity. 

The elaborate description, too, of the joy of the re- 
turn marks the deep sense of the loss. In The Re- 

_ ..., turn of the 

the border land of the two territories, m the Ark. 
vast corn-fields, 2 under the hills of Dan, the villagers 
of Beth-shemesh at their harvest, see the procession 
winding through the plain, the Philistine princes mov- 
ing behind, the cart conveying the sacred relic, drawn 
by the two cows, lowing as they advance towards the 
group of expectant Israelites, who " lifted up their eyes 
and saw the ark, and rejoiced to see it." The great 
stone 3 on which the cart and the cows were sacrificed, 
was long pointed out as a monument of the event. 
But even the restoration of the Ark was clouded with 
calamities ; and when from Beth-shemesh it mounted 
upwards through the hills to Kirjath-jearim, and was 
lodged there in a little sanctuary, with a self-conse- 
crated Priest of its own, there was still a longing 
sense of vacancy ; whilst it remained u in the fields 
* of the wood," 4 there was " no sleep to the eyes or 
" slumber to the eyelids " of the devout Israelite. " It 

• 1 Sam. v. 5. According to the of Beth-shemesh, see Kennieott's Ob 

LXX. "they leaped over it." servations on 1 Sam. vi. 19. He re- 

2 Robinson, B. R. ii. 225-9. duces them from 50,070 to 70. 

3 1 Sim. vi. 18. For the numbers 4 Ps. exxxii. 5, 6, (jearim = woods) 


" came to pass while the ark was at Kirjath-jearim 
" that the time was long ; for it was twenty years ; 
" and all the house of Israel lamented after the 
" Lord." 1 

It was the first pledge of returning hope ; but the 
hope was still long deferred : and meanwhile the 
catastrophe was branded into the national mind by 
Overthrow ^ ne overthrow of the sanctuary itself of Shi- 
of shiioh. ] ]^ - n which ^he Ark had since the conquest 

found its chief home. We catch a distant glimpse of 
massacre with fire and sword ; of a city sacked and 
plundered by ruthless invaders. " He gave his people 
" over to the sword ; and was wroth with his inheri- 
" tance. The fire consumed their young men, their 
"maidens were not given to marriage." 2 The details 
of the overthrow are not given ; partly perhaps be- 
cause the sanctuary gradually decayed when the glory 
of the Ark was departed ; partly from the imperfect 
state of the narrative, which may itself have been 
caused by the silent horror of the event. Shiioh is 
casually mentioned twice or thrice 3 in the later his- 
tory. But the reverence had ceased. The Tabernacle, 
under which the Ark had rested, was carried off, first 
to Nob, and then to Gibeon, with the original brazen 
altar 4 of the wilderness. The place became desolate, 
and has remained so ever since. "Thou shalt see 
" thine enemy in my habitation." The name became 
a proverb for destruction and desolation. " I will do 
" to this house as I have done to Shiioh." " Go now 

1 1 Sam. vii. 2. 3 Ahijah the Shilonite (1 Kings xi. 

8 Ps. lxxviii. 62, 63. May not this 29). Pilgrims "from Shiioh" (Jer. 

be taken literally of the Philistines xli. 5). Possibly " Ahijah . . . priest 

burning their Israelite prisoners alive ? in Shiioh" (1 Sam. xiv. 3, LXX.). 

Ihat this was a Philistine custom ap- 4 1 Sam. xxi. 1 ; 1 Sam. vii. 1 ; 2 

pears from Judg. xv. 6. Chron. i. 5 ; v. 5. 


" unto my place which was at Shiloh ; . . . and see 
" what I did to it for the wickedness of my people 
"Israel." "I will make this house like Shiloh ... a 
" curse to all the nations of the earth." 1 The very 
locality became so little known that it had to be speci- 
fied carefully in the following centuries in order to be 
recognized. "Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan" 
66 which is on the north side of Bethel, on the east side 
" of the highway that goeth up from Beth-el to Shechem, 
" and on the south of Lebonah." 2 It is only this exact 
description, thus required by the very extremity of 
its destruction, which enabled a traveller from Amer- 
ica, 3 within our own memory, to rediscover its site, to 
which the sacred name still clung with a touching 
tenacity forgotten for centuries, and known only to 
the savage peasants who prowl about its few broken 

ruins. '***\ 

So ended the period, defined as that during which / i 
" the house of God was in Shiloh." 4 So ended the 
period of the supremacy of the tribe of Ephraim, whose 
fall is described, in the Psalm which unfolds their for- 
tunes, as involved in the fall of Shiloh — " He forsook 
" the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent that He had pitched 
" among men. He refused the tabernacle of Joseph, 
" and chose not the tribe of Ephraim." 5 So ended 
the still wider period of the first division of tEe" his- 
tory of the Chosen People, in the overthrow of the 
first sanctuary by the Philistines, as the second divis- 
ion and overthrow was to terminate in the fall of 
the second sanctuary, the Temple of the Jewish mon- 
,rchy, by the armies of Babylon ; and the third in 

1 Jer. vii. 12, 14 ; xxvi. 6. 3 Seilun was first rediscovered by 

2 Judg. xxi. 12, 19. See Ewald, ii. Dr. Robinson in 1838. 
423 4 J u dg. X viii. 31. 

5 Ps. lxxviii. 60, 67. 


the still vaster destruction of the last Temple of Jeru- 
salem by the armies of Titus. The revival of the 
nation from the ruins of the first sanctuary must be 
reserved for the rise of the Second Period of the 
Jewish Church, when " the Lord was to awake as one 
"out of sleep 1 . . . and choose the tribe of Judah, 
"the Mount Zion which He loved." Only we may 
still include within this epoch the great name of Sam- 
uel, and the great office of Prophet, which was to 
unite the old and the new together, under the shelter 
of which was to spring up the new institutions of the 
monarchy — a new tribe, a new capital, a new Church, 
with new forms of communion with the Almighty, 
now for the first time named by the name of " the 
« Lord of Hosts." 

* Pi. lxxviii. 65, 68. 




1. 1 Sam. i-xxviii. (Hebrew and LXX.) ; 1 Chron. xxix. 29 ; Ps. 

xcix. 6 ; Jer. xv. 1 ; Ecclus. xlvi. 13-20 ; Acts iii. 24, xiii. 20 ; 
Heb. xi. 32. 

2. Jewish traditions (Jos. Ant. v. 10-vi. 14) ; Fabricius, Cod. Pseude- 

pigr. Vet Test. 895-903. 

3. Mussulman traditions (D'Herbelot, under Aschmouyl) ; and Weil's 

Biblical Legends, 144-151. 

4. Christian traditions {Acta Sanctorum, Aug. 20). 



The fall of the sanctuary of Shiloh was the ter 
mination of the first period of Jewish history close 
which had lasted from Moses to Eli. It had Theocracy. 
been a period varied and shifting in detail, but with 
this common feature, — that it was a time of wan- 
dering and of strife, of danger and of deliverance, 
of continual and direct dependence on the help of 
God alone, with no regular means of government, or 
law, or army, or king, to ward off the enemies that 
were constantly assailing them from without, or to 
repress the disorders that were constantly disturbing 
them from within. The Judges themselves were 
regarded as invested with something of a divine or 
God-like character; the more so perhaps from their 
solitary and strange elevation above all around them. 
A new selection of Judges is described as " a choosing 
of new Gods ; " ! and the two last of the series are 
especially dignified with the name of " God." 2 This 
period, called on these accounts by Josephus " the 

1 Judg. v. 8. him. Samuel, in 1 Sam.xxviii. 13, "J 

2 Eli, in 1 Sam. ii. 25 — The Judge " saw gods (Elohim)." Compare Pa 
(Heb. " the God," Elohim) shall judge lxxxii. 1, 2, G. 


430 SAMUEL. Lect. XVIII 

Theocracy" or " Aristocracy," l was now at an end 
The wanderings were at last over, and the battle was 
at last won. The desire of the people was stimulated 
by its nearer insight into the customs of the sur- 
rounding nations to have a ruler like to them ; the 
coming change had already, as we saw in the times 
Beginning of the Judges, made itself felt by the gradual 

of the Mon- . T / . & 

archy. approximation to such an institution in the 
lives of Jair and Abdon, Gideon and Abimelech, Eli 
and Samuel. All these indications were at last to re- 
ceive their full accomplishment in the inauguration of 
a fixed, hereditary, regal government, in the person 
of the first king — "Behold the king whom ye have 
" chosen, and whom ye have desired. Behold, the 
" Lord hath set a king over you." Now, therefore, 
was to begin that second period, that new and untried 
future, which was to last for another five hundred 
years — the period of the Monarchy. Was it possible 
that an institution which had begun in wilfulness and 
distrust would ripen into a just and holy law? would 
the establishment of armies, and officers of state, and 
king succeeding king, as a matter of course, without 
any sudden call or mission, — would the growth of 
poetry, and architecture, and music, and all the other 
arts which spring up under an established rule, — 
would the secure dwelling of every man under his 
own vine and fig-tree, — would these and many like 
changes destroy or confirm, diminish or expand, the 
faith which had hitherto been the safety of the Chosen 
People ? Would the true Theocracy, the government 
of God, be weakened or strengthened, now that in 
name it was withdrawn ? Was this great stride in 
earthly civilization inconsistent with the preservation 

i Jos. Ant. vi. 3, §§ 2, 3. 


of the ancient primeval religion of Abraham, and 
Moses, and Joshua ? 

Such were the questions which actually would arise 
in the mind of any thoughtful Israelite at Transition. 
this crisis. They are questions which, in some form 
or other, arise at every like crisis in the progress of 
the Church. It must be reserved for the discussion 
of the history of the Monarchy to point out how 
these natural fears were in part justified, but yet on 
the whole rendered futile, by the actual results of 
the change. In the Kings of Israel and Judah we 
shall see the first exhibition of that union of regal 
and priestly excellence, which was to be completed 
in a yet diviner sense, only in the final stage of the 
sacred history. We shall trace in the victories of the 
hosts of Israel the first complete establishment of the 
new and great name of God, — " The Lord of Hosts," 
"Jehovah Sabaoth." In the Psalms of David, in the 
Temple of Solomon, and in the Prophecies of Isaiah, 
we shall recognize a fuller communion with God, 
even than on the holy mountain of Sinai, or in the 
speaking face to face with Moses as with a friend. 

But those blessings were still in the distance. We 
are yet on the threshold. It will, however, be useful 
here to describe the influences first of the indi- 
vidual and then of the office, which were raised 
up to guide the Jewish Church (and, by example, 
the Christian Church) through this or any like 

In this crisis of the Chosen People, second only in 
importance to the Exodus, there appeared a leader, 
second only to Moses. Amidst the wreck of the an- 
cient institutions of the country, amidst the rise and 
growth of the new, there was one counsellor to whom 

432 SAMUEL. Lect. XVIIL 

all turned for advice and support — one heart tc 
Rise of which " the Lord " especially " revealed Him- 

Samuel. m] £» The j ife and character of SAMUEL, 1 

covers the whole of this period of perplexity and 
doubt. The two books which give an account of the 
first establishment of the Monarchy are called by his 
name, as fitly as the books which give an account 
of the establishment of the Theocracy are called by 
the name of Moses. At this close of the first period 
of the Jewish history, and on the eve of the second 
period, it will be necessary to draw forth those points 
in his character and appearance which specially fitted 
him for this position. As in the case of all the ear- 
lier characters of the Jewish Church, we must be 
content with an uncertainty and dimness of percep- 
tion ; we must not expect to form a complete por- 
traiture of either the man or his history. But the 
general effect of the whole career is sufficiently clear, 
and on that alone I propose to dwell. 

I. First, then, observe precisely what his position 
was, and how he filled it. He was not a Founder 
of a new state of things like Moses, nor a champion 
Hisconnec- of the existing order of things like Elijah or 
the past. Jeremiah. He stood, literally, between the 
two — between the living and the dead, between the 
past and the future, between the old and the new, 
with that sympathy for each which, at such a period, 
is the best hope for any permanent solution of the 
questions which torment it. He had been brought 
up and nurtured in the ancient system. His child- 
hood had been spent in the Sacred Tent of Shiloh, 

1 This name has been variously ex- Sam. vii. 9). Josephus (Anf. v. 10, § 

plained. The sacred narrative seems 3) ingeniously translates it by the 

to waver between " asked of God " (1 well-known Greek name of " Theas- 

Sam. i. 17) and "heard of God* (1 tetus." 


the last relic of the Wanderings in the Desert. His 
early dedication to the sanctuary belonged to that age 
of vows, of which we saw the excess in the rash and 
hasty vows of Jephthah, of Saul, and of the assembly 
at Mizpeh; in the more regular, but still peculiar and 
eccentric devotion of Samson to the life of a Nazarite. 
As he grew up, devoted by his mother, herself almost 
a Nazarite, 1 secluded from the world in his linen 
ephod, his long locks flowing over his shoulders, on 
which no razor was ever to pass, 2 perhaps w r e may 
add, abstaining from all wine and strong drink, 3 he 
must have presented a likeness, civilized and tamed 
indeed, but still a likeness, of the wild Danite cham- 
pion who rent the lion, and smote the Philistines with 
the jawbone of an ass — he must have been a living 
memorial of past times, far into a new generation 
which knew such things no more. 

He was also a Judge, of the ancient generation, the 
last of the Judges, the last of that long succes- The last of 
sion who had been raised up from Othniel theJud s es - 
downwards to effect special deliverances. In the over- 
throw of the sanctuary of Shiloh, and the disasters w T hich 
followed, we hear not what became of Samuel. 4 He 
next appears, after an interval of many years, suddenly 
amongst the people, warning them against their idol- 
atrous practices. He convened an assembly at Miz- 
peh — probably the place of that name in the tribe of 
Benjamin — and there with a symbolical rite, expressive 
partly of deep humiliation, partly of the libations of a 
treaty, they poured water on the ground, they fasted, 

1 See Lecture XVII. swer to the prayers of the nation on 

2 1 Sam. i. 11. the overthrow of the sanctuary and 

3 LXX.; Ibid. loss of the ark (D'Herbelot, Asrh- 

4 According to the Mussulman tradi- mouyl). This, though false in the let- 
tion, Samuel's birth is granted in an- ter, is true to the spirit of Samuel's life 


434 SAMUEL. Lect. XVIII 

and they entreated Samuel to raise the piercing shrill 
cry, for which his prayers were known, in supplication 
to God for them. It was at the moment that he was 
offering up a sacrifice, 1 and sustaining this loud cry. that 
The battle the Philistine host burst suddenly upon them. A 
ezer. violent thunderstorm, and (according to Jose- 

phus) 2 an earthquake, came to the timely assistance of 
Israel. The Philistines fled, and, exactly at the spot 
where twenty years before they had obtained their 
great victory, they were totally routed. A huge stone 
was set up, which long remained as a memorial of 
Samuel's triumph, and gave to the place its name of 
Eben-ezer, "the Stone of Help," which has thence passed 
into Christian phraseology, and become a common name 
of Puritan saints and Nonconformist chapels. 3 The 
old Canaanites, whom the Philistines had dispossessed 
in the outskirts of the Judaean hills, seem to have 
helped in the battle, and "there was peace between 
Israel and the Amorites." 4 A large portion of lost 
xjrritory in the plain of Philistia was recovered. The 
••attle of Eben-ezer — the first, and, as far as we know, 
the only direct military achievement of Samuel — 
marked as it was by the first return of victory to the 
arms of Israel after the fall of Shiloh, was apparently 
the event which raised him to the office of " Judge." 
There, in the same way as "Jerubbaal, and Bedan, 
"and Jephthah," 5 with whom he is thus classed, he 
won his title to that name, then the highest in the 
nation. He dwelt in his own birthplace, and. like 
Gideon, or like Micah, made it a sanctuary of his own 
There was still no central capitol. Shiloh was gone 

1 Compare the situation of Pausa- 3 i Sam. vii. 12. 

nias before the battle of Plataea, Herod. 4 Ibid. 14; comp. Judg. L 34. 35 
ix. 11. *Ibid. xii. 11. 

2 Ant. vi. 2, § 2. 


Shechem was gone, and Jerusalem was not jet come 
All was as of old, yet uncertain and unfixed. The per 
sonal, family bond was stronger than the national. He 
went from year to year, indeed, in solemn circuit to 
the ancient sanctuaries * within his own immediate 
neighborhood — " Bethel, and Gilgal, and Mizpeh " — 
and " judged Israel in all those places." But " his re- 
u turn " was always to Ramah ; a for there was his 
u house, and there he judged Israel, and there he built 
" an altar unto the Lord." As yet " there was no king 
" in Israel — he did what was right in his own eyes." 
His sons, as in the case of those of Jair and Abclon, 
shared the power with him, though at the remote 
southern sanctuary of Beersheba; 2 and in their corrupt 
practices he lived to see a repetition of the scandals 
of Hophni and Phinehas. He was, as it might have 
seemed, but as one of the old chiefs of the bygone 
age — half warrior, half sage. Like the Levite who 
dwelt in the sanctuary of Micah, but on a grander scale, 
he was consulted throughout the neighborhood IIis or;lc _ 
as an oracle for any of the vexations or difficul- ular tame ' 
ties of common life. 3 In him we see the last example 
of the custom which was " beforetime in Israel when 
" men went to inquire of God " 4 about these matters. 
An ass would have gone astray on the mountains, or 
an expedition in search of a settlement would need to 
be blessed, and the inquirers would come with the ever- 
recurring present (bakhshish) of the Oriental supplicant 
— loaves of bread, or the fourth part of a shekel of sil- 
ver, 5 or the offer of a good place in the new settlement. 6 

1 1 Sam. vii. 16. iv nuai tocq rjyiaa- 3 i Sam. ix. 6. 
«£vc<£ rovrois, LXX. 4 Ibid. ix. 9. 

2 Ibid. viii. 1-4. This is a re- 5 Ibid. ix. 7, 8. 
markable instance of the fairness of 6 Judg. xviii. 19. 
the narrative. 

436 SAMUEL. Lect. XVIII 

An awful reverence for the ancient times thus grew 
up around him. His long-protracted life was like the 
«hadow of the great rock of an older epoch projected 
into the level of a modern age. " He judged Israel 
" all his life : " even after the Monarchy had sprung up, 
he was still a witness of an earlier and more primitive 
state. Whatever murmurs or complaints had arisen, 
were always hushed for the moment before his pres- 
ence. They leaned upon him, they looked back to him 
even from after-ages, as their fathers had leaned upon 
Moses. A peculiar virtue was believed to reside in his 
intercession. In later times he was conspicuous amongst 
those that "call upon the name of the Lord," 1 and was 
thus placed with Moses as "standing" (in the special 
sense of the attitude for prayer 2 "before the Lord." 
His prayer It was the last consolation that he left in his 

of interces- 
sion, parting address, that he would a pray to the 

" Lord " 3 for the people. With the wild scream or shriek 
of supplication which has been already noticed on the 
eve of his first battle, he would " cry" in agitated 
moments, u all night long unto the Lord," and thus 
seem to draw down, as if by force, the Divine answer. 
" Cease not to cry to the Lord for us." a And Samuel 
cried unto the Lord . . . and" (as if with a special ref- 
erence to the meaning of his name, "asked" or "heard" 
of God) "the Lord heard him." 4 No festive or solemn 
occasion was complete without his presence. " The 
" people will not eat until he come, because he doth 
" bless the sacrifice ; and afterwards they eat that be 
a bidden." 5 His coming was a signal for mingled fear 
and joy. The elders of Bethlehem "trembled at his 

1 Ps. xcix. 6 ; comp. 2 Sam. xii. 16. 4 1 Sarn. xv. 11 ; vii. 8, 9. 

2 Jer. xv. 1. 5 Ibid. ix. 13. 

3 1 Sam. xii. 17, 28. 


' coming, and said, 'Comest thou peaceably?' And lie 
'said, ' Peaceably: I am come to sacrifice unto the Lord. 
" ' Sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sac- 
"'rifice.'" 1 ' 

When we read of that apparition, in which he was 
evoked after death, as he had been known in life, there 
was something terrific, yet venerable, in his aspect; 
u I see a god ascending out of the earth." 2 His outward 
His long Nazarite hair, now white with age, 3 a PP earance -. 
marked him from a distance to be the old gray-headed 
seer. The little mantle 4 which his mother gave him, 
reaching down to his feet, had from his earliest j^ears 
marked him out as an almost royal personage ; and the 
same peculiar robe, in extended proportions, wrapped 
round him, was his badge to the end. On its skirt 
Saul had laid hold when he had last parted from Sam- 
uel at Gilgal. By its folds, he recognized him in the 
vision at Endor. 

II. Such was Samuel, as the last representative of 
the ancient mediaeval Church of Judaism. But The first of 

, , -the order of 

there was another relation inseparably blended prophets. 
with this, in which he must be regarded as the first 
representative of the new epoch which was now dawn- 
ing on his country. He is explicitly described as " Sam- 
uel the Prophet." " All the prophets from Samuel and 
"those that folloiv after? "He gave them judges until 
" Samuel the Prophet." 5 We have already seen the lower 
and more limited sense, in which he might be so called, 
as the oracle of his neighborhood or of his country in 
the various difficulties, great or small, which drove them 
to consult him. We are even enabled to observe the 

1 1 Sam. xvi. 4, 5. cntly used throughout for Samuel's 

2 Ibid, xxviii. 13. dress, 1 Sam. ii. 19; xv. 27; xxviiL 

3 Ibid. xii. 2. 14. See " Mantle " in Diet, of Bible. 
* The Hebrew word me-il, persist- 5 Acts iii. 24 ; xiii. 20. 

438 SAMUEL. Lect.. XVIII 

special means by which he received the revelations 
which thus first gained for him the reverence of his 
countrymen. a By dreams, by Urim, and by prophets," 
we are told, 1 were the three especial channels by which 
in those days " the Lord answered " to those that in- 
quired of Him. By the first of these, we can hardly 
doubt, it is intended to be intimated that Samuel re- 
ceived and delivered his early warnings. "The word of 
" the Lord was precious in those days — there was no 
" open vision." 2 It was in the stillness of the night, 
just before the early dawn, that Samuel first heard 
Revelation, the Divine Voice. That voice and those visions 
still continued. "The Lord revealed himself to Samuel." 8 
It is, with perhaps one exception, the earliest instance 
of the use of the word which has since become the 
name for all Divine communication. " The Lord un- 
" covered the ear" — such is the literal expression ; a 
touching; and significant figure, taken from the man- 
ner in which the possessor of a secret moves back the 
long hair of his friend, and whispers into the ear thus 
laid bare the word that no one else may hear. It is 
a figure which precisely expresses the most universal 
and philosophical idea conveyed by the term a Revelation" 
thence appropriated in the theological language both of 
East and West. "The Father of Truth" (says an em- 
inent scholar, indicating his own use of this phrase to 
describe the mission of the Semitic races) " chooses 
" His own prophets, and He speaks to them in a voice 
"stronger than the voice of thunder. It is the same 
"inner voice through which God speaks to all of us. 
" That voice may dwindle away, and become hardly 
"audible; it may lose its divine accent and sink into 
8 the language of worldly prudence ; but it may also 

l 1 Sain, xxviii. 6. 2 Ibid. iii. 1. 3 ibid. iii. 21. 


u from time to time assume its real nature with the 
" chosen of God, and sound into their ears as a voice 
" from Heaven. A 6 divine instinct ' would neither be 

* an appropriate name for what is a gift or grace ao- 
a corded but to few, nor would it be a more intelligible 

* word than c special Revelation.' " ] 

Through these revelations, the child first and then 
the man. became a Samuel the Seer." By that « Samuel 
ancient name, older than any other designa- the Seer " 
tion of the Prophetic office, he was known in his own 
as in after-times. tt I am the Seer" was his answer 
to those who asked, " Is the Seer here ? " u Where is 
u the Seer's house ? " 2 u Samuel the Seer " is the name 
by which he is known in the books of Chronicles, as 
the counsellor of Saul and David. 3 And, as if in a 
distorted reminiscence of his peculiar gift of second 
sight, — of insight into the secrets of Heaven and of 
the future, — Samuel is the character selected in Mussul- 
man traditions as the first revealer of the mvsteries 
of the nocturnal flight of Mahomet from Mecca to 
Jerusalem. 4 But it was in a much higher and more 
important sense than as a mere " seer " of visions, that 
Samuel appears as preeminently u The Prophet." The 
passages already quoted from the New Testament in- 
dicate to us, and Augustine in his u De Civitate Dei," 6 
has well caught the idea, that he is the beginning of 
that Prophetical dispensation, which ran parallel with 
the Monarchy from the first to the last king, and to- 
gether with it forms the essential characteristic of the 
whole of the coming period. " Hoc itaque tempus, ex 

* quo Sanctus Samuel prophetare coepit, et deinceps 

1 Quoted from the same Essay of 3 1 Chron. ix. 22; xxvi. 28. 
Professor Miiller already cited in Lee- 4 Weil's Legends, 145. 
..ure I. p. 17. 5 Civ. Dei, xvii. 1. 

2 1 Sam. ix. 11, 18,19. 

440 SAMUEL. Lect. XVIII 

K donee populus Israel in Babyloniam captivus ducere* 
u tur .... toturn est tempus Prophetarnm." 1 It 
was from Samuel's time that the succession was never 
broken. Even the Mussulman legends delight to make 
him the herald of all the Prophets, down to the last, 
that were to come after him. 

In many ways does this origination of the line of 
Prophets centre in Samuel. We may trace back to 
him the institution even in its outward form and 
The fashion. In his time we first hear of what in 

Qf l ^f s modern phraseology are called the Schools of 
Prophets. ^e p r0 p ne t s . Whatever be the precise mean- 
ing of the peculiar word, which now came first into 
use as the designation of these companies, it is evi- 
dent that their immediate mission consisted in utter- 
ing religious hymns or songs, accompanied by musical 
instruments — psaltery, tabret, pipe and harp, and cym- 
bals. 2 In them, as in the few solitary instances of 
their predecessors, the characteristic element was that 
the silent seer of visions found an articulate voice, 
gushing forth in a rhythmical flow, which at once 
riveted the attention of the hearer. 3 These, or such 
as these, were the gifts which under Samuel were now 
organized, if one may so say, into a system. The 
spots where they were chiefly gathered, even in latter 
times, were more or less connected with their founder; 
Bethel and Gilgal. But the chief place where they 
appear in his own lifetime is his own birthplace and 
residence, Ramah, Eamathaim-zophim, " the height," 
" the double height of the watchmen." From this or 
from some neighboring height they might be seen 
descending, in a long line or chain, 4 which gave its 

1 See Lecture XIX. 4 The word used is Chebel, " rope/ 

2 1 Sam. x. 5 ; 1 Chron. xxv. 1-8. " string " (LXX. x°P<>c) ; 1 Sa:n. x. 5 

3 See Lecture XIX. 10. 


name to their company, with "psaltery, harp, tabre^ 
pipe, and cymbals." Or by the dwellings, the leafy 
huts as they were in later times, on the hill- side — 
" Naioth in Ramah " — they were settled in a congre- 
gation * (such is the word in the original), a church 
as it were within a church, and u Samuel stood appointed a 
over them." Under the shadow of his name they 
dwelt as within a charmed circle. From them went 
forth an influence which awed and inspired even the 
wild and reckless soldiers of that lawless age. 3 Amongst 
them we find the first authors distinctly named, in 
Hebrew literature, of actual books which descended 4 
to later generations, and gathered up the recollections 
of their ow r n or of former times. Song, and music, 
and dance were interwoven in some sacred union, 
difficult for us to conceive in these western or north- 
ern regions, yet not without illustrations even at the 
present day from the religious observances of Spain 
and of Arabia. But, unlike the dances of Seville and 
Cairo, the mystical songs and ecstasies of these Pro- 
phetic Schools were trained to ends much nobler than 
any mere ceremonial observance. Thither in that age 
of change and dissolution Samuel gathered round him 
all that was generous and devout in the people of 
God. David, the shepherd warrior and wandering 
outlaw — Saul, the wild and wayward king — Heman, 

1 LXX. ttjv UKTajaiav, 1 Sam. xix. Judges, Ruth, the Pentateuch, and 
20. even the two books which bear his 

2 EiorfiKei KadeoTTjuug ; 1 Sam. xix. name. But of the authorship of 
20. these writings there is no express 

3 1 Sam. xix. 20, 21. mention, and therefore no decisive 

4 The Psalms of David, and the proof, however much he may, with 
biographies written by Samuel, Gad, probability, be supposed to have con 
ind Nathan. (1 Chron. xxix. 29.) tributed towards the composition ol 
Various books of the Old Testament some of them. 

oave been ascribed to Samuel — the 



the grandson of Samuel himself/ chief singer, after- 
wards, in David's court, and known especially as thfc 
king's seer — Gad, the devoted companion of David 
in his exile — Nathan, his stern reprover in after-times, 
and the wise counsellor of David's wise son — all, how- 
ever different their characters and stations, seem to 
have found a home within those sacred haunts, all 
caught the same divine inspiration; all were, for the 
time at least, drawn together by that invigorating and 
elevating atmosphere. 

I may be forgiven, if for a moment before dwelling 
in detail on what belongs to the special age and 
country, I call attention to the fact that this is the 
first direct mention, the first express sanction, not 
merely of regular arts of instruction and education, 
but of regular societies formed for that purpose — of 
schools, of colleges, of universities. Long before Plato 
had gathered his disciples round him in the olive 
grove, or Zeno in the Portico, these institutions had 
sprung up under Samuel in Judea. 

It is always interesting in ecclesiastical history to in- 
dicate the successive moments at which the successive 
ideas and institutions, afterwards to be developed, first 
came into existence. And here, in Oxford, it is im- 
possible not to note with peculiar interest the rise of 
these, as they may be truly called, the first places 
of regular religious education. They present to us, 
even in detail, the same fixedness of local continuity, 
which so remarkably distinguishes our schools and 
universities from the shifting philosophical societies of 
Greece ; at Bethel and at Gilgal, if not at Ramah. 
the schools of the Prophets are found in the time of 
Elijah where they were in the time of Samuel, even 

1 Son of Joel, 1 Chron. vi. 33 ; xv. 17 ; xxv. 5 


as our own university, and our own colleges, still 
flourish on the ground chosen ages ago by Alfred 
and by Walter de Merton. They present to us, also, 
so far as we know anything of their constitution, 
something of the same large influence, so often ob- 
served amongst ourselves ; the effect exercised rather 
by the general atmosphere and society of the place, 
than by its special instructions. Of the information 
imparted by Samuel, or by the fathers of the school 
of the Prophets, 1 we know hardly anything. We see Su* 
only that there was a contagion of goodness, of en- 
thusiasm, of energy, which even those who came 
with hostile or indifferent minds, such as Saul and 
the messengers of Saul, found it almost impossible to 
resist ; they, too, were wrapt into the vortex of in- 
spiration, and the by-standers exclaimed with astonish- 
ment, " Is Saul also among the prophets ? " How like 
to the spell exercised by the local genius of our 
English Universities, insensibly, unaccountably exer- 
cised over many, who would not be able to say how 
or whence they had gained it ; how like to the in- 
fluences passing to and fro amongst us, for good or 
evil, from the example, the characters, the spirit of 
our companions ; far more potent than lectures, or 
precepts, or sermons. "I have learned much from my 
" Masters, more from my companions, most of all 
" from my scholars." 2 And, further, if this be so 
the peculiar circumstances of the rise of the Pro 
phetic Schools of Israel may well point out The Pro _ 
to us one special object, at least, of all such j^nof™ 13 ' 
seats of education everywhere. To mediate Samuel - 
between the old and the new ; to maintain a current 

1 See Lecture XIX. 2 Sayings of a Rabbi quoted if 

Cowley's Davideis, Notes, p. 40. 

444 SAMUEL. Leot. XVIII 

of independent thought and feeling amidst the jores- 
sure of lower influences ; to distinguish between that 
which is temporal and that which is eternal — this is 
the mission of institutions like ours ; this was the 
mission of Samuel, and of the schools of which he 
was the Founder. 

Let us take these points in their order. 

1. To mediate between the old and the new. — This, 
ins media- as I have before intimated, was indeed the 
tween the peculiar position of Samuel. He was at once 

old and the . , p 1 t i i i 

new. the last oi the Judges and the inaugurate) r 

of the first of the Kings. Take the whole of the nar- 
rative together; take the story first of his opposition, 
and then of his acquiescence, in the establishment of 
the monarchy. Both together bring us to a just im- 
pression of the double aspect in which he appears ; of 
the two-sided sympathy which enabled him to unite 
together the passing and the coming epoch. The 
misdemeanors of his own sons — the first appearance 
in them of the grasping avaricious 1 character which 
in later ages has thrown so black a shadow over the 
Jewish character — precipitated the catastrophe which 
had been long preparing. The people demanded a 
king. Josephus describes the shock to Samuel's mind, 
" because of his inborn sense of justice, because of 
" his hatred of kings, as so far inferior to the aris 
ki tocratic rule, which conferred a godlike character on 
K those who lived under it." 2 For the whole night 
he lay, we are told, fasting and sleepless, in the 
depths of doubt and perplexity. In the visions of 
that night, 3 and the announcement of them on the 
following day, is given the dark side of the new in- 

1 Their crimes were bribery and ex- 2 Ant. vi. 3, § 3. 
orbitant usury, 1 Sam. viii. 4 (LXX.). 3 Ibid. 


stitution. On the other hand, his acceptance of the 
change is no less clearly marked in the story of his 
reception of Saul. In the first meeting no word is 
breathed to break the impression that God 1 is with 
the new Ruler, and, in his final coronation as king, 
there is no check to the joy with which the whole 
nation, and, according to the Septuagint, Samuel him- 
self, "rejoiced greatly." 2 In the final address is rep- 
resented the mixed feeling w r ith which, after having 
forewarned and struggled and resisted, he at last 
bows to the inevitable course of events, and retires 
gradually to make room for a new order, of which he 
could but partially understand the meaning. He 
parted from the people, not with curses, but with 
blessings : " God forbid that I should sin against the 
' Lord by ceasing to pray for you ; but I will teach 
" you the good and the right way." He parted from 
Saul, not in anger, but in sorrow. "Nevertheless 
" Samuel mourned for Saul." He who had begun by 
denouncing the Monarchy as fraught with evil, ended 
by becoming the protector and counsellor of him who 
was to be its chief glory and support. 3 Out of the 
dark period in w T hich his early years had been spent, 
arose through his interposition a higher and a nobler 
life. To Saul succeeded David and Solomon ; and in 
their reigns was seen a fulfilment of God's kingdom 
such as could not be understood by those to whom 
there was no king in Israel, who did what was right 
in their own eyes ; to whom the Psalms were as yet- 
unknown ; to whom Prophecy came only by imper- 
fect and distant glimpses ; to whom the highest type 
of the Messiah's reign in the person of David and his 
son w r as a thing inconceivable. 

i ] Sam. x. 7 2 Ibid. xi. 1 5. 3 Ibid. xii. 23 ; xv. 35. 

146 SAMUEL. \ect. XVIII 

Sucli an epoch of perplexity, of transition, of 
change, as that which witnessed the passage from 
the first age of the Jewish Church to the second, 
has been rarely experienced in any age of the Church 
since. Yet there have been times more or less simi- 
lar; the passage from every generation to the one 
that succeeds has difficulties more or less correspond- 
ing. In every such passage there may be or there 
ought to be characters more or less like that of 
Samuel, if the transition is to be safely effected. Of 
all the characters in the old dispensation, Samuel has 
in later times, both by friends and opponents, been 
the most often misrepresented and misunderstood. Of 
all characters in later times, those who undertake the 
difficult task of Samuel are the most likely to be 
misunderstood or misrepresented still. They are at- 
tacked from both sides ; they are charged with not 
going far enough or with going too far ; they are 
charged with saying too much or with saying too 
little ; they are regarded from either partial point of 
view, and not from one which takes in the whole. 
They cannot be comprehended at a glance like Moses 
or Elijah or Isaiah, and therefore they are thrust 
aside. There have been those who have trod the 
same thankless path in former times of the Christian 
Church. Athanasius, in the moderate counsels of his 
old age, in his attempts to reconcile the contending 
factions of Christians in the Council of Alexandria, 
was, for this reason, fitly regarded by Basil as the 
Samuel of the Church of his days. 1 In later times, 
even in our own, many names spring to our recollec- 
tion, of those who have trodden or (in different de- 
grees, some known, and some unknown) are treading 

1 Basil, Ep. 82. 


the same thankless path in the Church of Germany 
in the Church of France, in the Church of Russia, in 
the Church of England. Wherever they are, and 
whosoever they may be, and howsoever they may be 
neglected, or assailed, or despised, they, like their 
great prototype and likeness, in the Jewish Church, 
are the silent healers who bind up the wounds of 
their age in spite of itself; they are the good physi- 
cians who knit together the dislocated bones of a 
disjointed time ; they are the reconcilers who turn 
the hearts of the children to the fathers, or of. the 
fathers to the children. They have but little praise 
and reward from the partisans who are loud in indis- 
criminate censure and applause. But, like Samuel, 
they have a far higher reward, in the Davids who 
are silently strengthened and nurtured by them in 
Naioth of Eamah, — in the glories of a new age 
which shall be ushered in peacefully and happily 
after they have been laid in the grave. 

In two important ways, this character of mediation, 
if I may so call it, was discernible in the Prophetical 
office generally, and, as far as we can see, was spe- 
cially exemplified in Samuel. 

First, we observe in his position and character that 
independence of spirit which has sometimes His jnde . 
caused the Prophets, and himself in particular, p 611 ^" 06 - 
to be regarded almost as the demagogues, the trib 
lines, of the Jewish people. The song ascribed to his 
mother at his birth well expresses the new element, 
which was in him to break out and run across the 
usual tenor of Jewish society. " The bows of the 
' mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are 
girded with strength" " The Lord maketh poor and 
maketh rich ; He bringeth low and lifteth up " A Stern 

1 1 Sam. ii. 4, 7. 

448 SAMUEL. Lect. XVIII 

rebuke of the popular will, stern defiance of regai 
tyranny, stern denunciation of sacerdotal corruption, 
marked the entrance of the Prophetic dispensation 
into the Church. To be above the world, to derive 
courage and strength from a higher source than the 
world, was the first guarantee for a due discharge of 
the Prophetic mission. a There is none holy as the 
" Lord ; for there is none beside thee ; neither is there 
u any rock like our God." 1 

But, secondly, in Samuel as afterwards, this attitude 
of solitary defiance was not the attitude of Priestly 
interest or ambition. Of all the " vulgar errors " in 
His anti- sacred history, none is greater than that which 
character, represents the conflict of Samuel with Saul as 
a conflict between the regal and sacerdotal power. It 
is doubtful even whether he was of Levitical descent ; 2 
it is certain that he was not a Priest. u Samuel Pro- 
" pheta fuit, Judex fait, Levita fuit, non Pontifex, ne 
" Sacerdos quidem," is the just remark of S. Jerome. 3 
And in accordance with this we may observe that 
Samuel himself, after the fall of Shiloh, dwelt not at 
Gibeon or Nob, the seat of the Tabernacle and the 
Priesthood, but at Eamah. At Ramah, and at Bethel, 
and at Gilgal, not at Hebron or Anathoth, were the 
Prophetic schools. He reproved Saul the King, only 
in the same way as, in his early childhood, he had 
reproved Eli the Priest. The guilt of Saul's sacrifice 
at Gilgal was not that it infringed on the province 
of the Priest : Saul as king had the same right to 
sacrifice as David and Solomon had afterwards. It 
was that he in his rash superstition broke through 

1 1 Sam. ii. 2. Ps. lxxviii. 1), Ewald (ii. 649) by sup- 

2 Elkanah in 1 Sam. i. 1, is an posing that the Levitef were occa- 
Ephrathite or Ephraimite ; in 1 Chron. sionally incorporated into the tribes 
vi. 22, 23, he is a Levite. This has amongst which they lived. 

been explained by Hengstenberg Con 3 Adv. Jovinianum. 


the moral restraint imposed upon him by the Prophet. 
And in the yet more memorable scene, where Sam- 
uel, as the stern executioner of judgment on the. 
captive Agag, protests against the misplaced mildness 
of Saul, his words rise far above the special occasion, 
and contain the key-note of the long remonstrance 
of the Prophets in all subsequent times against an 
exaggerated estimate of ceremonial above obedience 
The verj' flow of the words recalls to us the form as 
well as the spirit of Amos and Isaiah. " Hath the 
" Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices 
a as in obeying the voice of the Lord ? Behold to 
a obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than 
" the fat of rams. For the sin of witchcraft is 
" rebellion, and iniquity and idolatry are stubborn- 
" ness. . . . The Strength of Israel will not lie 
u nor repent ; for He is not a man that He should 
" repent." : 

There is one more aspect in which Samuel's life 
may be viewed. It was not merely as the chief leader 
of the People when they passed into the second stage 
of their national history, nor as the Founder of the 
Schools of the Prophets, that he is especially known 
as " Samuel the Prophet." It was, because, unlike 
Moses or Deborah, or any previous saint or His gradua i 
teacher of the Jewish Church, he grew up grovvth - 
for this office from his earliest vears. He was " the 
Prophet" from first to last. Even in his parentage, 
we find a slight but significant indication of his prepa- 
ration for it. His mother, as we have seen, was almost 
a prophetess ; the word Zophim, as the affix of his 
birthplace Rumaihaim, has been explained, not unrea- 
sonably, to mean u seers," or u watchmen ; * and Elka- 

1 1 Sam. xv. 22, 23, 29. 

450 SAMUEL. Lect. XVIIL 

nah his father is, in ancient Jewish tradition, 1 called 
" a disciple of the Prophets." This early education 
for his office is, after all, the picture of Samuel most 
familiar to our thoughts. It is not the terrible figure 
which rose up before the apostate king in the cave 
of Endor — the stern old man, ascending like a god 
from the earth, with threatening and disquieted coun- 
tenance, with the fearful aspect of him who had pre- 
sented the mangled remains of Agag as a sacrifice at 
Gilgal, who had called down thunder from heaven, 
who had shaken off Saul from the skirts of that pro- 
phetic mantle with which his face was veiled. It is 
not this shape, grand and striking though it be, in 
which Samuel usually rises to our recollections. It is 
as the little child in his linen ephod, and in the little 
" mantle " which his mother brought him from year 
to year ; the child Samuel sleeping in the tabernacle 
of Shiloh, in the simple sleep of innocence, unknowing 
of the sins which went on around him ; roused by 
the mysterious voice, listening in deep reverence to 
its awful message. This is the image of Samuel which 
is enshrined to us in Christian art ; this is the image 
which most appeals to our general sympathy, and on 
which the Sacred Text lays the most peculiar stress. 
On these early chapters of the Books of Samuel, we 
are told that in his gentler moments Luther used to 
dwell with the tenderness which formed the occasional 
counterpoise to the ruder passions and enterprises of 
his general life. Ever and anon amidst the crimes 
and terrors of the narrative of that troubled time ; 
athwart the sins and corruptions of the Priesthood, 
and the passions and the calamities of the nation, the 
scene of the Sacred Story is, as it were, drawn back 

1 Targum of Jonathan on 1 Sam. i. 1. 


and reveals to us, in successive glimpses, the one 
peaceful, consoling, hopeful image, and we hear ths 
same gentle undersong of childlike, devoted, contin- 
uous goodness. u His mother said, I will bring him 
" that he may appear before the Lord, and there abide 
"forever? 1 a And she brought him unto the House 
" of the Lord in Shiloh, and the child was young? 2 And 
she said, " For this child I prayed ; and the Lord 
" hath given me the petition which I asked of him. 
u Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord ; as long 
" as he liveth, he shall be lent to the Lord. And he wor- 
" shipped the Lord there? 3 u And the child did minister 
" unto the Lord before Eli the Priest." 4 (" The sons 
" of Eli were men of Belial ; . . . and the sin of the 
u young men was very great before the Lord. . . . ) 
" But Samuel ministered before the Lord, being a child." b 
" And the child Samuel grew before the Lord? (" Now 
" Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did to 
" all Israel ; and said unto them, Why do ye such 
u things ? . . . Notwithstanding they hearkened not 
" unto the voice of their father, because the Lord 
a would slay them.") a And the child Samuel grew on, 
" and was in favor both with the Lord and with men." G 
(" There came a man of God unto Eli and said . . . 
" Wherefore honorest thou thy sons above me, to make 
" yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings 
" of Israel my people ? And the child Samuel ministered 
" unto the Lord before Eli." 7 " And Samuel greiv and 
u the Lord was with him, and did let none of his words 
"fall to the ground, and all Israel from Dan to Beer- 

1 1 Sara. i. 22. 4 Ibid. ii. n. 

2 Ibid. 24. 5 Ibid. 12, 17, 18. 

3 Ibid. 27,28. This act of worship 6 Ibid. 21-26. 

•m the part of the child is omitted in 7 Ibid. 27-36 ; iii. 1. 

ihe LXX. 

452 SAMUEL. Lect. XVIII 

K sheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prtphel 
* of the Lord." 1 

It is this contrast of the silent, inward, unconscious 
growth of Samuel, with the violence and profligacy 
of the times, that renders this narrative the first ex- 
ample, the first chapter, it may almost be called, of 
the like characteristic of the history of the Christian 
Church, in so many stages of its existence. It is also 
the expression of a universal truth. Samuel is the 
main example, as we have seen, of the moderator and 
mediator of two epochs. He is, also, the first instance 
of a Prophet gradually raised for his office from the 
earliest dawn of reason. His work and his life are 
the counterparts of each other. With all the recollec- 
tions of the ancient sanctuary impressed upon his 
mind, — with the voice of God sounding in his ears, 
not, as in the case of the elder leaders and teachers 
of his people, amidst the roar of thunder and the clash 
of war, but in the still silence of the Tabernacle, ere 
the lamp of God went out, — he was the more fitted 
to meet the coming crisis, to become himself the cen- 
tre of new institutions, which should themselves be- 
come venerable as those in which he had been him- 
self brought up. Because in him the various parts 
of his life hung together, without any abrupt transi- 
tion ; because in him u the child was father to the 
man," and his davs had been "bound each to each 
by natural piety," therefore he was especially ordained 
to bind together the broken links of two diverging 
epochs ; therefore he could impart to others, and to 
the age in which he lived, the continuity which he 
had experienced in his own life ; therefore he could 
gather round him the better spirits of his time by 

1 1 Sam. iii. 19, 20. 


that discernment of " a pure heart, which sees through 
heaven and hell." In that first childlike response^ 
" Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth," was contained 
the secret of his strength. When in each successive 
stage of his growth the call waxed louder and louder 
to duties more and more arduous, he could still look 
back without interruption to the first time when it 
broke his midnight slumbers ; when, under the fatherly 
counsel of Eli, he had obeyed its summons, and found 
its judgments fulfilled. He could still, as he His end. 
stood before the people at Gil gal, appeal to the un- 
broken purity of his long eventful life. Whatever 
mitrht have been the lawless habits of the chiefs of 
those times, — Hophni, Phinehas, or his own sons, — 
he had kept aloof from all. "Behold, I am old and 
" gray-headed, and I have walked before you from my 
" childhood unto this day. Behold, here I am ; witness 
u against me before the Lord." No ox or ass had he 
taken from their stalls ; no bribe to obtain his judg- 
ment, 1 — not even so much as a sandal. 2 It is this 
appeal, and the universal response of the people, that 
has caused Grotius to give him the name of the 
Jewish Aristides. 3 And when the hour of his death 
came, we are told with a peculiar emphasis of expres- 
sion, that "all the Israelites," — not one portion or 
fragment only, as might have been expected in that- 
time of division and confusion, — "were gathered to- 
gether" round him who had been the father of all 
alike, and " lamented him and buried him ; " not in 
any sacred spot or secluded sepulchre, but m His grave. 
the midst of the home which he had consecrated only 
by his own long unblemished career, " in his house at 

i k&Xaofna (LXX.); 1 Sam. xii. 3 Ecclus. xlvi. 19 

2 vxddti/ia (LXX.) ; 1 Sam. xii. 

454 SAMUEL. Lect. XVIII 

Ramah." * We know not with certainty the situation 
of Ramah. Of Samuel as of Moses it may be said 
" No man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day." a 
But the lofty peak above Gibeon, which has long 
borne his name, has this feature (in common, to a cer- 
tain extent, with any high place which can have been 
the scene of his life and death), that it overlooks the 
whole of that broad table-land, on which the fortunes 
of the Jewish monarchy were afterwards unrolled, 
Its towering eminence, from which the pilgrims first 
obtained their view of Jerusalem, is no unfit likeness 
of the solitary grandeur of the Prophet Samuel, living 
and dying in the very midst and centre of the future 
glory of his country. 

Is it possible to evade or to forget the illustration 
The which this story derives from the experiences 

Samuel^ °f education everywhere ? The venerable sanc- 
* lfe * tuary which Joshua had planted, and where 

Eleazar had ministered, the monuments of what I 
have before termed the mediaeval age of the Jewish 
Church, are but the likeness, many times repeated in 
the Christian Church, — but nowhere more strikingly 
than in England and in Oxford, — of the ancient seats 
of education, the cathedrals, the monasteries, the col- 
leges blending both together, where generation after 
generation is trained for the future exercise of the 
pastoral office. Under such auspices, both in the Jew- 
ish and in the Christian Church, 'grow up Plophni and 
Phinehas, the profligate sons of Eli, and the blameless 

1 1 Sam. xxv. 1. seventh century, is the needless hy- 

2 This spot is still pointed out in a pothesis which has endeavored to 
cave underneath the floor of the Mus- identify Ramah with the nameless 
sulman mosque of Nebi Samwil. The city in 1 Sam. ix. 6. See Mr. Grove's 
only serious objection to this tradi- article on Ramathaim-zophim in Die* 
*ion, which reaches back as far as the tionary of the Bible 


youth of the child of Elkanah. Sacred associations, 
religious services, are as deadening and hardening U 
the one, as they are elevating and purifying to the 

In this atmosphere, so charged with good and evil 
for the future, not less impressive is the lesson of the 
connection between Samuel's character and Samuel's 
mission. Wild excesses in youth are often followed 
by energy, by zeal, by devotion. We read it in the 
examples of Augustine, of Loyola, of John Newton. 
Sudden conversions of character such as these are 
amongst the most striking points of ecclesiastical his- 
tory. But no less certain is it that they are rarely, very 
rarely, followed by moderation, by calmness, by impartial 
wisdom. Count the eager partisans of our own or of 
other times. How often shall we find that their early 
discipline w r as one of headstrong and violent passion. 
How often shall we find that the conversion of a law- 
less and reckless youth issues in the one-sided and super- 
stitious zeal which hurries the ark of God into battle, 
after the example of Hophni and Phinehas, — which 
would oppose to the death the erection of the monar- 
chy and the rise of the Prophets, as Hophni and Phine- 
has in all probability would have opposed it, had they 
been converted and spared. 

Whatever else is gained by sudden and violent con- 
versions, this is lost. Whatever else, on the other 
hand, is lost by the absence of experience of evil, by 
the calm and even life which needs no repentance, 
this is gained. The especial work of guiding, mod- 
erating, softening, the jarring counsels of men is for 
the most part the especial privilege of those who have 
grown up into matured strength from early beginnings 
of purity and goodness — of those who can humbly 

456 SAMUEL. Lect. XVIII 

and thankfully look back through middle age, and 
youth and childhood, with no sudden rent or breach 
in their pure and peaceful recollections. 

Samuel is the chief type, in ecclesiastical history, of 
holiness, of growth, of a new creation without conver- 
sion ; and his mission is an example of the special mis- 
sions which such characters are called to fulfil. In 
proportion as the different stages of life have sprung 
naturally and spontaneously out of each other, without 
any abrupt revulsion, each serves as a foundation on 
which the other may stand ; each makes the foun- 
dation of the whole more sure and stable. In propor- 
tion as our own foundation is thus stable, and as our 
own minds and hearts have grown up gradually and 
firmly, without any violent disturbance or wrench to 
one side or to the other; in that proportion is it the 
more possible to view with calmness and moderation 
the difficulties and differences of others — to avail our- 
selves of the new methods and new characters that 
the advance of time throws in our way — - return from 
present troubles to the pure and untroubled well of 
our early years — to preserve and to communicate 
the childlike faith, changed, doubtless, in form, but 
the same in spirit, in which we first knelt in humble 
prayer for ourselves and others, and drank in the first 
impressions of God and of Heaven. The call may come 
to us in many ways ; it may tell us of the change of 
the priesthood, of the fall of the earthly sanctuary, of 
the rise of strange thoughts, of the beginning of a new 
epoch. Happy are they who, here or elsewhere, are 
able to perceive the signs of the times, and to an- 
swer without fear or trembling, " Speak Lord, for thy 
* servant heareth." 




The life of Samuel is so marked an epoch in the 
history of the Prophetical Office, that this seems the 
fittest place for the consideration of an institution, 
which, though it bore its chief fruits in the periods 
following on that just brought to a close in the fore- 
going Lectures, may yet be viewed as a whole in this 
critical moment of its existence. 

It will accordingly be my endeavor to describe, first 
the Prophetical Order or Institution, in its original 
historical connection, and, secondly, the nature of the 
Prophetical Teaching in its relations to the moral and 
spiritual condition of the Jewish, and, indirectly, of 
the Christian Church. 

I. Before entering on the history of the order, the 
meaning of the word a Prophet," in the two The woro 
sacred languages, must be exactly defined. pkophet. 

The Hebrew word Nabi is derived from the verb 
naba, which, however, never occurs in the ac- Nan. 
tive, but only in the passive conjugations of the verb, 
according to the analogy of the deponent verbs in 
Latin : — loqiti, fari, vociferari, vaticinari, where the pas- 
sive form seems to indicate that the speaker is swayed 
by impulses over which he has not himself entire con- 
trol. The root of the verb is said to be a word sig- 
nifying " to boil or bubble over," and is thus taken 



from the metaphor of a fountain bursting forth from 
the heart of man, into which God has poured it. 1 Its 
actual meaning is to pour forth excited utterances, as ap- 
pears from its occasional use in the sense of raving? 
Even to this day, in the East, the ideas of prophet 
and madman are closely connected. The religious 
sense, in which, with these exceptions, the word is 
always employed, is that outspeaking" or "singing un- 
der a divine afflatus or impidse" to which the peculiar 
form of the word, as just observed, lends itself. The 
same seems to be the general sense of the Arabic 
neby. It is this word that the Seventy translated by 
a Greek term not of frequent usage in classical au- 
thors, but which, through their adoption of it, has 
passed into all modern European languages; namely, 
11 Prophet." the word TrpG<f>rjrrj? 3 « Prophet." The sense of 
this word in classical writers is not less clearly defined 
than that of Nabi in Hebrew, and, though not exactly 
the same in sense, is sufficiently analogous to justify 
its employment by the Alexandrine translators. It is 
always an interpreter or medium of the Divine will. 
Thus Apollo is the Prophet of Jupiter, the Pythia was 
the Prophetess of Apollo, and the attendants or ex- 
pounders of her ejaculations were the Prophets of the 
Pythia. It is possible that the Seventy may have 
derived their use of the word from its special applica- 
tion in Egj^pt to the chief of the Sacerdotal order in 
any particular temple. His duties were to walk at 
the close of the sacred processions, bearing in his bo- 
som an urn of sacred water ; to control the taxes, and 
to teach the sacred books. It was probably in this 

1 Sec Gesenius, in voce Nabi. ix. 11, and the connection of uav 4 
3orap. Prov. i. 23. and uaivo/xai. 

* 1 Sam. xviii. 10. Comp. 2 Kings 

Lect. XIX. THE WORD " PROPHET." 459 

last capacity that the Greek name of a Prophet " was 
applied to him, and that we hear of the office being 
held by Sonches and Sechnuphis, the reputed masters 
of Pythagoras and of Plato. 1 

The Greek proposition pro Of) as compounded in 
the word Pro-phet, has, as is well known, the three- 
fold meaning of a beforehand/' a in public/' and a in 
behalf of" or "for." It is possible that all these three 
meanings may have a place in the word. But the 
one which unquestionably predominates in its original 
meaning is the third, — u one who speaks for/' or as 
u the mouthpiece of another." 2 As applied therefore 
by the Septuagint, in the Old Testament, and by the 
writers of the New Testament, who have taken the 
word from the Septuagint, it is used simply to ex- 
press the same idea as that intended in the Hebrew 
Ndbi : not foreteller, nor (as has been said more truly, 
but not with absolute exactness), " forth-tetter" but 
" spokesman," 3 and (in the religious sense in which 
it is almost invariably used) a expounder," and a in- 
terpreter " of the Divine Mind. 

The English words * prophet," a prophecy," a prophe- 
sying," originally kept tolerably close to the Modern 
Biblical use of the word. The celebrated dis- word, 
pute about u prophesy ings," in the sense of tt preach- 
ings," in the reign of Elizabeth, and the treatise of 
Jeremy Taylor on The Liberty of Prophesying, i. e., the 
liberty of preaching, show that even down to the 
seventeenth century, the word was still used, as ir 
the Bible, for "preaching," or "speaking according to 

1 Clem. Alex. Strom, i. 15, vi. 4, nonymously with it (see Liddell and 
jind Valesius' notes on Eusebius, 77. Seott in voce). 

E. iv. 8. 3 Thus in Exod. iv. 16, vii. 1, 

2 This appears clearly from the " Aaron shall be thy prophet," — " in- 
words npofiavTcc and vnofyrqc used sy- stead of a mouth" 


the will of God." In the seventeenth century, however, 
the limitation of the word to the sense of "predic 
tion," had gradually begun to appear ; l founded partly 
on a misapprehension of the true meaning of the 
Greek preposition, partly on the attention attracted 
by the undoubtedly predictive parts of the prophetical 

This secondary meaning of the word had by the 
time of Dr. Johnson so entirely superseded the original 
Scriptural signification, that he gives no other special 
definition of it than " to predict, to foretell, to prognos- 
ticate ; " u a predicter, a foreteller ; " " foreseeing or 
foretelling future events ; " and in this sense it has 
been used almost down to our own day, when the 
revival of Biblical criticism has resuscitated, in some 
measure, the Biblical use of the word. 

A somewhat similar divergence of sentiment has 
sprung up in the Mussulman world. The Sonnites or 
orthodox Mussulmans still use the word in its. origi- 
nal sense as a divinely instructed teacher, whilst the 
Shiahs or heretical Mussulmans use it as equivalent 
to one who has the power of prediction. It is even 
said that this difference as to the meaning of the 
Prophetic office, far more than the dispute respecting 
the succession to the Caliphate, lies at the root of 
that great schism in the Mussulman community. 

How far the modern limitation of the word is borne 
out by the unquestionable prevalence of Prediction in 

1 It is true that Clement of Alex- usage either in the LXX. or the New 

andria occasionally dwells on the word Testament. The nearest approaches 

{Strom, ii. 12) as equivalent to npo- in the Biblical use of the word 

tiianisuv and Trpoytvuoiieiv, whence it " Prophet" to the sense of prediction 

would seem that he took the preposi- are in the speeches and Epistles of 

tion as signifying beforehand. But St. Peter. (Acts ii. 30; iii. 18, 21; 

there is hardly any appearance of this 1 Pet. i. 10 ; 1 Pet. i. 19, 20 ; iii. 2.) 

Lect. XIX. THE OFFICE. 461 

the Prophetical Office of the Jewish Church, will best 
appear in the next Lecture. Meanwhile, it is impor- 
tant at the outset, and in the history of the Order, tc 
adhere to the ancient and only Biblical use of the 
term : the more so, as the contracted sense in which 
it is now popularly employed would exclude from our 
consideration the most remarkable and characteristic 
instances of it, — Moses, Samuel, and Elijah, in the 
Old Testament; John the Baptist and S. Paul in the 

The Prophet then was "the messenger or interpre-C 
ter of the Divine will." Such is the force of all the * 
synonymes employed for the office. The Prophet is 
expressly called " the interpreter," l and " the messen- 
ger of Jehovah." 2 He is also called "the man of 
spirit," 3 and * the Spirit of Jehovah " enters into him, 4 
"clothes" 5 him (thus corresponding almost exactly to 
our word " inspired.") The greater Prophets are called 
"men of God." 6 His communication is called "the 
word of Jehovah," and a peculiar term is used for the 
Divine voice in this connection, chiefly in Ezekiel and 
Jeremiah. 7 In the New Testament this meaning is 
still continued. The detailed descriptions of " prophe- 
sying," by S. Paul 8 are hardly distinguishable from 
what we should call " preaching ; " the word " exhor- 
tation," or "consolation," 9 is used as identical with it; 

1 Isa. xliii. 27. Translated " teach- 6 Comp. 1 Sam. ii. 27; ix. 6 ; 1 
ers." Kin^s xii. 22; xiii. 1, 2. 

2 Haggai i. 13 ; Mai. i. 1 (the word 7 £^ See Geseuius, in voce. 
"Malachi"); Judg. ii. 1. 8 j ( > on xiv 3) ^ 24> 25 . 

J IIos ix ; 7 - 9 B&wabas ("the son of prophcty- 

/e IK ■" ]n ?") 1S expressly translated v'loq T\a- 

s Judg. vi. 34; 1 Chron. xii. 18; paKfyoeu S , «« the son of exhortation," or 

! Chron. xxiv. 20. as j n our vens j n, "consolation." Acta 

iv. 36. Comp. 1 Cor. xiv. 3. 


and the same stress as in the Old Testament is laid 
on the force of the Divine impulse, whence it sprung. 
" Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man ; 
" but holy men of old spake as they were moved by 
"the Holy Ghost." 1 "God spake by (or "in") 
" the Prophets ; " 2 whence the phrase in the Nicene 
" Creed, The Holy Spirit . . . spoke by the Proph- 
u ets." 

Two points thus distinguish the Prophets from first 
to last. The first is their consciousness of deriving 
their gift from a Divine source. No other literature 
so directly appeals to such an origin. The impulse 
was irresistible. 3 " Woe is me if I preach not the 
" gospel;' 4 Secondly, the Divine communication is 
made through the persons of men. The rustling 
leaves of Dodona, or the symptoms of the entrails in 
Roman sacrifices, were thought " oracular," or " pre- 
dictive," but would never have been called "pro- 
phetic." The " Urim and Thummim " on the High 
Priest's breastplate might be the medium of a Divine 
Revelation, but whatever intimations they conveyed 
were not made through the mind and mouth of a 
man, and were therefore not " prophecies." 5 

II. Such being the meaning of the word, I proceed 

i 2 Pet. i. 21. seeled by Ndbi shortly after Samuel's 

2 lleb. i. 1. time is " Seer" (Boeh), 1 Sam. ix. ; 

3 Num. xxiv. 1. 1 Chron. ix. 22; xxvi. 28; xxix. 

4 1 Cor.ix. 16. 29. 3. Another antique title was 

5 Two or three other phrases in "Gazer" (Hozeh), 1 Chron. xxv. 
ionneetion with the office must 5 ; xxi. 9 ; xxix. 29 ; 2 Chron. 
be briefly noticed: 1. The word xxxiii. 19; Hab. i. 1; Isa. i. 1; ii. 
wataph P;t^3 rendered "prophesy" 1 ; xiii. 1 ; Amos. i. 1. The last trace 
and " prophet," in Micah ii. 6, 11, has of the seer is in "Hanani the seer" 
the force of dropping, as gum from In the re5 g n of Asa, 2 Chron. xvi. 7 ; 
a tree, and thus falls in with the the last of ' the g azer in the rei g n of 
original signification of Nab L 2. The Manasseh, 2 Chron. xxxiii. 19. 
ancient word for " prophet," super- 


to give a brief history of the Institution in the Jew- 
ish Church. The life and character of each individual 
prophet will belong to the period in which he ap- 
peared. But a general survey of all is necessary to 
a just understanding of each. 

Strictly speaking, the name and office of a Prophet 
was not confined to the Jewish people. Not to speak 
of the origin of the name as derived from ©reek and 
Egyptian heathenism, the Bible itself recognizes the 
existence of u Prophets " outside the pale of the true 
religion. The earliest and greatest instance The 

& ' ° heathen 

of a heathen Prophet is Balaam ; 1 and the Prophets. 
form as well as the substance of his prophecies is 
cast in the same mould as that of the Hebrew proph- 
ets themselves. The a prophets of Baal " are also fre- 
quently mentioned during the history of the monarchy, 
and "false prophets" 2 are described as abounding. S. 
Paul also recognizes Epimenides the Cretan as a 
" prophet ; " 3 perhaps merely as an equivalent to 
" poet," or rates, but probably in allusion to the mys- 
terious and religious character with which Epimenides 
was invested. S. Jude also speaks of the apocryphal 
book of Enoch as a prophecy. 4 These instances are 
important, both as illustrating the meaning of the 
word and the nature of the office, and also showing 
the freedom with which the Bible recognizes "revela- 
tion" and "inspiration" outside the circle of the 
Chosen People. Still it is within that circle, and as 
a special characteristic of the Jewish Church and na- 
tion, that the office must be considered. 

(1.) There is no direct mention of a Prophet bo 

1 See Lecture VIII. 21), Ahab (Ibid.), Shemaiah (Ibid. 

2 The names of some of these have 24), Zedekiah (1 Kings xxii. 11, 24.) 
been preserved. Hananiah(Jer.xxviii. 3 Tit. i. 12. 

I, 17 ; LXX.), Zedekiah (Jer. xxix. 4 Verse 14. 


fore the time of Moses. The name is indeed inciden 
T1 . tally given to Abraham when Abimelech is 
pro h hetic warne d to restore Sarah, " for he is a prophet, 
Order. a an( } ^ e sna n pray for thee ; M 1 and probably 
the Psalmist makes the same allusion in the expres- 
sion, "Do my prophets no harm." 2 But Abraham 
never utters what would be called u prophecies ; " and 
those premises and predictions which are made to him, 
or which occur in the earlier chapters of Genesis, in 
the primeval narrative of the Fall, though often classed 
by modern divines as a the first prophecies," are never 
so called in the Bible, which, as we have seen, only 
recognizes under the name of "prophecies" those 
which are delivered through the personal agency of 
men. A nearer approach is in the Blessing of Jacob. 3 
This, however, is never directly called a prophecy in 
the Bible, nor is Jacob called a Prophet. 

But Moses receives the name repeatedly, and in 
Under one famous passage 4 is made the type or like- 
Moses. ness f j.] ie wno i e order, even of the Last and 

Greatest of all. The exposition of the Law is what 
nost peculiarly marks his position. The poetical gift 
displayed in the three Songs of the Pentateuch, 5 and 
the 90th Psalm, belongs to him in common with the 
Prophets of a later time. 6 Such a burst of prophecy, 
as is contained in the acts and words of Moses, of itself 
marks his appearance as the first Prophetical epoch 
in the Jewish Church, and, as might be expected, in- 
dications of its lesser manifestations elsewhere at this 
time are faintly discerned. Aaron is described as " a 
r ' prophet " in relation to Moses himself. 7 Miriam is 

1 Gen. xx. 7. 2 p s . C v. 15. 

3 Gen. xlix. 4 Deut. xviii. 15-18. See Lecture 

5 Ex. xv. 1-19; Deut xxxii. xxxiii. VII. 

7 Ex. iv. 16; vii. 1. 6 Lecture VIII. 


almost always designated as u the prophetess," and on 
one occasion not only the seventy elders, but two 
youths outside the sacred circle, are described as 
catching the Divine afflatus ; and the great Prophet, 
in despite of the narrower spirit of the soldier Joshua, 
wishes that it should extend to the w T hole people. 1 

(2.) With the generation of Moses the gift seems 
for a time to have expired. Joshua has some- Underthe 
times been reckoned as a Prophet, and his Jud s es - 
address to the people before his death may, in the 
Hebrew sense of the word, perhaps be regarded as a 
prophecy. But this is not a usual view of his posi- 
tion. Josephus thinks that he was accompanied by a 
Prophet. And on one occasion, just before his death, 
a u messenger of the Lord," an earlier ta Malachi," is 
described as addressing the people at Bochim. 2 Two 
more such nameless Prophets appear in the days of 
Gideon and of Eli. 3 Ehud apparently had that character 
at the court of Moab. 4 But these are doubtful and 
isolated instances. The only detailed and character- 
istic prophecy of the time of the Judges, is that of 
" the Prophetess " Deborah. 5 The other Judges, if 
Prophets* at all, are Prophets only in action. They 
were "clothed with the Divine Spirit," or "struck" 6 by 
it, but only to perform acts of strength, not to utter 
words of w T isdom. 

It is at the close of the period of the Judges that 
the office of Prophet first becomes not merely an oc- 
casional manifestation, but a fixed institution in the 
Jewish Church. Samuel is the true founder Under 
of the Order of Prophets. " Until Samuel the 8amueh 

1 Num. xi. 25-29. 4 Judg. iii. 20. 

2 Judg. ii. 1. 5 Ibid* iv. 4 ; v. 7. 

3 Ibid. vi. 8 ; 1 Sam. ii. 27. '• See Lecture XII. 



u prophet," a From Samuel and those that follow 
a after." 1 " Samuel and the Prophets," 2 are expres 
sions which exactly agree with the facts of the his 
tory. In his time the name of "Prophet," (JYabz) first 
came into use, in place of the ancient and less ex- 
alted title of "Seer" 3 (Boeh), or "Gazer" {Hozeh). In 
his time first appear the companies of " the sons of 
the prophets." 4 From his time the succession con- 
tinues, in every generation, unbroken clown to Mala- 
chi. He, like Moses, appears not alone, but as the 
centre of a circle of Prophets ; but, unlike Moses, of 
a circle some of whom were as highly endowed with 
prophetic gifts as he himself. Without dwelling on 
the doubtful case of his father Elkanah and his 
mother Hannah, there were certainly Gad, Nathan, 
David, Saul, and Heman, Samuel's grandson, amongst 
those who, if they were not actually educated by him, 
all marked the epoch of his appearance. Amongst 
these, Samuel, Gad, and Heman, as if still belonging 
in a measure to the older state of things, are called 
" Seers," whereas Nathan and David bear, without 
variation, the new name of " Prophet." 5 

(3.) From the two most remarkable of # this age, 
Under Nathan and David, flowed in all probability, 

David and L J 7 

Nathan. the two prophetic schools, which never en- 
tirely ceased out of the Jewish Church as long as 
the prophetic gift lasted at all, but which may be no- 
ticed especially on this their first appearance. David, 
in continental nations is always termed not " the 
" Royal Psalmist," but " the Prophet King," and in 

1 Acts iii. 24; xiii. 20. 28; xxix. 29, "the seer" (Roeh)\ 

2 Heb. xi. 32. Gad, 1 Chron. xxix. 29 ; xxi. 9 ; He- 

3 1 Sam. ix. 9. man, 1 Chron. xxv. 5; "the gazer" 
* See Lecture XVIII. {Hozeh) ; Nathan " the prophet * 
5 Samuel, 1 Chron ix. 22 ; xxvi. (Nabi), 1 Chron. xxix. 29. 


Mussulman traditions is especially known as " the 
u Prophet of God," as Abraham is the " Friend/' and 
Mahomet " the Apostle " of God. He gave to his 
prophetic utterances the peculiar charm of song and 
music, which has procured him amongst ourselves the 
name of " the Psalmist," and to his prophecies and 
those that are formed on their model, the name of 
:; Psalms," or " songs." Nathan (who probably is the 
first " seer " that received distinctly the name of 
K Prophet"), in one of the only two prophecies di- 
rectly ascribed to him, gives it the form of an apo- 
logue or proverb, that of the ewe-lamb ; and being as 
he was the main supporter, if not instructor, 1 of Solo- 
mon, may be considered as the first example of that 
kind of moral instruction in which the gifts of Solo- 
mon, though not expressly called prophetic, found 
their chief vent. 

(4.) It was in the disorders at the close of Solo- 
mon's reign that the Prophetic Order as- in the 

. . . _ Northern 

sumed an importance in the state such as it Kingdom. 
had never acquired before. Samuel had transferred 
the crown from Saul to David ; Nathan from Adonijah 
to Solomon. But Ahiiah, in transferring; it from Re- 

7 O 

hoboam to Jeroboam, created not merely a new 
dynasty, but a new kingdom. The northern king- 
dom was, during the first period of its existence, the 
kingdom of the Prophets. The Priests took refuge in 
Judah. But the Prophets, for the first two centuries 
after the disruption, were almost entirely confined to 
Israel. All the seats of prophetic instruction (with 
the possible exception of Eamah) were within the 
kingdom of Samaria, — Bethel, Jericho, Gilgal, Car 

l 2 Sam. xii. 25. (LXX.) ; 1 Kings i. 10. 


We hear of these by fifties, and by hundreds at 
once, 1 and amongst these the names of many have 
come down to us : Ahijah of Shiloh, 2 Iddo " the seer," 3 
Jehu the son of Hanani, 4 Obadiah, 5 Micaiah, 6 Odecl, 7 
and, chiefest of all, Elijah and Elisha. A few Proph- 
ets of the southern kingdom are mentioned as con- 
temporary with these : Azariah, 8 Hanani, 9 u the seer," 
Eliezer. 10 But neither in numbers nor in influence can 
these be compared with those who had their sphere 
of action in the north, of whom Elijah stands forth 
as the great representative. In this arduous position, 
sometimes at variance, sometimes in close harmony, 
with the Kings of Israel, they maintained the true 
religion in the northern tribes, at times when in 
Judah it was crushed to the ground, and w T hen in 
Israel it had to struggle against severe persecution or 
sluggish apathy. And by their free passage to and 
fro between the rival kingdoms, and their endeavors 
on both sides to keep up a sentiment of humanity, 11 
the Prophets of this epoch must be regarded as im- 
portant instruments for upholding not only the relig- 
ious but the national unity. 

(5.) This is the great epoch of the Prophetic action 
as distinct from the Prophetic w r ritings of the In the 
Jewish Church. It is true that during this ^j^b, 
time the main historical literature of the as wnters - 
country w r as formed under the prophetic guidance. 
We have distinct notices of the works in which Sam- 

1 1 Kings xviii. 4 : 2 Kings ii. 3. * 2 1 Kings xi. 29. 

3 2 Chron. ix. 29. Identified by 4 1 Kings xvi. 7. 

Josephus and Jt'rome with the proph- 6 1 Kings xxii. 3. 

et of Judah, 1 Kings xiii. 1. 82 Chron. xv. 1-8. 

5 1 Kings xviii. 3 ; and 2 Kings iv. 9 Ibid. xvi. 7. 

I, according to Josephus {Ant. ix. 4, 1° Ibid. xx. 37 

§ 2). 11 Ibid, xxviii. 9 See Lecture 

7 2 Chron. xxviii. 9. XX. 


uel, Gad, and Nathan described the life of David, 1 
and in which Nathan and Iddo described the lives of 
Solomon and Jeroboam. 2 These unfortunately have 
all perished. Their historical as well as their poeti- 
cal writings, no less than those of the still earlier 
period of Moses and the Judges, are handed down in 
the compositions or compilations of others. The writ- 
ings of David alone have been preserved in an inde- 
pendent and original form. But about the time of th j 
destruction of the northern kingdom, a new phase 
passed over the Prophetic Order. Probably in con- 
sequence of the increasing cultivation of the people 
that had set in during the reign of Solomon, and 
had gradually penetrated all classes, the Prophets, or 
their immediate disciples, seem to have committed to 
writing the greater part of their prophecies. 

Of these written prophecies, the earliest is probably 
that of Joel ; and in him the man of action is still 
visible athwart the written record. Close following 
upon him, are the last Prophets of the declining king- 
dom of the north, — Jonah (whether as appearing in 
the history or in the book of which he is the sub- 
ject), Hosea, and Amos. 

Immediately succeeding to these, but now confined 
to the southern kingdom, rises the great school of 
Prophets, under Uzziah and his three successors, Isaiah, 
Micah, Nahum, and "Zechariah, 3 who had understand- 
* ing in the visions of God." Following upon these, 
in fainter strains, as the external dangers increased, 

1 1 Chron. xxix. 29. probability, portions, if not the whole, 

2 Ibid.; 2 Chron. ix. 29. of the prophecies quoted by S. Mat- 

3 2 Chron. xxvi. 5. This is prob- thew (xxvii. 9, 10) under the name of 
\\>\y the same as Zechariah, the son Jeremiah, and now contained in the 
jf Jcberechiah (Isa. viii. 2), to whom writings of the later Zechariah (Zech 
aave been often ascribed, with much ix.-xiii.) 


and the internal strength of the kingdom declined, 
were Zephaniah, probably Habakkuk, Obadiah, and the 
nameless "seer" or "seers" 1 in the reiom of Manasseh. 
The whole of this series is concluded by the most 
mournful, and in some respects the greatest of the 
older Prophets, Jeremiah, with the circle of inferior 
Prophets round him, — Huldah, the Prophetess, 2 Uri« 
jah, and Hanan. 3 

(6.) Jeremiah is the last of the Prophetic Order who 
in the i § actively concerned in moving the affairs of 
captivity. the gtate and church. In the Prophets of 

the Captivity and of the Return, the character of 
authors goes far to supersede the character of their 
older mission. Their works are for the most part, as 
those of their predecessors had never been, arranged 
in chronological sequence, and their style becomes 
continuous and fixed. Amongst these, three names 
are conspicuous, — Ezekiel, w r ho connects the close of 
the monarchy with the commencement of the Cap- 
tivity ; the Evangelical Prophet, 4 who heralds the 
return from the Captivity ; and Daniel, 5 w r hatever be 

1 2 Chron. xxxiii. 19. Book of Daniel." Ecclesiasticus (xlix. 

2 2 Kings xxii. 14. 9, 10) omits, in like manner, all 

3 Jer. xxvi. 20 ; xxxv. 4. mention of it. In the quotation from 

4 By this term may be designated it in Mark xiii. 14, the best MSS. 
the Author of Isa. xl.-lxvi., whether, omit all mention of the name or office 
with most continental scholars, he is of the writer. In the corresponding 
regarded as a separate prophet from passage in Matt. xxiv. 15, the Syriac 
:he Isaiah of Hezekiah, or, with most version omits the name of the writer. 
English divines, he is regarded as the But still as the word "prophet" is in 
ulder Isaiah, transported into a style that text associated with the book, 
and position later than his own time. and as Daniel is so reckoned by the 

5 The Jewish Canon refuses to Eastern world at the present day, 
acknowledge the prophetic character and as the book unquestionably con- 
:>f this Book, and places it in the tains a special prophetic element of 
Hagiographa. The title, as it stands the highest value (on which I shall en- 
in our own version, is not the " Book large in my next Lecture,) we maysc 
of Daniel the Prophet," but " the far follow the received opinion of the 


the exact date or character we assign to the book 
which bears his name. The group following And the 
the Captivity consists of Haggai, Zechariah, 1 
and the unknown "messenger," whom we call Mala* 
chi. These three, probably, alone of the books of the 
Old Testament, stand in the canons in the order in 
which they were originally published. The only other 
indications of the prophetic spirit in this period are 
amongst the Samaritans, — a the prophetess Noadiah," 
and u the rest of the Prophets." 2 Ezra is once called a 
Prophet in one of the later books to which his name 
is affixed ; 3 but this is not his usual designation. 

(7.) With Malachi, accordingly, the succession which 
had continued unbroken from the time of Samuel 
terminates, and a host of legends, Jewish and Mussul- 
man, commemorate the extinction of the prophetic 
gift. u We see not our signs : there is no more Extinction 
any prophet." 4 It is true that the Books of ecy. 
Baruch, Wisdom, and Ecclesiasticus, lay claim, more 
or less, both to the prophetic form and prophetic 
character. Still the impassioned poetic flow of the 
earlier Prophets is greatly abated, and the name is 
rarely used. The Religion of the Old Dispensation 
was fully revealed and constituted — not prophets were 
needed to declare it, but " scribes " to expound and 
defend it. 5 

It is this long silence or deterioration of the gift 
that renders its resuscitation more remarkable. Revival 

. at the Chris- 

It was " m the days of Herod the king," that tian era. 

the voice of a Prophet was once more heard. We 

present day as to rank him amongst 2 Neh. vi. 14. 
the Prophets, of this or of the sue- 3 2 Esdras i. 1. 

needing period according to the view 4 Ps. lxxiv. 9. 

taken of the date of the book. 5 This is well brought out in Nico 

1 See especially Zech. i.-viii. las' Doctrines Religieuses des Juifs, 25 


shall never understand the true appearance of the 
Baptist, or of Him whose forerunner he was, nor the 
continuity of the Old and New Testaments, unless we 
bear in mind that the period of the Christian era was 
the culminating point of the Prophetic ages of the 
Jewish Church. a The word of God came unto John 
the son of Zechariah," as it had come before to Isaiah 
The Baptist, the son of Amoz. " The people counted him 
as a prophet." * He was a prophet, and more than a 
prophet." 1 In appearance, in language, in character, 
he was what Elijah had been in the reign of Ahab. 
And yet he was only the messenger of a Prophet 
christ. greater than himself. The whole public min- 
istry of our Lord was that of a Prophet. He was 
much more than this. But it was as a Prophet that 
He acted and spoke. It was this which gave Him 
His hold on the mind of the nation. He entered, as 
it were naturally, on an office vacant, but already ex- 
isting. His discourses were all, in the highest sense 
of the word, "prophecies." 

And, when He was withdrawn from the earth, He, 
The like Moses and Samuel, left a circle of Prophets 

Apostles, behind Him, through whom the sacred gift was 
continued and diffused. It was one of the expected 
marks of the Messiah's kingdom that the prophetic in- 
spiration should become universal. 2 This expectation 
S. Peter saw realized on the day of Pentecost ; and 
from S. Paul's allusions, 3 it is evident that the posses- 
sion of the gift throughout the Christian community 
was the rule, and not the exception. Some there were 
more eminent than others, whose names, sayings, or 

1 Luke iii. 2 ; Matt. xi. 9 ; xiv. 8. 3 Joel ii. 28, 29. 

Zacharias and Anna also indicate the 3 1 Cor. xii. xlv 

return of the prophetic gift (Luke i. 
S7, ii. 36.). 


writings, have been preserved to us. Agabus. Simeor, 
Niger, Lucius, Manaen, Philip's daughters, 1 Joseph, who 
derived from this gift the name by which he was usu- 
ally known, of " Barnabas," Saul, who was called Paul, 2 
John ; 3 and to these we may probably add, though not 
expressly bearing the name, Cephas or Peter, Jacob or 
James the Younger, Judas or Thaddeus, and the au- 
thor of the Epistle to the Hebrews. With John, as 
far as we know, the name and the thing ceased. There 
have been great men to whom the title has been given 
in later times. There have been others who have 
claimed it for themselves. But in the peculiar Bibli- 
cal, Hebrew sense of the word, and certainly within 
the circle of the Jewish Church, S. John was the Last 
of the Prophets. 

III. This rapid sketch may suffice to have given a 
connected view of the history of the Order. The Insti . 
I now proceed to describe some of its charac- tutlou * 
teristics, as an Institution. 

(1.) The first call, in most instances of which there 
are records, seems to have been through a vision or 
apparition, resembling those which have in Christian 
times produced celebrated conversions, as of the Cross 
to Constantine, and to Colonel Gardiner, and of the 
voice to S. Augustine. The word " Seer," by which 
" the prophet " 4 was originally called, implies Prophetic 
that visions were the original mode of reve- li^ 0U(rh 
lation to the Prophets. These visions in the Vslons ' 
case of the Prophets of the Old Testament were al- 
most always presented in images peculiarly appropri- 
ate to the age or the person to w T hom they appear ; 
ind almost always conveying some lofty conception 

1 Acts xi. 28; xiii. 1 ; xxi. 8, 9, 10. 3 R e v. x. 11 ; xxii. 7, 9, 10 18, 19 

« Acts iv. 36 ; xiii. 2, 7. M Sam. ix. 9. 



of the Divine nature. Such are the vision of the 
Burning Bush to Moses, of the Throne in the Temple 
to Isaiah, of the complicated chariot-wheels to Ezekiel, 
and (although not at the commencement of his mis- 
sion) of the still small voice to Elijah. The highest 
form of vision in the Old Testament is that mentioned 
in the case of Moses, who is described as something 
even above a Prophet. " If there be a prophet among 
" you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him 
" in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. 
u My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all 
* mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, 
a even visibly, and not in dark speeches ; and the sim- 
" ilitude of the Lord shall he behold." * 

In like manner to the great Prophets of the New 
Testament, the purpose of these Divine visions seems 
to have been effected by the intercourse of the Apos- 
tles with Christ. " Have I not seen Christ the Lord ? " 2 
is S. Paul's account of his own qualifications, which 
would apply to all of them. 

These visions or communications are described as 
taking place sometimes through dreams, as in the case 
of Samuel, Nathan, Elijah at Horeb ; sometimes through 
an ecstatic trance, as in the case of Balaam, S. John, 
and S. Peter ; sometimes both, as in the case of S. 
Paul. But the more ordinary mode through which 
u the word of the Lord," as far as we can trace, came, 
throu h was through a Divine impulse given to the 
theProph- p r0 phet's own thoughts. This may be seen 
mind. partly from the absence of any direct men- 

lion of an external appearance or voice, partly from 
the fact that the message as delivered is expressed in 
the peculiar style of the individual prophet who speaks. 

l Num. xii. 6-8. 2 1 Cor. ix. 1. 


This close connection between the Divine message and 
the personal thoughts and affections of the Prophet 
is still more apparent in the New Testament than in 
the Old, and reaches its highest point in the utterances 
of the Greatest of all the Prophets, Christ Himself. 
In Him the Divine is so closely united with the hu- 
man, that the passage from the one to the other is 
imperceptible. He is Himself " the Word." In three 
cases only, but then for special purposes, 1 is there any 
indication of a communication external to himself. " He 
" speaks that which He knows, and testifies that which 
" He has seen." 

(2.) In accordance with this intimate relation be- 
tween the Prophets and their Divine call, is Absence of 


the fact that of all the offices of the Jewish tion. 
Church and State, this alone appears to be the direct 
result of the call, without any outward or formal con- 
secration. Kings and Priests, in the Old Testament, 
are anointed ; bishops (or presbyters) and deacons in 
the New Testament, have an imposition of hands. 
But there is no instance (or but one 2 ) of the anoint- 
ing of a Prophet in the Old Testament, or of the 
consecration, by laying on hands, of a Prophet or 
Apostle in the New Testament. It was a " call," cor- 
responding to the call of natural gifts, or inward move- 
ments of the Divine Spirit through the conscience, in 
our own times. 

(3.) The Prophetic office, thus dependent entirely 
jn the personal relation of the Prophet to his Univer . 
Divine Instructor, was, unlike any of the other Ba • 
sacred offices of the ancient world, confined to no one 
:ircle or caste of men. Its universality is everywhere 
part of its essence. Although a few, such as Jeremiah, 

1 Matt. iii. 17 ; xvii. 5; John xii. 28. anoint Elisha." But there is no rec- 

2 I Kin^s xix. 16 r "Thou shalt ord that this was done. 


Ezekiel, and John the Baptist, were priests, although 
Moses and Samuel belonged to the tribe of Levi, yet 
there was nothing sacerdotal even in these ; in this 
respect forming a remarkable contrast to the Egyp- 
tian tt Prophets," as described by Clement of Alexan- 
dria. Most of them belonged to other tribes ; the 
Greatest of all was of the tribe of Judah. They came 
from every station of life. Moses, Deborah, and Sam- 
uel were warriors and leaders of the people ; David 
and Saul were kings ; Amos was a herdsman ; Elijah 
a Bedouin wanderer. Women as well as men were 
seized by the gift, — Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, Anna, 
the four danghters of Philip. This universal diffusion 
of the gift answered the double purpose of keeping 
the minds of the people alive to the constant expec- 
tation of some new Prophet appearing in the most 
secluded or unwonted situation; 1 and also of main- 
taining a constant protest against the rigidity of caste 
and ceremonial institution, into which all religion, 
especially all Eastern religion, is likely to fall. To a 
certain degree the institution of the Christian clergy 
fulfils the same end, as being open to all comers from 
whatever rank. But even here the effect is less strik- 
ing than in the case of the Jewish Prophet; partly, 
because in some branches of Christendom, as in the 
Russian Church, the clergy have virtually become an 
hereditary caste, partly because in modern times they 
have practically been drawn from one stratum of so- 
ciety, and have been animated by a professional feel- 
ing, such as must have been impossible in the Jewish 
Prophets, who included within their number functions 
go different as those of king and peasant, characters 
60 different as Saul and Isaiah. 

(4.) But although the office was characterized by 

1 See Lecture VII. 


this universal spirit the Prophets still constituted a 
separate order in the state which, at least during the 
time of the monarchy, can be reproduced in some de 
tail, and compared to like institutions elsewhere. From 
Samuel's time they appear to have been formed into 
separate companies, to which modern divines have 
given the name of " schools of the prophets." ] Schools of 

XL. . -. ., . , , . the Froph- 

These companies are described by a word sig- ets. 
nifying u chain " or a cord." They were called " sons 
u of the prophets ; " and their chief for the time being 
was (like the "abbott" of a monastery) called "fa- 
ther." 2 Music and song were among the instruments 
of their education. 3 They were congregated chiefly at 
Ramah (during Samuel's life), and afterwards at Bethel, 
Gilgal, Jericho, and finally Jerusalem. At Jerusalem 
many of them lived in chambers attached to the court 
of the Temple. 4 They wore a sinrple dress — perhaps, 
since Elijah introduced it, a sheepskin cloak. 5 In 
Samuel's time (according to Josephus 6 ) long hair and 
abstinence from wine were regarded as signs of a 
Prophet. They had their food in common. 7 They 
lived in huts made of the branches of trees. 8 In one 
such, probably, John lived in the same neighborhood. 
They were to be found in considerable numbers, — 
fifty, 9 or even four hundred at a time. 10 Not to have 

1 The word "schools" nowhere oc- 2 2 Kings ii. 12. 

curs in the Authorized Version, nor 3 1 Sam. x. 5. 

has it any corresponding term in the 4 Jer. xxxv. 4. 

original. " Sons of the prophets " is 5 Zech. xiii. 4. 

the nearest approach to a collective 6 Ant. v. 10, § 3. 

name, as in 2 Kings ii. 3 ; iv. 1 , 38, 43. 1 2 Kings iv. 40. 

The fullest account of them is in 1 8 Ibid. vi. 1-5. 

Chron.xxv. To these passages should 9 Ibid. ii. 16. 

brobably be added Eccles. xii. 8-11. 1° 1 Kings xxii. 6 
There is an ingenious description of 
them in Cowley's Davideis. 


been brought up in these schools was deemed an ex- 
ceptional case. 1 Some, like Isaiah in Jerusalem, or 
Elisha in Samaria, lived in great towns, in houses of 
their own. The higher Prophets had inferior Prophets 
or servants attendant upon them, whose duty it was 
to pour water on their hands, and secure provisions 
for them. 2 Thus Moses had Joshua and others ; Elijah 
had Elisha; Elisha had Gehazi. Many of them were 
married, and had families ; for example, Moses, Miriam, 
Deborah, Samuel, David, Nathan, Ahijah, Hosea, Isaiah, 
Ezekiel. The wife was sometimes, as in the case of 
the wife of Isaiah, called " the Prophetess." 3 This con- 
tinued to the prophetical office in the New Testament, 
when all the greater Prophets claimed, and most of 
them enjoyed, the privilege of married life, — Zacharias 
Anna, and all of the Apostles, it is said, except Paul 
and John. 4 To this manner of life several parallels 
suggest themselves in later times. The rule of inmates 
of colleges and of monasteries in some points resem 
bles, and has perhaps imitated, the outward forms of 
the prophetic schools. But the Christian and Western 
notions of celibacy have made a material difference ; 
and, on the whole, the nearest approach is that of 
dervishes in the East, — in their wandering life, in 
their symbolical actions, in their scanty dress, in their 
succession of disciples, and their collegiate institutions. 5 
(5.) Their manner of teaching varied with the age in 
Manner of which they lived. The expression of thoughts 
teaching. - n ^ e f orm f poetry seems to have been part 

of the conception of the prophetic office from the very 
first. It is involved, as we have seen, in the sense of 

1 Amos vii. 14. 4 See notes on 1 Cor. ix. 5. 

2 2 Kin<rs iii. 11 ; v. 22. 5 See Dr. Wolff's Travels, ch. xvii. 

3 Isa. viii. 3. zviii., xxxiv. 


the Hebrew word Ncibi. It appears first in the songs 
of Moses and Miriam. 1 It is also implied by the men- 
tion of the musical instruments in the schools of Samuel 
and of Asaph. 2 It is illustrated by the incident in the 
life of Elisha, who, though he has left no poetical writ- 
ings, yet required a minstrel and harp 3 to call forth his 
powers. It is forcibly exemplified by the grand burst 
cf sacred poetry and music in David ; and from that 
time most of the Prophets, whose writings have come 
down to us, wrote in verse. The historical chapters in 
Isaiah and Jeremiah are however in prose ; and it is 
therefore probable that this was also the case with the 
lost works, on which the sacred history of the Jewish 
Monarchy is founded ; such as the biographies of David 
by Samuel, Gad, and Nathan ; of Solomon, by Nathan, 
and Ahijah, and Iddo ; of Rehoboam, by Iddo and She 
maiah ; of Jehoshaphat by Jehu. 4 It is, perhaps, from 
the connection between these lost writings and the 
present books of Samuel and Kings, that those books 
are in the Jewish Canon reckoned amongst the u Books 
of the Prophets." But these were the exceptions. The 
general style of the Jewish Prophets was poetical, and 
it is this which made the divines of the last century 
epeak of the Prophets as the Poets of the Jewish nation. 
If we no longer dare to use the name, on account of 
the offence created by it, at least the fact is a sanc- 
tion to us that poetry was regarded as a prophetic 
gift, and as the fittest vehicle of Divine Revelation, 
and that a book is not the less divine or the less 
canonical or the less true, because it is poetical. Even 
in the New Testament, there are, in the more directly 

1 Ex. xv. 1, 20, 21 ; Dcut. xxxli., 3 2 Kings iii. 15. 

rxxiii. ; Ps xc. 4 1 Chron. xxix. 29 ; 2 Cbron. ix 

2 1 Sam. x. 5; 1 Chron. xxv. 1. 29; xii. 15; xx. 34; xiii. 22. 


prophetical parts, many lingering traces of the ancient 
poetic style. The Hebrew parallelism may be discov- 
ered in several of the Gospel discourses. Some of the 
parables, particularly of the Prodigal Son, and the Rich 
Man and Lazarus, are almost poems. The Epistles have 
their first model in the prophetic epistles of Elijah, Jere- 
miah, and Baruch ; and though they are mostly in prose, 
yet there are portions of which the highly rhythmical 
character flows entirely in the ancient mould. 1 The 
Apocalypse is also thoroughly poetical in structure, as 
well as in spirit. 

The styles which this poetry assumes are various. 
It is sometimes lyrical, sometimes simply didactic, 
at other times dramatic. The form which is selected 
by the Great Prophet of Nazareth is that of parable 
Parables, or apologue. Of this only a very few instances 
occur in the writings of the earlier prophets, as of 
Nathan on the ewe-lamb, 2 and Isaiah on the vine. 3 But, 
in an acted or symbolical shape, this kind of teaching 
is of constant recurrence. The rending of the cloak 
of Samuel and of Ahijah, the concealment of the girdle 
of Jeremiah, Hananiah's breaking the yoke, are obvious 
instances ; to which in later times we may add the tak- 
ing of Paul's girdle by Agabus, and many of the mir- 
acles of our Lord, which, as has been well pointed out, 
have almost all of them a didactic purport. 4 There are 
some of these acted parables which enter so deeply into 
the life of the Prophet himself, as to show that he was 
himself entirely identified with his mission. Such is the 
marriage of Hosea with the adulteress, Isaiah's walking 
naked and barefoot for three years, the names of Isaiah's 

l Rom. viii. 29-39; 1 Cor.xiii. 1-8, 2 2 Sam. xii. 1. 
xv. 35-58; 2 Cor. vi. 3-10; James v. 3 Isa. v. 1. 
1-6. 4 Dean Trench on the Miracles. 


children, and the death of Ezekiel's wife, with its effect 
on himself. 

All the earlier prophecies were, in the first instance, 
delivered orally. But, like the effusions of Ma- written 
hornet, they were no doubt written down soon 
afterwards by disciples, — such as, in the case of Jere- 
miah, was Baruch. In some instances, as in the case of 
Ezekiel, and of isolated examples in the life of Isaiah, 1 
they were written down by the Prophet himself. The 
historical works above alluded to were also probably 
actually written by the authors themselves. Moses is 
also said to have written the Decalogue in its second 
form, 2 and the register of the Israelite wanderings. 3 
In the New Testament, the utterances of Christ, who 
in this respect conformed Himself to the greatest type 
of the ancient Prophets, were never written by Him- 
self. The only exceptions, if they be exceptions, were 
that unknown a writing on the ground," 4 and the tra- 
ditional letter to Abgarus. 5 The utterances of the 
Apostles were for the most part taken down by scribes, 
such as Tertius, Silvan us, Tychicus, who thus corre- 
sponded to Baruch or Gehazi. The only certain cases 
in the New Testament where the Prophets were them- 
selves u the sacred penmen " (to employ a modern ex- 
pression commonly but very inexactly used) are the 
Epistle to the Galatians, 6 and the Epistles of S. John. 7 
Most of their utterances, like those of their Master, 
were delivered on public occasions in synagogues, or 
in assemblies of Christians, as those of the older Proph- 
ets had been in the Temple courts, or on the moun 

1 Isa. viii. 1. 5 Eus. H. E. i. 13. 

2 Ex. xxxiv. 28. 6 Gal. vi. 11. 

3 Num. xxxiii. 2. 7 3 John 18. 

4 John viii. 6. 



tains of Judaea and Samaria. A peculiar name — by 
our translators rendered burden — is given to the Di- 
vine messages delivered by the Prophets on these 
special occasions. It appears that in the time of Jere- 
miah this phrase had been so much abused by the 
Prophets as to have lost its meaning, and Jeremiah 
therefore refuses to employ it l — a striking instance 
of the duty of discarding even a sacred formula when 
it has been perverted or exhausted. 

(6.) Different as were the forms of the Prophetic 
Commu- Teaching, there was also an identity in them 
Prophetic wn i cn largely contributes to the general unity 
Writings. of the p r0 phetic Order, and of the Bible itself. 
It is evident that each one looked upon his prede- 
cessors' teaching as, in a manner, common property, 
on which he modelled his own, and from which he 
adapted and imitated without reserve. It is difficult 
to say in these cases whether the imitation is direct, 
or whether each of the similar passages was taken 
from a common source. On either hypothesis, how- 
ever, the result is the same as to the community of 
the prophetic literature. Thus Amos refers back to 
Joel, 2 Hosea to some unknown prophet, 3 Isaiah to 
Micah, 4 Obadiah and Jonah to each other, or to some 
unknown prophet. 5 

In the New Testament the same practice still to a 
certain extent continued. The Second Epistle of S. 
Peter and S. Jude either borrow from each other, or 
from a common source. 6 The same argument illus- 
trates, and to some degree explains, the corresponding 

1 Jer. xxiii. 30-40. 5 Comp. also Jer. xlviii. 1, 2; Isa. 

2 Amos i. 2; Joel m. 16'. xv. 1-4; xxiv. 17, 18 ; Num. xi. 28 

3 Hosea vii. 12 ; vni. 14. xxiv. 7 /. 

• Isa. ii. 2, 4 ; Micah iv. 1-4. * Pet. ii. 1-22 ; Jude 4-16. 


phenomenon of the three first Gospels. The best key 
to the difficulties of the Apocalypse is to be found 
by tracking back to their sources the numerous ima- 
ges and passages which it has taken from the oldei 
Prophets. And the principle finds its highest exem- 
plification and sanction in the appropriation of the 
existing traditions of the Rabbinical schools, as well 
as the texture of the ancient prophetic writings, by 
Christ Himself 

These are some of the most striking characteristics 
of the outward appearance of this vast institution. 
Even in the dry enumeration of facts, which I have 
just made, it is impossible not to see its importance 
to the fortunes of the Jewish Church, and thence to 
the world at large. 

The very name is expressive of its great design. 
If the derivation of the word, as given above importance 
from Gesemus, be correct — the u boiling or office, 
bubbling over " of the Divine Fountain of Inspiration 
within the soul — it is impossible to imagine a phrase 
more expressive of the truth which it conveys. It is 
one of those words which conveys a host of imagery 
and doctrine in itself. In the most signal instances 
of the sites chosen for the Grecian oracles, we find 
that they were marked by the rushing forth of a 
living spring from the recesses of the native rocks of 
Greece, the Castalian spring at Delphi, the rushing 
stream of the Hercyna at Lebedea. It was felt that 
nothing could so w r ell symbolize the Divine voice 
speaking from the mysterious abysses of the unseen 
world, as those inarticulate but lively ebullitions of 
the life-giving element from its unknown mysterious 
sources. Such a figure was even more significant in 


the remoter East. The prophetic utterances were in- 
deed the bubbling, teeming springs of life in those 
hard primitive rocks, in those dry parched levels. 
u My heart," to use the phrase of the Psalmist in the 
original language, 1 "is bursting, bubbling over with a 
" good matter." That is the very image which would 
be drawn from the abundant crystal fountains which 
all along the valley of the Jordan pour forth their 
full-grown streams, scattering fertility and verdure as 
they flow over the rough ground. And this is the 
exact likeness of the springs of Prophetic wisdom and 
foresight, containing in themselves and their accom- 
plishments, the fulness of the stream which was to 
roll on and fertilize the ages. Even in the other 
great class of languages — the Indo-Germanic — the 
same figure appears, and may fairly be taken to illus- 
trate the Eastern metaphor. Ghost — Geist — the mov- 
ing, inspiring spirit, — is the same as the heaving, 
fermenting yeast, the boiling, steaming geyser? The 
Prophetic gift was to the Jewish Church exactly what 
these combined metaphors imply — the fermenting, the 
living element, which made the dead mass move and 
heave, and cast out far and wide a life beyond itself 
The existence of such an institution in the midst 
of an Eastern nation, even if we knew nothing of its 
teaching, must be regarded as a rare guarantee for 
liberty, for progress, for protection against many a 
falsehood. Even of the modern Dervishes, with all 
their drawbacks, it has been said, that u without them 
"no man would be safe. They are the chief people 
" in the East, who keep in the recollection of Oriental 
* despots that there are ties between Heaven and 

1 Ps. xlv. 1. fessor Miiller {Lectures on the Scit-tice 

2 See this well brought out by Pro- of Language, Amer. Ed. p. 000) 


" earth. They restrain the tyrant in his oppression 
" of his subjects ; they are consulted by courts and by 
" the counsellors of state in times of emergency ; they 
" are, in fact, the great benefactors of the human race 
"in the East." 1 

Such in relation to the mere brute power of the 
kings of Judah and Israel, were the Jewish Proph- 
ets, — constant, vigilant, watch-dogs on every kind 
of abuse and crime, 2 even in the highest ranks, by 
virtue of that universal, and at the same time eleva- 
ted position which I have described. But they were 
much more than this. A great philosophical writer 
of our own time, Mr. John Stuart Mill, has thus set 
forth the position of the Hebrew Prophets : — 

" The Egyptian hierarchy, the paternal despotism 
" of China, were very fit instruments for carrying 
" those nations up to the point of civilization which 
" they attained. But having reached that point, they 
" were brought to a permanent halt, for want of 
" mental liberty and individuality, — requisites of im- 
" provement which the institutions that had carried 
" them thus far entirely incapacitated them from ac- 
" quiring, and as the institutions did not break down 
a and give place to others, further improvement 
a stopped. In contrast with these nations let us con- 
" sider the example of an opposite character, afforded 
" by another and a comparatively insignificant Oriental 
" people — the Jews. They, too, had an absolute mon- 
" archy and a hierarchy. These did for them what 
" was done for other Oriental races by their institutions 
a — subdued them to industry and order, and gave 
" them a national life. But neither their kings nor 
* their priests ever obtained, as in those other coun- 

l Dr. Wolff's Travels. 2 i sa . l v i. iq. 


" tries, the exclusive moulding of their character 
" Their religion gave existence to an inestimably pre- 
" cious unorganized institution, the Order (if it may 
* be so termed) of Prophets. Under the protection, 
" generally, though not always effectual, of their sa- 
" cred character, the Prophets were a power in the 
" nation, often more than a match for kings and 
" priests, and kept up, in that little corner of the 
a earth, the antagonism of influences which is the 
u only real security for continued progress. Eeligion 
" consequently was not there — what it has been in 
a so many other places — a consecration of all that 
" was once established, and a barrier against further 
" improvement. The remark of a distinguished He- 
" brew, that the Prophets were in Church and State 
" the equivalent of the modern liberty of the press, 
" gives a just but not an adequate conception of the 
u part fulfilled in national and universal history by 
" this great element of Jewish life ; by means of 
"which, the canon of inspiration never being com- 
" plete, the persons most eminent in genius and moral 
" feeling could not only denounce and reprobate, with 
" the direct authority of the Almighty, whatever ap- 
a peared to them deserving of such treatment, but 
a could give forth better and higher interpretations of 
" the national religion, which thenceforth became part 
" of the religion. Accordingly, whoever can divest 
" himself of the habit of reading the Bible as if it 
" was one book, which until lately was equally in- 
u veterate in Christians and in unbelievers, sees with 
" admiration the vast interval between the morality and 
'' religion of the Pentateuch, or even of the historical 
" books, and the morality and religion of the Prophe- 
% cies, a distance as wide as between these last and 


" the Gospels. Conditions more favorable to progress 
•< could not easily exist ; accordingly the Jews, instead 
" of being stationary, like other Asiatics, were, next to 
" the Greeks, the most progressive people of antiquity 
" and, jointly with them, have been the starting-point 
" and main propelling agency of modern cultivation." l 
In what way this grand result was produced, not 
merely by their office, but by their teaching, and in 
what that teaching consisted, — how it is that this 
Prophetic element, pervading as it does the whole 
literature of the Hebrew nation, that is, the whole 
Bible, renders it the storehouse of instruction to the 
clergy and the teachers of all ages, and at the same 
time the one inestimable Book, dear to all true lovers 
of human progress and religious freedom, to be studied, 
understood, and reverenced, through good report and 
evil, — will be the subject of the concluding discourse. 

1 Representative Governmental, 42. 



In the foregoing Lecture the Biblical enumeration of the Prophets 
alone has been alluded to. But it may be well to add briefly the 
enumerations in the Jewish, Mussulman, and Early Christian tradi- 

I. In the Jewish Canon the Prophetical Books are thus given: — 

1. Joshua. 2. Judges. 3. The Books of Samuel. 4. The Books of 
Kings. 5. The three Greater Prophets (not Daniel, or Lamentations). 

6. The twelve minor Prophets. 

In the Rabbinical traditions, 1 there are reckoned 48 Prophets and 7 

The 48 Prophets : — " 1. Abraham. 2. Isaac. 2 3. Jacob. 4. Moses. 
5. Aaron. 6. Joshua. 7. Phinehas. 8. Elkanah. 9. Eli. 10. Sam- 
uel. 11. Gad. 12. Nathan. 13. David. 14. Solomon. 15. Iddo. 
16. Micaiah. 17. Obadiah. 18. Ahijah. 19. Jehu. 20. Azariah. 
21. Jahaziel (2 Chr. xx. 14). 22. Eleazar. All these were in the 
days of Jehoshaphat. And in the days of Jeroboam, son of Joash, 
23. Hosea. 24. Amos. In the days of Jotham, 25. Micah. In the 
days of Amaziah, 26. Amoz (Isaiah's father). 27. Elijah, 28. Elisha. 
29. Jonah. 30. Isaiah. In the days of Manasseh, 31. Joel. 32. Na- 
hum. 33. Habakkuk. In the days of Josiah, 34. Zephaniah. 
35. Jeremiah. In the Captivity, 36. Uriah. 37. Ezekiel. 38. Dan- 
iel. In the second year of Darius, 39. Baruch. 40. Neriah. 41. 
Seraiah. 42. Maaseiah (Jer. li. 59). 43. Haggai. 44. Zechariah. 
45. Malachi. 46. Mordecai. In this list by some Shemaiah (2 Chr. 
xi. 2, xii. 15) is substituted for Daniel, and some add, 47. HanameeU 
and 48. Shallum (Jer. xxxii. 7). The 7 Prophetesses: — 1. Sarah. 

2. Miriam. 3. Deborah. 4. Hannah. 5. Abigail. 6. Huldah. 

7. Esther: 1 

II. The Mussulman authorities 8 reckon from Adam to Mohammed 

1 Given, from the Seder Olam, by Fa- 2 Those names which vary from the Bib* 
bricius, Codex P&eudepigraphus V. T. 896- lical enumeration are in italics. 
901. 3 Jelaladdin, 281. 

Lect. XIX. 



124,000 Prophets, of whom 40,000 were Gentiles, and 40,000, Israel 
ites ; of these, however, only 314 or 315 possess supernatural illumina- 
tion or " apostleship." Of these again 25 are specially distinguished : — 
Adam, Seth, Idris (Enoch), Noah, Saleh (father of Heber), Abraham, 
Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Lot, Joseph, Job, Moses, Aaron, Khudr (the 
mysterious Immortal 1 ), Shuaib (Jethro), Jonah, David, Solomon, Loh 
man (contemporary of David, author of the Fables), Elijah, Daniel, 
Zachariah (father of the Baptist), Dsiil Kefr (Ezekiel), Jahia Ben 
Zachariah (the Baptist), Isa (Jesus), Mohammed. The 6 preemi- 
nent names are of those Prophets who proclaimed a new Revelation." 
Four of those who united the office of Prophet and Apostle were 
Greeks, — Adam, Seth, Enoch, Noah ; 4 Arabians, — Hud, Shuaib, 
Saleh, and Mohammed. 8 

III. The Ecclesiastical enumeration : — 

1. Clement of Alexandria (Strom, i. 21) : — Adam (from his giving 
names to the animals and to Eve), Noah (as preaching repentance), 
Moses, Aaron, Samuel, Gad, Nathan, Abijah, Shemaiah, Jehu, Elijah, 
Michaiah, Obadiah, Elisha, Abdadonai (?), Amos, Isaiah, Jonah, Joel, 
Jeremiah, Zephaniah, Ezekiel, Uriah, Habakkuk, Nahum, Daniel, 
Misael, the Angel or Messenger (Malachi). 

2. Epiphanius : — 1. Adam. 2. Enoch. 3. Noah. 4. Abraham. 
5. Isaac. 6. Jacob. 7. Moses. 8. Aaron. 9. Joshua. 10. Eldad. 
11. Medad. 12. Job. 13. Samuel. 14. Nathan. 15. David. 16. Gad. 
17. Jeduthun. 18. Asaph. 19. Heman. 20. Ethan. 21. Solomon. 
22. Ahijah. 23. Shemaiah. 24. The Man of God, Hoseth. 25. Eli 
of Shiloh. 26. Joab. 27. Addo (Iddo). 28. Azariah. 29. Hanani. 
30. Jehu. 31. Micaiah. 32. Elijah. 33. Oziel (?), 34. Eliud. 
35. Joshua (Jehu?), the son of Hananiah. 36. Elisha. 37. Jonadab. 
38. Zachariah or Azariah. 39. Another Zachariah. 40. Hosea. 
41. Joel. 42. Amos. 43. Obadiah. 44. Jonah. 45. Isaiah. 46. 
Micah. 47. Nahum. 48. Habakkuk. 49. Obed. 50. Abdadonf 
51. Jeremiah. 52. Baruch. 53. Zephaniah. 54. Urijah. 55. Eze- 
kiel. 56. Daniel. 57. Ezra. 58. Haggai. 59. Zachariah. 60. Mai- 
achi. 61. Zachariah (father of the Baptist). 62. Symeon. 63. John 
the Baptist. Lesser Prophets : — 64. Enos. 65. Methuselah. 66. La- 
ntech. 67. Balaam. 68. Saul. 69. Abimelech or Ahimelech. 70. 
Amasai (1 Chr. xii. 18). 71. Zadok. 72. Old Prophet of Bethel. 
73. Asrabus. 

i See Lecture VIII. 
* Jelaladdin, 280. 

2 Zeitschrifl der Morgenlandischen G& 
sellschafl, vol. It. 14, 22. 



Prophetesses: — 1. Sara. 2. Rebekah. 3. Miriam. 4. Deborah. 
5. Huldah. 6. Hannah. 7. Judith. 8. Elizabeth (mother of John) 
9. Anna. 10. Mary. 

In conventional pictures in Eastern churches, Joshua, Gideon, Baruch, 
David, and Solomon are usually styled Prophets* 




In the well-known description of the Revelations of 
the Old Testament by the author of the Epistle to 
the Hebrews, 1 the essence of these Revelations is 
summed up in the words, " God spake by the Proph- 
ets!' He had in the words immediately pre- i mpor tance 
ceding spoken of the various and multiform phetfcai™' 
gradations of Revelation, and he fixes our at- Ins P iratlon - 
tention on the special instructors or revealers of the 
Divine Will, who stood on the highest step of these 
gradations. These are, in one word, not the historians, 
geographers, ritualists, poets, of the Jewish Church, 
— valuable as each may be in their several ways, — 
but "the Prophets." And again, although it is well 
known that the only full sense of the word "Inspira- 
tion " is that in which alone it is used by the Church 
of England, 2 and the ancient Church generally, in the 
far wider sense of the universal mind of the whole 
Church, and all good in the human heart and intel 
lect; yet there is a deep truth in the clause of the 
Nicene Creed, which says, "The Holy Ghost spake" 
(not by bishops or presbyters, or General Councils, 
or General Assemblies, or even saints, but) " by the 

1 Heb. i. 1. ditions of Men. The Veni Creator 

2 The Collect before the Communion Spiritus, the 13th Article. These an 
Service. The Collect for the Sunday the only passages in the Anglican fa 
after Easter. The Prayer for all Con- mularies in which the word occurs. 


Prophets." This limitation or concentration of the Di- 
vine Inspiration to the Prophetic spirit is in exact 
accordance with the facts of the case. The Prophets 
being, as their name both in Greek and Hebrew implies, 
the most immediate organs of the Will of God, it is in 
their utterances, if anywhere, that we must expect tc 
iind the most direct expression of that Will. How- 
ever high the sanction given to King or Priest, in 
the Old Dispensation, they were always to bow be- 
fore the authority of the Prophet. The Prophetic 
teaching is, as it were, the essence of the Revelation, 
sifted from its accidental accompaniments. It per- 
vades, and, by pervading, gives its own vitality to 
those portions of the Sacred Volume which cannot 
strictly be called Prophetical. Josephus speaks of the 
succession of the Prophets, as constituting the main 
framework and staple of the sacred canon of the Old 
Testament. 1 What has been beautifully said of the 
Psalms as compared with the Levitical and sacrificial 
system is still more true of the Prophets. " As we 
" watch the weaving of the web, we endeavor to 
u trace through it the more conspicuous threads. 
" Long time the eye follows the crimson : it disappears 
u at length ; but the golden thread of sacred prophecy 
" stretches to the end." 2 It stretches to the end ; 
.or it is the chief outward link between the Old and 
the New Testament; and, though the New Testament 
has its own peculiarities, and though the spirit of 
Prophecy expresses chiefly the spirit of the Old Testa- 
ment, yet it may also fitly be called the spirit of the 
whole Bible, 

1 Contra Apion, i. 8. This is well 2 The Rev. H. B. Wilson'8 Thr& 

put in Oehler's Treatise on the Old Sermons, p. 6. 

Lbot. XX. OF THE PAST 493 

It is the substance of this teaching extending from 
Moses the First, to John, both in his Apocalypse and 
Gospel, the Last of the Prophets, that I here propose 
to set forth ; with the view of ascertaining what there 
was in it which gave to the Jewish people that pro- 
gressive movement of which I spoke in the preceding 
Lecture, — that elevation and energy, which has given 
to all the Prophetic writings so firm a hold on the 
sympathies of the Church and of the world. 

The Prophetic teaching may be divided into three 
parts, according to the three famous words of S. Ber- 
nard, — Bespice, Aspice, Prospice. The interpretation of 
the Divine Will respecting the Past, the Present, and 
the Future. 

I. Of the Prophets as teachers of the experience of 
the Past, we know but little. It is true that The Proph . 
we have references to many of the books Teachers 
which they thus wrote : the acts of David, by ofthePast 
Samuel, Gad, and Nathan : of Solomon and Jeroboam, 
by Nathan and Iddo ; of Eehoboam, by Iddo and Shem- 
aiah. But these unfortunately have all perished. 
Alas ! of all the lost works of antiquity, is there any, 
heathen or sacred, to be named with the loss of the 
biography of David by the Prophet Nathan ? We 
can, however, form some notion of these lost books 
by the fragments of historical writings that are left 
to us in the Prophetical Books of Isaiah and Jeremiah, 
and also by the likelihood that some of the present 
canonical books were founded upon the more ancient 
works which they themselves must have tended to 
supersede. And it is probably not without some 
ground of this sort, that the Prophetical Books of 
the Old Testament, in the Jewish Canon, include the 


Books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings. From 
these slight indications of the mission of the Prophets 
as Historians, we cannot deduce any detailed instruc- 
tion. But it is important to have at least this proof, 
that the study of history, so dear to some of us, and 
by some so lightly thought of, was not deemed be- 
neath the notice of the Prophets of God. And, if 
we mav so far assume the ancient Jewish nomencla- 
ture as to embrace the historical books of the Canon 
just enumerated within the " Prophetical circle," their 
structure furnishes topics well worthy of the consider- 
ation of the theological student. In that marvellously 
tessellated workmanship which they present, — in the 
careful interweaving of ancient documents into a later 
narrative, — in the editing and re-editing of passages, 
where the introduction of a more modern name or 
word betrays the touch of the more recent historian, 
— we trace a research which may well have occu- 
pied many a vacant hour in the prophetic schools of 
Bethel or Jerusalem, and at the same time a freedom 
of adaptation, of alteration, of inquiry, which places 
the authors or editors of these original writings on a 
level far above that of mere chroniclers or copyists. 
Such a union of research and freedom gives us on 
the one hand a view of the office of an inspired or 
prophetic historian, quite different from that which 
would degrade him into the lifeless and passive in- 
strument of a power , which effaced his individual 
energy and reflection ; and, on the other hand, pre- 
sents us with something like the model at which an 
historical student might well aspire even in our more 
modern age. And if, from the handiwork and compo- 
sition of these writings, we reach to their substance, 
we find traces of the same spirit, which will appear 


more closely as we speak of the Prophetical Office in 
its two larger aspects. By comparing the treatment 
of the history of Israel or Judah in the four pro- 
phetical Books of Samuel and of Kings, with the 
treatment of the same subject in the Books of Chroni- 
cles, we are at once enabled to form some notion of 
the true characteristics of the Prophetical office as 
distinguished from that of the mere chronicler or 
Levite. But this will best be understood as we pro- 

II. I pass therefore to the work of the Prophets as 
interpreters of the Divine Will in regard to the p^^ 

(1.) First, what was the characteristic of their di- 
rectly religious teaching which caused the Their 
early Fathers to regard them as, in the best Theolo ^ r - 
sense of the word, " Theologians ? " 

It consisted of two points. (1.) Their proclamation 
of the Unity and of the Spirituality of the Divine 
Nature. They proclaimed the Unity of God, The Uni 
and hence the energy with which they attacked of God - 
the falsehoods and superstitions which endeavored to 
take the place of God. This was the negative side 
of their teaching, and the force with which they urge 
it, the withering scorn with which Elijah and Isaiah 
speak of the idols of their time, 1 however venerable, 
however sacred in the eyes of the worshippers, is a 
proof that even negative statements of theology may 
at times be needed, and have at any rate a standing- 
place amongst the Prophetic gifts. The direct object 
of this negative teaching virtually expired with the 
immediate call for it under the Old Dispensation. Bin 
the positive side of their teaching was the assertion 

1 1 Kings xviii. 27; Isa. xliv. 16. 


of the spirituality, the morality of God, His justice, 
The Spirit- His goodness, His love. This revelation of 

uality of . -~. . -„ _ . . . 

G»d. the Divine Essence, this manifestation of God 

in some unusually impressive form, constituted, as we 
have already seen, and shall see further as we ad- 
vance, at once the first call and the sustaining force 
of every Prophetic mission. This continued to the 
very end, and received its highest development in the 
Prophets of the New Testament. Then the Prophetic 
teaching of the moral attributes of God was brought 
out more strongly than ever. Then Grace and Truth 
were declared to be the only means of conceiving or 
approaching to the Divine Essence. 1 Then He who 
was Himself the Incarnation of that Grace and Truth 
was enabled to say, as no Prophet before or after 
could have said, Ye u believe in God, believe also in 
Me," 2, To that crowning point of the Prophetic The- 
ology, the Apostolic Prophets direct our attention so 
clearly, that no more needs to be said on this subject. 
The doctrine of the Incarnation of Christ by the last 
of the Prophets, S. John, is the fitting and necessary 
close of the glimpse of the moral nature of the Di- 
vinity revealed to the first of the Prophets, Moses. 

(2.) And now how is this foundation of the Prophetic 
Teaching carried out into detail ? This brings us to 
Moral ^he mam characteristic of the Prophetic, as 
ceremonial distinguished from all other parts of the Old 
duties. Dispensation. The elevated conception of the 
Divinity may be said to pervade all parts of the Old 
Testament, if not in equal proportions, yet at least so 
distinctly as to be independent of any special office 
for its enforcement. But in the Prophetical teaching 
there is something yet more peculiarly its own. 

1 John i. 14, 17. 2 Ibid. xiv. 1. 

Lect. XX. IN THE PRESENT. 497 

The one great corruption, to which all Religion is 
exposed, is its separation from morality. The very 
strength of the religious motive has a tendency to 
exclude, or disparage, all other tendencies of the human 
mind, even the noblest and best. It is against this cor- 
ruption that the Prophetic Order from first to last 
c onstant ly protested. Even its mere outward appear- 
ance and organization bore witness to the greatness 
of the opposite truth, of the inseparable union of 
morality with religion. Alone of all the high offices 
of the Jewish Church the Prophets were called by no 
outward form of consecration, and were selected from 
no special tribe or family. But the most effective 
witness to this great doctrine was borne by their act- 
ual teaching. 

Amidst all their varieties, there is hardly a Prophet, 
from Samuel downwards, whose life or writings do not 
contain an assertion of this truth. It is to them as 
constant a topic, as the most peculiar and favorite doc- 
trine of any eccentric sect or party is in the mouths 
of the preachers of such a sect or party at the present 
day, and it is rendered more forcible by the form which 
it takes of a constant protest against the sacrificial sys- 
tem of the Levitical ritual, which they either, in com- 
parison with the Moral Law, disparage altogether, or else 
fix their hearers' attention to the moral and spiritual 
truth which lay behind it. 

Listen to them one after another : — 

Samuel. — " To obey is better than sacrifice, and to 
" hearken than the fat of rams." l David. — " Thou 
" desirest not sacrifice ; else would I give it. Thou 
ft delightest not in burnt-offering. The sacrifices of 
"God are a broken spirit. Sacrifice and burnt-offer- 

1 1 Sam. xv. 22. 


* ing thou didst not desire. Then said I, Lo, I come, 
" to do thy will, God." * Rosea. — "I desired mercy, 
"and not sacrifice." 2 Amos. — "I hate, I despise your 
"feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn as- 
semblies. Though ye offer me burnt-offerings, and 
"your meat-offerings, I will not accept them, neither 
"will I regard the peace-offerings of your fat beasts. 
" But let judgment run down as waters, and righteous* 
66 ness as a mighty stream." 3 Micah. — " Shall I come 
"before the Lord with burnt-offerings, with calves of 
" a year old ? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands 
" of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil ? shall 
" I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of 
" my body for the sin of my soul ? 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?" 4 Isaiah. — "Your 
" new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: 
" they are a trouble unto me * I am weary to bear them. 
" Wash you, make you clean ; cease to do evil ; learn to 
" do well. Is not this the fast that I have chosen, to 
"loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy bur- 
" dens, and to let the oppressed go free ? " 5 Ezekiel. — 
" If a man be just, and do that which is lawful and 
" right ... he shall surely live. The soul that sinneth, 
"it shall die. . . . When the wicked man doeth that 
" w r hich is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive ; 
" he shall surely live and not die." 6 

Mercy and justice, judgment and truth, repentance 
and goodness, — not sacrifice, not fasting, not ablutions, 
— is the burden of the whole Prophetic teaching of 

- Ps. li. 16, 17; xl. 6-8. 4 Micah vi. 6-8. 

2 Hosea vi. 6. 5 Isa. i. 14-17; lviii. 6. 

3 Amos v. 21-24 6 Ezek. xviii. 5-9 ; 20-28. 

Lect. XX. IN THE PRESENT. 499 

the Old Testament. And it is this which distinguishes 
at once the Prophetical from the Levitical portions 
even of the historical books. Compare the exaltation 
of moral duties in the Books of Kings with the exal- 
tation of merely ceremonial duties in the Books of 
Chronicles, and the difference between the two ele- 
ments of the Sacred history is at once apparent. 

In the New Testament the same doctrine is repeat- 
ed in terms slightly altered, but still more emphatic. 
In the words of Him who is our Prophet in this the 
truest sense of all, I need only refer to the Sermon 
on the Mount, 1 and to the remarkable fact that His 
chief warnings are against the ceremonial, the narrow, 
the religious world of that age. 2 In His deeds, I need 
only refer to His death — proclaiming as the very 
central fact and doctrine of the New Religion, that 
sacrifice, henceforth and forever, consists not in the 
blood of bulls and goats, 3 but in the perfect surrender 
of a perfect Will and Life to the perfect Will of an 
All Just and All Merciful God. In the Epistles the 
same Prophetic strain is still carried on by the eleva- 
tion of the spirit above the letter, 4 of love above all 
other gifts, 5 of edification above miraculous signs, 6 of 
faith and good works above the outward distinction of 
Jews and Gentiles. 7 With these accents on his lips, 
the Last of the Prophets expired. 8 

It is this assertion of the supremacy of the moral 
and spiritual above the literal, the ceremonial, and the 
dogmatical elements of religion, which makes the con- 
trast between the Prophets and all other sacred bodies 

1 Matt, v.-vii. 6 Ibid. xiv. 5. 

9 Ibid, xv. 1-20, xxiii. ; Luke xv. 7 Rom. ii. 29 ; Gal. ii. 5, 20, vi, 

3 Heb. x. 7. 15 ; Tit. ii. 8. 

4 2 Cor. iii. 6. 8 1 John ii. 3, 4 ; Jerome, on Gal 

5 1 Cor. xiii. 1, 2. vi. 


which have existed in Pagan, and, it must even be 
added, in Christian times. They were religious teach 
ers without the usual faults of religious teachers. They 
were a religious body, whose only professional spirit 
was to be free from the usual prejudices, restraints, 
and crimes by which all other religious professions 
have been disfigured. They are not without grievous 
shortcomings ; they are not on a level with the full 
light of the Christian Revelation. But, taken as a 
whole, the Prophetic order of the Jewish Church re- 
mains alone. It stands like one of those vast monu- 
ments of ancient days, — with ramparts broken, with 
inscriptions defaced, but stretching from hill to hill, 
conveying in its long line of arches the rill of living 
water over deep valley and thirsty plain, far above 
all the puny modern buildings which have grown 
up at its feet, and into the midst of which it strides 
with its massive substructions, its gigantic height, its 
majestic proportions, unequalled and unrivalled. 

We cannot attain to it. But even whilst we relin- 
Exampie quish the hope, even whilst we admire the 
christian g 00 ^ Providence of God, which has preserved 
ciergy. f or ug ^ n * g unapproachable memorial of His 

purposes in former ages, there is still one calling in 
the world in which, if any, the Prophetic spirit, the 
Prophetic mission, ought at least in part to live on, 
— and that is, the calling of the Christian clergy. 
We are not like the Jewish Priests, we are not like 
the Jewish Levites, but w 7 e have, God be praised, some 
faint resemblances to the Jewish Prophets. Like them, 
we are chosen from no single family or caste ; like 
them, we are called not to merely ritual acts, but to 
teach and instruct; like them, we are brought up in 
great institutions which pride themselves on fostering 

Lect. XX. IN THE PRESENT. 501 

the spirit of the Church in the persons of its Minis 
ters. 1 glorious profession, if we would see our- 
selves in this our true Prophetic aspect ! We all know 
what a powerful motive in the human mind is the 
spirit of a profession, the spirit of the order, the spirit 
(as the French say) of the body, to which we belong. 
Oh if the spirit of our profession, of our order, of our 
body, were the spirit, or anything like the spirit, of 
the ancient Prophets ! if with us, truth, charity, jus- 
tice, fairness to opponents, were a passion, a doctrine, 
a point of honor, to be upheld, through good report 
and evil, with the same energy as that with which 
we uphold our position, our opinions, our interpreta- 
tions, our partnerships ! A distinguished prelate 2 has 
well said, " It makes all the difference in the world 
u whether we put the duty of Truth in the first place, 
" or in the second place." Yes ! that is exactly the 
difference between the spirit of the world and the 
spirit of the Bible. The spirit of the world asks, 
first, " Is it safe, Is it pious ? " secondly, " Is it true ? " 
The spirit of the Prophets asks, first, " Is it true ? " 
secondly, " Is it safe ? " The spirit of the world asks, 
first, " Is it prudent ? " secondly, " Is it right ? " The 
spirit of the Prophets asks, first, "Is it right?" sec- 
ondly, " Is it prudent ? " It is not that they and we 
hold different doctrines on these matters, but that we 
hold them in different proportions. What they put 
first, we put second ; what we put second, they put 
first. The religious energy which we reserve for ob- 
jects of temporary and secondary import'ince, they 
reserved for objects of eternal and prim.* ry impor- 
tance. When Ambrose closed the doors of the church 
of Milan against the blood-stained hands of the devout 

1 See Lecture XVIII. 2 Archbishop Whately 


Theodosius, he acted in the spirit of a prophet. 
When Ken, in spite of his doctrine of the Divine 
right of Kings, rebuked Charles II. on his death-bed 
for his long-un repented vices, those who stood by were 
justly reminded of the ancient Prophets. When Sa- 
vonarola, at Florence, threw the whole energy of his 
religious zeal into burning indignation against the sins 
of the city, high and low, his sermons read more like 
Hebrew prophecies than modern homilies. 

We speak sometimes with disdain of moral essays, 
as dull, and dry, and lifeless. Dull, and dry, and 
lifeless they truly are, till the Prophetic spirit breathes 
into them. But let religious faith and love once find 
its chief, its proper vent in them, as it did of old in 
the Jewish Church, — let a second Wesley arise who 
shall do what the Primate of his day wisely but vainly 
urged as his gravest counsel on the first Wesley, 1 — 
that is, throw all the ardor of a Wesley into the 
great unmistakable doctrines and duties of life as they 
are laid down by the Prophets of old and by -Christ 
in the Gospels, — let these be preached with the same 
fervor as that with which Andrew Melville enforced 
Presbyterianism, or Laud enforced Episcopacy, or Whit- 
field Assurance, or Calvin Predestination, — then, per- 
chance, we shall understand in some degree what was 
the propelling energy of the Prophetic order in the 
Church and Commonwealth of Israel. 

3. This is the most precious, the most supernatural, 
Appeal of all the Prophetic gifts. Let me pass on to 
consciences tl e next, which brings out the same character- 
hearers, is ic in another and equally peculiar aspect. 
The Prophets not merely laid down these general 
principles of theology and practice, but w T ere the di 

1 See Wesley's Life, i. 222 


rect oracles and counsellors of their countrymen in 
action ; and for this was required the Prophetic in- 
sight into the human heart, which enabled them to 
address themselves not merely to general circum 
stances, but to the special emergencies of each partic- 
ular case. Often they were consulted even on trifling 
matters, or on stated occasions. So Saul wished to ask 
Samuel after his father : u When men went to inquire 
of God, then they spake, Come, let us go to the Seer." 1 
So the Shunamite went at new moons or Sabbaths, 2 
to consult the man of God on Carmel. But more 
usually they addressed themselves spontaneously to 
the persons or the circumstances which most needed 
encouragement or warning. Suddenly, whenever their 
interference was called for, they appeared, to encour- 
age or to threaten ; Elijah, before Ahab, like the 
ghost of the murdered Naboth on the vineyard of 
Jezreel ; Isaiah, before Ahaz at the Fuller's Gate, be- 
fore Hezekiah, as he lay panic-struck in the palace ; 
Jeremiah, before Zedekiah ; John, before Herocl ; the 
Greatest of all, before the Pharisees in the Temple. 
Whatever public or private calamity had occurred was 
seized by them to move the national or individual 
conscience. Thus Elijah spoke, on occasion of the 
drought ; Joel, on occasion of the swarm of locusts ; 
Amos, on occasion of the earthquake. Thus, in the 
highest degree, our Lord, as has been often ob- 
served, drew His parables from the scenes immedi- 
ately around Him. What the ear received slowly, 
was assisted by the eye. What the abstract doctrine 
failed to effect, was produced by its impersonation in 
the living forms of nature, in the domestic incidents 
of human intercourse. The Apostles, in this respect, 

1 1 Sam. ix. 9. * 2 Kings iv. 23. 


by rdopting the written mode of communication, are 
somewhat more removed from personal contact with 
those whom they taught than were the older Prophets. 
But S. Paul makes his personal presence so felt hi all 
that he writes, fastens all his remarks so closely on 
existing circumstances, as to render his Epistles a 
means, as it were, of reproducing himself. He almost 
always conceives himself " present with them in spirit," l 
as speaking to his reader "face to face." 2 Every sen- 
tence is full of himself, of his readers, of his circum- 
stances, of theirs. And in accordance with this is his 
description of the effect of Christian prophesying. 
" If all prophesy, and there come in one that be- 
" lieveth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of 
" all, he is judged of all." 3 That is, one prophet after 
another shall take up the strain, and each shall 
reveal to him some fault which he knew not before. 
One after another shall ask questions which shall 
reveal to him his inmost self, and sit as judge on his 
inmost thoughts, "and thus" (the Apostle continues) 
u the secrets of his heart are made manifest, and so 
k4 falling down on his face " (awe-struck) " he will wor- 
" ship God, and report that God is in you of a truths 
This is the true definition by one of the mightiest 
Prophets, of what true Prophesying is, — what it is in 
its effects, and why it is an evidence of a Real, or 
Divine Presence, wherever it is found. It is this 
close connection with the thoughts of men, this ap- 
peal to their hearts and consciences, this reasoning 
together with every one of us, which, on the one 
hand, makes the interpretation of Scripture, especially 
of the Prophetic Scriptures, so dependent on our 
Knowledge of the characters of those to whom each 

1 1 Cor. v. 3, 4. 22 Cor. xiii. 2. 3 i Cor. xiv. 21, 25. 


part is addressed, which, on the other hand, makes 
• each portion bear its own lesson to each individual 
soul. u Thou art the man." 1 So in the fulness of 
the Prophetic spirit Nathan spoke to David, and so 
in a hundred voices God through that goodly com- 
pany of Prophets still speaks to us, and "convinces 
us " of our sin and of His Presence. 

And has this Prophetic gift altogether passed away 
from our reach ? Not altogether. That divine intui- 
tion, that sudden insight into the hearts of men, is, 
indeed, no longer ours, or ours only in a very limited 
sense. Still it fixes for us the standard at which all 
preachers and teachers should aim. Not our thoughts, 
but the thoughts of our hearers, is wmat we have to 
explain to ourselves and to them. Not in our lan- 
guage, but in theirs, must we speak, if we mean to 
make ourselves understood by them. By talking 
with the humblest of the poor in the parishes where 
our lot as pastors is cast, we shall gain the best ma- 
terials — materials how rich and how varied and how 
just — for our future sermons. By addressing our- 
selves, not to any imaginary congregation, or to any 
abstract and distant circumstances, but to the actual 
needs which we know, in the hearts of our neighbors 
and ourselves, we shall rouse the sleeper, and startle 
the sluggard, and convince the unbelievers, and en- 
lighten the unlearned. So the great Athenian teacher, 
— the nearest approach to a Jewish or Christian 
Prophet that the Gentile world ever produced, — so 
Socrates worked his way into the minds of the Grecian, 
ind so of the European world. a To him," as has 
been well said by his modern biographer, " the pre- 
cept know thyself was the holiest of texts." 2 He ap 

1 2 Sam. xii. 7. 2 Grote's History of G"eece, viii. 602. 



plied it to himself, he applied it to others, and the 
result was the birth of all philosophy. But not less 
is it the basis of all true prophesying, of all good 
preaching, of all sound preparation for the pastoral 

4. Another characteristic of the teaching of the 
Relations Prophets to be briefly touched upon is to be 
Country, found in their relation not to individuals, but 
to the state. At one time they were actually the 
leaders of the nation, as in the case of Moses, Debo- 
rah, Samuel, David ; in earlier times their function 
in this respect was chiefly to maintain the national 
spirit by appeals to the Divine help, and to the past 
recollections of their history. This function became 
more complex as the Israelitish affairs became more 
entangled with those of other nations. But still, 
throughout, three salient points stand out. The first 
is, that, universal as their doctrine was, and far above 
any local restraints as it soared, they were thoroughly 
absorbed in devotion to their country. To say that 
they were patriots, that they were good citizens, is a 
very imperfect representation of this side of the Pro- 
patriotism, phetic character. They were one with it, 
they were representatives of it ; they mourned, they 
lejoiced with it, and for it, and through it. Often 
we cannot distinguish between the Prophet and the 
people for whom he speaks. 1 Of that uneasy hostility 
to the national mind, which has sometimes marked 
even the noblest of disappointed politicians and of 
disaffected churchmen, there is hardly any trace in 
the Hebrew Prophet. And although with the changed 
relations of the Jewish Commonwealth, the New Tes- 
tament Prophets could no longer hold the same posi 

1 See especially Isa. xl.-liv. ; Lamentations iii. 1-66. 

Lect. XX. IN THE PRESENT. 507 

tion, yet even then the national feeling is not ex- 
tinct. Christ Himself wept over His country. 1 His 
Prophecy over Jerusalem 2 is a direct continuation of 
the strain of the older Prophets. The same may be 
said of S. Paul's passionate allusions to his love for 
the Jewish people in the Epistle to the Komans, 8 
which are almost, identical with those of Moses. 4 I 
will not go further into the enlargement of this feel- 
ing, as it followed the expansion of the Jewish into 
the Christian Church. It is enough that our atten- 
tion should be called to this example for the teachers 
of every age. Public spirit, devotion to a public 
cause, indignation at a public wrong, enthusiasm in 
the national welfare, — this was not below the loftiest 
of the ancient Prophets ; it surely is still within the 
reach of the humblest of Christian teachers. 

Again, they labored to maintain, and did to a con- 
siderable degree maintain, in spite of the divergence 
of tribes, and disruption of the monarchy, the state 
of national unity. The speech of Oded reproaching 
the northern kings for the sale of the prisoners of 
the south is a sample of the whole prophetic spirit. 
" Now ye purpose to keep under the children of 
" Judah and Jerusalem for bondmen and bondwomen 
" unto you : but are there not with you, even with 
" you, sins against the Lord your God ? " 5 To Unity. 
balance the faults of one part of the nation against 
the other in equal scales, was their difficult but con- 
stant duty. 6 To look forward to the time when 
Judah should no more vex Ephraim, nor Ephraim 
(?nvy Judah, 7 was one of their brightest hopes, If at 

1 Luke xix. 41. 5 2 Chron. xxviii. 10. 

2 Matt. xxiv. 6 Ezek. xvi. 

3 Rom. ix. 3, x. 1, xi. 1. 7 Isa. xi. 13. 
* Ex. xxxii, 32. 


times, they increased the bitterness of the division, 
yet on the whole their aim was union, founded on a 
sense of their common origin and worship, overpow- 
ering the sense of their separation and alienation. 

And thirdly, and as a consequence of this, we are 
struck by the variety, the moderation of the Propheti- 
cal teaching, changing with the events of their time. 

It is instructive to see how at different epochs dif- 
simpiicity ferent evils attracted their attention ; how the 
and variety same institutions, which at one time seemed 
tion. good, at another seemed fraught with evil. 

Contrast Isaiah's denunciation of the hierarchy with 
Malachi's support of them. 1 Contrast Isaiah's confi- 
dence against Assyria with Jeremiah's despair before 
Chaldoea. 2 There is no one Shibboleth handed down 
through the whole series. Only the simple faith in a 
few great moral and religious principles remains, the 
rest is constantly changing. Only the poor are con- 
stantly protected against the rich ; only the weaker 
side is always regarded with the tender compassion 
which belongs especially to Him to whom all the 
Prophets bare witness. To the poor, to the oppressed, 
to the neglected, the Prophet of old was and is still 
the faithful friend. To the selfish, the luxurious, the 
insolent, the idle, the frivolous, the Prophet was and 
is still an implacable enemy. 3 

It is this aspect which has most forcibly brought 
out the well-known likeness of the Prophets both to 
ancient orators and modern statesmen. 4 The often- 

1 Isa. i. 10 ; Malachi i. 8 (See ject, Nov. 1830 {Life and Corresp. 
Arnold's Life, i. 259). i. 234, 235). 

2 Isa. xxxvii. 'J ; Jer. xxxvii. 8. 4 Comp. Hebrew Politics in the time 

3 Isa. Hi. 14, v. 8, xxxii. 5 ; Jer. of Sennacherib and Sargon, by Sir E 
v 5, xxii. 13; Amos vi. 3 ; James v. Strachey ; also The Prophets of the 
I See Arnold's Letters on this sub- Old Testament; in Tracts for Priests 

and People, No. 8. 

Lect. XX. IN THE PRESENT. 509 

quoted lines of Milton best express both the resem 

blance and the difference : — 


" Their orators thou then extoll'st, as those 
The top of eloquence ; statists indeed, 
And lovers of their country, as may seem ; 
But herein to our Prophets far beneath, 
As men divinely taught, and better teaching 
The solid rules of civil government, 
In their majestic, unaffected style, 
Than all the oratory of Greece and Rome. 
In them is plainest taught, and easiest learnt, 
What makes a nation happy, and keeps it so, 
What ruins kingdoms, and lays cities flat ; 
These only with our law best form a king." * 

5. One point yet remains in connection with their 
teaching — and that is their absolute indepen- Indepen . 
dence. Most of them were in opposition to dence ' 
the prevailing opinion of their countrymen for the 
time being. Some of them were persecuted, some of 
them were in favor with God and man alike. But in 
all, there was the same Divine Prophetic spirit — of 
elevation above the passions, and prejudices, and dis- 
tractions of common life. "Be not afraid of them ; 
" be not afraid of their faces ; be not afraid of their 
" words. Speak my words unto them, whether they 
a will hear, or whether they will forbear." " I have 
" made thy face strong against their faces, and thy 
u forehead strong against their foreheads : as an ada- 
u mant harder than flint I have made thy forehead ; 
66 fear them not, neither be dismayed." 2 This is the 
position of all the Prophets, in a greater or less de- 
gree — it is the position, in the very highest sense of 
all, of Him whose chief outward characteristic it was 
that He stood high above all the influences of His 
age, and was the Eock against which they dashed in 

1 Parad. Reg. iv. 353. 2 Ezek. ii. 6, 7 ; iii. 8, 9. 


vain, and on which they were ground to powder. 
This element of the Prophetical Office deserves special 
consideration, because it pervades their whole teach- 
ing, ana 1 because it is in its lower manifestations 
within the reach of all. What is it that is thus rec- 
ommended to us ? Not eccentricity, not singularity, 
not useless opposition to the existing framework of 
the world, or the Church in which we find ourselves. 
Not this — which is of no use to any one — but this 
which is needed by every one of us, a fixed resolu- 
tion to hold our own against chance and accident, 
against popular clamor and popular favor, against the 
opinions, the conversation, of the circle in which we 
live ; a silent look of disapproval, a single word of 
cheering approval — an even course, which turns not 
to the right hand or to the left, unless with our own 
full conviction — a calm, cheerful, hopeful endeavor to 
do the work that has been given us to do, whether 
we succeed or whether we fail. 

And for this Prophetic independence, what is, what 
was, the Prophetic ground and guaranty ? There 
were two. One was that of which I will proceed to 
speak presently, — that which has almost changed the 
meaning of the name of the Prophets, — their constant 
looking forward to the Future. The other was that 
they felt themselves standing on a rock that was 
higher and stronger than they, — the support and the 
presence of God. It was this which made their inde- 
pendent elevation itself a Prophecy, because it spoke 
of a Power behind them, unseen, yet manifesting it- 
self through them in that one quality which even 
the world cannot fail at last to recognize. Give us a 
man, young or old, high or low, on whom we know 
that we can thoroughly depend, — who will stand 

Lect. XX. OF THE FUTURE. 51 J 

firm when others fail, — the friend faithful and true, 
the adviser honest and fearless, the adversary just and 
chivalrous ; in such an one there is a fragment of 
the Rock of Ages — a sign that there has been a 
Prophet amongst us. 

The consciousness of the presence of God. In the 
Mussulman or the Hindoo this makes itself felt in the 
entire abstraction of the mind from all outward things. 
In the fanatic, of whatever religion, it makes itself 
felt in the disregard of all the common rules of hu- 
man morality. In the Hebrew Prophet it makes itself 
felt in the indifference to human praise or blame, in 
the unswerving fidelity to the voice of duty and of 
conscience, in the courage to say what he knew to be 
true, and do what he knew to be right. This in the 
Hebrew Prophet — this in the Christian man — is the 
best sign of the near vision of Almighty God ; it is 
the best sign of the Real Presence of Jesus Christ, 
the Faithful and True, the Holy and the Just, the 
Power of God, and the Wisdom of God. 

III. This brings us to the Prophetic teaching of the 
Future. It is well known that in the popular Th e , 

, , teaching of 

and modern use of the word since the seven- the Future. 
teenth century, by a "Prophet" is meant almost ex- 
clusively one who predicts or foretells; and to have 
asserted the contrary has even been thought heretical. 
We have already seen that this assumption is itself 
a grave error. 1 It is wholly unauthorized, either by 
the Bible or by our own Church. It has drawn off 

1 See Lecture XIX. "It is sim- " cient words for prophecy all refer to 

'ply a mistake to regard prediction as "a state of the mind, an emotion, an 

' synonymous with prophecy, or even " influence, and not to prescience." 

- as the chief portion of a prophet's (Mr. Payne Smith's Messianic Inter 

'duties. Whether the language be pretation of Isaiah, Introd. p. xxx.) 
4 Hebrew, Greek, or Latin, the an- 


the attention from the fundamental idea of the Pro- 
phetical office to a subordinate part. It has caused 
us to seek the evidence of Prophecy in those portions 
of it which are least convincing, rather than in those 
which are most convincing — in those parts which it has 
most in common with other systems, rather than in 
those parts which distinguish it from all other systems. 

But this error, resting as it does on an etymological 
mistake, could never have obtained so wide a diffusion, 
without some ground in fact ; and this ground is to be 
found in the vast relation of the Prophetic office to the 
Future, which I shall now attempt to draw forth — dwell- 
ing, as before, on the general spirit of the institution. 

It is, then, undoubtedly true that the Prophets of the 
Pros ec- Old Dispensation did in a marked and especial 
predfctile manner l°°k forward to the Future. It was 
tendencies, ^jg wn i cn gave to the whole Jewish nation an 

upward, forward, progressive character, such as no Asi- 
atic, no ancient, I may almost say, no other nation has 
ever had in the same degree. Representing as they 
did the whole people, they shared and they personated 
the general spirit of tenacious trust and hope that dis- 
tinguishes the people itself. Their warnings, their con- 
solations, their precepts, when relating to the past and 
the present, are clothed in imagery drawn from the 
future. The very form of the Hebrew verb, in which 
one tense is used both for the past and the future, 
lends itself to this mode of speech. They were con- 
ceived as shepherds seated on the top of one of the 
hills of Judaea, seeing far over the heads of their flocks, 
and guiding them accordingly ; or as watchmen stand- 
ing on some loft}' tower, with a wider horizon within 
their view than that of ordinary men. 1 " Watchman, 

1 Isa. lvi. 10, n. 

Lect XX. OF THE FUTURE. 513 

what of the night ? Watchman, what of the night ? " 1 
was the question addressed to Isaiah by an anxious 
world below. " I will stand upon my watch," is the 
expression of Habakkuk, " and set me upon the tower, 
" and will watch to see what He will say unto me. 
" Though the vision tarry, wait for it : it will surely 
"come; it will not tarry." 2 Their practical and relig- 
ious exhortations were, it is true, conveyed with a 
force which needed no further attestation. Of all of 
them, in a certain sense, it might be said as of the 
Greatest of all, that they spoke "as one having au- 
thority and not as the scribes." Still there are special 
signs of authority besides, and of these, one of the chief, 
from first to last, was their "speaking things to come?* 
And this token of Divinity extends (and here again 
I speak quite irrespectively of any special fulfil- 
ments of special predictions) to the whole Prophetic 
order, in Old and New Testament alike. There is 
nothing which to any reflecting mind is more signal 
a proof of the Bible being really the guiding book 
of the world's history, than its anticipations, predica- 
tions, insight, into the wants of men far beyond the 
age in which it was written. That modern element 
which we find in it, — so like our own times, so un- 
like the ancient framework of its natural form ; that 
Gentile, European, turn of thought, — so unlike the 
Asiatic language and scenery which was its cradle ; 
that enforcement of principles and duties, w r hich for 
years and centuries lay almost unperceived, because 

i Isa. xxi. 11. pie, Elijah, and John the Baptist, hav- 

* Hab. ii. 1, 3. ing uttered either no prediction or 

3 It is observable that although the only such as were very subordinate), 

power of' prediction is never made the the failure of a prediction is in one 

.est oi a true prophet (some of the remarkable passage made the test of 

greatest of them, Samuel, for exam- a false prophet (Dent, xviii. 22). 



hardly ever understood in its sacred pages ; but which 
we now see to be in accordance with the utmost re- 
quirements of philosophy and civilization ; those prin- 
ciples of toleration, chivalry, discrimination, proportion, 
which even now are not appreciated as they ought to 
be, and which only can be fully realized in ages yet 
to come ; these are the unmistakable predictions of the 
Prophetic spirit of the Bible, the pledges of its inex- 
haustible resources. 

Thus much for the general aspect of the Prophetical 
office as it looked to the Future. Its more special 
aspects may be considered under three heads. 

(1.) First, their contemplation and prediction of the 
Political political events of their own and the surround- 

predic- . 

tions. ing nations. It is this which brings them most 

nearly into comparison with the seers of other ages and 
other races. Every one knows instances, both in an- 
cient and modern times, of predictions which have been 
uttered and fulfilled in regard to events of this kind. 
Sometimes such predictions have been the result of 
political foresight. " To have made predictions which 
" have been often verified by the event, seldom or 
" never falsified by it," has been suggested by one well 
competent to judge, 1 as an ordinary sign of statesman- 
ship in modern times. " To see events in their begin- 
* nings, to discern their purport and tendencies from 
" the first, to forewarn his countrymen accordingly," 
was the foremost duty of an ancient orator, as described 
by Demosthenes. 2 Many instances will occur to stu- 
dents of history. Even within our own memory the 
great catastrophe of the disruption of the United States 

1 Mill's Representative Government, Strachey on the Prophets of the Old 
E24. Testament, pp. 2, 29. 

9 De Corona, 73. See Sir E. 

Lect. XX. OF THE FUTURE. 515 

of America was foretold, even with the exact date, 
several years beforehand. 1 Sometimes there has been 
an anticipation of some future epoch in the pregnant 
sayings of eminent philosophers or poets ; as for ex- 
ample, the intimation of the discovery of America by 
Seneca ; or of Shakspeare by Plato, or the Reformation 
by Dante. Sometimes the same result has been pro- 
duced by a power of divination, granted, in some in- 
explicable manner, to ordinary men. Of such a kind 
were many of the ancient oracles, the fulfilment of 
which, according to Cicero, 2 could not be denied with- 
out a perversion of all history. Such was the fore- 
shadowing of the twelve centuries of Roman dominion 
by the legend of the apparition of the twelve vultures 
to Romulus, 3 and which was so understood four hun- 
dred years before its actual accomplishment. 4 Such, 
but with less certainty, was the traditional prediction 
of the conquest of Constantinople by the Mussulmans ; 
the alleged predictions by Archbishop Malachi, whether 
composed in the eleventh or the sixteenth century, of 
the series of Popes down to the present time ; not to 
speak of the well-known instances which are recorded 
both in French and English history. 5 But there are 
several points which at once place the Prophetic predic- 
tions on a different level from any of these. It is not 
that they are more exact in particulars of time and 
place ; none can be more so than that of the twelve 
centuries of the Roman Empire ; and our Lord Him- 
self has excluded the precise knowledge of times and 

1 Spence on the American Union, ces of more or less value, see a col- 

D. 7. lection in Das Buck der Wahr- und 

9 De Dwinatione, i. 19. Weis-Sagungen, published at Ratis- 

3 Gibbon, ch. 35. bon, 1850, or in the smaller French 

* Ibid. ch. 52. work, Le Livre de Toutes les Pro- 

5 For these, and many other instan- phe'ties et Predictions, Paris, 1849. 


seasons from the widest and highest range of the 
prophetic vision. The difference rather lies in their 
close connection with the moral and spiritual charac- 
ter of the Prophetic mission, and their freedom (for 
the most part) from any of those fantastic and arbi- 
trary accompaniments by which so many secular pre- 
dictions are distinguished. They are almost always 
founded on the denunciations of moral evil, or the ex- 
altation of moral good, not on the mere localities or 
cities concerned. The nations whose doom is pro- 
nounced thus become representatives of moral princi- 
ples and examples to all ages alike. Israel, Jerusalem, 
Egypt, Babylon, Tyre, are personifications of states or 
principles still existing, 1 and thus the predictions con- 
cerning them have, as Lord Bacon says, constantly 
germinant fulfilments. The secular events which are 
thus predicted are (with a few possible exceptions 2 ) 
within the horizon of the Prophet's age, and are thus 
capable of being turned to the practical edification of 
the Prophet's own age and country. As in the vision 
of Pisgah, the background is suggested by the fore- 
ground. No object is introduced which a contemporary 
could fail to appreciate and understand in outline, al- 
though its remoter and fuller meaning might be re- 
served for a far distant future. These predictions are 
also, in several striking instances, made dependent on 
the moral condition of those to whom they are ad- 
dressed, and are thus divested of the appearance of 
blind caprice or arbitrary fate, in which the literal 
predictions of both ancient and modern divination sc 

1 This is well brought out in Ar- else admit (on quite independent 
, old's Sermons on Prophecy. grounds) of another explanation. 

2 The cases referred to are such Other occasions will occur for treat* 
*s need not be here discussed. They ing them in detail. 

are either confessedly exceptional, or 

Lect. XX. OF THE FUTURE. 517 

much delight. " Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be 
" overthrown." No denunciation is more absolute in it? 
terms than this; and of none is the frustration more 
complete. The true Prophetic lesson of the Book of 
Jonah is, that there was a principle in the moral gov- 
ernment of God, more sacred and more peremptory even 
than the accomplishment of the most cherished predic- 
tion. * God saw their works, that they turned from 
66 their evil way ; and God repented of the evil, that 
" He had said that He would do unto them ; and He 
" did it not." 1 What here appears in a single case is 
laid down as a universal rule by the Prophet Jeremiah. 
"At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation 
" . . .to destroy it ; if that nation . . . turn from 
" their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to 
" do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak con- 
" cerning a nation ... to build and to plant it ; if it 
" do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then 
" I will repent of the good wherewith I said I would 
"benefit them." 2 

With these limitations, it is acknowledged by all 
students of the subject, that the Hebrew prophets 
made predictions concerning the fortunes of their 
own and other countries which were unquestionably 
fulfilled. 3 There can be no reasonable doubt, for ex- 
ample, that Amos foretold the captivity and return 
of Israel ; and Michael the fall of Samaria ; and Eze- 
kiel the fall of Jerusalem ; and Isaiah the fall of 
Tyre ; and Jeremiah the limits of the Captivity. But, 
even if no such special cases could be proved, the 
grandeur of the position which the Prophets occu- 
py in this respect is one which it needs no attes- 
tation of any particular prediction to enhance, and 

l Jonah Hi. 10. 2 J er . xviii. 7-9. 3 See Ewald (1st Ed.), iii. 303 


which no failure of any particular prediction can im- 
pair. From those lofty watch-towers of Divine spec- 
ulation, from that moral and spiritual height which 
raised them far above the rest of the ancient world, 
they saw the rise and fall of other nations, long be- 
fore it was visible to those nations themselves. a They 
" were the first in all antiquity," it has been well 
said, "to perceive that the old East was dead; they 
" celebrated its obsequies, in advance of the dissolu- 
u tion which they saw to be inevitable." ] They were, 
as Dean Milman has finely expressed it, the " great 
" Tragic Chorus of the awful drama that was unfold- 
" ing itself in the Eastern world. As each independent 
" tribe or monarchy was swallowed up in the uni- 
" versal empire of Assyria, the seers of Judah watched 
" the progress of the invader, and uttered their sub- 
" lime funeral anthems over the greatness and pros- 
u perity of Moab and Ammon, Damascus and Tyre." 2 
And in those funeral laments and wide-reaching pre- 
dictions we trace a foretaste of that universal sym- 
pathy with nations outside the chosen circle, — of 
that belief in an all-embracing Providence, — which 
has now become part of the belief of the highest in- 
telligence of the world. There may be many inno- 
cent questions about the date, or about the interpre- 
tation of the Book of Daniel, and of the Apocalypse. 
But there can be no doubt that they contain the 
first germs of the great idea of the succession of 
ages, of the continuous growth of empires and races 
under a law of Divine Providence, the first sketch 
of the Education of the world, and the first outline 
of the Philosophy of History. 3 

1 Quinet, Genie des Religions, p. 2 History of the Jeics, i. 298. 

372. 3 See Liicke, On S. John, it. 154 

Lect. XX. OF THE FUTURE. 519 

(2.) I pass to the second grand example of the 
predictive spirit of the Prophets. It was the Messianic 
distinguishing mark of the Jewish people that tions. 
their golden age was not in the past, but in the 
future ; that their greatest Hero (as they deemed 
Him to be) was not their founder, but their founder's 
latest descendant. Their traditions, their fancies, their 
glories, gathered round the head not of a chief, or 
warrior, or sage that had been, but of a King, a De- 
liverer, a Prophet who was to come. Of this singu- 
lar expectation the Prophets were, if not the chief 
authors, at least the chief exponents. Sometimes He 
is named, sometimes He is unnamed ; sometimes He 
is almost identified with some actual Prince of the 
coming or the present generation, sometimes He 
recedes into the distant ages. 1 But again and again, 
at least in the later Prophetic writings, the vista is 
closed by His person, His character, His reign. And 
almost everywhere the Prophetic spirit, in the deline- 
ation of His coming, remains true to itself. He is to 
be a King, a Conqueror, yet not by the common 
weapons of earthly warfare, but by those only weapons 
which the Prophetic order recognized, — by justice, 
mercy, truth, and goodness, — by suffering, by endur- 
ance, by identification of Himself with the joys, the 
sufferings of His nation, by opening a wider sym- 
pathy to the whole human race than had ever been 
opened before. 2 That this expectation, however ex- 
plained, existed in a greater or less degree amongst 
the Prophets, is not doubted by any theologians of 
any school whatever. It is no matter of controversy. 
It is a simple and universally recognized fact, that, 

l See Ewald, iii. 428, 9. 2 p s . x i v . 4, lxxii. 11-14 ; Isa. xl 

1-9, liii. 1-9 ; Jer. xxxii. 15, 16 


filled with these Prophetic images, the whole Jewish 
nation — nay, at last the whole Eastern world — did 
look forward with longing expectation to the coming 
of this future Conqueror. Was this unparalleled ex- 
pectation realized ? And here again I speak only of 
facts which are acknowledged by Germans and 
Frenchmen, no less than by Englishmen, by critics 
and by sceptics, even more fully than by theologians 
and ecclesiastics. There did arise out of this nation 
a Character by universal consent as unparalleled as 
the expectation which had preceded Him. Jesus of 
Nazareth was, on the most superficial no less than on 
the deepest view we take of His coming, the greatest 
name, the most extraordinary power, that has ever 
crossed the stage of History. And this greatness con- 
sisted not in outward power, but precisely iu those 
qualities in which from first to last the Prophetic 
order had laid the utmost stress, — justice and love, 
goodness and truth. 

I push this argument no further. Its force is 
weakened the moment we introduce into it any con- 
troverted detail. The fact which arrests our atten- 
tion is, that side by side with this great expectar 
tion, appears the great climax to which the whole 
History leads up. It is a proof, if anything can be 
a proof, of a unity of design, in the education of the 
Jews, in the history of the world. It is a proof that 
the events of the Christian Dispensation were planted 
on the very centre of human hopes and fears. It is 
a proof that the noblest hopes and aspirations that 
were ever breathed were not disappointed ; and that 
when " God spake by the Prophets " of the coming 
Christ, He spake of that which in His own good 
time He was certain to bring to pass. 

Lect. XX OF THE FUTURE. 521 

(3.) There is one further class of predictions in which 
the Prophetic writings abound, and which still more 
directly connects itself with their general spirit, and 
of which the predictions I have already noticed are 
only a part, — the Future, as a ground of consolation 
to the Church, to individuals, to the human race. It 
is this which gives to the Bible at large that hopeful, 
victorious, triumphant character, which distinguishes it 
from the morose, querulous, narrow, desponding spirit 
of so much false religion, ancient and modern. The 
Poiver of the Future. — This is the fulcrum by which 
they kept up the hopes of their country, and on its 
support we can rest as well as they. 

The Future of the Church. — I need not repeat those 
glorious predictious which are familiar to all. Pl . edic . 
But their spirit is applicable now as well as ^"L 
then. Although, in this sense, we prophesy Church - 
and predict, as it were at second-hand from them, yet 
our anticipations are so much the more certain, as 
they are justified and confirmed by the experience, 
which the Prophets had not, of two thousand years 
ago. We may be depressed by this or that failure of 
good projects, of lofty aspirations. But the Prophets 
and the Bible bid us look onward. The world, they 
tell us, as a whole tends forwards and not backwards. 
The losses and backslidings of this generation, if so 
be, will be repaired in the advance of the next. " To 
one far-off Divine event," slowly it may be and un- 
certainly, but still steadily onwards, " the whole cre- 
ation moves." Work on in faith, in hope, in confi- 
dence ; the future of the Church, the future of each 
particular society in which our lot is cast, is a solid 
basis of cheerful perseverance. The very ignorance 
Df the true spirit of the Bible of which we complain, 



is the best pledge of its boundless resources for the 
future. The doctrines, the precepts, the institutions, 
which as yet lie undeveloped, far exceed in richness, 
in power, those that have been used out, or been fully 

The Future of the Individual. — Have we ever 
predic- thought of the immense stress laid by the 
of°the Prophets on this mighty thought ? What is 
individual, ^q sentence with which the Church of Eng- 
land opens its morning and evening service, but a 
Prophecy, a Prediction, of the utmost importance to 
every human soul ? " When the wicked man shall turn 
" away from his wickedness, and doeth that which is 
" lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive!' So spoke 
Ezekiel, 1 advancing beyond the limits of the Mosaic 
law. So spoke no less Isaiah 2 and Micah: 3 "Though 
" your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as 
" snow." " He will turn again ; He will have compas- 
" sion upon us. He will subdue our iniquities. , Thou 
" w r ilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea." 
So spoke, in still more endearing accents, the Prophet 
of Prophets, Jesus Christ Himself, when He uttered 
His world-wide invitation, "Him that cometh to me, 
u I will in no wise cast out." " Her sins which are 
" many are forgiven." u Go and sin no more." The 
Future is everything to us, the Past is nothing. The 
turn, the change, the fixing our faces in the right, 
instead of the wrong direction, — this is the difficulty, 
this is the turning-point, this is the crisis of life. 
But that once done, the Future is clear before us. 
The despondency of the human heart, the timidity 
or the austerity of Churches or of sects, may refuse 
this great Prophetic absolution; may cling to pen* 

1 Ezek. xviii. 27. * l sa . i. 18. 3 Micah vii. 19. 

Lect. XX. OF THE FUTURE. 523 

ances and regrets for the past ; may shrink from the 
glad tidings that the good deeds of the Future can 
blot out the sorrows and the sins of the Past. But 
the whole Prophetic teaching of the Old and New 
Testament has staked itself on the issue ; it hazards 
the bold prediction that all will be well w T hen once 
we have turned ; it bids us go courageously forward, 
in the strength of the Spirit of God, in the power 
of the life of Christ. 

There is yet one more Future, — a future which to 
the Prophets of old was almost shut out, but Predic . 
which it is the glory of the Prophets of^ r f a 
the New Dispensation to have predicted to Llfe * 
us with unshaken certainty, — the Future life. In 
this respect, the predictions of the latest of the 
Prophets far transcend those which went before. The 
heathen philosophers were content with guesses on 
the immortal future of the soul. The elder Hebrew 
Prophets were content, for the most part, with the 
consciousness of the Divine support in this life and 
through the terrors of death, but did not venture to 
look further. But the Christian Prophets, gathering up 
the last hopes of the Jewish Church into the first hopes 
of the Christian Church, throw themselves boldly on 
the undiscovered world beyond the grave, and fore- 
tell that there the wishes and fears of this world 
would find their true accomplishment. To this Pre- 
diction so confident, yet so strange at the time, the 
intelligence no less than the devotion of mankind has 
in the course of ages come round. Powerful minds, 
which have rejected much beside in the teaching of 
the Bible, have claimed as their own this last expec- 
tation of the simple Prophetic school, which founded 
its hopes on the events of that first Easter day, that 


first day of the week, " when life and immortality 
were brought to light." And it is a prediction which 
shares the character of all the other truly Prophetic 
utterances; in that it directly bears on the present 
state of being. Even without dwelling on the special 
doctrine of judgment and retribution, the mere fact of 
the stress laid by the Prophets on the certainty of the 
Future is full of instruction, hardly perhaps enough 
borne in mind. Look forwards, we sometimes say, a 
few days or a few months, and how differently will all 
things seem. Yes ; but look forwards a few more 
years; and how yet more differently will all things 
seem. From the height of that Future, to which on 
the wings of the ancient Prophetic belief we can 
transport ourselves, look back on the present. Think 
of our troubles, as they will seem when we know 
their end. Think of those good thoughts and deeds 
which alone will survive in that unknown world. 
Think of our controversies, as they will appear, when 
we shall be forced to sit down at the feast with 
those whom we have known only as opponents here, 
but whom we must recognize as companions there. 
To that Future of Futures which shall fulfil the 
yearnings of all that the Prophets have desired on 
earth, it is for us, wherever we are, to look onwards, 
upwards, and forwards, in the constant expectation 
of something better than we see or know. Uncer- 
tain as to " the day and hour," 1 and as to the 
manner of fulfilment, this last of all the Predictions 
still, like those of old, builds itself upon the past and 
present. " It doth not yet appear what we shall be ; 
" but we know that when He shall appear, we shall 
* be like Him ; for we shall see Him as He is." 2 

1 Mark xiii. 32. 9 1 John iv. 2. 











I. Where was Ur of tie Chaldees? 

There are four claimants : — 

1. Ur % sl fortress on the Tigris near Hatra, mentioned only by 
Ammianus Marcellinus (xxv. 8), apparently the mod- Kaleh 
em Kaleh Sherghat, on the western bank of the Tigris, Sher S hat - 
between the Greater and Lesser Zab. 1 To this no traditional 
sanctity is attached. The arguments in its favor are (1.) the 
identity of its ancient name. (2.) The distance from Haran 
eastwards, which agrees better than that of the other three situ- 
ations with the indications of the Sacred narrative. For the 
authorities in its behalf see Chwolson's Sabier, i. 313. 

2. Warka, on the present eastern bank of the Euphrates, 
above the junction with the Tigris. It was formerly Warka. 
identified with Ur by Sir H. Rawlinson, on the grounds (1.) 
Of Arabic and Talmudic traditions, of which he gives an ex- 
ample from a MS. in his possession. 2 (2.) Of the likeness 
of its name to Orchbe, one of the Grecian forms of Ur. 
See a good description of it in Loftus's Chaldcea and Susiana, 

3. Mugheyr, on the western bank of the Euphrates, close to 
the confluence of the Two Rivers. It is now identified Mugheyr. 
with Ur by Sir H. Rawlinson, 3 on the grounds (1.) Of the 
name of Urukh or Hur, found on cylinders in the neighborhood. 
(2.) " Of the remains of a Temple of the Moon," whence, per- 
haps, the name of Carnarina given to Ur by Eupolemus. 4 (3.) 

1 Journal of Geog. Society, xii. 481. 8 Athenaum, Jan. 20, 1855, pp. 84-95. 

2 Journal of Asiatic Society, xii. 481. 4 Euseb. Prap. Ev. ix. 17. 

528 HARAN. App. L 

Of the existence of a district called Ibra, whence he derives the 
name of Hebrew} To these arguments may be added the appar- 
ent identification, by Josephus, of Chaldsea with Babylonia; — 
" Terah migrated from Chaldcea into Mesopotamia.'''' 2 

4. Orf a or TJrfa. The place has been sufficiently described 
Orfa. in Lecture I. p. 6. 

The arguments in favor of its identity with Ur are as fol- 
lows : — 

(1.) It is on the eastern side of the Euphrates, a qualification 
of Ur required not only by the usual interpretation of the word 
" Hebrew," but by Josh. xxiv. 3, " beyond the river ; " whereas 
Mugheyr now, and Warka probably in ancient times, 8 was on 
the western side. 

(2.) The general tenor of the narrative closely connects Ur 
with Haran and Aram. 4 These were in the north-western por- 
tion of Mesopotamia, within reach of Orfa. 

(3.) Whatever may be the later meanings of the name Chas- 
dim or Chaldosans^ there can be little doubt that Arpha-Chesed 
(Arphaxad) must be the Arrapachitis of the north, 5 and that in 
this connection, 6 therefore, the Chasdim spoken of must be in the 
north. 7 

(4.) The local features of Orfa, as above described, are guar- 
anties for its remote antiquity as a city. 

(5.) The traditions are at least as strong as those elsewhere, 
which may have originated in the anxiety of the Jewish settle- 
ment of Babylonia to claim the possession of their ancestor's 
birthplace, and in the shifting of the name of Chaldaea. 

II. Where was Haran? 

Till within the last year, the identity of the Patriarchal Haran 
with that in the north of Mesopotamia (indicated in Lecture I. 
p. 9), had never been doubted. 

Within the last twelve months, Dr. Beke (in letters to the 
Haran. "Athenaeum" 8 ) has urged the claims of a small village, 

1 See Loftus's Chaldcea and Susiana, p. 5 Ptol. Geog. vi. 1. 
131. 6 Gen. xi. 10, 11, 28. 

2 Ant. i. 6, 5. 7 See Ewald, Gesch. i. 378. 

« Loftus, 131. 8 Nov. 23, 1861; Feb. 1, 15; March i, 

* Gen. xi. 27, 28, 31 ; xii. 1-4. 29 ; and May 24, 1862. 

App. I. HARAN. 529 

called Hdrrdn-el-Aivamid, about four hours' journey east of Da- 
mascus, on the western border of the lake into which the Barada 
and the Awaj empty themselves. His argument, which further 
requires the identification of Mesopotamia (Aram-Naharaim, 
Aram of the Two Rivers) with the plain of Damascus between 
the Barada and the Awaj, is based, (1.) on the identity of name, 
u Haran ; " (2.) on the supposed likeness of natural features, 
wells, &c. ; (3.) on the journey of seven days taken by Laban 
between Haran and Gilead ; which, though suitable for a jour- 
ney from Damascus to Gilead, seems too short a time for a jour- 
ney of 350 miles from the Euphrates. The first and second 
arguments prove nothing more for the Haran of Damascus than 
for that of Mesopotamia. But the last must be allowed to have 
its weight. No doubt the natural construction of the passage in 
Gen. xxxi. 23, is (as given in Lecture I. p< 10), that seven days 
was the usual time consumed in the journey. But in the face of 
the powerful arguments brought by Mr. Porter, Mr. Ains worth, 
and Sir Henry Rawlinson, in favor of the Mesopotamian Haran, 1 
this single expression can hardly be thought to turn the scale. 
The number may be a round number, — the start of the journey 
may be from some intermediate spot, — or the dromedaries of 
Laban may be supposed to have travelled with the speed of " the 
44 regular Arab post, which consumes no more than eight days 
44 in crossing the desert from Damascus to Baghdad, a distance 
44 of nearly 500 miles." 2 The only other argument which might 
be adduced seems to me to be that Josephus, 3 whilst he dwells 
much on Abraham's stay at Damascus, does not mention Haran. 
This might confirm the notion that Haran and Damascus were 
virtually in the same region. But the uniformity of tradition in 
favor of the Eastern Haran, the absence of any in favor of the 
Western, the more remarkable from the abundance of other pa- 
triarchal and Abrahamic legends in the neighborhood of Damas- 
cus — the difficulty of supposing the 44 Aram-Naharaim " of the 
Hebrew text and the 44 Mesopotamia " of the LXX. to be the 
country of the Barada and Awaj, and 44 the river" ( 44 the Na- 
Aar") of Gen. xxxi. 21, to have other than its usual signification 

1 Athenceum, Nov. 30; Dec. 7, 1861; 2 Athenceum, April 19, p. 530. 

March 22: April 6, 19; May 24, 1862. * Ant. i. 7, 2. 


530 HARAN Arp. I. 

of the Euphrates — are, it appears to me, almost decisive in favoi 
of the old interpretation. 

I subjoin a narrative of an excursion taken by the Rev. S. 
Robson (the excellent Protestant Missionary at Damascus) to 
Harran-el-Awamid, in the spring of this year, at my request, to 
examine the columns which remain on the spot, and which have 
given it its present name. 

" Last month, Mr. Sandwith, Mr. Crawford, and I went to 
4 Harran-el-Awamid. We started at five o'clock in the raorn- 
4 ing, and rode there at a walking pace in four hours and a quar- 
4 ter. We returned to the city in the evening. 

" We could not form an opinion as to the kind or the form of 
4 the building, to which the three columns now standing had be- 
4 longed. In different parts of the village there are pieces of 
1 columns of the same black stone, but of small diameters, and 
4 there are large dressed stones of the same material, which evi- 
4 dently were in ancient buildings. The first house, in the west 
4 of the village, is the Mosque. Attached to it is a large yard, 
4 in which is a well, with two or three stone troughs, used for 
4 ablutions. The well and the troughs are in a small building;, 
4 and here is the Greek inscription. It is on a piece of a column 
4 five or six feet long, and fourteen or fifteen inches in diameter. 
4 It lies horizontally, in the angle between the wall and the 
4 ground, — one side a little in the wall, and another a little in 
4 the ground. The beginnings of the lines of the inscription are 
4 visible, but the ends are on the lower side of the stone in the 
4 ground. Apparently there had been four lines. The whole 
4 is greatly worn and defaced, but several letters in the first line, 
4 and two in the second, are legible as below : — 

AAUA (CONSn .... 
. A . O . 

44 The mark (between A and C in the first line) I do not un- 
44 derstand, and the II was doubtful to us. We could not guess 
44 at a single letter in the third and fourth lines. The inscription 
44 had not been carefully cut ; the letters were not well formed, 
* 4 nor of the sam * size, and the lines were not quite straight. 

App. I. HARAN. 531 

44 The people showed great unwillingness to have the stone 
" moved. The inscription is so much defaced, that we could not 
" read even the first line as far as it is exposed, and it seemed 
" most likely that, if the whole were uncovered, we would find 
44 hardly another letter legible. I confess also that I doubted 
" much whether the inscription would prove of any consequence 
M if we had the whole of it. The result was that we gave up 
u our design of moving the stone. The water in the well stood 
44 only five or six feet below the surface of the ground, and the 
" supply is evidently abundant. It is used chiefly for ablutions 
44 and for drinking, by the people when in the Mosque, but 
44 never for watering cattle. It tasted to us slightly brackish. 
" There is another well outside the yard of the Mosque. The 
44 water in it was only two or three feet below the surface of the 
" ground, but it is stagnant, and is never used now for any 
44 purpose. There are no wells in or around the village except 
44 these two. 

44 The whole region is remarkably level, and is well cultivated. 
44 There were very large fields of wheat all around. I do not 
44 know that any land near the village is now used only for past- 
44 ure. There is an abundance of water for irrigation and other 
44 purposes. The cattle drink from ponds, of which there are 
44 several near the village. Water for drinking and cooking is 
44 taken from what the people call 4 the river,' an artificial stream 
44 constructed in the mode described in Porter's 4 Five Years in 
44 Damascus.' The Barada is distant more than half an hour to 
44 the north, and the lakes some two hours to the east. Proba- 
44 bly the artificial river did not exist in the time of Rebekah, but 
44 the water, now abundant on or near the surface of the ground, 
44 was perhaps even more so then. But the Harran near Orfa 
44 in Mesopotamia has also, it is said, an abundant supply of water 
44 from several small streams near it. 

44 Is it in the least probable that the Greek inscription could 
14 throw any light on the question about this place ? At most it 
44 could only give an ancient tradition, and if such a tradition ever 
44 existed, how have all traces of it disappeared from books and 
' 4 from among the people ? Do not the traditions of Jews, Mos- 
14 lems, and Christians point to one place in the region between 


u the Euphrates and Tigris still called Mesopotamia (' between 
" the rivers,' bein-en-naharein) in Arabic, as it appears to have 
" been called in Hebrew. 

" The name Harran has not a form usual in Arabic, and na- 
" tive scholars tell me the name is not Arabic. Hdrrdn. the 
" Arabic name of the town beyond the Euphrates, has an Ara- 
44 bic form as if from harr, heat, and may mean a hot or burned 
44 place." l 

For the whole history of the Mesopotamian Haran, see the 
learned chapter in Chwolson's Sabier, Book I. ch. x. — Harran 
und die Hdrranier. 

III. The Place of Abraham, at Birzeh near Damascus. 

44 The name of Abraham is still famous at Damascus, and 
Birzeh. 44 there is shown a village named from him called 
44 4 the habitation of Abraham ' ' (ot^o-ts 'Appa^ov), So Jose- 
phus 2 concludes a quotation from the lost work of Nicolaus of 
Damascus, whether in his own words, or those of Nicolaus, does 
not appear. Mr. Porter 3 first called attention to this passage in 
connection with the fact