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Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON' & Co. 
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AN author falls natufally into an apologetic tone if he is pro- 
posing to add yet one more to the number of books on the Bible. 
Yet I believe the number is few of those to whom the Bible appeals 
as literature. In part, no doubt, this is due to the forbidding 
form in which we allow the Bible to be presented to us. Let the 
reader imagine the poems of Wordsworth, the plays of Shake- 
speare, the essays of Bacon, and the histories of Motley to be 
bound together in a single volume ; let him suppose the titles of 
the poems and essays cut out and the names of speakers and divi- 
sions of speeches removed, the whole divided up into sentences 
of a convenient length for parsing, and again into lessons contain- 
ing a larger or smaller number of these sentences. If the reader 
can carry his imagination through these processes he will have 
before him a fair parallel to the literary form in which the Bible 
has come to the modern reader; it is true that the purpose for 
which it has been split into chapters and verses is something 
higher than instruction in parsing, but the injury to literary form 
remains the same. 

Of course earnest students of Scripture get below the surface of 
isolated verses. Yet even in the case of deep students the literary 
element is in danger of being overpowered by other interests. 
The devout reader, following the Bible as the divine authority for 
his spiritua^ life, feels it a distraction to notice literary questions. 
And thereby he often impedes his own purpose : poring over a 
passage of Job to discover the message it has for him, and for- 
getting all the while the dramatic form of the book, as a result of 
which the speaker of the very passage he is studying is in the end 


pronounced by God himself to have said the thing that is " not 
right." Another has been led by his studies to cast off the 
authority of the Bible, and he will not look for literary pleasure to 
that which has for him associations with a yoke from which he has 
been delivered. A third approaches Scripture with equal rever- 
ence and, scholarship. Yet even for him there is a danger at the 
present moment, when the very bulk of the discussion tends to 
crowd out the thing discussed, and but one person is willing to 
read the Bible for every ten who are ready 'to read about it. 

Now for all these types of readers the literary study of the 
Bible is a common meeting-ground. One who recognises that 
God has been pleased to put his revelation of himself in the form 
of literature, must surely go on to see that literary form is a thing 
worthy of study. The agnostic will not deny that, if every particle 
of authority and supernatural character be taken from the Bible, 
it will remain one of the world's great literatures, second to none. 
And the most polemic of all investigators must admit that appre- 
ciation is the end, and polemics only the means. 

The term 'literary study of the Bible' describes a wide field 
of which the present work attempts to cover only a limited part. 
In particular, the term will include the most prominent of all 
types of Bible study, that which is now universally called the 
* Higher Criticism. 1 There is no longer any need to speak of the 
splendid processes of modern Biblical Criticism, nor of the mag- 
nitude even of its undisputed results. I mention the Higher 
Criticism only to say that its province is distinct from that which 
I lay down foi myself in this book. The Higher Criticism is 
mainly an historical analysis ; I confine myself to literary investi- 
gation. By the literary treatment I understand the discussion of 
what we have in the books of Scripture ; the historical analysis goes 
behind this to the further question how these books have reached 
their present form. I think the distinction of the two treatments 
is of considerable practical importance ; since the historical analy- 
sis must, in the nature of things, divide students into hostile camps, 


while, as it appears to me, the literary appreciation of Scripture is 
a common ground upon which opposing schools may meet. The 
conservative thinker maintains that Deuteronomy is the personal 
composition of Moses ; the opposite school regard the book as a 
pious fiction of the age of Josiah. But I do not see how either 
of these opinions, if true, or a third intermediate opinion, can pos- 
sibly affect the question with which I desire to interest the reader, 
namely, the structure si Deuteronomy as it stands, whoever may 
be responsible for that structure. And yet the structural analysis 
of our Deuteronomy, and the connection of its successive parts, are 
by no means clearly understood by the ordinary reader of the Bible. 
The historical and the literary treatments are then distinct : yet 
sometimes they seem to clash. There are two points in particular 
as to which I find myself at variance with the accepted Higher 
Criticism. Historic analysis, investigating dates, sometimes finds 
itself obliged to discriminate between different parts of the same 
literary composition, and to assign to them different periods ; hav- 
ing accomplished this upon sound evidence, it then often proceeds, 
no longer upon evidence, but by tacit assumption, by unconscious 
insinuations rather than by distinct statement, to treat the earlier 
parts of such a composition as * genuine ' or ' original, 1 while the 
portions of later date are made < interpolations, 1 or accretions, 1 
in fact, are alluded to as something illegitimate. Thus, in the case 
of Job y few will hesitate to accept the theory that there is an earlier 
nucleus (to speak roughly) in the dialogue, while the speeches of 
Elihu and the Divine Intervention have come from another source. 
But nearly all commentators who hold this view seem to treat these 
later portions as if they were on a lower literarjp plane, and so 
sensitive is taste to external considerations they soon find them 
in a literary sense inferior. This whole attitude of mind seems to 
me unscientific : it is the intrusion of the modern conception of a 
fixed book and an individual author into a totally different liter- 
ary age. The phenomena of floating poetry, with community of 
authorship and the perpetual revision that goes with oral tradition, 
are not only accepted but insisted upon by biblical scholars. But 


in such floating literature our modern idea of ' originality ' has no 
place ; the earliest presentation has no advantage of authenticity 
over the latest ; nor have the later versions necessarily any superi- 
ority to the earlier. Processes of floating poetry produced the 
Homeric poems, and in this case it is the last form, not the first, 
that makes our supreme Iliad. My contention is that, whatever 
may be the truth as to dates, all the sections of such a poem as 
Job are equally ' genuine.' And as a matter of literary analysis, I 
find the Speeches of Elihu and the Divine Intervention, from what- 
ever sources they may have come, carrying forward the previous 
movement of the poem to a natural dramatic climax, and in liter- 
ary effect as striking as any part of the book. 

My second objection to the characteristic methods of the Higher 
Criticism has to do with the divisions of the text. In analysing 
the contents of a book of Scripture many even of the best critics 
betray an almost exclusive preoccupation with subject matter, to 
the neglect of literary form ; a powerful search-light is thrown upon 
minute historic allusions, while even broad indications of literary 
unity or diversity are passed by. I will take a typical example. 
In the latter part of our Book of Micah a group of verses (vii. 
7-10) must strike even a casual reader by their buoyancy of tone, 
so sharply contrasting with what has gone before. Accordingly 
Wellhausen sees in this changed tone evidence of a new composi- 
tion, product of an age long distant from the age of the prophet : 
"between v. 6 and v. 7 there yawns a century.' 11 What really 
yawns between the verses is simply a change of speakers. The 
latter part of Micah is admittedly dramatic, and a reader attentive 
to literary form dinnot fail to note a distinct dramatic composition 
introduced by the title-verse (vi. 9) : " The voice of the LORD 
crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom will fear thy name." 
The latter part of the title "and the man of wisdonf will fear 
thy name" prepares us to expect an addition in the 'Man of 
Wisdom ' to the usual dramatis persona of prophetic dramas, which 
are confined to God, the Prophet, and the ruined Nation. All 

1 Quoted in Driver's Introduction, in toe. 



that follows the title-verse bears out the description. Verses 10-16 
are the words of denunciation and threatening put into the mouth 
of God. Then the first six verses of chapter seven voice the woe 
of the guilty city. Then the Man of Wisdom speaks, and the dis- 
puted verses change the tone to convey the happy confidence of 
one on whose side the divine intervention is to take place : 

But as for me, I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of 
my salvation : my God will hear me. Rejoice not against me, O mine 
enemy : when I fall, I shall arise, etc. 

The sequence of verses follows quite naturally the dramatic form 
indicated by the title, and no break in the text is required. I have 
no objection in the abstract to the hypothesis of defects in textual 
transmission ; but in judging of any alleged example it is reason- 
able to give to indications of literary form a weight not inferior to 
that of suggestions drawn from subject matter. 

Besides this historic analysis other obvious lines of literary treat- 
ment are omitted from this book. I have scarcely touched such 
poetic criticism as was admirably illustrated by the digest of 
Hebrew imagery which Mr. Montefiore contributed some time 
since to the Jewish Quarterly Review. I have little or nothing 
to say about the style of biblical writers, although I welcome Pro- 
fessor Cook's introduction of the Bible as a model in the teaching 
of Rhetoric. I have even felt compelled to drop the survey of 
subject matter which was at first a part of my plan. The more I 
have studied the Bible from a literary standpoint, and considered 
also the conditions for making such a btandpoint generally acces- 
sible, the more one single aspect of the subject has come into 
prominence the treatment of literary morphology : how to dis- 
tinguish one literary composition from another, to say exactly 
where each begins and ends ; to recognise Epic, Lyric, and other 
forms as they appear in their biblical dress, as well as to distin- 
guish literary forms special to the Sacred writers. Hence the 
book is " An account of the leading Forms of Literature repre- 
sented in the Sacred Writings." The whole works up to what I 


have called a "Literary Index of the Bible." This ranges from 
Genesis to Revelation, including the apocryphal books of Wisdom 
and Ecclesiasticus / it marks off exactly each separate composition 
(or integral parts of the longer compositions), indicates the liter- 
ary form of each, and, where suitable (as in the case of an essay 
or sonnet), suggests an appropriate title. My idea is that a stu- 
dent might mark these divisions and titles in the margin of his 
Revised Version, and so do for his Bible what the printer would 
do for all other literature. I believe it is almost impossible to 
overestimate the difference made to our power of appreciation when 
the literary form of what we are reading is indicated to the eye, 
instead of our having to collect it laboriously from what we read. 
The underlying axiom of my work is that a clear grasp of the outer 
literary form is an essential guide to the inner matter and spirit. 

I am of course not -so sanguine as to suppose that the arrange- 
ment of the Sacred Writings in this Index involving, as it must, 
critical questions in relation to every book of the Bible will be 
accepted. I desire nothing better than to set every student to 
make such an arrangement for himself, getting help from every 
source that is open to him ; and so to tide over the period before 
public opinion permits the Bible to be issued with such aids to 
intelligent reading from the printed page as are taken for granted 
in all other literature. 

I have spoken so far from the point of view of the general or 
the religious reader. But a consideration of a different kind has 
had weight with me in the production of this book : the place in 
liberal education of the Bible treated as literature. It has come 
by now to be generally recognised that the Classics of Greece and 
Rome stand to us in the position of an ancestral literature, the 
inspiration of our great masters, and bond of common associations 
between our poets and their readers. But does not such a posi- 
tion belong equally to the literature of the Bible ? if our intellect 
and imagination have been formed by the Greeks, have we not in 
similar fashion drawn our moral and emotional training from 


Hebrew thought? Whence then the neglect of the Bible in our 
higher schools and colleges ? It is one of the curiosities of our 
civilisation that we are content to go for our liberal education to 
literatures which, morally, are at an opposite pole from ourselves : 
literatures in which the most exalted tone is often an apotheosis 
of the sensuous, which degrade divinity, not only to the human 
level, but to the lowest level of humanity. Our hardest social 
problem being temperance, we study in Greek the glorification of 
intoxication ; while in mature life we are occupied in tracing law 
to the remotest corner of the universe, we go at school for literary 
impulse to the poetry that dramatises the burden of hopeless fate. 
Our highest politics aim at conserving the arts of peace, our first 
poetic lessons are in an Iliad 'that cannot be appreciated without a 
bloodthirsty joy in killing. We seek to form a character in which 
delicacy and reserve shall be supreme, and at the same time are 
training our taste in literatures which, if published as English 
books, would be seized by the police. I recall these paradoxes, 
not to make objection, but to suggest the reasonableness of the 
claim that the one side of our liberal education should have 
another side to balance it. Prudish fears may be unwise, but 
there is no need to put an embargo upon decency. It is surely 
good that our youth, during the formative period, should have 
displayed to them, in a literary dress as brilliant as that of Greek 
literature in lyrics which Pindar cannot surpass, in rhetoric as 
forcible as that of Demosthenes, or contemplative prose not in- 
ferior to Plato's a people dominated by an utter passion for 
righteousness, a people whom ideas of purity, of infinite good, of 
universal order, of faith in the irresistible dowhfall of all moral 
evil, moved to a poetic passion as fervid, and speech as musical, 
as when Sappho sang of love or yEschylus thundered his deep 
notes of destiny. When it is added that the familiarity of the 
English Bible renders all this possible without the demand upon 
the time-table that would be involved in the learning of another 
language, it seems clear that our school and college curricula will 
not have shaken off their mediaeval narrowness and renaissance 


paganism until Classical and Biblical literatures stand side by side 
as sources of our highest culture. 

My obligations will be obvious to the main representative works 
of Biblical Criticism, more especially to the works of Cheyne, 
Briggs, George Adam Smith, and the late Professor Milligan ; to 
the lectures of President Harper; above all to Canon Driver's 
Introduction to Old Testament Literature, which has placed the 
best results of modern investigation within easy reach of the ordi- 
nary reader. I have made copious citations from the Revised 
Version of the Bible and Apocrypha, for the use of which I am 
under obligations to the University Presses of Oxford and Cam- 
bridge. I am indebted for assistance of various kinds to personal 
friends, amongst whom I ought to mention my brother, Dr. Moulton, 
of the Leys School, and here as always Mr. Joseph Jacobs, 
who has become to his large circle of friends a universal referee 
for all departments of study. I have other obligations in my 
memory, which it is not so easy to specify ; obligations to public 
institutions and private individuals whose encouragement has 
assisted me at every step. For the last four years I have been 
lecturing on Biblical literature in churches of various denomina- 
tions, in theological schools and universities, and in popular lecture 
rooms ; my audiences in England and America have included 
clergy and laity, Christian and Jewish, not without a representa- 
tion of that other public which never reads the Bible and hears 
with surprise its most notable passages. Though I have taken 
pains to inquire, I have never found examples of the difficulties 
which it was feared by some the handling of this topic on the 
lecture platform might create. On the contrary, my experience 
has uniformly confirmed what I have called above the foundation 
axiom of my work that an increased apprehension of outer 
literary form is a sure way of deepening spiritual effect. 

I think it right to state that the issue of this work announced 
more than a year ago has been delayed by circumstances for 
which neither author nor publishers are responsible. 

August^ 1 895. 













































2 5S 












THE story in the Book of Job opens by telling how there was a 
man in the land of Uz whose name was Job ; how he was perfect 
and upright, a man that feared God and eschewed _ , , T . 

A Book of JOD: 

evil. It tells of his great substance in sheep and The story Opens 

camels and oxen, and how he was the greatest of l| n 
all the children of the east. Then it speaks of his seven sons 
and three daughters, and describes their joyous family life. And so 
scrupulous was the piety of Job that, when his sons and daughters 
had concluded a round of feastings at one another's houses, Job 
rose early and sanctified them, lest perchance in their gaiety they 
had offended God. 

Then the story passes to a Council in Heaven, at which the 
sons of God came, each from his several province, to present 
themselves before the Lord ; and amongst them came the Adver- 
sary from his sphere of inspection, the Earth. He in his turn 
was questioned as to his charge, and Job was instanced by the 
Lord as a type of human perfection. But the Adversary, as his 
office was, began to raise doubts as to this perfection. God had 
made a hedge of prosperity about the man : if he were to put 
forth his hand 1 , and destroy all at a stroke, Job might yet renounce 
his worship. 

The Lord gave consent for this experiment to be made. So it 
came about that in the midst of Job's prosperity there came 'a 
messenger to him and said : 



The oxen were plowing, 

and the asses feeding beside them; 

and the Sabeans fell upon them 

and took them away; 
yea, they have slain the servants 
with the edge of the sword ; 
and I only am escaped alone to tell thee ! 

While he was yet speaking there came also another, and said t 

The fire of God is fallen from heaven, 
and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, 

and consumed them; 
and I only am escaped alone to tell thee ! 

While he was yet speaking there came also another, and said : 

- The Chaldeans made three bands, 
and fell upon the camels, 
and have taken them away, 

yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; 
and I only am escaped alone to tell thee ! 

While he was yet speaking there came also another, and said : 

Thy sons and thy daughters 
were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house; 

and behold, 

there came a great wind from the wilderness, 
and smote the four corners of the house, 

and it fell upon the young men, 
f and they are dead ; 

and I only am escaped alone to tell thee ! 

Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and 
fell down upon the ground, and worshipped ; and he said : 


Naked came I out of my mother's womb, 
and naked shall I return thither ! 

The Lord gave, 

and the Lord hath taken away : 
Blessed be the Name of the Lord I 


So the experiment of the Adversary was over, and Job had not 
fallen into sin. 

A second Council in Heaven followed, and a second time came 
the sons of God, and the Adversary among them, and made their 
reports. When the Lord triumphed in the matter of Job, that he 
still retained his integrity notwithstanding the destruction done to 
him, the Adversary did honour to the goodness of the man by 
suggesting a yet severer Jest : 

Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But 
put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he 
will renounce thee to thy face. 

Even in this case the Almighty had no fear for his servant. So 
the Adversary went forth, and smote Job with sore boils from the 
sole of his foot unto his crown. And Job silently passed out, as 
one unclean, and crept up the ash-mound, and there he sat and 
suffered ; until his good wife who had uttered no word of com- 
plaint when all the substance was swallowed up and her children 
perished broke down in the presence of this helpless pain : 

Dost thou still hold fast thine integrity? renounce God, and die! 
But Job rebuked this momentary lapse from her wisdom : 

What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not 
receive evil? 

So the second experiment was over, and still Job sinned not with 
his lips. 

But a third trial awaited Job, which needed no Council in 
Heaven to decree it, the trial of time. Day followed day, but 
no relief came ; and Job sat patiently on the ash-mound, an out- 
cast and unclean. And gradually a reverence grew about the 
silent sufferer : the children no longer jostled him as they sported 
to and fro, and groups of sympathising spectators would gather 
about the mound to gaze for a while on the fallen child of the 
east. And the travellers as they passed by the way smote on 


their breasts at the sight; and they made a token of it, and 
carried the news into distant countries, until it reached the ears 
of Job's three Friends, all of them great chieftains like himself: 
the stately Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the sturdy Shuhite, 
and Zophar the Naamathite, with his venerable grey hairs. These 
three ,made an appointment together to visit Job ; and, when they 
came in sight of him, with one accord they lifted up their voices 
and wept. And the crowd of spectators made way for the great 
men to ascend the mound ; and they sat' down upon the ground 
opposite Job. Day after day they took their station there, yet 
they could only weep with their friend ; for, though they longed 
to speak, their utter courtesy forbade them to disturb the majesty 
of that silent suffering. 

At last it was Job himself who broke the long silence, in order 
to curse, not God, but his own life. And at this point the intro- 
ductory story in which the poem is framed begins to give place to 
dialogue ; but not before the introduction has made its contribu- 
(Probiemofthe tion to the general argument. The topic of the 
poem and First whole book is the Mystery of Human Suffering: 
solution) the i ntro( j uct j on has suggested a First Solution of 

the Mystery: Suffering presented as Heaven's test of goodness ; 
the test being made the severer where the goodness is strong 
enough to stand it. 

Job opened his mouth, and cursed the day of his birth. Would 
that it might be blotted from among the days of the year, that the 

Job's c ' cloud > and the thick darkness > an d the shadow of 

iii death, and all the degrees of blackness might seize 

it for their own ! If the best of all gifts never to 
have existed must be denied him, why might not that day of 
his birth have also brought to him the Grave, and th'e long quiet 
sleep with the stately dead, and with the wicked and the weary, 
the prisoner and his task-master, the small and the great, all at 
their ease together? Why should life be forced upon the bitter 
in soul? 


In these later thoughts Job seems to reflect upon the order of 
God's providence : he must be checked, and yet gently ; and 
Biiphaz takes this task upon himself. He dreads 
to give pain to his friend, yet how can he refrain 

from speaking, and laying down to Job the foun- First y cl 
dations of hope and fear with which Job himself lv ~ aay 
has so often comforted the afflicted ? 

Now a thing was sectetly brought to me, 
And mine ear received a whisper thereof: 

In thoughts from the visions of the night, 

When deep sleep falleth on men, 

Fear came upon me, and trembling, 

Which made all my bones to shake. 

Then a spirit passed before my face; 

The hair of my flesh stood up. 

It stood still, but I could not discern the appearance thereof ; 

A form was before mine eyes : 

There was silence, and I heard a voice, saying, 
" Shall mortal man be more just than God? 
Shall a man be more pure than his Maker? " 

With the awful solemnity of this vision Eliphaz enforces the view 
which the three Friends maintain throughout the discussion, and 
which is put forward as a Second Solution of the Problem : The 
very righteousness of God (they think) is involved in the doctrine 
that all Suffering is a judgment upon Sin. Affliction, says Eliphaz, 
does not spring up of itself like the grass, but it is they who have 
sown trouble that reap the same. But he puts the doctrine gently, 
as constituting so much hope for Job : when the sftiner has once 
sought unto God he will find what great and unsearchable 
wonders God doeth. Then happy will have been the chastening 
of the Almighty, for if he maketh sore he bindeth up. 

He shall deliver thee in six troubles; 

Yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee. 

In famine he shall redeem thee from death; 

And in war from the power of the sword. 

Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue; 


Neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh. 

At destruction and dearth thou shalt laugh : 

Neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth. 

For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field ; 

And the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee. 

And thou shalt know that thy tent is in peace ; 

And thou shalt visit thy fold and shalt miss nothing. 

Thou shalt know also that thy seed shall be great, 

And thine offspring as the grass of the earth. 

Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, 

Like as a shock of corn cometh in in its season. 
Lo this, we have searched it, so it is; 
Hear it, and know thou it for thy good. 

Job is bitterly disappointed at thus meeting reproof where he 
had looked for consolation. 

My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brook, 

As the channel of brooks that pass away ; 
Which are black by reason of the ice, 
And wherein the snow hideth itself: 
What time they wax warm, they vanish : 
When it is hot, they are consumed out of their place. 
The paths of their way are turned aside, 
They go up into the waste and perish. 
The caravans of Tema looked, 
The companies of Sheba waited for them. 

They were ashamed because they had hoped; 
came thither and were confounded. 

The comfort Job longs for is the crushing pain that would cut 
him off altogether. And has he not a right to look for it? Is not 
man's life a warfare for a limited time ? 

As a servant that earnestly desireth the shadow, 
And as an hireling that looketh for his wages, 


so Job passes his wearisome nights and months of vanity. 

If I have sinned, what can I do unto thee, 

O thou watcher of men? 
Why hast thou set me as a mark for thee, 

So that I am a burden to myself? 


And why dost thou not pardon my transgression, 

And take away mine iniquity? 
For now shall I lie down in the dust; 

And thou shalt seek me diligently,! 

Job never claims to be sinless, but he knows that no sin of his 
can be proportionate to the total ruin that has fallen upon him. 
But this does not satisfy the second speaker. 

Doth God pervert judgement? 

Or doth the Almighty pervert justice? 

Will not Job disentangle himself from the transgression which has 
already found victims in his children? For so surely as the flag 
cannot grow without water : though it be green and spreading 
above, with roots wrapped round and round its solid bed, yet it 
perishes as if it had never been seen : so surely God will not 
uphold the evil-doer. But neither will God cast away a perfect 

He will yet fill thy mouth with laughter, 

And thy lips with shouting. 
They that hate thee shall be clothed with shame, 

And the tent of the wicked shall be no more. 

Job knows of a truth that it is so. Yet how can a man be just 
with God : 

Which removeth the mountains, and they know it not, 
When he overturneth them in his anger. 

Which shaketh the earth out of her place, 
And the pillars thereof tremble. 

Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; 
And sealeth up the stars. 

What answer but supplication is possible before that overpower- 
ing Strength? a Strength that can destroy both the perfect and 
the wicked alike : for if it be not God who does this, who is it? 
Certain it is that the earth is given into the hand of the wicked. 
However innocent the accused may be, before that Strength his 
own mouth would condemn him. 


If I wash myself with snow water, 
And make my hands never so clean : 

Yet wilt thou plunge me in the ditch, 

And mine own clothes shall abhor me. 
For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, 
That we should come together in judgement; 
There is no daysman betwixt us, 
That might lay his hand upon us both. 

And Job appeals to God himself against this oppression of his 
own handiwork. 

Thine hands have framed me 

And fashioned me together round about; 

Yet thou dost destroy me. 
Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast fashioned me as clay; 

And wilt thou bring me into dust again? 
Hast thou not poured me out as milk, 
And curdled me like cheese? 
Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, 
And knit me together with bones and sinews. 

It is but a small boon that the creature asks of his Creator : that 
he may be let alone for a brief space 

Before I go whence I shall not return : 
Even to the land of darkness 

And of the shadow of death : 
A land of thick darkness, 
As darkness itself; 

A land of the shadow of death, 

Without any order, 
And where the light is as darkness. 

Zophar is deeply shocked at a spectacle he has never beheld in 
all his long life, a good man questioning a visible judgment of 


Canst thou by searching find out God? 

Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? 

It is high as heaven; what canst thou do? 

Deeper than Sheol; what canst thou know? 

The measure thereof is longer than the earth, 

And broader than the sea. 


There is no course for Job but to set his heart aright, and put 
iniquity far away ; then shall he again lift up a spotless countenance 
before God. 

For thou shalt forget thy misery; 

Thou shalt remember it as waters that are passed away : 
And thy life shall be clearer than the noonday; 

Though there be darkness, it shall be as the morning. 

Before the persistent dogmatism ol the three Friends Job loses 
more and more the patience which had stood the shocks of the 


No doubt but ye are the people, 

And wisdom shall die with you. 
But I have understanding as well as you; 
I am not inferior to you : 
Yea, who knoweth not such things as these? 

The just man is made a laughing-stock, and the tents of robbers 
prosper : and yet the very beasts of the field can tell the inquirer 
that the hand of the Lord is responsible for every breath of every 
living thing. What, do the Friends stand forth as representatives 
of Wisdom ? Nay, 

With HIM is wisdom and might; 
He hath counsel and understanding. 

Priests and counsellors spoiled, kings bound and unbound, the 
mighty overthrown, speech reft from the trusty, and understanding 
from the elders, contempt poured upon princes, and the belt of 
the strong loosed : these declare the Wisdom to which alone Job 
will appeal. Will the Friends lie on God's behalf? Will they be 
partial advocates in his cause ? 

Though he slay me, yet will I wait for him : 
Nevertheless I will maintain my ways before him. 

Job appeals to God against God's own dealings, and never doubts 
the issue of his appeal. And yet he is so feeble to plead his cause : 
a driven leaf, a fettered prisoner, a moth-eaten rag ! And the 
time left for his vindication is so short ! 


Man that is born of a woman 

Is of few days, and full of trouble; 

He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down, 

He fleeth also as a shadow and continueth not. 

For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, 

That it will sprout again, 

And that the tender branch thereof will not cease ; 
Though the root thereof wax old in the earth 
And the stock thereof die in the ground, 

Yet through the scent of water it will bud, 

And put forth boughs like a plant. 
But man dieth, and wasteth away : 
Yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? 

As the waters fail from the sea, 

And the river decayeth and drieth up, 
So man lieth down and riseth not; 

Till the heavens be no more, 
They shall not awake, 
Nor be roused out of their sleep. 

A strange fancy plays for a moment with the emotions of the 
sufferer, the fancy that the Grave itself might be sweet, if only 
there might come the vindication beyond it. 

Oh that thou wouldest hide me in Sheol, 

That thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, 

That thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me ! 

If a man die, shall he live again? 
All the days of my warfare would I wait, 

Till my release should come ; 

Tflou shouldest call, 
And I would answer thee : 
Thou wouldest have a desire to the work of thine hands. 

But Job dismisses the thought as vain. 

Surely the mountain falling cometh to nought, 
And the rock is removed out of its place, 
The waters wear the stones, 

The overflowings thereof wash away the dust of the earth: 
And thou destroyest the hope of man : 


Thou prevailest for ever against him, and he passeth; 

Thou changest his countenance, and sendest him away; 
His sons come to honour, 

And he knoweth it not; 
And they are brought low, 

But he perceiveth it not of them; 

Only for himself his flesh hath pain 

And for himself his soul mourneth. 

It has come to the turn of Eliphaz again to speak: he is 
shocked that Job should resist the united appeals Sccond Cycle 
of his Friends. xv-m 

Art thou the first man that was born? 

Or wast thou brought forth before the hills? 
Hast thou heard the secret counsel of God? 

And dost thou restrain wisdom to thyself? 

On his side, Eliphaz says, and perhaps as he speaks he lays his 
hand upon the shoulder of Zophar, are the aged and greyheaded, 
men much older than Job's father. Then he proceeds to formu- 
late again the doctrine of the unfailing judgment upon sin, a judg- 
ment never so certain as when it appears for the time to be delayed. 

The wicked man travaileth with pain all his days, 

Even the number of years that are laid up for the oppressor. 

A sound of terrors is in his ears ; 

In prosperity the spoiler shall come upon him : 

He bclieveth not that he shall return out of darkness, 

And he is waited for of the sword. 

Job cries out against such miserable consolation as this : for his 
comfort he will go to a very different source. 

O earth, cover not thou my blood, 
And let my cry have no resting-place. 
Even now, behold, my "Witness is in heaven, 
And He that voucheth for me is on high. 

But once more the certainty of an ultimate vindication is over- 
shadowed by the thought of the rapidly flitting life. 


If I look for Sheol as mine house; 

If I have spread my couch in the darkness; 

If I have said to corruption, Thou art my father; 

To the worm, Thou art my mother, and my sister; 

Where then is my hope? 

Bildad rebukes Job's discomposure of manner. 

Thou that tearest thyself in thine anger, 

Shall the earth be forsaken for thee ? 

Or shall the rock be removed out of its place ? 

He sternly reiterates the doctrine of judgment, and images of 
doom flow freely. Nets and toils are under the feet of the sinner, 
gins and snares are all about him ; his strength is hungerbitten and 
the firstborn of death devours his members ; brimstone is scattered 
upon his habitation; he is driven from light into darkness and 
chased out of the world. 

Such reiteration simply drives Job to stronger and stronger self- 
assertion : in set terms he declares that God subverteth him in his 
cause, and denies him the judgment for which he calls. And 
God has removed all other succour from him : his kinsfolk have 
failed him, his acquaintance are estranged, his very household 
look upon him as an alien. 

Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, 

O ye my friends, 
For the hand of God hath touched me ! 

But the weakness of a moment is transformed into a burst of 

strength, as he proceeds to lay his hopes upon a help from above. 

Oh that my words were now written ! 

Oh that they were inscribed in a book ! 

That with an iron pen and lead 

They were graven in the rock for ever ! 
For I know that MY VINDICATOR LIVETH, * 

And that he shall stand up at the last upon the earth; 
And after my skin hath been thus destroyed, 
Yet without my flesh shall I see God ! 
Whom I shall see on my side, 
And mine eyes shall behold, and not another ! 


With the overpowering emotions called up by this thought Job 
almost faints : 

My reins are consumed within me 

but after a pause he recovers himself, and is able to bring his 
speech to a conclusion. 

Zophar can scarcely wait his opportunity for speaking; his 
thoughts anticipate his words on the favourite topic. 

Knowest thou not this of old time, 

Since man was placed upon earth, 
That the triumphing of the wicked is short, 
And the joy of the godless but for a moment? 

And many wise saws are poured forth by Zophar, testifying to this 
mockery of the sinner. 

His children shall seek the favour of the poor, 

And his hands shall give back his wealth. 

His bones are full of his youth, 

But it shall lie down with him in the dust. . . . 

The heavens shall reveal his iniquity 

And the earth shall rise up against him. 

The doctrine thus thrust upon him again and again Job at last 
begins to look fairly in the face ; and the more he considers it the 
more he trembles at the doubts that come crowding into his mind. 

How oft is it that the lamp of the wicked is put out? 

That their calamity cometh upon them? 

That God distributeth sorrows in his anger? 

That they are as stubble before the wind, 

And as chaff that the storm carrieth away? . . . 

One dieth in his full strength, 

Being wholly at ease and quiet : 

His breasts are full of milk, 

And the marrow of his bones is moistened. 

And another dieth in bitterness of soul, 

And never tasteth of good. 
They lie down alike in the dust, 
And the worm covereth them. 


Eliphaz will not notice these doubts of Job; his righteous 
indignation with his friend has reached a climax, 
^ casting restraint aside he openly accuses Jab 
of sin. 

Thou hast taken pledges of thy brother for nought, 
And stripped the naked of their clothing. 
Thou hast not given water to the weary to drink, 
And thou hast withholden bread from the hungry. 

Therefore has trouble come upon him : but there is yet a place 
for repentance. If Job will acquaint himself with God and put 
unrighteousness away, he may still delight himself again in the 

Job makes no reply as yet to the cruel accusations : his thoughts 
are upon the heavenly Vindicator. 

Oh that I knew where I might find him : 
That I might come even to his seat ! 

There he would have a judge that would not use his greatness to 
confound him. 

Behold I go forward, 

But he is not there; 
And backward, 

But I cannot perceive him : 
On the left hand, when he doth work, 

But I cannot behold him; 
He hideth himself on the right hand, 

That I cannot see him. 
But he knoweth the way that I take; 

When he hath tried me, 

I shall come forth as gold. 

His spirit purified by this meditation, Job is able with calm delib- 
erateness to lay before his Friends the new thoughts which are 
troubling him : the doubt whether his own is after all an excep- 
tional case, whether it be not rather the truth that in life taken as 
a whole the times of the Almighty are not plainly to be seen. He 


speaks of the violence in the world, and the poverty that violence 
brings in its train : how men remove the ancient landmarks and 
drive the needy out of the way, until they have to seek precarious 
subsistence from the inclement wilderness, or labour in the fields 
of which they may never eat. He tells of violence in the city, 
and cries rising to a regardless God ; of the thief, the adulterer, 
the murderer, men who rebel altogether against the light, and 
the dawn comes upon them like a shadow of death. Yet all these 
fare just like the rest of mankind. 

They are exalted; yet a little while, and they are gone; 
Yea, they are brought low, they are gathered in, as all other! 

Bildad cannot meet these questionings of Job : his thoughts 
are filled with the overpowering greatness of God. He rises on 
the wave of a great theme, as he pictures the Ruler 
of the Universe engaged in matters of high celestial " v ' x 
policy, or discovering blemishes in the brightness of the stars ; 
before him the Shades beneath the sea tremble ; l Destruction 
and the Abyss reveal their secrets ; his work is to hang 
the earth upon nothing, to support the mighty waters in xrvi ' 5 M 
the flimsy clouds, to divide light and darkness by a boundary circle. 

Lo, these are but the outskirts of his ways; 

And how small a whisper do we hear of him ! 

But the thunder of his power who can understand? 

The Friends have persisted in ignoring the arguments that Job 

has offered, and Job can only fall back into self-assertion, xxvi. 1-4 


As God liveth, who hath taken away my right; xxvii ' I " 6 

And the Almighty, who hath vexed my soul; 

All the while my breath is in me, 

And the spirit of God is in my nostrils : 
Surely my lips shall not speak unrighteousness, 
Neither shall my tongue utter deceit. 

1 In reference to the rearrangement of the speeches at this point see yob in 
Literary Index (Appendix I). 



Once more, and for the last time, the doctrine of unfailing 
7- judgment on sin is to be asserted, and Zophar com- 
a8 mences: 

Let mine enemy be as the wicked 

His long experience has filled him with instances of the godless 
frustrated in their hopes : their children multiplied for the sword, 
their heaped-up silver divided amongst the innocent, and them- 
selves swept by the tempest out of their place. To Zophar this 
confidence in the unerring stroke of doom seems the very founda- 
tion of Wisdom. There are mines out of which may be dug gold 
and silver and precious stones, but where is the place of Wisdom ? 

The deep saith, It is not in me : 

And the sea saith, It is not with me : 

It cannot be gotten for gold, 

Neither shall silver be weighed Tor the price thereof. 

God only is the source of it, and when he laid the foundations of 
the universe he inwrought this into the structure of his world : 
that the fear of the Lord and his judgments on evil this should 
be Wisdom and Understanding. 

Job is gathering himself together for his final vindication. Hut 
first, softly to himself, he meditates upon the contrast between 
then and now. 

Oh that I were as in the months of old, 
As in the days when God watched over me ; 
When his lamp shined upon my head, 
And by his light I walked through darkness. 

In the rich imagery of the East he paints a prosperity that washed 
his steps in butter; he describes the hush that fell upon the 
assembly of the great when he advanced to join their* ; how among 
the people every ear that heard him blessed him, and every eye 
that saw him was a witness to the deeds of kindness by which he 
spread happiness around him. But now! He is derided by 
those whose fathers were not to be ranked with the dogs of his 


flock ; the very rabble thrust him aside as he walks. And worse 

thau all 

Thou art turned to be cruel to me : 

With the might of thy hand thou persecutest me. 

But before friend and foe, and in the presence of God himself, 

Job stands forth to make solemn vindication. Towering above 

the seated accusers, he waves his arm in the full 

ritual of the Oath of gearing. Article by article ^Vindication 

he repudiates the lust of the eye, oppression of the 

weak, failure in charity to the poor or hospitality to the stranger, 

secret trust in gold or secret worship of the heavenly host ; if there 

be any other transgression and Job passionately longs to see the 

indictment of an adversary he makes the very concealment of 

it a fresh sin. Once more he breaks out : 

If my land cry out against me, 

And the furrows thereof weep together ; 

If I have eaten the fruits thereof without money, 

Or have caused the owners thereof to lose their life : 

Let thistles grow instead of wheat, 

And cockle instead of barley ! 

Then, with a wave of dismissal " The words of Job are ended " 
he seats himself and covers his face with his robe ; and the 
Friends understand that the discussion is closed. 

Religious tradition, embodied in the speeches of the three 
Friends, has spent its energies and failed. But there is youth- 
ful enthusiasm represented among the crowd of Jnte 08ition f 
spectators round the ash-mound, in the person of Elihu 
Elihu, of the great family of Ram. He has stood X2Udi 
listening with* indignation in his heart ; indignation against Job 
because he justified himself and not God, and indignation against 
the Friends because they had been unable to si- 
lence such presumption. Elihu now breaks through X1 ' " xxxm - 
the circle and ascends the ash-mound, standing respectful but 


passionate before the seated elders. He had said that days must 
speak and multitude of years show wisdom : but he has an under- 
standing as well as they ; yea, his spirit feels like wine that can find 
no vent but by bursting its bottle. Thus, with juvenile profuse- 
ness, he pours forth some fifty lines in saying that he is about to 
speak, before he confronts Job who had longed to meet God 
face to face with the words : 

Behold, I am according to thy wish, in God's stead. 

He thus reaches the point which makes his contribution to the 
discussion, a facet of the truth which his generation was seeing 
a little more clearly than the generation before him. It may be 

made a Third Solution of the Mystery : Suffering 

(Third Solution) . . ,/./>., y 

is one of the voices by which God warns and 

restores men. He describes a man chastened with pain upon his 
bed until his life abhorreth bread, and his soul the daintiest meat : 

If there be with him an angel, 
An interpreter, one among a thousand, 
To shew unto man what is right for him; 
Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, 
" Deliver him from going down to the pit, 
I have found a ransom." 

An idyllic picture follows of restored purity and happy penitence ; 
and Elihu urges this view upon Job, and pauses for Job's reply. 

But Job vouchsafes no reply ; and receives the new light with 
contemptuous indifference. 

Disappointed at this reception, Elihu turns to the three Friends 

as wise men with an ear to try words and hopes to take 

them with him, and all men of understanding, in his 

protest against this Job, who drinketh up .scorning like 

water, who addeth rebellion unto sin, and clappeth his hands 

against God. He enlarges upon the presumption of mankind 

and the judgments with which it is overwhelmed, and looks to 

the three Friends for assent. 


But the three Friends make no sign ; they meet their youthful 
champion with chilling silence. 

Slighted on both sides, Elihu, like Job, is driven to look up- 
wards : as his glance sweeps the sky, another flood 


of inspiration comes upon him. 

Look unto the Heavens, and see : 

he cries, alike to Job anti to his companions. Is the God of those 
heavens, he asks, a God to be harmed by a man's sin, or benefited 
by his righteousness? Thus, " fetching his knowledge from afar," 
he makes the heavens a starting-point for a fresh vindication of 
the providence that brings low and builds up again mighty kings, 

or cuts off whole peoples in a night. A rumble of 
i- i_ j 11 i i j RiseoftheWliirl- 

distant thunder recalls him to his text ; and, when 

he looks up a second time, the brilliant sky of the 
land of Uz has begun to show signs of change. xxxvn ' 24 
Now his whole discussion of providential might is bound up with 
the manifestations of power that are being exhibited at the moment 
in the changing heavens. His words bring before us the small 
drops of water and the spreading clouds, the play of lightning and 
the noise that tells of God, down to the very cattle standing expect- 
ant of the coming storm* When a nearer burst of thunder makes 
his heart tremble and move out of its place, Elihu still keeps his 
eyes fastened upon the sky : he finds fresh texts in the roaring voice 
of the heavens, and the lightning that lightens to the ends of the 
earth, in the snow intermingled with mighty rain as the icy breath 
of the north encounters the storm out of the chambers of the 
south, in the thick clouds wearied with waterings, and their delicate 
balancings as they descend, and descend, until they have wrapped 
in their foldg speaker and hearers, and they cannot order their 
speech by reason of the darkness, and the impetuous eloquence of 
Elihu has died down into dread : 

If a man speak, surely he shall be swallowed up ! 
Now the whirlwind is upon them : in marvellous wise its blasts 


seem to cleanse the mirky darkness into order; flashes of un- 
earthly bright out of the dark make them cast their eyes down- 
ward ; until the flashes at last grow together into one terrible 
majesty of golden splendour in the northern heart of the storm, 
and the whirlwind has become the 


Divine Interven- Who is this that darkeneth counsel 
tion By words without knowledge? 

xxxviii-xlii. 6 Gird up now thy loins like a man; 

For I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. 

As the Voice comes out of the storm a new aspect of the dis- 
cussion unfolds itself. The perplexities of Job and his Friends 
rested upon a one-sided view that confined its survey to Evil, as 
if it alone were exceptional and unintelligible ; the speech attrib- 
uted to the Divine Being comes to restore the balance by taking 
a more comprehensive survey. It may be reckoned as a Fourth 

r, . , Solution of the Problem : That the whole universe 
(Fourth Solution) . / 

is an unfathomea Mystery^ in which the Evil is not 

more mysterious than the Good and the Great. The idea of the 
whirlwind is maintained throughout : the tone of overmastering 
might so often mistaken for the meaning of this Theophany - 
is no more than the outward form in which the words of God are 
embodied ; the traditional association of thunder with the voice 
of God leading our poet to convey the speech of Deity in the 
form of short sharp interrogatories, like explosions of thunder, 
each outburst putting some startling mystery of nature. 

Who shut up the sea with doors, 

When it brake forth and issued out of the wombj^ 

When I made the cloud the garment thereof, 

And thick darkness a swaddling band for it, 

And prescribed for it my decree, 

And set bars and doors, 

And said, M Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further; 

And here shall thy proud waves be stayed " ? 


Have the gates of death been revealed unto thee, 

Or hast thou seen the gates of the shadow of Death? 

'Where is the way to the dwelling of light, 

And as for darkness, where is the place thereof? 

Hath the rain a father? 

Or who hath begotten the drops of dew? 
Out of whose womb came the ice ? 

And the hdary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it? 

There is no pause in the succession of wonders : the wonder of 
the lioness hunting her prey ; of the young ravens crying to God 
for their food ; the wonder of the wild goats bringing forth their 
young ; the wonder of the wild ass ranging loose in the wilderness, 
and the ox abiding patiently by his crib ; the wonder of the 
ostrich, foolish over her young because God has deprived her of 
wisdom, glorious in flight, putting to scorn the horse and his 
rider ; the wonder of the war-horse pawing in the valley and 
rejoicing in his strength, swallowing the ground in fierceness and 
rage amid the thunder of the captains and the shouting. There 
is a momentary lull in the storm, when Job's voice is heard in 
awe-struck humility : 

Once have I spoken, and I will not answer: 
Yea twice, but I will proceed no further. 

Then again the swirl of mystery rages around : the Voice tells of 
Itehemoth, with bones of brass and limbs of iron, his larder a 
mountain and a jungle his bower, watching unconcernedly the 
swelling of the boisterous waterfloods ; or of Leviathan himself, 
panoplied against the hook of the fisher or snare of the fowler, 
and scorning even the hunter's spear and the arrows of the war- 
rior, flashing light and breathing smoke as he goes, terror dancing 
before him, and ocean turning hoary in his wake. 

At last the storm begins to abate, and Job is able to make his 
submission. He knows that God is all-powerful, and that no 
purpose of his can be restrained. 


" Who is this that hideth counsel without knowledge ? " 

comes like an echoing rumble of the retiring storm. Job admits 
the charge : he has uttered that which he understood not, and 
meddled in things too high for him. 

"I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me " 

again sounds forth, like a more distant echo of the tempest. Job 
comprehends his whole submission in one utterance. 

I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; 
But now mine eye seeth thee, 
Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent 
In dust and ashes. 

Then the storm has entirely cleared away. And with it the 
dramatic poem has given place to the frame of story : which 
resumes to relate how, when Job had thus spoken, 

the an er of the Lord was kindl ed against the 
three Friends, because they had not said of Him 
the thing that was right as His servant Job had. Thus the Epi- 
logue furnishes a Fifth Solution : the proper attitude of mind 

,**+** i + N towards the Mystery of Human Suffering: that 
(Finn solution) ' * * MO 

the strong faith of Job, which could even reproach 
God as a friend reproaches a friend, was more acceptable to Him 
than the servile adoration which sought to twist the truth in order 
to magnify God. It only remains to tell how the Lord turned the 
captivity of Job,, and his wealth and prosperity returned in greater 
measure than before ; and he begat sons and daughters, and saw 
his sons' sons to the fourth generation. So Job died, being old 
and full of years. 



Such is the Book of Job presented as a piece of literature. 
The questions of Theology or historic criticism that it suggests 
are outside the scope of the present work. Our Llterary mterest 
immediate concern is with the various kinds of in the Book of 
literary interest which have touched us as we J b 
have traversed this monument of ancient literature. 

The dominant impression is that of a magnificent drama. No 
element of dramatic effect is wanting ; and that which we might 

least have expected, the scenic effect, is especially .. 

* J Dramatic 

impressive. The great ash-mound outside an an- interest 

cient village or town makes a stage just suited for of Back * r <* 
the single scene and that an open-air scene to which a Greek 
tragedy would be confined. And resemblance to a Greek drama 
is further maintained by the crowd of spectators who stand round 
this ash-mound like a silent Chorus ; unless, indeed, we are to 
consider that their sentiments are conveyed by Elihu as Chorus- 
Leader. When we reach the crisis of the poem we are able to 
see what advantage a drama addressed purely to the imagination 
may have over plays intended for the theatre. No stage machin- 
ery could possibly realise the changes of sky and atmosphere 
which in Job make a dramatic background for the approach of 
Deity. It is true that the original poem does not describe these 
changes, as I have done, in straightforward narrative. But every 
scholar is aware that the ' stage directions ' of modern plays are 
wanting in the dramas of antiquity : whatever variations of move- 
ment and surroundings these involve have to be collected from the 
words of the personages who take part in the dialogue. And in 
the transformation traced above, from a day of brilliant sunshine 
to a thunderstorm, and yet further to a supernatural apparition, 
every detail of change is implied in the words of Elihu. We 
watch the changing scene through the eyes of those who are in 
the midst of it. 


Interest of character abounds in the poem. I must confess I 
cannot follow the subtle differences which some commentators see 
of Character between the characters of the three, Friends. ,It 
is easy to recognise in Eliphaz a stately personage 
with a wider range of thought than his colleagues. But Bildad 
and'Zophar leave different impressions on different readers. To 
me Bildad seems a touch more blunt in his manner than the rest. 
Of Zophar I would only say that the speeches assigned him fit 
well with the suggestion of his being a generation older than the 
other personages of the poem ; though of course the 
words of Eliphaz which claim such a personage as on 
his side need not necessarily refer to anyone present. But what- 
ever may be thought about the individualities of the Friends, no 
one can miss the contrast between the whole group and Job; 
between the interest of static character in various modifications 
of conformity to current ideals, and the interest of a dynamic per- 
sonality like that of Job, which can look back to a realisation of 
the perfection his friends describe, and can yet at the call of cir- 
cumstances fling his former beliefs to the winds, and probe pas- 
sionately among the mysteries of providence for new conceptions 
of divine rule. And the welcom'e addition to the poem of Elihu 
adds the ever fresh interest of youth in contrast with age. In the 
impetuous self-confidence of this personage, his flowing yet jejune 
eloquence, and in the chilling reception it meets alike from Job 
and Job's adversaries, we have youth presented from the one side. 
But, on the other hand, youth has dramatic justice done to it 
when we find Elihu's heart beating responsive to every change 
of the changing heavens, and eagerly drinking in the accumulat- 
ing terrors of the storm, until his wild speech stops only before 
the voice of God. 

But scenery and character might almost be called secondary 
elements of drama: its essence lies in action. The whole world 

M . A of literature hardly contains a more remarkable 
ana of Movement / t 

piece of dramatic movement than the changes of 

position taken up by Job in the course of his dialogue with the 


Friends. Before it commenced Job had met his ruin with that 
idgal patience which has forever been associated with his name. 
At last we find just a shadow of resistance in his plaintive enquiry, 
why life should be forced upon the miserable. His friends fasten 
upon this, and make it a starting-point for the discussion in which 
they urge that the sufferer is a sinner. Almost in an instant the 
patient Job is transformed into an angry rebel, tearing to shreds 
optimist views of righteous providence, and, with the passion of a 
Titan, painting God as an Irresponsible Omnipotence that delights 
to put righteousness and wickedness on an equality of helplessness 
to resist Him. The Friends continue their pressure, and Job is 
driven to appeal to God against their misconstruction ; more and 
more as the action advances Job is led to rest his hopes of vindi- 
cation on the Being he began by maligning. At last he is found 
to have traversed a circle : and the same God whom, in the ninth 
chapter, he had accused of exercising judgment only to show his 
omnipotence, he contrasts with the Friends in the twenty-third 
chapter as a judge who would not contend with him in the great- 
ness of his power. When the climax of the Theophany comes, 
this movement of the drama is carried forward into a double sur- 
prise. Job had felt that if only he could find his way into the 
presence of God his cause would be secure. His prayer is strangely 
granted, and with what result ? 

I had heard of thec by the hearing of the ear; 
But now mine eye seeth thee, 
Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent 
In dust and ashes. 

Yet was Job's first thought a mistake ? The answer is a second 
surprise. While the tempest lasts the Theophany appears wholly 
directed agamst Job. But when the storm has cleared it is found 
to be the adversaries who have incurred the wrath of God, and his 
servant Job has said of him the thing that is right. The deep 
moral significance of these various presentations of Deity need 
not make us overlook the dramatic beauty in the transition from 
one to another. 


The dialogue mjob is introduced and concluded by a narrative 

story, and to dramatic effect must be added epic : I use this word 

without meaning to convey any judgment on tile 

Epic Interest . , . . . . - J , , 

question whether the incidents of the book are to 
be regarded as imaginary or as historically true. The narrative is 
one of grand simplicity, like the epics of antiquity. A few touches 
create for us a whole picture of life and scheme of society. The 
first note struck is that of perfection ; and the life of which Job 
is declared the perfect type is that of a simple pastoral age. His 
substance of cattle is given in ideal figures ; and he is called the 
greatest of all the children of the east. It is an age in which the 
' state ' is not yet born, but family life is pictured on . the highest 
scale. The great seasons which break the monotony of such 
patriarchal existence are rounds of festal gatherings among the 
seven sons of Job, each receiving on his day with a regularity 
never broken; the sons moreover invite their sisters, and so 
women's society raises a revel into a dignified ceremonial. Such 
interchange of festivity would represent the highest ordinary ideals 
of the age. But behind this, Job, who lives in a wider world, has 
his high day of religious devotion, rising early in the morning to 
sanctify his children against possible sin. 

In an instant, without any connecting link or wordy preparation, 
after the fashion of the old epics which have the doings of gods 
and men alike in their grasp, we are transported to the heavenly 
counterpart of such earthly festivities. Heaven too has its high 
day on which the sons of God gather together from their several 
provinces ; in the description of two such assemblies the recur- 
rence of identical phrases conveys the notion of ritual and cere- 
monial observance. We reach a point in the story at which the 
utmost care is needed to guard against a misconception of the 

whole incident. Among the sons of God, it is 
job* SaUn f said > cornes ' The Satan. 1 It is best to use the article 

and speak of ' The Satan/ or as the margin gives 
it, ' The Adversary ' : that is, the Adversary of the Saints. Else- 
where in Scripture the title of this office has become the name of 


a personage the Adversary of God, or 'Satan/ 1 But here (as 

in a similar passage of ZechariaK) the Satan is an official 

o the Court of Heaven. There is nothing in his recep- ^^f: 

nan 111 . i 

tion to distinguish him from the other sons of God ; as 
they may come from sun or moon or other parts of the Uni- 
verse, so the Satan is the Inspector of Earth, and describes his 
occupation as " going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and 
down in it." When once the associations with the other ' Satan' 
are laid aside, it is easy'to see that in the dealings of this per- 
sonage with Job there is no malignity ; he simply questions where 
others accept, and in an inspector such distrust is a virtue. The 
Roman Church has exactly caught this conception in its 'Advoca- 
tus Diaboli ' : such an advocate may be in fact a pious and kindly 
ecclesiastic, but he has the function assigned him of searching out 
all possible evil that can be alleged against a candidate for canoni- 
sation, lest the honours of the Church might be given without due 
enquiry. In the present case the Satan merely points out possible 
weaknesses in Job, and a means of testing them. The Court of 
Heaven sanctions the ' experiment ' : the word ' experiment ' has 
only to be changed into its equivalent 'probation* for the whole 
proceeding to be brought within accepted notions of divine gov- 

Epic power is again exhibited in the description of the mode in 
which this experiment is carried out. Slow history brings about 
results by what means are in its power, with much of makeshift, 
and accidents which mar the symmetry of events. But epic 
poetry can make its action harmonious ; and it seems to be a 
conspiracy of heaven and earth that compasses Job's destruction. 
The Sabeans take his oxen, the sky rains fire upon the sheep, the 

1 Bishop Bickersteth in his epic poem Yesterday \ To-day, and Forever ingeniously 
harmonises these two conceptions of Satan. He makes his Lucifer Guardian Spirit 
of Earth and Man : as part of his office he tempts Adam : then flies to Heaven to be 
fallen Man's accuser: gradually the spirit in which he has executed his office 
intensifies and makes more and more pronounced his own fall, until he at last sinks 
into an open Adversary of God. See the poem, books iv-vi, and the bishop's de- 
fence of this view in the St. James's Sermons. 


Chaldeans carry away the camels, and the winds of the wilderness 
overwhelm Job's children: while the separate destructions are 
worked into a concerto of ruin by the recurrence of the 
senger's wail 

I only am escaped alone to tell thee. 

It is an ideally grand shock. But at this stage Job's character is 
epic, and the shock is met by an ideal grandeur of acceptance. 
One by one the customary gestures of distress are exhibited, and 
then slowly succeed the words which have become the world's 
formulary for the emotion of bereavement. They are sublime 
words, that first proclaim simply the essential manhood to which 
the whole of life is but an accessory, and then throw over pious 
submission a grace of oriental courtesy that would make the 
resumption of a gift an occasion for remembering the giver. 

Naked came I out of my mother's womb, 
And naked shall I return thither ! 

The Lord gave, 

And the Lord hath taken away : 
Blessed be the Name of the Lord ! 

Our epic plot intensifies, and when the second assembly in 
heaven is held, God and the Satan concur in honouring Job's con- 
stancy by severer tests. In what follows there is no realistic 
description ; epic poetry can act by reticence, and a word or two 
are sufficient to convey the picture of Job shrinking away silent 
and unclean from among his fellows, with a patience terrible to 
look upon ; until the silence is broken by a second of those 
utterances of his which are so colossal in their simplicity. The 
oriental nomad life has two ideals specially its own. One is the 
solemn giving and receiving of gifts. The other is an instinct of 
authority that knows no bounds to its submission : an oriental 
seems to feel a pride in self-prostration before his natural lord. 
Both ideals are united in Job's answer to his wife's murmur : 

What? shall we receive good at the hands of God and 
shall we not receive evil? 


The simple power of epic poetry has raised us to a high plane 
of thought and feeling : upon that plane the action of the poem is 
to^nove with a passionateness that is proper to 
drama. But there is a transition stage between p^ urseaLyric 
the one and the other in that portion of the book 
entitled ' Job's Curse.' This is not narrative, and so cannot be 
epic ; it is clearly distinct from the dramatic poetry to which it is 
e, starting-point. Examination of it shows at once the musical 
elaboration and accumulation of musings on a situation or thought 
which we associate with lyric poetry. The Curse is a counterpart 
to such English lyrics as Wordsworth's Intimations of Immortality 
or Gray's Bard. I subjoin the whole here, that it may be read 
in this connection as a separate lyric : an Elegy of a Broken 

Let the clay perish wherein I was born; 

And the night which said, There is a man child conceived! 

Let that day be darkness; 

Let not God regard it from above, 

Neither let the light shine upon it ! 

Let darkness and the shadow of death claim it for their own; 

Let a cloud dwell upon it; 

Let all that maketh black the day terrify it ! 

As for that night, let thick darkness seize upon it; 

Let it not rejoice among the days of the year; 

Let it not come into the number of the months \ 

Lo, let that night be barren ; 

Let no joyful voice come therein ! 

Let them curse it that curse the day, 

Who are ready to rouse up leviathan ! 

Let the stars of the twilight thereof be dark ! 

Let it look for light, but have none; 

Neither let it behold the eyelids of the morning : 

Because it shut not up the doors of my mother's womb, 
Nor hid trouble from mine eyes ! 


Why died I not from the womb? 

Why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly? 
Why did the knees receive me? 

Or why the breasts, that I should suck ? 
Fbr now should I have lien down and been quiet; 
I should have slept; then had I been at rest, 

With kings and counsellors of the earth, 

Which built solitary piles for themselves; 

Or with princes that had gold, 

Who filled their houses with silver; 
Or as an hidden untimely birth I had not been; 
As infants which never saw light. 

There the wicked cease from troubling; 

And there the weary be at rest. 

There the prisoners are at ease together; 

They hear not the voice of the taskmaster. 

The small and great are there ; 

And the servant is free from his master. 

Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, 
And life unto the bitter in soul? 

Which long for death, but it cometh not; 

And dig for it more than for hid treasures; 

Which rejoice exceedingly, 

And are glad when they can find the grave. 
Why is light given to a man whose way is hid, 
And whom God hath hedged in? 

For my sighing cometh before I eat, 

And my roarings are poured out like water. 

For the thing which I fear cometh upon me, 

And that which I am afraid of cometh unto me 

I am not at ease, 

Neither am I quiet, 

Neither have I rest; 

But trouble cometh. 

Our result then so far is that the Book of Job contains specimens 
of epic, lyric, and dramatic composition; all the three main 
elements of poetry find a representation in it, and a representation 


of the most impressive kind. I pass now to those departments 

of literature which are usually considered to be 

furthest removed from poetry, philosophy and 

science : philosophy that seeks to find a meaning 

underlying life as a whole, and science that observes in detail and 

arranges its observations. 

The whole work is a philosophical discussion dramatised. The 
subject discussed is the mystery of human suffering, various Attitudes 
and its bearing upon the righteous government of to the problem 
the world : this is one of the stock questions of discussed 
philosophy. Each section of the book is the representation of a 
different philosophical attitude to this question. 

The three Friends present a cut and dried theory of suffering 
that it is always penal. They are brought before 
us as behaving in the usual fashion of persons ^ Friends: A 
finally committed to a theory : they pour out 
stores of facts that make for their view, they ignore and refuse to 
examine facts that tell against it, and they hint moral obliquity as 
the real explanation of refusal to concur in their 

doctrine. Elihu introduces the same theory modi- Eli * u ; ? heory 

J modified 

fied and corrected to date ; with him suffering is 
punishment for sin, but that special kind of punishment which is 
corrective in character. He accordingly stands for a philosophic 
school of the second generation ; and we are not surprised to find 
him maintaining his position with as much inflexibility as the 
Friends have shown, and at the same time magnifying his slight 
difference from them, and appearing no less an adversary to the 
Friends than to Job himself. 

Beware lest ye say, "We have found wisdom; 
God may vanquish him, not man " : 
For he hath not directed his words against me; 
Neither will I answer him with your speeches. 

At the furthest remove from these is found Job, who takes a 
negative attitude, shattering other theories but providing none of 


his own. Of course no one will understand Job really to accept 
what some of his words imply, as where he sees in 
God an omnipotence that judges only to display 
power. But these wild words are not out of place 
as a poetically strong representation of the perplexities that en- 
counter one who would explain providential action. Job simply 
cannot solve these perplexities ; he trusts in a divine vindication 
at some time, but meanwhile can only pronounce the problem of 
life insoluble. This is distinctly a philosophic attitude : it is noth- 
ing but the famous epoche, or suspension of mind, which from the 
time of Socrates has been recognised as a natural tone of mind 
for an enquirer. Of course there is a vast difference between 
the cold brightness of Plato's dialogues and the heated debate in 
Job; the Hebrew poem is not the discussion in the Porch or 
Garden, but represents philosophy as it is talked in the school 
of affliction. Job represents the epoche in a passion. 

Yet another philosophical position is embodied in the Divine 
Intervention. As I have suggested above, this portion of the 
Divine interven- P oem has been often misunderstood. It has been 
tion: Reference to assumed, not unnaturally, that the Divine Inter- 
a wider category vent i on _i ike the De its ex machinA of the Greek 
drama must be a final settlement of the questions in dispute. 
When the speeches attributed to God are examined in this light 
they are found to be no settlement at all, or, what were worse 
than any settlement, an indignant denial of man's right to ques- 
tion. But such interpretations overlook one important considera- 
tion : that in the epilogue Job is pronounced by the Lord to have 
said of him the thing that is right, while Job's Friends, who main- 
tained the wickedness of questioning, are declared to have incurred 
the Divine anger. The interpretation involves a double mistake. 
On the one hand the Divine Intervention is not a settlement of 
the matter in dispute ; at the end of the poem the problem of 
human suffering remains a mystery. But this section of the work, 
like others, is a distinct contribution towards a solution. In esti- 
mating what that contribution is a second mistake must be avoided. 


by which form and substance have been confused. The tone of 
scojn which rings through the sentences of the Divine utterance 
must, as I have said above, be considered part of the dramatic 
form thrown over the discussion; the poet has conceived the 
thunder tone to be the proper embodiment for the Divine voice, 
and the explosive interrogatories of which the speeches are com- 
posed are just as much a portion of this dramatic setting as the 
signs of a rising tempest tfhich are put into the mouth of Elihu. 
The whole is introduced with the explanation: "The Lord 
answered Job out of the whirlwind." But when we go below 
this outer form, and enquire what is the general drift of the 
Divine utterance as a whole, we find, as I have said before, that 
its effect is to widen the field of discussion. Job has fastened his 
attention simply upon Evil, and successfully maintained its inex- 
plicableness against his friends. The Divine Intervention brings 
out that the Good and the Great, all that men instinctively 
admire in the universe, is just as inexplicable as Evil. Now this 
is distinctly a contribution towards the solution of the problem ; 
in philosophic terms, it has included the matter under discussion 
in a wider category, and this represents a stage of philosophic 
advance. Moreover, it implies consolation to the human sufferer 
as well as progress to the discussion. Job had met loss and pain 
without a murmur ; he broke down when long musing made him 
realise the isolation his ruin had brought him, and how he was an 
outcast from intelligible law. He recovers his self-control when 
he is led to feel that his burden is only part of the world-mystery 
of Good and Evil, for the solution of which all time is too short. 

Two sections of the work have yet to be considered in the 
present connection, the prologue and the epilogue. From the 

side of philosophy no part of Job is more im- .. 

,,./.., ~ , . Epilogue : Prac- 

portant than the brief epilogue. Other sections tical bearings of 

suggest distinct solutions of the problem under the <i ue8tion 
discussion. But when a question is so wide as to admit of no 
final settlement, but only of tentative treatment, philosophy can 
have no more important task than to discover a practical attitude 


which we may assume towards it while advancing slowly towards 
theoretic knowledge. This is what the epilogue does in its pro- 
nouncement that Job has been right and his friends wrong. As 
suggested above, this can have no other meaning than to imply 
that the bold faith of a Job, which could reproach his God as 
friend reproaches friend where the Divine dealings seemed unjust, 
was, though founded on ignorance, more acceptable to that God 
than the servile adoration which sought to twist facts in order to 
magnify His name. The deep significance of such a pronounce- 
ment must be welcomed by every school of thought ; it for ever 
stamps the God of the Bible as a God on the side of enquiry. 

But before this principle has been laid down in the epilogue, 
before Job and his friends have commenced to discuss the mys- 
Proiogue- specu- tery of sufferin & another explanation of that mys- 
utionuponaTran- tery has been suggested to our thoughts in the 
scendentai Expia- prologue. When we are made to see the Powers 
of Heaven discussing the character of Job as if it 
were an item in which the welfare of the universe was concerned, 
and contriving visitations of suffering as means of testing whether 
the character be really all that it seems to be, it is impossible for 
our minds not to generalise, and wonder whether large part of the 
visible suffering in the actual world be not a probationary visita- 
tion of this nature. Here then there is another solution presented : 
how is the treatment to be classified from our immediate point of 
view? The thinker has other weapons besides philosophic dis- 
cussion. Philosophy deals with that which can be known by its 
own methods; but the thinker may recognise a region outside 
this, which therefore from the philosophic point of view is the 
unknowable, which may nevertheless have influences operating 
upon the region of what is known. In reference to such a region 
he will not employ the method of discussion, but rather the form 
of philosophic suggestion that has come to be called 'speculation/ 
The prologue to Job may be regarded as giving the authority of 
Holy Writ to reverent speculation upon the higher mysteries. 
No doubt here difference of interpretation comes in. Those who 


consider that the first two chapters of Job represent an historic 
fact incidents which actually happened will not use the word 
4 spqpulation ' : to them this prologue will be the final settlement 
of the whole question. But the great majority of readers will 
take these chapters to be part of the parable into which the his- 
tory of Job has been worked up ; the incidents in heaven, like the 
incidents of the Prodigal Son, they will understand to be spirit- 
ually imagined, not historically narrated. And these will recognise 
that the prologue gives completeness to the Book of Job viewed 
from the standpoint of philosophy ; the problem of human suffer- 
ing, which has in other parts of the book been treated by theory 
and theory modified, by negative positions and reference to a 
wider category, and even by pronouncement upon its practical 
bearings, has a further illumination cast upon it by a speculation 
Which refers the origin of suffering to the mysteries of the super- 
natural world. 

I have spoken of science as well as philosophy. Science ob- 
serves nature and life ; observation of nature is the 

. i t P , . . Interest of 

special work of modem science, antiquity turned science: 
its reflection chiefly on human life. It is hardly The Land Ques- 
necessary to point out that proverb-like reflec- 
tions on society and life form large part of the material out of 
which the dialogue in Job is constructed. I will be content with 
a single one of the more extended illustrations. It is remarkable 
that the whole course of what the most modern thought calls 
'the land question* is sketched in a single chapter of 
Job. The patriarch is describing what seems to him 
the misgovernment of the world. He commences with the en- 
croachments of private ownership upon the common land : 

There are that remove the landmarks. ... a, 4 

They turn the needy out of the way. 

There is consequently the formation of a class of the poor, who 
are either driven to the barren regions, or become a mere labour- 
ing class without rights in the land of the community. 


4 1 5 The poor of the earth hide themselves together : 

Behold, as wild asses in the desert 

They go forth to their work, seeking diligently for meat; 

The wilderness yieldeth them food for their children. . . 
7, 8 They lie all night naked without clothing, 

And have no covering in the cold. 

They are wet with the showers of the mountains, 

And embrace the rock for want of a shelter. 

Poverty, Job sees, necessitates borrowing, and the fresh distress 
that is its natural sequel. 

2 3 They violently take away flocks and feed them, 

They drive away the ass of the fatherless, 
They take the widow's ox for a pledge. 

Poverty is seen side by side with wealth, forced into close relation- 
ship with it that increases the distress of want. 

6 They cut his provender in the field; 

And they glean the vintage of the wicked. . . . 
10 " And being an-hungered they carry the sheaves ; 

They make oil within the walls of these men; 

They tread their winepresses, and suffer thirst. 

As a next stage we get the crowding of population in cities, with 
hints of fresh distress and turbulence. 

13 From out of the populous city men groan, 

And the soul of the wounded crieth out, 
Yet God imputeth it not for folly. 

The climax comes in the formation of a purely criminal class. 

These are of them that rebel against the light; 

They know not the ways thereof, 

Nor abide in the paths thereof. 
The murderer riseth with the light, 

He killeth the poor and needy; 

And in the night he is as a thief. 
The eye also of the adulterer waiteth for the twilight; 

Saying, No eye shall see me ; 

And he putteth a covering on his face. 



In the dark they dig through houses : 

They shut themselves up in the daytime. 

They know not the light. 
For the morning is to art of them 

As the shadow of death ; 

For they know the terrors of the shadow of death. 

It is noteworthy that when Job makes his general vindication he 

Kinds a climax in disowning sins against the rights 

and duties of land. * 3 

It appears then that both philosophy and science have their 
representation in this ancient book of the Bible. Yet every reader 
will feel that these words are an imperfect descrip- 
tion of the matter which makes up the poem of ^J 8 * 01 

A L Prophecy 

Job. Philosophy is based upon reason ; but in the 
present case there is a section of the poem which represents God 
himself as entering into the discussion, and holding up a view 
of the truth from which no one appeals. It is clear that in the 
Book of Job yet another element of Revelation mingles side by 
side with Philosophy ; and the new element implies a new divi- 
sion of literature. The student who comes to the Bible from 
other literatures must be prepared to recognise a special literary 
type, that of Prophecy : a department which is distinguished from 
others not by form for Prophecy may take any form but by 
spirit, its differentia being that it presents itself as an authoritative 
Divine message. The literary study of the Bible has no more 
important task than that of describing Prophecy from the literary 
point of view. ' 

The varieties of literary form illustrated in the work we are 
considering are not yet exhausted. We have called the Book of 
fob a drama and a philosophic discussion; yet 
neither of these descriptions will account for the 
strange character of the individual speeches which 
strikes every reader. Their length, if nothing else, would dis- 
tinguish them from the speeches of other dramas ; and their tone 
is equally far removed from the tone of philosophic disquisition. 


They have in them plenty of dramatic force, and also clear and 
effective strokes of argument. But they do not stop with these ; 
the dramatic thrust gives place to ornate moralising which, fnSm 
the dramatic point of view, seems so much waste ; and the point 
of the argument is again and again lost in an accumulation of 
beautiful irrelevancy. He would be a very perverse reader who 
should cry out against these characteristics of Job as literary faults : 
on the contrary, they are evidence that the character of the work 
is insufficiently described by the terms drama and discussion. A 
further element comes in of Rhetoric : not in the debased sense 
which the word is coming to bear to modern ears, but the Rhetoric 
of antiquity which was the delight in speech for its own sake. 
Each delivery of a speaker in the poem of Job is to be looked 
upon as a work of art in itself. If Job in the course of the dis- 
cussion interjects the parenthetic thought, " What is the good of 
arguing?" this parenthesis is found to be a finished 
meditation of twenty-eight lines. The speech in which 
it occurs is answered by Bildad, and he meets Job's eloquence by 
a tour-de-force of imagery painting the whole universe watch- 
ing to destroy the sinner, and this piece of word-beauty 
runs to thirty-four lines. Zophar in the same round of 
discussion varies the beauty by a string of wise saws on the same 
topic, and these extend to sixty lines. All this is over and above 
the portions of the speeches which are strictly argument- 
ative. It is clear then that the personages of the poem 
answer one another, not only with argument and dramatic passion, 
but also with counterpoises of rhetoric weight. The whole be- 
comes like a controversy carried on in sonnets, a discussion waged 
in perorations. Once more the many-sidedness of the Bible is 
apparent ; and the student who would fully appreciate it must 
train himself in the literary interest of Rhetoric. 

One word more has yet to be said. The literary varieties men- 
tioned so far are such as appeal chiefly to the mind. But there 
is one main distinction in literature that appeals to the eye and 
the ear also; the distinction between the 'straight- for ward* speech 


called ' prose/ and that kind of speech which ' measures ' itself 
into metres and verses. A glance at the Book of 
JM> in any properly printed version shows that 
this work, like the plays of Shakespeare or the 
later stories of William Morris, presents an interchange between 
the two fundamental forms of language, being a dialogue in verse 
enclosed in a frame of prose story. When however the English 
reader calls in his ear to supplement his eye, he finds that the 
verse passages of Job differ essentially from what he is accustomed 
to find in English verse. There is no rhyme, nor do the lines 
correspond in meters or syllables. The Book of Job, then, in 
addition to its other literary suggestiveness, raises the elementary 
questions of Biblical versification. 

The purpose of this Introduction is now accomplished. I have 
engaged the reader's attention with a single book of the Bible ; 
we have seen that, over and above what it yields to 
the theological faculty or the religious sense, the ^ r n k f tlie whole 
Book of Job is a piece of literature, the analysis of 
which brings us into contact with all the leading varieties of 
literary form. What the Introduction has done in reference to a 
single book, the work as a whole is to do in reference to the 
whole Bible, proceeding however by a method more regular than 
has been necessary so far. The work will be divided into six 
books. The first book will start with the point last reached 
Biblical Versification and widening from this will search out 
other distinctions which may serve as a basis for the Classification 
of Literature under such heads as Lyric, Epic, Philosophic, Pro- 
phetic, Rhetoric. The subsequent books will take up these depart- 
ments one by one, illustrating each, with the subdivisions of each, 
from the most notable examples in the Sacred Writings. The 
reader who has thus given his attention to the general literary 
aspects of the Bible will then find, in an Appendix, Tabular 
arrangements into which the whole of the Bible enters, intended 
to assist him when he desires to read the Sacred Writings from the 
literary point of view. 










THE Bible is the worst-printed book in the world. No other 
monument of ancient or modern literature suffers the fate of being 
put before us in a form that makes it impossible, 
without strong effort and considerable training, to scripture ob- 
take in elements of literary structure which in all scured by ordi- 

other books are conveyed directly to the eye in a 

manner impossible to mistake. 

By universal consent the authors of the Sacred Scriptures 
included men who, over and above qualifications of a more 
sacred nature, possessed literary power of the highest order. But 
between their time and ours the Bible has passed through what 
may be called an Age of Commentary, extending over fifteen 
centuries and more. During this long period form, which should 
be the handmaid of matter, was more and more overlooked ; 
reverent, keen, minute analysis and exegesis, with interminable 
verbal discussion, gradually swallowed up the sense of literary 
beauty. When the Bible emerged from this Age of Commentary, 
its artistic form was lost ; rabbinical commentators had divided 
it into ' chapters/ and mediaeval translators into ' verses/ which 
not only did not agree with, but often ran counter to, the origi- 
nal structure. The force of this unliterary tradition proved too 
strong even for the literary instincts of King James's translators, 
Accordingly, one who reads only the ' Authorized Version ' incurs 
a double danger : if he reads his Bible by chapters he will, with- 
out knowing it, be often commencing in the middle of one com- 



position and leaving off in the middle of another; while, in 
in particular: whatever way he may read it, he will know no dj^- 
verse printed as tinction between prose and verse. It is only in 
prose our own day that a better state of things has 

arisen. The Church of England led the way by issuing its ' New 
Lectionary ' ; the new lessons will be found to differ from the old 
chiefly in the fact that the passages marked out for public reading 
are no longer limited by the beginnings and endings of chapters. 
Later still the ' Revised Version ' of the Bible, whatever it may 
have left undone, has at all events made an attempt to rescue 
Biblical poetry from the reproach of being printed as prose. 

It is to the latter of these two points the distinction between 
verse and prose that I address myself in the present chapter. 

vi< t v No doubt the confusion of the two would have 
Biblical Vemfl- . . 

cation based on been -impossible, were it not that the versification 

parallelism of o f the Bible is of a kind totally unlike that which 

prevails in English literature. Biblical verse is 

made neither by rhyme nor by numbering of syllables ; its long- 
lost secret was discovered by Bishop Lowth more than a cen- 
tury after King James's time. Its underlying principle is found 
to be the symmetry of clauses in a verse, which has come to be 
called ' Parallelism.* 

Hast thou given the horse his might? 

Hast thou clothed his neck with the quivering mane ? 

Hast thou made him to leap as a locust ? 

The glory of his snorting is terrible. 

He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength : 

He goeth out to meet the armed men. 

He mocketh at fear, and is not dismayed ; 

Neither turneth he back from the sword. 

The quiver rattleth against him, 

The flashing spear and the javelin. 

He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage; 

Neither standeth he still at Jhe voice of the trumpet. 

As oft as the trumpet soundeth he saith, Aha ! 

And he smelleth the battle afar off, 

The thunder of the captains, and the shouting. 


It is abundantly clear, first, that this is a passage of the highest 
rhythmic beauty ; secondly, that the effect depends neither on 
rhyme nor metre. Like the swing of a pendulum to and fro, like 
the tramp of an army marching in step, the versification of the 
Bible moves with a rhythm of parallel lines. 

How closely the effect of this versification is bound up with the 
parallelism of the clauses, the reader may satisfy himself by a 
simple experiment. Let him take such a psalm as the one hun- 
dred and fifth; and, commencing (say) with the eighth verse, 
let him read on, omitting the second line of each couplet : what 
he reads will then make excellent historic prose. 

He hath remembered his covenant for ever: the covenant which he 
made with Abraham, and confirmed the same unto Jacob for a 
statute, saying, " Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan," when 
they were but a few men in number, and they went about from 
nation to nation. He suffered no man to do them wrong, saying, 
" Touch not mine anointed ones." 

Let him now read again, putting in the lines omitted : the prose 
becomes transformed into verse full of the rhythm and lilt of a 

He hath remembered his covenant for ever, 

The word which he commanded to a thousand generations; 
The covenant which he made with Abraham, 

And his oath unto Isaac; 
And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a statute, 

To Israel for an everlasting covenant : 
Saying, " Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, 

The lot of your inheritance " : 
When they were but a few men in number; 

Yea, very few, and sojourners in it; 
And they went about from nation to nation, 

From one kingdom to another people 
He suffered no man to do them wrong; 

Yea, he reproved kings for their sakes; 
Saying, " Touch not mine anointed ones. 

And do my prophets no harm." 



The alphabet, then, of Scriptural versification will be the figures 
The Couplet and of Parallelism. Of these figures the simplest and 
Triplet mos t fundamental are the Couplet and Triplet. A 

Couplet consists of two parallel clauses, a Triplet of three. 

The LORD of Hosts is with us; 
The God of Jacob is our refuge. 

He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth ; 
He breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; 
He burneth the chariots in the fire. 

It is remarkable that the musical rendering of the psalms by 
chants, which in some points is carried to such a degree of nicety, 
entirely ignores this foundation difference of Couplet and Triplet, 
the same chant being sung to both. To take a typical case. 

The LORD of 


is with us 

The GOD of 

Ja - cob is our refuge. 

This is correct, because a piece of music which is two-fold in 
its structure is sung to a couplet verse. But presently the same 
music will be sung to the triplet verse. 


He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth : 
He breaketh the bow and CUTTETH the 

' > spear in sunder. 

He BURNeth the 

char - iots in the fire. 



Every ear must detect that this is a clumsy makeshift: it runs 
counter to a rhythmic distinction as fundamental as the distinction 
o common time and triple time in music. The remedy is very 
simple. Chants of this nature are made up of two parts. 



As such they are only fitted to couplet verses. For the triplet 
verse a variant is needed to the first part, sufficiently like it to be 
recognised, yet differing in a note or two. For 


a simple variant would be 


The couplet verse would be sung as before ; for the triplet the 
variant would be inserted between the first and second parts. 

(first part) 



He maketh wars to CEASE unto the 

end of the earth. 


He breaketh the bow and CUTTETH the spear in sunder, 

(second part) 


He BURNeth the 

char - iots in the fire. 


I am loth to delay the reader with what may seem to be merely 
technical matters. But attention to just a few of the elementary 

^ A . forms of Hebrew verse will richly repay itselfcin 

Quatrains and , i i- . 

Double Triplets inc reased susceptibility to the rhythmic cadence of 

Biblical poetry. Passing then to other figures, it is 
natural to mention first the Quatrain, which has four lines. The 
four liftes may be related to one another in various ways, of which 
the commonest is Alternation, the first line being parallel with the 
third, and the second with the fourth. 

With the merciful 

Thou wilt show thyself merciful : 
With the perfect man 

Thou wilt show thyself perfect. 1 

In the Quatrain Reversed, or Introverted, the first line corresponds 
with the fourth, and the two middle lines with one another. 

Have mercy upon me, O God, 

According to thy loving kindness : 

According to the multitude of Thy tender mercies 

Blot out my transgressions. 2 

Usually such introversion is merely a matter of form ; but some- 
times it is found to be closely bound up with the sense. 

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, 
Neither cast your pearls before the swine : 
Lest haply they {the swine] trample them under their feet, 

And \Jhe dogs~\ turn and rend you. 8 

1 Psalm xviii. 25. The following verse is another example, and this figure is 
very common. 

2 Psalm li. i. Compare the metre of In Mcmoriam. Other examples are Psalm 
ciii. i ; ix. 15. 

8 Matthew vii. 6. It will be observed that Hebrew parallelism strongly influ- 
ences the language of the New Testament, and of Apocryphal books originally 
Greek. It is therefore technically correct to treat ' Biblical ' literature as a depart- 
ment by itself. 


Very rarely the couplets of a Quatrain are not only parallel but 
interwoven, so that the sense of the first line is carried on by the 
tlyrd, and the sense of the second by the fourth. 

I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, 

And my sword shall devour flesh : 
With the blood of the slain and the captives, 

[Fles/i] From the head of the leaders of the enemy. 1 

As we have Quatrain and Quatrain Reversed, so we have the 
Double Triplet and the Triplet Reversed. 

Ask, and it shall be given you; 
Seek, and ye shall find; 

Knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 
For every one that asketh receiveth, 
And he that seeketh findeth, 

And to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 2 

The eye catches what the ear confirms in this arrangement : how 
the first line of the second triplet balances the first line of the 
first triplet, the second the second, and the third the third. But 
in what follows the order of the second triplet is reversed, so 
that the beginning of the whole corresponds with the end, and 
the middle lines with one another : 

No servant can serve two masters : 
For either he will hate the one, 
And love the other; 
Or else he will hold to one, 
And despise the other. 
Ye cannot serve God and mammon. 8 

It is to be observed that such figures occur either Recitative aadi- 
pure or intermixed with a sequence of words that tions to Figures 

1 Deut. xxxii. 42. 

2 Matthew vii. 7, 8. Other examples are Matthew xii. 35 ; Isaiah xxxv. 5. 
8 Luke xvi. 13. Other examples are Proverbs xxx. 8, 9 ; EzekUl i. 27. 


remains outside the rhythm, like the ' recitative ' of a chant. Such 
a recitative may occur at the beginning : 

And in that day thou shall say 

I will give thanks unto thee, O Lord, 

For though thou wast angry with me, 
Thine anger is turned away, 

And thou comfortest me. 

or at the end : 

Make the heart of this people fat, 
And make their ears heavy, 
And shut their eyes : 
Lest they see with their eyes, 
And hear with their ears, 
And understand with their heart : 
and turn again and be healed. 

Or the recitative may even occur by interruption in the middle of 
the figure : a passage in St. Matthew has two Reversed Quatrains 
in succession thus interrupted. 

Whosoever shall swear by the Temple, it is nothing, 

But whosoever shall swear by the Gold of the Temple, he is a debtor : 
( Ye fools and blind} 

For whether is greater, the Gold? 
Or the Temple that hath sanctified the Gold? 

And, Whosoever shall swear by the Altar, it is nothing, 

But whosoever shall swear by the Gift that is upon it, he is a debtor : 

( Ye fools and blind} 
For whether is greater, the Gift? 

Or the Altar that sanctifieth the Gift? 

There is no limit to the length or variety of such figures in 

_ ^ Biblical versification. Of the more elaborate it 

The Chain Figure . , . . ,, 

will be enough to instance two. The Chain Fig- 
ure is made up of a succession of clauses so linked that the goal 
of one clause becomes the starting-point of the next. 


That which the palmerworm hath left 
hath the locust eaten; 
and that which the locust hath left 
hath the cankerworm eaten; 
and that which the cankerworm hath left 
hath the caterpillar eaten. 1 

The figure is all the more impressive when an additional line 
comes to complete the chain of ideas by connecting the end with 
the beginning. 

For her true beginning is 
desire of discipline ; 
And the care for discipline is 
love of her; 
And love of her is 

observance of her laws; 
And to give heed to her laws 
confirmeth incorruption; 
And incorruption bringeth near unto God; 
So then desire of wisdom promoteth to a kingdom. 

But perhaps the most important figure, and the one most attrac- 
tive to the genius of Hebrew poetry, is the Envel- The Envelope 
ope Figure, by which a series of parallel lines Figure 
running to any length are enclosed between an identical (or 
equivalent) opening and close. 

By their fruits ye shall know them. 

Do men gather grapes of thorns? 

Or figs of thistles? 

Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, 

But the corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit : 

A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, 

Neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 

Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit 

Is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 
Therefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 2 

1 Joel i. 4. Other examples are in Hosca ii. 21, 22 ; Romans x. 14, 15 ; // Peter i. 
5-7. The passage next cited is from Wisdom vi. 17-20. 

2 Compare Psalm viii : or, in English poetry, the opening stanza of Southey's 

Thai aba. 


The same artistic effect of envelopment is produced when in such 
a figure the close is not a repetition of the opening, but completes 
it, so that the opening and the close make a unity which the 
parallel clauses develop. 

Consider the ravens : 

that they sow not, 

neither reap : 

which have no store-chamber nor barn ; 

and God feedeth them : 
Of how much more value are ye than the birds ! 1 

The general subject of versification includes not only these 

Figures of Parallelism, the ultimate form by which Biblical verse 

separates itself from prose, but also those larger 

aggregations of lines and verses making integral 

parts of a poem, which may be called * Stanzas.' Four points 

may be noted in regard to the position of the stanzas in the 

structure of Hebrew verse. 

First, a poem may be composed of similar figures through- 
out : this is the treatment most familiar to the reader of English 
i. stanzas of Sim- literature. The hundred and twenty-first psalm 
liar Figures j s ma d e U p o f f our similar quatrains. 

Psalm cxxi I will lift up mine eyes unto the mountains : 
From whence shall my help come? 
My help cometh from the LORD, 
Which made heaven and earth. 

He will not suffer thy foot to be moved : 
He that keepeth thee will not slumber; 
Behold, he that keepeth Israel 
Shall neither slumber nor sleep. 

The LORD is thy keeper : 

The LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand; 
The sun shall not smite thee by day, 
Nor the moon by night. 

1 Luke xii. 24. The figure made by a Question and its Answer comes under 
this head ; e.g. Psalm xv, or Psalm xxiv. 3-6. 


The LORD shall keep thee from all evil : 
He shall keep thy soul; 

The LORD shall keep thy going out and thy coming in, 
From this time forth and for evermore. 

Here may be mentioned a device of versification which applies 
to this as to all varieties of structure. It is the Refrain : the recur- 
rence of a verse (or part of a verse) the repetition The Refrain as a 
of which, besides being an artistic effect in itself, structural device 
assists also in marking off such divisions as stanzas. A refrain in 
stanzas of this first kind will be given by the familiar hundred and 
thirty-sixth psalm ; the poem is wholly composed of couplets, 
and the second line of each couplet is the refrain, 

For his mercy endureth for ever. 

A second treatment of stanzas is seen where a psalm is found 
to be composed of different figures. The analysis of the first 
psalm yields a result of this nature. First we 2 . stanzas of 
have a triple triplet preceded by a recitative. Varying Figures 

Blessed is the man Psalm i 

that walketh not 
in the counsel 

of the wicked, 
Nor standeth 
in the way 

of sinners, 
Nor sitteth 

in the seat 

of the scornful. 

This is followed by a quatrain reversed. 

But his delight 

is in the law of the LORD : 

And in his law 
Doth he meditate day and night 


The next verse is a good example of the closeness with which 
form reflects matter. Its form is found to be a double quatrain 
with an introduction. On examination this recitative introducti6n 
will be seen to put forward the general thought the comparison 
of the devout life to a tree ; while the figure works this thought 
out into particulars, on the plan of the left-hand members of the 
figure suggesting elements of vegetable life the planting, the 
fruitage, the foliage and the right-hand members predicating 
perfection of each. 

And he shall be like a Tree 

by the streams of water, 
That bringeth forth its fruit 

in its season ; 
Whose leaf also 

doth not wither, 
And whatsoever he doeth 

shall prosper. 

Next, we have a single couplet, sharply contrasting with what has 
gone before the mere worldly life. 

The wicked are not so, 

But are like the Chaff which the wind driveth away. 

A simple quatrain and a quatrain reversed bring the pcem to a 

Therefore the wicked shall not stand 

in the judgement, 
Nor sinners 

in the congregation of the righteous. 

For the LORD knoweth 

the way of the righteous, 

But the way of the wicked 
shall perish. 

As much lyric beauty is here produced by the avoidance of similar 
figures in successive verses as in the former case by the repetition 
of them. 


Where lyrics are constructed on this second plan the refrain 
may still come to emphasise the divisions. The forty-sixth psalm 
is Arranged in the Revised Version in two stanzas of six lines and 
one of seven : the refrain a shout of triumph brings each to 
a climax. It has, however, dropped out by accident from the first 
stanza in the received text, and must be restored. 1 

God is our refuge and strength, Psalm xlvi 

A very present help in trouble. 

Therefore will we not fear, though the earth do change, 
And though the mountains be moved in the heart of the seas; 
Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, 
Though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. 



There is a river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God, 
The holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High. 

God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: 

God shall help her, and that right early. 

The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved : 

He uttered his voice, the earth melted. 

Come, behold the works of the LORD, 
What desolations he hath made in the earth. 

He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; 

He breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; 

He burneth the chariots in the fire. 

" Be still, and know that I am God : 

I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." 

i On the general subject of textual emendation, I would lay down the principle 
that, where the sense is affected by a proposed change, it is prudent to be con- 
servative and chary of admitting it. But where (as with a repetition) it is only a 
question of form, the long period of tradition mentioned above, during which the 
literary form of Scripture was overlooked, justifies us in expecting many omissions 
and misplacements. 


We have a more elaborate symmetry of parallelism when we 
come to Antistrophic stanzas. The word is Greek, and the spirit 
3. Antistrophic ^ ^ s beautiful form of structure is best caught 
structure of from the complete realisation of it in Greek lyrics, 
stanzas A Q ree k O( j e was performed by a body of singers 

who^e evolutions as they sang a stanza carried them from the altar 
towards the right : then turning round they performed an answer- 
ing stanza, repeating their movements, until its close brought them 
to the altar from which they had started. Then a stanza would 
take them to the left of the altar, and its answering stanza would 
bring them back to the starting-point : and of such pairs of stanzas 
an ode was normally made up. From a Greek word meaning * a 
turning ' the first stanza of a pair was called a strophe, its answering 
stanza an antistrophe : and the metrical rhythms of the antistrophe 
reproduced those of the corresponding strophe line by line, though 
the rhythm might be wholly changed between one pair of stanzas 
and another. Hebrew lyrics contain examples of this disposition 
of stanzas in pairs ; and the two stanzas of a pair agree, not of 
course in metre, but in number of parallel lines. Though somewhat 
rare in the Bible, this structure is worthy of close study wherever it 
occurs. The simplest case is where each antistrophe immediately 
follows its strophe, and of this the thirtieth psalm is an example. 

Strophe z 

Psalm xxx I will extol thee, O LORD; for thou hast raised me up, 
And hast not made my foes to rejoice over me. 

LORD my God, 

1 cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me. 

O LORD, thou hast brought up my soul from Sheol : 

Thou has kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit. 


Sing praise unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, 
And give thanks to his holy name. 
For his anger is but for a moment; 
In his favour is life : 
Weeping may tarry for the night, 
But joy cometh in the morning. 


Strophe 2 

As for me, I said in my prosperity, 

I shall never be moved. 

Thou, LORD, of thy favour hadst made my mountain to stand strong : 


Thou didst hide thy face; I was troubled. 

I cried to thee, O LORD; 

And unto the LORD I made supplication : 

Strophe 3 

" What profit is there in my blood when I go down to the pit? 
Shall the dust praise thee? Shall it declare thy truth? 
Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me : 
LORD, be thou my helper." 


Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing; 

Thou hast loosed my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness : 

To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. 

O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever. 

But in the parallelism of stanzas, as well as the parallelism of 
lines in a figure, the device of introversion is found, 

by which, it will be recollected, beginning corre- Antistr P hi c 
, . , , i . i .7 . , Introversion 

sponds with end, and middle part with middle part. 
An example of such antistrophic introversion is found in the hun- 
dred and fourteenth psalm, which thought and form 
combine to make one of the most striking of Hebrew 
lyrics. It is a song inspired, not only by the deliverance from 
Egypt, but also by the new conception of Deity which that deliver- 
ance exhibited to the world. In the age of the exodus the prevail- 
ing conception of a god was that of a being sacred to a particular 
territory, out of the bounds of which territory the god's power did 
not extend. But the Israelites in the wilderness presented to the 
world the spectacle of a nation moving from country to country 
and carrying the presence of their God with them; it was no 


longer the land of Goshen, but the nation of Israel itself that con- 
stituted the sanctuary and dominion of Jehovah. The wondej of 
this conception the psalm expresses by the favourite Hebrew image 
of nature in convulsion ; and the effect of introversion in giving 
shape (so to speak) to the whole thought of the poem may be 
conveyed to the eye by the following scheme : 

A new conception of Deity J 

Nature convulsed ! 

Why Nature convulsed? 
At the new conception of Deity. 

Those phrases sum up the thought of the successive stanzas, which 
are so related to one another that the first strophe is followed by 
a second, and the antistrophe to the second strophe precedes the 
antistrophe to the first. 

Strophe I 

When Israel went forth out of Egypt, 

The house of Jacob from a people of strange language; 
Judah became his sanctuary, 

Israel his dominion. 

Strophe 2 

The sea saw it and fled; 
Jordan was driven back. 
The mountains skipped like rams, 
The little hills like young sheep. 

Antistrophe 2 

Whataileth thee, O sea, that thou fleest? 
Thou Jordan, that thou turnest back? 
Ye mountains, that ye skip like rams? 
Ye little hills, like young sheep? 

Antistrophe i 

Tremble, thou earth, at THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD, 

At the presence of the God of Jacob; 
Which turned the rock into a pool of water, 

The flint into a fountain of waters ! 


Again, we find as a rare effect in Hebrew poetry what is com- 
mon in Greek, an interweaving of stanzas similar to the inter- 
wemdng of couplets in a quatrain noted above; 

the first strophe is followed by a second of different * nti8tr P hic 
, . . . , . Interweaving 

length, then succeed the antistrophe to the first 

and the antistrophe to the second. The ninety-ninth psalm has 
this structure ; and the effect is assisted by a double refrain : the 
longer strophe of five lines has a short refrain, while the shorter 
strophe of three lines has a longer refrain. 1 

Strophe i 

The LORD reigneth : let the peoples tremble : Psalm xcix 

He sitteth upon the cherubim; let the earth be moved. 
The LORD is great in Zion ; 
And he is high above all the peoples. 
Let them praise thy great and terrible name. 
Holy is He ! 

Strophe 2 

The king's strength also loveth judgement; 

Thou dost establish equity, 

Thou executest judgement and righteousness in Jacob. 



HOLY is HE! 

Antistrophe i 

Moses and Aaron among his priests, 

And Samuel among them that call upon his name; 

They called upon the LORD, and he answered them. 

He spake unto them in the pillar of cloud : 

They kept his testimonies and the statute that he gave them. 

Holy is He! 

Antistrophe 2 

Thou answeredst them, O LORD our God, 

Thou wast a God that forgavest them, 

Though thou tookest vengeance of their doings. 




1 The short refrain has dropped out of Antistrophe i, and must be restored (at 
the end of verse 7). 


But the commonest treatment of stanzas in Biblical poetry is 
that which is also the freest : where a poem is allowed to fall 
into well-marked divisions, which have, how^/er, 
tire'of toi C " no distinct relations with one another as regards 
length or parallelism. By an awkwardness of 
nomenclature, such irregular divisions have come to be called 
' strophes ' i it is too late to change the usage, but the reader 
must be on the watch to distinguish the 'strophic structure/ 
where the stanzas may be unequal, from the ' antistrophic struc- 
ture,' in which the two stanzas of a pair are exact counterparts. 
A simple example of such division by natural cleavage only will 
be afforded by the twentieth psalm. 

Strophe i The People 

Psalm zx The LORD answer thee in the day of trouble; 

The name of the God of Jacob set thee up on high; 

Send thee help from the sanctuary, 

And strengthen thee out of Zion; 

Remember all thy offerings, 

And accept thy burnt sacrifice; 

Grant thee thy heart's desire, 

And fulfil all thy counsel. 

We will triumph in thy salvation, 

And in the name of our God we will set up our banners : 

The LORD fulfil all thy petitions. 

Strophe 2 The King 

Now know I that the LORD saveth his anointed; 
He will answer him from his holy heaven 
With the saving strength of his right hand. 

Strophe 3 The People 

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses : 

But we will make mention of the name of the LORD our God. 

They are bowed down and fallen : 

But we are risen, and stand upright. 

O LORD, save the king; 

And answer us when we call. 


In this strophic structure the refrain has a special value for 
marking out the stanzas which have no other rhythmic distinction. 
A jplendid example of such treatment is given by 
the poem which opens the second book of Psalms. psalm8 xlii - xliii 
The allusion of one of its verses seems to associate it with some 
high ground mountains of Hermon, or hill Mizar which was 
the last point from which the Holy Land could be seen by an 
exile carried eastwards ; in any case, it is appropriately named 
* The Exile's Lament. 1 The spirit of the whole lyric is summed 
up in its refrain, which is a struggle between despair and hope. 

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? 
And why art thou disquieted "within me? 

Hope thou in God: 
For I shall yet praise him, 
Who is the health of my countenance 
And my God ! 

This refrain is found to unify into a single poem the psalms num- 
bered forty-two and forty-three; and the whole falls into three 
strophes. Though the refrain does not change, yet its repetition 
is made to suggest advance. The first strophe has nothing but 
longing memories : how the poet was wont to mingle with the 
throng, or perhaps lead them in procession to the house of God, 
with the voice of joy and praise, a multitude keeping holyday. 
Its struggle towards hopefulness is so unsuccessful! that, after the 
refrain, the second strophe opens with the deepest note of de- 
spondency. A single ray of light, however, is cast into the future, 
and there is just a mention of loving-kindness by day and songs 
in the night, after which thoughts of mourning and oppression 
resume their sway. But the third stanza begins with a more 
resolute appeal to God as the judge, or righter of the oppressed \ 
the turn has been taken, and we advance through ideas of light 
and truth to joy and praise of harp, until the third repetition of 
the refrain makes us feel that its summons to hope has proved 


Strophe i 

As the hart panteth after the water brooks, 
So panteth my soul after thee, O God, 
My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God : 
When shall I come and appear before God? 
My tears have been my meat day and night, 
^While they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? 
These things I remember, and pour out my soul within me, 
How I went with the throng, and led them to the house of God, 
With the voice of joy and praise, a multitude keeping holyday. 

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? 

And why art thou disquieted within me ? 
Hope thou in God : 

For I shall yet praise him, 

Who is the health of my countenance 
And my God ! 

Strophe 2 

My soul is cast down within me ! 

Therefore do I remember thee from the land of Jordan, 

And the Hermons, from the hill Mizar. 

Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts : 

All thy waves and thy billows are gone over me ! 

Yet the LORD will command his loving-kindness in the day-time, 

And in the night his song shall be with me, 

Even a prayer unto the God of my life. 

1 will say unto God my rock, " Why hast thou forgotten me? 

Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? 

As with a sword in my bones, mine adversaries reproach me; 

While they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?" 

Why art thou cast down, my soul ? 

And why art thou disquieted within me ? 
Hope thou in God : 

For I shall yet praise him, 

Who is the health of my countenance 
And my God! 

Strophe 3 

Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation : 

O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man. 

For thou art the God of my strength; why hast thou cast me off ? 


Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? 

O send out thy light and thy truth; let them lead me : 

Let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. 

Then will I go unto the altar of God, 

Unto God my exceeding joy : 

And upon the harp will I praise thee, O God, my God. 





But the maximum of lyric effect drawn from this combination 
of the strophic structure and the refrain is found in a portion of 

the hundred and seventh psalm. Here there is a 

f Psalm cvii. 4-32 

double refrain : one puts in each stanza a cry for 

help, the other the outburst of praise after the help has come ; 
each refrain has a sequel verse which appropriately changes with 
the subject of each stanza. Thus the form of the strophes is that 
which the eye catches in the subjoined mode of printing it ; the 
body of each stanza consists of short lines putting various forms 
of distress ; then the stanza lengthens its lines into the first refrain 
with its sequel verse, and enlarges again into the second refrain 
with its sequel. 

Strophe I 

They wandered in the wilderness 

In a desert way; 

They found no city of habitation. 

Hungry and thirsty, 

Their soul fainted in them. 
Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble^ 
And he delivered them out of their distresses. 
He led them also by a straight way, 
That they might go to a city of habitation. 


For he satisfieth the longing soul, 

And the hungry soul he filleth with good. 


Strophe 2 

Such as sat in darkness 

And in the shadow of death, 

Being bound in affliction and iron; 

Because they rebelled against the words of God, 

And contemned the counsel of the Most High : 

Therefore he brought down their heart with labour. 

They fell down, and there was none to help. 

Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble ', 

And he saved them out of their distresses. 

He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of defcth, 

And brake their bands in sunder. 


For he hath broken the gates of brass, 
And cut the bars of iron in sunder. 

Strophe 3 

Fools because of their transgression, 

And because of their iniquities, are afflicted. 

Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; 

And they draw near unto the gates of death. 
The n they cry unto the Lord in their trouble. 
And he saveth them out of their distresses. 
He sendeth his word, and healeth them, 
And delivereth them from their destructions. 


And let them offer the sacrifices of thanksgiving, 
And declare his works with singing. 

Strophe 4 

They that go down to the sea in ships, 
That do business in great waters, 
These see the works of the LORD, 
And his wonders in the deep. 
For he commandeth, 
And raiseth the stormy wind, 
Which lifteth up the waves thereof: 
They mount up to the heaven, 


They go down again to the depths; 

Their soul melteth away because of trouble : 

They reel to and fro, 

And stagger like a drunken man; 

And are at their wits' end. 
Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble^ 
And he bringeth them out of their distresses. 
He maketh the storm a calm, 
So that the waves thereof are still. 
Then are they glad because they be quiet : 
So he bringeth them unto the haven where they would be. 


Let them exalt him also in the assembly of the people, 
And praise him in the seat of the elders. 

It is just such structural variations as these that it is the special 
mission of a musical rendering to express. 1 In the psalm just 
cited the melancholy monotony of men's voices in 
unison might be used to bring out the various 
phases of distress which make the subjects of suc- 
cessive strophes. Children's voices in harmony and unaccom- 
panied would fitly express the cry for help (refrain and sequel 
verse), while full choir and organ would give out the thanksgiving. 
In the more extended final stanza a monotone of men's voices in 
unison would leave more scope for organ accompaniment to bring 
out the changes of the sea. Then as before the whole would 
resolve into the silvery harmony of children's voices heard alone ; 
while all that full choir and instrument could do would be needed 
for the final climax. 

1 Bishop Westcott's Paragraph Psa Iter (Macmillan) is a step in the direction of 
such structural chanting. A musical setting of Psalms Ixxviii and civ in illustration 
of it has been published by Dr. Naylor, Organist of York Minster (Novello), 



THE preceding chapter has sufficiently exhibited Biblical Versi- 
f\cation in its leading forms and devices of structure. In the 
Parallelism in present chapter I consider further the general 
general sp i r j t o f parallelism which underlies it. I wish to 

show that the study of such parallelism is not a mere matter of 
technicalities, but that it connects itself directly with the higher 
interests of literature. 

In interpreting the meaning of Scripture parallelism plays no 
Parallelism a unimportant part. I will commence with a very 
factor in inter- simple example. The Song of the Sword, 1 which 
pretation gives expression to the excitement attending the 

first invention of deadly weapons, contains the following couplet : 

I have slain a man to my wounding, 
And a young man to my hurt. 

Does this passage imply the slaying of one person or two persons? 
This question cannot be called a mere matter of technicalities. 
Commentators of the period when the secret of parallelism was 
lost understood the words to mean that two men were slain ; and 
connecting the passage with the succeeding couplet 

If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, 
Truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold 

they found an interpretation for the whole by supposing that when 

1 Otherwise called Song of Lamech (Gen. iv. 23-24). 


Lamech became advanced in years he carried with him a youth 
to show him where to point his arrows ; that this youth directing 
hi& to shoot into a certain bush Lamech thereby slew Cain, and 
made himself liable to the curse invoked on the slayer of that out- 
cast. In his rage Lamech shot a second arrow at his youthful at- 
tendant ; and thus two slayings are accounted for. But to an ear 
accustomed to parallelism it is clear enough that no such violence 
of interpretation is required. The second line of a couplet need 
not be a separate statement from that of the first line, but may 
be, in the spirit of parallelism, a saying over again of what has 
been said. Thus the couplet need only imply the death of a 
single person, or better, slaying as a general idea. And the sec- 
ond couplet merely gives expression to the enlarged possibilities 
of destruction that come with the invention of the sword : even 
the vengeance for Cain a thing that had perhaps passed into a 
proverbial expression becomes a small matter in comparison 
with the power of vengeance the armed warrior will possess. Thus 
the whole meaning of the passage has been changed by attention 
to a detail of versification. 

The intrinsic importance of this first example is not great. But 
no one will consider the ' Lord's Prayer' unim- The Lord's 
portant : and yet it would seem that the great Prayer 
majority of those who repeat the Lord's Prayer in public fail to 
bring out the full thought that underlies it. This prayer is almost 
always rendered as a succession of isolated clauses which may be 
represented thus : 

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy king- 
dom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven. 

But the true significance of these words is only seen when they 
are arranged so as to make an envelope figure. 

Our Father which art in heaven : 

Hallowed be thy Name, 

Thy Kingdom come, 

Thy Will be done, 
In earth as it is in heaven. 


In the former version the words, " In earth as it is in heaven " are 
attached only to the petition, " Thy will be done." But it belongs 
to the envelope structure that all the parallel clauses are to' be 
connected with the common opening and close. The meaning 
thus becomes : " Hallowed be thy name in earth as it is in 
heaven, Thy kingdom come in earth as it is in heaven, Thy will 
be'done in earth as it is in heaven." It is something more than 
literary beauty that is gained by the change. 

One more illustration of the close connection between par- 
allelism of structure and interpretation will be 
afforded by the eighth psalm. The whole of this 
poem makes a single envelope figure. 

O LORD, our Lord, 

How excellent is thy name in all the earth ! 

Who hast set thy glory upon the heavens, 

Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou established strength, 

Because of thine adversaries, 

That thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. 

When I consider the heavens, the work of thy fingers, 

The moon and the stars which thou hast ordained; 

What is man, that thou art mindful of him? 

And the son of man, that thou visitest him ? 

For thou hast made him but little lower than God, 

And crownest him with glory and honour. 

Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; 

Thou hast put all things under his feet : 

All sheep and oxen, 

Yea, and the beasts of the field; 

The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, 

Whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. 
O LORD, our Lord, 
How excellent is thy name in all the earth ! 

By neglect of the true structure, three lines instead of two have 
been taken into the opening verse : 

i. O LORD, our Lord, 

How excellent is thy name in all the earth ! 
Who hast set thy glory upon the heavens. 


Accordingly, the verse which follows this, and presumably opens 
the regular thought of the poem, is made to read : 

2. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou established 
strength, etc. 

So arranged this verse becomes obscure, and the ingenuity of 
commentators has been much exercised to determine what is the 
allusion its words contain. But the envelope structure conveys at 
once to the eye that the first two lines must be isolated as the 
enveloping refrain, and then the opening verse becomes this : 

Who hast set thy glory upon the heavens, 

Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou established 
strength, etc. 

That the Artificer of the mighty heavens should have chosen man 
a mere babe and suckling in comparison to be the repre- 
sentative of his might to the rest of the universe : this is the 
wonder with which the poem really opens, and the thought of 
feeble man as God's Viceroy over the creation is precisely the 
idea which is found to bind the whole psalm into a unity. 

These are particular examples : it is possible to generalise. In 
Biblical interpretation the question will repeatedly arise, whether 
a particular passage is to be understood as a simple Parallelism a 
narrative of facts or an idealised description: in criterion for 
such a case parallelism of clauses will undoubtedly ldeahsatlon 
be one factor in the interpretation. I have already suggested that 
the extreme symmetry of the clauses which describe Job's misfor- 
tunes descending upon him tells in favour of the view that the 
narrative is not a history so much as an incident worked up into a 
parable. In a more important matter the same principle has been 
applied to the opening chapter of Genesis. The 
account of the Creation which this passage contains 
is found, upon examination, to be arranged with the most minute 
parallelism of matter and form. Not only are the six days fur- 
nished with opening and closing formulae which correspond, but 



the whole divides into two symmetrical halves of three days and 
three days, and each day of the first three is exactly parallel with 
the corresponding day of the second half. A table will illust&te 
the structure. 

And God said 

' [Creation of Light] 
And there was evening and there 
was morning, one day. 

And God said 

[Creation of the Firmament 
dividing waters from waters] 
And there was evening and there 
was morning, a second day. 

cAnd God said 

*| [Creation of Land] 

I And God said 

[Creation of Vegetation, cli- 
max of inanimate nature] 
And there was evening and there 
was morning^ a third day. 

And God said 

[Creation of Lights] 
And there was evening and there 
was morning^ a fourth day. 

And God said 

[Creation of Life in the Firma- 
ment and in the Waters] 

And there was evening and there 

was morning^ a fifth day. 

f And God said 

-I [Creation of Life on Land] 

I And God said 

[Creation of Man, climax 
of animate nature] 
And there was evening and then 
was morning) the sixth day. 

When this structure and the fulness of its parallelism is grasped, it 
will appear reasonable that it should be urged as one argument in 
favour of understanding the chapter to be, not a narration of inci- 
dents in their order of succession, but a logical classification of the 
elements of the universe, with the emphatic assertion of Divine 
creation in reference to each. 

The reader will understand that it is not essential to my argu- 
ment that such interpretations as I have been advancing should 

Recognition of seem to ^ m correct ' Parallelism is only one factor 
Parallelism in amongst many in exegesis. I am merely concerned 
exegesis j. Q s h ow that those who address themselves to deter- 

mining the matter and meaning of Scripture nevertheless appeal 
to its form and structure. Indeed, the reader unaccustomed to 
this subject will be greatly astonished at the extent and minuteness 


to which symmetry of form in Scripture is made to obtain in the 
exegesis of competent theologians; when, for example, not a 
paragraph but a long poem, or the whole of an epistolary treatise, 
is represented as being constructed on a single intricate system. 
Such elaborations of parallelism must be considered each on its 
own merits ; but there is in them nothing inherently improbable. 
When the genius of a language rests the whole system of its versi- 
fication upon symmetry of clauses, it becomes a safe presumption 
that parallelism will penetrate very deeply into its logical processes 
of thought. 1 

We have been led to see then that there are two points of view 
from which parallelism may be considered : that of Rhythm and 
that of Interpretation. The musical element of 
Biblical language rests on parallels and recurrences, Sfsmof RhySm 
and an ear for rhythm is as essential for the ap- and the Higher 

preciation of Scriptural style as an ear for time is ?" allel * sin ; of 

J Interpretation 

essential for the appreciation of music. But thought 

may be rhythmic as well as language, and the full meaning and 
force of Scripture is not grasped by one who does not feel how 
thoughts can be emphasised by being differently re-stated, as in 
the simplest couplet ; or how a general thought may reiterate itself 
to enclose its particulars, as in the envelope figure, or, in such 
cases as the Lord's Prayer, hold its conclusion in suspense until 
all to which it applies has been set forth; or again, as in the 
opening of Genesis, how a passage can suggest logical symmetries 
while in form it is only narrating. Accordingly the structural 
analysis of Biblical language must distinguish a Lower Parallelism 
of Rhythm and a Higher Parallelism of Interpretation. The two 
can never clash, since in Hebrew rhythm largely depends on 
recurrence of clauses corresponding in thought ; but one or other 
parallelism will preponderate in accordance with the nature of a 
particular passage or the purpose of a citation. Sometimes the 
musical form will be felt to preponderate, and in this case the 

1 Dr. Forbes's Symmetrical Structure of Scripture (Clark, Edinburgh) may be 
regarded as a text-book of the general subject. 


structural arrangement of the passage will be such as will make 
prominent the recurrence of fixed figures. In other cases the 
arrangement will bring out how distant sequences of words fa>m 
all over a lengthy passage co-ordinate together, and this effect will 
throw into the background the parallelisms of couplets and trip- 
lets, which nevertheless are to be found when looked for. 1 

The matter is best treated by illustrations ; and I proceed to 
give two arrangements of the same passage, based respectively on 
the Lower and the Higher Parallelism- 
job x. 3-13 ar- Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress, 
ranged for Lower That thou shouldest despise the work of thine hands, 
Parallelism And shine upon the counsel of the w i c k ed? 

Hast thou eyes of flesh, 
Or seest thou as man seeth? 

Are thy days as the days of man, 
Or thy years as man's days, 

That thou inquirest after mine iniquity, 
And searchest after my sin, 

Although thou knowest that I am not wicked; 

And there is none that can deliver out of thine hand? 

Thine hands have framed me and fashioned me 
Together round about; yet thou dost destroy me. 

Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast fashioned me as 

And wilt thou bring me into dust again? 

Hast thou not poured me out as milk, 
And curdled me like cheese? 

Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, 
And knit me together with bones and sinews. 

*On the whole subject compare Appendix III: On the Structural Printing of 


Thou hast granted me life and favour, 
And thy visitation hath preserved my spirit. 

Yet these things thou didst hide in thine heart; 
I know that this is with thee. 

In the above citation I have followed the Revised Version of 
the Bible in conveying nothtng to the eye beyond the elementary 
rhythm of couplets and triplets. Such an arrangement involves 
the minimum of interpretation, and therefore the minimum dif- 
ference of opinion. Where the higher symmetry is expressed 
individual interpretations will of course differ. In my second 
arrangement of the passage figures of mere rhythm are suppressed 
in order that parallelisms of thought may stand out. 

Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress, Arranged for 

That thou shouldest despise the work of thine hands, Higher 

And shine upon the counsel of the wicked? Parallelism 

Hast thou eyes of flesh, 

Or seest thou as man seeth? 

Are thy days as the days of man, 

Or thy years as man's days, 

That thou inquirest after mine iniquity, 

And searchest after my sin, 

Although thou knowest that I am not wicked; 

And there is none that can deliver out of thine hand? 
Thine hands have framed me, 
And fashioned me together round about; 

Yet thou dost destroy me. 
Remember,! beseech thee, that thou hast fashioned me as clay; 

And wilt thou bring me into dust again? 
Hast thou not poured me out as milk, 
And curdled me like cheese ? 
Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, 
And knit me together with bones and sinews; 
Thou hast granted me life and favour, 
And thy visitation hath preserved my spirit : 

Yet these things thou didst hide in thine heart; 

I know that this is with thee. 


Two distinct trains of thought are interwoven in this passage : in 
one Job makes appeal to God as being God's own handiwork ; in 
the other he protests against the righteous Lord following Uhe 
oppressive ways of unjust judges. In this second arrangement 
the two elements of the thought are separated : lines belonging 
to the first are indented to the left, lines belonging to the second 
are indented to the right. Thus the whole play of thought in the 
passage is reflected to the eye, or, in other words, the structural 
arrangement has brought out the Parallelism of Interpretation. 1 

One more observation must be made on Biblical parallelism 
considered as an element in literary style. It is that such sym- 
Paraiieiismim- metry of clauses is closely bound up with a liter- 
plies its opposite ary effect of an opposite kind that of surprise, 
effect of surprise j t ig j ust when the ear . g bdng led by ^ genend 

form of a passage to expect what is coming that the disappoint- 
ment of this expectation, and the substitution of something new, 
strikes with most telling force. Here, again, illustrations will 
make the best exposition. 

There is no passage in the Bible in which parallelism is carried 
further than in the peroration (if the word may be allowed) of 
Matthew vii ^ Sermon on the Mount, with its comparison of 
24-27 " the two kinds of hearers to the builders on the 

rock and on the sand. The passage is antistrophic, 
and for every clause in the one picture there is a corresponding 
clause in the other. Yet here the effect of surprise is produced 
by a subtle and delicate variation which has been recovered for 
us by the Revised Version. The word which describes the action 
of the wind differs in the two strophes ; for the blasts labouring 
in vain to destroy the one house a word is used which is trans- 
lated by the English ' beat ' ; for the wind in the other case the 
Greek word is changed to something which the Revisers render 
' smote ' the very sound of which, as well as the sense, pictures 
a single blow sufficing to bring the structure down. 

1 In my edition of the Book of Job this mode of printing that reflects the Higher 
Parallelism is followed throughout. [Macmillan & Co.] 



Every one therefore which heareth these words of mine, 

and doeth them, 

shall be likened unto a Wise Man, 
which built his house upon the Rock : 

And the rain descended, 

and the floods came, 

and the winds blew 

and beat upon that house ; 
and it fell not : 
for it was founded upon the Rock. 


And every one that heareth these words of mine, 

and doeth them not, 
shall be likened unto a Foolish Man, 
which built his house upon the Sand : 

And the rain descended, 

and the floods came, 

and the winds blew, 

and SMOTE upon that house ; 
and it fell : 
and great was the fall thereof! 

In this example the effect of surprise is produced by a verbal 
alteration. It is more pertinent to the subject of the present 
chapter to consider cases in which the variation ex- psalm cxxxix 
tends to a whole clause. An admirable illustration 
is afforded by the hundred and thirty-ninth psalm. This exquisite 
lyric is in structure a very extended form of the envelope figure. 
But the opening verse, when it appears at the close, has undergone 
an important change : for the indicative mood of the opening 

O LORD, thou hast searched me 

we have at the end the imperative mood 

Search me, O God 

and the whole movement of the poem is to lead from the one 
state of mind to the other. At the outset the thought of Divine 


omniscience and omnipresence lies like a weight upon the poet's 

O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me ! 

Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, 

Thou understandest my thought afar off. 

Thou searchest out my path and my lying down, 

And art acquainted with all my ways. 

For there is not a word in my tongue, 

But, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. 

Thou hast beset me behind and before, 

And laid thine hand upon me. 

The burden becomes intolerable, and the poet would fain throw 
it off. 

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; 

It is high, I cannot attain unto it. 

"Whither shall I go from thy spirit ? 

Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 

If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there : 

If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, thou art there. 

If I take the wings of the morning, 

And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 

Even there shall thy hand lead me, 

And thy right hand shall hold me. 

If I say, Surely the darkness shall overwhelm me, 

And the light about me shall be night; 

Even the darkness hideth not from thee, 

But the night shineth as the day : 

The darkness and the light are both alike to thee. 

The sense of oppression can intensify yet further, and the next 
verse extends it backwards in time, as previous verses had made 
it stretch through all space. 

For thou hast possessed my reins : 

Thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. 

It is just here, where the effect is at its height, that the turn comes. 
The mysteries of the womb suggest to the poet that this Divine 
watchfulness from which he cannot escape is the same watchful- 


ness which, in his helplessness, built him up into the being he is. 
Tte current of thought begins to flow back for the structure of 
the psalm is antistrophic as well as enveloped. 

I will give thanks unto thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: 
Wonderful are thy works, 
And that my soul knoweth right well. 
My frame was not hidden from thee, 
When I was made in secret, 

And curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 
Thine eyes did see mine unperfect substance, 
And in thy book were all my members written, 
Which day by day were fashioned, 
When as yet there was none of them. 

The besetting watchfulness now becomes a precious thought to 
the psalmist; most precious of all, the incalculableness of its 

How precious also are thy thoughts l unto me, O God ! 

How great is the sum of them ! 

If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand : 

When I awake, I am still with thee. 

The new thought has gained force, and takes fire in a burst of 

Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God : 

Depart from me therefore, ye bloodthirsty men. 

For they speak against thee wickedly, 

And thine enemies take thy name in vain. 

Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee ? 

And am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? 

I hate them with perfect hatred : 

I count them mine enemies. 

The new train of thought has reached its goal, and, as the enve- 
lope figure completes itself, the refrain reappears changed and 
enlarged, so that the burden has become an aspiration. 

i That is, the thoughts which God bestows on the psalmist. 


Search me, O God, and know my heart : 

Try me, and know my thoughts : 

And see if there be any way of wickedness in me, 

And lead me in the way everlasting. 

The analysis of this psalm is an excellent illustration, both of 
the general principle that the most deeply spiritual trains of thought 
are reflected in beauty of external literary structure, and also of the 
special observation immediately under discussion, that parallelism 
carries with it the literary effect of climax or surprise when the 
exactness of the parallelism is artistically violated. 



LITERARY classification has so far been applied only to the exter- 
nal structure of Sacred Scripture, and its distinction of prose and 
verse ; though it has appeared that here, as always, The j^r Unity 
structure reacts on spirit, and the parallelism of and the Higher 
rhythm generates a parallelism of thought. Before Unity 
we can proceed to that higher literary classification which recog- 
nises structure and spirit alike, another preliminary consideration 
needs attention. The bond uniting clauses into a verse and 
verses into a stanza may be considered as the Lower Unity in 
comparison with a Higher Unity which is the subject of the 
present chapter. This Higher Unity is the Unity of Poem : the 
bond which unites successive verses and stanzas into a poem com- 
plete in itself. 1 

Here again are difficulties special to the literary study of the 
Bible, arising from the arrangement of our printed bibles and of 
the manuscripts on which they are founded, and still 
more from the habits of reading which these by long unity obscured 
tradition have fostered. In dealing with any other by reading the 
literature the student would naturally, and as a 
matter of course, look for the higher unity in what he reads. He 
would not study Virgil merely to get quotable hexameters, nor 
Shakespeare to find pithy sentences : he would wish to compre- 
hend the drift of a scene, or the plot of a whole play ; he would 

1 For convenience of illustration I speak throughout the chapter of poems : but 
the argument applies, mutatis mutandis, to prose compositions. 

81 P 


read a whole eclogue at once, or even sustain his attention through 
the twelve books of the ^Eneid. But the vast majority of those 
who read the Bible have never shaken off the mediaeval tendency 
to look upon it as a collection of isolated sentences, isolated texts, 
isolated verses. Their intention is nothing but reverent ; but the 
effect of their imperfect reading is to degrade a sacred literature 
into a pious scrap-book. 

I have called this tendency mediaeval : it is a relic of the Mid- 
dle Ages under the influence of which arose our earliest translations 

This tendency a of the Bible into modern tongues. The thought of 
relic of mediaeval the Middle Ages is distinguished by disconnected- 
influence ness The Schoolmen were not remarkable for 

successful investigation or wide reflectiveness, but they surpassed 
all men in subtlety of discussion ; indeed, it would almost seem 
that with them the process of discussing was more important than 
the conclusion attained. Accordingly their age gave special 
prominence to the isolated proposition. Its thinkers were not 
confined to books as a medium for expressing thought ; it was 
equally open to them to issue a series of propositions, and, setting 
these up on some church door or elsewhere, offer discussion with 
all comers. To formulate truth into these brief independent 
sentences, adapted for attack and defence, made the characteris- 
tic literary activity of the period. In modern thought detail 
truths are so many bricks to be built into an edifice, each valued 
according as it contributes to the common stability; the inde- 
pendent propositions of the mediaeval thinker were rather footballs 
to be driven to and fro in an exercise of dialectic strength. 
Translations of the Bible made amid such surroundings took 
shape from the minds of the translators. Hebrew and Greek lit- 
erature poem, dialogue, discourse all assumed a monotonous 
uniformity of numbered sentences, each to be treated as a good 
saying in itself, rather than a component part of a literary whole. 

The influence of these earliest translations is still felt. There 
are three versions of the Bible in familiar use amongst us : one 
is the recent ' Revised Version * : a second is the ' Authorised 


Version/ executed under King James I ; while for a third the 
easier translation of Coverdale is represented in the Psalter of 
the Prayer Book. These three versions stand at Threepopttlar 
three different points of the line separating us versions of the 
from the Middle Ages : Coverdale's translation was Bible 
executed wholly amid mediaeval surroundings; 1 the Authorised 
Version belongs to the borderland between mediaeval and modern, 
while the Revised Version is entirely modern. When these three 
translations are compared what is the result? If similar ^ what 
the comparison be made in respect of phraseology concerns the 
and single verses there will be little to choose LowerUnitv 
between the three : the earliest will strike our sense of beauty 
quite as much as the latest. But when attention is given to the 
connection between verse and verse, to the drift of an argument 

and the general unity of a whole poem, only the 

r> i i T - -11 i r i v 11 Ju j The 'Revised 

Revised Version will be found reliable ; the reader version stands 

of the Authorised Version, when he wishes to catch al n *s regards 
the teaching of a whole epistle, or the sequence of e lg er ni y 
thought in a minor prophet, must go to the Hebrew and Greek 
to find out what his English version means. 

It is most important for the English student of the Bible to 
remember that these versions are different in kind, and must 
therefore not be discussed as if they represented different degrees 
of success in attaining a common object. It will be well to 
emphasise this matter by examples. 

Let our first example be taken from the translation of Cover- 
dale. The eighteenth psalm will be specially suit- 
able for our purpose, because in the case of this 
poem the Authorised and Revised versions sub- with the other 
stantially agree ; moreover the impression they * wo 
give of the psalm that of a thanksgiving for 
recent deliverance is one not open to dispute, inasmuch as the 

1 Coverdale's version is in actual date (1535) earlier than A. V. by three-quarters 
of a century; in spirit it is earlier still, being avowedly not original, but founded 
upon previous 'interpolations.' See Dr. W. F. Moulton's History of the English 
(Casscll) , chapters vii and viii. 


poem is cited at full length in the book of Samuel, and is there 
expressly connected with the escape of David from the persecution 
of Saul. As we read in the Authorised or Revised versions, every 
line of the poem carries out this idea. At the commencement 
epithets of adoration succeed one another with an exuberance of 
diction that is like a flourish of trumpets opening some set piece 
of music. With the fourth verse the psalm settles down to its 
regular movement, and in subdued tones describes the perilous 
extremity out of which the singer has found deliverance. 

The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men 
made me afraid. 

The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death pre- 
vented me. 

In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God : he 
heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, 
even into his ears. 

Then a burst of imagery rushes upon us, sustained through nine 
verses, presenting all nature agitated to its centre as the Almighty 
descends to the help of the sufferer who has called upon him. 
A strain of tenderness comes in with the deliverance itself. 

He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters: 
He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated 

me : for they were too strong for me. 
They prevented me in the day of my calamity : but the LORD was my 

He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because 

he delighted in me. 

With the last clause the conception has widened. The poet con- 
siders that with his personal deliverance the cause of righteous- 
ness has triumphed, and so he is led to the generalisation : 

With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright 

man thou wilt shew thyself upright. 
With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure : and with the froward thou 

wilt shew thyself froward, 


The latter half of the psalm no less clearly carries on the concep- 
tion of the earlier half; review of past deliverances carries with 
it confidence for the future, when whole nations will run in sub- 
mission to the conqueror marked out by Divine favour. Towards 
the close the rapture of the opening verses reappears : 

The LORD liveth : and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my sal- 
vation be exalted. 

Then in the very last line, like the signature to a document, comes 
the name of 'David,' at once the singer and the hero of the song. 
Let the reader now study this psalm in the Psalter of the 
Prayer Book. Let him remember what is the exact point of the 
present argument. If he takes any particular verse, he will find 
it just as striking in the translation of Coverdale as in the later 
versions ; it will be when he proceeds to note the linking of verse 
to verse that the difference will appear. At the third verse (in 
the numbering of the Prayer Book) the psalm appears, as in 
the other version, to start upon the description of a perilous 

The sorrows of death compassed me : and the overflowings of ungod- 
liness made me afraid. 
The pains of hell came about me : the snares of death overtook me. 

But when we pass to the next verse, instead of a continuation of 
the description, we find a general statement. 

In my trouble I will call upon the Lord : and complain unto my God. 

Of course, if a reader has come to his Bible simply as a store- 
house of good words, he may find as great a spiritual stimulus in 
the declaration, " I will call upon the Lord/' as in the statement, 
" I did call upon the Lord.' 1 But to the reader of a sacred liter- 
ature this substitution in the Prayer Book Version of future tense 
for past has destroyed the connection of the verses, and the 
unity is gone. Again, at the seventh verse Coverdale's translation 
returns to the tense of description; but at verse 16 just where 


in the other case we found the actual deliverance come in we 
are thrown back upon general expressions : 

lie shall send down from on high to fetch me, etc. 

In verse 18 we read, "They/mr;/to/me," but in verse 20, "The 
Lord shall reward me " : and so throughout the poem past, 
present, future tenses are indiscriminately mingled. What does 
this mean? That the translator was a bungler? Certainly not : 
every verse, with its felicity of diction and beauty of rhythm, 
belies such a suggestion. The meaning is that Coverdale formed 
a different conception of the literature he was translating from 
that which both ourselves and the later versions assume. It did 
not belong to Coverdale's age to look upon a psalm as a poem 
with a unity running through it ; he understood it simply as a col- 
lection of pious thoughts, and he used all his skill to make each 
thought as beautiful as the English language would permit. He 
has succeeded in his attempt, and given us in the eighteenth psalm 
a chaplet of very pearls ; but it is a chaplet with the string broken. 
It is even more important to compare the Authorised and 
the Revised versions as regards this matter of the connection 
A. v. compared between verse and verse. Let the reader study 

withR. v. in the older translation the twenty-eighth chapter 


of /^, and set himself, without the aid of com- 
mentators who have had the original before them, to think out 
from the English alone the unity linking successive verses. 

1. Surely there is a vein for the silver, and a place for gold where they 
fine it. 

2. Iron is taken out of the earth, and brass 13 molten out of the stone. 

[Already the clauses fall sweetly upon the ear, though the point of 
what is being said is hardly yet apparent.] 

3. He setteth an end to darkness, and searcheth out all perfection : 
the stones of darkness, and the shadow of death. 

[This seems like some very general glorification of God : but the 
drift of the whole is still vague.] 


4. The flood breaketh out from the inhabitant; even the waters 
forgotten of the foot : they are dried up, they are gone away from 

^ men. 

[Can any clear sense be attached to these words? The only 
certainty seems to be that they have no connection with the 
preceding verse, as that had none with what went before. Yet 
the words which immediately follow seem to announce a new 

5. As for the earth, out of it cometh bread: and under it is turned up 
as it were fire. 

6. The stones of it are the place of sapphires : and it hath dust of 

[Various as are the topics presented so far, yet the next words 
announce one more.] 

7. There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture's 
eye hath not seen : 

8. The lion's whelps have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed 
by it. 

9. He putteth forth his hand 

[Apparently we have here returned to the general glorification of 
God in nature upon which the third verse touched.] 

9. He putteth forth his hand upon the rock; he overturneth the 
mountains by the roots. 

10. He cutteth out rivers among the rocks; and his eye seeth every 
precious thing. 

11. He bindeth the floods from overflowing; and the thing that is 
hid bringeth he forth to light. 

At this point, in place of a string of distinct topics, we suddenly 
come upon a train of connected reasoning. Where, asks the 
speaker, shall wisdom be found ? and, after searching all possible 
sources, and weighing wisdom against every form of wealth, he 
comes to the conclusion that only God knows the origin of wis- 
dom, and that he who created the universe interwove righteous- 
ness into its structure. Is it not strange that within the limits 


of the same chapter should be found, first the wandering from 
topic to topic, and then the coherent working from question to 
answer? Yet more strange that the discordant halves of 'the 
chapter should be linked by the conjunction But? 

Now let the same passage be read in the Revised Version. 

Surely there is a mine 
[At the very outset has come the key word to the whole.] 

Surely there is a mine for silver, 

And a place for gold which they refine. 

Iron is taken out of the earth, 

And brass is molten out of the stone. 

Man setteth an end to darkness, 

[What we are reading is not a description of God, but of the 

And searcheth out to the furthest bound 

The stones of thick darkness and of the shadow of death, 

He breaketh open a shaft away from where men sojourn; 

They are forgotten of the foot that passeth by; 

They hang afar from men, they swing to and fro. 

[We can almost see the miner descending in his cage into the 
depths of the earth, far beneath the heedless passers-by on the 
surface. And now a relevancy appears for the next verse.] 

As for the earth, out of it cometh bread : 

And underneath it is turned up as it were by fire. 

The stones thereof are the place of sapphires, 

And it hath dust of gold. 

That path 

[Of course, the path of the miner in the bowels of the earth. 1 

That path no bird of prey knoweth, 

Neither hath the falcon's eye seen it : 

The proud beasts have not trodden it, 

Nor hath the fierce lion passed thereby. 

He putteth forth his hand upon the flinty rock; 

[It is still the miner that is spoken of.] 


He overturneth the mountains by the roots; 

He cutteth out channels among the rocks; 

And his eye seeth every precious thing. 

He bindeth the streams that they trickle not; 

And the thing that is hid bringeth he forth to light. 

Read in a version which brings the idea of connected literature to 
bear upon the Bible, the passage which before seemed a series 
of disconnected sayings is seen to resolve itself into a simple unity, 
a brilliant picture of mining operations. Nay, the whole chap- 
ter now becomes a unity, for we catch the connection of its two 
halves : there are mines out of which men dig gold and silver and 
precious stones, but where is the mine out of which we may bring 
wisdom ? 

It is impossible to insist too strongly upon this difference be- 
tween the Revised Version of the Bible and its predecessors, a 
difference of kind and not of degree, and one which Thug R y eg _ 
is as wide as the distinction between the words sentiai for liter- 
<text' and < context.' The English reader need ar y stu *y 
not feel any difficulty on the ground of the disfavour with which 
the Revised Version has in many quarters been received. Such 
reception has been the regular fate of revisions from St. Jerome's 
day downwards. The Authorised Version had itself to encounter 
the same opposition. It is said to have been a full half century 
before this work of King James's translators came into general 
use ; and in the interval we have on record the opinion of a 
scholar and divine, who, auked by the king, declared he would 
be torn by wild horses rather than urge so badly executed a ver- 
sion upon the churches. The whole discussion of the subject 
seems to me to have been conducted on a wrong footing. The 
critics will take single verses or expressions, and, as it were, test: 
them with their mental palate to see whether the literary flavour 
of the old or the new be superior. But comparisons of this kind 
ajre a sheer impossibility. No one, least of all a cultured critic, 
can separate in his mind between the sense of beauty which comes 
from association, and the beauty which is intrinsic ; the softening 


effect of time and familiarity is needed before any translation can 
in word and phrase assume the even harmony of a classic. Mean- 
while the consideration here contended for the unique excel- 
lence of the Revised Version in the matter of connectedness and 
the Higher Unity is beyond dispute. The true issue between the 
Authorised and the Revised versions is the question whether 
the Bible is to be treated as a collection of sayings, each verse an 
independent whole, or whether the first duty of an interpreter is 
to associate a text with its context. What answer the theologian 
will return to this question it is not the province of this book to 
determine. But speaking from the literary point of view, I make 
bold to say that the reader who confines himself to the Authorised 
Version excludes himself from half the beauty of the Bible. 

To vindicate the importance of the Higher Unity in applica- 
tion to Biblical literature is our first duty. Our second is to 
The Higher Unity g^ 1 ^ ourselves from forming too limited a con- 
assumes variety ception of it. When we try to think out the 
of form connectedness of some sacred poem or discourse, 

we must be prepared to find its unity assuming forms other than 
those with which we are familiar in the literature of the present day. 

The simplest type of unity is where a whole poem is no more 
than the working out of a single idea. I have had occasion in a 
former chapter to cite the hundred and fourteenth 
psalm, and have shown how it connects the deliv- 
erance from Egypt with the new conception of a 
Deity accompanying with his presence a journeying nation. 
Every line of the psalm is filled with this idea ; there is no other 
thought in the poem. A unity so clear presents no difficulty. 

Again, I have in the chapter immediately preceding this ana- 
lysed the hundred and thirty-ninth psalm. This is a lyric of fifty- 
Unity of Transi- two lines * its P enin g an <* closing thoughts are 
tion antagonistic to one another, the Divine Omni- 

Psaim cxxxix presence being dreaded in the one case and in the 
other case desired. Yet the poem presents no difficulty in regard 


to the connection of its thought, for we were able to see the exact 
point where the one train of feeling began to change into the 
othfer. The psalm is made one by the Unity of Transition. 

A more difficult case arises where a portion of literature is seen 
to commence with one topic, to end with a topic entirely different, 

while no part of it can be indicated as conveying .. _ _ 

. . * . / & Unity of Contrast 

a transition from the one set of ideas to the other, and Antithesis 

A notable instance is the much discussed nine- Psalmxix 
teenth psalm. The first six verses of this psalm are entirely occu- 
pied with the heavens above our heads. Their starry marvels are 
conceived as a silent language in which the whole world day by 
day may read of a Creator ; the extended sky is pictured as the 
tent of a hero, and this hero is the Sun, who, forever at his best, 
runs his daily course, scattering the mighty heat which no corner 
of the earth can escape. Passing to the next verse we find our- 
selves without any warning in a totally different set of ideas. 

The law of the LOUD is perfect, restoring the soul : 

The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple: 

The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart : 

The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. 

The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: 

The judgements of the LORD arc tiue, and righteous altogether. 

With topics so different, and no sign of any links to connect them, 
what has become of the Higher Unity ? The answer is that it is to 
be looked for in this very absence of transition : we have here a 
literary effect which may be called the Unity of Contrast or Antith- 
esis. The point of the poem may be summed up as the equal ado- 
ration side by side of the physical and the moral law. No literary 
device could make the equality of the two so forcible as this simple 
placing of them side by side without a word of explanation. 

No doubt this is a matter in which difference of opinion arises ; 
and its discussion is of importance as going down 
to fundamental principles of literary criticism. It is 
urged, by those who speak with the highest author- 
ity, that the disparity between the two parts of this nineteenth 


psalm is too great to be covered by any unity of ide$; that we are 
therefore driven to the supposition that the conaection of these 
two pieces of literature has been effected by those throftgh 
whose hands the Hebrew Scriptures have passed on their way 
to us. The contention is further supported by the plea that these 
two sections of the nineteenth psalm differ in more than subject- 
matter: they represent literary styles that are totally different, 
styles moreover that are seen upon a wide survey of Biblical 
literature to distinguish respectively an early and a late literary 

I do not dispute these allegations. But in resisting the infer- 
ence derived from them I would commence by deprecating the 

confusion so commonly made if not by the 
Questions of au- . . J / 

thorsnip not an critics themselves, yet by a large proportion of 

essential part of their readers between two things which should 
literary study . , . . . - . , 

be kept entirely separate: the confusion. between 

literary unity and unity of authorship. Indeed, if I may widen 
the discussion for a moment, I should like to express the opinion 
that the whole study of literature is placed at a disadvantage by 
the intrusion into it of quite a distinct thing the study of authors. 
A piece of literature is apt to be put before us as a performance 
of some author : we are expected to examine it with a view to 
applauding or censuring this author ; we are minutely informed as 
to the circumstances under which he did his work ; one production 
of his is associated with companion productions, as if the main 
raison d'ttre of them all was to enable us to form an estimate of 
the man who produced them. All this may be good in itself; but 
it is not the study of literature. Authors of books may in them- 
selves be as well worthy our attention as statesmen or commercial 
magnates ; but no one confuses Constitutional History with biogra- 
phies of politicians, or Political Economy with the business his- 
tories of particular firms. And I believe that the study of literature 
will never reach its proper level until it is realised that literature 
is an entity in itself, as well as a function of the individuals who 
contributed to it ; that it has a development and critical principles 


of its own, to be considered independently of any questions affect- 
ing he performance of particular authors. 

To return to the case immediately before us. It might seem a 
self-evident contention that the assignment of different ages to 
different parts of the nineteenth psalm implied diversity of author- 
ship. I would rather say that we are separated Author8hi in 
from the literature in question by an interval so application to 
wide as to raise a doubt whether the term ' author- Biwical P 06 ^ 
ship ' in application to the lyric poetry of the Bible be not alto- 
gether an anachronism. 

We live in the age of books ; not only so, but we have travelled 
so far into this book age that we have forgotten the times when 
literature was affected by anything else than our habits of written 
composition. Yet the study of Comparative Literature reveals 
everywhere a period of literary activity long preceding the earliest 
book ; a floating poetry destined to influence periods much later 
than its own, yet preserved only by oral tradition without any aid 
from writing, whjle the processes of its composition have been 
regulated entirely by the phenomena of spoken literature. How- 
ever widely apart we may date the different parts of the Bible, yet 
the whole approaches much more closely the influences of this 
early spoken poetry than the modern literatures from which we 
draw our ideas. 

It is precisely in the matter of this relationship between literature 
and ' authors ' that the difference between early and late poetry is 
most apparent. The change which the ages have brought about 
in our conception of authorship is not unlike the change that has 
come over our conception of land. Our late civilisation takes for 
granted the idea of individual ownership of land. But we know 
that to primitive society this idea was unthinkable : land belonged 
to the community, and all that individuals could have would be 
rights over the land. Similarly we associate a book with an individ- 
ual author ; we sacredly guard the written book as his property ; 
if the author alters it it becomes a new ' edition/ while if the author 
be dead the form of the book is fixed forever and no one may 


touch it. But for the floating literature of spoken poetry composi- 
tion was in the hands of a class of bards and minstrels, or, shall we 
say, of priests and sacred singers ; what each individual produced 
was regarded as common property, which his brethren used with- 
out any sense of indebtedness. In using one another's composi- 
tions they revised and altered them, until each delivery of a poem 
might make a fresh * edition ' ; and thus the composition of any 
poem was a growth extending through generation after generation, 
and the united product of many minds. 

Now the psalms of the Bible were the product of individual 
poets, but of poets living in periods when the influences of floating 
literature were largely felt in determining habits of composition. 
And this must be borne in mind in every discussion of the subject. 
It is common to speak of David's ' writing ' a psalm : the phrase 
is full of misleading associations. We cannot even assume that 
writing, though used for many purposes, was in David's time 
applied to the preservation of poetical productions ; but we may 
be quite certain that the early psalmists did not, like nineteenth 
century poets, think with pen in hand. Are we again to suppose 
that Hebrew poets when they composed a psalm entered it at 
some Stationers' Hall, with all rights reserved? We know the 
very opposite : the authors of our psalms would send their poems 
" to the Chief Musician upon stringed instruments," or to " the 
Sons of Korah." That is to say, these Biblical psalms when 
composed were committed to the custody of a body of minstrels 
or sacred singers, and so may be expected to present the phe- 
nomena of oral poetry in addition to the features of individual 
authorship. Thus the psalms of the Bible in their composition 
unite the advantages that belong to early and to late poetry : the 
psalm as it leaves the original poet is not a fixed thing, it is only 
just started on a career of life in the hands of living performers, 
through whom it can draw to itself the best thoughts of the ages 
through which it is to pass. These later modifications may be 
merely matters of phraseology or greater fulness of diction ; they 
may be distinct additions, like the final verses of the fifty-first 


psalm, which make a poem of personal penitence serve also as an 
expression of national humiliation. Or they may even amount to 
such a transformation as the nineteenth psalm seems to have 
undergone, when the original song of the heavens, touching an 
age of enthusiasm for the law, inspired the thought that what the 
Sun is to the world without, God's law is to the world within. If 
we assume David to be the ' author ' of the first six verses, then 
no one has a better right than David to be considered the ' author ' 
of the fresh thoughts his words have inspired. Or the original 
song might be considered the 'author' of the additions it has 
begotten in the minds of those who have used it. But it would 
be still better to say that the whole idea of ' authorship ' is a 
conception proper to modern literature, and can do nothing but 
mislead when applied to the wider literary phenomena of the 

But I am comparatively indifferent as to whether the reader 
does or does not accept this conclusion with reference to the 
authorship of the poem. What I am concerned 
to insist upon is that diversity of authorship if a uthorshipnot 
such there be is no bar to the literary unity of inconsistent with 
the nineteenth psalm. This consideration again * er *"" 
demands the wider conception of literature that belongs to 
antiquity. Let an illustration be permitted. If a man enquires 
as to the building of some modern dwelling-house, he will proba- 
bly be able to learn the year in which it was built and the name 
of the architect. It will be different if he applies his investigation 
to some great cathedral. The original architect of the cathedral 
himself completed (we will suppose) the choir and transepts, and 
built them in the Early English style. Then the work stood still 
for several generations ; when the nave was added the whole style 
of architecture had changed. The west front has been added 
later still, and reflects details of a later age. But the original 
architect did not think it necessary to pull down the whole of the 
church his cathedral was superseding ; and hence we find a beau- 
tiful Norman doorway in the middle of the Early English portion 


of the building. And the sexton takes the visitor down to the 
crypt and shows him fragments of a yet earlier Saxon church that 
had stood on the same spot. Here, then, we have a building that 
displays five different architectural styles, the product of five dif- 
ferent ages : do we call such a building five cathedrals or one 
cathedral ? The psalms have the artistic range of the cathedral, 
not of the mere dwelling-house ; they reflect the literary archi- 
tecture of the many ages down which they have travelled, and are 
often seen to have absorbed into themselves ' oracles ' yet older 
than the date of their first composition. But with the psalm, as 
with the cathedral, none of these circumstances need militate 
against the artistic unity of the whole. 

The literary unity, then, of this nineteenth psalm becomes a 
question of the ideas underlying its two parts, and of the mode 
in which these ideas are brought together. For the ideas them- 
selves, the union in one thought of the physical and the moral 
universe has appealed to many minds. It is as old as Zoroaster : 

He who first planned that these skies should be clothed with lights, 
He by his wisdom is creator of Righteousness, wherewith to support the best 
mind. 1 

The philosopher Kant, again, was wont to speak of the two per- 
petual wonders, the starry heavens above and the moral law within. 
And a still closer association of the two ideas has inspired a line of 
Wordsworth, who says, addressing Duty : 

Thou dost preserve the stars from wrong; 

And the most ancient heavens through Thee are fresh and strong. 

That the two worlds should in the Biblical poem be placed side by 
side without further comment is surely intelligible to our aesthetic 
sense. Art in general recognises the simple con- 
trast anc * antith esis. But more than that, the very 
Antithesis section of art we are considering the psalms of 

1 Yasna xxxi. 9. I am indebted for this parallel to Rev. J. Hope Moulton, Fel- 
low of King's College, Cambridge. 


the Bible give us other examples of this same poetic device. 

A closely analogous case is the thirty-sixth psalm, 

,*,' r . r , Psalmmvi 

which devotes four a picture of character 

so utterly corrupt that evil has become a law unto itself; and then 
abruptly, without connecting links, sets against the dark back- 
ground of supreme evil a supreme good a loving-kindness as 
wide as the heavens, a righteousness as high as the mountains, 
judgments as profound as the sea, bounty as diffused as the light. 1 
Again, among the 'Songs of Ascents* is found a 
short lyric, the thought of which would be obscure 
did we not recognise in it one of these antithetic contrasts between 
two types of life the life of anxious toil and the quiet home 
life made effective by the simple juxtaposition of the two 


Except the LORD build the house, 
They labour in vain that build it : 
Except the LORD keep the city, 
The watchman waketh but in vain. 
It is vain for you that ye rise up early, 
And so late take rest, 
And eat the bread of toil. 

Anti strophe 

So he giveth unto his beloved sleep. 
Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD : 
And the fruit of the womb is his reward. 
As arrows in the hand of a mighty man, 
So are the children of youth. 

Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them : 
They shall not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies 
in the gate. 

Our examination, then, of this nineteenth psalm, when once dis- 
turbing questions of authorship are laid aside, reveals a connection 

1 The parallelism of form between this and the nineteenth psalm is close : besides 
the main point (of antithesis without connecting links) there is in both the culmi- 
nation of the whole in prayer. 



of thought which is both impressive in itself, and also an addition 

to the types of Higher Unity under which Biblical lyrics can be 


In treating this general matter of the Higher Unity it is necessary 

to mention what may be called the Unity of Aggregation. This 
can be brought out best by the aid of illustrations. 
If the reader ^amines the Book of Proverbs and, 
discarding the numbering of chapters which has 

no literary significance, seeks to divide it into the literary coin- 
positions of which it is made up, he will be struck 

f 4 r a v 8 erb8 xxv " with the different relations in which successive 
verses stand to one another in different parts of 

the book. Let him, for example, read the last five verses of the 

twenty-fifth chapter. 

It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, 
Than with a contentious woman in a wide house. 

As cold waters to a thirsty soul, 
So is good news from a far country. 

As a troubled fountain, and a corrupted spring, 

So is a righteous man that giveth way before the wicked. 

It is not good to eat much honey : 

So for men to search out their own glory is not glory. 

He whose spirit is without restraint 

Is like a city that is broken down and hath no wall. 

Nothing is plainer than that we have here five entirely distinct 
compositions ; all that the " men of Hezekiah " have done is to 
collect them. Next, let the reader take four verses that follow 
one another in the twenty-sixth chapter. 


The sluggard saith, There is a lion in the way; Proverbs xxvi. 
A lion is in the streets. 13-16 

As the door turneth upon its hinges, 
So doth the sluggard upon his bed. 

The sluggard burieth his hand in the dish ; 
It wearieth him to bring it again to his mouth. 


The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit 
Than seven men that can render a reason. 

Here again we have entirely separate sayings, but they are all 
sayings on the subject of the sluggard. The " men of Hezekiah " 

have not merely collected, they have in this instance 

j i T-^ i 11 Proverbs vi. 1-5 

arranged their matter. For completeness let the 

reader turn to an entirely different part of the book, and read 
(say) the first five verses of chapter six. 

My son, if thou art become surety for thy neighbour, 

If thou hast stricken thy hands for a stranger, 

Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, 

Thou art taken with the words of thy mouth. 

Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, 

Seeing thou art come into the hand of thy neighbour; 

Go, humble thyself, and importune thy neighbour. 

Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids. 

Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, 

And as a bird from the hand of the fowler. 

Here it is clear that we have no collection of distinct sayings, but 
a single composition with an organic unity of its own. The sacred 
literature is thus found to include both what in modern phraseol- 
ogy are called original compositions, and also collections of sepa- 
rate brief compositions put together with or without arrangement. 
The shorter sayings are obvious in the Book of Proverbs. But at 
the proper place we shall see that they belong equally to other 
departments of Biblical literature : that Prophecy includes short 


prophetic utterances collected together as well as longer dis- 
courses, and that even a lyric composition may be constructed of 
separate lyrics in combination. Many mistakes of interpretation 
may be avoided by recognising the Unity of Aggregation. 

One more consideration will complete our classification of the 
different forms that may be assumed by the Higher Unity in the 
literary compositions of the Bible. It will some- 
times ha PP en that the connection binding the dif- 
ferent parts of a poem into a unity is to be looked 
for, not in the poem itself, but in the external use made of it. A 
notable example is the twenty-fourth psalm. Any one reading this 
psalm with a view to catching its general drift and 
connection will be struck with a break between its 
sixth and seventh verses, at which point there is a change both of 
form and matter so considerable as inevitably to raise the doubt 
whether the whole psalm can be a single composition. The diffi- 
culty is met by identifying the poem with a particular ceremonial, 
into the different parts of which the two halves of the psalm fit 
like a key into the wards of a lock. 

This ceremonial was the bringing of the Ark to Jerusalem. 
There is perhaps no single day in the far distance of antiquity 
which we are able to follow with such minuteness as this central 
day of King David's career ; and in a later chapter we shall see 
that all the songs composed for the festival can be recovered. 
The twenty-fourth psalm represents the words of the processional 
march from the House of Obed-Edom to the Gates of Jerusalem. 
There seem to have been two points in this march at which the 
instruments of fir wood, harps, psalteries, timbrels, castanets and 
cymbals gave place to vocal celebration. The first was when the 
procession halted at the foot of the high hill on which the city 
stood ; and here it is that the first six verses of the psalm have 
their fitness. After a burst of adoration to the Creator of the 
world one of the perfectly general ascriptions of praise with 
which psalms so often commence the special anthem proceeds 
as follows : 


Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? 
And who shall stand in his holy place ? 

He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; 

Who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, 

And hath not sworn deceitfully. 
He shall receive a blessing from the LORD, 
And righteousness from the God of his salvation. 
This is the generation of them that seek after him, 
That seek thy face, O God of Jacob. 

The identification of these words with the occasion to which I am 
referring becomes the stronger through something which illustrates 
what has been said above as to the nature of Hebrew poetry, and 
how its composition did not fix it in one form, as our writing does, 
but left it scope to adapt itself in the mouths of the singers who 
preserved it to changes of thought or circumstances. We have a 
variant to the anthem just cited : this is the fifteenth psalm, and a 
comparison of the two poems is highly instructive. 

LORD, who shall sojourn in thy tabernacle? Psalm xv 

Who shall dwell in thy holy hill? 

He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, 

And speaketh truth in his heart. 

He that slandereth not with his tongue, 

Nor doeth evil to his friend, 

Nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. 

In whose eyes a reprobate is despised; 

But he honoureth them that fear the LORD. 

He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. 

He that putteth not out his money to usury, 

Nor taketh reward against the innocent. 
He that doeth these things shall never be moved. 

That these are varying forms of one poem is obvious ; in both the 
same character for the worshipper of Jehovah is conveyed in the 
same form of lyric question and answer. The differences between 
them are two. The fifteenth psalm is much fuller in its descrip- 
tion, and yet this fulness is no more than the working out into 
detail of what the other psalm had suggested. Again, there is a 
striking variation in the wording of the opening verse. The 


twenty-fourth psalm asks, " Who shall ascend into the hill of the 
LORD/' the fifteenth psalm phrases the question, "Who shall 
sojourn" This exactly tallies with the view here presented of 
the two poems. The one is an anthem for a specific occasion, 
and to the circumstances of that occasion the procession halt- 
ing at the foot of the hill the phrase is exactly relevant, " Who 
shall ascend." But when this description of the worshipper of 
Jehovah is divorced from the proceedings of that particular day, 
and passes into general use, there is no longer any point in the 
word ascend, and a general term, sojourn, is substituted. And it 
is equally natural that the brief suggestive sketch should be found 
where the thought comes as a single detail in a long ceremonial, 
but that when the fragment passes into use as an independent 
hymn the thought should expand and gather fulness and devo- 
tional beauty. 

The other emphatic point in the march was when the proces- 
sion drew up opposite the gates of the city : this gives us the 
second part of the twenty-fourth psalm. Two considerations 
should be carefully remembered by the reader. One of these is 
the nature of the day's festival. It was not a dedication of a 
temple, but an inauguration of a city. The tent in which David 
placed the Ark was clearly regarded by him as a mere temporary 
convenience ; the task on which his whole heart was bent was to 
bring the Ark to the city of David. This Jerusalem was an 
ancient stronghold of the Jebusites ; to capture it had been 
David's greatest achievement; he wished to turn it into the 
metropolis of the military monarchy in which he, as the repre- 
sentative of Jehovah, was the principal figure : there could then 
be no fitter form of inauguration than to transfer to the newly cap- 
tured city the sacred Symbol with the fullest military honours. 
The psalm realises all this by its formal call upon the city gates to 
open. But a second point must be noted before the anthem 

becomes fully intelligible. The historical account 
II Sam. vi f . 

of the ceremonial gives striking prominence to a 

particular title of the Divine Being the LORD OF HOSTS : the 


narrative opens by speaking of " the Ark of God which is called 
by^the Name, even the name of the LORD of hosts " ; it ends by 
saying that David, in dismissing the people to their homes, blessed 
them " in the name of the LORD of hosts." It is clear that this 
title made a sort of watchword to the day's proceedings. With 
the full circumstances before us let us follow this second section 
of the psalm. The procession has halted opposite the massive 
porch of the time-worn fortress, and in full military form sum- 
mons it to open its gates. 

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; 
And be ye lift up, ye ancient doors : 
And the King of glory shall come in. 

Warders answer from within : 

Who is the King of glory? 

By the simplest of poetic devices the anthem keeps back for a 
time the great Name, and answers with other titles of Jehovah. 

The LORD strong and mighty, 
The LORD mighty in battle. 

The watchword has not been spoken, and the gates refuse to open. 
The summons must be repeated. 

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; 
Yea, lift them up, ye ancient doors: 
And the King of glory shall come in. 

A second time is heard the challenge from within : 

Who is this King of glory? 

At last the great Name is spoken : 

He is the King of glory ! 

At this word the gates roll back, the procession enters, and Jehovah 
has taken possession of his city. 


It appears then that the two sections of the twenty-fourth psalm 
fit in with two points in the procession of the Ark to Jerusalem : 
the halt at the foot of the hill, and the climax in front of the 
gates. The psalm finds its unity in the external circumstances of 
its first production. 

Enough has now been said on the subject of this Higher Unity, 
the bond by which different parts of a composition are woven 
together into a single whole. We have seen that to look for such 
unity is a foremost condition of literary appreciation; and that 
this applies to the literature of the Bible, notwithstanding diffi- 
culties thrown in our way by mediaeval methods of printing or 
reading the Sacred Scriptures. We have seen, on the other hand, 
that in searching for the unity of any particular poem we must not 
force interpretation through some preconceived idea of poetic 
connection, but must be prepared to find the Higher Unity assum- 
ing various forms. We have surveyed some of these forms : Sim- 
ple Unity, Unity of Transition, Unity of Antithesis, Unity of 
Aggregation, Unity of External Circumstances. In each case the 
nature of the unity must be gathered from an examination of 
the particular composition, and a comparison of it with other 
compositions of a similar kind. 



MY purpose in Book First is to arrive at a general classification 
of such literary forms as Epic, Lyric, Philosophy, and others, 
which can in succeeding books be one by one The Higher unity 
applied to the literature of the Bible. Preceding and distinctions 
chapters have been occupied in clearing the ground ; f Ilterary fonn 
starting from structural analysis they have advanced through lower 
unities of literary form to that higher unity by which a literary 
work is grasped as a whole. It is only when a reader has accus- 
tomed himself to thinking of a poem (or prose composition) as a 
whole that he is in a position to take the further step of recognis- 
ing the form such a composition assumes. In the present chapter 
we are prepared to consider briefly the general notion underlying 
such terms as Epic, Lyric, and the like, when these terms are 
used of universal literature ; and then to note a few of the special 
features that broadly distinguish Hebrew literature. 

Let the reader firmly fix four ideas in his mind, as what may 
be called the four Cardinal Points of Literature. The f our Cardinal 
Two of these are given by the antithesis Descrip- Points of Litera- 
tion and Presentation. When an incident is de- ture 
scribed to us, the words are throughout the words of the author. 
When it is presented, the author himself nowhere 

appears, but he leaves us to hear the words of J> escri P tion and 
, r ' Presentation 

those personages who actually took part in the 

incident, perhaps to see their doings ; we become spectators, and 
the circumstances are made to present themselves before us. 



Homer and Milton give us literature of description; for pres- 
entation the most complete illustration is Shakespeare, in whpse 
pages all varieties of mankind are speaking and moving, but the 
poet himself is never heard. 

The other two ideas are conveyed by the words Poetry and 
Prose. It is impossible to use other terms ; and yet about these 

Poetry and Prose there is an unfortunate ambiguity, owing to the exi- 
gences of language which have imposed a double 
duty on the word ' prose ' : it is antithetic to ' poetry ' and it is 
also antithetic to 'verse.' No doubt there is a good deal in 
common between these two usages of the word : Poetry is mostly 
conveyed in verse, and Prose literature in the style called prose. 
But the terms must be used with a cautious recollection that 
Poetry is sometimes cast in the form of prose notably, we shall 
see, in the Bible ; while in the earlier stages of literary history 
verse has often been utilised for works of science and philosophy 
which would later have been thrown into a prose form. The con- 
ception we are at present seeking will be best grasped if we 
translate the Greek word 'poetry* into its Latin equivalent, 'cre- 
ative literature ' ; it assists also to remember the old English usage 
by which a poet was called a ' maker.' The idea underlying these 
words is that the poet makes something, creates, adds to the sum 
of existences ; whereas the antithetic literature of Prose has only 
to discuss what already exists. When Homer has sung and Eu- 
ripides exhibited plays the world is richer by an Achilles and an 
Alcestis. It makes no difference whether, as an historic fact, the 
Greek warrior and the Queen of Pherae ever existed, or whether 
they are pure figments of the imagination, or whether they existed 
but behaved quite differently from what the poem and the play 
suggest : to our poetic sense the Homeric Achilles and the Euripi- 
dean Alcestis are as real as the Caesar of history. On the con- 
trary, the literature of Prose moves only in the region Iimite4 
by facts; history and philosophy have to deal only with what 
acttially has existence, accurately describing things, or bringing out 
the relations between one thing and another. 


These four ideas, Description and Presentation, Poetry and 
Prose, I have called the four Cardinal Points of Literature : they 
are to be regarded, not as divisions or classes into . ~. 

,.,,.. . _ Primitive liter- 

which literary works may be divided, but as so aryform: the 
many different directions in which literary activity BaUad Dance 
may move. But to understand this movement a fifth conception 
must be added as a starting-point for such activity. The starting- 
point of literature is found in what is technically called the Ballad 
Dance. The study of Comparative Literature reveals that wher- 
ever literature arises spontaneously its earliest form is a combina- 
tion of verse, music, and imitative gesture. Whether it be a story, 
or an uplifting of the heart in worship, or a burst of popular frolic, 
the expression of these will be in rhythmic words, which are 
chanted to a tune with or without instrumental accompaniment, 
and further emphasised by expressive gestures of the whole body 
such as have come to be denominated ' dancing.' Hebrew litera- 
ture was no exception. Of course, the actual contents of our 
Bibles are far removed from such primitive productions. But 
some portions of Sacred Scripture are early enough not to have 
lost the triple form with which poetry started. Thus 
we are expressly informed that the Song of Moses Exodus ** ao 
and Miriam was accompanied with timbrel music and dances; 
even when the bringing of the Ark to Jerusalem n . s^. ^ 5t 
called forth such lofty strains of poetry we have a x 4-xe 
full description of the orchestra with which that poetry was accom- 
panied, and we know how David himself " danced with all his 
might " in its performance. 

If then the reader keeps in his mind this starting-point of liter- 
ature in the Ballad Dance, and also the four directions in which 

its impulses are likely to carry it, he will be able ^ M 

. - i Fundamental 

to lay down as in a chart the great forms which Forma for Liter- 
literature assumes as it develops. On the side of ature ltt en * r ai 
Poetry three great types of literature arise, which on examination 
are found to reflect the three elements verse, music, dancing 
combined by primitive poetry in one. Epic is a branch thrown 

~ Creativ ? 

(Verse prepon- 

(Music prepon- 

(Action prepon- 


8 1 

Ballad Dance 


= Primitive liter- 
ary form 

3 CD 

o OJ 

I- S 

o> pi 


Description (of 

Nature & Events) 






off on the side of Description, for it consists in the narration of a 
poetic story ; the name ' Epic/ which literally means 
'speech/ is seen by comparison with the other pl 
names to imply that in this branch verse is the only one of the 
three original elements which is essential, music and dancing being 
for epic poetry mere accessories that soon disap- 
peared. Over against this Epic a second branch rama 
of creative literature is found pointing in the direction of Presenta- 
tion ; and its name, Drama, implies that here the imitative gesture 
of the ballad dance has predominated over everything else, for 
' Drama ' is ' acted poetry/ The remaining constituent of primi- 
tive literature, music, is suggested by the name of 
the third great division of poetry Lyric, and all Lync 
the devices of musical art find their analogies in the movement 
of lyric poetry. As Epic was concerned with Description, and 
Drama with Presentation, so Lyric has a special function which 
at the same time mediates between the other two. It may be 
described by the term Reflection or Meditation ; by this medi- 
tative function lyric poetry can as its position on our chart 
would suggest pass at any moment into epic or dramatic with- 
out losing its own distinctive character. To illustrate : let us take 
up (say) the ninth psalm at the eleventh verse. 

Sing praises to the LORD, which dwelleth in Zion : 

Declare among the people his doings. 
For he that maketh inquisition for blood remembereth them : 

He forgetteth not the cry of the poor. 

We have struck this lyric at a point where the poet is reflecting ; but 
in the next verse the meditation has become dramatic, for we are 
allowed to hear the very cries of the poor who have been spoken of. 

" Have mercy upon me, O LORD ; 

Behold my affliction which I suffer of them that hate me, 
Thou that liftest me up from the gates of death; 
That I may shew forth all thy praise : 
In the gates of the daughter of Zion, 
I will rejoice in thy salvation." 


As the lyric form has thus changed quite naturally into a momen- 
tary drama, so in the verse that follows it is found to have passed 
into epic description. s 

The nations are sunk down in the pit that they made : 
In the net which they hid is their own foot taken. 

Biblical lyrics illustrate more fully than any others this essentially 
central character of lyric poetry and its power of absorbing the 
other forms. 

Analogous to the three great types of Poetry we have three 
mam divisions of literature on its side of Prose. Epic has its 

counterpart in History. The word history has for 

its range the whole field of positive description: 

' Natural History ' is the description of external nature, and ' His- 
tory ' without any qualifying adjective is the description of events. 
On the other side the prose analogue of Drama is 
Rhetoric; for the orator differs from others who 
use prose in the prominence he gives to presentation. To the 
famous orator Demosthenes is attributed the saying that the first 
element of oratory is action, and the second element action, and 
the third action : the meaning of this is that an orator must above 
all things be an actor; he must be able to identify himself with his 
cause as an actor presents a part. Lastly, as Lyric was reflective 
poetry, the corresponding form of prose literature is 

Philosophy i . i . , . 

Philosophy, which is no more than organised reflec- 
tion. And as Lyric was found to occupy a central position on the 
side of poetry, so that it could dip at intervals into Epic and Drama, 
an analogous power attaches to Philosophy, which can extend in 
the direction of Description when it takes the form of scientific 
observation, and on the other side can advance almost to the 
bounds of Rhetoric in the form of exposition. 

We have thus, starting from first principles, arrived at a concep- 
tion of the six main divisions of literary form. But these six forms 
must be understood as merely general notions, drawn from a com- 
parative survey of literature as a whole. Just as the * elements ' 


into which the chemist analyses matter are seldom found in nature 
separate and distinct, but almost always in com- 
biftation, so in the actual literatures of the world it seitom^fintd 
will be an exceptional case if any particular work is to a 8in s le f nn 
found to exemplify one of the six forms we have been discussing, 
without any admixture of the rest. 

We are to review the various forms as they appear in the Bible. 

But first I will draw attention to three points which, . ^. . u , 

^ , ,. . Distinguishing 

in the most general survey, distinguish Biblical lit- features of He- 

erature from the other great literatures of the world, brew Literatur 
and affect its relation to the elements of literary form just surveyed. 
The first distinguishing characteristic of Hebrew literature is that 
it has not developed a separate and distinct Drama ; although, as 
if to compensate for this, the dramatic impulse is 
found in Hebrew to invade other regions of litera- Di^*td- 
ture, including such departments as might have matic influence 
seemed most impervious to it. The current find- on other f orms 
ing no channel has spread and diffused itself. The reader of the 
Bible knows that he will find in it no acted play like the plays of 
Shakespeare. But on the other hand he will find lyric poems 
specially dramatic in tone, and in Solomon's Song a lyric idyl that 
impresses some of its readers as a complete drama. He will find, 
again, philosophy taking a dramatic shape. In the Book of Job 
the dramatic form reaches an intensity not exceeded in any liter- 
ature ; yet even here there is no independent drama, but the 
dramatised discussion is made to rest on a basis of epic story. 
What is still more surprising, the discourses of prophecy are found 
to be leavened by the dramatic spirit, and that most concentrated 
form of Hebrew prophecy, which will in this work be called the 
Rhapsody, is pre-eminent in the closeness with which it approaches 
to Drama. If such things could be made the subject of measure- 
ment, it would be safe to predict that the mass of dramatic mate- 
rial in Biblical literature would be not less than that found in other 
literatures where Drama is a distinct form. 


A second consideration must be mentioned as separating 
Hebrew from other literatures. When a reader turns over the 

pages of the Bible, the department which will im- 
2. Prophecy a r ,.,,. 

special depart- press him most by its bulk and importance is one 

ment of Litera- no t included in the above classification, because it 
is no element of universal literature. This is the 
department of Prophecy. The distinction of Prophecy is not one 
of form but of spirit : Biblical Prophecy, in a sense that belongs 
to no other class of literature, presents itself as an actual Divine 
message. So far as form is concerned Prophecy is not distinctive 
but comprehensive : all types of literature are attracted towards 
it, and, as will be seen at the proper place, the various literary 
forms are fused together into a new form in the Prophetic Rhap- 

The third distinguishing feature of Hebrew literature needs 
fuller explanation. It has to do with the external form of verse 
3 overlapping an( * P rose - We saw that Hebrew rests its verse 
of verse and system, not upon metre or rhyme, but upon paral- 
Prose lelism of clauses. But, as a matter of universal 

literature, parallelism is one of the devices of prose : the rhetoric 
of all nations includes it. If then a particular language bases its 
verse upon something which is also the property of prose, it is an 
inevitable consequence that in that language prose and verse will 
overlap : and such is the case with Biblical literature. I do not 
of course mean that the verse literature of the Bible taken as a 
whole could be confused with the Biblical literature of prose. 
What could be further from prose than the Book of Psalms ? and 
what could be further from verse than the Books of Chronicles ? 
But while in their extremes they are totally different, yet there is a 
middle region of Biblical style in which verse and prose meet : a 
high parallelism in which transition can be rapidly made from the 
one to the other, or even the effects of the two can seem to be 
combined. It is this overlapping of verse and prose which con- 
stitutes the third distinctive feature of Hebrew literature. 

I am the more particular upon this point, because it is one 


which I think has not received sufficient attention. The combina- 
tion^of verse and prose to which I am alluding is not the fact that, 
in such a book as Jeremiah, some compositions are found to be 
verse and some prose. Nor am I referring merely to the literary 
effect of a transition in the same composition from a passage of 
prose to a passage of verse ; such transitions belong to many 
literatures, and are markedly characteristic of Shakespeare in his 
later plays. The union of verse and prose can in Biblical litera- 
ture be more intimate still : what in another language we should 
have to call a system of verse for example, the analysis of a 
single stanza will in the Hebrew be found to combine prose 
with verse into a common system. 

A clear grasp of this overlapping of verse and prose is neces- 
sary for the appreciation of Hebrew literature. To gain it may 
require some effort of mind on the part of those TMg ^ addition 
who have formed their ideas in literatures of a dif- to the resources 
ferent kind. The English reader, for example, is of style 
accustomed to a verse founded on metrical considerations or 
rhyme things foreign to prose ; when he hears of verse ap- 
proaching prose the phrase is likely to suggest to him weakness 
and inefficiency. Any such suggestion becomes inapplicable in 
the case of a language where parallelism makes a common ground 
between the highest poetry and the highest rhetoric. It is clear, 
on the contrary, that the literary resources of Hebrew are increased 
by the feature we are discussing. Hebrew has the power pos- 
sessed by other languages of producing literary effect with changes 
from the one form of expression to the other. But it has also a 
power all its own of maintaining (so to speak) a watershed of 
high parallelism, from which it can dip towards verse or prose 
with the utmost subtlety, or can combine in one the delight in 
freedom, which is the spirit of prose, with a sense of rhythm, 
which is the foundation of verse. 

I am about to bring forward illustrations, but I must preface 
them with one general remark. It will be seen in the extracts 

cited that certain passages are printed as prose which are usually 



represented to be lines of verse; and the question may arise, 
what is the criterion for deciding such points. I would answer 
that the matter cannot be determined simply by 
examinin g the passages themselves and the relation 
of successive clauses, seeing that parallelism is com- 
mon ground between verse and rhetoric prose. Where is the 
parallelism of clauses carried further than in the speeches of 
Moses as they appear in the Book of Deuteronomy, especially at 
such a point of the book as the eighth chapter? Yet no one 
would break up such speeches into lines of verse, because the 
general drift and spirit of the whole makes it clear that they con- 
stitute not poetry but oratory. So with regard to the citations 
from prophecy that are to be given, it is necessary, besides ex- 
amining the individual clauses, to study the extract as a whole, 
and the way its different parts hang together ; when this is done, 
it will often appear that a passage, which in itself would make 
good verse, will in its relation to the whole be better represented 
to the eye and ear as prose. To use the terms I distinguished 
when speaking on the general subject of structure, the analysis of 
prophetic style must be dominated by the higher and not the 
lower parallelism. 

My first illustration is from the prophecy of 
Amos, a book which will impress the most casual 
reader with the prominence in it of structural beauty. 

Thus saith the LORD : 

For three transgressions of Damascus, 
Yea, for four, 

I will not turn away the punishment thereof; 

because they have threshed Gilead with threshing instruments of 

But I will send a fire into the house of Hazael, 

And it shall devour the palaces of Ben-hadad. 

And I will break the bar of Damascus, and cut off the inhabitant from 
the valley of Aven, and him that holdeth the sceptre from the house 
of Eden : and the people of Syria shall go into captivity unto Kir, saith 
the LORD. 


Thus saith the LORD : 

For three transgressions of Gaza, 
Yea, for four, 

I will not turn away the punishment thereof; 

because they carried away captive the whole people, to deliver them 
up to Edom : 

But I will send a fire on the wall of Gaza, 

And it shall devour the palaces thereof: 

and I will cut off the inhabitant from Ashdod, and him that holdeth 
the sceptre from Ashkelon; and I will turn mine hand against Ekron, 
and the remnant of the Philistines shall perish, saith the LORD God. 

Thus saith the LORD : 

For three transgressions of Tyre, 
Yea, for four, 

I will not turn away the punishment thereof; 

because they delivered up the whole people to Edom, and remem- 
bered not the brotherly covenant : 

But I will send a fire on the wall of Tyre, 
And it shall devour the palaces thereof. 

Thus saith the LORD : 

For three transgressions of Edom, 
Yea, for four, 

I will not turn away the punishment thereof; 

because he did pursue his brother with the sword, and did cast off all 
pity, and his anger did tear perpetually, and he kept his wrath for 
-ever : 

But I will send a fire upon Teman, 

And it shall devour the palaces of Bozrah. 

Thus saith the LORD : 

For three transgressions of the children of Ammon, 
Yea, for four, 

I will not turn away the punishment thereof; 

because they have ripped up the women with child of Gilead, that they 
might enlarge their border : 

But I will kindle a fire in the wall of Rabbah, 

And it shall devour the palaces thereof, 

with shouting in the clay of battle, with a tempest in the day of the 
whirlwind: and their king shall go away into captivity, he and his 
princes together, saith the LORD. 


Thus saith the LORD : 

For three transgressions of Moab, 
Yea, for four, 

I will not turn away the punishment thereof; 
because he burned the bones of the king of Edom into lime : 

But I will send a fire upon Moab, 

And it shall devour the palaces of Kerioth; 

and Moab shall die with tumult, with shouting, and with the sound of 
the trumpet; and I will cut off the judge from the midst thereof, and 
will slay all the princes thereof with him, saith the LORD. 

Thus saith the LORD : 

For three transgressions of Judah, 
Yea, for four, 

I will not turn away the punishment thereof; 

because they have rejected the law of the LORD, and have not kept 
his statutes, and their lies have caused them to err, after the which 
their fathers did walk : 

But I will send a fire upon Judah, 

And it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem. 

Thus saith the LORD : 

For three transgressions of Israel, 
Yea, for four, 

I will not turn away the punishment thereof; 

because they have sold the righteous for silver, and the needy for a 
pair of shoes : that pant after the dust of the earth on the head of the 
poor, and turn aside the way of the meek : and a man and his father 
will go unto the same maid, to profane my holy name : and they lay 
. themselves down beside every altar upon clothes taken in pledge, and 
in the house of their God they drink the wine of such as have been 
fined. Yet destroyed I the Amorite before them, whose height was 
like the height of the cedars, and he was strong as the oaks; yet I 
destroyed his fruit from above, and his roots from beneath. Also 
I brought you up out of the land of Egypt, and led you forty years in 
the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite. And I raised up 
of your sons for prophets, and of your young men for Nazirites. Is it 
not even thus, O ye children of Israel? saith the LORD. But ye gave 
the Nazirites wine to drink; and commanded the prophets, saying, 
Prophesy not. 

Behold I will press you in your place, 

As a cart presseth that is full of sheaves. 


And flight shall perish from the swift, 

And the strong shall not strengthen his force, 

Neither shall the mighty deliver himself: 

Neither shall he stand that handleth the bow; 

And he that is swift of foot shall not deliver himself: 

Neither shall he that rideth the horse deliver himself: 

And he that is courageous among the mighty 

Shall flee away naked in that day, 

Saith the LORD. 

If we examine this portion of Amos in the spirit of the lower 
parallelism, we must admit that the passages here printed as prose 
could be broken up into verses, most of them without straining. 
But the higher parallelism constructs the whole passage on an 
extremely simple plan: this prophecy against eight peoples is 
made up of common formulae expressing ideal transgressions and 
ideal dooms, together with particular descriptions of actual sins 
and actual sufferings. It is surely in keeping with such a general 
plan that the formulae and ideal portions should be found to be in 
verse, and the particular descriptions in prose. Moreover, when 
we examine the denunciation of Israel, the final climax up to which 
all the rest leads, we find that it is just here that the description is 
most difficult to compel into the form of verse : if this goes best 
as prose then the parts correlated with it should be prose also. 
Finally, if we look at the whole for a moment simply as a work of 
art, we must be struck with the superb elasticity of style which 
Hebrew obtains from a power of combining verse and prose in 
the same way that the oratorio combines recitative with timed 
music. The speaker can at any moment suspend rhythm in order 
to penetrate with the unfettered simplicity of prose into every 
detail of realism, sure of being able to recover when he pleases 
the rhythmic march, and the strong tone of idealisation. 

My second illustration goes further than the first in the direc- 
tion of artistic elaborateness, and is proportionately 

,. - . . T i Joeiii. i-ix 

more open to difference of opinion. It is the 

famous passage in which Joel conveys the approach of the mystic 


Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, 

And sound an alarm in my holy mountain; 

Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble : r 

for the Day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand; a day of dark- 
ness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, as the dawn 
spread upon the mountains; a great people and a strong, there hath 
not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after them, even to 
the years of many generations ! 

A fire devoureth before them; 

And behind them a flame burneth : 

The land is as the garden of Eden before them, 

And behind them a desolate wilderness ! 

Vea, and none hath escaped them. The appearance of them is as the 
appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so clo they run. Like the 
noise of chariots on the tops of the mountains do they leap, like 
the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong 
people set in battle array. 

At their presence the peoples are in anguish: 

All faces are waxed pale : 

They run like mighty men; 

They climb the wall like men of war; 

And they march every one on his ways. 

And they break not their ranks : neither doth one thrust another; they 
march every one in his path : and they burst through the weapons, and 
break not off their course. 

They leap upon the city; 

They run upon the wall; 

They climb up into the houses; 

They enter in at the windows like a thief. 

The earth quaketh before them; 

The heavens tremble : 

The sun and the moon are darkened, 

And the stars withdraw their shining : 

and the LORD uttereth his voice before his army; for his camp is very 
great; for he is strong that executeth his word: for the Day of the 
LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? 

At first sight the reader might be surprised to see treated as 
prose language so full of fire and rhythm. But we have seen that 
this by itself is an unsafe criterion : the line is a very fine one that 
separates between the rhythm of universal rhetoric and the rhythm 


of Hebrew verse. The only safe guide is the structure of the whole 
passage. One point in the above arrangement is obvious it 
yields the favourite Hebrew effect of augmenting : when the pass- 
ages of verse are examined it will be seen that the first consists of 
three lines, the second of four, the third of five, the climax of a 
much larger number. But the more important question is, whether 
the breaks suggested between prose and verse coincide with any 
change in the spirit of the whole. The passage is dominated by 
one idea the sense of mysterious approach. The prophecy of 
Joel, starting from a plague of locusts, idealises this into destruc- 
tion as a general notion, and so finely is this idealisation executed 
that associations of locusts and of destruction in general mingle 
together until they leave on our minds nothing but a sense of 
awful mystery. Keeping then this idea of mystic approach before 
us, let us examine the sections of the whole passage. The opening 
verses are simply an alarm : a trumpet crash and quivering nerves. 
Then prose puts the meaning of the alarm, as it might be inter- 
preted by rumour : it must be the Day of Jehovah breaking, with 
blackness for its light of dawn : a ' people ' coming, the like of 
which has never been seen. With the return to verse we have 
advanced from hearing to seeing : but the first glance pictures the 
army of destruction only by its effects the beauty before it, the 
destruction and burning where it has passed. A second glance 
analyses in prose the destroying force : like the words of one 
trying to make out something in the distance, we hear minglings 
of the appearance of horses with the sounds of chariots and flames. 
Another stage of advance is made by a simple contrast in verse -^- 
the pale terror of the helpless victims, and the energy of the 
destroying march. But no sooner is the word ' march ' introduced 
than prose proceeds to analyse the march, with the riddling sug- 
gestions of locusts underlying the descriptions of unbroken ranks, 
and the pouring through opposing weapons. At last the goal of 
the city is reached, and in a string of abrupt verses we have the 
irresistible invasion from every side until the whole earth is 
darkened and rocking with a universal destruction. Then a yet 


higher climax is made when prose brings out the power that has 
been behind the whole judgment it is indeed Jehovah wlpse 
word has been thus strongly executed : and who shall abide his 
terrible day ! The structural law of the whole stands out clear : 
continually augmenting stanzas of verse paint the objective scene, 
and prose interposes between them to analyse and interpret 

But to fully appreciate this feature of Biblical style the reader 
ought to watch it as it appears upon a more extended scale. I 

BookofZephaniah Sha11 therefore Conclude by citing the Book of 
Zephaniah in full. The structural plan of this 
prophecy is equally simple and impressive. It is prose broken 
by snatches of verse. Upon examination, the prose is found to 
be a continuous discourse conveying the denunciatory message of 
Deity ; the verse passages are interruptions of lyric comment at 
emphatic points. 


which came unto 


the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, 

the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah, 

in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, 

king of Judah. 

I will utterly consume all things from off the face of the ground, saith 
the LORD. I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls 
of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumbling-blocks with 
the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the face of the ground, 
saith the LORD. And I will stretch out mine hand upon Judah, and 
upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant 
of Baal from this place, and the name of the Chemarim with the 
priests; and them that worship the host of heaven upon the house- 
tops; and them that worship, which swear to the LORD and swear by 
Malcam; and them that are turned back from following the LORD; 
and those that have not sought the LORD, nor inquired after him. 


Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord GOD : 

For the Day of the LORD is at hand : 
For the LORD hath prepared a sacrifice, 

He hath sanctified his guests ! 

And it shall come to pass in the clay of the LORD'S sacrifice, that I will 
punish the princes, and the king's sons, and all such as are clothed 
with foreign apparel. And in that day I will punish all those that leap 
over the threshold, which fill their master's house with violence and 
deceit. And in that day, saith the LORD, there shall be the noise of 
a cry from the fish gate, and an howling from the second quarter, and 
a great crashing from the hills. 

Howl, ye inhabitants of Maktesh, 
For all the people of Canaan are undone : 
All they that were laden with silver are cut off. 

And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with 
candles; and I will punish the men that are settled on their lees, that 
say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil. 
And their wealth shall become a spoil, and their houses a desolation; 
yea, they shall build houses, but shall not inhabit them; and they shall 
plant vineyards, but shall not drink the wine thereof. 

The great Day of the LORD is near : 

It is near and hasteth greatly ! 
Even the voice of the Day of the LORD; 

The mighty man crieth there bitterly i 

That Day is a day of wrath, 

A day of trouble and distress, 

A day of wasteness and desolation, 

A day of darkness and gloominess, 

A day of clouds and thick darkness, 

A day of the trumpet and alarm 

Against the fenced cities, 

And against the high battlements ! 

And I will bring distress upon men, that Chey shall walk tike blind 
men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood 
shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as dung. Neither their 
silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the 
LORD'S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his 


jealousy : for he shall make an end, yea, a terrible end, of all them 
that dwell in the land. 

Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, 
O nation that hath no shame ; 

Before the decree bring forth, 

Before the day pass as the chaff, 

Before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, 
Before the Day of the LORD'S Anger come upon you. 

Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, 
Which have wrought his judgement; 

Seek righteousness, 

Seek meekness : 

It may be ye shall be hid 
In the Day of the LORD'S Anger. 

For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation : they shall drive 
out Ashdod at the noonday, and Ekron shall be rooted up. 

Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coast, 
The nation of the Cherethites! 

The word of the LORD is against you, O Canaan, the land of the 
Philistines; I will destroy thee that there shall be no inhabitant. And 
the sea coast shall be pastures, with cottages for shepherds and folds 
for flocks. And the coast shall be for the remnant of the house of 
Judah; they shall feed their flocks thereupon : in the houses of Ashke- 
lon shall they lie down in the evening; for the LORD their God shall 
visit them, and bring again their captivity. I have heard the reproach 
of Moab, and the revilings of the children of Ammon, wherewith they 
have reproached my people, and magnified themselves against their 
border. Therefore as I live, saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, 
Surely Moab shall be as Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomor- 
rah, a possession of nettles, and saltpits, and a perpetual desolation : 
the residue of my people shall spoil them, and the remnant of my 
nation shall inherit them. This shall they have for their pride, because 
they have reproached and magnified themselves against the people of 
the LORD of hosts. The LORD will be terrible unto them : for he will 
famish all the gods of the earth; and men shall worship him, every one 
from his place, even all the isles of the nations. ' Ye Ethiopians also, 
ye shall be slain by my sword. And he will stretch out his hand 
against the north, and destroy Assyria; and will make Nineveh a 


desolation, and dry like the wilderness. And herds shall lie down in 
the midst of her, all the beasts of the nations : both the pelican and 
the porcupine shall lodge in the chapiters thereof: their voice shall 
sing in the windows; desolation shall be in the thresholds: for he hath 
laid bare the cedar work. 

This is the joyous city, 

That dwelt carelessly, 

That said in her heart, I am, 

And there is none else beside me i 
How is she become a desolation, 
A place for beasts to lie down in ! 
Every one that passeth by her shall hiss, 
And wag his hand. 

Woe to her that is rebellious and polluted, 
To the oppressing city ! 

She obeyed not the voice; 

She received not correction; 

She trusted not in the LORD; 

She drew not near to her God. 

Her princes in the midst of her are roaring lions; 

Her judges are evening wolves; 

They leave nothing till the morrow. 

Her prophets are light and treacherous persons : 

Her priests have profaned the sanctuary, 

They have done violence to the law. 
The LORD in the midst of her is righteous; 
He will not do iniquity; 

Every morning cloth he bring his judgement to light, 
He faileth not; 
But the unjust knoweth no shame. 

I have cut off nations, their battlements are desolate; I have made 
their streets waste, that none passeth by; their cities are destroyed, 
so that there is no man, that there is none inhabitant. I said, Surely 
thou wilt fear me, thou wilt receive correction; so her dwelling should 
not be cut off, according to all that I have appointed concerning her : 
but they rose early and corrupted all their doings. Therefore wait ye 
for me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey : for 
my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the 


kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce 
anger; for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. 

For then will I turn to the peoples a pure language, that they may 
all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent. 
From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, even the daughter 
of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering. In that day shalt thou not 
. be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against 
me : for then I will take away out of the midst of thee thy proudly 
exulting ones, and thou shalt no more be haughty in my holy mountain. 
But I will leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and 
they shall trust in the name of the LORD. The remnant of Israel shall 
not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be 
found in their mouth : for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall 
make them afraid. 

Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; 
Be glad and rejoice with all the heart, 
O daughter of Jerusalem. 

The LORD hath taken away thy judgements, 
He hath cast out thine enemy : 

The king of Israel, 

Even the LORD, is in the midst of thee : 
Thou shalt not fear evil any more. 

In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not : 
O Zion, let not thine hands be slack. 

The LORD thy God is in the midst of thee, 

A mighty one who will save : 
He will rejoice over thee with joy, 
He will rest in his love, 
He will joy over thee with singing. 

I will gather them that sorrow for the solemn assembly, who were of 
thee : to whom the burden upon her was a reproach. Behold, at that 
time I will deal with all them that afflict thee : and I will save her that 
halteth, and gather her that was driven away; and I will make them 
a praise and a name, whose shame hath been in all the earth. At that 
time will I bring you in, and at that time will I gather you : for I will 
make you a name and a praise among all the peoples of the earth, 
when I bring again your captivity before your eyes, saith the LORD. 











THE Ode cannot be exactly defined. Etymologically the word 
is equivalent to ' song ' ; usage seems to have given it the sense 
of song par excellence : the lyric poetry that is furthest 
removed from the ordinary speech, and nearest to pure 
music. If 'flight 1 be the regular image for the movement of 
lyric poetry, then the Ode is the song that can soar highest and 
remain longest on the wing. Speaking generally, we may say that 
it is distinguished from other lyrics by greater elaboration, and 
(so to speak) structural consciousness. Such a literary form will 
be discussed best by particular examples, and a commentary 
upon the Odes of the Bible will introduce us to lyric modes of 
movement in general. 

It is natural to commence with Deborah's Song. This is the 
most elaborate of Biblical odes, and it exercised considerable 
influence upon succeeding poetry. There is an- 
other circumstance which makes it particularly 
valuable to the literary student. It is a narrative 
poem, and the story it narrates is in the previous chapter of 
Judges given in the form of history. A careful comparison of 
the fourth and fifth chapters of that book will enable us to study 
the differences between lyric narrative and narrative as it appears 
in history. 

Few portions of the Old Testament are more familiar, or more 
frequently discussed, than the incidents that enter into Deborah's 
Song. Yet I think there are important elements in the story 



which are by no means generally understood. The first point that 
I will put amounts to no more than a 'conjecture. The history 
opens by saying that Israel fell under the dominion 
of J abin kin S of Canaan, and that he "mightily 
oppressed" them for twenty years. Though the 
Book of Judges is full of similar subjugations of Israel, that par- 
ticular phrase is nowhere else used ; the suggestion is that there 
was something different in kind between the tyranny of Jabin and 
Sisera and other tyrannies. May it be that this oppression was of 
an indescribable nature, affecting person as well as property, 
such wanton violence as appears in a later chapter of Judges to 

Cha ter xx have brou S llt a11 Israel in arms against a city of Ben- 

jamin? If this conjecture were adopted, it would 
give significance to the striking phrase used by the song to 
describe the misery of the oppression, that " the highways were 
unoccupied and the travellers walked through by ways. " It would 
explain how it was that the tyranny was borne without resistance 
until " a mother in Israel " roused the people against it. It would 
further enable us to understand how a prophetess could exult in 
the strange decree of Providence by which the instrument of a 
cruel and lustful tyranny met his doom at the hands of a woman. 

My next point is a matter of certainty. It is the relation to 
the story of Heber the Kenite, the husband of Jael. The Kenites 
were a tribe who had joined Israel in the wilderness; they had 
become a part of the chosen nation in all respects except one, 
that they still retained their life in tents, when the Israelites had 
settled down in villages and towns. But we are told in one verse 
x of the narrative that there was peace between the oppress- 
ing tyrant and the house of Heber the Kenite ; another 
verse tells us how Heber had separated himself from the other 
Kenites, and "pitched his tent as far as the oak in 
Zaanannim, which is by Kedesh," that is, close to the 
muster ground of Barak ; and the verse that follows says, "And they 
told Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam was gone up 
to mount Tabor." Though the phrasing in this last verse 


is general, yet when the three verses are taken together the signifi- 
cance is clear enough : that Heber the Kenite was a spy in the 
pay of Jabin and Sisera, and that he had shifted his tent for no 
reason but to keep a watch upon the movements of Israel, and 
report them to the enemy. But there would seem to have been 
one in his tent who had a heart to feel with the mothers of Israel ; 
as a sheikh's wife Jael may have been unable to hinder her hus- 
band's plans, but when the turn of events had come, and Sisera 
approached her as a fugitive, there was a sudden opportunity 
before her to strike a blow on the side which she had never 
deserted. Of course her act remains a treacherous violation of 
hospitality. But it makes some difference to our estimate of her 
that it was treachery done to redress her husband's treachery on 
the opposite side. 

It is worth while, again, to make clear the military situation. 
Jabin's power lay in his "nine hundred chariots of iron " : against 
such a force the half armed infantry of Israel would be almost 
useless. Their only hope lay in a surprise ; and Barak's plan 
seems to have been to arrange a quiet muster of separate tribes 
moving towards the high ground by Kedesh, from which they 
might watch for a favourable moment and make a rapid descent 
This was frustrated by the treachery of Heber, and Sisera, fore- 
warned, poured his full forces on to the plain of Esdraelon, which 
afforded the best possible ground for the evolutions of chariots. 
Humanly speaking, there was no hope for the Israelites. What 
changed the situation we learn from a phrase of the song : " the 
stars in their courses fought against Sisera." In other words, 
a thunderstorm and its torrents of rain produced the effect often 
described by travellers in Palestine : in an astonishingly brief 
period the river Kishon would overflow, and the whole plain be 
flooded ; in the verses of the song we can almost hear 
the horses plunging about in the morass. This made it 
possible for the whole of the formidable army to be exterminated 
in a single day. This further explains the bitterness of the 

curse denounced on Meroz some city of Israel on the line of 



the enemy's retreat : where everything depended on destroying 
the army before they could extricate themselves from the nud, 
even hesitation might amount to the blackest treachery. 

With the incident thus fully before us we are in a position to 
make our comparison of the two narratives. In the history of 
the fourth chapter, as we might expect, we find 
the narr *tive connected and continuous. It com- 

mences by describing the oppression ; it proceeds 
to tell how Deborah arose and called for resistance ; it gives with 
some minuteness the negotiations by which Deborah secured Barak 
for her commander-in-chief. We next hear of the muster at Kedesh ; 
the treachery of Heber is then implied rather than directly stated. 
The battle follows, and the utter rout ; then the history becomes 
detailed as it deals with the remarkable circumstance of the assas- 
sination of Sisera by Jael. 

When we turn to the song, we seem to find this connectedness 
and continuity of narrative avoided, and the story touched only in 

selected parts. I am tempted to convey the differ- 
I/yric device of , .,, . . 

Concentration ence b X an illustration. A man watches some 

architectural mass, like the Church of St. Mark at 
Venice, in the changing light of evening. As long as full daylight 
is in the sky he sees clearly the vivid colouring, and the architec- 
tural details, and the numerous gilded points and spiracles with 
which the whole is crowned. With the waning light he loses the 
colour ; then the carving and relief sinks into a uniform surface. 
He seems to be losing the whole, until a point is reached when 
there is just enough light left to catch the gilded crosses and spira- 
cles : then instead of being lost the whole edifice has come back 
to him in an outline of luminous points. This seems to me to 
afford an analogue for lyric narrative. The daylight view, in which 
the whole surface is visible without break, represents the continuity 
of the history ; we lose that in the song, but there the story comes 
to us in a selection of points every one of which is luminous. 
First, the oppression is painted by two picturesque strokes : the 
deserted highways, the vain search for weapons. All the negotia- 


tions between Deborah and Barak are omitted, and the next point 
of jiarrative is the muster, made luminous by the enumeration of 
the tribes that refused, and the tribes that came zealously, and the 
tribe that changed its mind. Nothing more follows until we reach 
the battle and rout, all brought out in a few bold strokes kings 
coming to fight, the stars fighting against them ; horses plunging 
in the flooded plain ; the sudden bitterness when Meroz proves 
unequal to the crisis. In the matter of the assassination even the 
history was detailed. But here again there was a logical connect- 
edness in the details : the warrior arriving, making provision 
against surprise, and then submitting to sleep and so to murder. 
But in the lyric we leap from the hospitable matron to the mur- 
deress taking the nail and hammer ; what remains is so vivid that 
we can count the blows and watch the writhings, while the purely 
imaginary detail of the warrior's household waiting his return is 
drawn out at full length. This concentration of a whole story into 
a few luminous details gives us our first note of lyric movement. 

A second distinguishing feature of the song is the way in which 
the narrative is delayed or broken by refrains, or by what are called 
< apostrophes,' that is, passages in which the singers 
'turn aside' from the story to address heaven, or 
the bystanders, or one another. Three lines of 
refrain, four of prelude, and a long apostrophe to God, are inter- 
posed before the narrative even commences. Then when the 
desolation of the country under Jabin's oppression has been told, 
there is a break, filled up by the refrain recurring in an enlarged 
form. When the mustering of the tribes is reached, after a single 
line there is an abrupt departure from the narrative, and the singers 
occupy a quatrain with cheering one another on to their task. It 
is clear that these digressions are part of the artistic setting to the 
story. When water flows on smoothly without any check it may 
be a useful canal or drain ; but the poetic brook must have its 
course delayed by many a winding, and interrupted by the rocks 
over which it foams. We may then add interruption to the devices 
of lyric movement. 


A third feature of the song lies upon the surface : its structure 
is such as to imply the antiphonal performance in which,, one 
singer or set of singers is answered by another. I 
fonnance* ***" must dissent however from the usual arrangement 
which divides Deboratts Song as between solo and 
chorus. It seems clear that the nature of the antiphony is given 
by the first verse of the chapter "Then sang Deborah and 
Barak " : not that the two individuals sang a duet, but the ode 
would be performed by a Chorus of Women with Deborah leading 
them, and a Chorus of Men led by Barak. When the poem is 
structurally examined in the light of this suggestion, not only do 
the divisions easily present themselves, but a number of coinci- 
dences confirm the suggestion. Thus the Men lead off with a 
description in the rhythm of elegy of the oppression ; 
Deborah and the Women break in (with a return to ordi- 
nary rhythm) at the words, " I Deborah arose." When the singers 
bid publish the tidings of victory, the Men call to those 
that ride or walk by the way, or sit on carpets as public 
officials, that is, they call to men ; the answering Chorus of 
Women would spread the news " in the places of drawing 
water," the natural spots where women would gather and 
chat. In another passage, an apostrophe of four lines, there is 
one couplet of the Men cheering on Deborah, and another 
of the Women cheering on Barak. The mustering of the 
tribes divides itself line by line : if the first line be given to the 
Women, as relating to Ephraim the locality of Deborah, 
the fourth line falls to the Men and it mentions Zebulun, 
the tribe of Barak ; the next line (of the Women) connects Issachar 
with Deborah, and the line that follows (and would fall to the Men) 

connects the same tribe with Barak. Then, in the climax, 

the Men elaborately picture the actual murder of Sisera, 

and the Women add the feminine touch of the mother and her 
ladies awaiting the dead warrior's return. It is hardly 
necessary to dilate upon the artistic effect of a narrative 

thus given to us from one side and another alternately. One 



single antiphonal effect may be instanced. The great pastoral 
tribg of Reuben was amongst the defaulters. This is brought out 
by the Men first painting Reuben's ' resolves ' ; then the 
Women interpose a sarcastic question as to inaction ; then X5 ~ l6 
the Men repeat their former couplet with the change of a single 
word to express Reuben's prudent second thoughts. Finally, the 
antiphonal effect is varied by the passages in which the two 
choruses sing together. This is especially powerful at the close, 
where, after the story itself has been drawn out by the two bodies 
of singers to its last detail, there is a sudden break, and both 
choruses unite in the apostrophe, "So perish all thine enemies, 
O LORD ! " 


Men. For that the leaders took the lead in Israel 
Women. For that the people offered themselves willingly 
Tutti. Bless ye the L ORD ! 


Men. Hear, O ye kings 
Women. Give ear, O ye princes 
Men. I, even I, will sing unto the LORD 
Women. I will sing praise to the LORD, the God of Israel. 


Tutti. Lord, when thou wentest forth out of Seir, 

When thou marchedst out of the field of Edom, 

The earth trembled, the heavens also dropped, 

Yea, the clouds dropped water. 

The mountains flowed down at the presence of the LORD, 

Even yon Sinai at the presence of the LORD, the God of Israel. 


Men. In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath, 

In the days of Jael, 
The highways were unoccupied, 

And the travellers walked through byways; 
The rulers ceased in Israel, 

They ceased 



Women. Until that I, Deborah, arose, 

That I arose a mother in Israel. 
They chose new gods; 
Then was war in the gates : 
Was there a shield or spear seen 
Among forty thousand in Israel? 



My heart is toward the governors of Israel 
Ye that offered yourselves willingly among the people 
Bless ye the LORD ! 
Tell of it, ye that ride on white asses, 
Ye that sit on rich carpets, 
And ye that walk by the way : 
Women. Far from the noise r>J 'archers, 

In the places of drawing water : 

There shall they rehearse the righteous acts of the LORD, 

Even the righteous acts of his rule in Israel. 


Tutti. Then the people of the LORD went down to the gates 

{Men. Awake, awake, Deborah, 

Aivake, awake, utter a song: 
Women. Arise, Barak, 

And lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam.) 

Tutti. Then came down a remnant of the nobles, 

The people of the LORD came down for me against the mighty. 

Women. Out of Ephraim came down they whose root is in Amalek 

Men. After thee, Benjamin, among thy peoples 

Women. Out of Machir came down governors 

Men. And out of Zebulun they that handle the marshal's staff 

Women. And the princes of Issachar were with Deborah 

Men. As was Issachar, so was Barak : 

Tutti. Into the valley they rushed down at his feet. 

Men. By the watercourses of Reuben 

There were great resolves of heart. 
Women. Why satest thou among the sheepfolds, 

To hear the pipings for the flocks? 
Men. At the watercourses of Reuben 

There were great searchings of heart ! 



Women. Gilead abode beyond Jordan 

Men. And Dan, why did he remain in ships? 

Women. Asher sat still at the haven of the sea, 

And abode by his creeks. 
Men. Zebulun was a people that jeoparded their lives unto the death^ 

And Naphtali, upon the high places of the field. 



Men. The kings came and fought; 

Then fought the kings of Canaan, 

In Taanach by the waters of Megiddo : 

They took no gain of money ! 


Women. They fought from heaven, 

The stars in their courses fought against Sisera. 
The river Kishon swept them away, 
That ancient river, the river Kishon ! 


O my soul, march on with strength ! 
Then did the horsehoofs stamp 
By reason of the pransings, 
The pransings of their strong ones. 


Women. Curse ye, Meroz, said the angel of the LORD, 
Curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; 
Because they came not to the help of the LORD, 
To the help of the LORD against the mighty ! 


Men. Blessed above women shall Jael be, 
The wife of Heber the Kenite, 
Blessed shall she be above women in the tent ! 
He asked water, and she gave him milk; 
She brought him butter in a lordly dish. 



She put her hand to the nail, 

And her right hand to the workman's hammer; 

And with the hammer she smote Sisera. 

She smote through his head, 

Yea, she pierced and struck through his temples. 

At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay : 

At her feet he bowed, he fell : 

Where he bowed, there he fell down dead ! 


Women. Through the window she looked forth, and cried, 

The mother of Sisera, through the lattice, 
"Why is his chariot so long in coming? 
Why tarry the wheels of his chariots? " 
Her wise ladies answered her, 
Yea, she returned answer to herself, 
" Have they not found, 
Have they not divided the spoil? 
A damsel, two damsels to every man; 
To Sisera a spoil of divers colours, 
A spoil of divers colours of embroidery, 
Of divers colours of embroidery on both sides, 
On the necks of the spoil?" 


Tutti. So let all thine enemies perish, O LORD : 
But let them that love him 
Be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might ! 

The ode most nearly resembling this of Deborah is the Song 
of Moses and Miriam at the Red Sea. Here again the mode of 
Son* of Moses performance is exactly indicated. The first verse 
and Miriam says, " Then sang Moses and the children of Israel 
Exodus xv tllis song n . the twent i et h verse a( jds : " And 

Miriam, the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in 
her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels 
and with dances. And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the 
LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously ; the horse and his rider 
hath he thrown into the sea." The natural interpretation of these 


verses taken together is that the words last quoted are a refrain, 
and to be sung by Miriam and the Women ; while the body of the 
Song was for Moses and the Men. The refrain would be repeated 
at the close of each stanza. The structure suggests a prelude and 
three stanzas, each of which commences with an apostrophe to 
God, and then deals with the subject of the deliverance. A further 
examination of these strophes reveals the lyric 

device of augmenting, mentioned in a previous ^yric device of 

. 11, . Augmenting 

chapter ; not only do the successive strophes in- 
crease in the number of their lines, but they bring out the inci- 
dent with more and more fulness. The first merely refers to the 
event : the hosts cast into the sea and sinking like a stone. The 
second stanza becomes a picture full of powerful details : floods 
standing on heaps and depths congealed, the enemy already 
counting his spoils, the single blast of wind, and the sinking like 
lead. But when the incident is touched by the third strophe we 
have, not details, but consequences. The event is stretched to 
take in all that will follow from it : the guiding through the wilder- 
ness thus wonderfully opened to them, the terror falling upon the 
inhabitants of Canaan and the kings that lie in the way, the bring- 
ing in and planting in the mountain of inheritance all poetically 
realised in the moment of this the first step. To describe the 
movement of the whole ode we may say that the prelude intro- 
duces the great deliverance with a shock that is like a plunge, 
and the augmenting strophes follow like ripples widening to the 
furthest bound that imagination can go. 


Men and\ I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously ; 
Women. } The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. 
The LORD is my strength and song, 
And he is become my salvation : 
' This is my God, and I will praise him; 

My father's God, and I will exalt him. 



Men. * The LORD is a man of war : 

The LORD is his name. 

Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea t 

And his chosen captains are sunk in the Red Sea. 

The deeps cover them : 

They went down into the depths like a stone. 
Women. Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously ,* 

The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. 


Men. Thy right hand, O LORD, is glorious in power, 

Thy right hand, O LORD, dasheth in pieces the enemy. 

And in the greatness of thine excellency thou overthrowest them 
that rise up against thee : 

Thou sendest forth thy wrath, it consumeth them as stubble. 

And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were piled up, 

The floods stood upright as an heap ; 

The deeps were congealed in the heart of the sea. 

The enemy said, 

I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil : 

My lust shall be satisfied upon them; 

I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them. 

Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them : 

They sank as lead in the mighty waters. 
Women. Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously ; 

The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. 


Men. Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods ? 

Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, 
Fearful in praises, doing wonders ? 
Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, 
The earth swallowed them. 

Thou in thy mercy hast led the people which thou hast redeemed : 
Thou hast guided them in thy strength to thy holy habitation. 
The peoples have heard, they tremble : 
Pangs have taken hold on the inhabitants of Philistia. 
Then were the dukes of Edom amazed; 
The mighty men of Moab, trembling taketh hold upon them: 


All the inhabitants of Canaan are melted away. 

Terror and dread falleth upon them; 

By the greatness of thine arm they are as still as a stone; 

Till thy people pass over, O LORD, 

Till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased. 

Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine 


The place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, 
The sanctuary, O LORD, which thy hands have established. 
The LORD shall reign for ever and ever. 

Women. Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously ; 
The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. 

The ode next to be considered is amongst the most powerful 

of all sacred lyrics ; but totally unlike the two 

, i T - t -11 i Psalm Ixxviii 

already reviewed. It is the seventy-eighth psalm. 

As to its subject, it is sufficient at this point to say that it is a sur- 
vey of the history of Israel, leading up to the call of Judah to be 
the Lord's people now that Northern Israel has fallen away. The 
form of the ode gives a type of lyric movement different from any 
we have yet seen, but one specially characteristic of Biblical poetry, 
and we shall meet with it again and again. It may 

be called the pendulum movement: the course of Pendulum Move- 

11. .,111 ment 

thought in a poem seems to swing backwards and 

forwards between two ideas or two phases of a subject. The 
psalm has an unusually long prelude. It is a common 
device in music to prepare the way for some great theme 
by a succession of trumpet tones, the reiteration of which keeps 
the mind in a state of expectation that helps to emphasise the 
theme when it comes. By a similar effect in this prelude the 
psalmist announces a law, a parable, sayings of old, traditions from 
fathers to be told to children, that they may tell it to the next 
generation, that these may set their hopes in God, and not be, as 
their fathers, a rebellious generation whose spirit was not stedfast 
with God. The phrase " not stedfast " seems the point leading 
to the regular movement of the poem and its alternating stanzas. 
The thought sways throughout the rest of the ode between two 


ideas : on one hand we see bursts of Divine Energy in behalf of 
Israel ; on the other hand we have the dead weight of human 
dulness and frailty by which the Divine purposes 
are frustrated. First, a short stanza puts the defec- 
tion of Northern Israel under the metaphor of battalions deserting 
on the field of battle; "so the children of Ephraim" deserted 
the covenant and forgat God's wondrous works. At the words 
" wondrous works " the pendulum of movement 
12-16, Divine swings to the other side : we have an outburst of 


Divine Energy, the energy of Deliverance. We 
hear how he piled up the waters of the Red Sea in a heap ; how 
the fire led them by night and the cloud by day ; how the dry rock 
was cloven and poured out streams with the full flow of a river. 

But it is in vain (the movement has swung back) : 

17-20, Frailty , .. , , rj-.^ i 

the delivered people are found intent upon their 
appetites, and the doubts which a life of appetite engenders. 

Can God prepare a table in the wilderness ? 

Behold, he smote the rock, that waters gushed out, 

And streams overflowed; 

Can he give bread also? 

Will he provide flesh for his people? 

We are thus brought to another turn in the movement, and there 
is a burst of Divine Energy, this time the energy 

-3i, Divine o f Judgment. The rush of verses suggests the 

scornful ease with which the skies are bidden to 
open and rain down manna, the winds are guided so that they 
rain flesh as dust and winged fowl as the sand of the seas ; then, 
before the people have time to be satiated, the Wrath is slaying 
amongst them, so close comes the punishment upon the lust. But 

judgment, like mercy, has no permanent hold upon 

32-42, Frailty \ V V , , 

the unstedfast people ; the movement has swung 
back, as the history settles down to a wearisome iteration of sin- 
ning, repenting and sinning, of dissembling repentance and com- 
passionate forgiveness. 


For all this they sinned still, 

And believed not in his wondrous works. 

Therefore their days did he consume in vanity, 

And their years in terror. 

When he slew them, then they inquired after him : 

And they returned and sought God early; 

And they remembered that God was their rock, 

And the Most High God their redeemer. 

But they flattered him with their mouth, 

And lied unto him with their tongue. 

For their heart was not stedfast with him, 

Neither were they faithful in his covenant. 

But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, 

And destroyed them not : 

Yea, many a time turned he his anger away, 

And did not stir up all his wrath. 

And he remembered that they were but flesh ; 

A wind that passeth away, and cometh not again. 

How oft did they rebel against him in the wilderness, 

And grieve him in the desert ! 

And they turned again and tempted God, 

And provoked the Holy One of Israel. 

They remembered not his hand, 

Nor the day when he redeemed them from the adversary. 

This phrase is the signal for another turn in the movement, and 
the following strophe is filled with the Divine Energy of Redemp- 
tion. It displays before us, as in a finished picture, 
side by side the judgments falling on the enemy Jj 
and the tenderness bestowed upon Israel; how 
wrath, indignation, and trouble, a band of angels of evil, make a 
path for God's anger, as plagues strike the land of Egypt and 
pestilence preys upon its people; while Israel is guided like a 
flock of sheep through the wilderness, and brought into the moun- 
tain land of their inheritance. All this is lost upon them : we 
have returned to the theme of frailty and unsted- 
fastness as we see the people in their land of prom- 5 4> rai y 
ise settling down to the worship of the high places, until God 
comes to greatly abhor Israel. And as he silently forsakes them 


gradually their strength and glory depart ; violence cuts off the 
youth, the maidens have no marriage-song, the yery 
p r i es t s fall by the sword, and their widows make 
no lamentation. Suddenly the movement of the 

ode swings round for the last time. 

Then the LORD awaked as one out of sleep, 

Like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine. 

With one stroke the enemy is thrust back for ever ; and then the 
final burst of Divine Energy is seen in a New Call : as before the 
whole nation of Israel had been called out from the whole world 
to become a peculiar people to Jehovah, so now he passes over 
Joseph and Ephraim, and chooses the tribe of Judah ; he takes 
David from the sheepfolds to be their shepherd ; and the unsted- 
fastness which has reigned throughout the ode finds a final 
contrast in the Sanctuary which he builds like the heights, 

Like the earth which he hath established for ever. 

This seventy-eighth psalm is one of four which I have ventured 
to group together under the title of ' National Anthems/ True, 

they are very different from what in modern times 
thorns'* 1 An " are called by that name ; but the difference tallies 

with differences of circumstances. With us a 
National Anthem may well be a simple and brief lyric, for proba- 
bly the nation is constituted a nation by some elementary con- 
sideration of race or habitat. But Israel had been called out of 
its original land, had been led from one part of the world to 
another, had been constituted the chosen people of God by a 
long course of Providential discipline. It is natural therefore 
that the National Hymn of such a people should take the form 
of a review of their history and relation to God. It is just such 
a review which makes the common ground between the four 
psalms ; and when we examine their differences the results both 
confirm the classification, and explain further how it comes that 
Israel should have four National Anthems and not one. We have 


seen that the seventy-eighth psalm is characterised by a continu- 
ous, alternation between God's achievements for his pgalm lxxviii 
people and their persistent ingratitude and sin, and Anthem of South- 
that it ends with the final rejection of Ephraim and ern Israel 
the call to Judah. It is thus fitted to be the National Anthem 
of Southern Israel when the kingdom of the ten tribes has been 
overthrown and destroyed. The psalm most nearly Psalm cvi 
resembling this is the hundred and sixth : not only Anthem of the 
general drift, but many of its phases seem echoes Ca P tivit y 
of the seventy-eighth psalm. But the pendulum structure is almost 
lost by the preponderance of one side of the thought ; from first 
to last it is sin and rebellion which dominates the poem, and the 
history is carried on to the final fall. 

lie made them also to be pitied 

Of all those that carried them captives. 

Save us, O LORD our God, 

And gather us from among the nations, 

To give thanks unto thy holy name, 

And to triumph in thy praise. 

Thus this hundred and sixth psalm would seem to be the Hymn 
of Southern Israel modified so as to make it the Anthem of the 
Captivity. There is a great difference when we Psaimcv 

, , . . t . i , .if Anthem of the 

come to the historic survey which makes the hun- Undlvlded Na _ 
dred and fifth psalm. Here all trace of an alterna- tionm Canaan 
tion betweefi God's work and Israel's sin is gone. And the history 
is carried just as far as the conquest of Canaan and no farther. 

And he gave them the lands of the nations; 

And they took the labour of the peoples in possession. 

This of itself would suggest that we have here the Anthem of the 
undivided nation in the promised land; and the suggestion is 
confirmed by the wording of the reference to the covenant : 

Saying, " Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, 
The lot of your inheritance : " 
When they were but a few men in number; 
Yea, very few, and sojourners in it. 


It is natural in the moment of conquest to go back to the old 
sojourn in the land. And similar considerations explain 

16-32 . , P .... ._ , 

the large amount of space given in this song to Joseph, 

the individual through whom Israel departed out of Canaan and 

went down into Egypt. The fourth psalm of the 

Anthem of the g rou P> the hundred and thirty-sixth, is marked off 

Nation in the from all the rest by the primitive character of 
its structure : the second line of each couplet is 
the refrain, 

For his mercy endureth for ever. 

The whole poem is of the simplest type. Its history never reaches 
Canaan, but prominence is given to Sihon king of the Amorites, 
and Og king of Bashan, and it is their land which is made a heri- 
tage for Israel. Clearly this is the National Anthem of the people 
in the wilderness ; and in this light the final theme of praise 

He giveth food to all flesh 

becomes more than a commonplace ; it is a reference to the 
miraculous feeding of the people in the desert. The peculiar 
circumstances of the people of Israel, then, have sufficiently 
explained why we should have four National Anthems in these 
four historic psalms : the simple rhythmic Hymn of the Wilder- 
ness, the Hymn of the whole nation in Canaan with its unbroken 
exultation, the Hymn of Southern Judah after the fall of the north, 
swaying evenly between Divine manifestations and national sin, and 
the Hymn of the Captivity, in which all is swallowed up in the 
idea of national unfaithfulness. 

The sixty-eighth psalm, notwithstanding the difficulty of its 
details, impresses every reader with the vigour of its movement, 
ixviii Historians differ widely as to its exact occasion ; 
Processional but all that is necessary is to identify it with some 
Ode procession to the sanctuary on Mount Zion. Its 

spirit is throughout that of a Processional Ode. In structure it 
is made up of a prelude and three elaborate strophes. The 
i-6 prelude is a general cry of triumph : God rising up and 


his enemies vanishing like smoke. But even here there is a hint of 
procession in the verse which speaks of a high way for him that 
rideth through the deserts. Hebrew poetry, whatever its immedi- 
ate subject may be, is apt to preface this by a reference to God's 
original deliverance of his people and their journey to the promised 
land. The first strophe is devoted to this topic; and 
such is the sweep of its concentrated movement that the 7 ~ l8 
whole past history of Israel resolves itself into a procession of 
Jehovah from Sinai to Zion. In one verse we have the mountains 
trembling amid the giving of the Law ; in the next we read of the 
rain of manna strengthening the weary wanderers. Then we come 
to the era of fighting that intervenes between the wilderness life 
and the land of promise, the whole era appearing as but two 
moments : 

The Lord giveth the word [of command] : 

The women that publish the tidings [of victory] are a great host. 

The various victories are picturesquely suggested by snatches 
of the old triumph-songs (of which we of course know nothing 
but these snatches). 

" Kings of armies flee, they flee, 
And she that tarrieth at home divideth the spoil " 

"Will ye lie among the sheepfolds? " 

" As the wings of a dove covered with silver, ' 
And her pinions with yellow gold " 

" When the Almighty scattered kings therein, 
It was as when it snoweth in Zalmon " 

In the real history generations intervened between the occupa- 
tion of the eastern table-lands and the final conquest of Zion, but 
in the sweep of this ode the two periods are brought together, 
and the mountain of Bashan looks askance at the mountain God 
has chosen for his abode. And as a final climax to the history, 
Jehovah ascends into the sanctuary with his thousands of chariots 


and leads captivity captive. In the second strophe the point of 
view changes from the past to the present : God appears 
as "the Lord who daily beareth our burden." And here 
the actual procession of the day is pictured "the goings of my 
God, my king, into the sanctuary " : how singers go before, min- 
strels follow after, and the tribes are represented in their due rank. 
The third strophe surveys the glorious future ; but here 
again the dominant spirit of the poem appears, and the 
whole future becomes a procession of kings and peoples coming 
with tribute to the temple at Jerusalem, the rear brought up by 
the remote Ethiopia stretching out its hands to God. Thus this 
Processional Ode has reflected the spirit of the occasion it cele- 
brates upon all time, and made the past, the present, and the 
future appear before us as a series of vast processions. 

Four odes may be taken together from their similarity of matter 
and form. Their purpose is not so much narrative as the realisa- 
tion of an idea. In structure each has a closely 
Songs in Ode form 

related prelude and close, while the body of the 

ode is one continuous outburst. One of the four is David's Song 
Son* of Moses ^ Deliverance analysed in a previous chapter. 1 
Deuteronomy Akin to this is the Song of Moses in Deuteronomy. 
xxxu Its subject is announced by the prelude as God 

the immovable Rock, in contrast with the Israel that has been 
unfaithful and changeable. Such a subject is naturally 
developed by the mode of alternation the pendulum 
structure we have traced in another ode. The first phase of the 
poem brings out how the LORD'S portion is his people, 
lingering upon the thought with images, first of tender- 
ness, then of immeasurable bounty. The turning point comes as 
Jeshurun waxes fat and kicks, and this second phase 
presents Israel provoking Jehovah with new gods that 
came up but yesterday, which their fathers had not known. 
The movement swings back to the unswerving nature of 
God, now seen in judgments that set all nature on fire 
1 Above, page 83, 


and stop short only of absolute destruction. Another turning 

point is made as the poet breaks in to cry out at the 

folly and blindness of the people, and the loathly gods 

to which they have given the preference. By a bold transition 

this last description is made to cause revulsion in the 

mind of God himself, who thinks with complacency on 

the vengeance he yet has in his storehouse, and the poem reaches 

its final phase in exhibiting God as using this vengeance on 

the side of his erring people when they have sunk to their last 


The other two odes of the group have this in common, that the 
prelude and close express subjective feelings of the poet, while 
the rest of the ode presents objective phenomena. Psalmxxix 
The twenty-ninth psalm is the Ode of the Thun- Song of the 
derstorm. The body of the ode has "the Voice Thunderstorm 
of Jehovah " for its refrain; it is the realisation of a thunderstorm, 
rising in the waters to the north; passing overhead with every form 
of violence, and dying away over the wilderness to the south, until 
all nature has again become a hymn of praise to its Maker. In 
the prelude the poet, as if awed by the approaching manifestation 
of God, calls upon all creatures to worship. In the close he ex- 
presses the sense of protection that has been with him ; his God 
presided over the floods from which the tempest arose, and he 
will be king for ever. By an exquisite touch of detail, the last 
note in this song of thunder is the word ' peace.' The ' Prayer 
of Habakkuk ' is a similar ode on a much larger 
scale. Here is no thunderstorm, but a whole uni- 
verse racked with terrors as the Almighty comes to 
judgment. The prelude and close present the tumult of emotions 
in the prophet's own heart. Though the interposition of God is 
on his side, yet he cannot restrain himself from joining in the 
universal trembling. At the same time he confides in God ; and 
yet again there is a third train of emotion where the prophet is 
astonished at his own confidence, that he should be at rest, waiting 
for the day of trouble : at rest 


For though the fig tree shall not blossom, 
Neither shall fruit be in the vines; 
The labour of the olive shall fail, 
And the fields shall yield no meat; 
The flock shall be cut off from the fold, 
And there shall be no herd in the stalls : 
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, 
I will joy in the God of my salvation. 

There remains a group of Odes on set Themes. The hundred 

and seventh psalm is the Ode of the Redeemed. 
Odes on Themes 

When its prelude has called upon " the redeemed 

of the LORD" to praise him, the regular movement of the ode 
begins. First we have the strophic l structure already described 
in a previous chapter; four stanzas with double refrains, each 
Ode of the Re- stanza putting some particular type of distress, with 
deemed its cry to God for help and its song of deliverance. 

Psalm cvn wor j ce( j out t h e 

movement of the poem is not exhausted. The structure entirely 
changes, and the pendulum movement comes in. A series of 
alternations, like the diminuendo and crescendo of the musician, 
present the God of the Redeemed as a God that brings low 
and builds up again. 

He turneth rivers into a wilderness, 

And watersprings into a thirsty ground, 

A fruitful land into a salt desert, 

For the wickedness of them that dwell therein. 

He turneth a wilderness into a pool of water, 

And a dry land into watersprings. 

And there he maketh the hungry to dwell, 

That they may prepare a city of habitation; 

And sow fields, and plant vineyards, 

And get them fruits of increase. 

He blesseth them also so that they are multiplied greatly; 

And he suffereth not their cattle to decrease. 

1 Above, page 65. 


Again they are minished and bowed down 

Through oppression, trouble, and sorrow. 

He poureth contempt upon princes, 

And causeth them to wander in the waste, where there is no way. 

Yet setteth he the needy on high from affliction, 
And maketh him families like a flock. 
The upright shall see it, and be glad; 
And all iniquity shall stop her mouth. 

The Ode on the Covenant (Psalm eighty-nine) is transparently 
clear in its language; it needs mention only because of the 
peculiarity of its structure. It seems strange to odeontheCov- 
find an ode, the prelude of which announces a song enant 
of God's mercies and their eternal faithfulness, 
ending with a long wail over the anointed of the Lord as rejected 
and forsaken. At first we are tempted to think of this final section 
as outside the unity of the poem, the addition of some later age. 
But a close examination of the structure makes it possible to 
include the elegy within the ode. We have seen that interruption 
is amongst the devices of lyric movement. There is an example 
of this on an extensive scale in the earlier part of this psalm : no 
sooner has the Divine message of the Covenant been announced 
in four lines, than a break occurs 

And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O LORD 

The style wholly changes, and an outburst of exultation is carried 
on for twenty-nine lines, making one of the loftiest strains of ado- 
ration in the whole psalter. The second strophe returns 
to the subject of the Covenant in an elaborate vision, to 
which succeeds the section of sorrow and complaint. The sym- 
metry then of the whole poem suggests that the change to lamen- 
tation is an interruption of the second strophe as the burst of 
exultation was an interruption of the first. 

Two odes one on the Messiah, the other an ode of Judgment 
resemble one another in their general form; in each a Divine 


monologue is prefaced by a scenic introduction. The second 
Ode on the Mes- P salm P ens with the busy schemes of earthly rulers 
slab against the LORD'S anointed, while up in the heavens 

Psaim a Jehovah mocks them and sets up His KING on 

Zion. Then, either in the words of this Messiah or in the words 
of the psalmist, the Divine decree is given, and the kings are 
called upon to submit while there is time. The same general 

form appears on a larger scale in the fiftieth psalm. 
P^ta i Udgment The whole world has been summoned to the bar 

of God ; the prelude brings out the scene dramati- 
cally, in the words of God's people, who are awaiting, with exulta- 
tion, the opening of this High Court. 

" Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, 
God hath shined forth. 
Our God cometh, and shall not keep silence : 
A fire devoureth before him, 
And it is very tempestuous round about him." 

All are assembled, the < saints of God' on one side, and the 
wicked opposite to them; only the heavens themselves are left 
to be spectators in this Act of Justice. From this point the 
structure becomes antistrophic. First, God addresses his faithful 
people : he has not come to exact of them more sacrifices or take 
more of their bullocks and he-goats ; it is by their cries to him in 
trouble and their thanksgiving when deliverance has come that 
they can truly glorify their God. In the antistrophe God turns 
to the wicked : how have they dared to join in his worship, while 
they were partakers in evil and crime ? It is he who ordereth his 
conversation aright that shall see the salvation of God. 

Finally we have two companion odes in the hundred and third 
and hundred and fourth psalms. Not only are these poems 
Companion Odes- un ^ e d by their structure the common envelop- 
Psaimciii, the ing refrain, " Bless the LORD, O my soul " but in 
world within subject-matter the two are so related that neither 
can be fully appreciated unless it is read in connection with the 


other. The subjects which make the two parts of the nineteenth 
psalm are here again found in association : the World within and 
the World without are the themes of these companion poems. In 
the hundred and third psalm the poet, immediately after the 
opening refrain, calls upon all that is within him to offer grateful 
praise ; and when the benefits which call for this gratitude are 
enumerated they are found to be such benefits as affect the 
individual, personal, spiritual life. 

Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; 

Who healeth all thy diseases; 

Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; 

Who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies : 

Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; 

So that thy youth is renewed like the eagle. 

God's dealings with Israel are referred to only as a revelation of 
his ways ; and the revelation is of a kind that the individual life 
needs : compassion for the erring, a mercy as high as heaven is 
above the earth, a father pitying his children, a God knowing 
man's frame to be but dust; the revelation of a righteousness 
descending to children's children, while individual lives of men 
are but the grass-seed blown away by the wind. Then for its 
climax this hymn of the spiritual life rises to spiritual creatures : 
angels that excel in strength, hosts of the LORD that are ministers 
of his pleasure in all places of his dominion. 

The hundred and fourth psalm starts at once with the external 
universe. This is presented as the tabernacle in which God dwells : 
its tent-pole reaches from the waters that are below and psalm civ> 
to the waters that are above the firmament; the the world with- 
heavens are the stretched curtains of that tent; out 
the winds are his messengers, and light is but the garment in 
which he veils himself from our gaze. God appears as the 
Creator of this universe : at a signal from him the curtain of the 
chaotic deep was withdrawn, and the world resolved itself into 
an orderly vicissitude of mountain and valley and stream, of fowl 


singing among branches that overhang the waters where wild asses 
quench their thirst, of earth sending up grass for cattle, and bread 
that gives man strength, and wine and oil to gladden his spirits. 
The same Creator has ordained the seasons by which his world 
is governed, and his sun makes the alternation between night in 
which the beasts roam after their prey, and day when man can 
go forth to his work. When the wonders of the sea have been 
added to the wonders of land, all is ready for the climax thought : 
The universe is one, and God is its soul. All creatures wait upon 

Thou openest thine hand, 

They are satisfied with good; 
Thou hidest thy face, 

They are troubled; 
Thou gatherest in their breath, 

They die, 

And return to their dust ; 
Thou sendest forth thy spirit, 

They are created, 

And thou renewest the face of the ground. 

When God has been thus exalted as supreme over the world of 
spirit within us, and the world of the universe without, even the 
poetry of the Bible may be said to have reached its climax. 



THE subject of the present chapter covers something like a 
hundred different pieces of literature. Comment on individual 
poems becomes impossible ; they can be treated only in classes. 1 

Occasional Poetry has been illustrated in its most elaborate 
form by the Song of Deborah and other odes. In 
the case of the psalms, to connect these with the 
occasions that called them forth usually involves 
historical discussions such as are outside the scope of the present 
work. But there are three psalms which few will 

hesitate to attach to the crisis of Sennacherib's Senn * ch erib's 

> invasion 

invasion. The marvellous incident of that critical 

period is presented in no obscure language. 

The stouthearted are spoiled, they have slept their sleep; Psalm Invi. 5 
And none of the men of might have found their hands. and 2 (margin) 
At thy rebuke, O God of Jacob, 
Both chariot and horse are cast into a dead sleep. 

We see a passionate outburst of renewed love to Zion now that 
the oppression of the siege is lifted from the people ; they walk 
round the city: they count the towers and bul- 

. , , ,1 r xlviii. 12, a 

warks, as if to make sure that all are really safe. 

They hail her as beautiful in elevation, joy of the whole world, 
lair from which the Lion of Judah darts upon his prey ; the river 

1 The Table of Lyric Poetry in Appendix II will give the psalms falling under 
each designation. 



of peace holds her in its arms unmoved while all around is tossing 
in tumult. And the abrupt concentration to which 
XV1 ' 4 Hebrew sentences lend themselves presents the 

whole crisis in the fewest possible words : 

xlvi. 6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved : 

He uttered his voice, the earth melted. 

There is an earlier occasion in Hebrew history with which, as 
I have before remarked, much of Biblical poetry connects itself. 
The inauguration This is the inauguration of Jerusalem by King 
of Jerusalem David. It is not difficult to read the historic 
ii Samuel vi account of the day in the Book of Samuel *n& fit 
the songs into their proper places. 

And David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of 
Obed-Edom into the city of David with joy. And it was so, that 
when they that bare the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, he sacri- 
ficed an ox and a fatling. And David danced before the LORD with 
all his might ; and David was girded with a linen ephod. [Here comes 
Psalm xxx.~\ So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark 
of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. 
[At the foot of the ascent comes Psalm xxiv. 1-6 ; at the top, the mili- 
tary piece, Psalm xxiv. f-ioJ\ . . . And they brought in the ark of 
the LORD, and set it in its place, in the midst of the tent that David 
had pitched for it : and David offered burnt offerings and peace offer- 
ings before the LORD. [Here comes Psalm cxxxii. /-p.] ... So all 
the people departed every one to his house. Then David returned to 
bless his household. [Here comes Psalm ci.~\ 

David commenced this festal day with the utmost trepidation, 
on account of the terrible death of Uzzah, which had interrupted 
his former attempt to bring the ark to Jerusalem. The first few 
paces of the present procession are sufficient to show that the 
Divine ban is removed ; there is a halt and an offering of thanks- 
giving, and a lyric hymn of joy. The thirtieth 
psalm, connected by its traditional title with this 
particular day, fits exactly into such a situation. It breathes a 
sense of escape from death ; it tells how David in his prosperity 


had felt himself a strong mountain that should never be moved ; 
how the Divine face was suddenly hidden and he was plunged in 
trouble ; how he mourned and prayed, and now his mourning is 
turned into this dance of joy : the weeping has but been a guest 
lodging for the night, but the favour of God will be a friend for a 

The procession continues, and I have in a former chapter * dealt 
with the anthem at the foot of the hill, and the summons to the 
city to receive the Lord of Hosts. The city is entered, and the 
ark is brought into the tabernacle where it was to remain for a 
time. Here fresh sacrifices are offered; and there could be no 
more suitable anthem to accompany such sacrifices than the earlier 
part 2 of the hundred and thirty-second psalm. It Psalm cxxxii. 
recites David's passionate vow to enjoy no rest I ~ 9 
until he had found a tabernacle for the Most High. The verses 
that follow seem a riddle until they are explained by the search 
for the ark in its temporary resting-places amid the solitude of 
the hill country. Then follow the ceremonial words : 

Arise, O LORD, into thy resting place; 
Thou, and the ark of thy strength. 

The proceedings of the day do not yet terminate. The people 
are dismissed, but David returns " to bless his household." The 
hundred and first psalm gives us just the blessing 
required : a vow of mercy and judgment for the 
speaker himself, for his household, and for the administration of 
his kingdom. The final line which speaks of cutting off the work- 
ers of iniquity " from the CITY OF THE LORD " comes with new 
force when we recollect that it was only on that day that the old 
fortress of the Jebusites and stronghold of evil had been trans- 
ferred to the service of another Deity and formally inaugurated as 
the City of Jehovah. 

1 Above, pages 100-104. 

2 Verses 10-18 are the addition made for the Dedication Festival of Solomon's 



The natural history of the Elegy seems to be as follows. It is 
based on the primitive Wail or Dirge ; owing to the existence of 
a class of professional mourners this early attains 
egy maturity as a form of literature with metrical and 

other distinctiveness. Its characteristics pass over into other 
forms of literature by two different routes. On the one hand the 
metre of the Elegy, being amongst early forms one of the most 
perfect for expressing strong emotion, comes in time to be used 
for emotional strains that are not mournful ; thus the student of 
Classical literature is familiar with the fact that the ' elegiac 
metre ' is regularly used for love poems, and can even travel so 
far from its original conception as to express encomium. Again, 
we are able in Hebrew prophecy to see how the form of the 
Elegy is used ironically in the ' taunt-songs.' It appears then 
that evolutionary considerations warrant us in classing together 
three literary forms so different as the Elegy, the Denunciation, 
and the Encomium. 

Elegy (proper) 



There is a curious parallelism between the Hebrew rhythm 
of elegy and that of Greek and Latin poetry, which is composed 
of the ordinary hexameter followed by the shorter pentameter. 
In Hebrew the elegiac rhythm is the ordinary couplet with the 
second member weakened, by being either short- 

, , , . / . ,. 

ened or left destitute of antithesis or parallelism, so 

much so that the two are usually printed as a single line with a 

Blegiac rhythm 

He hath fenced me about that I cannot go forth j he hath made my chain 


The difference of this from the ordinary rhythm is well seen in 
the transition from one to the other already cited as an effect in 
Deborah's Song. 

In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath, 

In the days of Jael, 
The highways were unoccupied, 

And the travellers walked through byways; 
The rulers ceased in Israel, 

They ceased 
Until that I, Deborah, arose, 
That I arose a mother in Israel. 
They chose new gods; 
Then was war in the gates : 
Was there a shield or spear seen 
Among forty thousand in Israel? 

But the widespread use of this elegiac rhythm in Biblical literature 
is lost to the English reader, since none of the accepted versions 
keep it up in their translation. 1 The loss is greatest 
in the elaborate elegy entitled the Lamentations of 
J^eremiah, which is a highly artificial composition 
built up on the principle of elegiac rhythm and a curious alpha- 
betical succession of verses. The great blot upon the Revised 
Version of our Bible is the absence of any attempt to represent 
the acrostic structure which affects these as so many other 
Hebrew poems. The pathos of individual passages in the Lam- 
entations is obvious enough ; but the literary form of the whole 
must be given up for the present as inaccessible to the English 
reader. 2 

There are elegies amongst the most familiar poems of the 
psalter. One is the song of the captives weeping by the rivers of 

1 For a systematic treatment of the whole subject, see an article by Karl Budde 
in the New Review, March, 1893. 

2 In The Psalms by Four Friends, or the abridged edition of it as the Psalter in 
the Golden Treasury Series (Macmillan & Co.) , the acrostic effect is maintained 
throughout; and the Book of Lamentations is given in full (in the second edition of 
the larger work) . 


Babylon, hanging their harps upon the willows at the thought 

of singing the songs of Zion in a strange land : 
Psalm cxxxvii -i T -i i i ^ , , 

until the wail hardens into an ecstasy of hatred as 

they long for one who will take the little ones of the oppressor 

Psalm ixxiv anc * ^^ tliem a g a * nst the ground. Another tells 
the evil . done to the sanctuary by the enemy, how 
they behaved as men that lifted up axes upon a thicket of trees, 
how the carved work is broken down with hatchet and hammers, 
and fire has converted the sacred pile into a profane ruin. An- 

Psalmixxx other is made distinctive b 7 the sustained image of 
the Vine brought out of Egypt, with nations cast 
out to make room for it ; it had taken deep root until mountains 
were covered by its shadow and its branches reached to the 
River and the Sea ; but now its fences are thrown down, and the 
beasts out of the wood can ravage it, nay, it is cut down and 
burned with fire. And no Biblical elegy is more impressive than 
the earliest of them all, the lamentation of David 
' over Saul and Jonathan, preserved by its connec- 

tion with archery meetings founded in honour of 
Jonathan. The simple pathos of this song is familiar to all. It is 
worth while also to note the structural beauty of the augmenting 
refrain : at the opening of the elegy it is, How are the mighty 
fallen; when the stanzas special to Saul are completed it has be- 
come, How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle; at the 
end of the final section expressing the poet's tender love for 
Jonathan the refrain has grown to a full couplet 

How are the mighty fallen, 

And the weapons of war perished ! 

These are Elegies proper; but Elegies of Denunciation have 
a prominent place in the psalter. Indeed, the imprecatory pas- 
Elegies of De- sa ges that occur in several of the psalms are a 
nunciation difficulty with many readers, who feel that such 

violence of passion is out of harmony with the spirit of the psalter 
as a whole. 


Let them be as chaff before the wind, Psalm xxrv. 3 

And the angel of the LORD driving them on. 

Let their way be dark and slippery, 

And the angel of the LORD pursuing them. 

But for this, and for the much more extended imprecation of the 
hundred and ninth psalm, an important principle of interpreta- 
tion is found in the different attitude of ancient and modern liter- 
ature to abstract and concrete. We in modern times are quite 
accustomed to feel enthusiasm for the abstract thing we call ' a 
cause ' ; with the ancient world it was necessary for the cause to 
be embodied in a concrete party, if it was to win devotion or the 
reverse. Though this principle has less application in Biblical 
than in other literatures of antiquity, yet it obtains there to some 
extent. When the psalmist's hatred of evil men has once been 
translated into the form of hatred against evil, it will be felt that 
the passages cannot be too strongly worded. 

The class of lyrical Encomia can be well illustrated by the Sal- 
utation to Zion, which constitutes the eighty-seventh 
psalm. Glorious things, cries the poet to Zion, are 
spoken of thee : and in the fourth verse presents 
Zion as speaking for herself. 

" I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon 

As among them that know me : 
Behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia; 
This one was born there." 

And the poet adds his testimony : yea, it shall be said of Zion 
that this and that great nation owns her for a mother; not of 
course by natural descent, but in the Lord's spiritual register they 
shall be inscribed as daughters of Zion. And the final verse, in 
the spirit of the sixty-eighth psalm, pictures the procession of the 
nations, proclaiming with minstrelsy and dance that they draw 
their springs from Mount Zion. The psalm has been well summed 
up by Professor Cheyne as " the Church of Israel expanding into 
the Church Universal. 11 


A large proportion of the psalter is made by the Liturgical 
Psalms, which are clearly designed for public worship. In literary 
Liturgical characteristics they may be regarded as the con- 

Psaims verse of the species with which this chapter opened : 

occasional poetry has matter already provided for it, and the mat- 
ter begets the emotion ; in the other case the set emotion is taken 
for granted and looks for matter to sustain it. The Liturgical 
Varieties of Psalms are mainly hymns of praise : the varied 
Liturgical forms assumed by such hymns the reader may 

Psalms study from the Table in the Appendix. The stu- 

dent of literature can only marvel at their richness and the height 
at which their exultation is sustained. One variety may be called 
Hallelujahs : these (in typical cases) have the ejaculation from 
which they are named at the opening and close, while all that 
comes between is maintained at the same high pitch. Scarcely 
different from these are what have been called Accession Hymns : 
here the exclamation, " The LORD reigneth," is the keynote of the 
whole. I apply the term Festal Hymns to psalms which breathe 
the general spirit of a high feast day, though they may not fit 
themselves to any particular ceremonial. In Votive Hymns an 
individual comes to mingle his vow with the general thanksgiving ; 
even the Songs of Hannah and of Mary, however personal the 
strain with which they start, yet before the end seem to merge 
this in praise that is of universal application. To all these must 
be added the Benedictions, such as the people bestow upon their 
king, or the poet upon the bridegroom and bride of some royal 
wedding ; these are clearly distinguished from the encomia men- 
tioned above by the tone of ritual worship that runs through them. 

Most of these liturgical psalms are characterised by a simplicity 
Their literary that is beyond analysis. The spirit of praise once 
characteristics aroused is kept alive by reiteration, or by enumera- 
tion of details. 

cxlviii. 7 Praise the LORD from the earth, 

Ye dragons, and all deeps : 
Fire and hail, snow and vapour; 


Stormy wind, fulfilling his word : 

Mountains and all hills; 

Fruitful trees and all cedars; 

Beasts and all cattle; 

Creeping things and flying fowl : 

Kings of the earth and all peoples; 

Princes and all judges of the earth : 

Both young men and maidens; 

Old men and children : 

Let them praise the name of the LORD. 

Sometimes the reiteration takes a more fanciful form. Not to 
speak of the acrostic structure, which obtains here as in so many 
other departments of Hebrew poetry, we find a beautiful bit of 
imitative sound in the ninety-third psalm. 

The floods have lifted up, O LORD, 
The floods have lifted up their voice; 

The floods lift up their roaring : 
Above the voices of many waters, 
The mighty breakers of the sea, 

The LORD on high is mighty. 

Poetic imagery is found here as everywhere in Biblical poetry; 
especially the favourite Hebrew image of external nature in excite- 
ment : the sea roars, the field leaps, the trees of the wood sing for 
joy, as Jehovah comes to judgment. 

But these ritual psalms reach their most characteristic form 
when they are antiphonal in structure. Antiphonal performance 
may be assumed in the case of all ; but there are Ritual psaims 
some cases in which the whole form and succession with antiphonal 
of thought imply a designation for more than one structure 
set of performers. I will take a fully developed type in the hun- 
dred and eighteenth psalm. The reader will appreciate the illus- 
tration the better if he first reads the hundred and sixteenth 
psalm. The two poems are almost identical in thought and situ- 
ation ; in each case an individual is returning thanks for deliver- 
ance apparently from sickness. But in one case there is nothing 



to break the flow of individual speech ; in the other psalm the 
sequence of verses clearly suggests a solo and two distinct 
choruses. At the beginning the Worshipper is approaching the 
Temple with an Escort of Friends ; later on a second Chorus of 
Priests must be added. 


The Worshipper and his Escort approach the Temple* 

Tutti. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good : 

For his mercy endureth for ever. 

Worshipper. Let Israel now say 

Escort. That his mercy endureth for ever. 

Worshipper. Let the house of Aaron now say 

Escort. That his mercy endureth for ever. 

Worshipper. Let them now that fear the LORD say 

Escort. That his mercy endureth for ever. 

Worshipper. Out of my distress I called upon the LORD : 

The LORD answered me, and set me in a large place. 

The LORD is on my side ; I will not fear : 

What can man do unto me? 

The LORD is on my side among them that help me : 

Therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me. 

Escort. It is better to trust in the LORD 

Than to put confidence in man; 
It is better to trust in the LORD 
Than to put confidence in princes. 

Worshipper. All nations compassed me about : 
Escort. In the name of the LORD I will cut them off! 

Worshipper, They compassed me about; 

Yea, they compassed me about : 

Escort. In the name of the LORD I will cut them off! 

Worshipper. They compassed me about like bees; 

They are quenched as the fire of thorns : 
Escort. In the name of the LORD I will cut them off! 

Worshipper. Thou didst thrust sore at me that I might fall : 
But the LORD helped me. 



The LORD is my strength and song; 

And he is become my salvation. 

The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tents of the 
righteous : 

The right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly. 
Escort. The right hand of the LORD is exalted : 

The right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly. 
Worshipper. I shall not die, but live, 

And declare the works of the LORD. 

The LORD hath chastened me sore : 

But he hath not given me over unto death. 

Open to me the gates of righteousness : 

I will enter into them, 

I will give thanks unto the LORD. 

The Temple gates open and disclose a Chorus of Priests. 
Priests. This is the Gate of the LORD : 

The righteous shall enter into it. 

Worshipper. I will give thanks unto thee, for thou hast answered me, 

And art become my salvation. 

The stone which the builders rejected 

Is become the head of the corner. 
Escort. This is the LORD'S doing; 

It is marvellous in our eyes. 

This is the day which the LORD hath made; 

We will rejoice and be glad in it. 

Save now, we beseech thee, O LORD : 

O LORD, we beseech thee, send now prosperity. 

7"he Worshipper enters the Temple : the Escort prepare to retire. 
Priests (to the Worshipper) . 

Blessed be he that entereth in the name of the LORD ! 
(to the Escort, retiring) . 

We have blessed you out of the house of the LORD ! 

Priests. The LORD is God, and he hath given us light : 

Bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar. 

Worshipper. Thou art my God, and I will give thanks unto thee ; 
Thou art my God, I will exalt thee. 

Tutti. O give thanks unto the LORD ; for he is good : 

For his mercy endureth for ever. 


So far the liturgical psalms we have reviewed have been com- 
posed wholly in one tone, that of praise. But it belongs to Liturgy, 
that is, to Divine Service, to unite many moods of 

Liturgies (unity i i 

of aggregation) t " e soul m one ex ^rcise, to mingle penitence with 
praise, confession of faith with supplication. There 
are certain psalms which seem to show a similar mingling of 
moods, psalms which a close analysis will separate altogether 
from the personal monologues filled with variations of individual 
experience, and which must be classified with the poetry of public 
worship. The explanation is that in such cases we have a com- 
plete liturgy within the limits of a single psalm. 

The characteristics I am describing distinguish one of the most 
impressive psalms in the whole Bible ; and the discussion of this 
psalm illustrates the important bearing of such considerations upon 
interpretation. The sixty-fifth psalm will be pronounced by one 
commentator a harvest thanksgiving ; another will see in it praise 
for forgiveness of national sin. But such explanations are incom- 
plete, and leave great part of the poem without significance. Nor 
is the matter much mended when the two theories are combined. 
All such interpretation assumes for the psalm a type of unity which 
it does not contain. In discussing the higher unity I mentioned, 
Psalm ixv among other types, the unity of aggregation. The 

a Liturgy of sixty-fifth psalm is bound together by this bond; 
Praise not that we have in it the aggregation of different 

compositions, such as we saw in the selections from the Book of 
Proverbs ; but the parts of this psalm bring up in succession differ- 
ent moods of the soul, disconnected from one another, yet mingling 
as they do mingle in any elaborate act of worship. 


thanksgiving Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Zion : 

And unto thee shall the vow be performed. 

prayer O thou that nearest prayer, 

Unto thee shall all flesh come. 


Iniquities prevail against me : penitence 

As for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away. 


Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, devotion 

And causest to approach unto thee, 
That he may dwell in thy courts : 
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, 
The holy place of thy temple. 


By terrible things thou wilt answer us in righteousness, judgment 

O God of our salvation : 

Thou that art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, 

And of them that are afar off upon the sea : 
Which by his strength setteth fast the mountains; 

Being girded about with might : 
Which stilleth the roaring of the seas, 

The roaring of their waves, 

And the tumult of the peoples. 

They also that dwell in the uttermost parts are afraid at thy tokens : 
Thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice. 


Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it : adoration 

Thou greatly enrichest it, 

The river of God is full of water : 

Thou proviclest them corn, when thou hast so prepared the earth; 
Thou waterest her furrows abundantly, 
Thou settlest the ridges thereof, 
Thou makest it soft with showers, 
Thou blessest the springing thereof, 
Thou crownest the year with thy goodness : 

And thy paths drop fatness, 

They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness, 

And the hills are girded with joy, 

The pastures are clothed with flocks : 
The valleys also are covered over with corn : 
They shout for joy, they also sing. 

When, without any preconceived idea of unity, the psalm is 
examined with a view to tracing the actual connection of its 
different parts, it is thus found to bring before us in succession all 


the elements of public worship. One verse is an ejaculation of 
thanksgiving, the next a simple prayer, the next a simple expres- 
sion of penitence. Then follow words of devotion, describing the 
devout life by the image so regularly used for it in the psalms 
the dwelling in God's house. Another theme of worship then 
finds elaborate expression; that which in modern phraseology 
would be called God's Providence, while the Hebrew worshipper 
would describe it as Judgment, or " the answer in righteousness." 
And the whole terminates with adoration to the God of Nature. 
This last outburst does not simply touch the harvest, but passes 
to and fro between agricultural and pastoral scenery : between the 
changing year of agriculture from the first ploughing to the 
crowning harvest and the dropping of ' God's paths,' the rain- 
clouds, upon the pasture lands, until both sides of external nature 
are united in a shout and hymn of joy. 

The hills are girded with joy, 

The pastures are clothed with flocks; 

The valleys also are covered over with corn; 

They shout for joy, they also sing. 

The different sections of the psalm have no connection one with 
the other, but they are all parts of a whole, just as entirely sepa- 
rate sentences of confession, of praise, of supplication, are in our 
modern liturgies bound together into a single office for matins or 

All liturgy resolves itself into three parts : acts of praise and 

thanksgiving, acts of prayer the term being used to cover both 

supplication and devotion and acts of faith. The 

Biblical and ~ . ,., . . , c 

modern liturgies " rst two rai se no dimculty ; the language ot praise 

and prayer is the same in all ages. But when we 
come to acts of faith, these in modern liturgies differ so widely 
from their counterparts in the psalter that it requires an effort to 
recognise the analogy of the two. In the liturgies familiar to the 
modern reader the main acts of faith are the ' Creeds/ which are 
formal statements of theological truth. It is true that the rubric 


of a creed may direct that it shall be ' sung/ and, as a matter of 
liturgiological theory, the Creed is regarded as the Church's joyous 
celebration of its belief. But when the creeds of modern liturgies 
are examined as pieces of literature it must be admitted that their 
formal clauses, their technical phraseology, and their design in 
some cases to settle controversies, remove them to a wide distance 
from lyric poetry. In the worship of the psalter, on the other 
hand, we have to deal with a people whose creed was a creed of a 
single article, and that article might be summed up in the single 
word 'Judgment.' This expressive word in the mouth of a Hebrew 
poet implies an absolute belief in the supremacy of God, and, as 
a consequence from this, in the vindication of good against evil. 
To declare such belief, to call for judgment, to passionately identify 
himself with such vindication of the cause of good, this makes 
the act of faith which the worshipper of the Biblical psalter is 
continually mingling with his prayer and praise. 

These lyrical creeds in the psalms will be found to take 
very different forms. Sometimes such an act of 
faith is couched in the simplest parallel or anti- ynca 
thetic sentences : 

The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous, xxxiv. 15 

And his ears are open unto their cry. 

The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, 

To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. 

Or it may take a gnomic form : 

God hath spoken once, Ixii. 

Twice have I heard this ; 

That power belongeth unto God : 

Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy : 

For thou renderest to every man according to his work* 

Or it may be argumentative : 

He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? xciv. 9 

He that formed the eye, shall he not see? 

He that instructeth the nations, shall he not correct? 


The Appeal to God's judgment may take the shape of a chal- 

iv. a O ye sons of men, how long shall my glory be turned into dishonour? 
How long will ye love vanity, and seek after falsehood ? 
But know that the LORD hath set apart him that it godly for himself: 
The LORD will hear when I call unto him. 

Even a personal vindication, like Job's oath of clearing, or the 
precisely similar passage in the seventh psalm, may be classed as 
an act of faith, for it amounts to taking sides in the struggle of 
Good and Evil. 

trii. 3 O LORD my God, if I have done this ; 

If there be iniquity in my hands ; 

If I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me; 
Yea, I have delivered him that without cause was mine adversary : 
Let the enemy pursue my soul, and overtake it ; 
Yea, let him tread my life down to the earth, 
And lay my glory in the dust ! 

Such are the lyrical confessions of faith which mingle with sup- 
plication and adoration, with thanksgiving, penitence for sin, and 
yearnings after the devout life, to make the liturgies of the 
psalter. With just those transitions which the instinct of modern 
devotion would express by changes of posture, from standing 
to kneeling, and the like, these poems of worship break a long 
prayer by a short ascription of praise, or pass from penitence to 
general prayer through a brief recital of confidence in God's 
justice. We have seen at full length a psalm which in the main 
is a song of faith and adoration, but which leads up to these by 
briefer representation of the other elements of worship. It may 
be well to take another example. The eighty-sixth psalm, viewed 
as a whole, is a litany or supplication; but the 
SuppUcftion prayer with which it opens and closes is inter- 
rupted in the middle by a declaration of the 
Divine supremacy, and also by a personal thanksgiving, and these 
two interruptions are themselves separated by a brief ejaculation 
of devotion* 



Bow down thine ear, O LORD, supplication 

And answer me ; 

For I am poor and needy. 
Preserve my soul, 

For I am godly : 

O thou my God, 
Save thy servant that trusteth in thee. 

Be merciful unto me, O LORD; 

For unto thee do I cry all the day long : 
Rejoice the soul of thy servant; 

For unto thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul. 
For thou, LORD, art good, 

And ready to forgive, 
And plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. 

Give ear, O LORD, unto my prayer; 

And hearken unto the voice of my supplications : 
In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee, 

For thou wilt answer me. 

There is none like unto thee among the gods, O LORD; faith 
Neither are there any works like unto thy works. 
All nations whom thou hast made 

Shall come and worship before thee, O LORD; 

And they shall glorify thy name. 
For thou art great, and doest wondrous things : 

Thou art God alone. 


Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth : devotion 

Unite my heart to fear thy name. 


I will praise thee, O LORD my God, with my whole heart; thanks- 
And I will glorify thy name for evermore. giving 

For great is thy mercy toward me; 
And thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest pit. 


supplication O God, the proud are risen up against me, 
And the congregation of violent men 

Have sought after my soul, 

And have not set thee before them. 
But thou, O LORD, art a God full of compassion, 

And gracious, 

Slow to anger, 

And plenteous in mercy and truth. 
O turn unto me, and have mercy upon me ; 

Give thy strength unto thy servant, 

And save the son of thine handmaid. 
Show me a token for good ; 

That they which hate me may see it, 

And be ashamed, 
Because thou, LORD, hast holpen me, and comforted me. 

Before passing away from the subject of this chapter it is neces- 
The Songs of AS- sar y to notice a portion of the Book of Psalms which 
cents: Psalms is occupied, not with single compositions, but with 
cxx-cxxxiv a co u ec |;i on o f s i m ilar poems, a psalter within a 

psalter. Fifteen psalms in succession have the common title, 
' Songs of Ascents 7 ; the Authorised Version renders it 'Songs 
of Degrees/ a translation of the word in the Vulgate which has 
by others been rendered ' Gradual Psalms.' * The literal mean- 
ing of the expression is ' Songs of the goings up/ What is the 
significance of this enigmatic phrase ? Two theories on this point 
are worthy of special consideration. One is conveyed by giving 
the poems the title of * Pilgrim Songs ' ; that is, songs of the Pil- 
grims going up to Jerusalem for the great feasts. The other con- 
nects them with the Return of the Captives from Babylon to 

The difficulty of the question is much reduced when we recol- 
lect that the title, whatever its meaning may be, expresses the 
purpose of the collection, not of the composition of any particular 
psalm. If we think of our modern hymn-books, we shall see that 

1 Armfield's Gradual Psalms (Hayes) contains an interesting theory of the title, 
connecting it on the authority of the Talmud with the part of the Temple in which 
these psalms would be performed. 


a phrase may be apposite as a title for the whole book, and yet 
might have little significance if applied to the interpretation of 
single hymns in the collection. Keeping this consideration before 
us, we may find it not difficult to combine the two theories men- 
tioned above. 

Some of these Songs of Ascents associate themselves readily 
with the Captivity and Return. The singer of the one hundred 
and twentieth psalm speaks from amidst an atmosphere of turbu- 
lence and treachery, and describes himself, either really or figura- 
tively, as living in the distant regions of Meshech and Kedar. 
Psalm one hundred and twenty-three seems to take local colour 
from some oriental empire : as the eyes of slaves follow their 
masters to anticipate every wish, so the poet would be observant 
of his God. The poem that follows presents Israel as just escaped 
like a bird out of the snare of the fowler : if Jehovah had not 
been on his side the foe would have swallowed him up. The 
hundred and twenty-sixth psalm is peculiar. It opens 
with the words : 

When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, 
We were like unto them that dream. 

And yet at the fourth verse comes the prayer : 

Turn again our captivity, O LORD, 

As the streams in the South. 

They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. 

The simplest explanation of this is to connect it with the Return 
from Babylon. That return took place in many instalments, sep- 
arated by long intervals. This psalm would seem to be a hymn 
of those remaining in exile when the first migration had started : 
they exult in the change of fortune which has at last visited their 
nation, and they long for their own share in the happy deliver- 
ance ; meanwhile they give themselves up to patience and hope. 
The period of the Exile fits well with the hundred and twenty- 
ninth psalm, which presents Israel as a martyr, and cries execration 


upon those that hate Zion. And while the De profundis of the 
following psalm gives expression to national penitence in any age, 
yet it could at no time be so appropriate as during the Captivity. 

On the other hand, the hundred and twenty-first psalm, of which 
the keynote is "The LORD thy keeper," seems a most appropriate 
marching hymn for the companies of pilgrims journeying to the 
yearly feasts ; and its opening words, " I will lift up mine eyes 
unto the hills," might connect it with the first sight of the environs 
of the sacred city. The psalm that follows would just fit in with 
the next stage : " Our feet are standing within thy gates, O 
Jerusalem." The hundred and twenty-fifth psalm is made up 
of thoughts suggested by the sight of the Holy City : the massive 
Mount Zion is a symbol of the security of those who trust in its 
God ; the mountains enclosing Jerusalem are like the Lord's pro- 
tection thrown around his people ; the territory so safely walled 
in is a pledge that the empire of evil shall not invade the lot of 
the righteous. Moreover, these companies of pilgrims were family 
parties, as an incident of the New Testament reminds us : hence 
the hundred and twenty- seventh psalm (cited elsewhere 1 ) con- 
trasting the life of busy care with the peaceful family life, or the 
next, which associates family joys with the blessing out of Zion, 
or the hundred and thirty-first, which draws from child life a con- 
ception of personal and national humble-mindedness, or again the 
hundred and thirty-third, which celebrates the unity of brethren. 
The two poems of the collection that have yet to be mentioned 
connect themselves directly with the Temple : one (the hundred 
and thirty-second) is the Dedication hymn of David and Solomon, 
and the other makes an appropriate close to the collection in the 
form of a brief exchange of greetings between the retiring worship- 
pers and the Night Watch remaining on guard. 

The psalms, individually considered, then, suggest a twofold 
origin ; the combination of both types in a common collection is 
not difficult to understand. Either the ' Songs of the goings up f 
was at first the title for poems of the Captivity and Return, and 

1 Above, page 97. 


this little psalter came to be increased by the songs of pilgrimages 
to the second Temple ; or, more probably, the old traditionary 
Pilgrim Songs made the first collection, and its contents were 
doubled by that great pilgrimage beside which all others were 
commonplace. In any case the < Songs of Ascents 1 are a series 
of hymns impressing every reader with their strong resemblance 
to one another ; and they are the quintessence of all that is most 
attractive, and most unanalysable, in sacred lyrics. 



I WISH to recall two points touched upon in earlier chapters of 
this work. In our general survey of literary classification we saw 
that, in the nature of things, lyric poetry holds an 
Lyrics* 10 intermediate position between epic and drama ; that 

thus, without wandering far from its proper path of 
meditation, a lyric poem can at one moment contain purely epic 
description, at another moment present a detail dramatically. 
Again, we saw it as a distinction of Hebrew literature that it has 
no completely separate drama, but that dramatic form appears as 
a considerable modifying force in other departments of its poetry. 
We are now to see how this dramatic form invades the department 
of lyric poetry, until it is possible for even so short a lyric as a 
psalm to be in essence a complete drama. 

The simplest way of making this point clear will be to put side 
by side certain poems exhibiting different stages of advance from 
lyric to drama. Let the reader first compare carefully Psalms 
seventy-seven and one hundred and forty- three. The situation in 
the two is identical : a sufferer seeks to gain fortitude in his trouble 
by meditating on the wonderful doings of God. And to some 
extent the matter of one psalm echoes that of the other : in par- 
ticular, where one poem simply speaks of finding comfort in old 
memories the other recites these memories at full length. As 
regards the form, however, in which the thoughts are conveyed to 
us, the two poems will be found to represent different degrees of 
proximity to dramatic presentation. 



I will cry unto God with my voice; Monody mingling 

Even unto God with my voice, description with 

And he will give ear unto me. presentation 

In the day of my trqftble I sought the Lord: 

My hand was stretched out in the night, and slacked not; 

My soul refused to be comforted. 

.1 remember God, and am disquieted: 

I complain, and my spirit is overwhelmed. 

Thou boldest mine eyes watching : 

I am so troubled that I cannot speak. 

I have considered the days of old, 

The years of ancient times. 

I call to remembrance my song in the night : 

I commune with mine own heart; 

And my spirit made diligent search. 

" Will the LORD cast off for ever? 

And will he be favourable no more? 

Is his mercy clean gone for ever? 

Doth his promise fail for evermore? 

Hath God forgotten to be gracious? 

Hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? " 
And I said, " This is my infirmity ; 

But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High. 
I will make mention of the deeds of the LORD; 
For I will remember thy wonders of old. 
I will meditate also upon all thy work, 
And muse on thy doings. 

Thy way, O God, is in holiness : 

Who is a great god like unto God? 

Thou art the God that doest wonders : 

Thou hast made known thy strength among the peoples. 

Thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people, 

The sons of Jacob and Joseph. 

The waters saw thee, O God; 

The waters saw thee, they were afraid : 

The depths also trembled. 

The clouds poured out water; 

The skies sent out a sound : 

Thine arrows also went abroad : 


The voice of thy thunder was in the whirlwitfd; 

The lightnings lightened the world : 

The earth trembled and shook. 

Thy way was in the sea, 

And thy paths in the great waters, 

And thy footsteps were not known. 

Thou leddest thy people like a flock, 

By the hand of Moses and Aaronu" 

This poem so far resembles drama that it is a monody : instead of 
an author speaking about some one else, we hfcve the actual sub- 
ject of the experience speaking in his own person. But with this 
dramatic element mingles a great deal of the description that 
belongs to epic ; the sufferer narrates how he was troubled, and 
how he set himself to think ; though the actual words of his think- 

Monody present- in S are S iven > ? et the y are prefaced by the formula 
ing a single dra- "And I said ." In the next illustration all such 
matic situation narrat i on disappears, and the situation is brought 
out in the cries and other utterances that made a part of it ; we 
have a present experience, and not a narration of something that 
is past. 


Hear my prayer, O LORD; give ear to my supplications: 

In thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness. 

And enter not into judgement with thy servant; 

For in thy sight shall no man living be justified, 

For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; 

He hath smitten my life down to the ground : 

He hath made me to dwell in dark places, 

As those that have been long dead. 

Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; 

My heart within me is desolate. 

I remember the days of old; 

I meditate on all thy doings : 

I muse on the work of thy hands. 

I spread forth my hands unto thee : 

My soul thirsteth after thee, as a weary land. 
Make haste to answer me, O LORD; my spirit failethr 
Hide not thy face from me; 

DRAMATIC LlffifcS 177 

Lest I become like them that go down into the pit. 
Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning ; 

For in thee do I trust. 
Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; 

For I lift up my soul unto thee. 
Deliver me, O LORD,, from mine enemies : 

. I flee unto thee to hide me. 
Teach me to do thySarill; 

For thou art my God : 

Thy spirit is good; 
Lead me ir^-the land of uprightness. 
Quicken me, O LORD, for thy name's sake : 
In thy righteousness bring my soul out of trouble. 
And in thy lovingkindness cut off mine enemies, 
And destroy all them that afflict my soul; 
For I am thy servant. 

Here then we have pure presentation of an experience ; there is 
no element of the poem that is not dramatic. Yet it is not drama 
but only a dramatic situation ; to make it complete drama would 

necessitate a change from one situation to a differ- 

f . , . f ^ , - Complete 

ent one, which is the essence of dramatic movement Dramatic Lyric 

and plot. This requisite is supplied in the case of (change of situa- 
the sixth psalm, in which again we hear a sufferer 
complaining and praying, but before the psalm ends deliverance 
has come, and complaint is converted into rejoicing. 


O LORD, rebuke me not in thine anger, 
Neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. 
Have mercy upon me, O LORD ; 

For I am withered away : 
O LORD, heal me; 

For my bones are vexed. 

My soul also is sore vexed : 
And thou, O LORD, how long? 
Return, O LORD, deliver my soul : 
Save me for thy lovingkindness' sake. 
For in death there is no remembrance of thee : 



In Sheol who shall give thee thanks? 

I am weary with my groaning; 

Every night make I my bed to swim; 

I water my couch with my tears. 

Mine eye wasteth away because of grief; 

It waxeth old because of all mine adversaries. 

Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; 

For the LORD hath heard the voice of my weeping. 

The LORD hath heard my supplication; 

The LORD will receive my prayer. 

All mine enemies shall be ashamed and sore vexed : 

They shall turn back, they shall be ashamed suddenly. 

In this case we have a monody free from any admixture of descrip- 
tion, and the monody presents a sufferer undergoing, as he speaks 
it, the change his words describe : an experience is acted before 
us, and we thus have a lyric poem that is a complete drama. 

This presentation of trouble passing dramatically into relief 
belongs to psalm after psalm of the Bible ; from the Table of 

Biblical Lyrics in the Appendix they can be studied 
Other examples ,. . . , , 

as a literary species in themselves. In a former 

chapter was reviewed a notable example of it, the hundred and 
thirty-ninth psalm: there the dread of the Divine omniscience 
with which the poem opens becomes changed into a loving recog- 
nition of its supporting efficacy, and the transition 

is made at the ver y centre an( l turning-point of the 
lyric movement. The dramatic transition can be 

intensified by its abruptness. The psalm that commences with 

the cry, 

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? 

and carries into detail the self-picturing of a God-forsaken heart, 
makes its change from despair to rapture in the middle of a 

Deliver my soul from the sword ; 
My darling from the power of the dog; 
Save me from the lion's mouth 
Yea, from the horns of the wild-oxen thou hast answered me ! 


A similar abruptness marks the turning-point of the fifty-seventh 
psalm, which further has a refrain to bind closer its two halves ; 
the words 

Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; 
Let thy glory be above all the earth ! 

when they occur the first time must be understood as an expression 
of resignation ; when they come again they catch from the sur- 
rounding verses the tone of unfettered exultation. And perhaps 

the most complete illustration of this literary form 

Psalm iii 
is to be found in the third psalm. Here the usual 

change from distress to happiness appears to coincide with a vari- 
ation in external surroundings between night and morning ; brief 
as the poem is, it amounts to a miniature drama in two scenes. 



LORD, how are mine adversaries increased ! 
Man/ are they that rise up against me. 
Many there be which say of my soul, 
41 There is no help for him in God." 
But thou, O LORD, art a shield about me; 
My glory, and the lifter up of mine head. 
I cry unto the LORD with my voice, 
And he answereth me out of his holy hill. 


I laid me down and slept; 

I awaked; for the LORD sustaineth me. 

I will not be afraid of ten thousands of the people, 

That have set themselves against me round about. 

Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God : 

For thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; 

Thou hast broken the teeth of the wicked. 

Salvation belongeth unto the LORD : 

Thy blessing be upon thy people. 


The term Dramatic Lyrics will cover another class of poems, 

which have a great literary interest, and are specially characteristic 

of the psalter. These contain two dramatic transi- 

Lyrics with Dou- . r 

bie dramatic tions instead of one ; yet they present only a single 
Change moment. They open with a song of deliverance. 

Theil the action passes backward in time to the trouble from 
which the speaker has been delivered ; and this is presented 
dramatically in the actual words it evoked, as if the sufferer were 
quoting from himself. Then the poem returns to the point at 
which it started, and the triumph is renewed. The great illus- 
tration of this type is the twenty-seventh psalm. 


opening The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? 
triumph The LORD is the streng th of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 

When evil-doers came upon me to eat up my flesh, 

Even mine adversaries and my foes, they stumbled and fell. 

Though an host should encamp against me, 

My heart shall not fear : 

Though war should rise against me, 

Even then will I be confident. 

One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after; 

That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, 

To behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple. 

For in the day of trouble he shall keep me secretly in his pavilion : 

In the covert of his tabernacle shall he hide me; 

He shall lift me up upon a rock. 

And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round 
about me ; 

And I will offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; 

I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD. 

retrogres- " Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice : 
sion to the Have mercy also upon me, and answer me. 

time of When thousaidst, ' Seek ye my face; ' my heart said unto thee, 


Hide not thy face from me; 

Put not thy servant away in anger : 


Thou hast been my help; 

Cast me not off, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation, 

For my father and my mother have forsaken me, 

But the LORD will take me up. 

Teach me thy way, O LORD, 

And lead me in a plain path, 

Because of mine enemies. 

Deliver me not over unto the will of mine adversaries : 

For false witnesses are risen up against me, 

And such as breathe out cruelty " 

I had fainted, unless 1 had believed to see the goodness of return to 
the LORD triumph 

In the land of the living. 
\Vait on the LORD : 

Be strong, and let thine heart take courage; 
Yea, wait thou on the LORD. 

There is no mistaking the sense of deliverance animating the 
opening section; this strain is abruptly resumed at the close; 
what then is more natural than to connect the intervening verses 
with the trouble to which the deliverance relates? No difficulty 
would have been felt had the middle verses of the poem been 
prefaced by the formula, "And I said ." But the omission of 
such introduction makes the whole more vivid and dramatic : it 
is like a substitution of direct speech for oblique. Some of those 
who do not recognise the structure I have described deal with 
the difficulties of the poem by dividing it, and insist that at verse 
seven a different psalm commences, the two having been made 
one by editors or transcribers. But it is difficult to see what there 
is in favour of such an explanation. No external evidence is sug- 
gested. No motive appears for thus putting together what, to the 
ordinary reader, seems separated by such a break. Moreover, 
the theory does not really solve the difficulty, since the transition 
from verse twelve to the close is as abrupt as the transition from 
verse six to verse seven. On the other hand, by the explanation 
here suggested, the breaks become part of the dramatic effect of 
the whole ; and the psalm, instead of being treated as something 


accidental and exceptional, becomes one of a class of psalms 
which have as their common structure this double dramatic 
change. 1 

I have space for only one more of this class of dramatic lyrics ; 
one that shows an interesting variation on the common type. 

The eighty-fifth psalm celebrates the deliverance 
Psalm Ixxxv rl . * . . . , 

of the nation from captivity. It has the usual 
opening triumph ; it passes like the rest to the prayer in trouble ; 
then, instead of a sudden return to the first tone, it has a transi- 
tion stage, in which the poet pauses to wait for the answer to his 
nation's prayer; 2 the answer comes, and the final section is a 
burst of joy in which the recovered fatherland is beheld with 
a glory of transfiguration upon it. 


opening LORD, thou hast been favourable unto thy land : 
triumph Thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob, 

Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, 

Thou hast covered all their sin, 

Thou hast taken away all thy wrath, 

Thou hast turned thyself from the fierceness of thine anger. 

1 Besides the two described in the text the class includes Psalm cviii : its first 
five verses express the triumph, verses 6-12 are the prayer of the trouble [compare 
Psalm lx, where these very verses make part of the prayer on the occasion of the 
defeat that seems to have preceded the victory], Again there is Psalm cxliv: it 
starts with ecstatic sense of deliverance ; then verses 3-8 go back to the previous 
trouble, expressing the sufferer's confidence in God and scorn of the foe ; from 
verse 9 to the end is the 'new song' inspired by the deliverance, the line of 
thought being obscured only by verse n, which is however merely the repetition 
of the refrain (compare verses 7, 8) parenthetically, a common device in lyric 

Psalm ix-x [which the acrostic structure shows to be a single poem] represents 
the same structural form duplicated: ix. 1-12, triumph; 13, 14, dramatic prayer of 
trouble; 15-20, return to triumph; x. 1-13, recurrence to dramatic prayer of 
trouble ; 14-18, final resumption of triumph. 

Psalm xxxi exhibits a similar duplication applied to the dramatic lyric with single 
change [1-6 trouble, 7-8 deliverance, 9-18 trouble, 19-24 deliverance]. Compare 
with both these last examples the pendulum movement (above, page 139). 

2 Compare the similar pause in Habakkuk ii. x, and Psalm Ixix. 22-9. 


* Turn us, O God of our salvation, retroCTca- 

And cause thine indignation toward us to cease. sion to 
Wilt thou be angry with us forever? time of 

Wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations ? trouble 
Wilt thou not quicken us again, 
That thy people may rejoice in thee? 
Shew us thy mercy, O LORD, 
And grant us thy salvation." 

I will hear what God the LORD will speak : transition- 

For he will speak peace unto his people, al 8ta S e 

And to his saints, 
But let them not turn again to folly. 

Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him, return to 

That glory may dwell in our land. triumph 

Mercy and truth are met together; 

Righteousness and peace have kissed each other. 

Truth springeth out of the earth ; 

And righteousness hath looked down from heaven. 

Yea, the LORD shall give that which is good; 

And our land shall yield her increase. 

Righteousness shall go before him; 

And shall make his footsteps a way to walk in. 

Prayers, Meditations, and Monodies of Experience form a body 
of lyric poems considerable in amount, and familiar to the devo- 
tional reader. They call for little treatment in the Prayers> Medita- 
present work, since their literary form is transpar- tions, and Mono- 
ently simple. There are a few exceptions to this diesof E *P erience 
simplicity. In this section must be reckoned that tour-de-force 

of meditative ingenuity, the one hundred and nine- 

T . i ^ i * Psalm cxix 

teenth psalm. It is made up of no less than a 
hundred and seventy-six sayings, disposed on an acrostic arrange- 
ment, and bound together by the common feature that each verse 
contains some synonym for that which is the topic of the whole 
the LAW. The beauty of the psalm is, however, largely lost to us 
by the neglect in our English versions of the alphabetical links. 1 

1 See note on page 157. 


One more poem may be mentioned. The fifty-third psalm is 

a Meditation on Judgment of an elaborate type ; 
Psalm liii . . , n . J r 

its transitions and fluctuations of form make it a 

rhapsody in miniature. It opens with the much quoted line : 
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God ! 

It is hardly necessary to explain that this line does not predicate 
folly of the atheist ; it has the converse meaning of ascribing athe- 
ism to the fool. It goes on to portray the * fool/ or man of vicious 
life, as human nature gone bad and become * filthy/ like rotten 
fruit. Then perhaps with a faint reminiscence of Abraham and 
the destruction of Sodom it calls up before our mind the pic- 
ture of a Divine inspection of earth, and suggests the result that 
" not one " righteous man is to be found. Upon this follows the 
Divine surprise : 

Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge? 
Who eat up my people as they eat bread, 
And call not upon God. 

A very dramatic stroke marks the next verse. It has been said 
that magnetic disturbances in the sun produce tempests on the 
earth : this might serve as an illustration for the subtle connection 
hinted here, whereby the wave of surprise that passes over the 
bosom of Deity becomes felt upon earth as a mysterious panic, 
striking the evil without visible cause, while the oppressed people 
of God catch the spirit of triumph and defiance. 

There were they in great fear, where no fear was : 

For God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee; 

Thou hast put them to shame, because God hath rejected them. 

Here the psalm ends. But a postscript 1 seems to have been added 
by some age that looked in vain for the promised interposition 
of omnipotence : would that the salvation of Israel were indeed 
come out of Zion ! The deliverance of the captive people of God 
would be such a triumph as has been pictured. 

1 Compare Psalm li ; and possibly Psalms xxv, cxxx, cxxxi. As to Psalm 
bcxxix, see page 149. 


Last among our divisions of lyric poetry comes the type most 
familiar to the modern reader, the class of poems on set themes. 
The Bible, in common with a good deal of ancient 
literature, is at a disadvantage in regard to this * almson 
kind of poetry, from the fact that its manuscripts 
do not furnish titles to such psalms. The reader who has not 
made the experiment would have little idea how much may be 
lost to modern lyrics if they be read without the author's titles. In 
the absence of these some prominent phrase at the commence- 
ment is apt to usurp the place of title, and often to give a false 
suggestion as to the drift of the whole. In the tables which make 
the Appendix to this work I have made it a point, wherever the 
particular class of literature admits of it, to affix such titles as may 
be collected from a careful study of the unity. 

Given the theme, the modes in which it is developed by the 
lyrics of the psalter do not differ from those of Repetition as a 
modern poetry. A topic may be sustained and mode of lyric 
kept before the mind by repetition, or multiplica- devel P ment 
tion of details. The psalm which might have for its title " The 
LORD thy Keeper," owes no small part of its effect 
to the reiteration of this word ' keep ' in verse after m c 
verse. The psalm which proclaims "Man the Viceroy of God " 

sustains the thought in part by an enumeration of 

1-1 it Psalm vin 

the orders of nature over which man has been 

made ruler. Or, to take another example, the " Hymn on God's 

House" (Psalm eighty-four) is a cluster of the 

thoughts which in the mind of a pious Israelite 

would be roused by the pilgrimages to Jerusalem. As the season 

of the feasts comes round, body and soul seem filled with 

a yearning after the courts of the LORD ; the mystic force 2 " 3 

which in Spring leads the swallow to seek a nest for her young 

becomes to the worshipper the attraction that draws him towards 

his true home beside the altars of his God. Happiest 

they whose employment, however lowly, keeps them all 4 ~ 5 

the year round in the Temple service. Next happy are those 


whose one passion in life are the sacred pilgrimages : the road to 
Zion runs through their heart. Imagination dwells on the happy 
journeys : on the lonely spots of the route converted into 
gaiety by the throng of travellers, like a desert's momen- 
tary flourishing beneath the brief spring showers ; on the climbing 
of height after height, each a stage nearer the sacred goal ; on 
Mount Zion itself, and the anointed people bowing before its God 
and Shield, and feeling streams of grace and glory descending 
upon it. A day in God's courts is more than a thousand days 
of life's routine. 1 

Imagery belongs to all kinds of lyric poetry alike. One remark 

Imagery as a ma y ^ e ma( ^ e as to ^ e use f ^ ky t ' ie P oets of the 

mode of lyric de- psalter. It is characteristic of them to crowd their 
veiopment images together in rapid succession ; and such 

quick play of imagery sometimes is made to interchange with the 
development of a single image in full detail. I will give two illus- 
trations of such interchange. 

In the opening verses of the twenty-seventh psalm the images 
are so crowded together that there is danger of our losing them 

through their very exuberance. When all the sug- 
Psalmxxvii.i-6 . i 

gestions lurking in word and phrase are pressed, 

the whole passage seems to call up visions of danger chasing one 
another as through the changes of a dream. The poet is desper- 
ately threading his way through pitchy blackness, with pitfalls all 
around him when a sudden light shines, and all is clear : the 
LORD is that light. He is back again in the thick of his perils, 
he has actually stumbled when he is suddenly caught up and 
supported : in that salvation he sees the LORD. Now he is being 
chased by the foe, and they are gaining upon him when .a 
stronghold unseen before opens its gates to him and he is safe : 
JEHOVAH is that stronghold of life, and of whom in future need he 
be afraid ? 

1 1 understand verses 8-12 as the actual prayer of the pilgrims, now arrived in 
the Temple, interrupted by the parenthesis of verse 10. Such a parenthetic inter- 
ruption is highly characteristic of lyric triumph : a closely parallel case is Judges 
v. 12. See the arrangement of Deborah's Song, above, page .134. 


The scene has changed and the crowd of his adversaries and foes, 
with dream-like horror taking the shape of beasts of prey, are rush- 
ing upon him ; there is no escape, and already he can see the 
sharp teeth when, lo, they stumble over hidden pitfalls and dis- 
appear from view : 

When evil-doers came upon me to eat up my flesh, 

Even mine adversaries and my foes, they stumbled and fell. 

He is now in a solitary tower and countless hosts beleaguer him 
on all sides, yet he feels no doubt or fear ; now an ambush of a 
whole army suddenly rises out of the ground, but he can only won- 
der how it comes that no tremor shakes him. 

Though an host should encamp against me, 
My heart shall not fear : 
Though war should rise against me, 
Even then will I be confident. 

The various images have flitted past us like a succession of dream 
changes as the waking point is neared. And a transition like that 
from the fitful visions of sleep to the steady light of waking comes 
over the psalm as the poet passes on to the " one thing " he has 
desired of the LORD : this all-sufficing aspiration is for a life-long 
dwelling in the house of the LORD, in happy round of meditation 
and service, on a rock of security far above the disturbance of 
peril and trouble. This psalm then has illustrated the change from 
a rapid succession of images to a single sustained metaphor. 

A similar transition, but in reverse order, marks the twenty- 
third psalm. This opens with the peaceful imagery 
of pastoral life drawn out to its furthest detail. 

The LORD is my shepherd ; I shall not want. 

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures : 

He leadeth me beside the still waters. 

He restoreth my soul : 

He guide th me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, 

I will fear no evil; for thou art with me : 

Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. 


Then the break comes, and a quick succession of varying images 
passes before us. In oi^e line the image is that of a siege, and the 
poet is pressed by hunger when, lo, a mystic table is before him, 
and the enemy looks on helpless and amazed. In the next line he 
is a festal guest, the sweet perfume is poured over him, and the 
wine -of abundance is by his side. Again the imagery changes, 
and he sees goodness and mercy following him in his journeyings 
through life, as the streams of water followed the Israelites in the 
wilderness. Once more the thought changes to the Temple : other 
men may make their occasional pilgrimages, but he will be a 
dweller in the house of the LORD for ever. 

An important topic for the expository critic is Concealed 
Imagery. It is possible for a metaphorical idea to be sustained 
Concealed throughout the whole of a poem or lengthy passage, 

imagery an d yet not to be embodied in distinct words ; the 

image must be collected from a variety of indirect references, 
while to miss it is to lack the key to the whole. Such Concealed 
Imagery will explain some of the most difficult parts of the Bible. 

It has been, for example, well suggested that the 
Psalm Ixxxii . . , . . , . f , 

idea underlying the eighty-second psalm is that of 
a hierarchy of world-rulers, such as the ' Sons of God ' mentioned 
in the prologue to Job. We see in the latter poem how one of them 
can interfere in the guidance of human events, always of course 
with the Divine permission ; and the suggestion of the plural is 
that there are many. It is supposed by Professor Cheyne that 
a scene like the prologue to Job underlies this eighty-second 
psalm, the ' gods/ ' sons of the Most High/ being such spiritual 
world-rulers ; that it is these, and not earthly judges, who are the 
objects of the Divine remonstrance, and they are held responsible 
for the corruption of mankind which they have failed to pre- 
vent. Only upon such a supposition does the conclusion become 

I said, Ye are gods, 

And all of you sons of the Most High : 
Nevertheless ye shall die like men, 
And fall like one of the princes. 


The supernatural Powers who have neglected their office are 
threatened with degradation to the rank of men with the doom 
of mortality. 1 

No doubt the suggestion of Concealed Imagery is an uncertain 
weapon of interpretation, and one which leaves much room for the 
fancy of an individual expositor. It is therefore 
with diffidence that I suggest the application of it 
to a poem which is amongst the most familiar psalms of the 
psalter, but which leaves on my own mind an impression different 
from that ordinarily associated with it. To many readers the 
ninetieth psalm is known as part of the Service for the Burial of 
the Dead : it comes therefore to be connected with thoughts 
of gloom and bereavement. But the language justifying that use 
of it is confined to one part of the psalm ; when the whole is 
studied it is found to take a wider range. If the total play of 
thought and details of imagery in this poem be put together, the 
resultant appears to me to fit in with a Hymn of Mountain 

Let the reader fix in his imagination the mountain scenery that 
would surround one who has made his dwelling-place in the deserts 
of the Holy Land. He has awoke in the midst of a dreadful soli- 
tude, with the break of day at hand. Monotony of rocky land- 
scape stretches in every direction ; here are heaps of shingle and 
crumbling dust, there deep clefts wrapped in blackest shadow; 
the scantiest vegetation may be seen in the crannies, or shows 
greener at the margin of the torrent that rushes down by his side. 
He watches through the last phase of the night, and feels the 
solemn mystery attaching to these impalpable changes of time, 
and the passage of day into day. The sun rises, and the stony 
desert becomes a mirror to reflect its brilliance ; soon the light has 
penetrated to the lowest depth of every cleft, and the landscape 
glows like a furnace ; the grass by the torrent's side, which had 
bloomed for a moment in the morning freshness, has already begun 

1 The same image will be found to underlie the fifty-eighth psalm (see marginal 
readings of R. V.). 


to droop and wither. But the dominant sensation is still the 
unbroken solitude of his mountain dwelling, which has thus 
watched day pass into day without change since the very founda- 
tion of the world. Suddenly his thoughts rise to a higher plane 
in the contemplation of a vaster changelessness, which has been a 
home for Israel, and has endured through a succession, not of 
day into day, nor generation into generation, but of everlasting 
into everlasting. 

Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place 

In all generations. 

Before the mountains were brought forth, 

Or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, 

Even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. 

It is an eternity like this that makes divisions of time and succes- 
sion of human generations appear so feeble ; the thought of them 
can find vent only in a chain of images drawn from all that is around 

the poet. God turns man " into crumbling: dust " 
verse 3 (margin) 

like the debris he sees before him; a thousand 

years in his sight are but "as yesterday when it passeth " into 

to-day, as the watch of the night he had felt so 
verse 4 (margin) . J ' . 

brief; the generations of men rush past like this 

torrent flood by his side ; they drop as lightly as sleep fell from 
him when thq dawn awoke him ; they are like the grass beside the 
torrent flood, which he had just seen bloom in the 
morning's freshness, and which is already withering 
in the glare of the day. Verily the Divine anger is a scorching 
sun which lays bare all iniquity, which pours light upon the most 
secret sins as this sun's rays are illuminating the 
deep clefts that were so dark in the shadows of 
morning. And under wrath like this the " days of our years " are 
being brought to an end "like a tale that is told." This strik- 
ing phrase has been traditionally understood as comparing human 
life to a story, in itself an exquisite idea. But, in the absence 
of any indication from the original (for the Hebrew word is 


obscure), surely the context obliges us to understand the other 
sense of the word ' tale f : the years pass as swiftly as if they were 
but being counted one, two, three, four, ... up to seventy : 
or if it be eighty, yet the ten years so proudly achieved are ten 
years of labour and sorrow. But this meditation on swiftly passing 
years is suddenly brought to a noble climax : 

So teach us to number our days, 

That we may get us an heart of wisdom. 

Now the whole spirit of the psalm changes, and another class of 
associations come to the front : the freshness of morning, and its 
irresistible suggestion of repentance and a new start, of casting 
trouble and affliction behind like the night that is past, and look- 
ing to the future as a day of glory. 

Return, O LORD; how long? 

And let it repent thee concerning thy servants. 

O satisfy us in the morning with thy mercy; 

That we may rejoice and be glad all our days. 

Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, 

And the years wherein we have seen evil. 

The thought is carried forward with the concealed image of sun- 
rise and day beneath it. The work which God works for his 
people shall " appear " like the sun mounting above the hori- 
zon, and so " the beauty of the LORD their God shall be upon 
them. 11 And a final association with morning the zest for work 
it brings closes the psalm : 

Establish thou the work of our hands upon us; 
Yea, the work of our hands, establish thou it. 

The psalm is thus seen to be made up of three sections. The 
last gives a prominent place to the phrase "in the morning/' and 
is filled with morning thoughts of repentance, of change from a 
dark past to a bright future, of beauty shed upon God's people 
from above, of security for the work of the hands. The middle 
section has the one thought of succession succession of days, of 


generations ; and this is in one verse expressly associated with the 
image of yesterday passing into to-day. Through both these sec- 
tions, then, the idea of morning is present. The first section brings 
forward mountains and the framework of earth as enduring things 
to be contrasted with the greater eternity of their Creator ; while 
all the images used are such as would form part of a mountain 
landscape. When the whole poem is put together, then, it will 
seem that, while its subject is " Life as a passing Day/ 1 the setting 
of the thought is the concealed imagery of a mountain sunrise. 

We have thus considered imagery, repetition, enumeration, 
as modes by which a theme can be developed in lyric poetry. 

There is one other mode, simpler still : that of 
Contrast as a 
mode of develop- Contrast. Previous chapters have alluded to the 

ment contrast of the Heavens above and the Law within 

which makes the subject of the nineteenth psalm ; and again to 
the Supreme Evil and the Supreme Good which stand contrasted 
in the thirty-sixth. But it seems specially appropriate in this 
work, and at this point of it, to mention the first psalm, which 
stands as preface to the whole lyrical poetry of Scrip- 
ture. It celebrates the man, 

Whose delight is 

In the Law of the LORD : 

And in his Law 
Doth he meditate day and night. 

No one will understand the word * Law ' in its narrow modern 
sense ; when fully weighed, the expression ' the Law of the LORD ' 
will seem not very different from what is conveyed to a modern 
ear by the term ' Sacred Scriptures.' The first psalm may be said 
to bestow a blessing on the literary study of the Bible. The 
thought of this prefatory psalm is worked out by Contrast. The 
theme is stated in the form of a contrast ; the Meditative Life is 
made antithetical to another type of life, not necessarily vicious, 
but one that looks in other directions than the Law of the LORD 
for the counsels by which it shall walk : in modern phraseology, 


the Worldly Life. This double theme is illustrated by an exqui- 
site piece of contrasted imagery. The Worldly Life is compared 
to " the Chaff which the wind driveth away " : airy, not ungraceful 
motion of that which is mere outside without substance, carried 
round by forces from without. Over against this is set the rooted 
Tree, drawing perpetual sustenance from the water streams, mov- 
ing harmoniously through its season of leafage and fruit. Then 
the contrast is carried forward to that which is the dominant 
thought of Biblical poetry ' the judgment. 1 There is no denun- 
ciation or detailed prophecy ; but the psalmist is assured that the 
empty life " shall not stand in the judgment. " And on the other 
hand, no particular blessing is invoked upon " the way of the right- 
eous " : it is enough that " the LORD knoweth it. 11 


THE poem which is the subject of the present chapter affords a 
good illustration of the principle underlying this work, that clear 
Divided Opinion knowledge of the outer literary form is an essential 
as to the form of for a thorough grasp of the matter and spirit of 
Solomon's Song literature. That Solomon's Song is dialogue of a 
dramatic character, with a story underlying it, must be recognised 
by all ; but when we go beyond this we find commentators divided, 
one set holding the poem to be a drama, the other an idyl 
Those who consider it a drama are in substantial agreement as to 
its plot: that the Shulammite is wooed by King Solomon with 
offers of regal splendour, that she remains faithful to her humbler 
Shepherd lover, that in the end King Solomon gives way and the 
faithful lovers are united. The other interpretation, as followed in 
this chapter, identifies Solomon himself with the humble lover. 
The whole story now becomes this : that King Solomon, visiting 
his vineyard upon Mount Lebanon, comes by surprise upon the 
fair Shulammite maiden ; she flees from him, and he visits her 
disguised as a Shepherd and wins her love ; then he comes in 
state to claim her as his queen ; they are being wedded in the 
Royal Palace when the poem opens. Now, whichever of these 
interpretations be correct, it is clear that the technical question as 
between drama and idyl involves a fundamental difference in the 
story of the poem. 

I believe that the divergence of interpretation in the present 
case is largely due to the fact that, while Drama is a thing familiar 



to all, few have considered the extent to which the development 
of Lyric Idyl can be carried. 1 It may be admitted Distinction of 
at once that the traditional masters of the Idyl, Lyric idyl from 
such as Theocritus and Virgil, have given us noth- 1>rama 
ing that in dramatic elaborateness approaches Solomon's Song. 
But the fine arts are all one family, and the development which 
may stop short in pure poetry may be carried forward in the 
sister art of music. Speaking roughly, we may say that the differ- 
ence between Drama and Lyric Idyl is the difference between 
Opera and Oratorio ; and most of the peculiar structural features 
of Solomon's Song are such as will be readily intelligible to the 
student of dramatic music. 

It is necessary to see exactly what is involved in the difference 
between the dramatic form and the form of lyric idyl. In the 

first place, it is inevitable in drama that the order , . 

r . . , ,1,, .11 (i ) Incidents may 

of incidents should tally with the order of speeches be alluded to in 

representing them. In narrating a story, it is easy 
to mention a catastrophe and then go back in time to the circum- 
stances which brought that catastrophe about. But drama is pure 
presentation, and its action can never go back ; hence the neces- 
sity in Ancient Tragedy, which dramatised only the end of a story, 
of lyric choral odes to bring out by narrative important incidents 
that happened earlier than the opening scene. In a lyric idyl, on 
the contrary, the story is not acted, but assumed and alluded to ; 
and allusion can be made to the different parts of the story in any 
order. A pure dramatisation of a love story would begin (say) 
with the first meeting of the lovers, would proceed with the cir- 

1 The word ' Idyl ' is diminutive of the Greek eide, the term for the various 
forms of poetry. Thus the Idyl did not appear in our table of Literary Forms, 
because it may be a slighter variation of any of them : the slightness being tradi- 
tionally supposed to consist in the nature of the subject matter, personal love, 
domestic life, etc. As an interesting example of the traditional conception appear- 
ing m modern art, it may be pointed out that Wagner's Siegfried is an elaborate 
and massive musical drama: but when the composer takes the themes of this 
opera and interweaves them with an old cradle song to make a birthday serenade 
to his wife in honour of their infant son, he calls it the Siegfried IdyL In the Bible 
Ruth is an Epic Idyl, Solomon's Song a Lyric Idyl, 


cumstances of their growing intimacy, and end with their marriage. 
But the series of idyls making Solomon's Song commences with 
the wedding day, goes back to the day of betrothal and remi- 
niscences of the courtship, and then goes forward to what in mod- 
ern parlance might be called the close of the honeymoon. 

Again, in a drama every speech must be referred to personal 
speakers, either an individual or a Chorus. But lyric poetry, in 
addition to these, can make use of a Reciting 
Chorus Re lting Chorus, which is impersonal, and merely the au- 
thor's device for carrying on the story in the parts 
not represented dramatically. Thus in Mendelssohn's Elijah, the 
Chorus is sometimes personal, as where it presents the Priests 
of Baal crying, "O Baal, hear us"; in other cases it is imper- 
sonal, as where it is used to describe the fire falling from heaven, 
or to point the moral in the chorale, "Cast thy burden upon the 
Lord." So in the present case, we have both a personal Chorus 
of Daughters of Jerusalem who escort the Bride, and a merely 
abstract Chorus used to describe the journey of Solomon in his 
state chariot. Another consideration is worth mentioning in this 
connection. Every speech in a drama must be spoken in a definite 
place or * scene ' : but this Reciting Chorus is, on the contrary, used 
as a device for suggesting transition from one scene to another. 

As a third feature of the Lyric Idyl may be mentioned the 
refrains. Refrains in lyric poetry always may be, and usually are, 
parenthetic; they must not be attached to their 
context > but referred to the poem as a whole. A 
simple modern ballad will narrate a story, how, 
for example, the spectre of a lover comes to claim his mistress, 
how she responds to his summons, and is borne to a distant land, 
where she is found dead on his tomb. The verses containing this 
narrative will be continually interrupted by the refrain : 

Sing hey, sing ho, the linden tree 

These words have no point in relation to the sentences to which 
they are attached, but very likely interrupt their grammatical con- 


struction. On the other hand, the idea of the wind singing 
through the trees makes an effective background to be kept 
present in the mind through the whole of a story of weird inci- 
dent. Such refrains may be compared to the musical accompani- 
ment heard continuing the strains of a song during the intervals 
between the spoken verses. In the present case there are three 
refrains which, wherever they occur, must be separated from the 
dialogue. In their subject they are just suited to keep before us 
the general spirit of the whole poem. In one, there is a call upon 
all to leave the lovers to their repose. 

I adjure you, daughters of Jerusalem, 

By the roes, and by the hinds of the field, jjj 7 ^ ^"vS! 4 

That ye stir not up, nor awaken love, 

Until it please. 

The second is, in its various forms, the mutual pledge. 

My beloved is mine, and I am his : ii. 16: compare 

Hefeedeth his flock among the lilies. vi. 3 and vii. xo 

The third is the summons to embrace. 

Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, 
Turn, my beloved, and be thou like 
Upon the mountains of separation. 

Turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart ^ 5 and viii 14 

Love strains like these are the essence of the whole poem, and 
are naturally used to separate the idyls from one another, or mark 
the natural divisions of each. 

I have yet to mention something specially characteristic of this 
poem, which is readily intelligible as a feature of a lyric idyl. 
We find incidents conveyed dramatically by dia- 
logue which, nevertheless, cannot be part of the 
scene in which they occur, but must, at that point, 
be a reminiscence. Such an effect may be called a Dramatised 
Reminiscence. Thus it is part of the story as here interpreted 
that Solomon, when the Shulammite damsel had fled from him at 


his first appearance, continued his suit to her in the disguise of 
a Shepherd. She wonders who this stranger is, so different from 
the shepherds she knows. 

i. 7 Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, 

Where thou feedest thy flock, 
Where thou makest it to rest at noon : 
For why should I be as one that wandereth 
Beside the flocks of thy companions? 

He of course seeks to evade her scrutiny by a vague answer. 

i. 8 If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, 

Go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, 
And feed thy kids beside the shepherds' tents. 

Such a detail in itself is natural enough in a love story. But the 
point of the present suggestion is that the position of the speeches 
just quoted in the wedding scene is perfectly intelligible. 
It is natural that the Shulammite, when for the first time she be- 
holds her royal lover in the splendour of his palace, should allude 
to her former attempt to penetrate his disguise. And it is equally 
natural that the allusion should take the form of recalling the 
actual words used by each : they are merely quoting their former 
selves, a thing which we have already seen as a tendency of the 
dramatic lyrics in the psalter. 1 Or, to take another instance, 
it is natural for the king in his musings on his bride to recall 
the moment of their first meeting. The sudden surprise of the 
courtly escort at the rustic maiden's beauty is conveyed in the 
form of a speech. 

vi. xo Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, 

Fair as the moon, 
Pure as the sun, 
Terrible as an army with banners ? 

Her startled feelings as the royal cortege surprised her are 
expressed as if they had been spoken. 

1 See above, page 180, 


I went down into the garden of nuts, yi. n 

To see the green plants of the valley, 

To see whether the vine budded, 

And the pomegranates were in flower. 

Or ever I was aware, my soul set me 

Among the chariots of my princely people. 

It is natural to follow up this with the cry to the damsel to stop. 

Return, return, O Shulammite; vi. 13 

Return, return, that we may look upon thee. 

Then will be expressed her uneasiness at the gaze, whether spoken 
at the time or not. 

Why will ye look upon the Shulammite ; 
As upon the dance of Mahanaim? 

All this is not a dialogue taking place at point of the poem where 
the words occur, but the form of dialogue thrown over the sensa- 
tion of an emphatic moment, recalled as a reminiscence by the 
king in the midst of his meditations on his queen. It belongs 
naturally to the free movement of lyric poetry between meditation 
and dramatic presentation ; and resembles the common device in 
narrative of a sudden change from indirect to direct narration. 1 

Keeping these points of literary form before us, we may follow 
the poem as a Suite of seven Idyls. The first pre- Solomon > 8 Song 
sents the Wedding Day, its personages being the as a suite of 
King, the Bride, and her escort, the Chorus of s*"** 
Daughters of Jerusalem. It opens with the decisive moment of 
the ceremony when the Bride is being lifted over the ^ ^.. 
threshold ; it proceeds with the conversation inside the 
palace ; then we have the procession from the banqueting house 
to the bridal chamber ; and the closing refrain leaves the lovers 
to their repose. 

1 The Dramatised Reminiscence may be conveniently represented to the eye by 
inverted commas. 


The second idyl is given up to the Bride's Reminiscences. She 
recalls a visit of her lover in the fair springtide, and how 
11 ' 5 they were interrupted. She tells a happy dream of seek- 
ing her lover abroad and finding him. And these two reminis- 
cences are separated by refrains. 

The third idyl goes back to the Day of Betrothal. The Recit- 
ing Chorus describe the journey of King Solomon in his chariot of 
state. He has already won the Shulammite's love, but 
now he is to throw off his disguise and claim her as his 
queen. His outpourings of love follow, and her acceptance ; 
then the Chorus which opened this third idyl closes it by invoking 
a blessing on the happy pair. 

The fourth in this * song of songs ' is occupied with a troubled 

Dream of the Bride. She fancies her beloved comes to her door 

in the night; she delays but a moment to adjust her 

dress and dip her fingers in the myrrh, and by that 

moment's waiting she loses him, and wanders in vain to find him. 

By an exquisite touch of dream change she finds herself (in her 

dream) accosting the Chorus of Daughters of Jerusalem, and in 

dialogue with them discusses the beauty of her lover, until the loss 

with which this fourth song began is forgotten in the triumphant 

refrain of the close. 

The fifth idyl belongs to the royal Bridegroom. Its opening 
vi. 4-vii. an( i close are musings on the beauty of his bride ; the 
9 two parts are separated by the dramatised reminiscence 

of the first moment of their meeting. 

The last two songs introduce a beautiful piece of simple human 
nature. The Bride amid the splendour of the palace longs for 
her home on Lebanon, and in the sixth song persuades 
viii. 4 her husband to journey to this place where their love was 
a ^ first pledged. Accordingly, the scene of the last idyl has 
vm. 5-14 c j ian g e( j to Lebanon. A few words of the Reciting 
Chorus bring out the arrival of the pair ; the words sound like a 
brief echo from their description of the former journey made in 
state. Renewal of love follows in this the Bride's home. Then 


comes a very natural touch : the Bride, in this spot where she 
grew up from infancy, recalls the riddling speeches her Brothers 
used to make to her when she was too young to understand the 
mysteries of love. She then makes a fresh surrender of her heart, 
with a quaint conceit founded on the circumstance that her hus- 
band is (in modern phrase) the ' landlord ' of this home of herself 
and brothers. The voices are heard of the Escort approaching to 
conduct them back ; so with a final embrace the poem closes. 

I am about to cite the whole poem with an arrangement intended 
to make it easy for the general reader to follow. One more prefa- 
tory remark is necessary. This is a poem of pure conjugal love. 

There are threescore queens, 

And fourscore concubines, 

And virgins without number : 
My dove, my undefiled is but one. 

Nevertheless, a reader who is not prepared for it may be startled 
by the amatory warmth of the phraseology. Partly this Amatory 
is due to the more passionate nature of oriental peoples. lan ua s e 
But partly it connects itself with the symbolism of Hebrew poetry, 
which enables it to take liberties impossible to our direct western 
speech. There is a famous passage at the close of Ecclesiastcs 
which makes the disagreeable symptoms of old age graceful by 
throwing over them a symbolic veil. The same treatment in the 
poem under consideration softens the warmth of amatory speech. 
The enraptured gaze of the Bridegroom bending over his Bride at 
the feast is disguised as a " banner of love "waving over her. 
The sweet surrender of the maiden to her spouse is sym- 
bolically put : 

They made me keeper of the vineyards; i. 6 

But mine own vineyard have I not kept ! 

She does not in plain terms clasp her lover to her bosom, but the 
refrain bids him to be as a roe " on the mountains of 
separation." The Bible consecrates everything it touches ; 
and the fact is not without significance that the great Honeymoon 
Song of all literature should be given to us in the Sacred Scriptures. 


i. x-ii. 7 IDYL I 


Outside the Palace 

The Bridal Procession approaches: the Royal Bridegroom leading the Bride, fol- 
lowed by an Attendant Chorus of Daughters of Jerusalem 


Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth : 

For thy love is better than wine; 

Thine ointments have a goodly fragrance; 

Thy name is as ointment poured forth : 
Therefore do the virgins love thee. 

A pause is made at the threshold of the Palace 

THE BRIDE (to the Bridegroom} 
Draw me 

We will run after thee. 

The Bridegroom lifts the Bride across the threshold 

The king hath brought me into his chambers. 


We will be glad and rejoice in thee, 

We will make mention of thy love more than of wine. 

In uprightness do they love thee. 


Inside the Palace 

The Bride addresses her Attendant Chorus 

I am black, but comely, 

O ye daughters of Jerusalem, 

As the tents of Kedar, 

As the curtains of Solomon. 

Look not upon me, because I am swarthy, 

Because the sun hath scorched me. 

My mother's sons were incensed against me, 

They made me keeper of the vineyards; 

But mine own vineyard have I not kept ! 

The Bride and Bridegroom converse : Dramatised Reminiscence of their Courtship: 
how she sought to penetrate his disguise and he answered mysteriously 


" Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, 

" Where thou feedest thy flock, 

" Where thou makest it to rest at noon : 

" For why should I be as one that wandereth 

" Beside the flocks of thy companions? " 


" If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, 
" Go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, 
" And feed thy kids beside the shepherds' tents.' 1 


The Procession from the Banqueting House to the Bridal Chamber 

I have compared thee, O my love, 

To a steed in Pharaoh's chariots. 

Thy cheeks are comely with plaits of hair, 

Thy neck with strings of jewels. 

We will make thee plaits of gold 

With studs of silver. 



While the king sat at his table, 
My spikenard sent forth its fragrance. 
My beloved is unto me as a bundle of myrrh, 
That lieth betwixt my breasts. 
My beloved is unto me as a cluster of henna-flowers 
In the vineyards of En-gedi. 


Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; 
Thine eyes are as doves. 


Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant : 

Also our couch is green. 

The beams of our house are cedars, 

And our rafters are firs. 

I am a rose of Sharon, 

A lily of the valleys. 

As a lily among thorns, 
So is my love among the daughters. 


As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, 

So is my beloved among the sons. 

I sat down under his shadow with great delight, 

And his fruit was sweet to my taste. 

He brought me to the banqueting house, 

And his banner over me was love. 

Stay ye me with raisins, comfort me with apples : 

For I am sick of love. 

Let his left hand be under my head, 

And his right hand embrace me. 


I adjure you) O daughters of Jerusalem, 
By the roes, and by the hinds of the field, 

That ye stir not up, nor awaken love, 

Until it please. 


IDYL II 11.8-111.5 



How her lover came to her in the Springtide, and they were interrupted 


The voice of my beloved ! behold, he cometh, 

Leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills. 

My beloved is like a roe or a young hart : 

Uehold, he standeth behind our wall, 

He looketh in at the windows, 

He sheweth himself through the lattice. 

My beloved spake, and said unto me, 

" Rise up, 

My love, 
My fair one, 

And come away. 
For, io, the winter is past, 
The rain is over and gone ; 
The flowers appear on the earth ; 
The time of the singing of birds is come, 
And the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; 
The fig tree ripeneth her green figs, 
And the vines are in blossom, 
They give forth their fragrance. 


My love, 
My fair one, 

And come away. 
O my dove, 

That art in the clefts of the rock, 
In the covert of the steep place, 
Let me see thy countenance, 

Let me hear thy voice; 

For sweet is thy voice, 
And thy countenance is comely." 


VOICES OF THE BROTHERS (heard interrupting) 

"Take us the foxes, 

"The little foxes that spoil the vineyards; 

M For our vineyards are in blossom." 


My beloved is mine, and I am his: 
He feedetk his flock among the lilies. 

Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, 

Turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart 

Upon the mountains of separation. 

Her happy Dream of seeking him abroad and finding him 

By night, on my bed, 

I sought him whom my soul loveth : 
I sought him, but I found him not. 

I said, I will rise now, and go about the city, 

In the streets and in the broad ways, 

I will seek him whom my soul loveth : 
I sought him, but I found him not. 

The watchmen that go about the city found me : 

To whom I said, Saw ye him whom my soul loveth? 

It was but a little that I passed from them, 
When I found him whom my soul loveth : 
I held him, and would not let him go, 

Until I had brought him into my mother's house, 

And into the chamber of her that conceived me. 


I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, 
J3y the roes, and by the hinds of the field, 
That ye stir not ufa nor awaken love, 
Until it please. 


IDYL III m.6-v.x 



King Solomon comes in State 


Who is this that cometh up out of the wilderness 

Like pillars of smoke, 

Perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, 

With all powders of the merchant? 

Behold, it is the litter of Solomon; 

Threescore mighty men are about it, 

Of the mighty men of Israel. 

They all handle the sword, and are expert in war : 

Every man hath his sword upon his thigh, 

Because of fear in the night. 

King Solomon made himself a palanquin 

Of the wood of Lebanon. 

He made the pillars thereof of silver, 

The bottom thereof of gold, 

The seat of it of purple, 

The midst thereof being inlaid with love from the daughters of 


Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, and behold King Solomon, 
With the crown wherewith his mother hath crowned him 
In the day of his espousals, 
And in the day of the gladness of his heart. 

King Solomon pours forth his love to the Shulammite damsel 

Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; 
Thine eyes are as doves behind thy veil : 
Thy hair is as a flock of goats, 


That lie along the side of Mount Gilead. 
Thy teeth are like a flock of ewes that are newly shorn, 

Which are come up from the washing; 

"Whereof every one hath twins, 

And none is bereaved among them. 
Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, 
And thy mouth is comely. 
Thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate 

Behind thy veil. 
Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armoury, 

\Vhereon there hang a thousand bucklers, 

All the shields of the mighty men. 
Thy two breasts are like two fawns that are twins of a roe ; 

"Which feed among the lilies. 


Until the day break , and the shadows flee away, 
I will get me to the mountain of myrrh^ 
And to the hill of frankincense. 

King Solomon (under the symbolic expression of an enclosed garden) proposes marriage 
to the Shulammite damsel, and she (using the same symbolism) accepts 


Thou art all fair, my love; 

And there is no spot in thee. 

Come with me from Lebanon, my bride, 

\Vith me from Lebanon : 

Go from the top of Amana, 

From the top of Senir and Hermon, 

From the lions' dens, 

From the mountains of the leopards. 
Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my bride; 
Thou hast ravished my heart 

With one look from thine eyes, 

With one chain of thy neck. 
How fair is thy love, my sister, my bride 1 


How much better is thy love than wine ! 

And the smell of thine ointments than all manner of spices ! 
Thy lips, O my bride, drop as the honeycomb : 
Honey and milk are under thy tongue; 
And the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon. 

A garden shut up is my sister, my bride; 

A spring shut up, 

A fountain sealed. 
Thy shoots are an orchard of pomegranates, 

With precious fruits; 

Henna with spikenard plants, 

Spikenard and saffron, 

Calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense, 

Myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices. 
Thou art a fountain of gardens, 

A well of living waters, 

And flowing streams from Lebanon. 


Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; 

Blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out 

Let my beloved come into his garden, 

And eat his precious fruits. 


I am come into my garden, my sister, my bride : 
I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; 
I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; 
I have drunk my wine with my milk. 

Eat, O friends; 
Drink, yea, drink abundantly of love ! 


v. a-vi. 3 IDYL IV 


Her troubled Dream that her beloved came to her at night, and by a moment's delay 

she lost him 


I was asleep, but my heart waked : 

It is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, 

"Open to me, 

My sister, my love, 

My dove, my undefiled : 
For my head is filled with dew, 
My locks with the drops of the night." 

I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? 
I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them? 

My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, 

And my heart was moved for him. 

I rose up to open to my beloved ; 

And my hands dropped with myrrh, 

And my fingers with liquid myrrh, 

Upon the handles of the bolt. 

I opened to my beloved ; 

But my beloved had withdrawn himself and was gone. 

My soul had failed me when he spake : 

I sought him, but I could not find him; 

I called him, but he gave me no answer. 

The watchmen that go about the city found me, 

They smote me, they wounded me ; 

The keepers of the walls took away my veil from me. 

(In her Dream she finds herself accosting a Chorus of Daughters of Jerusalem) 

I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, 

If ye find my beloved, 
That ye tell him, that I am sick of love. 



"What is thy beloved more than another beloved, 

O thou fairest among women ? 
What is thy beloved more than another beloved, 

That thou dost so adjure us? 


My beloved is white and ruddy, 
The chiefest among ten thousand: 

His head is as the most fine gold, 

His locks are bushy, and black as a raven. 

His eyes are like doves beside the water brooks; 

Washed with milk, and fitly set. 

His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as banks of sweet herbs : 

His lips are as lilies, dropping liquid myrrh. 

His hands are as rings of gold set with beryl : 

His body is as ivory work overlaid with sapphires. 

His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: 

His aspect is like Lebanon, excellent as the cedars. 

His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. 
This is my beloved, and this is my friend, 

daughters of Jerusalem. 


Whither is thy beloved gone, 

O thou fairest among women ? 
Whither hath thy beloved turned him, 

That we may seek him with thee? 


My beloved is gone down to his garden, 

To the beds of spices, 
To feed in the gardens, 

And to gather lilies. 


1 am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine . 
He feedeth his flock among the lilies. 




The King muses on her Beauty 


Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, 

Comely as Jerusalem, 

Terrible as an army -with banners. 
Turn away thine eyes from me, 
For they have overcome me. 
Thy hair is as a flock of goats 

That lie along the side of Gilead. 
Thy teeth are like a flock of ewes, 

Which are come up from the washing; 

\Vhereof every one hath twins, 

And none is bereaved among them. 
Thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate 

Behind thy veil. 
There are threescore queens, 

And fourscore concubines, 

And virgins without number : 
My dove, my undefiled, is but one; 

She is the only one of her mother; 

She is the pure one of her that bare her. 
The daughters saw her, and called her blessed; 
Yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her. 


The Surprise of the first meeting. A dramatised Reminiscence 


" Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, 

" Fair as the moon, 

" Pure as the sun, 

"Terrible as an army with banners?" 



" I went down into the garden of nuts, 

" To see the green plants of the valley, 

" To see whether the vine budded, 

" And the pomegranates were in flower. 

"Or ever I was aware, my soul set me 

" Among the chariots of my princely people." 


" Return, return, O Shulammite; 

" Return, return, that we may look upon thee." 


" \Vhy will ye look upon the Shulammite, 
"As upon the dance of Mahanaim?" 

The King continues to muse upon his Bride's Beauty 

How beautiful are thy feet in sandals, O prince's daughter ! 

The joints of thy thighs are like jewels, 

The work of the hands of a cunning workman. 

Thy navel is like a round goblet, 

Wherein no mingled wine is wanting : 
Thy belly is like an heap of wheat 

Set about with lilies. 

Thy two breasts are like two fawns that are twins of a roe. 
Thy neck is like the tower of ivory; 

Thine eyes as the pools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bath-rabbim ; 
Thy nose is like the tower of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus, 
Thine head upon thee is like Carmel, 
And the hair of thine head like purple; 
The king is held captive in the tresses thereof. 
How fair and how pleasant art thou, 
O love, for delights ! 


This thy stature is like to a palm tree, 

And thy breasts to clusters of grapes. 

I said, I will climb up into the palm tree, 

I will take hold of the branches thereof: 

Let thy breasts be as clusters of the vine, 

And the smell of thy breath like apples; 

And thy mouth like the best \vlne, 

That goeth down smoothly for my beloved, 

Gliding through the lips of those that are asleep. 


I am my beloved^s, 

And Ins desire is toward me. 

vii. lo-viii. 4 IDYL VI 



Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field; 

Let us lodge in the villages. 

Let us get up early to the vineyards ; 

Let us see whether the vine hath budded, 

And the tender grape appear, 

And the pomegranates be in flower : 
There will I give thee my love. 
The mandrakes give forth fragrance, 
And at our doors are all manner of precious fruits, 

New and old, 

Which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved. 


Oh, that thou wert as my brother, 

That sucked the breasts of my mother ! 

When I should find thee without, I would kiss thee; 

Yea, and none would despise me. 

I would lead thee, and bring thee into my mother's house, 

That thou mightest instruct me. 
I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine, 

Of the juice of my pomegranate. 

His left hand should be under my head, 

And his right hand should embrace me. 


/ adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, 
That ye stir not up, nor awaken love^ 
Until it please. 



The arrival 


Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, 
Leaning upon her beloved? 


Under the apple tree I awakened thee : 
There thy mother was in travail with thee, 
There was she in travail that brought thee forth, 



Set me as a seal upon thine heart, 

As a seal upon thine arm : 
For love is strong as death; 

Jealousy is cruel as the grave : 
The flashes thereof are flashes of fire, 

A very flame of the LORD. 
Many waters cannot quench love, 

Neither can the floods drown it : 
If a man would give all the substance of his house for love, 

It would utterly be contemned. 

The Bride recalls the riddling speeches of her Brothers when she was a child: she 
understands them now 


" We have a little sister, 

" And she hath no breasts : 

" What shall we do for our sister 

" In the day when she shall be spoken for? 

" If she be a wall, 

" We will build upon her a turret of silver : 

" And if she be a door, 

" We will inclose her with boards of cedar." 
I was a wall, and my breasts like the towers thereof: 
Then was I in his eyes as one that found peace. 

The Bride renews her vows to her husband in this the home of her childhood: Solomon 
shall be the landlord of her heart as he is the landlord of her home 


Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon ; 

He let out the vineyard unto keepers; 

Everyone for the fruit thereof was to bring a thousand pieces of silver. 
My vineyard, which is mine, is before me : 

Thou, O Solomon, shalt have the thousand, 

And those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred 


The Escort beard approaching to conduct them back from Lebanon: a final embrace 


Thou that dwellest in the gardens, 
The companions hearken for thy voice : 
Cause me to hear it. 


Make haste, my beloved, 

And be thou like to a roe or to a young hart 

Upon the mountains of spices. 






EPIC ..,....,.. 244 



IT has often been said that there is no Epic Poetry in the Bible. 
This opinion seems to me to be founded on a double mistake. 

In part it is a relic of a discarded system of criti- m . ... 
. , ,-i , ,. , i ,. The w s toon of 

cism that did much to distort the study of literature, Epic Poetry m 

and at one time went to the extent of pronouncing the Bible 
Shakespeare no dramatist : the criticism which assumed the 
masterpieces of Greek and Latin literature to be the only literary 
standards. Of course, those who have formed their conception 
of Epic solely on the Iliad and Odyssey will look in vain for poems 
resembling these in the Bible. Again, in many minds epic poetry 
is associated with fiction ; and to classify any portion of Sacred 
Scripture as epic will to such persons appear a mode of saying 
that it is untrue. But this is an entire misapprehension of the 
term. It is one thing to say that creative poetry is not, like his- 
tory and philosophy, tied to reality ; it is quite another thing to 
say that its matter may not be real. Creative poetry is a treatment 
which can be applied alike to fact, to idealised fact, and to purely 
imaginative matter. 

In our examination of fundamental literary forms, 1 we found that 
the term * Epic ' implied just two things : narrative, in contrast with 
dramatic presentation, and creative treatment, in contradistinction 
to discussion. Now more than half the Bible consists of narrative. 
The question, then, of Epic Poetry in the Bible narrows itself to 
this : whether the whole of Biblical narrative is to be classified as 

1 Above, page 109. 


history, or does any part of it make just that appeal to our emo- 
tions and artistic sense which is made by the epic poems of secular 
literature ? 

Let a reader set himself to read continuously the Book of Gene- 
sis. He will feel that different parts of what he is reading affect 

his literary sense in different ways. At one time 
The distinction . ~ , _ . _ r J 

of Epic and His- he finds himself traversing long genealogical lists, 

tory illustrated O r noting brief accounts of migrations ; he moves 
from Genesis ^11 ^ . - . . 

through generations or centuries of time in a few 

verses. He reaches (suppose) the name of Joseph : and at once 
all is changed. Ten lengthy chapters in bulk equal to one-fifth 
of the whole Book of Genesis centre around this one man and 
his relations with his brethren. From the beginning a striking 
personality begins to emerge, which even in childhood divides the 
household between envy and doting affection, which makes itself 
felt in captivity and even in prison. In the background we get 
glimpses of varied life scattered settlements of shepherds, mer- 
chant caravans, palace life in the empire of Egypt. Mutation of 
fortune, which plays so large a part in story, is represented by the 
change which in a single day takes Joseph from prison to set him 
next to the throne ; and throughout the movement of events the 
supernatural interest of dreams and their mystical revelations has 
been hovering. When among the crowds that come from distant 
lands to ask corn from this Egyptian potentate Joseph's own 
brethren stand before him, recognised but not recognising, then 
Vsre have just one of those ironic situations which make the master- 
strokes of plot. And no invented plot could draw more out of 
such a situation than we get in this piece of history, with the long- 
sustained perplexities in which the Egyptian minister involves his 
family, not for the purpose of some subtle revenge, but to prolong 
the strange situation in which he finds himself placed, and the 
conflict of emotions in his breast between natural affection and 
sense of wrong. At last Joseph breaks down in the part he is 
playing, and has to sob out that he is their brother ; and when 
the excitement has had time to subside, the train of events settles 


to a sedate conclusion in the picturesque migration of the sons 
of Israel into Egypt, and the patriarchal blessing bestowed on 
Pharaoh himself. We continue our reading, and find ourselves 
tracing, in bare outline, economic changes Comprised in a verse 
or two which needed generations of time to be accomplished in 
fact. It is impossible for any one, reading with his literary sense 
awakened, not to feel the difference of kind between the account 
of Joseph and his Brethren and other portions of the Book of 
Genesis preceding and following it : this is the difference between 
Epic and History. Joseph, it is true, is an important historic 
personage, and it is no novel that we have been reviewing. But a 
single chapter would have been sufficient to present the sons of 
Jacob as a link in the chain of history ; what more there is in the 
narrative must be credited to interest of story. The exact classi- 
fication of this portion of Genesis is expressed by the term ' Epic 
Incident ' ; it is an Incident because it is a portion of the history ; 
it is Epic because the treatment of it touches the imagination and 
emotions in the regular way of creative poetry. 

The historical books of the Bible are full of such Epic Inci- 
dents. But they are merged in the history of which they are a 
part, without anything to mark them off from the surrounding 
matter which is purely historic. I must not be thought to insist 
upon trifles if I recommend the student with the aid of the 
Tables in the Appendix to this work, 1 or otherwise to pencil off 
in his Revised Version the epic matter, and to write in the margin 
a title to each portion. I believe that an important factor in lit- 
erary appreciation is the expectant attitude of the reader; and 
one who has, in the way I suggest, adjusted his mental focus from 
the outset, will be in a specially favourable situation for feeling the 
epic richness of Sacred Scripture. 

When we turn to survey the field of Biblical Epic, one phenom- 
enon attracts our attention at once, as being unique, No Verse ^ ic in 
yet not difficult to understand. In secular litera- tbe Bible 
ture the most famous epics are in verse. In the Bible there is no 

1 Tables II, III. 


verse narrative. 1 But we have seen that the distinction of prose 
and verse is not at all coincident with the distinction between 
poetry and its antithesis. Again, we have seen that it is one of 
the distinguishing features of Hebrew that its verse and prose sys- 
tems overlap. When these two considerations are put together, it 
will appear a natural thing that the epic incidents which are scat- 
tered through the historical books should gravitate to the literary 
form of the history in which they constitute a minor part. 

But though the Bible has no Verse Epic, it contains illustrations 

of the interesting literary form that may be called the Mixed 

Epic, in which a story is conveyed in prose, but 

has the power of breaking into verse at suitable 

points. 2 The grand example of this Mixed Epic is the Story of 


The Old Testament is specially interesting where it lifts the veil 
which separates the Chosen People from the rest of the world, 

and allows us to see worshippers of Jehovah out- 
The Story of 
Balaam side the ranks of the Israelites. Such was Balaam. 

Numbers xxii- g u t he seems to have been a light shining in a 

dark place : surrounded by those who could not 
understand the worship of an invisible God, yet felt the atmos- 
phere of spiritual power that Balaam carried about with him, and 
came to look upon it with awe, as a thing to be dreaded or to be 
secured on their own side. Such a conception of Balaam had 
been formed by Balak, king of Moab : " I know that he whom thou 
blessest is blessed, and he whom thou cursest is cursed." He 
bethinks him of the prophet when confronted with a new danger 
threatening his kingdom : danger from a people moving through 
the desert at once prolific and highly organised, threatening to 
swallow up the Moabites "as the ox licketh up the grass of the 

1 Of course, in the lyric narratives of Chapter V the narrative is not being told 
or conveyed, but assumed and meditated on. 

2 In early literature of story this form had a wide range. See a note on the 
1 cantifables ' in Mr. Jacobs's English Fairy Tales ; page 240. In modern poetry this 
form is admirably represented by William Morris's Roots of the Mountains and 
House of the Wolfings. 


field." So Balak sends an embassy of princes to Balaam, " with 
the rewards of divination in their hand." The central interest 
of this, as of most epics, is the personality of its hero. The char- 
acter of Balaam seems to be summed up in calling him a man of 
compromise in spiritual matters. Perfectly sincere in his worship 
of Jehovah, he nevertheless desires to keep in touch with those 
who can only translate his spiritual religion into gross and material 
conceptions. He has laid down for himself a compromise : he 
will never be unfaithful to a distinct Divine word, and in fact to 
this he never is unfaithful, but where not prohibited he will go as 
far as he can with the world about him, and make all he can out 
of them. This is the man to whom the embassy of Balak comes. 
He lodges the Moabite princes with oriental hospitality ; and in 
the darkness of the night he gives himself up to the spiritual influ- 
ences from which he is wont to seek guidance. The revelation 
comes, apparently in the form of dream; and on the morrow 
Balaam dismisses his visitors without hesitation : his God will not 
suffer him to obey the summons. 

To Balak all this seems no more than a diviner's artifice to 
increase his consequence. He accordingly sends a second em- 
bassy, more princes and more honourable, with an urgent message 
and unbounded offers. Balaam receives this second embassy with 
noble words, which his subsequent conduct showed to be no idle 
boast : " If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, 
I cannot go beyond the word of the LORD my God, to do less or 
more." But he lodges the ambassadors for the night. Whether 
or not his spirit was clouded by the prospects held out to him, 
the revelation of that night's dream appeared to wear an air of 
compromise : he would accompany the embassy, but with the 
distinct understanding that he should speak only as his God 
should direct him. 

So we have the famous journey of Balaam to Moab. Mystic 
hindrances stop his way, until he would fain turn back. But from 
the lips of the angel he receives the words of his own compromise : 
he must go, but speak only as he is bidden. At a border city the 


king of Moab meets the prophet, and chides him for his delay. 
But Balaam is strong in the line of action he has laid down for 
himself : " Lo, I am come unto thee : have I now any power at 
all to speak anything? the word that God putteth in my mouth 
that shall I speak." Nevertheless he will go as far as he can : 
by his direction the preliminary ritual is commenced, the seven 
altars erected, and the seven bullocks and rams offered in due 
form by the princes of Moab. Balaam himself ascends " a bare 
height " to be alone in communion with his God, while the king 
and princes stand by the altars ; and from the high ground where 
all this is taking place the whole length and breadth of the Israeli- 
tish encampment is visible in the desert below. Amid the influ- 
ences of the solitude and the spectacle beneath him Balaam feels 
the rush of inspiration coming upon him ; in the simple phrase 
of Scripture, God "put a word in his mouth." He returns to 
confront the king and princes; and at this point the prose of 
narrative gives place to the rhythmic verse which is to convey the 
Divine message. 

From Aram hath Balak brought me, 

The king of Moab from the mountains of the East : 

" Come, curse me Jacob, 

And come, defy Israel." 

How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? 

And how shall I defy, whom the LORD hath not defied? 

For from the top of the rocks I see him, 

And from the hills I behold him : 

Lo, it is a people that dwell alone, 

And shall not be reckoned among the nations. 

Who can count the dust of Jacob, 

Or number the fourth part of Israel? 

Let me die the death of the righteous, 

And let my last end be like Mart 

The king and princes are overwhelmed with confusion : the 
prophet summoned to curse has altogether blessed the enemy ! 
But Balaam calmly answers, " Must I not take heed to speak that 
which the LORD putteth in my mouth?" 


To Balak only one explanation seems possible : the prophet in 
his ecstatic state has been overawed by the vastness of the enemy's 
forces. The desired end must be secured by cunning. Balaam 
shall be taken to a point from which only a corner of the Israeli- 
tish camp is visible j enough, according to magic lore, to lodge 
a curse upon, but too small to affect the beholder's nerves. The 
man of compromise goes as far as he can with popular supersti- 
tion; he accompanies the king and his suite to the heights of 
Pisgah, he gives orders for the renewal of the sacrifices, and him- 
self goes apart, with some faint idea of persuading Jehovah into 
returning an oracle in conformity with his prophet's material 
interests. But no sooner is Balaam alone with his God than the 
unreality of the whole proceeding makes itself felt by him ; his 
soul is strung up to its true level as he returns to face the Moa- 
bites. A second time the poem breaks from prose into verse. 

Rise up, Balak, and hear; 

Hearken unto me, thou son of Zippor : 

God is not a man, that he should lie; 

Neither the son of man, that he should repent: 

Hath he said, and shall he not do it? 

Or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? 

Behold, I have received commandment to bless : 

And he hath blessed, and I cannot reverse it. 

He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, 

Neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: 

The LORD his God is with him, 

And the shout of a king is among them. 

God bringeth them forth out of Egypt; 

He hath as it were the strength of the wild-ox. 

Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, 

Neither is there any divination against Israel : 

At the due season shall it be said of Jacob and of Israel, 

What hath God wrought ! 

Behold, the people riseth up as a lioness, 

And as a lion doth he lift himself up: 

He shall not lie down until he eat of the prey, 

And drink the blood of the slain. 


" Neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all ! " But Balaam 
has only one answer : all that the LORD speaketh he must do. 

At all hazards another attempt must be made. Even Balak has 
begun to understand that there is some real power restraining 
Balaam ; but if the prophet will accompany him to a third point 
of view, " peradventure it will please God " that the enemy shall 
be cursed from thence. The instinct of compromise carries 
Balaam to this third ceremony, but he has no heart to play his 
ignoble part to its conclusion. He does not, as before, go aside 
to meditate his answer, but listlessly turns his face towards the 
wilderness. It happens that from where he is standing his eye 
just catches the long lines of tents stretching, row after row, with 
the regularity that distinguished the highly organised Israelites 
from the tumultuous hordes of desert nomads. The divine prin- 
ciple of order sinks deep in Balaam's soul, and inspires his song 
as he turns to face for a third time the king and princes of Moab. 

Balaam the son of Beor saith, 
And the man whose eye is opened saith : 
He saith, which heareth the words of God, 
Which seeth the vision of the Almighty, 
Falling down, and having his eyes open : 

How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, 

Thy tabernacles, O Israel ! 

As valleys are they spread forth, 

As gardens by the river side, 

As lign-aloes which the LORD hath planted, 

As cedar trees beside the waters. 

Water shall flow from his buckets, 

And his seed shall be in many waters, 

And his king shall be higher than Agag, 

And his kingdom shall be exalted. 

God bringeth him forth out of Egypt; 

He hath as it were the strength of the wild -ox: 

He shall eat up the nations his adversaries, 

And shall break their bones in pieces, 

And smite them through with his arrows. 

He couched, he lay down as a lion, 


And as a lioness; who shall rouse him up? 
Blessed be every one that blesseth thee, 
And cursed be every one that curseth thee. 

The Moabite king storms with rage and disappointment, and dis- 
misses the prophet with a sneer : " The LORD hath kept thee back 
from honour." But instead of quailing before the royal indigna- 
tion, Balaam forces Balak to endure another outpouring of pro- 
phetic inspiration, as he beholds a star arising out of Jacob, before 
which Moab shall be smitten, and the sons of tumult shall be 
broken down ; his eye traverses the horizon and sees one people 
after another involved in the coming destruction ; not the Kenites 
in their rocks, nor Amalek first of nations, shall be able to resist. 

Alas, who shall live when God dceth this? 

Then Balaam returns to his country, and the Epic of Balaam is 
concluded. But Balaam does not disappear from the history ; and 
we learn how the man of compromise was caught in the meshes 
of his own compromising spirit. 1 At some time when the spiritual 
enlightenment was not upon him he brought himself to give the 
counsel that the people, who were too strong to be conquered by 
force, might yet be undermined by lust. Lustful intercourse led 
in its turn to war; and the name of Balaam the son of Beor 
appears in the list of the slain. 

Apart from the question of prose or verse as its medium of 
expression, Epic Poetry may be classified accord- 
ing to degrees of organic completeness. 2 In secu- 
lar literature there are, from this point of view, 
three forms of epic. There is the simple, isolated story, usually 
called a ' Ballad.' Then there is the ' Cycle * or aggregation of 
separate stories attributed to the same hero : an Achilles cycle, or 
Ulysses cycle. Finally there is the weaving of a multiplicity of 
incident into one organic plot, as when the genius of an individual 
poet makes out of the Achilles cycle an Iliad y or out of the cycle 

1 Compare Numbers xxxi. 8, Revelation ii. 14. 

2 Compare throughout Table III in Appendix II. 


of Ulysses an Odyssey. It is to the last only that the term ' Epic* 

is usually applied. Biblical Epic exhibits analogies to all three 
types. The simple independent Story is exempli- 
fied by such an incident as that of Cain and Abel 

in primitive history, or in later history by the Story of Gideon or 
Jephthah. Again, great part of Genesis is occupied 
with Cycles of Stories attaching to the names of the 

great patriarchs, an Abraham cycle, a cycle of Jacob, and others. 

And the Story of Joseph and his Brethren has 
(3) Epic Histories , . . J . . . , _ . 

already been used to illustrate the complete Epic 

History, with its wide reach of incidents bound together into one 
organic whole. 

The most elaborate of these Epic Histories is the Book of 
Esther. This, in addition to every other element 
Esther k * * i nterest > has w ^at may be called a double plot : 
two distinct trains of events, centring around 
Esther herself and Mordecai respectively, are woven together into 
a complex story. The opening of the book plunges us into the 
life and manners of an oriental empire, with its hundred and twenty- 
seven provinces of varying races and speech, its government by 
irresponsible despotism, and its court etiquette, the violation of 
which is punishable with death. We have a picture of festivities 
on a scale proportionate to the empire itself pageantry lasting 
half a year, and for climax a continuous feast of seven days. The 
king's drunken impulse to send for Queen Vashti to appear before 
his lords, her refusal and solemn deposition from the throne, and 
the elaborate preparations for choosing a successor which end in 
the elevation to the crown of a Jewish maiden Esther, are detailed 
with minuteness. The general effect of this introductory part is 
to make an oriental atmosphere for the reader's mind, by which he 
is the better able to appreciate all that follows. 

The movement of the story begins with the mention of Haman. 
Despotism is never so despotic as when it takes a private subject 
and elevates him to its own rank, demanding for him, by no title 
but that of royal favour, the homage which is paid to the king by 


prescriptive right. Such elevation was accorded by Ahasuerus to 
Haman : and the whole empire obediently bowed down. A single 
individual was found to resist : the Jew Mordecai, who had made 
his kinswoman and adopted daughter a queen, but for himself was 
content to watch over her from a distance, as one of those who 
sat in the king's gate. Officials of the court sought in vain to 
move Mordecai, and at last had to make his stubborn resistance 
known to Haman. The offended favourite " thought scorn to lay 
hands on Mordecai himself": nothing less would satisfy his 
oriental spirit of vengeance than to destroy the whole people to 
which Mordecai belonged throughout the empire of Ahasuerus. 
To make the destruction more dramatic, a day is chosen by lot for 
simultaneous slaughter. To the king Haman uses two arguments : 
the diversity of the Jews in laws and customs from all other peo- 
ples, and the treasure of silver he will himself pay into the king's 
treasury if his petition be granted. But Haman is at the height 
of favour with the king, who bids him take the people and the 
silver too. The complex machinery of the empire is set in motion, 
and despatches sent in every direction. Then, we are told, " the 
king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Shushan was 

We have been following one side of the story ; but the other 
centre of interest, Queen Esther, is involved in the conspiracy 
thus set on foot ; and the mourning of Mordecai and the city soon 
makes the Queen aware of the peril hanging over her people, for 
whom there seems to be no help but through herself. There is 
something very attractive to the imagination in the situation in 
which Esther is thus placed. The strongest and most mature 
of men will feel his nature tasked to its depths by a summons to 
rest his life and all upon a single crisis. But such a summons 
comes in this case to a girl, in beauty found fairest after an empire 
has been searched, in the first flush of her youth, with life just 
opening before her as a vista of softness and luxury. Her mo- 
mentary hesitation only makes her seem more human. But when 
the extremity of the crisis is urged upon her, with the suggestion 


that she may have come to the kingdom for such a time as this, 
she nerves herself to her task. First she gives herself up to fast- 
ing and prayer ; then, with all signs of fear suppressed, she pre- 
sents herself in full splendour of beauty and royal state before the 
king, well knowing that she may incur thereby the penalty of 
death. For a moment the fate of her nation and herself trembles 
in the balance : then the sceptre is held out to her and the peril- 
ous moment is past. Here it is that the character of Esther 
begins to come out. It might well have been expected that, in 
the reaction from personal danger, Esther might have at once 
cast herself before the king, and with sobs and cries told the afflic- 
tion of her people. This is probably what Mordecai meant her 
to do. But a girl has been raised up to save her people, and she 
must do it in her own girlish way ; and accordingly, when she is 
asked her petition and request unto the half of the kingdom, the 
answer reveals no court intrigue, but a simple childlike invitation 
that the king and Haman may come to a banquet that she will 
prepare. Ahasuerus is delighted : he had deposed Vashti for 
refusing his summons to an orgie, her successor is one to risk her 
life on an invitation to a banquet. The enemy is disarmed from 
suspicion. But, more than all this, Esther knows well that she 
has to fight against the whole power of Haman and the king with 
no weapon but that of her own beauty : instinct makes her realise 
that she must give that beauty full opportunity to make itself felt. 
The banquet takes place, with the king and Haman as the sole 
guests. Though she had been crowned as the fairest in the king- 
dom, yet for thirty days before this the charms of Esther had 
been entirely forgotten by the royal voluptuary amid other dis- 
tractions of pleasure. Now the dominion of beauty can make its 
sway prevail over Ahasuerus, and at the end of the feast he again 
asks his Queen what is her petition and request. But Esther is 
strong enough to wait, and make surety yet more sure. She begs 
therefore for a second banquet on the morrow with the same two 
guests, and by that time she will have a boon to ask. Haman 
leaves the palace at the height of blind security. In the gate his 


spirits feel a rebuff at the sight of the unbending Mordecai : a first 
speck of shadow upon his horizon of fortune. He hurries home, 
and in family council details his accumulated honours and his one 
drop of bitterness. They bid him build a gallows fifty-cubits high, 
and ask Mordecai's life at once without waiting for the slower fate 
of his nation. 

Two days and the night that separates them make up the period 
of crisis for this story of Esther. The turning-point of the whole 
is found in the words : " On that night could not the king sleep. 11 
They read to the restless king the chronicles of his kingdom ; and 
the particular passage details how a conspiracy against his life was 
revealed by one Mordecai, a Jew. Ahasuerus enquires what honour 
has been done to this Mordecai in recompense ; and hearing that 
nothing has been done, the king will take up the matter at once. 
Haman is entering in the early morning to beg the life of the Jew, 
who refuses to bow down before him, when the king shouts to 
him from his bed the question, "What shall be done unto the 
man whom the king delighteth to honour?" It is impossible for 
Haman to understand this otherwise than as a salutation to him- 
self ; and in reply advises a royal progress with a chief prince to 
proclaim before the fortunate man the king's purpose to honour 
him. He is bidden to carry out his advice without omission of 
a single article upon Mordecai. So bitterly has nemesis swung 
round upon him that Haman is forced with his own lips to pro- 
claim the honours of his hated foe. And when, after the ordeal 
is over, he rushes home to his family council for comfort, here, 
where he feels most secure, he is forced to see the shadow of 
doom deepening over him ; for his wife and councillors make 
answer : 

If Mordecai, before whom thou hast begun to fall, be of the, seed 
of the Jews, thou shalt not prevail against him, but shalt surely fall 
before him. 

But before he has time to ponder these words the royal escort 
summons him to Esther's banquet. 


The second banquet intensifies the effect of the first, and 
Ahasuerus is completely under the spell of Esther's beauty when, 
for the third time, he asks her to name her petition and request 
The youthful queen has been all this time holding a crisis of his- 
tory in her delicate fingers. Now she lets the thunderbolt fall. 
Her petition is her own life, and the life of her people, sold, to 
the king's damage, by "this wicked Haman." The stricken 
favourite grovels before the king's burst of fury, and is seeking 
the injured Jewess as an intercessor, when he is hurried away to 
the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai. The crisis is past, 
and Mordecai is elevated to the dignity from which his foe had 
fallen. But there is still the decree against the Jews throughout 
the empire, enrolled among the laws of the Medes and Persians 
that cannot be altered, and the date of their doom is steadily 
advancing. Mordecai's plan is to send another decree after the 
first, to the effect that the Jews on the day appointed shall have 
full power to defend themselves. So when the day of fate arrives, 
this is the situation throughout the hundred and twenty-seven 
provinces of the empire : on one side are the enemies of the Jews 
armed with the king's irreversible decree to massacre them ; on 
the other side are the Jews armed with the king's irreversible 
decree to defend themselves ; and the satraps and princes of the 
provinces will know which side to take in the fray now that a Jew 
is minister of the empire. It becomes a day of slaughter for the 
enemies of the Jews throughout the provinces and the royal city ; 
and our last sight of Esther reveals her as a beautiful incarnation 
of vengeance, petitioning for another day of slaughter. But this 
is the passing excitement of the crisis, the passionate justice of 
one trained in the law of retaliation. When the ordinary current 
of events is resumed, a feast is instituted throughout the villages 
and towns of the Jews, in which they are to send portions one to 
another and gifts to the poor, as they commemorate their nation 
saved from destruction by the wisdom of Mordecai and the beauty 
of Esther. 


So far the literature we have treated has been Epic Poetry in 
the strictest sense. There are, however, two other types to be 
noted. The Idyl is not a distinct literary form, 
but a modification of other forms; and the Bible Codifications of 
contains an Epic Idyl as well as a Lyric Idyl. 1 
Again, the great department of Prophecy has one branch which is 
specially connected with Epic Poetry. 

If the chief distinction of the Idyl be its subject matter of love 
and domestic life, then in all literature there is no more typical 
Idyl than the Book of Ruth. Following the Book 
of Judges, which has been filled with bloodshed 
and violence and the heroism of the sterner virtues, 
it comes upon us like a benediction of peace. It contains no 
trace of war or high politics ; the disasters of its story are the 
troubles of family life exile, bereavement, poverty; while its 
grand incidents are no more than the yearly festivities of country 
life, and the formal transfers of property that must go on although 
kingdoms rise and fall. 

The thread running through the whole, and binding the parts 
together, is found in a magnetic personality such as may exist in 
the quietest life, leaving no achievements behind it, yet in its time 
swaying all who approach it. Elimelech the husband, and his two 
sons, are no more than names to us ; it is Naomi who is remem- 
bered in Bethlehem when the family have been long in exile ; and 
when she returns, the whole of the rural city is moved at the 
thought of the ' Pleasant One ' the famous beauty of former 
years come back again. Naomi herself feels the bitter irony of 
a name that speaks of attractiveness : " Call me not Naomi, call 
me Mara, for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me." 
Three waves of trouble had passed over her since she had wedded 
the husband of her youth. First came famine : Elimelech's land 
would yield no living, and husband, wife, and two youthful sons 
had to migrate into the land of Moab, where exile meant not only 
change of climate and people, but isolation in religion, with wor- 

l See above, note on page 195. 


shippers of strange gods all around. There they continued to 
live until Elimelech died, and Naomi was left alone to watch over 
her growing sons. She must, moreover, in this land of strangers 
find wives for these youths ; for to live over again in posterity was 
the only immortality to which in their daily thoughts the families 
of Israel would give much heed. Ten years of such life was 
allowed to Naomi, and then the third blow came with the loss of 
her two sons, one after another, while no children had yet been 
born to continue their line. Broken by misfortunes, and with no 
link now to bind her to her Moabitish home, Naomi sets out to 
return to the land of Judah. Her daughters-in-law, though of 
foreign race, yet have felt the spell of her attraction, and would 
fain accompany her ; but she will not involve their young lives in 
the dark fate which heaven seems to have marked out for herself : 
" It grieveth me much for your sakes, for the hand of the LORD is 
gone forth against me/' Situations like this make the dividing 
points of character ; and a contrast of character is fully depicted 
to us in the simple verse : " And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law ; 
but Ruth clave unto her." The strong and sweet Naomi has 
bound to herself another character like her own, with a bond no 
trouble can break ; and the musical speech of Ruth has descended 
to us as the formula of personal devotion for all time. 

Intreat me not to leave thee, and to return from following after 
thee : for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will 
lodge : thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God : where 
thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried : the LORD do so to 
me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me. 

So the ageing Naomi and her Moabite daughter-in-law return to 
Bethlehem, and, after creating a momentary flutter of excitement, 
settle down to a life of obscure poverty, with the added bitterness 
to Naomi of seeing the family estate in the hands of others. 

Now the interest of the idyl changes to the picturing of popular 
manners and customs. We have before us all the bustle and 
excitement of wheat and barley harvest in an agricultural commu- 


nity : the progress of the reapers, and the maidens gleaning be- 
hind them, the common meal in the heat of the day, the master 
coming down to look on and exchanging greetings with his people. 
We see the stranger shyly joining the gleaners, the story of her 
faithfulness known to all from the humblest reaper to Boaz him- 
self. With a strange charm there come to us across the gulf of 
centuries the delicate attentions shown to Ruth by all, the little 
contrivances by which she is made to glean plentifully without 
knowing who has befriended her, the place of honour accorded 
her at the meal. No detail of social life is too petty for the idyl, 
not even the way in which Ruth eats her portion of food till she is 
sufficed, and what she leaves she brings to her lonely mother-in- 
law at home. The gloomy day of Naomi's life is to have light at 
eventide, and the first gleam of that light is the name of the 
master who has been so hospitable : Boaz is recognised as one 
near of kin, and Naomi rallies herself to the task of seeking a 
resting-place for the loving Ruth. 

More manners and customs follow, and those of the quaintest. 
Ruth follows exactly the instructions of Naomi in going through 
the strange ritual by which she must claim the wealthy and pow- 
erful landowner as next of kin. The story is not too short to pre- 
vent our catching the tenderness with which Boaz shields the 
stranger from the breath of gossip, nor the refined courtesy by 
which he treats the great service asked of him as a favour done 
to himself : " Blessed be thou of the LORD, my daughter : thou 
hast showed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, 
inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or 
rich. The scene changes to give us the minutiae of legal pro- 
cedure in the gate of the city ; and here again contrast of charac- 
ter appears, between the nameless kinsman who is ready to do 
everything that is just, and Boaz, who will go further and be gen- 
erous. So, with all formalities, the land of Elimelech is redeemed, 
and Boaz takes Ruth to wife, in order that, according to the inter- 
esting Hebrew law, the child born to them may be considered to 
have revived the line of his grandfather. The long delayed hap- 


piness of Naomi becomes full as the women of the city move in 
procession to lay the new-born babe in her bosom, and sing to her 
how his name shall be famous in Israel : " and he shall be unto 
thee a restorer of life, and a nourisher of thine old age : for thy 
daughter-in-law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than 
seven sons, hath borne him." And the simple Idyl in its last 
words joins itself on to the main stream of history by telling that 
this new-born Obed was the father of Jesse, and Jesse was the 
father of King David himself. 

It remains to point out that Biblical Prophecy, including as it 
does all literary forms, has one branch which is in character epic. 

. ^ ,_ The Greater and Minor Prophets, whose books of 

Epic Prophecy * ' . 

prophecy occupy so large a proportion of the Old 

Testament, all date from a period not earlier than the reign of 
Jeroboam the Second. Yet before that period, from the time 
of Samuel if not earlier, prophets played a great part in the his- 
tory of Israel and Judah. No name in the roll of prophets will 
seem higher than that of Elijah : yet the Bible contains no * Book 
of the Prophet Elijah.' These earlier prophets did not write their 
prophecy ; they lived it. It was conveyed in action, and its only 
representation in literature is the narrative of that action. A fit 
name then for such literature is ' Epic Prophecy.' 
(0 Prophetic This Epic Prophecy exhibits all the three types 

stories O f Epic. Of the isolated Prophetic Story there 

can be no better illustration than the Story of Balaam, already 
(a) Prophetic treated in full. Prophetic Cycles are connected 
Cycles with the names of Elisha and of Daniel. The for- 

mer is particularly well marked, occupying seven successive chap- 
Cycie of Elisha ters w ^h fourteen stories, disconnected from one 
ii Kings ii-viii another, but all having Elisha for hero. The ele- 
ment of miracle is common to them all. Some seem to have no 
point beyond this interest of miracle : such are the Story of the 
Mocking Children, of the Feeding of a hundred men, of the Axe- 
head that swam. Others are deeply interesting pictures of life, 


like the Story of Naaman and Gehazi, or the Siege of Samaria. 
One of these is so impressive in the suggestiveness of its miracu- 
lous details, and the lofty plane of morality to which its conclu- 
sion rises, that I cannot forbear from citing it in full as the very 
ideal of Prophetic Story. 

The Expedition to arrest Elisha 

Now the king of Syria warred against Israel; and he took counsel 
with his servants, saying, In such and such a place shall be my camp. 
And the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying, Beware that 
thou pass not such a place; for thither the Syrians are coming down. 
And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God had 
told him and warned him of; and he saved himself there, not once nor 
twice. And the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this 
thing; and he called his servants, and said unto them, Will ye not 
show me which of us is for the king of Israel? And one of his ser- 
vants said, Nay, my lord, O king : but Elisha, the prophet that is in 
Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy 
bedchamber. And he said, Go and see where he is, that I may send 
and fetch him. And it was told him, saying, Behold, he is in Dothan. 
Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host : and 
they came by night, and compassed the city about. And when the ser- 
vant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an 
host with horses and chariots was round about the city. And his 
servant said unto him, Alas! my master, how shall we do? And he 
answered, Fear not : for they that be with us are more than they that 
be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open 
his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the 
young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses 
and chariots of fire round about Elisha. And when they came down 
to him, Eiisha prayed unto the LORD, and said, Smite this people, 
I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness 
according to the word of Elisha. And Elisha said unto them, This is 
not the way, neither is this the city : follow me, and I will bring you to 
the man whom ye seek. And he led them to Samaria. And it came 
to pass, when they were come into Samaria, that Elisha said, LORD, 
open the eyes of these men, that they may see. And the LORD opened 
their eyes, and they saw; and, behold, they were in the midst of 
Samaria. And the king of Israel said unto Elisha, when he saw them, 


My father, shall I smite them? shall I smite them? And he answered, 
Thou shalt not smite them : wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast 
taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? set bread and water 
before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master. And 
he prepared great provision for them : and when they had eaten and 
drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the 
bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel. 

There is a third type of Epic Prophecy analogous to the Epic 
Histories which combine a multiplicity of incidents 
into an or g anic whole. The Bible contains two 
such Prophetic Epics, connected with the two 
names of Elijah the Tishbite and Jonah. 

The Book of Jonah is contained amongst the books of the 
Minor Prophets, yet every reader feels how different it is from all 
the rest. Nahum and Jonah alike received a com- 
mission to denounce Nineveh: Nahum gives us 
the usual prophetic discourse; the other book 
contains no discourse, but describes the actions of Jonah precisely 
as certain chapters in the Book of Kings describe the actions 
of Elijah. There is another peculiarity of Jonah. With other 
prophets to hear is to obey. But the Book of Jonah narrates 
the rebellion of the prophet against the Divine mandate even 
more fully than it describes his obedience. If such a narrative is 
correctly described as Epic Prophecy it will follow that the resist- 
ance of Jonah, no less than his obedience, will contain the revela- 
tion which it is the province of Prophecy to impart. This seems 
to be the key to the interpretation of the book. 

The prophecy opens with the command to go to Nineveh and 
denounce it. " But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the 
presence of the LORD." In picturesque detail we have the em- 
barking at Joppa, the " great wind hurled into the sea," the terror 
of the mariners, each calling on his god. Jonah, waked from 
sleep, recognises the power of Jehovah pursuing him, and humbly 
bows to his fate. However reluctantly, the mariners are at last 
driven to cast him overboard. While for them the storm ceases, 


Jonah is miraculously swallowed up the detail of the miracle is 
of no significance and in no less miraculous manner restored. 
The first part of the book ends with his song of thanksgiving. 

This series of incidents contains a revelation that may seem 
elementary to us, but was unquestionably needed by the times of 
the prophet. I have before had occasion to speak of the primi- 
tive conception of Deity by which a god was regarded as a terri- 
torial being, whose power was limited by the region in which he 
was worshipped. That this conception extended to the age of 
Jonah is clear from a verse in the Book of Kings, 
which tells how the servants of the king of Syria * Km * s **" * 3 
said of the Israelites, " Their god is a god of the hills ; therefore 
they were stronger than we : but let us fight against them in the 
plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they." In this prophecy 
the same notion appears in the way the mariners no doubt vary- 
ing in race and country call each upon his god ; it appears still 
more strikingly in the accession of terror brought to them amid 
the tossing of the waves by Jonah's saying that his God was the 
creator of land and sea. Nay, the same idea is seen to have 
affected the prophet himself. No doubt Jonah was blessed with 
a higher revelation of God. But the history of all religions makes 
it plain that the acceptance of a higher conception does not so 
far obliterate older conceptions but that they can influence con- 
duct at times. And it is clear that the old notion of God as the 
God of a particular land was moving Jonah's purposes when he 
set out for the far west "from the presence of Jehovah. " Waking 
to the tempest, he recognised Jehovah's power as extending through 
heaven, and the sea, and the dry land ; and the double miracle 
wrought upon himself of judgment and deliverance brought this 
revelation to its climax. 

The narrative continues. A second commission is immediately 
obeyed, and Jonah journeys through the vast city, crying, "Yet 
forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown." Like an account 
of some infection spreading through a great centre of population 
reads the description of the city of Nineveh repenting in sackcloth 



and with " mighty cries." The repentance is genuine, is accepted 
by God, and the destruction does not come. Jonah is "dis- 
pleased exceedingly.' 1 It is to be noted that this displeasure of 
Jonah is no mere ebullition of temper. With the impulsive sin- 
cerity of his character he lays his complaint before God ; and it 
seems to be with some hope of having moved Jehovah from his 
purpose of mercy that Jonah makes his booth, and sits watching 
"till he might see what would become of the city." Burned by 
the sun without and prophetic anger within, Jonah is suddenly 
aware of a ' gourd-plant ' which with swift growth has shot up to 
screen him, and he comes to love it for its beauty and grateful 
shadow. In a single night a worm gnaws the gourd, and by morn- 
ing it is withered and fallen. Soon sultry wind and direct blaze 
of sun drive Jonah to physical exhaustion; more than that, "he 
does well to be angry " : the lovely gourd smitten by the foul 
worm seems to him a blot on God's providence. Then comes 
the Divine message. 

Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, 
neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a 
night : and should not I have pity on Nineveh, that great city; wherein 
are more than six score thousand persons that cannot discern between 
their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle? 

What is the prophetic revelation underlying this latter part of 

the book? Not, as some would have it, the lovingkindness of 

Jehovah and his forgiveness of the repentant: for this Jonah 

expressly declares he has known from the first. But this 

IV. 2 

glorious mercy of Jehovah the prophet had conceived as 
the heritage of the Hebrew people ; he watches with indignation 
its extension to the heathen. As in the earlier part of the proph- 
ecy he was led to see that Divine power was not confined to the 
land of Israel, but that the dominion of Jehovah extended over 
the universe, so now he is to be taught that the supremacy of 
mercy over judgment is an attribute of God in which all races 
may feel that they have an interest. There is more than this. 


Even Jonah would not have challenged the authority of God to 
forgive Nineveh ; only he claimed for himself the right to disso- 
ciate himself from such mercy : he did well to be angry. To 
entwine his affections about the simplest work of creation a 
plant, and then to wound those affections by roughly destroying it : 
this was the object lesson by means of which the prophet was to 
be admitted into the commencement of communion with the world- 
wide sympathy of Deity. To raise men's thoughts from the nar- 
row conception of a local god to the vision of an Omnipotence 
exercising dominion over the universe ; then to extend to the 
whole human race the supremacy of mercy over judgment, alike 
in the attributes of God and the sympathy of man : these are 
the points of prophetic revelation conveyed in the Epic of Jonah. 




IN the wider treatment of literature, which includes questions 
of authorship and discussion of subject matter, the historical books 

of the Bible present many and great difficulties. 
Various Types of . .. . . . ., . , . 

History repre- A small space only need be allotted to them in the 

sented in the present work, the field of which is limited to the 
characteristics of Scriptural literature as it stands, 
apart from any further enquiry as to how it has grown into what 
we find it. If we except the Book of Deuteronomy, which is best 
classified otherwise, narrative extends without break from Genesis 
to Esther in the Old Testament, and in the New Testament from 
St. Matthew to Acts, The sole question for the present chapter 
is, How many of the various forms that History may assume are 
represented in this succession of historical works ? 

The name Genesis is suggestive of the character of the book to 
which it is a title : it is Primitive History. It covers the ages 
Primitive His- preceding the appearance of the Chosen People as 
tory a nation. Eleven of its chapters deal with the 

Book of Genesis first beginnings of the wor ld ; the rest is occupied 

with the succession of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, 
Joseph. At the close of Genesis the seed of Abraham is still 
treated as a large family ; when the history is resumed in the fol- 
lowing book the Egyptians pronounce the Children 
of Israel a people more and mightier than them- 
selves. The character of this Primitive History may be described 



as an historic framework enclosing epic incidents. The epic ele- 
ment has been dealt with in the last chapter : Genesis contains 
single epic stories, such as the flood, cycles of stories attaching to 
the successive patriarchs, and a single complete epic history in 
the Story of Joseph and his Brethren. The framework of history 
is made up of genealogies, annals, and connective matter of vari- 
ous kinds. As part of this connective matter we have certain 
incidents which are clearly introduced for some historic purpose. 
Thus incidents connecting Abimelech and Abraham, and again 
Abimelech and Isaac, are related with a view to 
explain the naming of Beersheba and other ancient ' 4> 
wells. Similarly the story of Canaan's father, and the story of 
Lot's daughters are designed to account for the 
mutual relations of great world families. Such * x * 20 ~ 9 ' xix ' 3 ~ 
Historic Incidents are easily distinguishable from 
the Epic Incidents of which the interest lies in the story itself. 

Following this Primitive History of Genesis, three books de- 
scribe the Migration of the Nation up to the arrival at the Land 
of Promise. These three books may be classified 
together as Constitutional History. They are in 
the nature of things different in kind from what Books of Exodus, 
that term generally suggests. Other peoples have e ticus ' Wum ' 
gradually elaborated their constitution out of origi- 
nal popular customs and modifications by specific enactment. But 
the Chosen Nation of Israel is governed directly by God, and its 
only Constitutional History is the successive revelations of the 
Law. Such history will of course include certain incidents, lead- 
ing up to these revelations or intimately associated with them ; 
as where the visit of Jethro leads to the institution of subordinate 
judges, or factions and rebellions issue in fresh confirmation of the 
authority wielded by Moses or the priesthood as Jehovah's repre- 
sentatives. Besides these incidents, the opening of this section 
of history assumes creative form in the great Epic of the Ten 
Plagues; and near its conclusion is found the Epic Story of 
Balaam, The natural divisions of this Constitutional History are 


three : eighteen chapters of Exodus describe the slavery in Egypt, 
the deliverance, and the journey to Sinai ; the rest of Exodus and 
the whole of Leviticus are occupied with the general constitution 
of the nation at Sinai ; and the Book of Numbers traces the march 
from Sinai and the thirty-eight years wandering in the wilderness. 

We pass to another period, which is represented in the litera- 
ture by yet another type of history. The Chosen Nation in 
its various efforts towards secular government is 

Incidental His- . , . . _ , , _ _ , 7 

tory pictured in the Books of Joshua and Judges and 

Joshua, judges, the First Book of Samuel} The Book of Joshua 
amue narrates the conquest of Canaan and division of 

the conquered country. The book that follows indicates an age 
of sporadic attempts at government by ' Judges/ who from time 
to time rise up and succeed in commanding a more or less wide 
obedience ; in the intervals between such Judges there is nothing 
but local government, or, in the language of Scripture, every man 
does that which is right in his own eyes. In this book, however, 
is to be found the first idea of that monarchical rule which was 
eventually to assimilate Israel to other nations. After the great 
deliverance wrought by Gideon he is invited to 

viii 22 

become king, but refuses : " I will not rule over 
you, neither shall my son rule over you : the LORD shall rule over 
you." After Gideon's death another and less worthy son allowed 

. himself to be crowned king by the men of Shechem ; 

vm. 33-ix feu( j an( j civil war f ji owe( j unti i tll j s kin g and his 

party had exterminated one another. The demand for a secular 
king does not reappear until the movement which ended in the 
appointment by Divine permission of Saul. But before this took 
place another power had emerged for the control of the Israelite 
people : in Samuel the ' Judge ' gradually grew into the < Prophet/ 
and all through the subsequent age of secular kings there were 
never wanting prophets to represent the old theocracy of the 
Chosen People. All these considerations confirm the description 
of this epoch as a period of transition and tentative rule. 

1 The exact division should come at the end of the first chapter of // Samuel. 


The history in the three books is properly described as Inci- 
dental History. Nearly the whole of it consists in Epic Incidents : 
whether the separate Stories of the Judges, or Cycles of Stories 
relating to Joshua, to Samson, to Samuel and Saul. In the latter 
part the Feud of Saul and David appears as one of the most 
extended of Epics. The historic framework binding these epic 
portions together is often of the slightest description, no more 
than a linking of one incident to another. The 
most considerable parts of such connective matter Wii * 6 
are the summary with which the Book of Judges opens, and the 
geographical chapters in Joshua which make a sort 
of Canaanite Doomsday Book. u-zxii 

The accession of King David marks the settlement of the 
monarchy ; the period extending from this point to the Captivity 
is narrated in the second book of Samuel and the , . . 

11 r rr* T-I- * Regular History 

two books of Kings. First we have the reigns of n Samuel, i and 

David and Solomon over a united people; then IIKin s 
comes the schism of the nation and the continuance of the king- 
doms of Judah and Israel side by side j finally, after the fall of 
the northern kingdom, the history of Judah by itself is carried on 
to its close. The narrative in these three books may be described 
as Regular History. It is a systematic account of successive 
reigns. There is formal arrangement of the matter : in the earlier 
part public policy is to a large extent separated from court life, 1 
while later on the respective kings of Judah and Israel are kept as 
nearly parallel as the nature of the case permits. Lists of officials 
from time to time add an element of documentary history ; and 
there is constant reference to authorities, the Chronicles of the 
Kings of Israel and Judah, and others. Incidents are narrated 
historically, that is, in proportion to the bearing of each on the 
general course of events. There is, however, in the early part one 
considerable Epic, the Feud between David's Sons and the Revolt 
of Absalom ; and to this may be added the Book of Esther, which, 
however, falls outside the period, and is a story of the Captivity. 
* Chapters ix-xx of // Samuel centre around court life. 


The place occupied in the other sections of history by Epic Inci- 
dents is in this last section mainly represented by Epic Prophecy : 
in the stories of individual prophets like Nathan and Abijah, and 
the more extended narratives connected with Elijah and Elisha, the 
theocratic side of Israel's government finds representation. 

There remain in the Old Testament the books of Chronicles, 
Ezra, and Nehemiah. These make a series that covers the period 
Ecclesiastical treated i n the last section, and carries it forward as 
History far as the return of the Exiles to Jerusalem. But 

Chronicles, Ezra, ^g history in this series is entirely changed in 
Nehemiah . . .. . . , , , . . 

character : it is distinguished by the prominence 

of documents, genealogies, statistics ; the narrative appears to 
consist in excerpts from the other books of the Bible and from 
authorities distinct from these. What is more important, the 
whole is dominated by a definite purpose : the matter is abridged, 
amplified, arranged, with reference to its bearing on the Jewish 
Church, as that Church was restored after the exile. It is thus 
Ecclesiastical History. 

The distinctness of this Ecclesiastical History from the Regular 
History which appeals generally to our sense of record is best 
illustrated by taking a particular incident for comparison. I have 
before had occasion to refer to the inauguration of Jerusalem by 
King David ; it will be instructive to note how this is treated in 
Chronicles and in Samuel. 


xiii. 1-4 David's proposal to the 
Assembly in the matter of the Ark : 
with the special mention of priests 
and Levites. 

vi. 1-12 (a) The Assembly, and first 5-14 The same matter as in the cor- 
attempt to bring up the Ark, ending responding section of Samuel : con- 
in the death of Uzzah, the leaving of siderable verbal agreement, with some 
the Ark in the house of Obed-Edom, difference of names, etc. 
and the blessing on the house of 



vi. 12 (3)-i9 (a) The procession of 
the Ark David's part in it 
MichaPs displeasure the inaugu- 
ration carried to the point of a dole 
to the assembly. 

vi. 19 (3) -20 (a) Return home of 
the people and of David. 

xv. 1-24 David's recognition that 
none but the Levites should bear the 
Ark long lists of appointments 
both for the bearing and the musical 

xv. 25-xvi. 3 Substantial agreement 
\\ith the corresponding section of 
Samuel but fuller musical details. 

xvi. 4-42 Appointment, apparently 
dating from this festival, of a regular 
ministry before the Ark: names of 
officials and citation of (leading) 
songs used. 

xvi. 43 Exactly as in Samuel. 

vi. 20 ()- 

Sequel of MichaPs 

Thus, the substance of the narrative is common to both accounts, 
with variation in unimportant details, and an amount of verbal 
agreement sufficient to show that the author of the later work had 
the earlier before him, or else that both used a common authority. 
But the account in Chronicles has additions which bring out the 
ecclesiastical purpose of its history : there is the explanation of 
Uzzah's death as owing to the neglect of the Levitical privileges, 
the appointments made in consequence of this, and the full detail 
of musical arrangements. Again, when the common narrative has 
been brought down to all but its last detail, it is, in Chronicles, 
interrupted by a lengthy account of a general ministry dating from 
this day of inauguration; then the final detail of the common 
narrative is added. On the other hand, the only section of the 
story of Samuel which has no counterpart in Chronicles is the 
domestic incident of MichaPs remonstrance with the king, in 
which Ecclesiastical History would have no concern. 


The Ecclesiastical History of the Jewish Church in the Old 
Testament has in the New Testament a counter- 
part in the historical works connected with the 
foundation of Christianity. In a literary classification what is the 
position to be assigned to the Four Gospels ? Though they are a 
part of Ecclesiastical History, yet they are not histories. How far 
they are from being biographies is seen by the difficulty which 
modern writers, with the Gospels before them, find in construct- 
ing a satisfactory biography of Jesus Christ. It might seem more 
plausible to associate them with the department of Prophecy, 
since we have seen that prophetic literature is concerned both 
with the discourses of the prophets and with their actions. But 
the difference between the Gospels and Prophecy is greater than 
the resemblance. The personal position of Jesus in the history 
of the Gospels is not that of a prophet. Though the function of 
prophets is to convey a Divine message, yet prophetic literature 
is made not so much by the message as by the discourse which 
enforces it : Jesus Christ, on the contrary, speaks throughout the 
Gospels with the authority that commands and enacts, not with 
the appeal inviting to a doctrine other than his own. The conclu- 
sion we are led to is that the Gospels must be classified by them- 
selves, as a specific literary form. The description of this form is 
that they are Authoritative Statements of the Acts and Words 
of Christ. As in the machinery of public life we have protocols 
reciting with authority facts or documents upon which political 
action is to be founded, so the authors of the Gospels drew up, 
and the early Church accepted, what were, not in themselves books 
of law, but the best authorities for the Acts and Words of their 
Founder, to which the Church looked for its supreme law. And 
this technical description is borne out by the language of the 
Preface to St. Luke. 

Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to draw up a narrative con- 
cerning those matters which have been fulfilled among us, even as they 
delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses 
and ministers of the word, it seemed good to me also, having traced 


the course of all things accurately from the first, to write unto thee in 
order, most excellent Theophilus; that thou mightest know the cer- 
tainty concerning the things wherein thou wast instructed. 

If this be a correct description from the literary standpoint of 
the Four Gospels, then it will be seen that the remaining book of 
Acts must be referred to the same classification. 
It is indeed announced as a continuation of St. 
Luke's Gospel ; and in character it is an Author- 
itative Statement of the Proceedings of the Apostles, in the early 
stages of founding the Church, and opening it to the whole Gen- 
tile world. This characterisation of the book will appear in its 
title, if the wording of the title be translated out of technical into 
familiar language. The ' Apostles ' are so called because they 
have received a certain e commission ' from their Master; the 
' Acts of the Apostles ' are the ' Proceedings of the Commission- 
ers.' This description again exactly tallies with the plan and 
arrangement of the book. If Acts be regarded as ordinary his- 
tory, it will seem strange that the personages and places which 
dominate the earlier part are in the latter part almost forgotten ; 
moreover, the history seems to end abruptly just where it might be 
expected to become specially full. But the terms of the ' com- 
mission ' are that the Apostles are to make disciples of all nations, 
beginning at Jerusalem. The book that is to narrate the execution 
of this commission deals in full detail with the start made at Jeru- 
salem. The rest of it has for its purpose to bring out the succes- 
sive enlargements of the area in which the Church is at work. 
The first grand enlargement is the admission of Gentiles ; and 
this is voluminously treated in the account of St. Peter's Vision, of 
the Council settling difficulties between the Jews and the Gentile 
converts, above all, in the rise of the Apostle who is to devote 
himself specially to this work. It is natural that from this point 
the history should mainly concern itself with St. 
Paul. Another miraculous Vision marks a further XV " 9 
enlargement, where the Gospel is carried from Asia to Europe. 
And a series of providential circumstances, not less wonderful 


than a vision, are narrated at length from their importance in 
bringing the Apostle of the Gentiles to Rome. 
xxi. 17 xxvm when the work of making disciples has thus been 
carried from Jerusalem to the city which is the metropolis of all 
nations, the terms of the commission have been fully executed : 
what remains may be left to the history which is not authoritative. 
These are the various types of history represented in Scripture. 
In conclusion I would say that those who desire to appreci- 
ate these narrative books as literature, apart from the historical 
problems they raise, will do well to see that they read, not in 
' chapters/ but in portions that are fixed by literary considera- 
tions ; taking in a book at a sitting, or if not, something which 
makes a natural division of a book. It is the purpose of the 
tables in the Appendix to this work to assist such reading ; and I 
suggest that a student should, by a little use of the pencil in the 
margin of his Revised Version, do that for Biblical History which in 
any other history would be done for him by the printer. 









THIS fourth book is reserved for the Philosophy of the Bible ; 
that is to say, for the wide range of Scriptural literature which is 
the counterpart of our modern Philosophy and 
Science. These two names, however, are scarcely 
to be found in the sacred writings ; the literature 
we are to consider is, in the Bible itself, uniformly designated 
'Wisdom.' The word is suggestive of one, if not both, the main 
distinctions which separate Biblical Philosophy from modern 
thought. If it be not pressing the word too far, there is a pictur- 
esqueness in the name ' Wisdom ' that harmonises with the pictur- 
esqueness of form never absent from Scriptural literature of thought. 
Modern works of science confine themselves strictly to severe 
prose style. But the literature of Wisdom borrows often the form 
of lyric, and sometimes even of dramatic poetry, and where it is 
furthest removed from these, it still leaves the impression of attach- 
ing as much consequence to the artistic form as to the thought. 
More important than this is the suggestion in the name * Wisdom ' 
that its literature will have a practical bearing on human conduct. 
A great part of such writings is made up of specific observations or 
precepts in matters of social and family life, of business manage- 
ment, public policy, and general self-government. And where such 
works as Ecclesiastes or the Wisdom of Solomon 1 are occupied in 

1 1 assume throughout this part of my subject the Apocryphal books of Wisdom 
of Solomon and Ecclesiasticus. The distinction implied in the word ' Apocryphal f is 
one of theology : according to the Anglican formula, " the Church doth read [them] 



interpreting history, or reading the riddle of life, they make it 
clear that the argument is followed with a constant reference to 
the bearing of the whole on conduct. It is only when comparison 
is made with the kindred department of Prophecy that we see the 
right of Wisdom literature to be classified under the head of Phi- 
losophy, the organ of reflection. Prophecy also is concerned with 
conduct ; but it starts always with a Divine message, on which all 
that it contains is based. Of course Wisdom is in harmony with 
the revelation contained in Law and Prophecy, but it never appeals 
to it. The sayings of the Wise come to us only as the result of 
their own reflections, in combination with the general tradition of 

The present chapter is occupied with the various literary forms 

in which this Wisdom literature of the Bible and 
L a m Literature 18 " A Pcrypha is conveyed to us. The two chapters 

that follow will treat the separate Books of Wis- 
dom as they stand. # 

The starting-point for this whole class of literature is the ProVerb. 
There were two sources of Hebrew proverbs : Folk-lore, and the 

sayings of the Wise Men. The popular proverbs 

The Proverb f J % , , 

that float from mouth to mouth appear only by acci- 
dent in the Bible. " Out of the wicked cometh forth wickedness " 
is an ancient saying hurled by David at Saul, in the wilderness of 

^_ Engedi, when Saul's groundless suspicions of him 

Popular Proverbs , f. , 

had just been exposed. " Is Saul also among the 

prophets ?" is a proverb that has descended from those days to 
our own. 

One form of popular proverb was the Riddle; and, just as 
great part of the intercourse between the Wise between Solo- 
mon and Hiram, or Solomon and the Queen of 
Sheba consisted in hard questions to be inter- 
preted, so popular festivities made opportunities for the guessing 

for example of life and instruction of manners ; but yet doth it not apply them to 
establish any doctrine." As doctrinal questions are excluded from this work, the 
distinction does not here apply. The two books are of the highest literary interest. 


of riddles. One cycle or ' game of riddles ' has been preserved 
complete in the Book of Judges. It connects itself naturally with 
Samson, whose magnificent frame and redundant 
high spirits make him the nearest approach in the U ges * v 
Bible to a humorous personage. Samson, it will be recollected, 
loved a woman of the Philistines, and after asking her hand through 
his father went down to Timnah to the wedding feast. The feast 
lasted a week, during which the hero had to endure the company 
of thirty guests from the Philistine people he hated and despised. 
Denied the vent of physical violence, his irritation took the form 
of anfrager : the amount, thirty linen garments and thirty changes 
of raiment ; the subject of contention, that the Philistines would 
not guess his riddle. The wager was accepted and the riddle put 

Out of the cater came forth meat, 

And out of the strong came forth sweetness. 

According to modern notions of riddles, Samson was not playing 
fairly, for his question involved information exclusively his own. 
On his walks to and fro between his home and the home of the 
bride he had one day met a young lion ; the lion roared at him, 
and Samson, by a sudden impulse, was led to seize the brute with 
his bare hands and tear it in pieces ; the next time he passed he 
found a cluster of bees settled in the torn carcase of the lion, and 
actually tasted their honey : this strange conjunction was the 
foundation of his riddle. But the Philistine guests, in their turn, 
could violate fair play; they brought pressure upon the bride, 
and she coaxed the secret out of her lover. At the end of the 
seven days the Philistines came to answer the riddle ; and their 
answer, like the original question, makes a single couplet : 

What is sweeter than honey? 
And what is stronger than a lion? 

Samson turns upon them with a repartee couched in the same 

form : 

If ye had not ploughed with my heifer, 

Ye had not found out my riddle. 


Samson, with his usual grim humour, slew thirty Philistines, and sent 
their raiment in payment of the wager ; then went home in dudgeon, 
and left the bride, who was soon appropriated by another husband. 

But it is with the second type of proverbs that we are mainly 

mv . . v concerned. The single couplet, which we have just 
The Unit Proverb ,.., .,, 

noted in connection with popular riddles, is the 

root of the forms taken by the sayings of the Wise Men. 1 Such 
a proverb may be defined as a unit of thought in a unit of form. 
These Unit Proverbs exhibit two varieties. In one type the 
thought is conveyed in a single line, and the other line of the 
couplet is supplementary. The single line contains all that philo- 
sophic reflection requires; but the sense of form, even in the 
simplest Wisdom literature, is so strong that the thought must be 
filled out to the dimensions of the received pattern before it can 
obtain currency as a proverb. 

He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty, 
And he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city. 


The heart knoweth its own bitterness; 

And a stranger doth not intermeddle with its joy. 

The supplement in these two examples is a parallel to the main 
thought, or its converse. Where the essence of the proverb is 
deep or obscure, the supplementary line comes to interpret it. 

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; 
And he that is wise winneth souls. 

How can fruit be a tree ? The supplement interprets of the wise 
life which is the fruit of righteous endeavour, and which has an 
attractive force on all around, bringing forth in them lives of like 
righteousness. The supplement may precede the thought : 

1 The triplet is not entirely absent even from such elementary anthologies as 
that constituting the second book of our Biblical Proverbs (e.g. xix. 7, 23 ; com- 
pare xxiv. 27). There is an interesting form of unit proverb that can be read 
either as a couplet or triplet ; examples are Proverbs x. 26 ; and especially xxv. 3, 
12, 20; xxvi. 1,3, etc. 


The LORD hath made everything for its own end : 
Yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. 

The point of this proverb is clearly that the wicked exist for the 
purpose of being destroyed : the statement is made the fuller by 
the reminder that everything has its purpose. Two proverbs may 
be made out of the same thought with different supplements. 

Though hand join in hand, the evil man shall not be unpunished : 
But the seed of the righteous shall be delivered. 


Everyone that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD. 
Though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished. 

In the other variety of Unit Proverb there is no room for 
supplementary matter : the thought, which is the essence of the 
saying, requires the whole of the proverb for its expression, and 
is distributed through the two lines of the couplet. 

It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer : 
But when he is gone his way, then he boasteth. 

* * 


He kisseth the lips 

That giveth a right answer. 

To this variety belong the large class of proverbs which are 
founded on a comparison. 

As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, 
So is the sluggard to them that send him. 

* * 


A rebuke entereth deeper into one that hath understanding 
Than an hundred stripes into a fool. 

* * 

Seven days are the days of mourning for the dead; 

But for a fool and an ungodly man, all the days of his life. 


The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold, 
And a man is tried by his praise. 



It appears, then, that the parallel couplet, which we have seen 
as the most elementary type of Hebrew verse, is also the fixed form 

for the Unit Proverb of Philosophy, a department 
The Unit Proverb . _ . %-; 7 TT . 

as the germ of that naturally belongs to prose. The Unit Proverb 

Wisdom Litera- thus makes a meeting-point for prose and verse. 
The Wisdom literature, developing from this as germ, 
takes two directions, and for every poetic form which it throws off 
a corresponding form of prose is to be found. This will be best 
conveyed by a table. 

Unit Proverb 

tending Verse-wards I tending Prose-wards 

Epigram Maxim 

germ with Verse 


theme with high paral- 

germ with Prose 


theme with miscellaneous 
thoughts gathered round it 

Fixed Sonnet Free Sonnet 

fixed to one free to assume 

particular high parallelism 
number form of any kind 

Proverb Cluster 

the details 

fixed to gnomic 


Essay Proper 

gnomic details 

worked up 

Dramatic Monologue 

by attraction to Drama 

Rhetoric Encomium 

by attraction to Rhetoric 

On the side of verse, we have first the Epigram. It will be 
remeriioered that the epigrams of antiquity did not necessarily 

exhibit the pointedness of expression and flash of 
The Epigram . . , , ,. . 

wit which modern literature associates with the 

name. A Greek epigram needed nothing more than the concise 
expression of a complete thought within the limits of a few coup- 
lets. The Hebrew epigrams may be said to be more pointed 
than the Greek, since each has buried in it one of these ' gnomes ' 


or unit proverbs. The distinction of the Epigram is that two of 
its lines (not necessarily consecutive) will be found to constitute 
a gnomic germ, of which the rest is the expansion. In the exam- 
ples to be quoted these lines will be distinguished by italics. 1 

A Chaplet of Instruction 
My son, hear the instruction of thy father > 

And forsake not the law of thy mother : 
For they shall be a chaplet of grace unto thy head, 
And chains about thy neck. 

* * 

The Fall of the Righteous and the Wicked 

Lay not wait, O wicked man, against the habitation of the righteous ; 

Spoil not his resting place : 
For a righteous man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: 

But the wicked are overthrown by calamity. 

* * 

The Fool's Friends 
The fool will say, " / have no friend, 

And I have no thanks for my good deeds ; 
And they that eat my bread are of evil tongue" 

How oft, and of how many, shall he be laughed to scorn ! 

In each case the lines italicised would stand alone as a unit prov- 
erb. In the first example a second proverb is added to support 
the first. In the other two cases, each line of the germ saying is 
followed by another line enforcing or interpreting it. It will be 
seen that the germ proverb need not be at the commencement ; 
in the example that follows it comes at the end. 


Hear thou, my son, and be wise, 

And guard thy heart in the way. 

Be not among winebibbers; 

Among gluttonous eaters of flesh : 

For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty. 
And drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags. 

l References to the examples in this chapter are omitted, as the Epigrams, Essays, 
etc,, are cited by their titles in the table of Appendix II. 


To make longer epigrams, we find the first line of a unit prov- 
erb buttressed by a parallel line, while to the second a full 
explanation is appended. 

Hospitality of the Evil Eye 

Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, 
Neither desire thou his dainties: 

For as one that reckoneth within himself, so is he 

Eat and drink, saith he to thee, 

But his heart is not with thee. 

The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, 

And lose thy sweet words. 

Wisdom and Honey 

My son, eat thou honey, for it is good ; 

And the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste; 

So shalt thou know wisdom to be tmto thy soul : 
If thou hast found it, then shall there be a reward, 
And thy hope shall not be cut off. 

More elaborate in structure is the epigram of Lemuel's mother : 
first, each line of the germ proverb is supported by a parallel line, 
then each has a whole quatrain antithetical to it. 

Kings and Wine 

// is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, 

Nor for princes to say, Where is strong drink? 
Lest they drink, and forget the law, 
And pervert the judgement of any that is afflicted. 

Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, 

And wine unto the bitter in soul : 

Let him drink, and forget his poverty, 

And remember his misery no more. 
Open thy mouth for the dumb, 
In the cause of all such as are left desolate. 
Open thy mouth, judge righteously, 
And minister judgement to the poor and needy. 


Exactly corresponding to these Epigrams in verse we find, on 
the prose side, compositions that will here be Maxims 
called Maxims. 1 Their form is that of a text with 
a comment ; a germ proverb (or the essential words of it) is 
merged in what is a prose expansion of the same. 

Wisdom is as good as an inheritance : yea, more excellent is it for 
them that see the sun. For wisdom is a defence, even as money is 
a defence : but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom preserveth 
the life of him that hath it. 

Make not merry in much luxury ; neither be tied to the expense 
thereof. Be not made a beggar by banqueting upon borrowing when 
thou hast nothing in thy purse. A workman that is a drunkard 
shall not become rich. 

The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious / but the lips of a 
fool will swallow up himself. The beginning of the words of his 
mouth is foolishness : and the end of his talk is mischievous madness. 
A fool also multiplieth words: yet man knoweth not what shall be; 
and that which shall be after him, who can tell him? 

These are among the shorter maxims ; longer examples are to 
be found in the book of Ecclesiastes. 

Two are better than one ; because they have a good reward for 
their labour. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow : but woe to 
him that is alone when he falleth, and hath not another to lift him 
up. Again, if two lie together, then they have warmth : but how 
can one be warm alone ? And if a man prevail against him that is 
alone, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly 

1 1 am not aware of any English term that exactly describes the class of compo- 
sitions here brought forward. The word ' maxim ' in English is used loosely, Mr. 
Joseph Jacobs in his (Golden Treasury) edition of Gracian contends, not without 
reason, that the term has a special application to sayings which are practical and 
not meditative. At the same time the ' maxims ' he is editing have a closer resem- 
blance to this form of text and comment than anything outside Biblical Wisdom. 


As with the epigram, the text is not necessarily at the commence- 
ment, but may be absorbed into the body of the maxim. 

Speak not one against another, brethren. He that speaketh against 
a brother, or judgeth his brother, speaketh against the law, and judgeth 
the law : but if thou judgest the law, thou art not a doer of the law, 
but a judge. One only is the lawgiver and judge, even he who is able 
to save and to destroy : but who art thou that judgest thy neighbour ? 

The germ of this maxim is the paradox, " He that speaketh against 
a brother speaketh against the law" ; and it illustrates how much 
thought can be packed into one of these gnomic sentences. The 
Apostle is writing to those whose reverence for 'the law* had 
amounted to a superstition ; and it is one of the underlying ideas 
of the whole epistle that the Christian's 'liberty' is, not a laxer, 
but a higher law. In this saying the writer lays down that one 
who is censorious against another is impugning his brother's 
liberty of action, is therefore impugning that which the new dis- 
pensation has made the highest law. 

Continuing to follow the prose side of our table, we are brought 
to that which may be considered the most important of the forms 

TheBssa assumed by Wisdom literature the Essay. The 
word has been used somewhat loosely in modern 
speech, but it essentially implies two things : first, a composition 
professing only a fragmentary treatment of a subject ; and sec- 
ondly, that the details of this composition need have no mutual 
bond except their relevancy to the topic which stands as title of 
the Essay. If more than this goes to any composition if, for 
example, there is methodical arrangement or formal investigation 
then the name 'treatise' would be more proper; the Essay is 
bound to nothing beyohd miscellaneous thoughts collected around 
a common theme. This description applies to the Essays of the 
Bible and Apocrypha ; but upon these a further characteristic is 
stamped by their gnomic origin. Indeed, it becomes necessary 
to recognise a type o( composition which makes a half-way stage 


between the Proverb and the Essay. This we shall call the 

' Proverb Cluster ' : a number of proverbs (includ- 

, x * . , Proverb Clusters 

mg maxims and epigrams) are collected together 

around a common theme, each retaining its independence and 
fixed gnomic form. To make an Essay, the component parts are 
freely worked together into a new style ; though the Wisdom 
Essays continually suggest their gnomic origin, and often a con- 
siderable number of their sentences will stand as independent 

We are able, in the literature which has come down to us, to 
watch the process by which Essays have been evolved out of 
Proverbs. I propose to bring this out by placing Development of 
side by side three compositions ; the matter of the Essays out of 
three is largely the same, and it is clear that the Proverbs 
later authors have borrowed from the earlier ; in form, they repre- 
sent three stages in the development of the Essay. 

On the Government of the Tongue 

Winnow not with every wind, and walk not in every path : thus 
doeth the sinner that hath a double tongue. 

Be stedfast in thy understanding; and let thy word be one. 

Be swift to hear; and with patience make thine answer. 

If thou hast understanding, answer thy neighbour; and if not, 
let thy hand be upon thy mouth. 

Glory and dishonour is in talk : and the tongue of a man is his 

Be not called a whisperer; and lie not in wait with thy tongue: 
for upon the thief there is shame, and an evil condemnation upon 
him that hath a double tongue. 

In a great matter and in a small, be not ignorant ; and instead of 
a friend become not an enemy; for an evil name shall inherit shame 
and reproach: even so shall the sinner that hath a double tongue. 

The above is plainly a Proverb Cluster: each paragraph is an 
independent saying, which has a bearing upon the general subject, 
but no bond with the other paragraphs ; any one of these coufd 
be removed without the unity of the whole being affected. In 


the extract which next follows, consecutive sentences have fused 
together into connectedness of thought ; but there still remain a 
considerable number of them which make complete proverbs, and 
some of these could be cut out without damage to the rest. 

On the Tongue 

If thou blow a spark, it shall burn; if thou spit upon it, it shall 
be quenched: and both these shall come out of thy mouth. 
Curse the whisperer and double-tongued: for he hath destroyed 
many that were at peace. A third person's tongue hath shaken 
many, and dispersed them from nation to nation; and it hath 
pulled down strong cities, and overthrown the houses of great 
men. A third person's tongue hath cast out brave women and 
deprived them of their labours. He that hearkeneth unto it shall 
not find rest, nor shall he dwell quietly. The stroke of a whip 
maketh a mark in the flesh; but the stroke of a tongue will break 
bones. Many have fallen by the edge of the sword: yet not so 
many as they that have fallen because of the tongue. Happy is he 
that is sheltered from it, that hath not passed through the wrath 
thereof; that hath not drawn its yoke, and hath not been bound 
with its bands. For the yoke thereof is a yoke of iron, and the 
bands thereof are bands of brass. The death thereof is an evil 
death; and Hades were better than it. It shall not have rule over 
godly men; and they shall not be burned in its flame. They that 
forsake the Lord shall fall into it, and it shall burn among them, 
and shall not be quenched : it shall be sent forth upon them as a 
lion; and as a leopard it shall destroy them. Look that thou hedge 
tby possession about with thorns; bind up thy silver and thy gold; 
and make a weight and a balance for thy words; and make a door 
.and a bar for thy mouth. Take heed lest thou slip therein; lest 
thou fall before one that lieth in wait. 

The difference between this passage and that which follows is 
only one of degree. When the same topic is presented by St. 
James, we find connectedness of thought reigning throughout, and 
the free flow of Essay style has prevailed completely over the 
independence of sentences that belong to proverbs ; only here and 
there the turn of a sentence reminds us of the gnomic origin of 
this class of Essay. 


The Responsibility of Speech 

Be not many teachers, my brethren, knowing that we shall receive 
heavier judgement. For in many things we all stumble. If any stum- 
bleth not in word, the same is a perfect man, able to bridle the 
whole body also. Now if we put the horses' bridles into their 
mouths, that they may obey us, we turn about their whole body 
also. Behold, the ships also, though they are so great, and are driven 
by rough winds, are yet turned about by a very small rudder, whither 
the impulse of the steersman willeth. So the tongue also is a little 
member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how much wood is 
kindled by how small a fire ! And the tongue is a fire : the world of 
iniquity among our members is the tongue, which defileth the whole 
body, and setteth on fire the wheel of nature, and is set on fire by 
hell. For every kind of beasts and birds, of creeping things and 
things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed by mankind : but 
the tongue can no man tame; it is a restless evil, it is full of deadly 
poison. Therewith bless we the Lord and Father; and therewith 
curse we men, which are made after the likeness of God : out of the 
same mouth cometh forth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these 
things ought not so to be. Doth the fountain send forth from the 
same opening sweet water and bitter? can a fig tree, my brethren, 
yield olives, or a vine figs? Neither can salt water yield sweet. 

There is a whole literature of essays in the Wisdoiti books of 
the Bible and the Apocrypha. They are not essays in the more 
modern sense which the English reader associates 
with the name of Lord Macaulay : but they rather 
represent the oldest type of such compositions, to which contribu- 
tions were made by Bacon and by Montaigne, by Feltham and by the 
author of the Microcosmography. Indeed, there can be no doubt 
that these writers (Montaigne excepted) owed largely to the influ- 
ence of Ecclesiasticus and kindred books the sententiousness of 
their style and the asyndeton of their sentences. But in the case 
of these essays the same difficulty confronts the literary reader 
which has been pointed out in reference to other departments. In 
the form in which our Bibles are presented to us the separate 
essays are allowed to run together without break, and the titles so 
essential to this kind of writing are wholly wanting. I have endeav- 


cured to meet this difficulty by indicating in the Appendix * to this 
work the separate essays, and suggesting appropriate titles. And 
here, as elsewhere, I would advise the reader to mark such divi- 
sions and titles in his Bible and Apocrypha, before he attempts to 
appreciate the literary character of these compositions. 

At "this point I can do nothing but illustrate. Of the shorter 
essays a good specimen is that of Ecclesiasticus on Gossip. 

On Gossip 

He that is hasty to trust is lightminded ; and he that sinneth shall 
offend against his own soul. He that maketh merry in his heart 
shall be condemned; and he that hateth talk hath the less wicked- 
ness. Never repeat what is told thee, and thou shalt fare never the 
worse. Whether it be of friend or foe, tell it not; and if thou canst 
without sin, reveal not the matter; for he hath heard thee and 
observed thee, and when the time cometh he will hate thee. Hast 
thou heard a word? let it die with thee : be of good courage, it will 
not burst thee. A fool will travail in pain with a word, as a woman 
in labour with a child. As an arrow that sticketh in the flesh of the 
thigh, so is a word in a fool's belly. Reprove a friend ; it may be 
he did it not; and if he did it, that he may do it no more. Reprove 
thy neighbour; it may be he said it not; and if he hath said it, that 
he may not say it again. Reprove a friend, for many times there is 
slander : and trust not every word. There is one that slippeth, and 
not from the heart: and who is he that hath not sinned with his 
tongue? Reprove thy neighbour before thou threaten him; and give 
place to the law of the Most High. 

This essay is one of those in which gnomic verses abound. In 
the next they are rare, and the whole essay strikes a higher key. 

Prosperity and Adversity aro from the Lord 

There is one that toileth, and laboureth, and maketh haste, and 
is so much the more behind. There is one that is sluggish, and 
hath need of help, lacking in strength, and that aboundeth in 
poverty; and the eyes of the Lord looked upon him for good, 
and he set him up from his low estate, and lifted up his head; 
and many marvelled at him. Good things and evil, life and death, 

1 See EcclesiasteSt Ecclesiastictts, Wisdom, St. James, in the Literary Index 
(Appendix I) ; or the Table of Wisdom Literature in Appendix II. 


poverty and riches, are from the Lord. The gift of the Lord remain- 
eth with the godly, and his good pleasure shall prosper for ever. 
There is that waxeth rich by his wariness and pinching, and this is 
the portion of his reward : when he saith, I have found rest, and 
now will I eat of my goods; yet he knoweth not what time shall 
pass, and he shall leave them to others, and die. Be stedfast in thy 
covenant, and be conversant therein, and wax old in thy work. Mar- 
vel not at the works of a sinner; but trust the Lord, and abide in 
thy labour : for it is an easy thing in the sight of the Lord swiftly on 
the sudden to make a poor man rich. The blessing of the Lord is in 
the reward of the godly; and in an hour that cometh swiftly he mak- 
eth his blessing to flourish. Say not, what use is there of me? and 
what from henceforth shall my good things be? Say not, I have 
sufficient, and from henceforth what harm shall happen unto me? 
In the day of good things there is a forgetfulness of evil things; and 
in the day of evil things a man will not remember things that are 
good. For it is an easy thing in the sight of the Lord to reward a 
man in the day of death according to his ways. The affliction of an 
hour causeth forgetfulness of delight; and in the last end of a man 
is the revelation of his deeds. Call no man blessed before his death; 
and a man shall be known in his children. 

I follow this with one of the longer essays, one marked also by 
a greater variety of style. 

On Counsel and Counsellors 

Every counsellor extolleth counsel; but there is that counselleth 
for himself. Let thy soul beware of a counsellor, and know thou be- 
fore what is his interest (for he will counsel for himself); lest he 
cast the lot upon thee, and say unto thee, Thy way is good : and he 
will stand over against thee, to see what shall befall thee. Take 
not counsel with one that looketh askance at thee; and hide thy 
counsel from such as are jealous of thee. Take not counsel with a 
woman about her rival; neither with a coward about war; nor with 
a merchant about exchange; nor with a buyer about selling; nor 
with an envious man about thankfulness; nor with an unmerciful 
man about kindliness; nor with a sluggard about any kind of work; 
nor with a hireling in thy house about finishing his work; nor with 
an idle servant about much business : give not heed to these in any 
matter of counsel. But rather be continually with a godly man, 
whom thou shalt have known to be a keeper of the commandments, 


who in his soul is as thine own soul, and who will grieve with thee, 
if thou shalt miscarry. And make the counsel of thy heart to stand; 
for there is none more faithful unto thee than it. For a man's soul 
is sometime wont to bring him tidings, more than seven watchmen 
that sit on high on a watch-tower. And above all this entreat the 
Most High, that he may direct thy way in truth. Let reason be the 
beginning of every work, and let counsel go before every action. 

As a token of the changing of the heart, four manner of things do 
rise up, good and evil, life and death; and that which ruleth over 
them continually is the tongue. There is one that is shrewd and the 
instructor of many, and yet is unprofitable to his own soul. There 
is one that is subtle in words, and is hated; he shall be destitute of 
all food: for grace was not given him from the Lord; because he is 
deprived of all wisdom. There is one that is wise to his own soul; 
and the fruits of his understanding are trustworthy in the mouth. A 
wise man will instruct his own people; and the fruits of his under- 
standing are trustworthy. A wise man shall be filled with blessing; 
and all they that see him shall call him happy. The life of man is 
numbered by days; and the days of Israel are innumerable : the wise 
man shall inherit confidence among his people, and his name shall 
live for ever. 

The second paragraph of this essay has an obscurity which is rare 
in Wisdom literature. The line of thought seems to be as follows. 
Man's whole experience for good or evil depends upon the direc- 
tion of his purposes; and a force continually influencing these 
purposes is the speech of his fellowmen. Hence the importance 
of marking the character of those who counsel. One type has the 
power of imparting instruction, but no morale to make the in- 
struction worth having : for all his wisdom he is unprofitable to 
his own soul. One is false in speech, and so wholly hateful. A 
third has his wisdom bounded by selfishness ; but what he is willing 
to speak will be worth marking. The truly wise will have not only 
wisdom but also the desire to impart it to his fellow-countrymen ; 
his blessedness will be as much beyond that of the other as a 
nation is wider and more lasting than an individual. 

As a final example, I cite an essay of St. James, to show how wide- 
reaching a treatment of how profound a subject can be compressed 
within the narrow limits of this fragmentary form of composition. 


On the Sources of the Evil and the Good in Man 

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation : for when he hath 
been approved, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord 
promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is 
tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with 
evil, and he himself tempteth no man: but each man is tempted, 
when he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed. Then the 
lust when it hath conceived, beareth sin; and the sin, when it is 
full-grown, bringeth forth death. Be not deceived, my beloved 

Every good gift and every perfect boon is from above, coming 
down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, 
neither shadow that is cast by turning. Of his own will he brought 
us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits 
of his creatures. Know ye this, my beloved brethren; but let every 
man be swift to hear, slow to speak; slow to wrath, for the wrath 
of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore putting 
away all filthiness and overflowing of wickedness, receive with meek- 
ness the inborn word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye 
doers of the word, and not hearers only, deluding your own selves. 
For if any one is a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto 
a man beholding his natural face in a mirror : for he beholdeth him- 
self, and goeth away, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man 
he was. But he that looketh into the perfect law, the law of liberty, 
and so continueth, being not a hearer that forgetteth, but a doer that 
worketh, this man shall be blessed in his doing. If any man thinketh 
himself to be religious, while he bridleth not his tongue but deceiveth 
his heart, this man's religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled 
before our God and Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows 
in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. 

It would be difficult to find elsewhere so complete and harmo- 
nious a theory stated in so brief a space. The question is of the 
origin of the Evil and Good within us. The author strikes the 
keynote of Temptation the struggle in us between Evil and 
Good. Echoing a saying of Eccksiasticus, he warns Bcclug xi 
us against the delusion that temptation to evil could 
come from God. The true origin of evil he illustrates by the im- 
age of childbirth : it is the fruit of a union between the individual 


man that is, man's Will 1 and his Lust ; only when these have 
consented together is evil born, and such a union is not a marriage, 
but a seduction. The germ of evil thus accounted for, the Apostle 
proceeds to its further development ; and this he explains by the 
same image of childbirth, carried on to a second generation. 
Turning, then, to the question of Good, St. James continues the 
imagery of childbirth ; a union is hinted at between " The Will of 
God " and "The Word of Truth," as a result of which there exists 
in each individual an " inborn word " as the germ of Good. As 
with Evil, so here the writer proceeds to the development of such 
a germ, and this occupies the larger part of the essay. The 
imagery changes to that of listening : laying aside obstacles such 
as wrath, malice, filthiness, we are with patience and acuteness of 
attention, to listen for the word within us. But one more condi- 
tion is essential : that the truth in proportion as it is caught must 
be carried into action. To enforce this principle, the remarkable 
illustration of a mirror is used : truth that is seen without being 
acted upon is compared to a reflection in a glass that vanishes as 
soon as the face is turned away. But how is this image to be 
carried on to express the man who lives the truth he sees ? Such 
a man will behold truth reflected in the mirror of his action : but, 
in accordance with one of the main ideas of his epistle, St. James 
puts it, not as action according to law, but action according to 
the Christian liberty, which is the highest form of law. With prac- 
tical examples the essay concludes. 

I now turn back to the verse side of Wisdom literature. Here 
we find a class of compositions, which, like the Essay, are made 
T up of miscellaneous thoughts gathered around a 

common theme. Their poetic form is evidenced 
in the fact that, not only are they composed of rhythmic lines, but 
also their parts are bound together by high parallelism the 
parallelism, that is, which links not single verses only but masses 

1 The wording of the corresponding section in the second paragraph (verse 18 
of St. James i) justifies this interpretation. 


of lines, or again, not adjacent lines, but portions of a composition 
widely separated. 1 This characteristic can be best conveyed by 

On Evil Company 

My son, if sinners entice thee, 

Consent thou not. 
If they say, "Come with us, 
Let us lay wait for blood, 

Let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause; 
Let us swallow them up alive as Sheol, 
And whole, as those that go down into the pit ; 
We shall find all precious substance, 
We shall fill our houses with spoil; 
Thou shalt cast thy lot among us; 
We will all have one purse : " 

My son, walk not thou in the way with them; 

Refrain thy foot from their path : 

For their feet run to evil, 

And they make haste to shed blood. 

For in vain is the net spread, 

In the eyes of any bird; 

And these lay wait for their own blood, 

They lurk privily for their own lives. 

So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; 

It taketh away the life of the owners thereof. 

The eye catches that the whole of this poem, after the opening 
couplet, falls into two blocks of lines ; upon examination it will be 
found that the block of lines indented to the left are all of them 
expansions of the first line of the opening couplet, " My son, if 
sinners entice thee," and the block of lines indented to the right 
are expansions of the second line of the couplet, " Consent thou 
not." Thus it appears that precisely the same parallelism which 
unites the two opening lines into a couplet of verse is found to bind 
the divisions of the poem itself into a whole. This is a simple 
instance of the higher parallelism. 

What is the proper name for this class of compositions ? To 

i Above, Chapter II, pages 74-5, and Appendix III. 


me it appears that their position in relation to universal literature 
is expressed by calling them ' Sonnets. 1 No doubt they present 

one palpable difference from the poems we are 
Difference be- J^J-.^XL. ^i_ 

tween Hebrew accustomed to designate by that name : they are 

and English no t, like Italian and English sonnets, constructed of 
exactly fourteen lines each. But is this limitation 
to fourteen lines the essential of the Sonnet, or is it only a matter 
of prescriptive usage ? I would contend that if the Sonnet is to 
rank as a leading poetic type in universal literature its principle 
must be deeper. The true distinction of the Sonnet, like that of 
the Fugue in music, is that it reverses the usual order of things, 
and presents us with matter adapting itself to external form. The 
form that obtains in Our modern poetry is the arrangement in 
fourteen lines ; accordingly, the thought of our sonnets must be 
sufficient to fill out the fourteen lines, it must not be too wide to 
be compressed into that space ; further (in the Italian sonnet) the 
logical connection of the thoughts must be such as will fit in with 
the division of the fourteen lines into a set of eight and a set of 
six. Now it is impossible to read the Biblical poems under dis- 
cussion without feeling that here too we have thought adapting 
itself to form ; not, of course, to any particular number of lines, 
but to elaboration of parallelism of some kind. To generalise, we 
may say that wherever thought runs into poetic moulds we have 
the spirit of the Sonnet ; it belongs to the individuality of different 
literatures to decide whether only one mould shall be used, or 
more than one. Already we have seen a difference of type be- 
tween the strict Italian sonnet with its division into eight and six, 
and the English sonnets which may observe or ignore that division. 
Hebrew poetry multiplies that difference by allowing free variety 
of forms, yet still leaving in its sonnets the literary impression of 
matter fitting itself to form. 
These Wisdom poems fall into two distinct types. The first may 

be called the Fixed Sonnet : it is fixed, not to one 
The Fixed Sonnet . . , f .. , L A . . . 

particular number of lines, but to the working out 

of a number form indicated in the opening verses. 


Little and Wise 

There be four things which are little upon the earth, 

But they are exceeding wise : 
The ants are a people not strong, 

Yet they provide their meat in the summer; 
The conies are but a feeble folk, 

Yet make they their houses in the rocks; 
The locusts have no king, 

Yet go they forth all of them by bands; 
The lizard thou canst seize with thy hands, 

Yet is she in kings 7 palaces. 

What Wisdom loves and hates 

In three things I was beautified, 

And stood up beautiful before the Lord and men : 

The concord of brethren, 
And friendship of neighbours, 

And a woman and her husband that walk together in agree- 

But three sorts of men my soul hateth, 
And I am greatly offended at their life : 

A poor man that is haughty, 
A rich man that is a liar, 
And an old man that is an adulterer lacking understanding. 

The number form is usually reached by a progression. 

The Unsatisfied 

The horseleach hath two daughters, called Give, Give; 
There are three things that are never satisfied, 

Yea, four that say not, Enough : 
The grave; 

And the barren womb; 
The earth that is not satisfied with water* 
And the fire that saith not, Enough. 



There be three things which are too wonderful for me, 
Yea, four which I know not : 

The way of an eagle in the air ; 

The way of a serpent upon a rock ; 

The way of a ship in the midst of the sea. 
And the way of a man with a maid. 


The Golden Mean 

Two things have I asked of thee ; 
Deny me not three 1 before I die : 
Remove far from me vanity and lies ; 
Give me neither poverty nor riches; 

Feed me with the food that is needful for me : 
Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? 
Or lest I be poor and steal, 
And use profanely the name of my God. 

The Love of the Lord 

There be nine things that I have thought of, 

And in mine heart counted happy; 

And the tenth I will utter with my tongue : 

A man that hath joy of his children; 

A man that liveth and looketh upon the fall of his enemies; 
Happy is he that dwelleth with a wife of understanding; 
And he that hath not slipped with his tongue; 

And he that hath not served a man that is unworthy of him; 

Happy is he that hath found prudence; 
And he that discourseth in the ears of them that listen; 
How great is he that hath found Wisdom ! 

Yet is there none above him that feareth the Lord. 

The Love 2 of the Lord passeth all things : 

He that holdeth it, to whom shall he be likened? 

1 This has obviously slipped out of the line [A. V. and R. V. of Proverbs xxx. 7 
read 'them'], otherwise the sonnet would name ' two ' things and enumerate ' three/ 

2 This is the reading of A. V. to Ecchis. xxv. n : the R. V., no doubt on better 
textual authority, reads ' fear,' which destroys the form of the Sonnet. The emen- 
dation comes under the principle laid down above, page 57, note.) 


The other type of Sonnet is free to adopt high parallelism of 
any kind. A simple example was cited above, in which the lines 
fell ^ito two blocks, one block of lines parallel with 

^ CL *. .1 i /! 11 i - t i * The Free Sonnet 

the first, the other of lines parallel with the second 

line of the couplet text. In the Sonnet that follows the lines 
seem to alternate irregularly : but upon examination it will appear 
that all on the left deal with the commandment, and those on the 
right with its reward. 

The Commandment and its Reward 

My son, forget not my law; 

But let thine heart keep my commandments : 

For length of days, and years of life, 

And peace, shall they add to thee. 
Let not mercy and truth forsake thee; 
Bind them about thy neck : 
Write them upon the table of thine heart : 

So shalt thou find favour and good understanding 

In the sight of God and man. 
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart, 
And lean riot upon thine own understanding : 
In all thy ways acknowledge him, 

And he shall direct thy paths. 
Be not wise in thine own eyes : 
Fear the LORD and depart from evil : 

It shall be health to thy navel. 

And marrow to thy bones. 
Honour the LORD with thy substance, 
And with the first fruits of all thine increase: 

So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, 

And thy fats shall overflow with new wine. 

More elaborate in structure is the Sonnet on Intoxication. It 
has the general form of an enigma : six short lines contain six 
questions, the common answer to which makes a single couplet of 
longer lines. Then these two parts are doubled, and their order 
reversed : the couplet is expanded into a quatrain, after which the 
ideas of the six opening lines are emphasised in six couplets. 


On Intoxication 

Who hath woe? 

Who hath sorrow? 

Who hath contentions r 

Who hath complaining? 

Who hath wounds without cause? 

Who hath radness of eyes? 
They that tarry long at the wine; 
They that go to seek out mixed wine. 

Look not thou upon the wine 
When it is red, 

When it giveth its colour in the cup, 
When it goeth down smoothly : 

At the last it biteth like a serpent, 

And stingeth like an adder. 
Thine eyes shall behold strange things, 

And thine heart shall utter froward things. 
Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, 

Or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. 
" They have stricken me, 
And I was not hurt; 
They have beaten me, 
And I felt it not; 
When shall I awake? 

I will seek it yet again." 

This single sonnet has illustrated two leading devices of sonnet 
form reversing the order of parts, and augmenting. I add 
two more poems, illustrating each of these devices respectively, 
and further interesting from their thought and tone. 

On the Unsearchableness of God 

I have wearied myself, O God, 

I have wearied myself, O God, 

And am consumed : 
For I am more brutish than any man, 
And have not the understanding of a man : 
And I have not learned wisdom, 
Neither have I the knowledge of the Holy One. 


Who hath ascended up into heaven, and descended? 
Who hath gathered the wind in his fists? 
Who hath bound the waters in his garment? 
Who hath established all the ends of the earth? 

What is his name, 

And what is his son's name, 

If thou knowest? 

If we may intrude upon the spiritual beauty of this poem by tech- 
nical analysis, it is to point out how three short lines grow into 
four long, and then, by reverse process, four long sink into three 
short. In the example that follows form and thought are clearly 
working together. A quatrain of apprehension answered by a 
triplet of prayer augments into a double quatrain of apprehension 
answered by a double triplet of prayer. Such structural aug- 
menting means spiritual intensification. 

Watchfulness of Lips and Heart 

Who shall set a watch over my mouth, 
And a seal of shrewdness upon my lips, 
That I fall not from it, 
And that my tongue destroy me not? 

O Lord, Father and Master of my life, 
Abandon me not to their counsel : 
Suffer me not to fall by them. 

Who will set scourges over my thought, 

And a discipline of wisdom over my heart ; 
That they spare me not for mine ignorances, 

And my heart pass not by their sins : 
That my ignorances be not multiplied, 

And my sins abound not; 
And I shall fall before mine adversaries, 

And mine enemy rejoice over me ? 

O Lord, 

Father and God of my life, 
Give me not a proud look, 

And turn away concupiscence from me. 
Let not greediness and chambering overtake me, 

And give me not over to a shameless mind. 


Before passing away from this class of composition, we may 

Development of note l ^ at ' as we saw * n ^ e case ^ ^ e Essay, so 
Sonnets out of the development of the Sonnet out of the Proverb 
Proverbs can ^ e jn us t ra ted in all its parts. One example is 

singularly complete. We are able to go back to an original germ 
preserved in another poem. 

For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty, 
And drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags. 

The thought of this unit proverb, namely, the second line which 
connects together drowsiness and rags, has grown into an epigram. 

Epigram on the Sluggard 

" Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, 
A little folding of the hands to sleep" : 

So shall thy poverty come as a robber; 

And thy want as an armed man. 

We may judge that this epigram belonged to the extensive float 
ing literature of proverbs, from the fact of its appearing in two 
distinct poems. These poems are sonnets, belonging, of course, 
to the age of individual poets ; the two work from distinct points 
of view to the above epigram as their climax. 

Sonnet on the Field of the Slothful 

I went by the field of the slothful, 

And by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; 
And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, 
The face thereof was covered with nettles, 
And the stone wall thereof was broken down. 

Then I beheld, and considered well : 

I saw, and received instruction. 

" Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, 
A little folding of the hands to sleep " : 

So shall thy poverty come as a robber; 

And thy want as an armed man. 


Sonnet on the Sluggard 

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; 

Consider her ways, and be wise : 
Which having no chief, 
Overseer, or ruler, 
Provideth her meat in the summer, 
And gathereth her food in the harvest. . 

How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? 
( When wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? 
44 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, 
A little folding of the hands to sleep " : 

So shall thy poverty come as a robber, 

And thy want as an armed man. 

It remains to note, in conclusion, that Wisdom literature, on 
both its sides of verse and prose, is attracted by other literary 
departments, and compound forms arise. Prose Philosophy feels 
the attraction of Rhetoric, and we get as a result the Rhetoric 
Encomium. The name conveys the character of 
the composition ; a writer sets himself formally to Encomium 
the task of praising Wisdom, or the works of the 
Lord, and the style has rhetorical flow rather than gnomic senten- 
tiousness. Indeed, these compositions are usually considered 
poems. But I have pointed out more than once, in connection 
with the general discussion of the subject, that parallelism by itself 
is an insufficient criterion of verse and prose, belonging as it does 
to Rhetoric equally with Hebrew verse. And when the matter of 
these encomia is considered, it seems to me nearer to the matter 
of prose essays than to that of sonnets. Even as regards structure, 
the parallelism is sometimes broken by what will make excellent 
prose, but feeble verse. 

Good things are created from the beginning for the good : so are 
evil things for sinners. The chief of all things necessary g cclus 
for the life of man are water, and fire, and iron, and salt, xxxix. 
and flour of wheat, and honey, and milk, the blood of the 25 
grape, and oil, and clothing. All these things are for good to the 
godly; so to the sinners they shall be turned into evil. 


If this enumeration of necessary things be placed side by side 
with a not dissimilar enumeration taken from a lyric ode, the 
rhythmic gulf which separates the two will be apparent. 

Deut. xxxii. And he made him to suck honey out of the rock, 
13 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 kidneys of wheat; 

And of the blood of the grape thou drankest wine. 

In any case, the Rhetoric Encomium makes one more point at 
which Hebrew verse and prose approach one another. 

On the other hand, Wisdom is attracted by Drama, and conveys 

its thoughts in the form of Dramatic Monologues. Wisdom is 

personified : she is made to build her house, to 

The Dramatic j i < * , 

Monologue spread her table, to speak in warning or invitation. 

The most elaborate poem of this type in the Book 
of Proverbs prepares the way for the monologue itself by a vivid 
picture of the < Strange Woman/ laying her snares, and speaking 
her wiles, till the simple victim follows, like an ox going to the 
slaughter, to the house that is the way to the Abyss. Immediately, 
without a word of connection, comes the contrast. 

Doth not Wisdom cry, 

And Understanding put forth her voice? 

In the top of high places by the way, 

Where the paths meet, she standeth ; 

Beside the gates, at the entry of the city, 

At the coming in at the doors, she crieth aloud. 

Wisdom tells of her excellent things : of her instruction that is 
worth more than silver, her knowledge and subtlety more valuable 
than rubies and gold. 


Counsel is mine, and effectual working, 

I am understanding; I have might. 

By me kings reign ; 

And princes decree justice. 

By me princes rule, 

And nobles, even all the judges of the earth. 

The climax comes with creative wisdom. The scientific statement 
of the thought would be that the structure of the universe is such 
as to suggest design in its Author : but here the design itself is 
personified, and claims to have been with the Creator from the first. 

When there were no depths, I was brought forth; 

When there were no fountains abounding with water. 

Before the mountains were settled, 

Before the hills was I brought forth : 

While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, 

Nor the beginning of the dust of the world. 

When he established the heavens, I was there : 

When he set a circle upon the face of the deep : 

When he made firm the skies above : 

When the fountains of the deep became strong : 

When he gave to the sea its bound. 

That the waters should not transgress his commandment : 

When he marked out the foundations of the earth : 

Then I was by him, as a master workman : 

And I was daily his delight, 

Sporting always before him; 

Sporting in his habitable earth. 

In personifications like this the form of Drama is borrowed to 
clothe the meditations of the wise. But there are dramatic mono- 
logues which go further than personification, and put certain phases 
of philosophic reflection into the mouth of historical or imaginary 
personages. These, however, will be best dealt with in the 
chapters describing the Books of Wisdom in which they are found. 



THE various literary forms in which the philosophical thought of 
Scripture may be cast have been reviewed : it remains to consider 
the Books of Wisdom as they stand. 

The first of these is entitled The Proverbs. In technical form 
it may be described as a Miscellany in Five Books : the five-fold 
The Proverbs: a division f this work (and of Ecclesiasticus) being 
miscellany in as well marked as in the Book of Psalms. The first 
five books , book is made up of nine chapters. This is a por- 

tion of Scripture dear to every reader : for literary charm no part 
of the Bible is more impressive. I must, however, express dissent 
from the received view that the nine chapters make one continuous 
poem. The view seems to rest upon such considerations as these : 
the uniqueness in character of this section; the 
First Book wa y j n w hj c h j t serves as prologue to what follows ; 

the fact of its being cast in the form of a father's 
counsels to a son \ while some have claimed to trace in it a regu- 
lar progression of thought. The unique character of these chap- 
ters is sufficiently explained by the preponderance in them of one 
type of poem : out of twenty-two free sonnets and dramatic mono- 
logues eighteen are to be found in this section of Proverbs, and 
only four outside it. 1 Again : the chapters cannot be called a pro- 
logue in the sense of an introduction making reference to the rest 
of the work ; on the other hand, it would be quite natural for the 

1 Throughout the chapter compare Proverbs, etc., in the Literary Index (Ap- 
pendix I). 


editor of the collection to place first poems treating Wisdom as a 
whole, and after these the proverbs that deal with more particular 
themes. As to the formula < My Son/ it may be remarked that in 
considerable portions of the nine chapters it is absent, 1 portions 
apparently containing independent poems, one of which is ad- 
dressed to a sluggard ; where such a formula does occur it varies 
between ' My Son ' and ' My Sons, 1 which suggests its general char- 
acter. When it is further seen that elsewhere the formula is found, 
rarely in unit proverbs, but commonly in the longer compositions of 
this kind, 2 there will be no difficulty in understanding why it should 
appear so often in this part of the book which is made up of long 
poems. In any case, the recurrence of the expression ' My Son * 
is no more an evidence of connectedness, than would the recur- 
rence from a modern pulpit Sunday after Sunday of the expression 
' My Brethren ' prove that the preacher's successive sermons made 
a unity. The supposed progression of thought is rejected by many 
of those who accept the unity of the chapters ; it can be traced 
only by supposing passages to be interpolations that do not fit in 
with it. But the idea must be pronounced impossible, if for no 
other reason, on the ground of repetitions and redundancies. 
That the theme of Wisdom and the Strange Woman, after being 
brought to a magnificent climax in the seventh and eighth chap- 
ters, should be treated again in brief studies in the ninth chapter, 
is entirely inconsistent with a continuous poem, though natural 
enough in that which is a collection of similar compositions. 

This first section of Proverbs then, like the other sections, is 
miscellaneous in character. It is a series of poems that would 
be fairly described by the title, ' Sonnets on Wisdom.' In some 3 
the name does not occur, but Wisdom is set off by kindred or by 
contrasting ideas. One sonnet exhibits the company of the evil 

1 i. 20-33; vi - 6- t 12-19; ix x-6, 7-9, 10-12, 13-18. 

2 In unit proverbs I have only observed it twice (Prov. xxvii. n and Ecctus. vii. 
3). It occurs in epigrams (JProv. xxiii. 15; xxiv. 13) and often in the essays and 
proverb clusters of Ecclus. (iv. i; vi. 18; x. 28; xiv. n; etc.). Compare the use 
of My Children ' (Ecclils. xli. 14) and ' Young Man ' (Eccles. xi. 9). 

8 Compare the titles of the sonnets, etc., in the Appendix. 


as laying snares for their own lives; another contrasts the path 
of the wicked with the path of the righteous shining on from 
dawn to perfect day; others denounce the vices that Wisdom 
would hate. In the greater part of the poems Wisdom is cele- 
brated directly : appearing as a gracious personality speaking her 
winning invitations, in contrast with the 'strange woman' that 
lures fools to their death ; or as the great prize in view the sight 
of which is to make even chastening endurable ; or as the ' prin- 
cipal thing 1 coming down from venerable tradition. In some 
places this Wisdom narrows to the prudence that takes alarm at 
the idea of suretiship for another, or the diligence that hates the 
sluggard. But elsewhere it gradually widens its scope, from the 
caution checking a personal impulse to sin, till it gathers into 
itself all subtlety and discretion, the knowledge of the counsellor 
and the justice of the great, and appears at last as the universal 
principle that has made the strength and beauty of the whole 
universe, playmate of the Creator from the earliest birth of time. 

The second book has for its title : 'The Proverbs of Solomon/ 
and is by far the largest of the sections. Except that two triplets i 

have somehow crept into it, this whole book is a 
Second Book /. . , ^ T 

x-xxii. 16 mass * umt proverbs. No attempt has been made 

to arrange them ; in the fullest sense of the word 
the second book is a miscellany. The third book is a Gnomic 
mtj Epistle. Its introduction makes clear that it is 

Third Book , ,. , . 

xxii. x7-xxiv delivered in writing, and on the application of a 
delegate who represents others beside himself : the 
suggestion is of the intercourse that prevailed between Wise Men 
at a distance, such as Solomon and Hiram of Tyre. 

Incline thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine 
heart unto my knowledge; for it is a pleasant thing if thou keep 
them within thee, if they be established together upon thy lips. 
That thy trust may be in the LORD, I have made them known to thee 
this day, even to thee. Have not I written unto thee excellent things 
of counsels and knowledge; to make thee know the certainty of the 
words of truth, that thou mayest carry back words of truth to them 
that send thee? i x . 7and33 . 


At the end of it there is a postscript commencing, " These also 
are sayings of the wise " an addition, presumably, by an editor, 
not by the writer of the epistle. The epistle and postscript are 
mainly made up of epigrams ; though there are two sonnets, and 
a few unit proverbs. 1 

The next book is described by its title as ' Proverbs of Solo- 
mon ' copied out by the ' Men of Hezekiah.' When this is com- 
pared with the second book there is a noticeable 
difference. Unit proverbs still preponderate, but 
with these mingle epigrams; and the occurrence 
of a few proverb clusters shows that between the dates of the 
two collections the idea of arrangement, as well as expansion, has 
come in. One item in this fourth book should be noted as dis- 
tinct from anything else preserved in Wisdom literature : it seems 
to be a Folk Song of Good Husbandry. 

Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, xxvii. 23-7 
And look well to thy herds : 

For riches are not for ever; 

And doth the crown endure unto all generations? 
The hay is carried, 
And the tender grass sheweth itself, 
And the herbs of the mountains are gathered in. 

The lambs are for thy clothing, 

And the goats are the price of the field : 

And there will be goat's milk enough for thy food, 

For the food of thy household; 

And maintenance for thy maidens. 

The last book is made up of shorter collections : the sayings of 
Agur, chiefly fixed or number sonnets; the epi- Fifth Book 
grams of Lemuel's mother ; and the famous poem ***-**** 
on the Virtuous Woman, which in the original is an acrostic. 

To the whole collection is prefixed what, in modern phrase- 
ology, might be called an elaborate title-page. 

1 Compare throughout the chapter the analysis of the books in the Appendix. 


The Son of David, King of Israel 

To know wisdom and instruction; 
To discern the words of understanding; 
To receive instruction in wise dealing, 
In righteousness and judgement and equity : 

To give subtilty to the simple, 

To the young man knowledge and discretion : 

That the wise man may hear, and increase in learning; 

And that the man of understanding may attain unto sound counsels : 

To understand a proverb, and a figure; 
The words of the wise, and their dark sayings. 

This title-page is not meant to describe the whole contents of the 
collection as proverbs of Solomon; else, why should the title 
* Proverbs of Solomon ' be repeated at the head of 
Title-Page particular sections ? The prominence of this expres- 

sion in the general title may be explained in one 
of two ways. The longest section may have given its name to the 
whole : a thing quite familiar to us in modern literature. But 
when we observe the contents of the sections specifically designated 
' Proverbs of Solomon,' and see the preponderance in them of one 
kind of saying, the suggestion must occur that the phrase is the 
description of a type : and this Solomonian Proverb would seem 
to include the unit proverb and the brief epigrams. 

If, then, we survey the Book of Proverbs as a whole, we find it a 
miscellany comprising various literary types, from the germ prov- 
The Book of er ^ to ^ ie elaborate sonnet or dramatic monologue ; 
Proverbs as a what arrangement there is, is based on the kind of 
whole composition, or has reference to author or compiler. 

The philosophic attitude reflected in the book is that of discon- 
nected observations ; there is no attempt to combine observations 
into a system. The correlation of all things, which is the instinc- 
tive aim of modern philosophy, has not at this period come to be 
treated with analytic reflection ; it is on the other hand passion- 
ately adored under the name of ' Wisdom.' 


The next work for our consideration is The Wisdom of Jesus 
the son of Sirach, which has curiously come to be known familiarly 
by the title, Ecdesiasticus : that is, a book to be E cciesiasticus: 
read in churches, as distinguished from a book of a miscellany in 
canonical authority. Like Proverbs, this work is a five books 
miscellany, and all forms of Wisdom literature are represented in 
it. The difference of the two might fairly be described by saying 
that they represent, in general impression, the poetic side of Wis- 
dom and its rhetoric side respectively ; what sonnets and dramatic 
monologues are to Proverbs, that essays and rhetoric encomia are 
to Ecciesiasticus. The work falls naturally into five 
books ; the dividing points being made by the emer- 
gence of the author's personality, and his celebra- 
tion, not of particular themes, but of Wisdom and the works of God 
as a whole. The first book starts from an account of the author 
by his grandson, followed by a sonnet on Wisdom. At the open- 
ing of the second book the author's preface is interwoven 
into an encomium on Wisdom. " Wisdom," cries the 
author, "shall praise herself." 

I came forth from the mouth of the Most High, and covered the 
earth as a mist. I dwelt in high places, and my throne is in the 
pillar of the cloud. Alone I compassed the circuit of heaven, and 
walked in the depth of the abyss. In the waves of the sea, and in 
all the earth, and in every people and nation, I got a possession. 
With all these I sought rest; and in whose inheritance shall I lodge? 
So the Creator of all things gave me a commandment; and he that 
created me made my tabernacle to rest, and said, Let thy tabernacle 
be in Jacob, and thine inheritance in Israel. 

Wisdom dwells upon her exaltation and beauty, and on the fulness 
of her riches; then the author speaks to identify these riches 
with the law of the Lord, from whom came, the abundance of 

The first man .knew her not perfectly; and in like manner the last 
hath not traced her out. For her thoughts are filled from the sea, 
and her counsels from the great deep. And I came out as a stream 



from a river, and as a conduit into a garden. I said, I will water my 
garden, and will water abundantly my garden bed; and lo, my stream 
became a river, and my ri/er became a sea. I will yet bring instruc- 
tion to light as the morning, and will make them to shine forth 
afar off. 

In -this quaint and beautiful figure does the author express to 
the reader how his materials have grown upon him, and he must 
xmii. 16-18 add a second book to the fir st. The third book is 
opened only by a brief preface in which the author 
describes himself as one gleaning after grape gatherers ; but in 

xxxix. 12 and the casc of the remainin g tw books the author ap- 
xiii. 15 pears at the commencement inviting to the praise 

of God's works, and so introducing what are rhet- 
oric encomia closely bordering on hymns. 

In this fifth book occurs that which is the most extended of all 
the compositions so far noted in this department, the Encomium 
Encomium on on Famou s Men. In the prologue the author pro- 
Famous Men poses to praise those who have manifested the 
x iv- .24 Lord's mighty power, whether as rulers, or coun- 

sellors, or men of learning ; inventors of music and verse ; or rich 
men living peaceably in their habitations. 

There be of them, that have left a name behind them, to declare 
their praises. And some there be which have no memorial; who are 
perished as though they had not been, and are become as though 
they had not been born; and their children after them. But these 
were men of mercy whose righteous deeds have not been forgotten. 
With their seed shall remain continually a good inheritance; their 
children arc within the covenants. Their seed standeth fast, and 
their children for their sakes. Their seed shall remain for ever, and 
their glory shall not be blotted out. Their bodies were buried in 
peace, and their name liveth to all generations ; peoples will declare 
their wisdom, and the congregation telleth out their praise. 

In a tone of dignified panegyric he goes through the roll of Israel's 
great men : Enoch, Noah, the patriarchs ; Moses, the man of 
mercy, with Aaron and the third in glory the zealous Phinehas ; 


Nathan, David, Solomon, Josiah of fragrant memory, until he ends 
with Simon whom, in all the pomp of his priestly function, he de- 
scribes with the vividness of an eye-witness. 

Immediately after the close of this Encomium the work ends 

with something that reads like the colophon of a medi- , . 

* uoiopnon. 

aeval book, made out of a number sonnet and a beatitude, i. 35-9 

With two nations is my soul vexed, 
And the third is no nation : 

They that sit upon the mountain of Samaria, 

And the Philistines, 
And the foolish people that dwelleth in Sichem. 

I have written in this book the instruction of understanding and 
knowledge, I Jesus, the son of Sirach, of Jerusalem, who out of his heart 
poured forth wisdom. 

Blessed is he that shall be exercised in these things; 

And he that layeth them up in his heart shall become wise. 
For if he do them, he shall be strong to all things : 

For the light of the Lord is his guide. 

There is still added after this a ' Prayer of Jesus the son of Si- 
rach/ with a confession of faith in Wisdom ; from their position 
they may be assumed to be either the insertion of the u 
grandson, or other editor, or else the preface to the 
whole book as left by its author. 

It is instructive to compare Ecclcsiasticus and Proverbs as types 
of Wisdom literature. If the comparison be made Ptwarbian4 
of individual compositions in the two works, those of Ecciesiasticus 
Ecclesiasticus will be found to show a marked ad- com P ared 
vance as regards the combination of shorter into longer, which 
implies the extension of more limited into wider observations of 
life. The proverb cluster, so slenderly represented in the Book 
of Proverbs, has a considerable place in the later work ; and a 
still larger space in it is occupied by the essay, which, we have 
seen, carries the aggregation of unit proverbs to a higher degree 


of fusion. But when we look at Ecclesiasticus as a whole, its con- 
tents appear as miscellaneous as those of Proverbs ; the work 
clearly appeals to a discursive taste, unhampered by any thought 
of system or arrangement ; and, however elaborate the essays or 
sonnets may become, these have not been thought by the author 
inconsistent with considerable spaces left for entirely disconnected 
proverbs. This is the more striking from the fact that the later 
work is not, like Proverbs, a combination of different collections ; 
it is entirely the work of a single author, who has spoken in his 
own person to mark the beginnings and endings of the five books : 
making it clear that the miscellaneous character of the work be- 
longs to the author's conception of Philosophy, and is not the re- 
sult of chance or want of care. We have thus reached a phase of 
thought in which systematisation begins to work upon the more 
fragmentary observations of life, without approaching the concep- 
tion of life and the universe as a whole. Wisdom and the works 
of God in general are still celebrated with poetic or rhetoric fer- 
vour. The last composition, the Praise of Famous Men, shows 
that the conception of Wisdom has now enlarged to take in his- 
tory. But this history is touched only with the tone of panegyric ; 
and Ecclesiasticus thus contrasts with a later work of this depart- 
ment, in which we shall see history subjected to philosophic 
reflection and analysis. 

What Ecclesiasticus is to the Old Testament, that the Epistle of 
St. James is to the New. We have already seen in a portion of 
the Book of Proverbs a precedent for a Wisdom 
Epistle; and with this conception fits the differ- 
ence of tone which every reader perceives between 
this portion of the New Testament and all the rest. The Apostle, 
moreover, shows himself a deep student of Ecclesiasticus, the 
thoughts of which he frequently echoes. 1 Of course, the matter of 

1 For the Essay on the " Origin of the Evil," etc. (St. James i. 12-27) , compare 

Ecclus. Essay on Free Will (xv. 11-20) ; and also Ecclus. v. n and iv. 10. For 

the Essay on the " Responsibility of Speech " (St. James iii. 1-12) compare Ecclus. 


the epistle has enlarged to take in Christian thought, and 'My 
Son ' has changed into My Brethren.' But the form is that of 
Proverbs and Ecclesiasticus a miscellany : the epistle will not 
yield a connected line of thought such as is traced in the writings 
of St. Par 1 , but must be read as a series of independent essays. 
Two of these essays have been cited in the last chapter that on 
the Sources of the Evil and the Good in Man, and another on The 
Responsibility of Speech. Others are On Faith and Works ; On 
Respect of Persons ; On the Earthly Wisdom and the Wisdom 
from above ; A Discourse on Judgment. And here, as in other 
Books of Wisdom, we find interspersed between these longer 
essays maxims and paradoxes entirely disconnected. 

We now approach Ecclesiastes : most fascinating of all Wisdom 
literature to those who desire only to read, while it is the stumbling- 
block of all who have the responsibility of interpret- 
ing. Yet the difficulties and obscurities which 
undoubtedly attach to this work have been much 
aggravated by the neglect of the axiom on which I have so 
frequently insisted : that it is vain to search into the meaning of a 
work until its outer literary form has been determined. Our first 
duty then is to enquire into the form of Ecclesiastes, basing our 
enquiry upon the book itself, and also upon what may be expected 
from the analogy of other Wisdom literature. 

In the first place, Ecclesiastes^ like the other Books of Wisdom we 
have -surveyed, contains a series of essays : the attempt to trace a 
continuous argument from beginning to end must be dismissed. 
On the other hand, the most cursory examination shows a new 
purpose in the thinkings of the Preacher such as is sure to affect 
the form of the book. We find in Ecclesiastes, what was so 
markedly absent from Proverbs and Ecclesiasticus y that reflection 

Essay on Gossip (xix. 5-17), on the Tongue (xxviii. 12-26). Other parallels are 
Ecclus. i. 26 and St. James i. 5; Ecclus. ii. 1-6 and St. James i. 12; Ecclus. ii. I 
and 14 and St. James i. 2-4; Ecclus. iv. 1-6, xxi. 5 with St. James v. 4; Ecclus. 
x. 22-24 and St. James ii. 1-6. Possibly the somewhat obscure paradox in Si. 
James i. 9 may be an echo of Ecclus. iii. 18-19. 


has now been turned upon life as a whole, and particular obser- 
vations have a reference to the general problem of reading the 
meaning of existence. Accordingly, the individual essays in this 
book must be expected to unite in some common drift; their 
mutual relation can best be expressed by borrowing as literature 
so often must a term from music, and Ecclesiastes may be 
described as a suite of essays. One more point needs to be 
insisted upon. In each collection of Wisdom literature we have 
found that, whatever else there might be, there was always a place 
for series of disconnected proverbs interspersed amongst more 
extended compositions. This feature is not wanting to the work 
under consideration : of the ten sections (to include prologue and 
epilogue) into which I have divided the whole, 1 three are not 
essays, but strings of disconnected sayings and paradoxes, more 
or less tinged with the tone of the author, but outside the drift of 
thought in the essays. The recognition of such gaps in the unity 
is clearly of importance to the interpretation of the whole ; yet it 
is no more than we are bound to expect from the analogy of other 
Wisdom literature. 

We find, then, Ecclesiastes to be in form a suite of independent 
essays, regularly disposed between a formal prologue and epilogue, 
concurring to present some enquiry into life as a whole, and 
separated at intervals by collections of the isolated sayings which 
had constituted the older conception of Wisdom. Our business 
must be to follow the thought of the separate essays, and then put 
our results together in order to understand the Preacher's general 
view of life and the universe. 

The Prologue breathes the spirit of the whole in its reiteration, 
" Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." Philosophy has turned itself 
from mere observation of the details to contemplation 
f ^ e whole, and in this contemplation can see no solid 
result ; its enquiry, to use a phrase of a later essay, is a 
striving after wind continuous pursuit of that which continu- 
ally eludes. 

1 Compare the Literary Index in Appendix I. 


One generation goeth, and another generation cometh; and the 
earth abideth for ever. The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth 
down, and hasteth to his place where he ariseth. The wind goeth 
toward the south, and turneth about unto the north ; it turneth about 
continually in its course, and the wind returneth again to its circuits. 
All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; unto the place 
whither the rivers go, thither they go again. All things are full of 
weariness; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, 
nor the ear filled with hearing. That which hath been is that which 
shall be; and that which hath been done is that which shall be done : 
and there is no new thing under the sun. 

The writer's imagination has been overpowered by the vast " wheel 
of nature " : the first glimpse from the outside of that interde- 
pendence of things which modern science has tracked up to the 
conservation of energy. In contemplation of this, life seems not 
a progress but a treadmill, and the human world is drawn within 
the tyranny of Law. The impressiveness of this prologue appears 
the greater when it is realised that the ' All,' which is thus pro- 
nounced ' vanity/ is precisely that which previous books would 
joyously celebrate under the name of ( Wisdom. 1 Philosophic 
reflection has been turned on to the sum of things, and adoration 
has changed to elegy. 

We proceed to the first essay, and at the outset are met by an 
obstacle : the unfortunate misinterpretation of a single verse a 
double misinterpretation has had the effect of 
throwing a false colour over the whole work. The 
essay opens with the words : " I the Preacher was 
king over Israel in Jerusalem " : and what follows identifies the 
king referred to with King Solomon. Hence readers have jumped 
to the conclusion that Solomon was the author of Ecclesiastes. 
The mistake is not unnatural in a modern reader, whose leading 

interest in a literary work is apt to be the author ;...., 

. . Mistake as to 

but a student of Comparative Literature will see at Solomon's au- 

once that these words make Solomon, not the thorship of the 

author, but the hero of the narrative that follows. 

Several schools of ancient philosophy instinctively attributed to 


the first founder all that each follower produced. In this way 
the whole of Plato's philosophy is given to the world, not in the 
form of abstract arguments by Plato himself, but in highly dra- 
matic dialogues, in which Socrates, as main speaker, is represented 
in discussion with other prominent men of the age, the discussion 
abounding in touches oCjtffc, scenery, and action, as artistically 
disposed as in the scenes*? Shakespeare. No reader ever sup- 
posed that Socrates said what Plato represents him to say ; but 
Socrates had started the impulse of thought which produced Plato, 
and the scholar pays reverence to his master by making him the 
hero of his dialogues. Another striking instance has been pointed 
out by a recent writer on this book : l that the school of Pythag- 
oras considered the drowning of one of their number a judg- 
ment upon him because he had put forward his discovery in his 
own name, instead of making it part of the philosophy of Pythag- 
oras. But there is no need to go so far for illustrations : a com- 
panion production to this Ecclesiastes is the Wisdom of Solomon, 
which, at a date little removed from the Christian era, makes 
King Solomon the speaker of all the philosophic stores of that 
late age. It belongs to Hebrew philosophy, we have seen, to 
clothe itself in poetic and dramatic form : to put into the mouth 
of Solomon reflections a later writer thinks fitted to his personality 
is no more than an extension of the dramatising treatment by 
which, in Proverbs, Wisdom was personified as the inviter to all 
good things. On the other hand, authorship is a question of 
dates ; and, apart from this verse, all the indications of language, 
style, and matter, are found by experts to indicate a date for the 
book centuries later than that of Solomon. Dr. Ginsburg has 
pronounced it as impossible for Solomon to be the author of 
Ecclesiastes , as for Chaucer to be the writer of Rasselas. 

The old interpretation involves a double mistake. Not only is 
Solomon the hero instead of the author, but he is the hero for 
only a fraction of the whole book. The narrative that commences 
with the verse under discussion extends no further than the close 

l Article Ecclesiastes in Sir William Smith's Dictionary of the Bible. 


of the second chapter. 1 From that point onward there is not 
to be found a sentence that associates itself with Solomon. 
And in the prologue and epilogue, where we naturally look for 
personal touches, there is no trace of this wise king, either in 
direct mention, or in circumstances into which his personality can 
befitted. ^ 

The connection of Solomon, then, with the book as a whole 
must be abandoned ; and with it must be given up the idea of 
finding in the unwholesome life of that monarch an explanation 
for the tone of Ecclesiastes. Solomon's place in the book is 
limited to a single essay, which may be entitled : Solomon's Great 
Experiment. The author identifies himself for the moment 
with this famous king, as the one individual in whom wealth, 
wisdom, and power met in their highest forms, and in his person 
the Preacher supposes himself to go through an experience de- 
signed to test all the forms of positive good in which men 
believe. First, he will use his resources to accumulate 
all kinds of pleasure, including such pleasures as wise men call 
follies, but he will keep all the time his reflective powers un- 
impaired for the purpose of testing what he enjoys. 

I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me 
vineyards; I made me gardens and parks, and I planted trees in 
them of all kinds of fruit: I made me pools of water, to water 
therefrom the forest where trees were reared : I bought men-servants 
and maidens, and had servants born in my house ; also I had great 
possessions of herds and flocks, above all that were before me in 
Jerusalem: I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar 
treasure of kings and of the provinces : I gat me men singers and 
women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, concubines very 
many. So I was great, and increased more than all that were before 
me in Jerusalem : also my wisdom remained with me. And whatso- 
ever mine eyes desired I kept not from them : I withheld not my 
heart from any joy, for my heart rejoiced because of all my labour; 

1 Even less far than that if we assume the marginal readings of R. V. (to ii. 5, 
and the first of those to ii. 12) ; it would then extend no further than ii. n. This 
would ascribe to Solomon just that part of the whole experiment which none but 
Solomon could have fully carried out. 


and this was my portion from all my labour. Then I looked on all 
the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had 
laboured to do : and, behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, 
and there was no protit under the sun. 

From pleasure he turns to experiment in the field of wisdom 

itself and its opposite. He finds indeed that wisdom excels folly 

^ as far as light excels darkness : but he finds also that " one 

event " happeneth to both. There is yet a third region 
to be tried labour, or as we should call it, enterprise : not the 
enjoyment of wealth, but its production. But this also seems to 

fail in the end, when the labourer must die and leave his 

11. 18 

labour to another, not knowing whether this other will 
prove a wise man or a fool. So the result of all this experimenting 
is that there is no criterion for ranking anything as higher than 
mere enjoyment. Is, then, this enjoyment the one reality that has 
stood the test of his long enquiry? Not at all : for the thought soon 
follows that this enjoyment is not a thing in man's power, 
but is itself the gift of God. The great experiment has 
yielded only negative results : "vanity and a striving after wind/' 
The second essay may be entitled : The Philosophy of Times 
and Seasons. A certain theory of the universe 
seems to be suggested, as something to satisfy the 
craving for an explanation of things, for which the 
great experiment had failed to provide. The theory is stated, 
examined, and rejected. 

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under 
the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, 
and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a 
time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time 
to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a 
time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to 
seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 
a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time 
to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a 
time for peace. 


Hebrew philosophy affects artistic, and especially gnomic forms, 
and in the guise of this tour de force of enumeration is clothed a 
very intelligible philosophy ; indeed, that which was the uncon- 
scious theory underlying the old Wisdom, with its tendency to 
observe the parts, but turn no reflection upon the whole. It is a 
sort of practical eclecticism ; a disposition to recognise differences 
of kind in good things without comparing them. The previous 
essay has sought a summum bonum : this suggests the idea, not 
summum bonum, but multa bona. Against this theory the Preacher 
seems to make four distinct objections. First : it is true 
that separate things have an interest of their own. But it 
is also true that God has implanted in men's hearts a conception 
of the universal underlying these particulars ; so that it is no 
longer possible to enjoy these without thinking of their bearing 
on the whole ; while to discover this last all man's powers are 

He hath made everything beautiful in its time : also he hath set the 
world in their heart, yet so that man cannot find out the work that 
God hath done from the beginning even to the end. 

Again: it is true that there is nothing better than to enjoy. 
But it is also true that this enjoyment is the gift of God, 
and in granting it God will act upon principles as fixed 
as fate, and no effort will change him. Yet again : the ' seasons ' 
of things are not observed; wickedness is seen in the 
place of judgment. A flash of thought suggests to the 
Preacher that hereafter there may be a righting of these wrongs. 
A second flash rejects the idea : what guarantee of an hereafter 
has man more than the beasts ? 

I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked : 
for there is a time THERE for every purpose and for every work. I 
said in mine heart. It is because of the sons of men, that God may 
prove them, and that they may see that they themselves are but as 
beasts. For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; 
even one thing befalleth them : as the one dieth, so dieth the other. 


As a final objection the Preacher thinks of the things that no 
season can make beautiful : the oppression that is worse than 
death; the skill that exists at the cost of bitter com- 
petition; the isolated life that has no pleasure in its 
own achievements. The essay ends, like the last, in ' vanity/ 

Then follows one of the sections we have been led to expect, 
that are occupied with isolated proverbs having no relation to the 
unity of the whole book. The sayings are miscellaneous, with 
nothing in common except that they are positive, not negative, in 
form. It is a section of Maxims of Life. 

The fourth section is an Essay on the Vanity of Desire. It is 

easy to instance possession without enjoyment : a man loving 

silver yet never satisfied with silver: seeing goods in- 

T. I0-Vi. 12 , ... . . 

crease, but seeing also increased those who consume 
them ; or even riches kept by the owner of them to his own hurt. 
But the essay is mainly occupied with two companion pictures. 
One is that of a man to whom God grants riches and wealth, 
and at the same time the power to enjoy them : so much so that 

he may give little thought to his life as one happy day 
v. 20 

follows another, joy of heart coming as answer to his 

prayers almost before they are uttered. The other picture is of 
a man on whom God has bestowed without stint the same gifts, 
but has denied him the power to enjoy : 

I say, that an untimely birth is better than he : for it cometh in 
vanity, and departeth in darkness, and the name thereof is covered 
with darkness; moreover it hath not seen the sun nor known it; 
this hath rest rather than the other. 

The sight of the eyes is better than the vain wandering of desire. 
vi. xo-xa Why should man enlarge his desires ? 

Whatsoever he be, his name was given him long ago, and it is 
known that he is Man. 

The force of these words will be abundantly evident when we 
recollect the tendency of ancient thought to look upon the Name 


of a thing as its formula of definition. Human activity is pre- 
sented as energy striving against inherent limitation. Man is Fate 
to himself. 

After another of the relief sections, occupied with miscellaneous 
Paradoxes of Life, we come to an important essay, Fourth Essay 
which puts the thought of the opening section from vii - 2 3-- x6 
a somewhat different point of view. 

I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me. That which is is 
far off, and exceeding deep; who can find it out? I turned about, 
and my heart was set to know and to search out, and to seek wisdom 
and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, and 
foolishness which is madness. 

In other words : Perhaps the problem of life is too vast to be 
solved, but is an approach to the solution possible ? Accordingly, 
the enquirer sets himself to take what steps he can in this direction. 
Hence the essay may be entitled : " The Search for Wisdom with 
Notes by the way." The section is a long one, and in the course 
of it the formula, "I find," or, "All this have I seen," ushers in 
some particular observation presented as an instalment of the solu- 
tion of life. There is no need to dwell upon the details ; most of 
his notes are notes of disappointment. But beside these one 
stands out in strong contrast. 

Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a 
merry heart; for God hath already accepted thy works. Let thy 
garments be always white; and let not thy head lack 
ointment. Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest 1X * 7 
all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under 
the sun, all the days of thy vanity : for that is thy portion in life, and 
in thy labour wherein thou labourest under the sun. 

There is another miscellaneous section, and then we reach 
the two final sections. These consist of an essay Fi f thB88ay 
followed by a sonnet. The essay presents Life as and sonnet 
a Joy shadowed by the Judgment. The sonnet xi * 7 " xu * 7 
is one of the most familiar and beautiful of all Biblical poems, with 
its symbolic picture of old age. 


Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer 
thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, 
and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these 
things God will bring thee into judgement. 

It is most important to avoid reading into this Old Testament 
Wisdom associations drawn from the New Testament. 'The 
judgment ' is one of the dominant ideas of Hebrew literature : but 
it is by no means what modern Christianity understands by that 
term. That evil and good are inherently antagonistic, that evil is 
doomed to fail in the struggle with good, this is the thought 
underlying the word ' judgment* in Old Testament poetry: but 
there is in the conception no note of time and place, no distinc- 
tion even of this world and an hereafter. Thus the effect of the 
passage quoted is to recommend happiness, but happiness accom- 
panied with a sense of responsibility. The very shortness of life 
is made by this essay a reason for putting sorrow away, and reap- 
ing to the full the bliss of living. But with this joyous youth must 
be united the remembrance of Him who has created it, and the 
familiar sonnet follows to paint the coming of the evil days, the 
decrepitude unfavourable alike to the realisation of happiness 
and to the search after God. 

The Epilogue starts, like the Prologue, with the cry, " Vanity 
of vanities, all is vanity ! " It goes on to say that the Preacher 
continued to pour out his stores of Wisdom, that he ' pon- 
dered an( ^ sou ght out ' and ( set in order ' many proverbs : 
the latter term would just describe the elaborated essays 
of the book, as the former expression would fit the miscellaneous 
sections. After a warning against multiplication of books, a con- 
clusion is made by pronouncing the whole duty of man to be the 
fear of God and the keeping of his commandments, in view of the 
judgment into which every work will be brought. 

The separate parts have been surveyed : what is the significance 
of the whole ? The Prologue cries, " All is vanity " ; the Epilogue, 
" Fear God " ; the Essays have the function of linking the two 
ideas. A twofold spirit, negative and positive, prevails through 


the book; it is a work of destructive criticism, with one posi- 
tive thought emerging and becoming continually 
stronger. The supposed experiment of Solomon Bcciesiastes as a 
reduced all things to the level of enjoyment : but 
this enjoyment, it was added, comes from God. In the attack on 
eclecticism, the thought was repeated more strongly : enjoyment 
depends, not on the man who is to enjoy, but on God, and there- 
fore on inexorable law. The next essay elaborately contrasted 
one to whom God had given wealth and the power to enjoy it, 
with another who had the possession without the enjoyment. In 
the description of the search after Wisdom, the gloomy failures 
were interrupted by a single picture of bright simple happiness, 
with the important addition that such happiness was a token that 
God had accepted the man's works. And the final essay occupies 
its whole field with the idea of joy tempered by a sense of respon- 
sibility. Devout scepticism as a background for natural happi- 
ness : this seems to sum up the whole thought of the book. 
Interpreters who have seen Ecclesiastes clouded by its supposed 
connection with the life of the historic Solomon have pronounced 
it scepticism, or hedonism, or cynicism. Cynicism it certainly 
is not : for its one positive conclusion is the supremacy of happi- 
ness. If it be hedonism, it is hedonism by Divine right. The 
Preacher cannot mention enjoyment without adding that it is 
God's gift ; the happiness he celebrates must be ' natural/ that is, 
tempered by sense of responsibility and the thought of God's 
judgment ; the means of pleasure, such as wealth and position, 
may be possessed by the wicked, but the power to enjoy them is 
God's own hall mark on the man he has accepted. Scepticism 
this book of Ecclesiastes certainly is, but it is scepticism with 
constant reference to God. God is recognised as the author of 
all things, the sole judge whose authority determines right and 
wrong. Nay, God is represented as himself the author of the 
intellectual despair that is the essence of scepticism, since he has 
placed the world in man's heart, yet so that man cannot find out 
the work that God doeth from the beginning even unto the end. 


The Bible, in the universality of its literary field, finds a place for 
scepticism ; but it presents a scepticism that is not impious but 
devout, not gloomy but a ground for sober happiness and a full life. 
Yet there is a point of view from which Ecclesiastes may be 
Attitude of the described as pessimist: at all events in compari- 
book to a Future son with another work of Wisdom literature. The 
Llfe Preacher surveys life as a whole : but it is life 

bounded by this world. Once indeed the thought of a judgment 

hereafter occurs for a moment : but it is dismissed 
hi. 16-21 . . . ' 

with a despair that sees man as only one of the beasts. 

That which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one 
thing befalleth them : as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they 
all have one breath; and man hath no pre-eminence above the 
beasts: for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, 
and all turn to dust again. Who knoweth the spirit of man whether 
it goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast whether it goeth down- 
ward to the earth? 

This attitude to the future recurs again and again : every vista 
along which the Preacher looks for light appears bounded by death. 
Like the answer to a challenge, then, comes the remaining ' Book 
of Wisdom/ which borrows once more the dramatic form of the 
historic Solomon, and in his name puts forward the startling truths 
that God made not death, that righteousness is immortal ; while it 
proceeds, with wonderful picturesqueness of imagination, to pre- 
sent the scene of the judgment hereafter, of which the Preacher 
had despaired. But the Wisdom of Solomon is so important in 
matter and so unique in form that it needs a chapter to itself. 



THE Wisdom of Solomon resembles the early Books of Wisdom 
in clothing deep reflection with artistic and even dramatic form. 
It goes far beyond these in the demands it makes Wi8domof 
upon the imagination. The dramatic monologue, Solomon': its 
applied to the idea of a judgment hereafter, pre- form 
sents an elaborate and moving picture of the wicked triumphant 
on earth and their terrible awakening beyond the grave. Indeed, 
Wisdom has an artistic weapon peculiarly its own, which may be 
called Analytic Imagination. With reverent curiosity it reads into 
the cautious reticence of some sacred narrative an array of imagi- 
nary details. Exodus speaks of a " darkness which might be felt " : 
Wisdom boldly sketches all that the imprisoned Egyptians might 
be conceived to feel in that darkness, and the result is one of the 
marvels of creative literature. 

The form of the book is distinguished by another character- 
istic, a product of different influences. The Apocrypha stands 
between our Old and New Testaments. When the writings which 
make the Old Testament came to a close, Hebrew literature still 
continued in an oral form : the vast literature of commentary 
which, from the time of Ezra, maintained itself and gathered vol- 
ume, until, in the Christian era, it took shape in the Talmud. It 
would have been strange if that which made so large a part of 
Jewish religious life had left no trace in the written literature of 
the times. A slight trace may be seen in what we have called 
maxims, the brief compositions which take the form of texts with 

305 u 


comments. But in the Wisdom of Solomon the discourses are 
entirely in this form of text and comment. 1 The 
discourses are (so to speak) dovetailed together, 
the final thought of one being akin to the text of 
the next. And the whole book is made up of such discourses : 
the strings of disconnected proverbs which in previous collections 
separated the longer compositions have now disappeared. 

In this last of the Books of Wisdom there is a curious feature 
of style, which may be just mentioned here, while its fuller treat- 
ment is relegated to an Appendix. 2 This is the use of Digression, 
not as an accidental device, but as an end in itself. 

What at first 2 ives the impassion of obscurity is 
soon recognised as an elaborate series of digres- 
sions, and digressions from those digressions, carrying the argu- 
ment further and further from the original thought ; in one case 
the dropped threads are regularly gathered up, and the argument 
brought back to its starting-point. When this peculiarity is com- 
bined with characteristics previously mentioned, it will be easy to 
understand the following as the structural form of the Wisdom of 
Solomon : A suite of five Discourses on texts, the last of which 
has a sevenfold illustration, at one point of which occurs a seven- 
fold digression. 

Passing from form to matter, we may say that this book resembles 
Eccksiastes in the fact that it turns reflection upon the sum of 
its Matter: en- things, and not merely upon details. But any such 
larged conception resemblance is thrown into the shade by the wide 
is om difference of Wisdom, both from Ecclesiastts and 

from the earlier books, in its conception of the sum of things 
which is to be surveyed. 

1 The sentences which make the texts are easily distinguishable. Whereas the 
other sentences are closely locked together by argumentative particles, the text 
sentences are, in the first two discourses, independent and hortatory (i. i, i. 12) , 
the text of the third (vi. 12) is an independent gnomic sentence. In the last two 
sections the texts are the final sentences of the preceding discourses (last line 
of ix. 18, xi. 5), which are gnomic, and unmistakably make new departures in the 

2 'See Appendix IV. 


In the first place, it is remarkable that in the earlier philosophy 
of the Bible the examination of external nature has no place. 
The mass of unit proverbs, and the essays arising out of these, 
turn upon topics of human life. If there is mention of the dili- 
gent ant, of the creatures little and wise, of the stately marchers, 
it is to point from them a human moral ; even the Preacher 
describes the rain clouds pouring their fulness on the earth, or the 
perpetual drift of rivers to the sea, only to find in these images of 
fatalism. The exquisite observation which, in Job, speaks of the 
dayspring taking hold of the ends of the earth until the dull land- 
scape has changed as clay under the seal, is the observation of the 
poet ; and from a similar source comes the sympathy with the 
wild ass in its desert freedom and the war horse chafing under 
restraint, and the wealth of detail which builds up the pictures of 
behemoth and leviathan. The first book of Proverbs and the 
prefatory sections of Ecclesiasticus deal largely with external 
nature : but only as the works of the Lord which are to be mag- 
nified. Thus the son of Sirach celebrates the clear firmament, 
the sun bringing tidings as he goes, and the rainbow glory, only to 
assist the thought that the Lord made all these things ; he enu- 
merates the material things chiefly necessary for man, and pro- 
claims that these are for good to the godly, but for sinners they 
shall be turned into evil ; he makes a climax by the thought that 
this Wisdom, of which these glories are a part, has 

. , . . f , . -r , , Ecclus. xxiv. 8 

been commanded to find a tabernacle in Jacob and 
an inheritance in Israel. It is only in the last of the Wisdom 
Books that we find the analytic examination of nature for its own 
sake which makes the substance of modern science ; and the pas- 
sage which sets forth knowledge of this kind ends by claiming it 
as part of the universal Wisdom. 

For himself gave me an unerring knowledge of the things that 
are, to know the constitution of the world, and the operation of 
the elements, the beginning and end and middle of times, 
the alternations of the solstices and the changes of sea- Vn * x7 
sons, the circuits of years and the positions of stars; the natures of 


living creatures and the ragings of wild beasts, the violences of winds 
and the thoughts of men, the diversities of plants and the virtues of 
roots : all things that are either secret or manifest I learned, for she 
that is the artificer of all things taught me, even Wisdom. 

History, no less than nature, is conspicuous by its absence from 
the early Books of Wisdom. In the whole of Proverbs and Ecck- 
siastes* and in four out of the five books of Ecclesicisticus, there 
is not a single allusion to an historic event. The fifth book of 
Ecclesiasticus is largely occupied with history ; but here the intro- 
ductory words 

Let us now praise famous men 

prepare us to expect, what the subsequent chapters confirm, that 
the writer treats history, as he treats nature, for purposes of rhetoric 
encomium, not of scientific reflection. On the other hand, more 
than half of the Wisdom of Solomon consists in analytic examina- 
tion of history ; and its conception of * Wisdom ' is enlarged to 
include the emergence of providential design from beneath the 
succession of events. 

But there is a still more important widening of the field of view 
in the last of the Books of Wisdom. The early books, ignoring 
nature and history, confined their refiection to human life : but the 
life they surveyed was a life bounded by the grave. In Proverbs 
and Eccksiasticus there is nowhere a suggestion of anything but 
this. In the case of Ecclesiastes I have drawn attention 2 to the 
passage in which the Preacher for a single moment entertains the 
thought of a judgment after death, only to fling it away and 
plunge into a pessimist doubt whether human life can have any 
ending different from that of the brutes. But in the Wisdom of 
Solomon the starting-point and foundation of the whole argument 
is the extension of life beyond the grave ; an immortality bound 
up with righteousness and the redress of wrong is assumed with 

1 I have argued above (page 297) that Solomon's experiment in i. 2 must he 
understood as an imaginary incident ; and similarly iv. 13-16 and ix. 13-16 are, like 
all the context, general statements. 

a See above, pages 299, 304. 


such certainty that it is the ' ungodly ' who are presented as ignor- 
ing it. 
This fact inevitably raises the question: Is the Wisdom of 

Solomon an answer to EccUsiastcs? In parts of , ^ ,,. 
71 7 . j . . * Relation of wis- 

wtsaom particular phrases and turns of expression dom to Bcciesias- 

seem to echo thoughts of the earlier book. The tes 

Preacher has cried that " the sons of men are a chance, and 

the beasts are a chance, and one thing befalleth 

them " ; that man hath no " power over the day ***' ' 9; VlU * 8 

of death, and there is no discharge in that war.*' The ungodly 

of the later book reflect that by mere chance they 

were born, and hereafter they will be as though li ' x>a 

they had never been, and none was ever known that gave release 

from Hades. In Eccksiastes ; 

The dead know not anything, neither have they anymore ix. 3, 6 
a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. As well 
their love as their hatred and their envy is now perished; 
neither have they any more a portion for ever in anything 
that is done under the sun. 

The same strain is heard in Wisdom : 

And our name shall be forgotten in time, and no man ii. 4 
shall remember our works; and our life shall pass away 
as the traces of a cloud, and shall be scattered as is a mist. 

One of the few positive thoughts of the Preacher is that Wisdom 
excelleth folly as far as light excelleth darkness: and 
the later book finds a climax for its panegyric on Wisdom **' * 3 
in the reflection 

Being compared with light she is found to be before it; ttt. 99 
for to the light of day succeedeth night, but against 
wisdom evil doth not prevail. 

Above all, the pessimism of Eccksiastes reflects that " the righteous, 
and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God" : ix. x 
that they know not what fortune he will bestow upon them and 


are powerless to influence it. The phrase seems .to b6 caught up 
by the optimist thinker 

iii. i The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment 

shall touch them 

and this is his foundation for a picture of goodness triumphant. 
Such parallelisms are insufficient to prove anything as to the inten- 
tion of the writer ; but they certainly serve as an enhancement 
to the literary interest of the reader. 

When we. consider the matter and general argument of Wisdom 
there is more ground for considering it a veiled answer to Ecclesi- 
astes. This will appear as I proceed to review the several dis- 
courses. I may here, however, premise, that the suggestion is not 
of any such antagonism between the two books as would imply 
that one was right and the other wrong. The exact attitude of 
Wisdom to EcclcsiasUs seems to me to be that of St. Peter to 
St. Paul when the former says : 

n Peter In all his epistles ... are some things hard to be understood, which 
iii. 16 the ignorant and unstedfast wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, 
unto their own destruction. 

No argument of Eccksiastes is in Wisdom cited and attacked ; but 
the second discourse undoubtedly presents the ignorant and unsted- 
fast ' wresting ' the Preacher's theory of life to their own destruction. 

The first discourse is on Singleness of Heart. The text is made 
by the opening words of the book. 

Love righteousness, ye that be judges of the earth, 
Think ye of the Lord with a good mind, 
And in singleness of heart seek ye him. 

The*comment on this text is brief and simple. But its simplicity 
becomes charged with keen interest if we look upon the discourse 

as glancing indirectly at the opening essay of Eccle- 
First Discourse s i a ^f es% That essay imagined a great experiment 

of gojpmpn ; how hs .would lay hold on folly, hte 
heart; jet guidipg^jfn.>yith < wi3doni; haw he would heap together 


every form of pleasure, and withhold nothing that his eyes should 
desire, yet at the same time his wisdom should remain with him. 
The present discourse seems boldly to pronounce such an experi- 
ment impossible. 

"Wisdom will not enter into a soul that deviseth evil, nor dwell in a 
body that is held in pledge by sin. For a holy spirit of discipline 
will flee deceit, and will start away from thoughts that are without 
understanding, and will be put to confusion when unrighteousness 
hath come in. 

And this thought is enforced by enlarging upon the spirit of the 
Lord filling the world, while an ear of jealousy listens to every 
secret utterance. 

The second is the main discourse of the whole series. It might 
well have for its title : Immortality and the Covenant with Death. 
Here is the point at which the opposition between 
the two Books of Wisdom is most acute. The Second Discourse 
Preacher, whichever way he turned, found death 
as an inevitable destiny mocking human effort. In startling con- 
tradiction to this the very text of the present discourse assumes 
death to be a thing of human origin. 

Court not death in the error of your life ; 

Neither draiu upon yourselves destruction by the works of your hands. 

All doubt about the doctrine is removed by the first words of 
comment : " God made not death." Ecclesiastes, with melancholy 
iteration, had insisted on joining man with the beasts in regard to 
his end. But the present discourse declares that all the races of 
creatures in the world are healthsome by creation, and that Hades 
has no royal dominion on earth : " for righteousness is immortal." 
Whence, then, has come death into the world ? By invitation of the 
ungodly. The invitation is described as being " by their hands 
and their wprds." The ungodly life is interpreted as a covenant 
with death. The discourse proceeds to voice this ungodly life in a 
monologue which starts from the point of view of Ecclesiastes. 


Short and sorrowful is our life; and there is no healing when a 
man cometh to his end, and none was ever known that gave release 
from Hades; because by mere chance were we born, and hereafter 
we shall be as though we had never been : because the breath in our 
nostrils is smoke,' and reason is a spark kindled by the beating of 
our heart, which being extinguished the body shall be turned into 
' ashes, and the spirit shall be dispersed as thin air; and our name 
shall be forgotten in time, and no man shall remember our works; 
and our life shall pass away as the traces of a cloud, and shall be 
scattered as is a mist, when it is chased by the beams of the sun, and 
overcome by the heat thereof. For our allotted time is the passing o' 
a shadow, and our end retreateth not; because it is fast sealed, ana 
none turneth it back. 

Come therefore and let us enjoy the good things that are; and 
let us use the creation with all our soul as youth's possession. Let 
us fill ourselves with costly wine and perfumes; and let no flower 
of spring pass us by : let us crown ourselves with rosebuds, befor' 
they be withered : let none of us go without his share in our proud 
revelry : everywhere let us leave tokens of our mirth : because this 
is our portion, and our lot is this. 

So far the train of reasoning has corresponded with the theory of 
life laid down in Eccksiastes. But now comes an unexpected 
trend of thought. It will be recollected that the Preacher's 
momentary conception of a judgment beyond the grave, and 
subsequent lapse into hopelessness, came upon him when he con- 
templated wickedness seated in the place of judgment. As the 
present monologue continues, we find this wicked oppression 
springing naturally out of the Preacher's own conception of life. 

Let us oppress the righteous poor; let us not spare fne wi'dow, nor 
reverence the hairs of the old man gray for length of years. But let 
our strength be to us a law of righteousness; for that which is weak 
is found to be of no service* But let us lie in wait for the righteous 
man, because he is of disservice to us, and is contrary to our works, 
and upbraid eth us with sins against the law, and layeth to our 
charge sins against our -.discipline. He professeth to have knowl- 
edge of God, and nameth himself servant of the Lord. He became 
to us a reproof of our thoughts. He is grievous to as even to 
behold, because his life is unlike other men's, and his paths are 


of strange fashion. We were accounted of him as -base metal, 
and he abstaineth from our ways as from uncleannesses. The 
latter end of the righteous he calleth happy; and he vaunteth that 
God is his father. Let us see if his words be true, and let us try 
what shall befall in the ending of his life. For if the righteous man 
is God's son, he will uphold him, and he will deliver him out of the 
hand of his adversaries. With outrage and torture let us put him to 
the test, that we may ham his gentleness, and may prove his patience 
under wrong. Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for he 
shall be visited according to his words. 

The author breaks in to say how these reasoners are blinded by 
wickedness to the mysteries of God ; and (as already pointed out) 
he catches at a phrase of the Preacher to turn it to an opposite use. 

The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no tor- 
ment shall touch them. In the eyes of the foolish they seemed 
to have died ; and their departure was accounted to be their hurt, 
and their journeying away from us to be their ruin : but they are in 
peace. For even if in the sight of men they be punished, their hope 
is full of immortality; and having borne a little chastening, they shall 
receive great good . . . and in the time of their visitation they shall 
shine forth, and as sparks among stubble they shall run to and fro. 
They shall judge nations, and have dominion over peoples; and the 
Lord shall reign over them for evermore. 

The picture of the ungodly reasoners is to be completed by a 
companion picture of the same reasoners beyond the grave. But 
first, with his tendency to digression, the author turns aside to 
glance at the rival hopes to this his hope of immortality. The 
substitutes for our modern conception of immortality in the minds 
of Old Testament worthies were two : length of days in this world, 
and the living over again in posterity. The author of Wisdom 
strikes at both these ideas. The multiplying brood of the ungodly 
is profitless : better is childlessness with virtue. As for length of 
days : it may well be that the life cut short is the life crowned. 

For honourable old age is not that which standeth in length of time, 
nor is its measure given by number of years : but understanding is 
gray hairs unto men, and an unspotted life is ripe old age, . , . Being 


made perfect in a little while he fulfilled long years; for his soul was 
pleasing unto the Lord : therefore he hastened him away out of the 
midst <?f wickedness. 

And now the dramatic monologue is again called into requisition 
to paint the amazement of the ungodly, risen from a dishonoured 
sojburn among the dead, to behold the righteous standing in great 
boldness before those who afflicted him. 

This was he whom aforetime we had in derision, and made a 
parable of reproach : we fools accounted his life madness, and his 
end without honour: how was he numbered among sons of God? 
and how is his lot among saints? Verily we went astray from the 
way of truth, and the light of righteousness shined not for us, and 
the sun rose not for us. We took our fill of the paths of lawlessness 
and destruction, and we journeyed through trackless deserts, but the 
way of the Lord we knew not. What did our arrogancy profit us? 
And what good have riches and vaunting brought us? Those things 
all passed away as a shadow, and as a message that runneth by : as 
a ship passing through the billowy water, whereof, when it is gone 
by, there is no trace to be found, neither pathway of its keel in the 
billows : or as when a bird flieth through the air, no token of her 
passage is found, but the light wind, lashed with the stroke of 
her pinions, and rent asunder with the violent rush of the moving 
wings, is passed through, and afterwards no sign of her coming is 
found therein : or as when an arrow is shot at a mark, the air dis- 
parted close th up again immediately, so that men know not where 
it passed through : so we also, as soon as we were born, ceased to 
be ; and of virtue we had no sign to shew, but in our wickedness we 
were utterly consumed. 

The author speaks in person to second this despair : the hope of 
the ungodly is as smoke and vanishing foam, while the righteous 
live for ever. Then the discourse reaches a peroration in a picture 
of the universe united to war against the enemies of good. 

He shall take his jealousy as complete armour, and shall make the 
whole creation his weapons for vengeance on his enemies : he shall 
put on righteousness as a breastplate, and shall array himself with 
judgement unfeigned as with a helmet; he shall take holiness as an 
invincible shield, and he shall sharpen stern wrath for a sword. And 


the world shall go forth with him to fight against his insensate foes. 
Shafts of lightning shall fly with true aim, and from the clouds, as. 
from a well drawn bow, shall they leap to the mark. And as from 
an engine of war shall be hurled hailstones full of wrath; the water 
of the sea shall be angered against them, and rivers shall sternly over- 
whelm them; a mighty blast shall encounter them, and as a tem- 
pest shall it winnow them away: and so shall lawlessness make 
all the land desolate, and their evil doing shall overturn the thrones 
of princes. 

An appeal to Kings, as those whose responsibility is greater 
than that of lowly men, closes the second discourse, and prepares 
for the text of the third, that Wisdom is found of 
her seekers, nay, forestalled them by making her- rdjDiscourse 
self first known. This discourse is devoted to the 
personality of King Solomon : a personality which, as in Ecclesi- 
astes, is dropped when its purpose has been served. Here in full 
distinctness we have a king addressing his brother kings ; and a very 
different character is painted from that of the Preacher's Solomon. 
The wisest of men tells how he was mortal, like all others ; moulded, 
like all others, in the womb ; how he was born, and drew in the 
common air, and fell upon the kindred earth, his first voice a wail : 
for all men have one entrance into life, and a like departure. For 
this cause he had to pray for the understanding that has been 
given to him. % And this understanding he preferred before sceptres 
and thrones, and riches, and health, and comeliness, and all other 
good things : but with this Wisdom came to him all other good 
things, for she is the mother and artificer of them all. Then fol- 
lows the famous panegyric. 

For there is in her a spirit quick of understanding, holy, alone in- 
kind, manifold, subtil, freely moving, clear in utterance, unpolluted, 
distinct, unharmed, loving what is good, keen, unhindered, beneficent, 
loving toward man, stedfast, sure, free from care, all-powerful, all- 
surveying, and penetrating through all spirits that are quick of under- 
standing, pure, most subtil: for wisdom is more mobile than any 
motion; yea, she pervadeth and penetrateth all things by reason of 
her pureness. For she is a breath of the power of God, And a clear 


effluence of the glory of the Almighty; therefore can nothing defiled 
find entrance into her. For she is an effulgence from everlasting 
light, and an unspotted mirror of the working of God, and an image 
of his goodness. And she, being one, hath power to do all things; 
and, remaining in herself, reneweth all things : and from generation 
to generation passing into holy souls she maketh men friends of God 
and prophets. For nothing doth God love save him that dwelleth 
with wisdom. For she is fairer than the sun, and above all the con- 
stellations of the stars : being compared with light, she is found to be 
before it; for to the light of day succeedeth night, but against wis- 
dom evil doth not prevail; but she reacheth from one end of the 
world to the other with full strength, and ordereth all things gra- 

Such Wisdom Solomon tells how he loved from his youth, and 
sought to take her for his bride ; with her as his spouse he would 
gain glory among the multitudes and honour in the sight of the 
elders; because of her he would have immortality, and leave 
behind an eternal memory; he will govern people and be 
courageous in war. 

When I am come into my house, I shall find rest with her; for 
converse with her hath no bitterness, and to live with her hath no 
pain, but gladness and joy. 

Accordingly he pleaded with the Lord, that he would send down 
Wisdom out of the holy heavens and from the throne of his glory : 
and thus the historic prayer of Gibeon is expanded 


into an elaborate appeal. The concluding part of 

this prayer makes the transition to the important discourses which 
are to follow. 

For a corruptible body weigheth down the soul, and the earthly 
frame lieth heavy on a mind that is full of cares. And hardly do we 
divine the things that are on earth, and the things that are close at 
hand we find with labour; but the things that are in the heavens who 
ever yet traced out? And who ever gained knowledge of thy counsel, 
except thou gavest wisdom, and sentest thy holy spirit from on high? 
And it was thus that the ways of them which are on earth were 
corrected, and men were taught the things that are pleasing unto 
thee : and through wisdom were they saved. 

* 4 


These last words become the text on which the discourse that 
is to follow is founded. 

Through wisdom were they saved, 

This fourth discourse occupies a transitional position in the train 
of thought which connects the last three sections of the book. 
Without attempting to analyse all the shades of 
meaning and mystic senses that attach to the word ^f^ Disoourse 
' wisdom/ it may be said that they centre around 
two main usages, which may be broadly distinguished as subjective 
and objective : the wisdom which an individual, from whatever 
source, receives into himself, and by which he guides his actions, 
and again the wisdom which underlies the sum of things. Of 
course the two senses are closely related : an individual is wise in 
personal wisdom when he brings himself into conformity with the 
Divine order and harmony. The final discourse will, without 
using the word, 1 expound wisdom in the objective sense as seen in 
history. The third discourse has ended with Solomon's prayer for 
personal wisdom. This section which intervenes deals with his- 
tory, but mainly with its prominent individuals ; and its use of the 
term * wisdom 7 in an interesting manner hovers between the two 
senses of the word. In the opening reference to Adam 

Wisdom guarded to the end the first formed father of the world, 
that was created alone, and delivered him out of his own transgres- 
sion, and gave him strength to get dominion over all things 

the first clause seems to speak of external guidance, the rest of 
celf-discipline. It is from wisdom in the latter sense that Cain 
' fell away ' in his anger ; but it must be wisdopi as providential 
guidance that saved the world from the flood, guiding the right- 
eous man's course by a poor piece of wood. Providence must be 
the wisdom that "knew the righteous man," Abraham: but wis- 
dom in the other sense " preserved him blameless " unto God, and 
kept him strong when his heart yearned toward his child. Exter- 

1 It occurs only once (xiv. 5) in a subordinate phrase. 


nal wisdom saved Lot, but it must be the wisdom within that Lot's 
wife ' passed by/ and became a monument of folly. It is provi- 
dential wisdom that guided the fugitive Jacob, and still more 
clearly the same wisdom which went down into the dungeon with 
Joseph, and left him not till she brought him the sceptre of a king- 
dom. When Moses is reached, the two senses seem again to 
interlace : 

Wisdom delivered a holy people and a blameless seed from a nation 
of oppressors. She entered into the soul of a servant of the Lcrd, 
and withstood terrible kings in wonders and signs. 

But as the details of the deliverance are reviewed the thought is 
more and more of providential guidance, until we find ourselves 
in the analysis of history that constitutes the final discourse. 

The fifth and last section, in bulk equal to one half the book, 
branches off at the words : 

For by what things their foes were punished, 
By these they in their need were benefited. 

This text conveys clearly the argument of the whole discourse ; 
though (as remarked above) at one part of it there occurs a 
Fifth Dis- chain of digressions, carrying our thoughts from 

course^ one to another of kindred topics, until the original 

argument is recovered and maintained to the close. 1 
The text embodies a principle of providential government, and 
the discourse elaborately supports it with seven illustrations con- 
nected with the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt. 

The first of the "things' illustrating the principle is thirst. 
For the Egyptians the inexhaustible Nile turned to blood meet 
judgment on those who had shed the blood of infants : while for 
Israel the desert rock poured out abundant streams, Israel having 
suffered thirst just enough to understand the torment of their 
enemies, and see the difference between fatherly admonition and 
the wrath of a stern king. : * 

.* See Appendix IV. . -.:. . 


It is as the writer is commencing a second illustration that the 
series of digressions begins. One of these digressions puts the 
principle of providential government which in sec- The Chain of 
ular literature is called nemesis : by what things a Digressions 
man sinneth by these he is punished. The example xi * I5 " xvi - 1 
that suggests it is the plague of vermin sent upon the Egyptians, 
who are vermin worshippers. This leads to a further argument 
on the forbearance of God in his judgments 

, . . . . /. , . ** ai-xii 

making the judgment assume a form that is equiv- 
alent to admonition, and convicting little by little so as to give a 
place for repentance : this is the forbearance of strength, and of 
one who loves everything that he has made. Another digression 
is on the folly of idolatry. There are degrees in 
that folly : least blamable are those who mistake xii j' I ~ xiv * " 

J and xv 

the beautiful works of nature for God ; next mis- 
erable are those who rest their hopes in dead things like gold or 
silver ; but the furthest gone in folly are the Egyptians in their 
deifying creatures hateful and void of beauty. The scorn of the 
wise man closely follows the scorn of the prophet, in fancying a 
woodcutter cutting down a tree and carefully fashioning the best 
wood into useful vessels, then warming food with the refuse, and 
then taking the very refuse that is good for nothing and carving it 
in an idle hour into a god. 

For health he calleth upon that which is weak, and for life he 
bcseecheth that which is dead, and for aid he supplicateth that 
which hath least experience, and for a good journey that which can- 
not so much as move a step, and for gaining and getting and good 
success of his hands he asketh ability of that which with its hands 
is most unable. Again, one preparing to sail, and about to journey 
over raging waves, calleth upon a piece of wood more rotten than 
the vessel that carrieth him. 

The folly of idolatry leads naturally to the question of its origin. 

The writer insists that idolatry is a corruption, and not 

xiv. 12-31 

one of the things that have been from the beginning. It 

may have begun in the image of a lost child, or an absent king, 


coming in time to be honoured with rites and worship, until stocks 
and stones have become invested with the incomn^unicable Name. 
With such corruption of worship has crept in corruption of 
morals frantic revels, tumult, perjury, defiling of souls, confu- 
sion of sex, adultery, and wantonness : they live in a great war of 
ignorance, and that multitude of evils they call peace. 

The digressions have occupied half of the whole discourse ; the 
original argument is resumed with a second illustration of things 

. which were judgments on the wicked turning to mercies 

on God's people. This is connected with appetite : the 
plague of vermin caused the Egyptians to loathe their necessary 
food, but to the Israelites were sent quails of dainty flavour when 
their appetite had become keen in the desert. A third illustration 
is founded on noxious bites ; the bites of locusts and flies destroyed 
without healing the men of Egypt ; whereas the rage of crooked 
serpents did but admonish God's people to heed his oracles, and 
then salvation was found for them, not indeed from that which 
they gazed upon, but from the Healer of all, who has authority 
over life and death. Once more, there is a contrast between the 
rain of hail and showers inexorable mingling with fire which 
destroyed the fruits of Egypt, and the rain of angels' bread from 
heaven on God's people in the wilderness. The contrast is worked 
out with minute subtlety. The elements strained their force 
against the unrighteous, the fire of destruction burning in the 
rain and flashing in the hail; while the same fire slackened in 
behalf of the Israelites, and, like the fire of a domestic hearth, 
tempered the food to every taste. Yet the manna which the 
fire had thus not marred melted in the first faint sunbeam, teach- 
ing men to rise early to give thanks. 

The fifth example gives great scope for the feature of style 
which I have called analytic imagination. It is the plague of 

When lawless men had supposed that they held a holy nation in 
their power, they themselves, prisoners of darkness, and bound in 
the fetters of a long night, close kept beneath their roofs, lay exiled 


from the eternal providence. For while they thought that they were 
unseen in their secret sins, they were sundered one from another by 
a dark curttdn of forgetfulness, stricken with terrible awe, and sore 
troubled by spectral forms. For neither did the dark recesses that 
held them guard them from fears, but sounds rushing down rang 
around them, and phantoms appeared, cheerless with unsmiling 
faces. And no force of fire prevailed to give them light, neither were 
the brightest flames of the stars strong enough to illumine that 
gloomy night : but only there appeared to them the glimmering of a 
fire self-kindled, full of fear; and in terror they deemed the things 
which they saw to be worse than that sight, on which they could not 
gaze. And they lay helpless, made the sport of magic art, and a 
shameful rebuke of their vaunts of understanding: for they that 
promised to drive away terrors and troublings from a sick soul, these 
were themselves sick with a ludicrous fearfulness: for even if no 
troublous thing affrighted them, yet, scared with the creepings of 
vermin and hissings of serpents, they perished for very trem- 
bling, refusing even to look on the air, which could on no side be 
escaped. . . . All through the night which was powerless indeed, 
and which came upon them out of the recesses of powerless Hades, 
all sleeping the same sleep, now were haunted with monstrous appa- 
ritions, and now were paralysed by their souls' surrendering; for 
fear sudden and unlocked for came upon them. So then every man, 
whosoever it might be, sinking down in his place, was kept in ward 
shut up in that prison which was barred not with iron : for whether 
he were a husbandman, or a shepherd, or a labourer whose toils 
were in the wilderness, he was overtaken, and endured that inevitable 
necessity, for with one chain of darkness were they all bound. 
Whether there were a whistling wind, or a melodious noise of birds 
among the spreading branches, or a measured fall of water running 
violently, or a harsh crashing of rocks hurled down, or the swift 
course of animals bounding along unseen, or the voice of wild beasts 
harshly roaring, or an echo rebounding from the hollows of the 
mountains, all these things paralysed them with terror. For the 
whole world beside was enlightened with clear light, and was occu- 
pied with unhindered works; while over them alone was spread a 
heavy night, an image of the darkness that should afterward receive 
them ; but yet heavier than darkness were they unto themselves. 

With such supernatural darkness is contrasted the great light 
enjoyed all the while by the holy ones ; and further, the burning 


pillar of fire sent as convoy of their unknown journey, and kindly 
sun for their proud exile. 

The sixth illustration reverses the order of the contrast. First 
is mentioned the night of deliverance to the chosen people, when 
sacrifice was being offered in secret, and with one consent they 
took upon themselves the covenant of Divine law. The fathers 
were already leading the sacred songs of praise when there sounded 
back in discord the cry of the stricken enemy. 

For while peaceful silence enwrapped all things, and night in her 
own swiftness was in mid course, thine all-powerful word leaped 
from heaven out of the royal throne, a stern warrior, into the midst 
of the doomed land, bearing as a sharp sword thine unfeigned com- 
mandment; and standing it filled all things with death; and while 
it touched the heaven it trod upon the earth. 

And a picture follows of the dead thrown here and there in the 
tossings of troubled dreams which showed to each his doom ere 
the death fell on him. 

Finally, death itself is amongst the things which are judgments 
alike and benefits. It befell the righteous to make trial of death, 
but only as a brief calamity ; for the blameless Phinehas, bringing 
the weapons of his ministry, confronted the advancing wrath, and 
cut off the way to the living. But upon the ungodly came wrath 
without mercy, who by a counsel of folly pursued the fugitives, 
and themselves met with strange death, creation fashioning itself 
anew, and land rising out of the sea for the salvation of the fugi- 
tives. In the deliverance Israel thus celebrated, and the plagues 
of Egypt fresh in their memory, and the gifts of ambrosial food 
they were soon to receive, might they see all the elements, inter- 
changing like the notes of a psaltery, conspire to magnify the 
people of God. 

So ends the last of the Scriptural Books of Wisdom. Through- 
out its whole course it has returned to the tone of serene contem- 
plation, broken only by adoration, which had distinguished all 
Wisdom literature except Ecclesiastes. The middle discourse of 


the series has vindicated Solomon from the morbid experiment 
imagined for him by the Preacher, and portrayed in his personality 
individual wisdom in its most kingly form. The earlier discourses 
have set over against the pessimist conception of a life bounded 
by death the optimism that is made by extending the vision into 
a future beyond the grave ; while, in place of the Preacher's con- 
cluding strain of clinging to happiness, the opening note of the 
present book is, Love righteousness. And as these discourses 
have dealt with the future, so the concluding discourses extend 
the field of Wisdom to include the past, and the history of God's 
people has been presented as an ordered scheme of providence. 

We have seen that the Philosophy of the Bible takes its rise 
from a floating literature of proverbs. The form of these germ 
proverbs is fixed to that of a single couplet ; accordingly 
the couplet is the meeting point of verse and prose. 
Proverb literature develops on the one side into the poetic forms 
of the epigram and the sonnet, on the other side it travels prose- 
wards in maxims and essays ; but in either case Biblical Phi- 
losophy always seeks artistic form, and it is just where the thought 
is most elaborate that the most extended dramatic monologues 
are found, or the most brilliant rhetorical encomia and pictures. 
In matter and spirit this Biblical Philosophy is ' Wisdom ' : reflec- 
tion associates itself with practical life. In the earlier works 
reflection has been directed upon life in its separate parts, and 
miscellanies of practical wisdom are the result: the totality of 
things is not a subject for theorising upon, but is approached with 
awe, and worshipped as a personified Wisdom. With Ecdesiastes 
we reach the point at which analysis has turned itself upon the 
sum of things, and there ensues a strange divorce between theory 
and practice : while the old miscellaneous maxims still appear, we 
now hear of a whole duty of man, and this is presented as a rev- 
erent happiness ; but on the other hand the theory of life has 
started only to break down in negations, and in despair of all but 
God. But in the Wisdom of Solomon Philosophy has recovered 



its balance, theoretical and practical are harmonised. The prin- 
ciple underlying the All an All which takes in past, present, and 
future has again become Wisdom, and is again contemplated 
with rapture ; detailed maxims of practical life have disappeared, 
except so far as they are items in a universal system. But this 
final achievement of philosophic reflection has been brought about 
by drawing within the field of thought something which has not 
been obtained from philosophy : it is the tacit assumption of a 
future world that has reversed the conclusions of Ecclesiastes. 
And when this final stage of Wisdom literature has been reached, 
the conception of ' Wisdom ' itself has become so deep and so 
many-sided that it would be impossible to discuss it without 
trenching upon the deepest mysteries of Theology. 






XVII. THE RHAPSODY OF < ZION REDEEMED > [Isa. xi-lxvi] . 395 




WE commence in this chapter another of the grand depart- 
ments of Biblical literature ; and our first difficulty is its name 
Prophecy. By one of those silent changes in the pro hec 
signification of words, which are brought about by department of 
the wear and tear of ordinary speech, this word llterature 
* Prophecy ' has, for about a century, narrowed itself, in common 
parlance, to the sense of ' prediction ' ; and there are many readers 
of the Bible to whom the term suggests nothing more than the 
foretelling of the future. It is, of course, true that the Hebrew 
prophets dealt with the future, as they dealt with the present and 
the past. But the reference to future time is not the sole, nor 
even the chief, function of the literature we are about to survey. 
The pro- in prophecy is not the pro- that means * before ' but the 
pro- that means ' forth ' : Prophecy is a forth-pouring or out- 
pouring of discourse. That such out-pouring of discourse belongs, 
not only to the thing described, but also to the signification of 
the English word, is powerfully illustrated by the fact that a father 
of the Anglican Church and great master of English prose, writing 
in the seventeenth century a work in which he was to plead for 
the freedom of the English pulpit, gave to it the title : ' Liberty of 
Prophesying.' The true distinction of this department of Biblical 
literature lies in its presenting itself as the channel of an immediate 
Divine message : " Thus saith the Lord " is con- Forms of Pro- 
tained explicitly or implicitly in every utterance of P hetic Literature 
the prophets. The essence of Prophecy then belongs to its spirit 



and matter : what more of description is needed will be given by 
distinguishing the various forms in which the prophetic matter can 
be conveyed. 

The simplest form of Prophecy, and the form of most frequent 
occurrence, is the Prophetic Discourse : counterpart to the modern 
The Prophetic Sermon. The Divine message essential to Prophecy 
Discourse i s no t to be understood as the Discourse itself, but 

rather, in theory at least, as the subject or text of the Discourse, 
which all the rest is to explain or enforce. In this connec- 
tion it is important to note a word which even in the Bible itself 
(The word seems to be used as a technical term : the word 

'Burden') translated ' Burden, 1 in the titles to chapters of 

Prophecy, and in the text itself. 1 It would appear that this was 
understood of the actual Divine message, though the term was 
abused by false prophets as a name under which to clothe their 
own imaginings. 

Jeremiah Behold, I am against them that prophesy lying dreams, saith the 
li. 3a LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, 
and by their vain boasting: yet I sent them not, nor commanded 
them; neither shall they profit this people at all, saith the LORD. 
And when this people, or the prophet, or a priest, shall ask thee, 
saying, What is the burden of the LORD? then shalt thou say unto 
them, What burden ! I will cast you off, saith the LORD. And as for 
the prophet, and the priest, and the people, that shall say, The bur- 
den of the LORD, I will even punish that man and his house. Thus 
shall ye say every one to his neighbour, and every one to his brother, 
What hath the LORD answered? and, What hath the LORD spoken? 
And the burden of the LORD shall ye mention no more : for every 
man's own word is his burden, and ye pervert the words of the living 
God, of the LORD of hosts our God. 

In the Prophetic Discourses as they have reached us, however, 
the text and recommendatory matter seem fused together without 
distinction. Such merging of a Divine message in the exhortations 
enforcing it may be illustrated from that which is the prototype 

*The word substituted by R. V. (in titles, but not in the text) is ' Oracles' : this 
explains the usage by a parallel term in secular literatures. 


of all Prophetic Discourses, the Ten Commandments. The 
versions of the Ten Commandments in Exodus and in Deuter- 
onomy, though each is introduced with the formula, "The Lord 
spake . . . saying," yet differ, not verbally only, but in substance ; 
in particular, the reason assigned for the observance of the Sabbath 
is entirely different in the two books. The natural explanation of 
this is to understand that the actual commandment inscribed on 
tables of stone would be limited to the imperative clause, " Thou 
shalt not make unto thee any graven image," "Remember the 
Sabbath day, to keep it holy"; in the simple commandments 
directed against murder or theft nothing more would be needed, 
but in the more spiritual commandments comment would be added 
by Moses, based on his general intercourse with God, and not 
upon the Divine words of any particular occasion. A similar 
intermingling of message and exhortation extends throughout the 
whole literature of Prophecy. And a passage in Ezekiel shows us 
that, even in the times of the prophets themselves, the rhetorical 
element in their discourses was coming to be regarded as a sepa- 
rate interest. 

Son of man, the children of thy people talk of thee by the walls 
and in the doors of the houses, and spea k one to another, every one 
to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is 
the word that cometh forth from the LORD. . . . And, j^ff 1 
lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that 
hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument : for they 
hear thy words, but they do them not. 

When the discourses of Prophecy are analysed as pieces of 
literature, we find, as we should expect, that they do not as a rule 
exhibit any clear structural plan, but rather contain warning, 
description, reflection, intermingling in a fervour of appeal. A 
typical discourse is that which makes the opening chapter 
of Isaiah ; where the idea of children rebelling against a 
Divine parent, of the abject condition of the people leading them 
to fresh sin, of their intentness on sacrifices and neglect of right- 
eousness, the golden hopes held out to them, the picture of 


universal corruption with the threat of terrible purging that shall 
leave no more than a small remnant, all combine in a rush of 
passionate thought that has no need of logical arrangement. 

There are, however, some discourses which have structural as 
well as other interest. The elaborate manifesto of Isaiah which 

follows the opening chapter commences with an 

Isaiah ii-iv . . r r . 

ideal picture of the mountain of the Lord s house 
established at the head of the mountains, and all nations flowing 
to it to learn His ways, beating their swords into ploughshares for an 
era of universal peace. In the light of such a picture the prophet 
invites the house of Jacob to walk : and so plunges into denun- 
ciatory portrayal of corruption and idolatry, against which he 
places in contrast the terror of the majesty of the Lord. The 
general upsetting of natural relations he makes the beginning of 
judgment on oppression; the luxury of women he scornfully 
details, and threatens the nemesis that is coming upon it. From 
such ideas of judgment the prophet passes, by the image of a 
young shoot from an old tree, to the remnant of Israel that shall 
be again beautiful, cleansed from pollution, and blest again with 
the nightly fire and daily cloud of Divine guidance. So to frame 
a denunciation between pictures of a golden age at the beginning 
and end, gives an individuality of plan to this deliverance of Isaiah. 
A discourse of Ezekiel, again, has distinctiveness of form given 

to it by its being cast wholly in the mould of 
Bzekielxxxiv . . ' . , . 

pastoral ideas and scenery. God declares Him- 
self against the Shepherds of Israel, that feed themselves and not 
the sheep. 

Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill the fallings; 
but ye feed not the sheep. The diseased have ye not strengthened, 
neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound 
up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which 
was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but 
with force and with rigour have ye ruled over them. 

Still under the name of sheep is described the loss of God's people, 
wandering without rescue until He shall seek them out Himself, 


As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his 
sheep that are scattered abroad, so will I seek out my sheep; and I 
will deliver them out of all places whither they have been scattered 
in the cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the 
peoples, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into 
their own land; and I will feed them upon the mountains of Israel, 
by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 

Among His other gifts, God will feed them with the 'judgment ' that 
makes distinction between oppression and meekness. 

Seemeth it a small thing unto you to have fed upon the good past- 
ure, but ye must tread down with your feet the residue of your 
pasture? and to have drunk of the clear waters, but ye must foul 
the residue with your feet? And as for my sheep, they eat that 
which ye have trodden with your feet, and they drink that which ye 
have fouled with your feet. Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD 
unto them : Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and 
the lean cattle. 

As usual, the prophecy works towards the thought of restoration, 
and a purified people amid ideal surroundings. 

And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, 
even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their 
shepherd. And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant 
David prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it. And I will 
make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause evil beasts to 
cease out of the land : and they shall dwell securely in the wilder- 
ness, and sleep in the woods. And I will make them and the places 
round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come 
down in its season; there shall be showers of blessing. And the 
tree of the field shall yield its fruit, and the earth shall yield her 
increase, and they shall be secure in their land; and they shall know 
that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bars of their yoke, and 
have delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves 
of them. 

With exquisite tenderness the pastoral imagery has been maintained 
without a break ; only in the last verse is the image dropped. 

And ye my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are men, and I am 
your God, saith the Lord GOD. 


In treating Lyric Poetry I spoke of the pendulum structure, or 
swaying of a poem in successive sections between opposite sides 
of a theme. This structure is very characteristic of Prophecy, 
especially the swaying between pictures of judgment and mercy; 
an interpreter should keep it constantly before his mind as a pos- 
sible clue to the connection of thought in any portion of prophetic 
literature. I will here illustrate only with a very simple example. 
A discourse of Jeremiah opens with sounds of 
trembling and fear, a picture of Jacob in time of 
trouble : as if men travailed with child, every man 
bowed down with anguish, and all faces pale. In that day, the next 
paragraph declares, the yoke of slavery shall be broken from off his 
neck : as the servant of Jehovah he shall be brought from far-off 
lands of captivity to quiet and ease in his own land, while full end 
is made of all the oppressing nations. With the formula, " For thus 
saith the Lord/* the next paragraph goes back to the conception 
of judgment : Jacob's wound is described as incurable, Jehovah has 
wounded him with the wound of an enemy, there is no medicine nor 
plaister, all the lovers of Jacob have forgotten him in his sore need. 
With the connective ' therefore J the discourse passes to the reverse 
of this picture : health restored, adversaries devoured, captivity 
turned, the city builded on its own heap, with glory and thanksgiving 
sounding out of its palaces. Thus to the instinct of Hebrew poetry 
this passing backwards and forwards between opposites seems to 
present itself as a continuously advancing train of thought. 

I have said that prediction is only a secondary element of 
Scriptural prophecy. Still, it has its place, and occasionally a 
whole discourse is given up to a picture of the future. An inter- 
esting example is the last of the discourses ascribed to the prophet 
zechariah xiv Zech ariah. It describes a ' Day of the Lord * which 
is to come. All nations will be gathered against 
Jerusalem to battle ; the city will be taken, and suffer the horrors 
of war, and half its people will go away into captivity, before the 
Lord appears to save. This salvation seems to echo the deliv- 
erances of past history. As the Red Sea divided to afford escape 


from the pursuing Egyptians, so now the Mount of Olives is 
cloven, and the fugitives escape through the valley. With a 
reminiscence of the sun and moon standing still for Joshua, we 
read of the succession of day and night being interrupted : at the 
time for evening there is still light, and the delivered people have, 
not day and not night, but " one day which is known unto the 
Lord. 1 ' The nations that warred against Jerusalem are smitten 
with consuming plagues, the description of which recalls the curse 
in Deuteronomy. The very land shall change its surface, until 
Jerusalem alone stands out on high, and from its height healing 
waters flow on either side to the boundary sea. In Jerusalem the 
LORD shall reign as king over all the earth : the nations that had 
fought against the holy City shall go thither to worship, distant 
Egypt not excepted, while drought of heaven and plagues of earth 
shall unite to punish those who fail. A new age of holiness is thus 
introduced ; when there is no need for traffic ; when all life resolves 
itself into journeys to the sacred feasts ; when holiness is inscribed 
on the bells of the horses, and the meanest pot in the Lord's house 
is as holy as the bowls before the altar. 

From the general Prophetic Discourse a small variation brings 
us to Lyric Prophecy. High-strung oratory easily passes into 
lyric verse ; the more easily in a language in which 
prose and verse overlap. In prophecies of all types Lyric Prophecy 
lyrics may be interspersed. Thus we have seen in a previous 
chapter l how the Book of Zephaniah resolves itself into a single 
continuous discourse of the Divine speaker, interrupted at inter- 
vals by lyric strains of comment and application. In the course 
of other prophecies we come upon bursts of lyric thanksgiving, 
songs of triumph, or taunt-songs/ such as that in 
Isaiah over fallen Babylon ; these taunt-songs would Isaiah * lvii 
be seen to play a great part in prophetic literature, were it not 
that (as before remarked 2 ) the dirge rhythm on which they are 
founded is missed in our current translations. 

l Above, page 120. 2 Above, page 157. 


But the term ' Lyric Prophecy ' is most fully applicable where a 
complete discourse is in this form. A striking example is found 
in the early chapters of Isaiah. Its structure is 
ix^x 4 antistrophic : each of the four stanzas has an open- 

ing couplet, a closing refrain, and in the centre a 
quatrain that is gnomic in character, while the intervening por- 
tions of prose are exegetical of the rest. Besides this anti- 
strophic effect, the reiteration of the refrain produces an effect 
of crescendo and advance from the way in which two words in 
it 'this' and ' still' gather increase of meaning with each 
succeeding stanza. 


The LORD sent a word into Jacob, 

And it hath lighted upon Israel. 

And all the people shall know, even Ephraim and the inhabitant of 
Samaria, that say in pride and in stoutness of heart, 

The bricks are fallen, 

But we will build with hewn stone ; 

The sycomores are cut down, 

But we will change them into cedars. 

Therefore the LORD shall set up on high against him the adversaries 
of Rezin, and shall stir up his enemies; the Syrians before, and the 
Philistines behind; and they shall devour Israel with open mouth. 

For all this his anger is not turned away, 

But his hand is stretched out still ! 

Yet the people hath not turned unto him that smote them, 
Neither have they sought the LORD of hosts. 

Therefore the LORD will cut off from Israel head and tail, palm- 
branch and rush, in one day. 

The ancient and the honourable man, 

He is the head; 

And the prophet that teacheth lies, 
He is the tail. 


For they that lead this people cause them to err; and they that are 
led of them are destroyed. Therefore the LORD shall not rejoice over 
their young men, neither shall he have compassion on their father- 
less and widows: for every one is profane and an evil-doer, and 
every mouth speaketh folly. 

For all this his anger is not turned away, 

But his hand is stretched out still! 

For wickedness burneth as the fire; 

It devoureth the briers and thorns : 

yea, it kindleth in the thickets of the forest, and they roll upward in 
thick clouds of smoke. Through the wrath of the LORD of hosts is 
the land burnt up : the people also are as the fuel of fire ; no man 
spareth his brother. 

And one shall snatch on the right hand, 
And be hungry; 

And he shall eat on the left hand, 

And they shall not be satisfied : 

they shall eat every man the flesh of his own arm: Manasseh, 
Ephraim; and Ephraim, Manasseh: and they together shall be 
against Judah. 

For all this his anger is not turned away, 

But his hand is stretched out STILL ! 

Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, 

And to the writers that write perverseness : 

to turn aside the needy from judgement, and to take away the right 
of the poor of my people, that widows may be their spoil, and that 
they may make the fatherless their prey ! 

And what will ye do in the day of visitation, 

And in the desolation which shall come from far? 

To whom will ye flee for help? 

And where will ye leave your glory? 

They shall only bow down under the prisoners, and shall fail under 
the slain. 

For all this his anger is not turned away, 

But his hand is stretched out STILL! 


An important division of prophetic literature is Symbolic Proph- 
ecy. If Prophecy in general is in the form of discourses, Sym- 
bolic prophecies are discourses with texts; but 
the texts taken b y the P ro Phets are not, like the texts 
of modern sermons, quotations from the sacred writ- 
ings, but object-texts, that is, external things treated symbolically. 
Perhaps modern life has approached nearest to such Symbolic 
Prophecy in the ' Emblem Literature/ now forgotten, but for a 
century or two the chief reading of the religious world. This 
Emblem Literature was made up of sermons in verse with hiero- 
glyphic texts. To take a typical case. One of Quarles's emblems 
represents a balance ; in one scale of this balance worlds (rep- 
resented conventionally by balls with cross handles) are being 
heaped up ; the other scale contains nothing, but a mouth is seen 
blowing into it, and this empty scale weighs down the heaped-up 
worlds on the other side. This hieroglyph is the text : on the 
Symbolic opposite page a poetic sermon works out with vigour 

Prophecy: The the thought that worldly goods are less than empty 
m em breath. In the same way there is an Emblem 

Prophecy which has for its texts, not exactly pictures, but visible 
things or actions. Jeremiah is commanded to wear a linen girdle 
in the eyes of the people ; when they have become 
accustomed to it he is to take the girdle off and 
hide it in a hole of the rock ; several days after he 
is to show it again, marred and profitable for nothing. This is to 
be a text, from which he will preach how Judah, that ought to 
cleave to the Lord as the girdle cleaveth to the figure, shall for 
their sins be seen to be marred and useless. Or, again, the same 
prophet is led to watch the potter at work, aiming at one kind of 
vessel, but if the clay is marred making it at his pleasure into a 
vessel of a different kind : from this text he will proclaim that 
Israel in the hands of Jehovah is but the clay in the hands of the 
potter. Or, attention is called to baskets of figs standing before 
the Temple, figs of the best quality and figs uneatable : then is 
spoken the paradox that it is the captives carried away to Babylon 


who resemble the good figs, and the bad are those who think they 
have escaped by remaining in the land. An object-text in one 
of the discourses of Ezekiel seems to have been a map. 

The word of the LORI> came unto me again, saying, Also, thou son 
of man, appoint thce two ways, that the sword of the king of Babylon 
may come; they twain shall come forth out of one 
land : and mark out a place, mark it out at the Bzekiel xxi. 18 
head of the way to the city. Thou shalt appoint a 
way, for the sword to come to Kabbah of the children of Ammon, and 
to Judah in Jerusalem the defenced. For the king of Babylon stood 
at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divina- 
tion : he shook the arrows to and fro, he consulted the teraphim, he 
looked in the liver. In his right hand was the divination for Jeru- 
salem, to set battering rams, to open the mouth in the slaughter, to 
lift up the voice with shouting, to set battering rams against the 
gates, to cast up mounts, to build forts. 

I have called the emblems texts, but they do not necessarily 
come at the beginning. A discourse would be specially impres- 
sive when its close was accompanied with some symbolic action. 
We find Jeremiah delivering a strain of unmeasured 

threatening and denunciation, holding all the while J? remiah xix - 10 

ii . 614 
an earthen bottle in his hand : at the end he dashes 

the bottle to pieces in token of the irremediable destruction that 
is to come. On another occasion he sends to the captives in 
Babylon a written discourse foretelling the total overthrow of the 
oppressing city : he instructs his deputy, when he has read to the 
end, to bind the book to a stone and cast it into the Euphrates, 
emblem of the future when Babylon shall sink to rise no more. 

Sometimes the symbolic text may be no more than a gesture. 
Ezekiel is to set his face towards the mountains of Israel, when he 
proceeds to denounce the idolatries committed on 
them; he is to smite with his hands and stamp Ezckielyi - x " 
with his foot as a starting-point to a picture of utter ruin. If such 
things ,as these seem too slight to constitute an emblem, it must 
be recollected that in all prophecy reiteration played a large part. 
In the case of Jonah, so far as we can tell, no discourse is given 


him to speak, but only the cry, " Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall 
(Prophetic be overthrown/' to be repeated over and over again 

Reiteration) f or a d ay together. And elsewhere there are sug- 
gestions of similar reiteration. 

Jeremiah Therefore thou shalt speak unto them this word : Thus saith the 
aclil - Ia LORD, the God of Israel, Every bottle shall be filled with wine : and 
they shall say unto thee, Do we not know that every bottle shall be 
filled with wine? Then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the 
LORD, Behold, I will fill all the inhabitants of this land, even the 
kings that sit upon David's throne, and the priests, and the prophets, 
and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with drunkenness. 

The natural interpretation of this passage is that the apparent 
truism would be repeated by the prophet, as he moved about the 
city, with a persistency designedly irritating, until public impa- 
tience breaking out in questioning made a state of mind favour- 
able for being impressed with the mystic sense of the truism. 
Similar reiteration may be understood in certain discourses of 

w i vii Ezekiel, who would ejaculate " An end, an end," or 

" An evil, an only evil," until curiosity had been 
excited, as by a riddle : such curiosity would serve to emphasise 
the discourse which answered to those riddling ejaculations. It is 
clear that words so delivered have as much objective force as a 
visible emblem. 

In other cases the symbolic action from which discourses would 
take their departure seems to have been sustained dumb show : 
the sermon would be acted first, and preached afterwards. A 
notable example of this is the mimic siege which formed the basis 
of so much of EzekiePs prophesying 

Bzekiel Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and 
iv. i-v. 4 pourtray upon it a city, even Jerusalem : and lay siege against it, and 
build forts against it, and cast up a mount against it; set camps also 
against it, and plant battering rams against it round about. And 
take thou unto thee an iron pan, and set it for a wall of iron between 
thee and the city : and set thy face toward it, and it shall be besieged, 
and thou shalt lay siege against it. This shall be a sign to the house 
of Israel. 


Moreover lie thou upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the 
house of Israel upon it : according to the number of the days that 
thou shalt lie upon it, thou shalt bear their iniquity. For I have 
appointed the years of their iniquity to be unto thee a number of 
days, even three hundred and ninety days : so shalt thou bear the 
iniquity of the house of Israel. And again, when thou hast ac- 
complished these, thou shalt lie on thy right side, and shalt bear 
the iniquity of the house of Judah : forty days, each day for a year, 
have I appointed it unto thee. And thou shalt set thy face toward 
the siege of Jerusalem, with thine arm uncovered; and thou shalt 
prophesy against it. And, behold, I lay bands upon thee, and thou 
shalt not turn thee from one side to another, till thou hast ac- 
complished the days of thy siege. Take thou also unto thee wheat, 
and barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and spelt, and put 
them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof; according to the 
number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, even three hundred 
and ninety days, shalt thou eat thereof. And thy meat which thou 
shalt eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day : from time to time 
shalt thou eat it. And thou shalt drink water by measure, the sixth 
part of an hin : from time to time shalt thou drink. 

From various passages in the Book of Ezekicl we are able to 
form an idea of the mode in which such a commission would be 
executed. It was the custom for companies of the elders of Israel 
to wait upon the prophet at his house, and sit before 
him until " the hand of the Lord should fall upon * 1Dg8 1V ' * 3 
him." From the historical books we know that such visits to the 
prophets were periodical, belonging especially to new moons and 
Sabbaths ; but a passage of Ezekiel suggests that 
among the exiles they took place daily. We may 
suppose then that at the period in question the prophet would, for 
the whole time indicated in the above passage, receive the daily 
deputation with the same mimic siege, now taking the part of the 
besiegers and now of the besieged ; and from this constant text 
he would enlarge upon the various topics of sin and judgment that 
each day's inspiration brought to his mind. The matter contained 
in the chapter that follows is no more than the general substance 
of the long series of discourses. 


We even find a change of demeanour and manner of life, in so 

marked an individual as a prophet, made an emblem under which 

a Divine message could be conveyed. The Lord 

takes from Ezekiel the desire of his eyes with a 

stroke : yet he is neither to mourn nor weep. This loss of a 

beloved wife borne without signs of grief is to be a symbol of 

sorrows coming upon Israel that are too deep for tears. A still 

Hoseai-iii m re P ainful ex perience is laid upon the prophet 

Hosea, who is commanded to take a wife from the 
ranks of fallen women : his family life, and the efforts of the 
prophet to reclaim his charge, are a living text for ministry to a 
people unfaithful to their God. 

When we consider the number and variety in prophetic litera- 
ture of these object-texts symbolic articles, symbolic gestures and 
ejaculations, symbolic demeanour and manner of life we are 
able to see how this Emblem Prophecy has its prototype in the 
grand Ceremonial Worship of the Tabernacle and Temple. The 
Holy of Holies, the Ark of the Covenant, the Shewbread, the rites 
of sacrifice or of the Scapegoat, all these are perennial emblems 
of those ideas in Hebrew religion which are eternal and of con- 
stant application. In the same spirit Prophecy uses symbols to 
fulfil its function of bringing the principles of the religion to bear 
upon the detailed exigencies and occasional problems of public 
and social life. And in the light of this analogy we cease to be 
surprised at the minuteness with which, ill such a case as Ezekiel's 
siege, the emblematic action is prescribed ; the ceremonial teach- 
ing of the prophet is carried out with a reverent fidelity to detail 
as great as in the elaborated worship of the Temple itself. 

The conception of a prophetic emblem develops readily into 

another conception Of considerable importance. 
Emblem Proph- / . 

ecyandthe When a prophecy had reference to future time, 

Sign onhe an( j was illustrated with some symbol that was not 
P e transitory but durable, the emblem would remain 

to be confronted with the fulfilled prophecy, and so would vindi- 
cate the authority of the prophet. A prophetic emblem would 


then become a ' sign of the prophet.' Jeremiah, carried by force 
into Egypt, consoles his fellow-captives with pre- 
dictions of the conquest of Egypt by Nebuchad- 
rezzar; he takes great stones and hides them in 
the mortar at the entrance of Pharaoh's palace in Tahpanhes, 
declaring that the conqueror " will set his throne upon these 
stones/ 1 Though the word is not used, yet it is clear that this 
emblematic action would become a ' sign ' of Jeremiah's prophetic 
function, when the event should take place. Such ' signs ' are 
part of the recognised machinery of prophecy. Isaiah bids Ahaz, 

in a certain political crisis, " Ask thee a sign of the . . ... 

Isaiah vii. 10 
LORD thy God ; ask it either in the depth, or in the 

height above." When Ahaz in his panic holds back, the prophet 
himself volunteers the sign of a virgin conceiving and bearing a 
son and calling his name Immanuel : that child shall not be old 
enough to know good from evil before the prophet's prediction 
concerning the war shall be seen to be fulfilled. 1 It is to be 
observed, however, that the word ' sign ' is also, in prophetic liter- 

1 In regard to the meaning of this much disputed passage, it is to be observed 
that the difficulties disappear if the words of the prophet be understood to apply, 
not to any virgin of Judah (real or idealised), but to a woman of the enemy's land. 
The expression ' Immanuel ' occurs three times, (i) First, in the passage vii. 10- 
16. The situation here is that the junction of Israel with Syria has thrown the 
princes of Judah into a panic, and the prophet strengthens them by pouring con- 
tempt upon the enemy. So elated and confident at this moment (he says) is the 
enemy that a woman of their land gives her new-born child the proud name, ' God 
with us ' : but that child will soon be feeding on famine fare [that ' butter and 
honey ' is a name for famine fare is shown by verse 22] : for before the child is old 
enough to distinguish good food from evil the enemy's land whose allied kings 
cause this panic to Judah shall be forsaken by these kings. (2) The phrase occurs 
a second time in viii. 5-8. This whole paragraph is addressed to the enemy, Israel ; 
and the Assyrian, under the image of a flood, is described as overflowing the land 
of Israel [there is no reference to Judah except the single clause, " he shall sweep 
onward into Judah "] : the climax is, the flood shall fill thy land, O boaster of " God 
with us." (3) The third recurrence of the phrase is in viii. 10, where the false boast 
of Israel is claimed for Judah as a truth : lay your schemes (the prophet cries to 
the allied enemies) and they shall come to nought, for " God is with us." Of course 
this explanation relates to the primary interpretation of the piece of historic proph- 
ecy : it need not interfere with any theological use of the term ' Immanuel' as a 
secondary interpretation ; indeed, the third passage, which claims the true ' Imman- 
uel ' for Judah, is basis enough for such interpretation. 


ature, applied to what we have here called the emblem; thus 
Ezekiel carrying on his siege, or refraining from 

' 3J tears at his wife ' s death > is Pronounced by the Lord 
to be a ' sign ' to the people. The variation be- 
tween the two meanings of the word between the ' sign ' which 
is a symbolic illustration of the prophecy, and the ' sign ' which is 
a miraculous vindication of the prophet is the index of an impor- 
tant tendency in the attitude of the public mind towards prophecy, 
by which the spiritual force of prophetic utterances came to be 
more and more ignored, and the element of prediction and miracle 
grew into emphasis. So far has this tendency prevailed in the 
age of the New Testament that the constant and indignant com- 
plaint of Jesus Christ is against a " generation that seeketh a sign." 

The Prophecy of Vision is, in its elementary form, hardly dis- 
SymboiicProph- tinguished from Emblem Prophecy: the emblem 
ecy: The texts are merely presented in supernatural vision, 

instead of being seen by the ordinary eyesight. 
The books of Amos and Zechariah are full of such vision emblems. 
But the supreme example of them is Ezekiel's Vision of the Valley 

Ezekiel xxrvii of Dry Bones - He is carri ed out in the spirit of 
the Lord and set down in the midst of the valley ; 
the valley is full of bones, and lo, they are very dry. He is com- 
manded to prophesy : and as he pours forth his speech there is 
thundering and earthquake ; bone comes to his bone, flesh and 
skin cover them ; from the four winds comes breath, and breathes 
upon the slain, and they live, and stand upon their feet, an ex- 
ceeding great army. Thus impressively is elaborated, in the 
region of the supernatural, a symbolic text, from which Ezekiel 
preaches that Israel with its dead hopes shall come out of its 
graves, and feel the life-giving breath of the Lord. 
The vision Em- But *his elementary conception of Vision Proph- 
wemand ^ e cy undergoes a development similar to that traced 
in the last section. As the prophetic emblem, 
when applied to futurity, tended to change into the ' sign of the 


prophet/ so the vision emblem develops into the ' Revelation/ as 
that word is generally understood, namely, the supernatural revela- 
tion of the future. It is worth while to distinguish 
three types among such Visions of Revelation. f h e e V puture f 
First, we have the case in which the vision is sym- 
bolic and supernatural, whereas the interpretation comes by natural 
means. The fingers of a hand writing on the wall startle Belshaz- 
zar's feast with mystic words : Daniel by his wisdom discovers 
the meaning, and the destruction that is about to come. In the 
second type an interpreter is provided by supernatural means, 
and the vision is given by him in direct speech. Thus Daniel, 
troubling over the mysteries of times and seasons, feels himself 
' touched ' by an angel at the time of the evening oblation, and 
Gabriel foretells what shall come to pass in terms that are direct, 
however difficult. To this second category may be referred the 
Calls of the Prophets : visionary scenes in which God himself 
appears under symbolic forms, but the commission is given to the 
prophet in plain language. In the third type both the vision and 
the interpretation are symbolic and supernatural; as where the 
future interchange of dynasties is conveyed to Daniel in the vision 
of the Four Beasts, or the vision of the Ram and the He-goat, 
while the significance of what he sees is explained by a personage 
of the vision itself. 

But it is important to distinguish from this another meaning of 
the word ' Revelation ' ; we find visions that are revelations, not 
of the future, but of the law and pattern of things. 

As the one kind of vision is an extension of the ? evelat ! * of , 

Law and Ideal 

prophetic dream, so the other has for its prototype 
the original revelation to Moses on the mount of the ceremonial 
law and the pattern of the Tabernacle. Important examples of the 
two types of Revelation are EzekiePs companion visions of Jeru- 
salem under Judgment and Jerusalem Restored, 

which cover no less than thirteen chapters of his Ez ? ki f 1 ^ ii !" xi 

v and xl-xlviii 

book. The two are separated, in conformity with 

the general arrangement of EzekiePs writings, and their division 


between prophecies of judgment and of restoration ; but that the 
two are parts of one whole is expressly said in the vision itself. 
In the first case Ezekiel is carried "in the visions of 
God " to Jerusalem, and beholds the Glory of the God 
of Israel as on the occasion of his own call. He is made to dig 
through the Temple wall and see idolatrous practices carried on 
in its chambers and precincts ; agents of destruction do their work 
before his eyes, and he sees the city sprinkled with ashes taken 
from between the cherubim ; he is himself called to bear a part in 
the work of judgment, and as he prophesies he sees one of the 
leaders of iniquity fall dead. All the scene so described makes 
up the symbol of this vision. We are not to understand that the 
weeping for Tammuz, or the creeping abominations, were neces- 
sarily to be seen in just the spot where Ezekiel beholds them, any 
more than we are to understand that Pelatiah actually died at the 
time when Ezekiel was under the prophetic spell. The whole is a 
symbolic representation of the general idolatry and desecration of 
the sacred city. The companion vision shows a great change from 
this symbolism. The same supernatural agency transports the 
prophet to the same spot. But what he sees is a city and temple 
gradually taking shape, and measured with exactness of propor- 
tions which he is commanded to store in his memory. The Glory 
of the God of Israel proclaims this the place of his throne for 
ever, and, in phrases which seem to echo Exodus, calls upon the 
house of Israel to " measure the pattern/* or to receive this as 
" the law of the house." Then is continued the ordering of city, 
temple, ritual, and even division of the land of Palestine, with a 
minuteness which seems like the former revelation on Sinai adapted 
to a new dispensation. Throughout the whole nine chapters there 
is scarcely anything that can be called symbolic, except the con- 
ception of the living waters issuing from the Temple and flowing 
to fertilise the Dead Sea, on the banks of which are the never- 
withering trees, with their fruits renewed month by month and 
their leaves for healing. In the course, then, of this extended 
vision we are able to watch the transition from one type of revela- 


tion to another ; while the symbolic is the distinction of the one, 
in the other the symbolic passes into the ideal. In the interpre- 
tation of Prophecy it is of the utmost importance to distinguish 
to which of these two types of revelation any particular vision 

Symbolic Prophecy has detained us a long time ; it remains to 
point out that, in addition to Emblem Prophecy 

and Vision Prophecy, it includes a third branch, s y mb lic "Pj- 

ecy: Tho Parable 
the Prophetic Parable. This is again a sermon 

with a symbolic text : the only difference is that the emblem is 
here narrated instead of being visibly presented. Such a para- 
bolic text has its ultimate basis in the Fable of 
primitive literature. 1 Isaiah's Parable of the Vine- 
yard, so favourably placed and carefully tended, yet bringing forth 
wild grapes, is amongst the most familiar portions of prophetic 
literature. The same symbol is differently used in 
a parable of Ezekiel, who treats the vine as the Ez ? kicl xv ' xvi ' 

1 XVll, XXlll 

one wood that is profitable for no use. This latter 
prophet is specially fond of parabolic discourse, and his favourite 
symbol seems to be that of an unfaithful spouse ; in a way peculiar 
to himself he works out this theme with a wonderful combination 
of tenderness and unsparing plainness of speech. It is hardly 
necessary to remark upon the prominence assumed in a later 
age by this particular type of discourse : of the supreme Prophet 
of the New Testament it is said that " without a parable spake 
he not.' 1 

Prophetic Intercourse makes a literary division that does not 
need lengthy discussion. The intercourse of the prophet with 

1 The Fable as a literary form is defined by its conveying human interest under 
the disguise of inferior beings. It is observable that the two specimens of the 
primitive Fable in Scripture (Judges ix. 8-15 and // Kings xiv. 9) are of the kind 
that ascribe human thoughts to things of the vegetable world. The other great 
division of Fables, that which puts human speech into the mouth of brutes, is not 
represented in the Bible, unless, as some commentators suppose, the incident of 
Balaam and his ass be such a Fable incorporated in the narrative. 


God constitutes legitimate matter of prophecy. Besides the 

visions of their call to the office of prophet, both 

Prophetic inter- j ere miah and Ezekiel have set forth in their books 

course: (x) with 

God commumngs which do not seem intended for pub- 

lication to the people. We find also Dialogues of 
Intercession (either standing alone, or merged in other prophe- 
cies), of which the great prototype is Abraham's intercession for 

Again, there is the intercourse of the prophet with enquirers. 
From the earliest history we read of persons ' enquiring of the 

Lord/ and receiving oracles in reply. Thus Re- 
(a) with enquir- bekah heard before thdr bjrth ^ destiny of her 

twin children ; Saul enquiring found no answer, 
"by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets." We find, as a 
regular custom, that deputations visit the prophet, and wait till 
inspiration falls upon him, and so receive his Response. With 

this is connected what may be called an artificial 
Prophecy) form of P ro phecy, in which there is no actual 

interview between the prophet and another inter- 
locutor, but the discourse takes the form of a reply to an imagi- 
nary objection or interruption. The whole of Matochi seems 
constructed in this form of Dialectic Prophecy. Its paragraphs 
uniformly take a shape that may be thus represented : 

c A Complaint 

-j An interposed Objection 

I The answering Discourse 

In some cases the objection is duplicated, as may be illustrated 
by the following brief condensation : 

' Instead of honouring, the priests despise God's name. 

Wherein despise it ? 
In offering polluted bread upon his altar. 

Wherein polluted ? 

The Answering Discourse puts the cheapening of offerings made to> 
. the Lord, and how the ideal of the priesthood is reversed. 


Once more, Prophecy includes the intercourse of the prophet 
with the world in general. The books narrate Incidents, like the 
conspiracy of his native Anathoth against Jeremiah, 
or the burning of his roll by the king, or the 
casting of Daniel into a den of lions ; or Contro- 
versies, like that stirred up by Jeremiah's wearing the emblem of 
the yoke. These Incidents (illustrations of which are given in 
the Table of Prophecy) make an approach to the Epic Prophecy 
discussed in a former book. More than this, the department 
of Prophecy overlaps with that of History, as whole sections of 
the prophetic books show. What Nathan was to David, that the 
whole succession of greater and minor prophets were to later 
history. The secular kingship had its orders of officials ; the 
order of prophets were the representatives of the higher theoc- 
racy, and their action in each crisis makes a part at once of 
Prophecy and History. 

We find ourselves on a different literary plane when we come 
to Dramatic Prophecy. To constitute this a scene or situation 
must be presented entirely by dialogue, without 
any description or comment from the prophet, 
except so far as he may be a party to the scene. 
These dramatic scenes are highly interesting ; but the absence in 
ancient literatures of any attempt to indicate the speakers in pas- 
sages of dialogue has led to much obscurity and misinterpretation. 

A simple illustration occurs in the Book of Micah, and may 
be entitled, 'The Lord's Controversy before the Mountains.' 
Jehovah calls upon the Mountains to hear his con- 

-.II- i t t - iy * Micahvl. i- 

troversy with his people; and himself proceeds 

to arraign Israel, rehearsing his long-continued kindnesses, and 

citing Balaam as his witness to the blessings bestowed on Jacob. 

Then the other party to the controversy is afraid to put in an 


Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before 
the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with 


calves of a year old ? 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? 

The Mountains may then be understood to pronounce judgment. 

He hath shewed thee, O 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? 

This dramatic scene is immediately followed by another some- 
what more extended in form. The passage is headed: "The 

. . . .. voice of the LORD crieth unto the city, and the 
Micah vi. 9-vn ,..,.,, 

man of wisdom will fear thy name." This title 

suggests that we have in ' the Man of Wisdom ' an addition to 
what may be called the natural dramatis persona, namely, God, 
the Prophet, and the offending People, which last may in this 
case be termed the Men of Folly. The voice of God is heard 
denouncing injustice, violence, and the "statutes of Omri"; 
wounding, humiliation, famine, are threatened, until the people of 
the wicked city shall become a desolation and a hissing. This 
interposition of Jehovah throws the wicked of the city into confu- 
sion, while the wise see in it their salvation. 

The Men of Folly. Woe is me ! for I am as when they have gath- 
ered the summer fruits, as the grape gleanings of the vintage : there 
is no cluster to eat; nor first-ripe fig which my soul desired. The 
godly man is perished out of the earth, and there is none upright 
among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every mua his 
brother with a net. Both hands are put forth for evil to do it; the 
prince asketh, and the judge is ready for a reward; and the great 
man, he uttereth the mischief of his soul : thus they weave it to- 
gether. The best of them is as a brier : the straightest is as it were 
taken from a thorn hedge : the day of thy watchmen, even thy visi- 
tation, is come; now shall be their perplexity. Trust ye not in a 
friend, put ye not confidence in a guide : keep the doors of thy 
mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. For the son dishonoured 
the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter- 
in-law against her mother-in-law; a man's enemies are the men of 
his own house. 


The Man of Wisdom. But as for me, I will look unto the LORD; 
I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me. 
Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; 
when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me. I will 
bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against 
him; until he plead my cause, and execute judgement for me: he 
will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness. 
Then mine enemy shall see it, and shame shall cover her; which 
said unto me, Where is the LORD thy God? Mine eyes shall behold 
her; now shall she be trodden down as the mire of the streets. 

The voice of God is now heard in tones of comfort : it pro- 
claims the rebuilding of the city's walls, and (after an echoing cry 
from the Prophet) describes marvels of restoration to equal the 
old wonders done in Egypt : the oppressing nations shall come 
creeping out of their hiding-places, trembling with fear of the 
Deliverer. Then the Prophet brings the scene to a conclusion. 

The Prophet. Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth 
iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heri- 
tage? he retaineth not his anger forever, because he delighteth in 
mercy. He will turn again and have compassion upon us; he will 
tread our iniquities under foot : and thou will cast all their sins into 
the depths of the sea. Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and 
the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers 
from the days of old. 

A slight variation from this simple dramatic type is afforded by 
those prophecies in which only a single speaker is presented, 
God : but the alternations in the Divine mind between judgment 
and compassion produce all the effect of dialogue. The Divine 
Yearning is pictured in this way by Hosea. 

God. When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my 
son out of Egypt. 

As they called them, so they went from them : they sac- Hosea 
rificed unto the Baalim, and burned incense to graven xi. i-xx 

Yet I taught Ephraim to go ; I took them on my arms ; but they 
knew not that I healed them. I drew them with cords of a man, 


with bands of love; and I was to them as they that take off the 
yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat before them. 

He shall not return into the land of Egypt; but the Assyrian shall 
be his king, because they refused to return. And the sword shall 
fall upon his cities, and shall consume his bars, and devour them, 
because of their own counsels. And my people are bent to back- 
sliding from me : though they call them to him that is on high, none 
at all will exalt him. 

How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, 
Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as 
Zeboim? mine heart is turned within me, my compassions are kin- 
dled together. I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will 
not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the 
Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not come in wrath. 
They shall walk after the LORD, who shall roar like a lion : for he 
shall roar, and the children shall come trembling from the west. 
They shall come trembling as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out 
of the land of Assyria: and I will make them to dwell in their 
houses, saith the LORD. 

This alternating monologue is combined with the dialogue that 
involves a second speaker in a more extended composition of the 
same prophet. The whole may be entitled, < A Drama of Re- 

Hosea God. When Ephraim spake with trembling, he exalted himself 

xiii-xiv in Israel : but when he offended in Baal, he died. And now they 
sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their 
silver, even idols according to their own understanding, all of them 
the work of the craftsmen : they say of them, Let the men that sacri- 
fice kiss the calves. Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud, 
and as the dew that passeth early away, as the chaff that is driven 
with the whirlwind out of the threshing-floor, and as the smoke out 
of the chimney. 

Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt; and thou 
knowest no god but me, and beside me there is no saviour. I did 
know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought. Accord- 
ing to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their 
heart was exalted : therefore have they forgotten me. 

Therefore am I unto them as a lion : as a leopard will I watch by 
the way: I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, 


and will rend the caul of their heart : and there will I devour them 
like a lion; the wild beast shall tear them. It is thy destruction, 
O Israel, that thou art against me, against thy help. Where now is 
thy king, that he may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges, of 
whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes? I have given thee 
a king in mine anger, and have taken him away in my wrath. The 
iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is laid up in store. The 
sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him : he is an unwise 
son; for it is time he should not tarry in the place of the breaking 
forth of children. 

I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem 
them from death : O death, where are thy plagues? O grave, where 
is thy destruction? 

Repentance shall be hid from mine eyes. Though he be fruitful 
among his brethren, an east wind shall come, the breath of the LORD 
coming up from the wilderness, and his spring shall become dry, and 
his fountain shall be dried up : it shall spoil the treasure of all pleas- 
ant vessels. Samaria shall bear her guilt; for she hath rebelled 
against her God: they shall fall by the sword; their infants shall be 
dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up. 

Repentant Israel. O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for 
thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. Take with you words, and return 
unto the LORD : say unto him, " Take away all iniquity, and receive 
us graciously : so will we render as bullocks the offering of our lips. 
Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses: neither will 
we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods : for in 
thee the fatherless findeth mercy." 

God. I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely : for 
mine anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew unto 
Israel : he shall blossom as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Leb- 
anon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive 
tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under his shadow 
shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and blossom as the vine : 
the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. Ephraim shall 
say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have answered, and 
will regard him: I am like a green fir tree; from me is thy fruit 

We have thus seen the prophetic literature of the Bible assum- 
ing very various forms. Besides the simple record of intercourse 
with God or with the people, the prophet's message may be an 


elaborate discourse ; the discourse may have a symbolic text, and 
so present the varieties of emblem, vision, and parable ; the 
prophecy may clothe itself in lyric poetry, or it may be presented 
in a dramatic scene. There still remain to be mentioned two 
kinds of prophecy of such importance from the literary standpoint 
that they must be discussed in separate chapters. 



AMONG forms of Prophecy there is one which has a distinctive- 
ness and prominence in the Bible, and from the literary point of 

view so special an interest, that it seems proper in _. - 

x * A The Doom Song 

this work to treat it in a chapter by itself. This is as a form of 
the Doom Song: a prophetic utterance directed pr P hec y 
against some particular city, nation, or country. The kingdoms 
of Israel, however unique their position in the history of mankind, 
yet in their own age formed part of a network of states. There 
were neighbour peoples, like the Philistines or Syrians, kindred 
races, such as Moabites, Edomites, Ammonites, the maritime 
powers of Tyre and Sidon, and others : all stretching like a chain 
between the two world empires of Egypt on the south and Assyria 
on the northeast. Deliverance from one of these empires formed 
the starting-point of Israel's history, and into the other she was 
destined to be absorbed ; meanwhile the ceaseless fluctuations of 
power and of mutual relations between all these nations and em- 
pires imposed a continual foreign policy on the kingdoms of Israel 
and Judah. The prophets exercised influence in this foreign 
policy, as well as in domestic questions. And, over and above 
questions of temporary policy, there was the perpetual function of 
Israel as a nation to uphold the worship of the true God amidst 
nations of idolaters ; and the constant witnesses to this were the 
prophets. One product of such prophetic ministry was this 
denunciatory discourse or Doom Song. 

353 z 


There is a remarkable passage in Jeremiah which may well 
serve as preface to a discussion of the whole subject. 

xacv. 15 For thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, unto me : Take the 
cup of the wine of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to- 
whom I send thee, to drink it. And they shall drink, and reel to and 
fro, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them. 
Then took I the cup at the LORD'S hand, and made all the nations 
to drink, unto whom the LORD had sent me : to wit, Jerusalem, and 
the cities of Judah, and the kings thereof, and the princes thereof, to 
make them a desolation, an astonishment, an hissing, and a curse; 
as it is this day; Pharaoh king of Egypt, and his servants, and his 
princes, and all his people; and all the mingled people, and all the 
kings of the land of Uz, and all the kings of the land of the Philis- 
tines, and Ashkelon, and Gaza, and Ekron, and the remnant of 
Ashdod; Edom, and Moab, and the children of Ammon; and all 
the kings of Tyre, and all the kings of Sidon, and the kings of the 
isle which is beyond the sea; Dedan, and Tema, and Buz, and all 
that have the corners of their hair polled; and all the kings of Ara- 
bia, and all the kings of the mingled people that dwell in the wilder- 
ness; and all the kings of Zimri, and all the kings of Elam, and all 
the kings of the Medes; and all the kings of the north, far and near, 
one with another; and all the kingdoms of the world, which are 
upon the face of the earth: and the king of Sheshach shall diink 
after them. And thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LOUD of 
hosts, the God of Israel : Drink ye, and be drunken, and spue, and 
fall, and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among 
you. And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup at thine hand 
to drink, then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of 
hosts : Ye shall surely drink. For, lo, I begin to work evil at the 
city which is called by my name, and should ye be utterly unpun- 
ished? Ye shall not be unpunished : for I will call for a sword upon 
all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the LORD of hosts. Therefore 
prophesy thou against them all these words, and say unto them, The 
LORD shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habi- 
tation; he shall mightily tuar against his fold; he shall give a shout, 
as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the 
earth. A noise shall c&me even to the end of the earth; for the 
LORD hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all 
flesh; as for the wicked, he will give them to the sword, saith the 


The Doom Songs then are the pourings out of " the cup of the 
Lord's Fury " against particular kingdoms, such as the words of Jere- 
miah suggest. Their prototype is the primitive Curse on Canaan : 

Cursed be Canaan : Genesis 

A servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. " as 

They are indignant denunciations of idolatry and vice ; prophetic 
pictures of doom to come in spite of all appearances to the 
contrary ; realistic pictures of overthrow and desolation ; wails as 
over the dead, soon changing to taunts from victims to a fallen 
oppressor. They have been compared to the Satires and Philip- 
pics of other literatures : and it is true that they give scope to the 
literary impulses which in other cases have produced these forms. 
But there is a wide difference of tone between the Biblical denun- 
ciation and its secular counterparts. I would rather say that the 
Doom Song is to the Satire what Tragedy is to Comedy ; the 
Doom Song is to the Philippic what Poetry is to Prose. 

Coming to particulars, we may note the difference between 
the brief, oracular, almost enigmatic utterances which seem to be 
the earlier forms of Doom, and the elaborate invectives of later 
times, upon which all the resources of literature are concentrated. 

Of the earlier type there can be no better illustration than the 
series of three ' Oracles ' which make the twenty- 
first chapter of Isaiah , and which, however obscure The earlier or 

. . Oracular Dooms 

their historic references may be, seem by their 

internal resemblances to constitute a unity. Their interest lies, 
not so much in the events the foreshadow, as in 
the way they give poetic realisation to the prophetic Isaiah m 
attitude. They are bound together by underlying imagery of a 
prophet keeping vigil on the eastern boundary of the holy land, 
with his watchman still further in advance, both peering through 
the darkness of future history to catch the first signs of the Lord's 
dealing with his foes. The first oracle has its title from the 
"wilderness of the sea," that is, the region of Tigris and Euphrates, 
and brings out the fall of the empire that is the eastern boundary 


of the prophet's world. It has the usual mingling of prose and 
lyric verse : the prose puts the prophet's position of vigil, and the 
agitation which his vision produces in his own heart, while 
snatches of verse convey gleams of vision, or words of the watch- 
man, or even the call of the Lord to the destroying foe. 

The Oracle of the Wilderness of the Sea 

As whirlwinds in the South sweep through, 

It cometh from the wilderness, 
From a terrible land ! 

A grievous vision is declared unto me ; the treacherous dealer dealeth 
treacherously, and the spoiler spoileth. 
" Go up, O Elam; 

Besiege, O Media; 

All the sighing thereof will I make to cease." 

Therefore are my loins filled with anguish; pangs have taken hold 
upon me, as the pangs of a woman in travail : I am pained so that I 
cannot hear, I am dismayed so that I cannot see. My heart panteth, 
horror hath affrighted me : the twilight that I desired hath been 
turned into trembling unto me. 

"They prepare the table, 
They spread the carpets, 
They eat, they drink : 
Rise up, ye princes, anoint the shield." 

For thus hath the LORD said unto me, Go, set a watchman; let him 
declare what he seeth: and when he seeth a troop, horsemen in 
pairs, a troop of asses, a troop of camels, he shall hearken diligently 
with much heed. And he cried as a lion : 


1 stand continually upon the watch-tower in the day-time, 

And am set in my ward whole nights : 
And, behold, here cometh a troop of men, 

Horsemen in pairs. 

And He answered and said. 

" Babylon is fallen, 

Is fallen; [ground." 

And all the graven images of her gods are broken upon the 
O thou my threshing, and the corn of my floor : that which I have heard 
from the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, have I declared unto you. 


The second oracle is not associated with any incident, but 
seems entirely devoted to bringing out the prophetic attitude of 
vigil. A voice out of the lower region of Mount Seir calls to the 
watchman in his wilderness station for tidings : the sentinel, as if 
repeating the formula of the watch, replies that the regular suc- 
cession of day and night is broken by no tidings as yet,, the 
enquirer must ask again. 

The Oracle of Silence 

One calleth unto me out of Seir; 
Watchman, what of the night? 
Watchman, what of the night? 
The watchman said, 

The morning cometh, 

And also the night : 
If ye will enquire, enquire ye; 
Come ye again. 

The third oracle sees another storm-cloud about to break from 
the north ; and bids nomad peoples get ready food for the fugi- 
tives of Kedar, whom they will find before the night just beginning 
is over. 

The Orach at Evening 

In the thickets at evening shall ye lodge, 

O ye travelling companies of Dedanites. 

Unto him that is thirsty bring ye water; 

Ye inhabitants of the land of Tema, 

Meet the fugitives with your bread. 

For they fled away from the swords, 

From the drawn sword, and from the bent bow, 

And from the grievousness of war. 

For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Within a year, according to 
the years of an hireling, and all the glory of Kedar shall fail : and 
the residue of the number of the archers, the mighty men of the 


children of Kedar, shall be few : for the LORD, the God of Israel, 
hath spoken it. 1 

But the larger proportion of the Doom Songs are elaborate 

outpourings, which hover on the borderland between rhetoric 

declamation and poetic imagery. The destroying 

The more elabo- ^ 

rate Doom songs enem y a PP ears a strangers come to fan, or waters 
out of the north, or smoke out of the north ; the 
country is swept with the besom of destruction, it is scattered to 
the four winds. In the panic fathers look not back to their 
children for feebleness of hands, fortresses go down before the 
invader as ripe figs are shaken from a tree. Babylon has been a 
golden cup in the Lord's hand to make the nations drunken and 
mad ; and when the work is done Babylon is suddenly fallen and 
destroyed. She has been a destroying mountain, destroying all 
the earth : but the Lord will stretch his hand upon her, and roll 
her down from the rocks, and make her a burnt mountain : men 
shall not take of her a stone for a corner, but she shall be desolate 
forever. Babylon is Jehovah's 'battle-axe,' with which he will 
break in pieces the nations : but the ' hammer of the whole earth' 
is cut asunder and broken. " Moab hath been at ease from his 
youth, and he hath settled on his lees, and hath not been emptied 
from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity : there- 
fore his taste remaineth in him, and his scent is not changed." 
Therefore shall be sent to him those that pour off, and they shall 
empty his vessels, and break the bottles in pieces. The Assyrian 
was a cedar in Lebanon, with fair branches and a shadowing 
shroud ; his top amid the clouds, till the cedars in the garden of 
God could not hide him ; the waters nourished him, the deep made 
him to grow ; the fowls of heaven made their nests in his boughs, 
and all great nations dwelt under his shadow. But he is delivered 

1 It might seem at first sight that the title of the section which follows, ' The 
Oracle of the Valley of Vision/ should make it a part of the same series. But com- 
parison of verses 5, 7, 8 (of xxii) will show that the ' valley of vision ' is to be asso- 
ciated, not with the prophet's place of observation, but with the details of the 
blockade. The enemy had reached a point close enough to see into the city 
through the breaches and to be seen by the citizens : hence the panic. 


into the hands of the mighty, the terrible have cut him off and left 
him ; his branches are fallen over mountains and valleys, and* his 
broken boughs along the watercourses ; all the fowls of heaven dwell 
upon his ruin. When Babylon goes down hell from beneath is 
moved to meet him ; the shades of the kings of the nations rise from 
their thrones to gaze at the mighty oppressor become weak like 
themselves. The glorious seat of empire turns to utter desolation. 

It shall never be inhabited, 

Neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation : 

Neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; 

Neither shall shepherds make their flocks to lie down there. 

But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there ; 

And their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; 
And ostriches shall dwell there, 
And satyrs shall dance there. 

And wolves shall cry in their castles, 

And jackals in the pleasant palaces . 

And her time is near to come, 

And her days shall not be prolonged. 

Perhaps the most wide-reaching and many-sided of the Doom 
Songs is Ezekiel's burden, or rather succession of burdens, against 
the maritime metropolis of the ancient world, the D f T 
city of Tyre. God is against Tyre, and the nations Ezekiei xxvi- 
shall overwhelm her like the waves of a rising sea : xxvm 
they shall wash down walls and towers, and even her very dust, 
until Tyre has become a bare rock, a place for the spreading of 
nets in the midst of the sea. From imagery the Song changes to 
picture : and in successive sentences we see Nebuchadrezzar's 
advance : the daughter fortresses on the confines are destroyed, 
mounts and battering engines are before the mother city, the very 
dust of his march smothers the beautiful site, at the mere sound 
of his horsemen and chariots the gates are shaken down ; horse- 
hoofs deface the streets, the sword slays, the obelisks of strength 
are thrown down, riches spoiled, pleasant houses made rubbish 


heaps : Tyre becomes a silent and bare rock, a place for the 
spreading of nets. Then all the princes of the sea come down 
from their thrones, and lay aside their robes, and strip off their 
broidered garments : they clothe themselves with tremblings, as 
they raise the wail over the renowned city, won from the sea, and 
the terror of all that haunt it. For God shall bring up the deep 
upon her, and the great waters shall cover her, and he will bring 
her down with them that descend into the pit, and will make her 
to dwell in the nether parts of the earth, in the places that are 
desolate of old ; though she be sought for, yet shall she never be 
found again. Then another strain of denunciation commences, 
and with prolonged enumeration brings out poetically the world- 
wide enterprise of the wealthy port. Tyre is represented in the 
form of a ship, and the various races with which she has dealings 
make their contributions to its perfection. 

Thou, O Tyre, hast said, I am perfect in beauty. Thy borders are 
in the heart of the seas, thy builders have perfected thy beauty. 
They have made all thy planks of fir trees from Senir : they have 
taken cedars from Lebanon to make a mast for thee. Of the oaks 
of Bashan have they made thine oars; they have made thy benches 
of ivory inlaid in boxwood, from the isles of Kittim. Of fine linen 
with broidered work from Egypt was thy sail, that it might be to 
thee for an ensign; blue and purple from the isles of Elishah was 
thine awning. The inhabitants of Zidon and Arvad were thy rowers : 
thy wise men, O Tyre, were in thee, they were thy pilots. The 
ancients of Gebal and the wise men thereof were in thee thy calkers : 
all the ships of the sea with their mariners were in thee to occupy 
thy merchandise. Persia and Lud and Put were in thine army, thy 
men of war: they hanged the shield and helmet in thee; they set 
forth thy comeliness. The men of Arvad with thine army were upon 
thy walls round about, and the Gammadim were in thy towers : they 
hanged their shields upon thy walls round about; they have per- 
fected thy beauty. 

This is only a fragment of the long-sustained enumeration : for 
when mention is made of the merchants who traffic with this Ship 
of Tyre all nations of the civilised world appear, and every kind 


of merchandise and riches is detailed, until the successive sen- 
tences have accumulated a conception of inexhaustible wealth. 
Then comes the shock of change. The Ship that makes such a 
thing of glory in the heart of the seas suffers wreck. 

Thy rowers have brought thee into great waters: the east wind 
hath broken thee in the heart of the seas. Thy riches, and thy 
wares, thy merchandise, thy mariners, and thy pilots, thy calkers, and 
the occupiers of thy merchandise, and all thy men of war, that are 
in thee, with all thy company which is in the midst of thee, shall fall 
into the heart of the seas in the day of thy ruin. At the sound of 
the cry of thy pilots the waves shall shake. 

After fresh lamentations of the sea-faring world over their chief, 
the tempest of denunciation glances upon the prince of Tyre, who 
says " he is a god, he sits in the seat of God in the heart of the 
seas " : but he is a man, and not God, in the hand of him that 
woundeth him ; and he shall die the death of the uncircumcised. 
Then the strain of denunciation gathers to a climax. Tyre sealeth 
up the sum, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. Tyre was in 
Eden the garden of God ; every precious stone was her covering ; 
she was the cherub overshadowing the mercy seat : till unright- 
eousness was found in her. Multitude of traffic filled her with 
violence ; she has been cast out as profane ; fire from the midst 
of her has devoured her ; she has been turned to ashes in the sight 
of all beholders ; she shall exist no more. 

If the burden of Ezekiel against Tyre be a typical example of 
this department of literature, we may take from the same prophet 
another Doom Song which is unique. The idea 

underlying it is the same thought we have already Dooln of 

j r T i *u -. r -.1 i j Ezekiel xxxii. 

cited from Isaiah, that of the kingdoms among , 7 . 33 

the dead receiving the newly fallen empire in the 

gloomy underworld. The form of this burden is a Wail or Dirge. 

It is an extreme example of the overlapping of verse and prose 

which I have illustrated in so many branches of Hebrew literature : 

monotonous prose recitative carries on the thread of description, 

and is broken by strongly rhythmic lines, that leave the impression 


at once of varying and of recurring with the regularity of a refrain. 
I cite this Song in full, and then our notice of the literature of 
Doom will have been carried sufficiently far. 


Son of man, wail for the multitude of Egypt, and cast them down, 
even her, and the daughters of the famous nations, 

Unto the nether parts of the earth, 

With them that go down into the pit. 

Whom dost thou pass in beauty? go down, and be thou laid with 
the uncircumcised. They shall fall in the midst of them that are 
slain by the sword : she is delivered to the sword : draw her away 
and all her multitudes. 

The strong among the mighty shall speak to him out of the midst of 
hell with them that help him : 

They are gone down, 

They lie still, 

Even the uncircumcised, 

Slain by the sword. 
Asshur is there and all her company; his graves are round about him : 

All of them slain, 

Fallen by the sword : 

Whose graves are set in the uttermost parts of the pit, and her com- 
pany is round about her grave : 

All of them slain, 

Fallen by the sword, 

Which caused terror in the land of the living. 
There is Elam and all her multitude round about her grave : 

All of them slain, 

Fallen by the sword, 

\Vhich are gone down uncircumcised 

Into the nether parts of the earth, 

Which caused their terror in the land of the living, 
and have borne their shame with them that go clown to the pit. 
They have set her a bed in the midst of the slain with all her multi- 
tude; her graves are round about her; 

All of them uncircumcised, 

Slain by the sword; 


for their terror was caused in the land of the living, and they have 
borne their shame with them that go clown to the pit : he is put in 
the midst of them that be slain. There is Meshech, Tubal, and all 
her multitude ; her graves are round about her : 

All of them uncircumcised, 

Slain by the sword; 

For they caused their terror in the land of the living. 
And shall they not lie with the mighty that are fallen of the 

Which are gone down to hell, 

\Vith their weapons of war, 

and have laid their swords under their heads, and their iniquities are 
upon their bones; 

For they were the terror of the mighty 

In the land of the living; 

but thou shalt be broken in the midst of the uncircumcised, and shalt 
lie with them that are slain by the sword. There is Edom, her kings 
and all her princes, which for all their might are laid 

\Vith them that are slain by the sword : 

They shall lie with the uncircumcised, 

And with them that go down to the pit. 
There be the princes of the north, all of them, and all the Zidonians, 

Which are gone down with the slain ; 
for all the terror which they caused by their might they are ashamed; 

And they lie uncircumcised 

With them that are slain by the sword, 

And bear their shame 

With them that go down to the pit. 

Pharaoh shall see them, and shall be comforted over all his multi- 
tude : even Pharaoh and all his army, 

Slain by the sword (saith the Lord GOD), 
For I have put his terror in the land of the living : 
And he shall be laid in the midst of the uncircumcised, 
With them that are slain by the sword : 
even Pharaoh and all his multitude, saith the Lord GOD. 



PROPHECY in one of its aspects may be described as the phi- 
losophy of history erected into a drama. But both the terms of 
this description must be understood in a special 
The Prophetic sense. Philosophy acts through its instrument of 
erai^onception reflection when it interprets history into intelligible 
theory, or catches the drift of a passing crisis. 
But the prophets carry their scheme of faith with them into the 
events they observe. It is faith in that which the Old Testament 
expresses by the word f Judgment ' : the eternal controversy be- 
tween Good and Evil, between God's people and idolatrous nations, 
between the * remnant ' and the godless mass of Israelites ; and 
this carries with it the correlative idea of a golden age, placed in 
the future and not the past, when the controversy should culminate 
in a Messianic reign of peace. To harmonise with this principle 
of Judgment the working of events is great part of the prophetic 
function. And, as one mode of conveying their conceptions, the 
prophets display the incidents themselves before our imagination 
working towards their goal with the realistic clearness of drama. 
But upon examination such prophetic compositions are found to 
go far beyond the machinery of dramatic literature, and to borrow 
from all other literary departments special modes of treatment, to 
be blended together into that most highly wrought and spiritual of 
literary forms which is here called the Rhapsody. 

I desire to explain this in detail : but first it may be well to take 
an illustration. The simplest example of the form of prophecy 



under consideration is Habakkuk's Rhapsody of the Chaldeans. 
Its exact date is a question for historical experts ; 

for literary interpretation it is sufficient to say that Rhapsody of the 
. . , Al . , . , ,,, , , Chaldeans 

it belongs to the period when the Chaldean power Habakkuk i-u 

first looms as a terror on the political horizon. 
Under such terror the first instinct of the devout would be to 
think of national corruption unpunished at home. But prophetic 
insight must go further. If the Chaldeans a cruel, godless 
embodiment of might without right were to be God's instrument 
of judgment, would not the instrument be far worse than that 
against which it was used ? It is this perplexity which is presented 
before us by Habakkuk in dramatic dialogue. 

The Prophet, O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not 
hear? I cry unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save. Why 
dost thou shew me htiquity, and cause me to look upon perverseness? 
for spoiling and violence are before me : and there is strife, and 
contention riseth up. Therefore the law is slacked, and judgement 
doth never go forth : for the wicked doth compass about the right- 
eous; therefore judgement goeth forth perverted. 

God. Behold ye among the nations, and regard, and wonder 
marvellously: for I work a work in your days, which ye will not 
believe though it be told you. For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, 
that bitter and hasty nation; which march through the breadth of 
the earth, to possess dwelling places that are not theirs. They are 
terrible and dreadful: their judgement and their dignity proceed 
from themselves. Their horses also are swifter than leopards, and 
are more fierce than the evening wolves; and their horsemen bear 
themselves proudly: yea, their horsemen come from far; they fly as 
an eagle that hasteth to devour. They come all of them for violence; 
their faces are set eagerly as the east wind ; and they gather captives 
as the sand. Yea, he scoffeth at kings, and princes are a derision 
unto him: he derideth every stronghold; for he heapeth up dust, 
and taketh it. Then shall he sweep by as a wind, and shall pass 
over, and be guilty; even he whose might is his God. 

The Prophet. Art not thou from everlasting, O LORD my God, 
mine Holy One? thou diest not. O LORD, thou hast ordained him 
for judgement; and thou, O Rock, hast established him for correc- 
tion. Thou that art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and that 


canst not look upon perverseness, wherefore lookest thou upon them 
that deal treacherously, and holdest thy peace when the wicked 
swalloweth up the man that is more righteous than he; and makest 
men as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping things, that have no 
ruler over them? He taketh up all of them with the angle, he 
catcheth them in his net, and gathereth them in his drag : therefore 
he rejoiceth and is glad. Therefore he sacrificeth unto his net, and 
burneth incense unto his drag; because by them his portion is fat, 
and his meat plenteous. Shall he therefore empty his net, and not 
spare to slay the nations continually? 

The perplexity has been fully opened : the point has been reached 
where a solution may be looked for. Additional literary force is 
.. ^ given to this solution by delay ; there is a pause, and 
the prophet will retire to his watch-tower to wait the 
answer of God. The answer, when it comes, is ushered in by 
many phrases of emphasis, it is to be written, to be 
made plain, the ' vision/ though it seem to tarry, is really 
hasting to its appointed time. What then is the Divine solution 
to the prophet's trouble? As so often happens in literature of 
this type, the central point of the whole prophecy is conveyed 
under the form of imagery, in this case the imagery of intoxica- 
tion. The haughty irresistibility of the Chaldean is no more than 
the vinous elation that goes before the tottering and 
falling; he is ' puffed up,* he cannot go straight, the 
treacherous dealing of wine has given him the haughtiness that 
will not abide, and the insatiable appetite of hell. Then the fall 
that is to come is made present to our imaginations by a sudden 
breaking out of the Taunt-Song of the oppressed nations over 
their fallen tyrant. In lyric sequence four woes are denounced, 
all celebrating the same theme the pride and fall of the Chal- 
dean, but celebrating it under four different images. The 
first woe puts the image of usury : Chaldean aggrandise- 
ment has been a mounting up of borrowed property, and there 
shall rise up suddenly those who will exact usury. In the 
second woe the image is of house-building : the tyrant 
has been building his own shame into the house he thought to 


make so high above all evil ; now it is finished the stone cries out 

of the wall and the beam out of the timber answers it. In the 

third woe the image changes to fortification : the deep 

purposes of Jehovah suffer a city to be built with blood 

and ramparted with iniquity, just that its burning may fill earth 

and sea with the light of his judgment. The fourth woe 

rests on the regular prophetic metaphor the cup of 

the Lord's fury, handed by the Chaldean to the other nations, and 

drunk by the Chaldean in his turn. Then a final woe 

goes to the root of the whole evil : the Chaldean has 

been led astray by his lying idols, all covered with gold and silver, 

but with no breath in them. But Jehovah in his holy temple is 

the true teacher of the nations : let all the earth sit in silence at 

his feet. 

Simple as this prophecy is, it has exhibited all that is essential 
in rhapsodic literature; a problem of current history has been 

stated in the form of dramatic dialogue, and solved mu ^ 

' The Rhapsody as 

in the form of lyric song. This department of an enlargement 

prophecy includes some of the most intricate and of dramatic 

. , , -r^.i , 1-, ,1 treatment 

obscure literature in the whole Bible. But in all 

cases there is an enlargement of dramatic machinery by the fusion 
with it of other kinds of literary treatment. A similar fusion has 
taken place in the companion art of music ; and those who are 
familiar with the Oratorio and the Cantata will understand how a 
dramatic action may be maintained, though particular movements 
in it are in lyric or meditative form. 

What exactly is the mental experience of a spectator watching 
a drama? He has a movement of events brought home to him, 
not by any narrative or explanation, but by the dialogue of the 
personages taking part in the incidents, assisted by changes in the 
scene before his eyes. The reader of prophetic drama has history 
presented to him as moving in the direction of Divine judgment. 
But the stage on which such movement takes place is nothing less 
than the whole universe. Its changing scenery must be conveyed 
to him, rarely iu vision, mainly by description. It is not the 


description that belongs to Epic poetry and deals with incidents 
in the past. It is what may be called Scenic Description, such as 
speaks in the present tense with the vividness of one who beholds 
what he tells, and yet the personality of no spectator is interposed 
between the reader and the scene. Or it is Prophetic Descrip- 
tion, that uses present or future indifferently : for what God, or 
his prophetic mouthpiece, foretells is as objectively real to the 
imagination as if it were visibly present. Similarly, the machinery 
of dialogue needs enlargement to meet the requirements of the 
prophetic drama. Besides actual dialogue we have the Soliloquy 
or Monologue, whether of the Divine Being or others ; in par- 
ticular, alternating monologues say, of the righteous and wicked 
from opposite regions produce a literary effect closely akin to 
dialogue. Another element of dialogue is the Divine Address : 
the omnipresence of Deity extends to those with whom he speaks, 
and his call to them makes them at once part of the scene. This 
consideration is more important than might at first be thought ; 
we shall find the longest scene in prophecy to have no speaker 
but the Divine Being, whose alternate addresses to the nations 
and to Israel keep both present before us to the end. And in a 
less degree the same effect attaches to other addresses : the cries 
at the opening of Joel to various classes of society to come and 
weep serve to bring these classes into the scene of his poem. 
Again, the prophet, besides being the mouthpiece of God, remains 
a spectator of his own drama, and his comments, spoken to earth 
or heaven, form a part of the scenes. ' Voices/ again, may join 
in the dialogue, yet not in such a way as to make the personality 
of those who speak continuously present : or yet more imper- 
sonal ' Cries ' may serve a temporary purpose in the drama. As 
an element of dialogue more abstract still we have Lyric Songs or 
Responses : not the Choral songs, such as closed Habakkuk's 
prophecy, and were spoken by the oppressed nations, but imper- 
sonal lyrics, like those used in Zephaniah to answer or second 
the announcements of Deity, or to interrupt the continuity of 
movement by bursts of praise or lament. 


In all these ways the machinery of drama is enlarged and spirit- 
ualised to make it the vehicle of prophecy. It borrows lyric 
treatment and oratorical discourse ; it does the work of philoso- 
phy; even that which is the antithesis of drama, description, 
appears in a modified form to serve a scenic purpose. And, while 
the constant object is dramatic realisation, the transitions in this 
prophetic literature from dramatic to other literary forms are so 
frequent and rapid that they seem, not so much to be blended, 
as to be fused together. If the various types of literary treatment 
might be supposed to be so many different colours of thought, 
then this prophetic drama would be the white light made by the 
merging of all these colours in one. The term ' drama/ then, 
seems to me altogether inadequate for such a specialised form 
of literature. A more appropriate name would be found in the 
' Rhapsody/ which poetry and music alike reserve as something 
specially exalted and free from limitations of form. 

The Prophecy of Joel makes a single Rhapsody of the Locust 
Plague. The idea of locusts, singly so insignificant, so terribly 
destructive in the mass, lends itself readily to 

poetic treatment ; and the prophet, starting proba- J e1 ' 8 Rhapsody 
ui f ^ ... / i , i of the Locust 

bly from some contemporary visitation of this kind, pi ag ue 

idealises it into mystic and awful forces of destruc- 
tion, under the description of which the original idea can be 
dimly traced. On this as basis he works up a conception of 
advancing judgment: first an immediate crisis, and then the 
final judgment in which all nations are involved. And, like the 
leit-motif of a musical work, "the great and terrible Day of 
the Lord " runs through the whole as a refrain. Those who are 
accustomed to literary technicalities will be struck with the beau- 
tiful movement of this work : the seven stages into 

which its action falls advance regularly to a crisis, Its Movement 

j xt. \- ^ CL r i i a continuous 

and then, as with the figure of an arch, turn round, Advance 

the later corresponding to the earlier, until the 
final stage is seen as a reversal of the first. The accompanying 



figure may convey this to the eye. [Commence to read at the 

4. Relief and Restoration 
ii. 18-27 

3. At the last moment 5. Afterward : Israel spiritualised * 

Repentance the Nations summoned 

ii. 12-17 to Judgment 

ii. 28-iii. 8 

2. Judgment visibly Ad- 6. Advance to the Valley 

vancing: CRISIS of Decision: CRISIS 

ii. I- IX iii. 9-16 

i. The Land of Israel des- 7. The Holy Mountain 

olate and mourning and eternal Peace 

1 iii. 17-21 

The prophecy opens with distress and wailing. Calls to lament 
bring before us old men witnessing to children and children's 
i. The Land of children of devastation such as their fathers never 
Israel desolate knew ; drinkers of wine awaking from their stupor 
and mourning tQ howl for the desolating ^ strong-toothed foe that 

has wasted the vine and blanched the fig tree ; husbandmen howl- 
ing under the shame and languishing that sits upon the crops and 
the trees of the field, and upon the helpless sons of men ; the 
ministers of the altar clothing themselves with sackcloth as the 
meal-offering and drink-offering fails from the house of God. The 
different groups of mourners draw together into a solemn assembly 
of the whole land, crying with one voice, " Alas for the day of the 
LORD at hand ! " and chaunting of seeds shrivelled under the clods, 
garners broken down, corn bowed with shame, cattle perplexed 
and flocks panting beside the dry watercourses and burnt pastures. 
But there is no relief: the action intensifies. A trumpet blast 
of alarm from the mountains darts into every trembling heart the 
*. judgment consciousness that the Day of the Lord has come 
visibly advanc- nigh ! The day seems to have broken with clouds 
ng. crisis an( j t kj ck darkness f or t he colours of its dawn ; 

and they know that the destroying foe will be great and strong, 


such as has never been known before, neither shall there be any 
like them. The advancing doom can just be discerned by the 
destruction it works : fires spreading from it in all directions : as 
it were the garden of Eden before it, and behind it a desolate 
wilderness. Straining eye and ear can dimly make out now the 
appearance of horses, now rattlings like chariots crossing the moun- 
tain ridges, now cracklings as of fire in stubble, now the array as 
of an ordered army. A nearer vision reveals pale anguish on the 
one side, on the other mighty warriors and an irresistible march ; 
there is mystery in the way no ranks are broken with the inequali- 
ties of the ground, none swerves for a moment out of his place ; 
the encountering weapons actually meet them, but the onward 
course has not stopped. Now the city is reached with a bound, 
is filled ; the earth begins to quake, the heavens are all dark : 
and the long-expected Voice of Jehovah brings the certainty that 
this is the Day of the Lord, a great and terrible day ; who can 
abide it ? 

Then a surprise : for the Voice of Jehovah before his army 
speaks of a time yet for turning to the Lord, with weeping and 
fasting, with rending of the heart and not the gar- 3 At the last 
ment, to a God who is gracious and full of compas- moment Repent- 
sion, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy, one ance 
who repenteth him of the evil. And a response begins to stir 
among the doomed people : " Who knoweth whether he will not 
turn and repent, and leave a blessing behind him?" And once 
more, with sound of trumpet, there is a solemn assembly : all are 
gathered together, from the elder to the child at the breast, the 
bridegroom out of his chamber and the bride out of her closet : 
weeping priests and ministers of the altar leading the cry of 
" Spare thy people, O LORD." 

The turning-point of the prophecy has been reached : " Then 
was the LORD jealous for his land, and had pity on his people." 
In the words of Him with whom future and present 4 . Relief and 
are the same we have pictured a relief from the Restoration 
impending judgment ; the northern army passing on to its own 


destruction in a desert between the seas, the land awakening to 
joy after fear, as pastures spring out of wilderness and the trees 
again yield their strength. Relief grows to restoration : the former 
and latter rain comes down each in its season, floors and fats 
overflow till the loss of locust and caterpillar has been repaired. 
Plenty and peace abound, with praise to the Lord for his wondrous 
dealings, and confidence that Israel shall be ashamed no more. 

But instead of this being an end, the action of the rhapsody 
continues to advance. We have presented before us an ' after- 

5 . Afterward: ward ' : in which there sha11 be a pouring out of 
Israel the spirit upon the sons and daughters of Israel, 

spiritualised until old and young> serv ant and handmaid, are all 
alike endowed with prophecy and vision. But for the nations, 
darkened sun and blood-stained moon, with pillars of smoke, with 
fire and blood, give warning in the heavens of another great and 
terrible Day of the Lord : a day of pleading with the nations, in 

the Nations tlie valle y called aft er the name of judgment, for 
summoned to the wrongs they have done to the captives of the 
Judgment Lord's people. And, at the mention of living 

beings bartered and sold for goods, Divine description bursts into 
Divine remonstrance with the men of Tyre and Zidon and Philistia, 
for their pillage of the holy things, and their cruelty to the chil- 
dren of Judah and Jerusalem. And what recompense have they 
to make to the adversary, who shall swiftly return their recom- 
pense upon their own head? 

e. Advance to Tlie action intensifies : like the former judg- 

the Valley of ment on Israel this final doom of the nations 
Decision: Crisis q u i c k ens i ts advance, and already the cries of the 
coming contest are heard. 

God. Proclaim ye this among the nations; prepare war : stir up 
the mighty men; let all the men of war draw near, let them come 
up. Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into 
spears : let the weak say, I am strong. 

Israel. Haste ye, and come, all ye nations round about, and 
gather yourselves together : thither cause thy mighty ones to coma 
down, O LORD. 


Cod. Let the nations bestir themselves, and come up to the 
valley of Jehoshaphat : for there will I sit to judge all the nations 
round about. 

God (to the Celestial Hosts). Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest 
is ripe: come, tread ye; for the winepress is full, the fats overflow^ 
for their wickedness is great. 

The scene is before us of multitudes after multitudes in the 
valley of decision : the Day of the Lord is near, and this is the 
place of the contest. The awful crisis is veiled from us : sun and 
moon are dark, and 'the stars withdraw their shining. But from 
Jerusalem and Mount Zion Jehovah roars, and utters a voice under 
which the heavens and earth rock to and fro, all save the strong- 
hold in which the Lord's people are held in safe refuge. The 
darkness clears away to reveal a final scene of Je- mu 

7 The Holy 

hovah comforting his people from his holy dwelling- Mountain and 
place in Zion. The mountains drop down sweet Eternalp eace 
wine, and the hills flow with milk, and all the brooks are full of 
waters, while fountains from the house of the Lord carry fertility to 
the valleys around. Over the ruins of guilty Egypt and Edom 
Judah towers, an abiding habitation ; and its people are washed with 
innocence meet for the people of the Lord that dwelleth in Zion. 

In this rhapsody of Joel the movement is a continuous advance, 
and its seven parts are seven successive stages like Acts of a drama. 

But I have several times had to remark upon an- ..,. 

r The Pendulum 

other type of movement to which Hebrew literature Movement in 
shows attraction, the pendulum movement, which Rha P sodies 
alternates to and fro between two topics or scenes. This pendu- 
lum movement is specially characteristic of Prophecy. It will be 
illustrated in the next example I bring forward, the Rhapsody of 
Judgment and Salvation, which covers four chap- 
ters of Isaiah. The seven sections into which I 
have divided this composition do not make a sue- Salvation 
cession in time. It is the fourth or middle section Isaiah mv ~ vil 
that stands out as a climax, presenting the Mountain of the Saved 


towering above a prostrate world : on either side 01* this the other 
sections are varying pictures of the same judgment. The real 
movement of this rhapsody is the pendulum movement of alterna- 
tion : an alternation between successive pictures of Doom and 
Salvation. From the prominence of this alternation, and also 
because of the rapidity and obscurity of the transitions in this 
composition, I have thought it desirable to print it in full, with 
proper arrangement of parts. The sections of Judgment are dis- 
tinguished by Roman, those of Salvation by Italic type. I quote 
the Revised Version (text or margin) exactly, except that for the 
formulae commencing speeches (such as, "In that day shall be 
said," etc.) I substitute the names of the speakers at the head of 
the speeches. Paragraphs without such headings are scenic or 
prophetic descriptions. 



Behold, the LORD maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, 
and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants 
thereof. And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as 
with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her 
mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, 
so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver 
of usury to him. The earth shall be utterly emptied, and utterly 
spoiled : for the LORD hath spoken the word. 

The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and 
fadeth away, the lofty people of the earth do languish. The earth 
also is polluted under the inhabitants thereof; because they have 
transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting 
covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they 
that dwell therein are found guilty : therefore the inhabitants of the- 


earth are burned, and few men left. The new wine mourneth, the 
vine languisheth, all the merryhearted do sigh. The mirth of tab- 
rets ceaseth, the noise of them that rejoice endeth, the joy of the 
harp ceaseth. They shall not drink wine with a song; strong drink 
shall be bitter to them that drink it. The city of confusion is broken 
down : every house is shut up, that no man may come in. There is 
a crying in the streets because of the wine; all joy is darkened, the 
mirth of the land is gone. In the city is left desolation, and the gate 
is smitten with destruction. 

For thus shall it be in the midst of the earth among the peoples^ as 
the shaking of an olive tree, as the grape gleanings zvhen the vintage 
is done. These shall lift up their voice, they shall shout. 

For the Majesty of the LORD ! 

Wherefore glorify ye the LORD in the east I 


Even the name of the LORD, the God of Israel, in the isles 

of the sea ! 


From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs, glory 
to the righteous. But I said, I pine away, I pine away, woe is me ! 
the treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously; yea, the treacher- 
ous dealers have dealt very treacherously. 


Fear, and the pit, and the snare are upon thee, O inhabitant of 
earth. And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise 
of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the 
midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare. 


For the windows on high are opened, and the foundations of the 
earth do shake. The earth is utterly broken, the earth is clean dis- 
solved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall stagger like 
a drunken man, and shall be moved to and fro like a hut; and the 
transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it, and it shall fall, and not 
rise again. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall 
punish the host of the high ones on high, and the kings of the earth 
upon the earth. And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are 
gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many 
days shall they be visited. Then the moon shall be confounded, and 
the sun ashamed. 

For the LORD of hosts shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusa- 
lem, and before his elders shall be glory. 


O LORD, thou art my God; I will exalt thee ; 

I will praise thy name ; 
For thou hast done wonderful things, 

Even counsels of old, in faithfulness and truth. 

For thou hast made of a city an heap ; 
Of a de fenced city a ruin : 

A palace of strangers to be no city ; 

It shall never be built. 

Therefore shall the strong people glorify thee, 

The city of the terrible nations shall fear thee. 

For thou hast been a strong hold to the poor, 
A strong hold to the needy in his distress, 
A reftige from the storm, 
A shadoiv from the heat, 
When the blast of the terrible ones 
Is as a storm against the wall. 

As the heat in a dry place 
Shalt thou bring down the noise of strangers ; 

As the heat by the shadow of a cloud, 
The song of the terrible ones shall be brought low. 


And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all peo- 
ples a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full 
of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. And he will destroy in 
this mountain the face of the covering that is cast over all peoples , and 
the veil that is spread over all nations. He hath swallowed up death 
for ever ; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces ; 
and the reproach of his people shall he take aivay from off all the 
arth : for the LORD hath spoken it. 

Lo> this is our God ; 

IVe have waited for him, 
And he will save us : 
This is the LORD ; 

We have -waited for him, tve will be glad 
And rejoice in his salvatiott. 

For in this mountain shall the hand of the LORD rest, and Moab 
shall be trodden down in his place, even as straw is trodden down in 
the water of the dunghill. And he shall spread forth his hands in 
the midst thereof, as he that swimmeth spreadeth forth his hands to 
swim : and he shall lay low his pride together with the craft of his 
hands. And the fortress of the high fort of thy walls hath he brought 
down, laid low, and brought to the ground, even to the dust. 

We Jiave a strong city ; 

Salvation will he appoint for walls and bulwarks. 
Open ye the gates, 

That the righteous nation which keepeth truth may enter in. 
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, 

Whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee. 
Trust ye in the LORD for ever : 

For in the LORD JEHOVAH is an everlasting rock. 

For he hath brought down them that d-cuell on high, the lofty city 

He layeth it lozv, he layeth it low, even to the ground ; 

He bringeth it evten to the dust. 

The foot shall tread it down : 

Even the feet of the poor, 

And the steps of the needy. 


7*he way of the just is tiprightness : 

Thou that art upright dost direct the path of the jus f 

Yea, in the way of thy judgements, LORD, 

Have we waited for thee ; 

To thy name and to thy memorial 

Is the desire of our soul. 

With my soul have I desired thee in the night ; 

Yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early : 
For when thy judgements are in the earth, 
The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. 
Let favour be shewed to the wicked, 
Yet will he not learn righteousness ; 

In the land of uprightness will he deal vurongfully, 

And will not behold the majesty of the LORD. 



LORD, thy hand is lifted up, yet they see not; but they shall see 
thy zeal for the people, and be ashamed; yea, fire shall devour thine 


LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for tts : for thou hast also wrought 
all otir works for us. O LORD our God, other lords beside thee have 
had dominion over us ; but by thee only will we make mention of 
thy name. 


The dead live not, the deceased rise not: therefore hast thou 
visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish. 


Thou hast increased the nation, LORD, thou hast increased the 
nation; thou art glorified ; thou hast enlarged all the borders of the 


LORD, in trouble have they visited thee, they poured out a prayer 
when thy chastening was upon them. 



Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her 
delivery, is in pain and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been 
tefore thee, O LORD. We have been with child, we have been in 
pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought 
any deliverance in the earth; neither have inhabitants of the world 
been born. 


Thy dead shall live : my dead bodies shall arise. Awake and 
sing, ye that dwell in the dust : for thy deiu is as the dew of herbs, 
and the earth shall cast forth the dead. Come, my people, enter thou 
into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee : hide thyself for a 
little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the 
LORD comcth forth out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the 
earth for their iniquity : the earth also shall disclose her blood, and 
shall no more cover her slain. 



In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword 
shall punish leviathan the swift serpent, and leviathan the crooked 
serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea. 


A Vineyard of wine, (sing ye of it,) 

I the LORD do keep it; I will water it every moment : 

Lest any hurt it, I will water it night and day. 
Fury is not in me : 

Would that the briers and thorns were against me in battle^ 

I wouh' march upon them, I would burn them together. 
Or else let him take hold of my strength, 

That hr may make peace with me : 

yea, let him make peace with me. 
In days to come shall yacob take root; 

Israel shall blossom and bud : 

And they shall Jill the face of the world with fruit. 



Hath he smitten him as he smote them that smote him ? or is he 
slain according to the slaughter of them that were slain by him ? 
In measure, when thou sendest her iiuay, thou dost contend with her ; 
he hath removed her with his rough blast in the day of the east wind. 
Therefore by this shall the iniquity of yacob be purged, and this is all 
the fruit to take away his sin ; when he maketh all the stones of the 
altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder, so that the Asherim 
and the sun-images shall rise no more. 

For the defenced city is solitary, an habitation deserted and for- 
saken, like the wilderness : there shall the calf feed, and there shall 
he lie down, and consume the branches thereof. When the boughs 
thereof are withered, they shall be broken off; the women shall come 
and set them on fire: for it is a people of no understanding; there- 
fore he that made them will not have compassion upon them, and he 
that formed them will show them no favour. 


And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall beat out 
his corn, from the flood of the River unto the brook of Egypt, and ye 
shall be gathered, one by one, O ye children of Israel. 

And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great trumpet shall be 
blown ; and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land 
of Assyria, and they that were outcasts in the land of Egypt ; and 
they shall worship the Lord in the Holy Mountain at Jerusalem. 

Such is the Prophetic Rhapsody in its full development. Its 
effect is that of a World Drama ; to attain this effect all literary 
forms concur in one, and even description has a subordinate place 
in representation. As the Rhapsody is a form of literature special 

to Hebrew Prophecy, it may be interesting to 
Origin of the Pro- . ... ,. . .. 5* 

phetic Rhapsody en( l uire into its origin as a distinct literary form. 

On the one side it may be regarded as an extension 
of Drama. In a previous chapter we have noted prophecies which 
were equivalent to brief dramatic dialogues, presenting the Divine 


yearning and the repentance of the rebellious people. Such 
dialogues were, however, abstract and general, with no note of 
particular time or place. The Hebrew people have strong dramatic 
feelings, but no theatre in which to give them vent ; accordingly, 
when dialogue becomes determined by indications of time and 
place, such as in other literatures would be transferred to a theatric 
scene, these in Hebrew literature can be conveyed only by descrip- 
tion. The addition of this scenic description to dialogue converts 
drama into rhapsody. 

An illustration of a composition differing from dramatic dialogue 
by no more than this addition of description is afforded by one of 
the most beautiful of the compositions of Jeremiah, that on the 
Drought. Its speakers are God, the Prophet, and Repentant 
Israel. 1 Its dramatic action consists in the gradual moving of God 
from judgment to mercy; and dramatic effect is carried to the 
extent of representing Jehovah as a justly incensed God, who for 
a long time will not so much as look at the sinful nation, but 
addresses them only through the Prophet : at last he speaks his 
reproofs, and finally his mercy, to his people directly. To all this 
dialogue is prefixed a prelude picturing, in lyric description, the 
drought which is the scene and occasion of the whole. 

1 It is usually interpreted as a Dialogue of Intercession, with no speakers except 
God and the Prophet. No explanation of it is entirely free from difficulty, but the 
one given in the text seems to me the least difficult, (i) A great objection to other 
views is the conclusion : it seems impossible, without straining, to make the Prophet 
guilty of any fault (mistrust, etc., is suggested) for which he should be invited to 
repent. Nor is it easy to see why the Prophet should speak xv. 15-18 after the full 
assurance given him in xv. n. On the other hand the Divine reply (xv. 19) seems 
a natural reference to the ' purged remnant ' which in all prophecy appears as the 
only portion of the nation to be saved. No doubt verses 20, 21 refer to Jeremiah : 
but they are outside the rhapsody, being an epilogue added to this as to other 
important prophecies (compare i. 18 and vi. 27). (2) In two speeches which I 
assign to the Repentant People (xiv. 7-9, 19-22) the plural is uniformly used : and 
the lyric prologue has prepared us to hear Judah mourning. It is true that the 
third speech (xv. 15-18) uses the singular: but that immediately follows the speech 
of God (12-14) * n which the singular is used, and which is undoubtedly addressed 
to the People and not to the Prophet. (3) The ordinary view ignores the marked 
distinction between "The Lord said unto me" in xiv. n (contrast 10), xiv. 14 
(compare 17), xv. i, as compared with the usual formula, " The Lord said," in xv. 
ii (and 19), and the beautiful dramatic effect which this suggests. 




Judah mourneth, 

And the gates thereof languish; 

They sit in black upon the ground; 
And the cry of Jerusalem is gone up. 

And their nobles send their little ones to the waters : 

They come to the pits, and find no water; 

They return with their vessels empty : 
They are ashamed and confounded, and cover their heads. 

Because of the ground which is chapt, 

For that no rain hath been in the land, 
The plowmen are ashamed, they cover their heads. 

Yea, the hind also in the field calveth, 

And forsaketh her young, 
Because there is no grass. 

And the wild asses stand on the bare heights, 

They pant for air like jackals; their eyes fail, 
Because there is no herbage. 


Though our iniquities testify against us, work thou for thy name's 
sake, O LORD: for our backslidings are many; we have sinned 
against thee. O thou hope of Israel, the saviour thereof in the time 
of trouble, why shouldest thou be as a sojourner in the land, and 
as a wayfaring man that turneth aside to tarry for a night? Why 
shouldest thou be as a man astonied, as a mighty man that cannot 
save? yet thou, O LORD, art in the midst of us, and we are called by 
thy name; leave us not. 


Thus saith the LORD unto this people, Even so have they loved to 
wander; they have not refrained their feet : therefore the LORD doth 
not accept them; now will he remember their iniquity, and visit 
their sins. 

THE LORD (to the Prophet) 

Pray not for this people for their good. When they fast, I will 
not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and oblation, 
I will not accept them : but I will consume them by the sword, and 
by the famine, and by the pestilence. 



Ah, Lord GOD ! behold, the prophets say unto them, Ye shall not 
e the sword, neither shall ye have famine; but I will give you 
assured peace in this place* 

THE LORD (to the Prophet) 

The prophets prophesy lies in my name : I sent them not, neither 
have I commanded them, neither spake I unto them : they prophesy 
unto you a lying vision, and divination, and a thing of nought, and 
the deceit of their own heart. Therefore thus saith the LORD con- 
cerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, 
yet they say, Sworcl and famine shall not be in this land : By sword 
and famine shall those prophets be consumed. And the people to 
whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem 
because of the famine and the sword; and they shall have none 
to bury them, their \vives, nor their sons, nor their daughters: for 
I will pour their wickedness upon them. And thou shalt say this 
word unto them, Let mine eyes run down with tears night and day, 
and let them not cease; for the virgin daughter of my people is 
broken with a great breach, with a very grievous wound. If I go 
forth into the field, then behold the slain with the sword ! and if I 
enter into the city, then behold them that are sick with famine ! for 
both the prophet and the priest go about in the land and have no 


Hast thou utterly rejected Judah? hath thy soul loathed Zion? 
Why hast thou smitten us, and there is no healing for us? We 
looked for peace, but no good came; and for a time of healing, and 
behold dismay! We acknowledge, O LORD, our wickedness, and 
the iniquity of our fathers: for we have sinned against thee. Do 
not abhor us, for thy name's sake; do not disgrace the throne of 
thy glory': remember, break not thy covenant with us. Are there 
any among the vanities of the heathen that can cause rain? or can 
the heavens give showers? art not thou he, O LORD our God? 
therefore we will wait upon thee; for thou hast done all these things. 

THE LORD (to the Prophet} 

Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could 
not be toward this people : cast them out of my sight, and let them 


go forth. And it shall come to pass, when they say unto thee r 
Whither shall we go forth ? then thou shalt tell them, Thus saith the 
LORD: Such as are for death, to death; and such as are for the 
sword, to the sword; and such as are for the famine, to the famine; 
and such as are for captivity, to captivity. And I will appoint over 
them four kinds, saith the LORD : the sword to slay, and the dogs to 
tear, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the earth, to 
devour and to destroy. And I will cause them to be tossed to and 
fro among all the kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh the 
son of Hezekiah king of Judah, for that which he did in Jerusalem. 
For who shall have pity upon thee, O Jerusalem ? or who shall 
bemoan thee ? or who shall turn aside to ask of thy welfare ? Thou 
hast rejected me, saith the LORD, thou art gone backward : therefore 
have I stretched out my hand against thee, and destroyed thee; I 
am weary with repenting. And I have fanned them with a fan in 
the gates of the land; I have bereaved them of children, I have 
destroyed my people; they have not returned from their ways. Their 
widows are increased to me above the sand of the seas: I have 
brought upon them against the mother of the young men a spoiler at 
noonday: I have caused anguish and terrors to fall upon her sud- 
denly. She that hath borne seven languisheth ; she hath given up 
the ghost; her sun is gone down while it was yet day; she hath been 
ashamed and confounded : and the residue of them will I deliver to 
the sword before their enemies, saith the LORD. 


Woe is me, my mother, that thou hast borne me a man of strife 
and a man of contention to the whole earth ! I have not lent on 
usury, neither have men lent to me on usury; yet every one of 
them doth curse me. 

THE LORD (to the Prophet) 

Verily I will strengthen thee for good; verily I will intercede for 
thee with the enemy in the time of evil and in the time of affliction. 
(To Israel?) Can one break iron, even iron from the north and 
brass? Thy substance and thy treasures will I give for a spoil with- 
out price, and that for all thy sins, even in all thy borders. And I 
will make thee to serve thine enemies in a land which thou knowest 
not: for a fire is kindled in mine anger, which shall burn upon 



O LORD, thou knowest : remember me, and visit me, and avenge 
me of my persecutors; take me not away in thy longsuffering. 
Know that for thy sake I have suffered reproach. Thy words were 
found, and I did eat them; and thy words were unto me a joy and 
the rejoicing of mine heart : for I am called by thy name, O LORD 
God of hosts. I sat not in the assembly of them that make merry, 
nor rejoiced: I sat alone because of thy hand; for thou hast filled 
me with indignation. Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound 
incurable, which refuseth to be healed? wilt thou indeed be unto me 
as a deceitful brook, as waters that fail? 


Therefore, if thou return, then will I bring thee again, that thou 
mayest stand before me; and if thou take forth the precious from 
the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth : they shall return unto thee, but 
thou shalt not return unto them. 

EPILOGUE. To the Prophet 

And I will make thee unto this people a fenced brasen wall; and 
they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee : 
for I am with thee to save thee, and to deliver thee, saith the LORD. 
And I will deliver thee out of the hand of the wicked, and I will 
redeem thee out of the hand of the terrible. 

If, on the one hand, we thus see dramatic prophecy passing 
into rhapsody by the addition of an element of description, we 
can, looking to the other side, observe how discourse can sway 
in the direction of dramatic machinery, and so become rhapsodic. 
I have before drawn attention to such a prophecy as that of 
Zephaniah, in which the continuity of Divine speech is broken 
by outbursts of impersonal lyrics, exulting in delivered Zion, or 
triumphing over the threatened foe. Again, it is easy to under- 
stand how the fervour of prophetic oratory can suddenly change to 
realising the predicted future as if immediately present. The 



lengthy discourse in which Isaiah describes the Assyrian as the 
rod of God's anger, and pictures the reign of peace that would 
follow the Assyrian's overthrow, is throughout couched in the 
future tense : at just a single point the future tense gives place to 
the realistic present. 

He is come to Aiath, he is passed through Migron; at Michmash 
he layeth up his baggage: they are gone over the pass; "Geba is 
our lodging," they cry; Ramah trembleth; Gibeah of Saul is fled, 
Cry aloud with thy voice, O daughter of Gallim ! hearken, O Laishah ! 
O thou poor Anathoth! Madmenah is a fugitive; the inhabitants 
of Gebim gather themselves to flee. This very day shall he halt at 
Nob; he shaketh his hand at the mount of the daughter of Zion, 
the hill of Jerusalem. 

Behold the Lord, the LORD of hosts, shall lop the boughs with 
terror : and the high ones of stature shall be hewn down, and the 
lofty shall be brought low. And he shall cut down the thickets of 
the forest with iron, and Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one. And 
there shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch 
out of his roots shall bear fruit. 

In the same way most of the Doom Songs (except those of 
Ezekiel) are rhapsodic : the denunciations and predictions alter- 
nate with various modes of presenting the fulfilment of the 

The Rhapsodic Discourse, as distinguished from the Rhapsody, 

is illustrated on the largest scale in a portion of Jeremiah which 

I would describe as his Prophetic Manifesto. It is 

feremiah^s^rni- a long com P osition of five chapters, following the 
festo (ii-vi) account of the prophetic call, and embodying the 
general spirit of Jeremiah's ministry. The greater 
part of it is discourse, marked by the mingling of imagery and 
pathetic appeal which distinguishes this prophet ; I take it up at 
.^ the point where it abruptly passes into the dramatic 

form of rhapsody. While there is a slight suggestion of 
succession between its parts, in the fact that the threatened judg- 
ment seems to advance nearer and nearer, yet the main movement 


Is the pendulum movement of alternation : an alternation, not 
between judgment and salvation, but between the impending 
Doom and the Panic of those who are about to suffer it. 

I reckon as first of the seven sections that which does not pass 
beyond the limits of discourse ; though the discourse is approach- 
ing nearer and nearer to dramatic form in the direct appeals to 
Israel, and the imagined responses of the people. But at last 
the rhapsodic form becomes pronounced, and the alternation of 
Doom and Panic begins. 


Declare ye in Judah, and publish in Jerusalem, and say, Blow ye 
the trumpet in the land : cry aloud and say, Assemble yourselves, 
and let us go into the fenced cities. Set up a standard toward Zion : 
flee for safety, stay not : for I will bring evil from the north, and a 
great destruction. A lion is gone up from his thicket, and a destroyer 
of nations; he is on his way, he is gone forth from his place; to 
make thy land desolate, that thy cities be laid waste, without in- 


For this gird you with sackcloth, lament and howl : for the fierce 
anger of the LORD is not turned back from us. 


And it shall come to pass at that day, that the heart of the king shall 
perish, and the heart of the princes; and the priests shall be aston- 
ished, and the prophets shall wonder* 


Ah, Lord GOD ! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people and 
' Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall have peace ; whereas the sword reachcth, 
. unto the soul. 



A hot wind from the bare heights in the wilderness toward the 
daughter of my people, not to fan, nor to cleanse; a full wind from 
these shall come for me : now will I also utter judgements against 
them. Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be 
as the whirlwind : his horses are swifter than eagles, 

Woe unto us ! for we are spoiled. 


Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest 
be saved. How long shall thine evil thoughts lodge within thee ? 

4 * 

VOICES from DAN and from the HILLS OF EPHRAIM 

Make ye mention to the nations; behold, publish against Jerusa- 
lem, that watchers come from a far country, and give out their voice 
against the cities of Judah. As keepers of a field are they against 
her round about; " because she hath been rebellious against me," 
saith the LORD. Thy way and thy doings have procured these things 
unto thee; this is thy wickedness; surely it is bitter, surely it reach- 
eth unto thine heart. 


My bowels, my bowels ! I am pained at my very heart ; my heart 
is disquieted in me; I cannot hold my peace ; because thou hast heard, 

my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. Destruction 
upon destruction is cried ; for the whole land is spoiled : suddenly 
fire my tents spoiled, and my curtains in a moment. How long shall 

1 see the standard^ and hear the sound of the trumpet? 


For my people is foolish, they know me not; they are sottish chil- 
dren, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but 
to do good they have no knowledge. 




I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was waste and void; and the 
heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, 
they trembled, and all the hills moved to and fro. I beheld, and, 
lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heaven were fled. I 
beheld, and, lo, the fruitful field was a wilderness, and all the cities 
thereof were broken down at the presence of the LORD, and before 
his fierce anger. 


The whole land shall be a desolation; yet will I not make a full 
end. For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be 
black : because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and I have not 
repented, neither will I turn back from it. 

VISION" continued 

The whole city fleeth for the noise of the horsemen and bowmen / 
they go into the thickets, and climb up upon the 'rocks : every city is 
forsaken, and not a man dwelleth therein. 


And thou, when thou art spoiled, what wilt thou do ? Though thou 
closest thyself with scarlet, though thou deckest thee with ornaments 
of gold, though thou enlargest thine eyes with paint, in vain dost thou 
make thyself fair ; thy lovers despise thee, they seek thy life. 

VISION continued 

For I have heard a voice as of a woman in travail, the anguish as 
of her that bringeth forth her first child, the voice of the daughter of 
Zion, that gaspeth for breath, that spreadeth her hands, saying, Woe 
is me now ! for my soulfainteth before the murderers. 

Through these alternating passages of doom and panic the judg- 
ment has seemed to advance : at first it was only announced from 
a distance ; in the last sections the desolation was fully seen, but 
only in vision. The next section is too lengthy to quote. As if 


with a reminiscence of Abraham's intercession for Sodom, God 
bids the prophet search Jerusalem through and through for a sin- 
gle just man, that he may pardon her. The prophet tries low and 
high in vain. Then the Lord reluctantly calls the enemy to go up 
and destroy, "but make not a full end.'* As if using the moments 
of waiting, God is represented as pouring out descriptions of the 
terrible foe mighty men, whose quiver is an open sepulchre 
and remonstrances against the hardness of heart that in the very 
presence of judgment will not turn to the judge. All seems in 
vain. The conclusion is " astonishment and horror " : false 
prophets and subservient priests, and a people that loves to have 
it so ! What will they do in the end? Now the panic appears; 
the destruction arrives, yet is still held under restraint. 


Flee for safety, ye children of Benjamin, out of the midst of Jeru- 
salem, and bloiv the trumpet in Tekoa, and raise up a signal on 
Beth-haccherem : for evil looketh forth from the north, and a great 


The comely and delicate one, the daughter of Zion, will I cut off. 
Shepherds with their flocks shall come unto her ; they shall pitch their 
tents against her round about ; they shall feed every one in his place. 

Prepare ye war against her ; arise, and let us go up at noon. 


Woe unto us ! for the day declineth> for the shadows of the evening 
\re stretched out. 


Arise, and let us go up by night, and let us destroy her palaces. 
For thus hath the LORD of hosts said, Hew ye down trees t and cast 
up a mount against Jerusalem : this is the city to be visited. 


She is wholly oppression in tfic midst of her. As a well caste th 
forth her waters, so she casteth forth her wickedness : violence and 
spoil is heard in her ; before me continually is sickness and wounds. 


Even in the presence of the destroying foe a final attempt is 
made by God at least to glean a remnant of Israel. But there 
is none to listen ; the ear of the people is uncircumcised ; they 
refuse to walk in the old paths, to hearken to the watchmen : the 
word of the Lord has become to them a reproach. "Therefore," 
cries Jehovah, " I am full of the fury of Jehovah ; I am weary 
with holding in." The fury is to be poured out upon old and 
young, families and fields ; the people from the north are stirred 
up against Zion, a people who are cruel, and have no mercy. 
There remains only the final panic. 


We have heard the fame thereof; our hands wax feeble : anguish 
hath taken hold of us, and pangs as of a woman in travail. Go not 
forth into the field, nor walk by the way ; for there is the sword of the 
enemy, and terror on every side. O daughter of my people, gird thee 
with sackcloth, and wallow thyself in ashes ; make thee mourning, as 
for an only son, most bitter lamentation ; for the spoiler shall sud- 
denly come upon us ! 

In the rhapsodies so far reviewed we have seen the movement 
that consists in a continuous advance, and the movement that 
advances only by alternations. There is a third 
type of movement in which the distinctness of the 
parts is more prominent than the progress from 
one part to another. Such divisions in the movement of a literary 
composition are felt to correspond to the ' Acts ' of a drama, but, 
differing from these Acts by the absence of continuous succession, 
they should be indicated by some different name, such as ' Phases. 9 
The prophecy of Amos is an illustration, and con- 

stitutes a single Rhapsody of the Judgment to come. S ody S <>f the 
The first of the three divisions or ' Phases ' into Judgment to 
which it falls brings out Israel's part in a general come 
judgment, and it is a piece of Lyric Prophecy. The second Phase 


is a series of appeals to Israel, and is in the form of Discourse. 
The third presents the coming of the judgment in the form of 
Dramatic Vision. 

The portion constituting the first Phase has been cited at length 
in a previous chapter. 1 It is a chain of lyric woes denounced 
against various peoples : free recitative of prose detailing 
Phase i S p ec i a i features of each, while rhythmic refrains speak 
the common doom. It is clear that the various denun- 
ciations are so arranged as to lead up to that on Israel as a 
climax. A note of this prophet's treatment is his power of em- 
phasising by holding back. What the judgment on Israel is to 
be is kept a mystery ; the formula used for the other nations 
devouring fire does not appear in the last case, but the judg- 
ment is described only by its effects, flight perishing from the 
swift, and the mighty unable to deliver himself. 

The second Phase is a series of appeals increasing in intensity* 
First, we have four general appeals, each ushered in by the cry, 
" Hear ye," or " Publish ye." Then follows a pleading 
Phaie ii j n ^i^ discourse becomes lyrical. The successive warn- 
ings sent by God are enumerated cleanness of teeth, 
the guilty city isolated by drought with abundance all around, 
blasting and mildew, pestilence after the manner of Egypt, and 
burning like that of Sodom and Gomorrah and after each comes 
the refrain, " Yet have ye not returned to me, saith the LORD." 
The pleading turns to a threat : 

Therefore THUS will I do unto thee, O Israel : and because I will do 
THIS unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel. 

The coming judgment still remains veiled under the mysterious 

thus. The last appeal takes the form of a lamentation, including 

a double woe : against those who desire the Day of 

the Lord, not seeing that it will be darkness and not 

light ; and against those that are at ease in Zion, and put far away 

the evil day. The limit of appeal seems now to be reached : God 

1 Above, page 114. 


swears by Himself that Jacob and his sins have become a thing of 
abhorrence. And the mystic judgment begins to take 
substance, as we hear of captivity in the east and the vi - 8 " 14 
nation that is to afflict the whole land. 

With the third Phase the judgment appears sensibly to advance, 
as the series of visions pass before us. A visionary appearance of 
locusts at their work of destruction is seen : but when 
the destruction has proceeded a certain way the prophet p * a ? e m 
interposes his intercession, and the Lord repents and 
says it shall not be. Another vision, and fire is seen devouring 
the great deep ; but when it reaches the land the prophet again 
makes intercession, and the judgment is stayed. The next vision 
displays a plumbline : the exact limit has been reached, beyond 
which there can be no passing by of the iniquities of Israel. The 
emphasis of this as a turning-point is further seen by ,the way in 
which the prophet introduces here his digression, describ- 
ing the efforts of those in authority to restrain him from vu * l ~ x7 
prophesying evil to Israel. We are thus prepared for the next 
vision of summer fruit : Israel is ripe for her fall. With the final 
vision the judgment has begun. The Lord, standing on 
the altar of his house, bids smite the chapiters, that the 
thresholds may shake, and universal destruction of house and 
people may follow. 

Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them; and 
though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down. 
And though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search 
and take them out thence; and though they be hid from my sight 
in the bottom of the sea, thence will I command the serpent, and he 
shall bite them. 

An Epilogue drops dramatic presentation for appeal; and fur- 
ther speaks of a remnant to be restored. Thus the last strain of 
this, as of other rhapsodies, can be the song of a golden 
age, when " the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and ^P 110 * 
the treader of grapes him that soweth seed " ; and the 
people shall be planted upon their land, to be plucked up no more. 


I have felt it less necessary to dwell in detail upon this beau- 
tiful prophecy of Amos, because the movement by phases which 
it illustrates will be found again in another composition, a colossal 
and wonderful example of the rhapsodic form, which needs a 
separate chapter for its consideration. 



THE last twenty-seven chapters of our Book of Isaiah form a 
single composition : no less stupendous as a literary monument 
than supreme in importance as inspiration of 
Hebrew and Christian religion. To expound it Isaiah's Rhap- 

u T 11 i T - sodyof'Zioa 

would require a volume ; all that I can attempt is Redeemed 

to elucidate its outer literary form, well assured 
that here, as always, this must be an important factor in the inter- 

Every reader feels a difficulty in catching the unity of the 
whole, however strongly he may feel the attraction of the parts. 
No narrative is carried on from beginning to end, though there is 
much to suggest progress of story; though reasoning abounds, 
there is no sign of a logical plan ; if the reader seeks to take 
refuge in supposing a collection of many compositions, he is con- 
tinually confronted with evidences of unity. The full force of 
this part of the Bible is brought out by considering it a Rhapsody, 
the prophetic form made by the fusion of all literary forms in 
one; which can thus give the realistic emphasis of dramatic 
presentation to its ideas, while free at any point to abandon 
drama for discourse or lyric meditation. This Rhapsody of Zion 
Redeemed has a movement which, like that of 

other rhapsodies, is best compared to the succes- Its senerai 

r ^ * s\ ^ t-i i movement and 

sion of parts in an Oratorio. On the whole, this ma tter 

movement is so far an advance that, like many 
other prophecies, it works forward from an immediate judgment 



and deliverance, on to the final judgment of the nations and resto- 
ration of the remnant in a Messianic kingdom. But the seven 
divisions into which the whole falls are not seven stages in this 
advance, but (like those in the prophecy of Amos) seven different 
' phases/ side by side in part and partly successive, each complete 
in , itself and drawing matter from all parts of the national history, 
and all necessary to be exhibited before the action is consum- 
mated. The seven Phases may be described as follows : 


Judgment on Babylon 


Jehovah's Servant and Desponding Zion 

The Awakening of Zion 

Jehovah's Servant Exalted 


Zion Exalted 


The Redeemer come to Zion 


Judgment on Zion and the Nations 

The mere reading of these titles suggests advance in the move- 
ment as a whole. Yet it is impossible to say that (for example) 
the sixth section either follows or precedes those standing before 
it : it embraces the whole action looked at from a particular point 


of view, and is placed where it is because of the relation of that 
point of view to the whole. Further, as the rhapsodic form can 
mingle dramatic realisation with the most spiritual meditation or 
imaginative idealising, so the matter of the whole prophecy 
extends from an immediate deliverance of Babylonian Captives, 
by the instrumentality of Cyrus, to a spiritual redemption of Zion, 
and final judgment of the nations by Jehovah. And similarly 
the hero of this rhapsody the ' Servant of Jehovah ' appears 
at some points as Israel the nation, charged with a mission to 
itseli and to the Gentiles ; in other places it seems to individualise 
into a humanity that can suffer martyrdom, and, in the memorable 
central act of the rhapsody, has become a mystic personality, 
whose sufferings are at last recognised by the nations as vicarious, 


The Prelude embodies the spirit of the whole rhapsody in brief 
lyric and dramatic form. The Voice of God is heard command- 
ing to speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry to her that 
her warfare is accomplished, and her iniquity pardoned. 
At once voices appear to take up the message and carry it on to 
its destination. A Voice cries to prepare in the wilderness a high- 
way for God ; every valley is to be exalted and every mountain 
and hill made low, the crooked is to be made straight and the 
rough places plain : the glory of the Lord is about to be re- 
vealed, and all flesh shall see it together. Another 
Voice in succession passes on the word; but here the 
Voice of the Tidings is checked by the Voice of Despondency. 

What shall I cry? 

All flesh is grass, 

And all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: 

The grass withereth, 

The flower fadeth ; 

Because the breath of the LORD bloweth upon it : 
Surely the people is grass. 


But the Voice of the Tidings makes reply : 

The grass withereth, 
The flower fadeth : 
But the word of our God shall stand for ever. 

Another Voice seems to sound from far on the road to Jerusalem : 
bidding to get up into the high mountain to tell the good 
tidings to Zion, to lift up the voice with strength, to say 

to the cities of Judah, Behold your God ! 


The first Phase is the elaborate presentation of the Judgment on 

Babylon. The Voice of Prophecy strikes the key-note, celebrating 

the supremacy of Jehovah: who measureth the 

xl. xa-xlvm . ,,,.,., , , 

waters in the hollow of his hand, and meteth out 
heaven with a span, weighing the mountains in scales and the hills 
in a balance ; before whom the nations are as a drop in a bucket ; 
he taketh up the isles as a very little thing. To what, then, shall 
this God be likened ? to a graven image, gilded by a goldsmith, 
with silver chains cast for it lest the god fall down? or wrought 
for the impoverished worshipper by a cunning workman out of a 
tree, chosen carefully lest the god might rot? Meanwhile He 
sitteth above the circle of the earth, and all the inhabitants thereof 
are but as grasshoppers; He calleth all the host of heaven by 
number and by name, and for that He is strong not one of them 
>s lacking. The Voice of Prophecy then appeals to the despond- 
ing of Israel, who cry that their way is hid from God, and their 
judgment a thing passed away for ever. Have they not heard 
and known that the Creator of the ends of the earth fainteth 
not, neither is weary, but giveth power to the faint? Even the 
youths shall be weary and fail ; but they that wait upon the LORD 
shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as 
eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and 
not faint. 


At this point the rhapsody becomes dramatic : a single scenic 
action is sustained for eight chapters, broken only by occasional 
outbursts of lyric song. The Nations are summoned to 
the bar of God to hear his will concerning the deliverance 
of his people ; and the idea of the assembled Nations, once raised, 
is by little touches of allusion kept before us to the end. 1 There 
is no speaker in this scene except Jehovah : yet, by the pendulum- 
like alternation so common in prophecy, 2 and here seven times re- 
peated, God is presented as addressing alternately the Nations and 
Israel, each in the presence of the other, pronouncing his fore- 
ordained counsel to the one, and proclaiming redemption to the 
other. Thus the assumed presence of the Nations on the one side 
and Israel on the other completes the dramatic reality of the scene. 

i. The Nations, away to the furthest islands of the west, are 
summoned to judgment : to hear of * one from the east ' raised up 
as an instrument of righteousness, 3 crushing the peoples 
in his path ; and none but Jehovah hath wrought this *' X ~* 
from the beginning. A few verses present the panic of the assem- 
bling Nations : how the idolaters encourage one another : 
the carpenter cheering the goldsmith, and he that smooth- 5 ~ 7 
eth with the hammer him that smiteth the anvil; they look to the 
soldering of the idols, and strengthen them with chains for the 
coming shock. 

As if in contrast with such panic, Israel is summoned with words 
of comfort. He is the chosen Servant of Jehovah, who will be 
his Redeemer: causing mountains to be threshed and 
scattered out of his path, opening for him rivers on bare 
heights and fountains in the midst of valleys, while the wilderness 

1 Such allusions are xli. i, 21, 28-9; xliii. 9-10; xliv. 8-9; xlv. 20; xlviii, 6, 14. 
The fact that occasionally (xliii. 12; xliv. 8; xlv. 17) in addresses to the Nations 
the pronoun You or Your is casually used in reference to Israel adds to the general 
effect of the scene : each party is addressed in the presence of the other. 

2 Compare above, page 349. 

8 It is specially important in this prophecy to remember the twofold meaning in 
the Old Testament of the word ' righteousness ' : not only right doing, but also 
setting right, vindication, almost the equivalent of salvation. Compare xli, 2; xlii. 
6; xlv. 8, 13; especially li. 5; and Ivi. z. 


blooming with myrtle and acacia shall signify what the Holy One 
of Israel hath done for his people. 

2. The idolatrous Nations are challenged to dispute, to pro- 
duce their cause and their strong reasons ; let their idols declare 
things to come that their godhead may be known ; 
let them do good or do evil that the two parties 
may look one upon the other. A single verse conveys the silence 
of the Nations : the gods of their workmanship are things 
of nought. Then Jehovah produces his case: he has 
raised up ' one from the north/ < from the rising of the sun/ to 
tread the Nations like clay, and make glad tidings for Zion. Who 
but Jehovah hath declared such counsel from the beginning? 
Again the verses present God as looking for an answer 
from the Nations and meeting only silence : he pronounces 
the molten images vanity and confusion. 

The Divine Speaker now turns to Israel, and proclaims him to 
the Nations as his Servant : * and the service is to bring forth judg- 
ment to the Gentiles. Not by force, but by gentleness : 
he shall not cry nor shout ; the bruised reed he shall not 
break, nor quench smoking flax ; but he shall be sustained until 
he has become light and help to the peoples of the earth. A 
Lyric Outburst of Praise to Jehovah from the whole 
earth : let them that go down to the sea sing, let SeLi 
and the villages of Kedar lift up the voice, let them shout from 
the top of the mountains. Jehovah hath long kept silence, but now 
will he cry like a travailing woman ; he will waste mountains and 
make rivers islands, he will make darkness light and the crooked 
straight : and Israel shall never be forsaken. But as this song 
dies away, the proclamation is heard to describe this 
Servant of Jehovah as blind, as deaf, as hid in prison 
houses, and only now perceiving that it is He against whom the 

1 It seems to me impossible to understand the ' Servant ' of these verses (xlii. 
1-9) otherwise than as the nation of Israel. No one doubts that the ' Servant ' of 
verses 18-25 is Israel : but these verses are a continuation of the beginning of the 
chapter, verses 10-17 being one of the lyric interruptions that occur at intervals 
and are outside the argument. 


people has sinned that has given Israel for a spoil. Yet now his 
Maker has become his Redeemer. " When thou passest through 
the waters I will be with thee ; and through the rivers, they shall 
not overflow thee." The Holy One of Israel is his saviour : he 
has given Egypt for ransom, and Ethiopia and Seba ; he will say 
to the north, Give up, and to the south, Keep not back ; and the 
imprisoning nations shall bring them forth, a blind people that 
hath eyes, a deaf people that hath ears. 

3. The alternation of pleading continues. The assembled 
Nations are again challenged to bring witnesses, to show the fore- 
seeing of counsel from of old. Their silence makes 

them witnesses for Jehovah, and Israel too is wit- m ' *~* V * 5 
ness. There is no god but Jehovah, and he is the only saviour. 

Then to Israel their Creator and King tells how for their sake 
Babylon has been visited. The former deliverance from Egypt 
shall no more be remembered; a new thing shall be 
done, a way opened in the wilderness, and rivers in the 1 " M 
desert. Yet Israel hath not called upon the Lord ; hath wearied 
him with sins and not with sacrifices. Jehovah will blot out his 
transgressions for his own sake. Water shall be poured upon the 
thirsty, and streams upon the dry ground ; the seed of Jacob shall 
spring up among the grass, as willows by the watercourses. " One 
shall say, I am the LORD'S ; and another shall call himself by the 
name of Jacob ; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto 
the LORD, and surname himself by the name of Israel." 

4. Again Jehovah asserts his godhead, and pours scorn on the 
gods of the Nations. He is the first, and he is the last, and 
beside him there is no God, there is no Rock. 

The fashioners of graven images are plunged in 

confusion: the delectable things their work has created cannot 

witness for them to save them from shame. 

The smith maketh an axe, and worketh in the coals, and fashioneth 
it with hammers, and worketh it with his strong arm : yea, he is 
hungry, and his strength faileth; he drinketh no water, and is faint. 
The carpenter stretcheth out a line; he marketh it out with a pencil; 



he shapeth it with planes, and he marketh it out with the compasses, 
. and shapeth it after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of 
a man, to dwell in the house. He heweth him down cedars, and 
taketh the holm tree and the oak, and strengthened for himself one 
among the trees of the forest : he planteth a fir tree, and the rain 
doth nourish it. Then shall it be for a man to burn; and he taketh 
thereof, and warmeth himself; yea, he kindleth it, and baketh bread : 
yea, he maketh a god, and worshippeth it : he maketh it a graven 
image, and falleth down thereto. He burneth part thereof in the 
fire; with part thereof he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast, and is sat- 
isfied : yea, he warmeth himself, and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have 
seen the fire : and the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his 
graven image : he falleth down unto it and worshippeth, and prayeth 
unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god. 

So the worshipper of idols feeds upon ashes, with none to show 
him how his deceived heart has led him astray, till he cannot see 
the lie in his right hand. 

But not so with Israel : theirs is not a made God, but the 
xiiv 21 Maker of his people. And he has now redeemed them, 
blotting out as a thick cloud their transgressions, and 
as a cloud their sins. 

Sing, O ye heavens, 

For the LORD hath done it ; 

Shout, ye lower parts of the earth; 

Break forth into singing, ye mountains \ 

O forest, and every tree therein: 

For the Lord hath redeemed yacob, 
And will glorify himself in Israel. 

Then thus saith to Israel his Redeemer, he who stretcheth out 
the heavens, he who frustrateth the tokens of liars, and maketh 
diviners mad: Cyrus is his Shepherd, and shall perform all his 
pleasure, even saying of Jerusalem, She shall be built. 

5. Tp the Nations Jehovah proclaims Cyrus as his anointed, 

. commissioned to do his work, for which the way 

shall be smoothed before him. Jehovah hath sur- 

totjjed Cyrus, though Cyrus hath not known him. The authority 


of the proclamation is maintained: Jehovah is he who is the 
creator of light and of darkness, peace and evil are alike his 

Drop down, ye heavens, from above, 

And let the skies pour down righteousness : 
Let the earth open, that they may be fruitful in salvation. 

And let her cause righteousness to spring up together. 

Shall not the work of the hands be used by him that has wrought 
it? Therefore the Creator of man has raised up Cyrus as an 
instrument of righteousness. For this shall the labour of Egypt, 
and the merchandise of Ethiopia, and the Sabeans, men of stature, 
come over unto him, accepting his bonds because of the God that 
is hidden in him : " Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O 
God of Israel, the Saviour." And let the assembled Nations know 
that there is no saviour but Jehovah : to Him must the ends of the 
earth look, and to Him every knee bow. His enemies shall be 
covered with confusion : and a few words of the Divine Speaker 
call up a picture of the idols of Babylon borne away into captivity, 
Bel bowing down over one beast, and another beast groaning under 
the weight of Nebo laid flat across him. 

Then, with a sudden turn, the Speaker addresses Israel : their 
God is not a god to be borne in his people's arms, but 
in his arms has their God carried his people, from the 
womb he has borne them, and even to hoar hairs shall they be 

6. The proclamation before the Nations is resumed. The one 
God, whom no helpless idols can equal, whose is the counsel 
that is seen from the beginning to the end, will do 
his pleasure : he calls a ravenous bird from the * lvi * 5-**ii 
east to execute his counsel, and his salvation shall 
no longer tarry. At once a lyric outburst calls tauntingly to the 
virgin daughter of Babylon to come down and sit in the 
dust, to sit on the ground without a throne; to cover * X5 
herself with shame ; to sit silent, to get her into darkness > for jhk 


shall no more be called the lady of kingdoms. The Divine 
6 _ xs Speaker reminds Babylon of her cruelty to the captives 
of the Lord, and her careless confidence. Now all her 
losses shall come upon her at once, the day of evil breaking with- 
out any dawn to go before it ; and all her astrologers, and star- 
gazers, and monthly prognosticators shall be as stubble ; there 
shall be none to save. 

Upon Israel too the Divine rebuke falls : upon those who swear 
by the name of Jehovah, and make mention of the God of Israel, 
xiviii x k ut not in truth nor ^ righteousness. Because of the 
iron sinew in their neck, and their brow of brass, has 
Jehovah told them the thing before it come to pass, lest they 
should say their idol had done it. From the womb they have 
been a transgressor, but for his name's sake God will defer his 
anger. He has refined Israel, but not as silver; He has tried him 
in the furnace of affliction, He, the first and last, whose glory 
shall not be given to another. 

7. For the seventh and last time in this High Court of 
Heaven and Earth God turns to the assembled Nations. 1 He 
xiviii. x 4 -*a whom Jehovah loveth shall perform his pleasure 
on Babylon, and his way shall be made pros- 
perous. The Nations are bidden to listen, and already the 
voice of Jehovah's agent is heard : " From the time that it was, 
there am I : and now the Lord GOD hath sent me, and his 

It remains to turn for the last time to Israel, that they may 
know their redeemer, who leads them by the way they should go. 

xMii. 17 " ^ that tllou hac * st hearkene d to m X commandments ! 

then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness 

as the waves of the sea." The scene of judgment ends with a cry 

to go forth out of Babylon, that the whole earth may ring with a 

1 We have thus a sevenfold division of this, which is one of seven ' Phases ' of 
the Rhapsody. Similarly the natural divisions of Job, Joel and Solomon's Song 
were found to be seven (see in the Literary Index) . On the other hand, five seems 
to be the favourite number in Wisdom literature: five books in Proverbs and 
Ecclcsiasticus , five Essays in Eccltsitstcs and five Discourses in Wisdom. 


cry of Jacob, the Lord's Servant, redeemed, and a second time 
led through the desert, while waters gush from the rock to quench 
his thirst. 1 


The second Phase presents the Servant of Jehovah commencing 
the ministry proclaimed for him in the previous scenes. 
This Servant is distinctly called the nation Israel : but it 
is Israel reforming Israel, a nation with a mission to itself as well 
as to those outside. 

Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye peoples, from far: the 
LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother 
hath he made mention of my name : and he hath made my mouth 
like a sharp sword, in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me; and 
he hath made me a polished shaft, in his quiver hath he kept me 
close : and he said unto me, Thou art my servant; Israel, in whom 
1 will be glorified. But I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent 
my strength for nought and vanity. 

Then he speaks of the new commission which has roused him from 
such despondency. 

He saith, It is too light a thing that thou shouldest be my servant to 
raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel : 
I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be 
my salvation unto the end of the earth. 

As an opening of his commission he proclaims the salvation that 
is to bring Israel the despised, the servant of rulers and make 
him inherit desolate heritages. The captives shall feed in the 
ways, and on all bare heights shall be their pasture ; they shall 
not hunger nor thirst, neither shall the heat nor sun smite them : 

1 The concluding words, " There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked? 
I understand as a prolonged Amen, or pious ejaculation of a scribe, at the conclu- 
sion of a section, without a place in the immediate context. Compare Isaiah ii. 22, 
and Ivii. 21 ; and the doxologies ending the first four books of Psalms. 


for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the 
springs of water shall he guide them. 

Sing, O heavens ; 

And be joyful, O earth; 

And break forth into singing, O mountains: 
For the LORD hath comforted his people, 
And will have compassion upon his afflicted. 

The voice of Desponding Zion is heard : this with the responses 
of the Servant of Jehovah makes a change to dialogue. She 
cries that Jehovah has forsaken her. Can a woman 
forget her sucking child? Behold, she is graven on the 
palms of the Lord's hands : her waste places shall be built, and 
the children of her bereavement shall yet throng until the place is 
too strait for its inhabitants. But how shall the barren and the 
exile bring forth new inhabitants? Kings shall be her nursing- 
fathers, and queens her nursing-mothers: they shall bring her 
children in their bosoms. Zion is still incredulous: shall the 
prey be taken from the mighty? Mighty is He that contendeth 
for her: is Jehovah's hand shortened? have the children of God 
been disinherited ? 

The discourse passes back into a soliloquy of Jehovah's Servant : 
and here the Servant appears to take more individual form. The 
h ^ Lord hath given him the tongue of the taught that he 

might know how to sustain with words him that is weary ; 
morning by morning his ear is wakened to the Divine word. And 
he has not been rebellious : he has given his back to the smiters, 
and his cheeks to them that pulled off the hair ; he hid not his 
face from shame and spitting: for,, He that justifieth him is near. 
And already he is become a judgment to those about him, to 
separate between those who obey his voice, even though they walk 
in darkness, and those who kindle a fire, and gird themselves 
about with firfebrtmds i these he leaves to walk in the flame of 
their fire, and among the brands they have kindled; this only 
they have from him, that they shall lie down in sorrow. 



. The third Phase, in a mystical dramatic mode of realisation only 
possible in so spiritual a literary form as the rhapsody, 
presents the gradual Awakening of Zion under reiterated 
calls from God and the Celestial Hosts. 

Jehovah crieth to his people that seek him to look to their 
past and take comfort : to look unto the rock whence they were 
hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence they were digged. For 
the waste places of Zion shall again be as Eden : joy and gladness 
shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody. 
No response. 

Jehovah crieth comfort to his people from their glorious future : 
his righteousness is near, his salvation is gone forth. The heavens 
shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth wax old like a gar- 
ment, but his salvation shall stand fast for ever. No response. 

Jehovah comforteth his people against the reproach of men. 
For there the moth shall eat like a garment, the worm shall eat 
them like wool : but his righteousness shall be for ever. 

The Celestial Chorus encourage Jehovah : calling to the Arm 
of the Lord to awake as in the days of old, when Egypt was cut 
in pieces, and the sea became a pathway for the redeemed. And 
the ransomed of the Lord shall again come with singing to Zion, 
everlasting joy upon their heads. 

. Jehovah yet again comforteth his people : will they fear man 
that shall die, and the son of man which shall be as grass, when 
the Maker of heaven and earth has said that the captive exiles 
shall speedily be loosed? For it is he who ruleth the sea that 
hath put his words in their mouth and covered them with the 
ghadow of his hand. No response. 

The Celestial Chorus join in the cry to Jerusalem to awake, to 
stand up : she has drunk of the cup of staggering, and there has 
been none among all her sons to guide her. Therefore has Jeho- 
vah taken out of her hand the cup of staggering, and put it into 
the hands of them that afflict her. No response. 


The Celestial Chorus reiterate the cry to Zion to awake, to put 
on her strength, to put on her garments of beauty, shaking herself 
from the dust. For Jehovah hath said, she was sold for nought, 
and without money shall she be redeemed, and shall know that it 
is he, even Jehovah, who hath done it. 

At last the awakening of Zion seems to begin. Beautiful upon 
the distant mountains are seen the feet of messengers bringing 
good tidings of good, publishers of salvation. Now the 
watchmen of Zion have caught the word : they lift up the 
voice : no discordant notes, they see eye to eye how Jehovah is 
returning to Ziori. Now the waste places of Jerusalem break 
forth into joy, they sing together that the Lord hath redeemed 
Jerusalem. Now the Lord's arm is made bare that all the nations 
of the earth can behold his salvation : and awakened Zion can see, 
as if present, the bearers of the sacred vessels departing out of 
Babylon, careful that no unclean thing mar their sacred office, and 
passing on with the God of Israel for their rearward. 


We have reached the fourth and central Phase of the Rhap- 
sody : the brief section which seems to stand out from the rest 
like the keystone of an arch, and presents the Servant 
of Jehovah prosperous and highly exalted, to the 
astonishment of the nations that had despised his marred visage, 
his form marred more than the sons of men. The Chorus of 
Nations, in a lyric song of gradually augmenting stanzas, 
express their astonishment at that which they can hardly 
believe ; and bring out the mystery of a personality whose suffer- 
ings have been a bearing of the sufferings of others. Which of us 
(they ask) believed that which we heard, or recognised the Lord's 
hand, when we saw him grow up as a root out of a dry ground, 
without form or comeliness, despised and rejected of men? 
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and been wounded for our trlhs- 
gressions, when we esteemed him smitten of God and afflicted ; 


we were the sheep that had gone astray, and the Lord laid on 
him the iniquity of us all In oppression he humbled himself; 
led as a lamb to slaughter he opened not his mouth ; who of his 
generation considered that he was cut off from the land of the 
living, stricken for the people's transgression? Yet it pleased 
Jehovah to put him to grief: but he shall see of the travail of his 
soul and be satisfied, and by knowledge of him shall the righteous 
Servant make many righteous. 


From the Servant of Jehovah in his glory we pass to Zion ex- 
alted. The fifth Phase of the Rhapsody is a series of 
Songs for Zion in her Exaltation. The first Song cele- Uv " lv 
brates Zion as Jehovah's Bride : " Thy maker is thy husband, the 
Lord of hosts is his name." 

For a small moment have I forsaken thee; 

But with great mercies will I gather thee. 
In overflowing wrath 

I hid my face from thee for a moment; 
But with everlasting kindness 

Will I have mercy upon thee. 

Like the rainbow pledge of old to Noah is this new covenant. 

For the mountains shall depart, 

And the hills be removed; 
But my kindness shall not depart from thee, 

Neither shall my covenant of peace be removed. 

The second Song depicts Zion as a city of beauty : her foun- 
dations of sapphires and pinnacles of rubies, her gates of car- 
buncles, and all her border of pleasant stones. Zion is impreg- 
nable as she is beautiful : terror shall not come nigh her ; no 
weapon formed against her shall prosper. 

The third Song presents Zion calling to the nations with offers 
of a free covenant. 


Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, 

And he that hath no money; 
Come ye, buy, and eat; 
Yea, come, buy wine and milk 

Without money and without price. 

Zion recites the sure mercies of David given to her as a covenant, 
and how she is to be a leader of the peoples, calling to her nations 
she knows not. The fourth Song makes the invitation 
more urgent : bidding seek the Lord while he may be 
found, the wicked forsaking his way and the unrighteous man his 
thoughts, and turning to the Lord who will abundantly pardon. 
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so is Jehovah's 
abundance of mercy; and his word gone forth shall no more 
return empty than the rain shall descend to the earth without 
causing it to bud and bring forth. 

Ye shall go eut with joy, 

And be led forth with peace : 
The mountains and hills shall break forth before you into singing, 

And 1 all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 
Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, 

And instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree : 
And it shall be to the LORD for a name, 

For an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. 


The sixth section is long, and in parts obscure. As a whole it 
presents, the wofk of redemption exercised upon Zion. It therefore 
stands appropriately before the final judgment that is to 
. vl ~ l exalt a purified Zion amid the overthrow of the nations. 
But the redeeming work is an ideal picture that belongs to all 
periods of the nation's history, and it must not be limited to the 
restored efciles any more than it must be referred to the sin pre- 
ceding exile; sin and redemption from sin have belonged to every 
.period of Israel's history, and the return of sons and daughters to 
the City of Salvation is but a main incident used as a universal 


image. The relation, of this sixth Phase to the section that follows 
and the sections that precede is reflected in the opening words of 
the Servant of Jehovah. Playing upon the two meanings of the 
word he enjoins righteousness that is, doing right 
because of the near approach of God's righteousness lvl * I-8 
that is, setting right, judgment and salvation. Then, with refer- 
ences back to the Babylonian exile which has inspired so much in 
the preceding sections, he speaks invitations to the stranger, and 
to the physically maimed, to join the Lord's people : the Lord's 
house shall be called an house of prayer for all peoples. 

Then the Act seems to resolve itself into a series of pictures, in 
which the Servant of Jehovah is seen at his work for the redemp- 
tion of tfie people. The first picture is one of 
unmeasured national cbrruption : all the beasts of V1 * 9 ~ lvm 
the field coming to devour, and the watchmen blind dumb dogs 
that cannot bark, dreaming, lying down, loving to slumber ; mean- 
while the righteous are perishing unheeded, with none to mark 
the lesson of their dfcath. Suddenly the faithful Servant is among 
them : denouncing the sons of the sorceress, unmasking 
the abominations of the grove and murderous sacrifices TU ' 3 
of the rock valleys, exposing the apostasy of the adulterous 
nation, and the depths of debasement to which they will de- 
scend in seeking any protector rather than their God. A second 
picture presents a different type of national character : 
a people that wearies with the length of the way, yet 
says not, There is no hope : it finds a mysterious quickening of 
its strength, and, blind of heart, looks about to every source 
rather than the true one to explain the support it feels. But 
suddenly the Servant of Jehovah is seen smoothing the 
way before thefrv casting up the hollows and taking vu " M 
stumbling-blocks away, while h proclaims that the high and lofty 
One that inhabiteth eternity dwells also with the contrite and 
humble spirit, not contending for ever, lest the spirit faint away, 
but restoring comforts after the iniquity has been chastised. A 
third picture is of those who love righteous ordinances and de- 


light to draw near unto God ; but they ask, Wherefore have we 
fasted, and God seeth not? To these the faithful Servant 
explains how they fast for contention and for their own 
pleasure. Is this the fast that the Lord has chosen, that a man 
should afflict his soul, and bow down his head like a rush, and 
spread sackcloth and ashes under his feet? Is not this the fast 
acceptable to the Lord, to loose the bonds of wickedness, and 
let the oppressed go free, to deal bread to the hungry, and cover 
the naked, and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? 
Then shall thy light break forth as the morning ; thy righteous- 
ness shall go before thee and the glory of Jehovah be thy rear- 

Then, all the several pictures growing together into one, we 
have the Servant of Jehovah identifying himself with the nation, 
and preaching that the Lord's hand is not shortened that 
it cannot save, but iniquities have come between the peo- 
ple and its God, until they grope like the blind, and stumble at 
noonday; until judgment is turned away backward, and truth 
fallen in the streets. And the Lord saw it, and it displeased him 
that there was no judgment, and none to interpose ; wherefore his 
own arm wrought salvation. He put on righteousness as a breast- 
plate, and a helmet of salvation on his head ; he clothed himself 
with garments of vengeance, and was clad with zeal as a cloak : 
and he shall come like a rushing stream, which the breath of the 

At once the lyric songs break out, bidding Zion arise, shine, for 
her light is come. Darkness shall cover the earth, and gross dark- 
te ness the peoples : but Jehovah shall arise upon Zion, and 

nations shall be drawn to her light, and kings to the bright- 
ness of her sunrise. Her heart shall be enlarged and tremble as 
she beholds the multitudes of camels, the ships flying as doves to the 
windows, all bringing her sons and daughters from afar. Her 
gates shall be open day and night as the wealth of nations flows 
into her. Violence shall not be heard in her land; her officers 
shall be peace, and her exactors righteousness ; her walls shall be 


tailed Salvation, and her gates, Praise : and her sun shall no more 
go down, for it shall be Jehovah, an everlasting light. 

The lyric outburst subsides into a soliloquy of Jehovah's Servant 
upon his glorious task of preaching good tidings to the meek, 
binding up the broken-hearted, opening the prison to 
them that are bound, proclaiming the day of God's ven- 
geance, and appointing to the mourners of Zion the garment of 
praise for the spirit of heaviness. He turns even then to 
speak words of promise to Zion, and Zion, no longer de- 4 
spending, rejoices in the Lord who has covered her with the robe 
of righteousness as a bride is adorned with jewels. The Servant, 
in response, will for Zion's sake know no peace until her 
righteousness shine before all kings. She shall be named 
no longer Desolate, Forsaken : her land shall be Beulah, for her 
sons shall marry it, and her God shall rejoice over her as a bride- 
groom rejoices over his bride. Then the Servant of Jehovah cries 
to the Watchmen he has set upon the walls to give the Lord no 
rest until he fulfil his word to Zion. The section ends with a 
Chorus of Watchmen, who cry to go through the gates, 
to clear the way, to lift up the ensign that all nations 
can see : for the Lord's proclamation of salvation has been 
made to the end of the earth, and soon the name of Jerusalem 
will be the City Sought out, 


The seventh Phase is to bring the final Judgment, to which so 
iuch of what precedes has been pointing. 
is struck by a Dramatic Vision of Judgment. 

much of what precedes has been pointing. Its keynote . 



Who is this that cometh from Edom, 

With crimsoned garments from Bozrah? 
This that is glorious in his apparel, 

Marching in the greatness of his strength? 



I that speak in righteousness, 
Mighty to save. 


Wherefore art thou red 

In thine apparel, 

And thy garments 
Like him that treadeth in the winefat? 


I have trodden the winepress alone; 

And of the peoples there was no man with me : 

Yea, I trod them in mine anger ^ 

And trampled them in my fury ; 

And their lifeblood is sprinkled upon my garments, 

And I have stained all my raiment. 
For the day of vengeance was in mine heart, 
And the year of my redeemed is come. 
And I looked, and there was none to help; 
And I wondered that there was none to uphold : 
Therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; 
And my fury, it upheld me. 

And I trod down the peoples in mine anger. 

And made them drunk in my fury, 

And I poured out their lifeblood on the earth. 

Then the Servant of Jehovah speaks, and gathers the whole 
national history into a liturgy of thanksgiving, confession, and 
supplication for judgment. He makes beginning 
with the lovingkindnesses of the Lord: he was 
the saviour of his people, in all their afflictions he was afflicted, 
and the angel of his presence saved them. But they were rebel- 
lious, and grieved his holy spirit ; until he was turned to be their 
enemy and himself fought against them. Under his wrath have 
they become as the heathen ; they have been delivered into the 
power of their iniquities ; they have faded like a leaf which the 


wind of their iniquities driveth about. The holy cities have 
become a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation ; the holy and beau- 
tiful house where the fathers worshipped God is burned with fire. 
Yet is Jehovah their father, though Abraham know them not, and 
Israel refuse to acknowlege them. Oh that God would rend the 
heavens, and come down, that the mountains might flow down at 
his presence ! 

The response comes in the JUDGMENT, that finally separates 
between the holy and the evil : and the concluding phase 
of the rhapsody is the pendulum movement swinging to 
and fro between vengeance and glad salvation. 

The rebellious, walking in their own way, and provoking God 
with their abominations their works shall be recompensed into 
their own bosoms. But there shall be a seed out of 
Jacob ; the Lord's chosen shall inherit his mountains ; ' ' 
Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place 
for herds to lie down in. But those that prepare a table to 
Fortune and pour libations to Destiny, destined shall 
they be to the fortune of the sword : they shall perish, "' x 
and leave only a name to curse by. But he that blesseth himself 
shall bless himself by the God of Truth, for joy of the new heaven 
and the new earth, and the Holy Mountain in which the seed of 
the blessed shall forget their troubles. For the Lord's dwelling is 
not in a builded house, bufin the poor and contrite spirit. But 
they that choose their own ways, and delight in their 
own abominations, shall find Jehovah also choosing their 
delusions, and bringing their fears upon them. They persecute 
the fearers of the Lord, and challenge the Lord to glorify himself: 
a shout from the city, a .shout of Jehovah that maketh recom- 
pense. But Zion cannot understand her deliverance, for before 
she has travailed she has brought forth. And Jerusalem and her 
lovers rejoice together, her peace flowing like a river. 
While Jehovah shall come in fire and chariots of whirl- 
wind to rebuke his enemies in the midst of their abominations : 
and a standard shall be set up, that all nations and tongues can 


see the Lord's glory, even to the isles afar off that have not heard 
his fame. And out of all nations shall they bring the 
brethren of Zion as an offering unto the Lord, and the 

seed of Israel shall be before the Lord as long as the new heavens 
and new earth shall remain. And all flesh shall come up 
to worship at the holy feasts : and they shall go forth and 

look upon the carcasses of the transgressors, for their worm shall 

not die, neither shall their fire be quenched. 



WE have now passed in review all the various literary forms 'as- 
sumed by Prophecy. It remains to consider the contents of the 
prophetic books that have come down to us. 

At the outset two important points call for notice. One is the 
recognition of what I will call Prophetic Sentences. In our 
examination of Wisdom literature we saw l that it partly 

consisted in isolated sayings, the unit proverbs and the pr P bctic 
j . , i ,. , Sentences 

short maxims and epigrams enlarged from these ; a con- 
siderable proportion of the books of wisdom was seen to be occu- 
pied with such independent literary brevities, and works that were 
specially consecutive in argument, such as Ecclesiastes, never- 
theless exhibited portions of their whole contents given up to such 
miscellaneous matter. To a much smaller extent we saw in Lyric 
Poetry 2 a similar aggregation of brief poetic sayings or ejacula- 
tions to make longer poems. It is not surprising then that in 
Prophecy also we should find, besides formal discourses, isolated 
and independent Sentences, each a unit of prophetic thought on 
some single topic. Perhaps an ideal example of such Prophetic 
Sentences is given by a well-known passage of Jeremiah. This 
passage stands between an elegy of the mourning women describ- 
ing a devastated land covered with carcasses, and another prophecy 
denouncing uncircumcised nations by name, and with them the 
uncircumcised in heart. Its distinctiveness from the context must 
be felt by every reader. 

1 Above, pages 98, 292, 294. a Above, page 164, 

417 DD 


Jeremiah Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, 
ix. 23 neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man 
glory in his riches : but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he 
understandeth, and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exer- 
cise lovingkindness, judgement, and righteousness, in the earth : for 
in these things I delight, saith the LORD. 

Not only do such Prophetic Sentences exist, but from the way 
in which they appear in more than one place, they would seem to 
have somewhat of the floating character of prov- 

J ; erbs ' The cr y of ' fear > and the PI*. and the snare/ 
already seen in a work of Isaiah, occurs almost 
without a change in Jeremiah. " We have heard of the pride of 
Moab, that he is very proud," is a gnome-like sentence found both 
in Isaiah's and Jeremiah's Doom Songs on Moab; and the two 
have many other sentences in common. The three first sayings in 
Obadiah's Vision of Edom those putting the ideas of an ambas- 
sador among the nations proclaiming the humiliation of Edom, of 
an eagle brought down from a mountain cleft, of grape-gatherers 
and robbers leaving gleanings all occur in various parts of 
Jeremiah's Doom Song against the same nation. And a Pro- 
phetic Sentence made by negation of the proverb 
Bz.xviii ' about fathers eating sour grapes and children's 
teeth being set on edge is found as an independent 
saying in Jeremiah, while it is expanded into an elaborate dis- 
course by Ezekiel. 

It is to be observed that such Prophetic Sentences are found in 
groups, chiefly at the close of a series of longer prophecies. One 
such group follows the words of encouragement given by Isaiah to 
Ahaz in the crisis made by the unnatural alliance of Israel with 
Syria against Judah. 

Isaiah And ifc s ^ a ll come to P*ss in that day, that the LORD shall hiss for 
vii. 18- the fly that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt, and for 
*5 the bee that is in the land of Assyria. And they shall come, and 

shall rest all of them in the desolate valleys, and in the holes of the 

rocks, and upon all thorns, and upon all pastures. 



In that day shall the Lord shave with a razor that is hired, which 
is in the parts beyond the River, even with the king of Assyria, the 
head and the hair of the feet : and it shall also consume the beard. 

And it shall come to pass in that day, that a man shall nourish a 
young cow, and two sheep; and it shall come to pass, for the abun- 
dance of milk that they shall give he shall eat butter : for butter and 
honey shall every one eat that is left in the midst of the land. 

And it shall come to pass in that day, that every place, where there 
were a thousand vines at a thousand silverlings, shall even be for 
briers and thorns. With arrows and with bow snail one come 
thither; because all the land shall be briers and thorns. And all 
the hills that were digged with the mattock, thou shalt not come 
thither for fear of briers and thorns, but it shall be for the sending 
forth of oxen, and for the treading of sheep. 

The isolation of the first passage is the clearer from the fact that 
in this portion of Isaiah there is no mention of Egypt : Assyria 
is the avenging force foreseen in that crisis. On the other hand, 
there is an individuality about each of the four passages, such 
as would readily give them currency as prophetic epigrams (so 
to speak) : the prophecy of the fly and the bee, of the hired 
razor, of butter and honey, of briers and thorns. We have seen 
that repetition and reiteration play a great part in a prophet's 
ministry ; such epigrammatic sayings would be repeated by the 
prophet on occasion after occasion of his preaching, until the text 
could pass into popular use, while the prophet's discourse on it 
would adapt itself to circumstances. Nor is it any objection 
against the separation of these four passages that they are all 
referred to a time expressed by the words " in that day : " on the 
contrary, we find a few phrases "in that day/' "in those days," 
" the days come," that seem to be used as regular formulae for 
introducing a prophecy. 

Another series of such Sentences is found following Isaiah's 
Doom Song against Egypt. It differs from the last in the fact 


that all have a common thought, the future conversion of Egypt ; 
if the other Sentences were like proverbs, this series corresponds 
to the proverb cluster. 

Isaiah In that day there shall be five cities in the land of Egypt that speak 
x * x * 18 " the language of Canaan, and swear to the LORD of hosts; one shall 
* 5 ' be called The City of Destruction. 


In that day shall there be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the 
land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the LORD. And 
it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the LORD of hosts in the 
land of Egypt; for they shall cry unto the LORD because of the 
oppressors, and he shall send them a saviour, and a defender, and 
he shall deliver them. * * 

And the LORD shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall 
know the LORD in that day; yea, they shall worship with sacrifice 
and oblation, and shall vow a vow unto the LORD, and shall perform it. 

And the LORD shall smite Egypt, smiting and healing; and they 
shall return unto the LORD, and he shall be intreated of them, and 
shall heal them. * * 

In that day shall there be a high way out of Egypt into Assyria, 
and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into 
Assyria; and the Egyptians shall worship with the Assyrians. 

In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, a 
blessing in the midst of the earth : for that the LORD of hosts hath 
blessed them, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the 
work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance. 

It is clear that the recognition of such Sentences, not as an 
accident, but as a regular feature of prophetic literature, makes a 
Recognition of g reat difference to the exegesis of particular pas- 
Sentences in sages. The documents which preserve the litera- 
exegesis ture Q f antiquity have not the clear separation pf 

parts, or even of whole compositions, that modern printing has 


made for us a matter of course; and there is no element in 
exegesis more important, or more difficult, than the determina- 
tion exactly where a literary section of Scripture begins and 
ends. Many discourses in the Bible seem to present perplexing 
and obscure lines of thought, simply because the discourse has 
been made to extend over passages which may better be con- 
sidered as independent. I take a casual example. 
The portion of our Book of Zechariah which is a* 1 ""***^- 
numbered as chapters seven and eight is treated 
by most expositors as a single discourse. It opens with a formal 
enquiry as to the obligation of fasts, to which an answer is re- 
turned; near the end of this section there is another 
reference to fasts, and to their being days of gladness ; Tlu " l8 
the argument of the whole is supposed to be that the observance 
of moral duties, and the Messianic peace that this will bring 
which are topics of intervening passages would make fasts a 
gladness instead of a burden. But it must be confessed that the 
links in this chain of thought are very inconsequent ; and the idea 
of the gladness of fasts is but little emphasised if it is to be the 
climax up to which a lengthy discourse has led. On the other 
hand, portions of the intervening matter have a strong appearance 
of independence. 

viii. x-8 And the word of the LORD of hosts came to me, saying, Thus 
saith the LORD of hosts : I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy, 
and I am jealous for her with great fury. 


Thus saith the LORD : I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in 
the midst of Jerusalem : and Jerusalem shall be called The City of 
truth ; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts The holy mountain. 


Thus saith the LORD of hosts : There shall yet old men and old 
women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, every man with his staff in 
his hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be full of 
boys and girls playing in the streets thereof. 


Thus saith the LORD of hosts : If it be marvellous in the eyes of 
the remnant of this people in those days, should it also be marvellous 
in mine eyes? saith the LORD of hosts. 


Thus saith the LORD of hosts : Behold I will save my people from 
the east country, and from the west country : and I will bring them, 
and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem; and they shall be 
my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness. 

A full discourse stands next, on the same general subject, con- 
trasting former turbulence with coming peace ; then the succes- 
sion of independent sayings is continued. 

18-23 And the word of the LORD of hosts came unto me, saying, Thus 

suith the LORD of hosts : The fast of the fourth month, and the fast 
of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, 
shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts; 
therefore love truth and peace. 

Thus saith the LORD of hosts : It shall yet come to pass, that there 
shall come peoples, and the inhabitants of many cities : and the 
inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily 
to intreat the favour of the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts : I 
will go also. Yea, many peoples and strong nations shall come to 
seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to intreat the favour of 
the LORD. , , 

Thus saith the LORD of hosts : In those days it shall come to pass, 
that ten men shall take hold, out of all the languages of the nations, 
shall even take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will 
go with you, for we have heard that God is with you. 

Of course, in the interpretation of this or any part of Scripture 
difference of opinion will come in. I am merely contending for 
the arrangement in isolated Sentences as a legitimate resource of 
exegesis. And witlv regard to any particular passage the question 
must be, not whether it is possible by ingenuity or by straining to 
weave it into a continuous whole, but whether, all things consid- 


ered, any succession of words may be better regarded as a portion 
of a whole or as an independent aphorism. 

There is one prophet to whom the present consideration applies 
with special force. From the time of St. Jerome there has been 
an agreement to recognise the prominence of sentcntia in Hosea ; 
and the obscurity which all readers find in his writings seems 
largely due to the fact that this book of prophecy, like the Book 
of Proverbs, is made up of longer discourses mingled with abun- 
dance of Prophetic Sentences, each of these Sentences an isolated 
whole, yet all reflecting the general attitude of this prophet to the 
moral questions of his time. I venture upon a lengthy citation in 
order to give readers, accustomed to puzzle over Hosea's line of 
argument, an opportunity of appreciating the new interest that 
comes into the prophecy when large parts of it are presented as 
collections of prophetic epigrams. 

The days of visitation are come, the days of recompense Hosea 

are come ; Israel shall know it : the prophet is a fool, the ** 7* 

man that hath the spirit is mad, for the multitude of thine ** la 
iniquity, and because the enmity is great. 

* * 


Ephraim watcheth against my God : as for the prophet, a fowler's 
snare is in all his ways, and enmity in the house of his God. 


They have deeply corrupted themselves, as in the days of Gibeah : 
he will remember their iniquity, he will visit their sins. 


I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as 
the firstripe in the fig tree at her first season: but they came to 
Baal-peor, and consecrated themselves unto the shameful thing, and 
became abominable like that which they loved. 


As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird : there shall 
be no birth, and none with child, and no conception. Though they 
bring up their children, yet will I bereave them, that there be not a 
man left : yea, woe also to them when I depart from them I 


Ephraim, like as I have seen Tyre, is planted in a pleasant place: 
but Ephraim shall bring out his children to the slayer. 

Give them, O LORD : what wilt thou give? give them a miscarrying 
womb and dry breasts. * , 

All their wickedness is in Gilgal; for there I hated them: because 
of the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine 
house: I will love them no more; all their princes are revolters. 

Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit : 
yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay the beloved fruit of their 
womb. My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken 
unto him : and they shall be wanderers among the nations. 

Israel is a luxuriant vine, which putteth forth his fruit : according 
to the multitude of his fruit he hath multiplied his altars; according 
to the goodness of his land they have made goodly obelisks. Their 
heart is divided; now shall they be found guilty: he shall smite 
their altars, he shall spoil their obelisks. 

Surely now shall they say, We have no king: for we fear not the 
LORD; and the king, what can he do for us? 

They speak vain words, swearing falsely in making covenants: 
therefore judgement springeth up as hemlock in the furrows of 
the field. , 

The inhabitants of Samaria shall be in terror for the calves of 
Beth-aven: for the people thereof shall mourn over it, and the 
priests thereof that rejoiced over it, for the glory thereof, because it 
is departed from it. It also shall be carried unto Assyria for a pres- 
ent to king Jareb : Ephraim shall receive shame, and Israel shall be 
ashamed of his own counsel. 


As for Samaria, her king is cut off, as foam upon the water. The 
high places also of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed : the 


thorn and the thistle shall come up on their altars; and they shall 
say to the mountains, Cover us; and to the hills, Fall on us. 

O Israel thou hast sinned from the days of Gibeah : there they 
stood; that the battle against the children of iniquity should not over- 
take them in Gibeah. , + 


When it is my desire, I will chastise them ; and the peoples shall 
be gathered against them, when they are yoked to their two trans- 
gressions. And Ephraim is an heifer that is taught, that loveth to 
tread out the corn; but I have passed over upon her fair neck: I 
will set a rider on Ephraim; Judah shall plow, Jacob shall break 
his clods. m , 

Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap according to mercy; 
break up your fallow ground : for it is time to seek the LORD till he 
come and rain righteousness upon you. 

The second of our preliminary considerations is the Prophetic 
Cycle. Considerable part of our prophetic literature is found to 
consist in series of discourses, or incidents, or rhap- 
sodies, succeeding one another just as the contents ^ lcs of proph ~ 
of a modern volume of sermons. But sometimes 
separate prophecies are united together by some essential bond, 
whether of structural connection or of related subject-matter. In 
this second case the word Cycle seems appropriate. It has been 
remarked in a former chapter that all the discourses of Malachi 
have the same structural plan : the discourse near its commence- 
ment is interrupted by an imaginary objection, or more than one 
objection, and these become the real starting-point of what fol- 
lows. The recurrence of this scholastic device makes the whole 
Book of Malachi a single Dialectic Cycle. Again, we have seen 
how the denunciations against Israel and seven other nations at 
the opening of Amos are in structure exactly parallel : they con- 
stitute a Cycle of Dooms. The last section of this prophecy is a 
series of emblems (presented in vision), ascending one above 
another in nearness to the crisis and issue : this is an Emblem 


Cycle. Such illustrations of the term are easy ; one or two usages 
need more discussion. 

The portion of Isaiah that extends from chapter twenty-eight to 
chapter thirty-five is best considered as a Cycle and not merely a 
series of discourses. The bond of connection is 
" very definite : all the discourses are animadversions 

on a certain political situation, but this is made a 
background for pictures of the restoration of Israel, or a remnant 
of Israel, in a golden age or Messianic kingdom. The political 
situation is the panic caused by the Assyrian invasion, and the 
efforts of the party of Israel's independence to restrain the nation 

from looking for support to the rival empire of Egypt. 

In the first discourse Isaiah denounces the dissoluteness 
of Judah's priestly and prophetic rulers as on a par with that of 
Israel's kingdom, and exposes the secret ground of their light- 
heartedness amid national apprehensions the ' covenant with 
death and agreement with hell ' they have made for themselves, 
so that the overflowing scourge will pass them by. This secret 
confidence in Egypt he calls a refuge of lies, and in contrast up- 
holds Jehovah's foundation-stone laid in Zion, by the strength of 
which he will be a diadem of beauty to the residue that believe in 

him. In a later discourse, when an embassy has been 

openly sent to Egypt, the prophet pours contempt on 
the alliance with the "Boaster that sitteth still," which shall be- 
come to Israel like a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high 
wall. But after foretelling ruin he springs to a glad future, grad- 
ually ascending from a state of external affliction relieved only by 
the blessing of spiritual guidance, to a golden tide in a plenteous 
land, when the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, 
and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, and idols shall be 
utterly cast out. The same combination of elements marks all 
the discourses. The conclusion of the series is a companion 
picture of ideal destruction and ideal restoration. Edom is 
named as the foe, but the details show that this is used only as a 
type of hostile forces : for so universal is the destruction that all 


the host of heaven are seen to moulder away, and the heavens roll 
together as a scroll ; streams of earth become pitch and 
its dust brimstone, the smoke of it going np for ever ; auuav> 
palaces are overgrown with thorns and thistles, fit habitation for 
jackals, where the wild beasts meet with the wolves, and the satyr 
cries to his fellow. The contrasting picture 1 is of the 
wilderness and the solitary place being glad, and the 
desert blossoming as the rose ; the glowing sand becomes a pool, 
the habitation of jackals green with reeds and rushes : and a 
way of holiness stretches across, over which the ransomed of the 
LORD return to Zion, with everlasting joy upon their heads. Dis- 
courses with such community of treatment, brought to such a 
common climax, make what may be called a Cycle of the 

Again, there is a Vision Cycle of much literary interest in our 
Book of Zechariah. The hopes of the Temple-builders are 
strengthened by a series of visions ; not only do 

these visions belong to the same dream and have a Vision y cle: 

Zechariah i. 7- 
common reference, but further, by a beautiful touch V i. 8 

of vision effect, they are enclosed in another ' En- 
veloping Vision/ which remains constant while the others come 
and go, dreams within a dream. The prophet relates how "in 
the night " he beheld horses, red, sorrel, and white, among the 
myrtle trees, and these are interpreted to him as spirits of minis- 
tration that go to and fro in the earth. This is the Enveloping 
Vision, as it were the machinery for carrying out whatever by 
special vision may be made known : and it seems to remain in 
the background during all that follows. At present the report is 
that the earth sitteth still and is at rest ; the angel of the Lord 
appeals for mercy oh Jerusalem to tarry no longer, and is answered 
with comfortable words. The Lord will return to Jerusalem with 
mercies : and each of these mercies is symbolised in a vision, the 

1 It will be understood of course that the date of this prophecy, whether of its 
composition or of that to which it may refer, does not affect the argument : we are 
here concerned with the order of prophecies as they stand, whoever may be 
responsible for the arrangement. 


prophet feeling himself, as it were, wakened from sleep to behold 
each. The first vision is of Horns and Smiths : the for- 
mer are interpreted of the nations that have lifted them- 
selves up against Jerusalem, the latter of the forces that shall fray 
these and cast them down. A second vision shows a man with a 
measuring line, going to measure Jerusalem : for its inhabitants 
shall increase till it must needs be inhabited as villages without 
walls. The third vision presents the hierarchy of heaven, and 
the High Priest Joshua (representative of the Temple-builders) 
assailed by the Adversary : but the Adversary is rebuked, and 
Joshua is clad in rich apparel, with a mitre set on his head. The 
next appearance is of the Golden Candlestick : this final piece of 
Temple furniture symbolises how Zerubbabel shall complete as well 
as begin his good work. While the prophet watches this he is 
aware of the two olive trees on either side of it : this is a separate 
emblem, giving authority for associating the two ' sons of oil,' 
the prince Zerubbabel and the priesthood. Two more visions 
foreshadow the moral purification of the land : the Flying Roll of 
the Curse indicating crime purged out of the country, and Wicked- 
ness in the ephah pressed down by the weight of a talent showing 
how the wickedness of the land shall be banished, as the visionary 
figure is banished, into the wilderness. The succession of indi- 
vidual mercies concluded, the Enveloping Vision resumes : chariots 
are now added to the horses, from between the two mountains of 
brass : and they are to depart to the four winds of heaven to exe- 
cute the will of the Lord. The unity that is implied in all Cycles 
reaches a climax in such enveloping of symbolic details in the 
symbol of that which is to provide for their execution. 

These preliminary considerations disposed of, the remaining 
task of this chapter becomes easy. In the Appendix to this work 
I attempt to analyse the contents of each book of prophecy, sepa- 
rating discourses and sentences, indicating the nature of each, 
and, where convenient, adding titles. Here it is only necessary 
to sum up. 


In several cases the contents of a prophetic work consist of a 
single composition. Obadiah, Nahum, and Zephaniah have left 
only a single Discourse. The Book of Jonah we 
have in a former chapter seen to be a single pro- c n t tent * of ***- 

phetic Epic. We have also seen that the books of ! * ? * 
P^ 7 , A . , . Snorter books 

joel and Amos resolve themselves each into a sin- 
gle Rhapsody. A degree more varied are the prophetic works of 
Habakkuk, which consist of his Rhapsody of the Chaldeans and 
his Ode of Judgment. In Haggai we find four Occasional Dis- 
courses, regularly dated. And we have seen that the prophecy of 
Malachi may be regarded as a Dialectic Cycle. 

The rest of prophetic literature shows more complexity. It 
may be pointed out that when we speak of < The Book of the 
prophet Jeremiah/ we are using an ambiguous term. The whole 
works of this prophet, as of others, fall into several < books ' ; just 
as what in ordinary parlance is called ' The Book of Psalms ' 
appears in the Revised Version as five books, clearly separated by 
doxologies. So, with the exception of the nine mentioned in the 
preceding paragraph the works of the prophets divide themselves 
into more than one book for each author. 

Our Book of Isaiah falls naturally into seven books. 1 The first 
is made up of general prophecies, ending with the Vision of the 
Call. Six chapters contain Occasional prophecies, one set x 
relating to the Unholy Alliance of Israel with Syria, another **** 
inspired by an Assyrian Invasion. The fourth book contains the 
Doom Songs collected together: these may be considered to 
make a Cycle of Doom, as they are followed by the general Rhap- 
sody of Judgment upon the whole earth. I have already in dis- 
cussing the word ' cycle ' described the next section of Isaiah as a 
Cycle of the Restoration. As a sixth book we have a brief historical 
excerpt, bringing out Isaiah's action in the great crisis of Sennach- 
erib's invasion. The last book is the Rhapsody of Zion Redeemed* 

1 Compare the Literary Index throughout. 

2 .It will be understood that the question whether this section is from the same 
author as preceding parts of Isaiah is outside the scope of the present work. 


The discourses of Jeremiah seem to be grouped in more numer- 
ous divisions, making ten books in all. After a section occupied 
Jeremiah by the P r P het ' s Call > ai *d general Manifesto of his min- 
istry, we have a second containing miscellaneous dis- 
courses and sentences. Then follow several clear groups, founded 
on a Missionary journey, on the Drought, on Pottery, on Messages 
to Rulers. The seventh book is largely occupied with Contro- 
versies ; the eighth contains the prophecies of the Restoration. 
A book follows of Incidental discourses and prophetic history; 
and the collection of Doom Songs concludes the series. 

The arrangement of Ezekiel's Works is very simple and clear. 
They fall into only three books : the first contains prophecies of 
Ezekiel J ud g ment > the third prophecies of the Restoration, each 
brought to a climax by the two parts of the connected 
Vision of Jerusalem judged and Jerusalem restored. The book 
separating these is occupied with the Dooms on the Nations. 

The Prophecy of Daniel makes two books : one of Prophetic 
Incidents and Interpretations of Visions, arranged in chronological 
Daniel order ; the other a Cycle of Visions seen by the prophet 
himself. Hosea also falls into two divisions. The Em- 
blem Prophecy of Gomer makes one. The other consists of dis- 
Hosea course s, brief rhapsodies, and especially long collections 
of prophetic sentences, but all uniting to convey the idea 
of the Lord's Controversy with Israel ; perhaps, on the analogy of 
Wisdom literature, this might be called a Cluster of Prophecies. 
Micah Micah has two very different sections; five chapters 
contain miscellaneous discourses, the last two the very 
dramatic prophecies fully discussed in a previous chapter. And 
Zechariah OUr Book f ^^^^ fells into three divisions, very 
diverse in character. 1 The first is miscellaneous, but 
mainly occupied with the elaborate Vision Cycle described above. 
The other two divisions contain discourses, the matter of which 
suggests their separation into two books, 

1 It will be understood that the question whether the three parts are by the same 
author is outside the scope of the present work. 


This completes the list of Old Testament prophets. But the 
New Testament furnishes a book which must be considered in this 
connection. Tfye Revelation of St. John is too 
closely involved with modern theological questions 
to admit of its being discussed in a work from 
which distinctively religious matter is excluded. On the other 
hand, in the literary study of Scripture it is impossible to ignore a 
composition of such transcendent literary interest. If a reader 
will apply to this book of Revelation a method which ought to be 
applied to all parts of Scripture, and set himself to take in the 
whole at a sitting, reading with his imagination on the stretch in 
the way in which he would read Dante's Hell, Purgatory, and 
Paradise, he will find, whatever his theological principles may be, 
that this Vision Cycle is one of the literary wonders of the world. 
I will be content with making two remarks on the subject, and 
with these my treatment of Biblical Prophecy may be brought to 
a conclusion. 

The title contains the word ' revelation.' But in our discussion 
of prophetic forms we saw that this word had two distinct mean- 
ings : revelation of the future, as in the visions of 
Daniel, and revelation of the ideal, as in EzekiePs 
Visions of Jerusalem, or the original revelation to 
Moses in the mount. Which of these meanings applies, or do 
they both apply, to the work of St. John ? The popular mind has 
seized upon the first of these, and looks upon St. John's Revela- 
tion as a prophetic riddle, the ingenious reading of which will give 
a clue to events of past or future history, or will even enable the 
present to be exactly located in some scheme of all time. But if 
the words of the prologue, " the things which must shortly come 
to pass/ 1 and the parallels with Daniel's visions, favour the view 
that the revelation is a foreshowing, yet on the other hand the 
equally close parallels with Ezekiel's visions, and the building up 
of the whole structure upon symbolic symmetries, counterparts, 
and antitheses, make it certain that the idealising of the world- 
contest between good and evil is of the very essence of the 


work. 1 Moreover, if both kinds of revelation belong to this book, 
they will mutually modify one another. Suppose that some specially 
distinctive detail of the symbolism suggests connection with some 
historic power or institution : then, by the influence of the other 
type of revelation, we must expect that historic reality to be ideal- 
ised in the movement of the vision, so that it would still be 
hazardous exegesis to interrogate other details of the symbolism 
for further historic details. I have before remarked upon the way 
in which prophetic literature as a whole has suffered from the 
unfortunate narrowing of the word ' prophecy ' in ordinary con- 
versation to the single sense of prediction. No part of prophetic 
literature has suffered so much in this respect as St. John's Reve- 
lation ; and the literary student, at all events, should address him- 
self to those permanent spiritual interests of the book which are 
independent of times and seasons. 

But the Book of Revelation presents another feature of the 
highest interest and significance. It may be expressed in a phrase 
of the vision itself : " The testimony of Jesus is the 
Spirit f P r P hec y-" Underlying the whole book 
other prophecy * s the idea that the "revelation of Jesus Christ" 
is a bringing together and enhancing of all pre- 
vious revelations ; and accordingly in the symbolic scenery of the 
visions, and the phrases by which they are described, the concep- 
tions of Old Testament prophecy are continually appearing in new 
forms and combinations. At the outset, when the Apostle speaks 
of being ' in the Spirit/ we think of Ezekiel borne by the spirit to 
Jerusalem. The prefatory messages to the seven churches of 
Asia, with their individual details and rhythmic promises and 
threats, remind us of the chain of denunciations in similar form 
on seven nations with which Amos opens his prophecy, before he 
deals with his church of Israel. In the vision itself we begin at 
once to get details from Old Testament prophets. The personal 

1 1 may be allowed to express my admiration of the way in which this element 
of interpretation has been worked out in the late Professor Milligan's Revelation (a 
volume of the Expositor's Bible, Hodder & Stoughton). 


description of one coming with the clouds, of hair white as wool, 
a golden girdle, feet like burnished brass, eyes of fire, is entirely 
from Daniel 5 from Ezekiel come the rainbow round about the 
throne and the four living creatures. The naming of Him who 
is worthy to open the book as the < Root of David' brings up 
the ' Branch ' and ' Shoot ' which have figured in the Messianic 
pictures of Isaiah ; and the other appellative, ' the Lion of the 
tribe of Judah,' takes us back to Primitive Prophecy and the 
Blessings of Jacob on the tribes. It is the same with the symbols 
that make up the succession of scenes. The book written within 
and without, the little book to be eaten and found sweet in the 
mouth and bitter in the belly, have both become familiar from 
the prophecy of Ezekiel ; the golden candlestick of Zechariah's 
vision is multiplied sevenfold for this supreme revelation, and its 
appendage of the two olive trees now becomes the centre of a 
separate chapter of allegory ; the incense symbolising the prayers 
of the saints realises the imagery of the psalms ; if 
again the delivered psalmist has cried that God Psalmcxli - a 
has put a 'new song ' in his mouth, the thought finds here a real- 
isation in the mystic new song which none but the sealed of the 
Lord can learn. The prophetic conceptions undergo alteration 
and enlargement as they reappear. Zechariah's vision had pre- 
sented spirits of ministration on the earth in the form of horses, 
white, red, black, grisled, the colours being a picturesque 
detail: but the horses of Revelation the white, the red, the 
black, the pale have each a hue mystically connected with its 
office of judgment. Prophecy had frequently couched its mys- 
teries under the image of a book sealed up : this consummation 
of all things presents the unsealing. Among the instruments of 
woe the trumpets represent the trumpet sound which in the rhap- 
sodies had marked the commencement of panic, the bowls poured 
out repeat the regular image of the Doom Songs, the cup of 
Jehovah's fury. The woes thus hurled upon the world are the 
' plagues f of Egypt magnified : when locusts are mentioned, the 
mystic imagery of Joel is worked into the description j when hail 


is pictured, the expression " every stone about the weight of a 
talent " reads like a momentary finger-pointing to Zechariah's vis- 
ion of Wickedness pressed down with the talent of fead. Where 
the form of woes goes outside the Egyptian plagues prophecy has 
other symbols to contribute, and the ' burning mountain ' recalls 
Jeremiah's Doom of Babylon, as the star Wormwood the Doom of 
Babylon in Isaiah. Again, the recital of the number of the saved, 
tribe by tribe, recalls in its rhythm a similar recital of the portions 
of the tribes of Ezekiel. Of course a new chord has been struck 
in the vision that immediately follows : the " great multitude, 
which no man could number, out of every nation, and of all tribes 
and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne." But as the 
description is continued hallowed associations from old prophecy 
come in. That they have " washed their robes and made them 
white in the blood of the Lamb," combines Isaiah's promise that 
sins red as crimson should be as wool with Zechariah's vision of 
the filthy garments taken in the heavenly court from Joshua that 
he might be clothed in rich vestments ; while the sweetly sounding 

They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the 
sun strike upon them, nor any heat, for the Lamb which is in the 
midst of the throne shall be their shepherd, and shall guide them 
unto fountains of waters of life 

has been spoken before by the Servant of Jehovah in the Isaiahan 
Rhapsody. Sometimes St. John's symbols or descriptive touches 
would fail to produce their effect if separated from the associa- 
tions they recall. It would seem harsh in so mystic a scene to 
speak of exact numbers : but the phrase of the old processional 


The chariots of God are twenty thousand, 
Even thousands upon thousands 

renders it possible for Revelation to make the armies of the horse- 
men " twice ten thousand times ten thousand." Again we might 
see no point in the symbol of the balance held by the rider on the 


"black horse, were it not that EzekieFs mimic siege has accustomed 
us to associate famine with eating bread by weight and drinking 
water by me'asure. And when we reach the tumult of winds and 
sea and the beasts coming up out of the sea, the vision becomes 
pointless unless the prophecies of Daniel are assumed throughout. 
It will be understood that the use in Revelation of the Old 
Testament prophecy is no borrowing or travelling backward ; on 
the contrary, the conceptions of the prophets become intensified 
by being massed together, and ideas from diverse sources unite in 
a single new conception. The horror of nature that attends the 
opening of the sixth seal is given in a single description. Its first 
clause, as to the sun becoming black as sackcloth and the moon as 
blood, gives a phenomenon of change three times used by Joel. 
Then the stars falling from heaven, " as a shaken fig tree casts 
her unripe figs," unites Isaiah's expression of stars falling " as a 
fading leaf from the fig tree " with Nahum's application of the 
image of a shaken fig tree to the succession of fortresses yielded 
in a panic. Then the detail of the heavens being rolled up as a 
scroll recalls Isaiah's ideal ruin of Edom ; that of the mountains 
and islands moving and fleeing has been a stock prophetic image ; 
the idea of men's hiding in the caves and rocks has been used in 
Isaiah's opening manifesto, their crying to the rocks and moun- 
tains to fall on them and cover them has been pictured by Hosea. 
The final climax of the description that the great day of wrath 
is come, and who is able to abide it? borrows the refrain of 
Joel's rhapsody. Or again : when the angel casts his sickle to 
the earth, we at once recognise the consummation foreshadowed 
by Joel ; but when the vintage so gathered is cast into the wine- 
press of the wrath of God, the association is with the vision of 
judgment in the Isaiahan Rhapsody ; when again blood comes 
out of the winepress and reaches even to the bridles of the 
horses, the image of that rhapsody has become united with an 
early picture of Isaiah, which represented the Assyrian flood 
deluging the land and reaching to the horses' necks. The song 
over Fallen Babylon recalls many such songs of old prophecy; 


but before it has gone far the details have entirely changed, and 
identified the fallen power also with Tyre whose ruin is wept over 
by the merchant and the shipman : the suggestion is that all the 
bulwarks of evil are included in the Babylon of Revelation. To 
take a final example. The New Jerusalem seen with the nieasured 
symmetries of its walls and gates is the Jerusalem of Ezekiel. Its 
coming down as a bride adorned for her husband is the thought 
of one of the songs to Zion Exalted in the rhapsody of Isaiah ; 
from another of these songs come the foundations of precious 
stones and pearly gates ; yet another has foreshadowed the gates 
open day and night, the Divine Sun in the glory of which nations 
walk. And the additional picture of the river of water of life 
with the trees of life, yielding their monthly fruits, and leaves for 
the healing of the nations has brought us back to the visions 
of Ezekiel. 

Even as a literary effect this building up of new conceptions out 
of details that come to us hallowed with the associations of past 
literature is eminently impressive. It is another form of that 
which in secular literature is the chain of ' classic ' succession, by 
which Miltonic poetry will in its every detail echo some classic 
image or expression of Italian and Roman literature, as these in 
their turn had made their details suggest their origin in the classic 
poetry of Greece. The emblematic ideas of prophecy, however,, 
go far beyond literary imagery ; and, whether we consider matter 
or form, it is highly significant that the final outpouring of Scrip- 
tural Prophecy should be a Procession of symbolic visions in 
which the visionary symbols of all preceding prophecy have grown 
together into their consummation. 





OMY ' 444 



THE word ' rhetoric ' has several meanings. In the sense that 
belongs to its most common usage it has little connection with 
the purpose of the present work. Questions of 
style seem to me to belong to the study of Ian- Rhetoric: the 
guage rather than to the study of literature ; unless Address W f 
in such cases as the Book of Wisdom, where we 
saw a peculiarity of style of sufficient magnitude to make the com- 
position a literary class by itself, the morphological distinctness of 
which must be kept in mind by one who would appreciate the 
argument. At present I am using the word ' rhetoric ' in a differ- 
ent sense, as the literature of address. The Biblical literature 
of address falls into two main divisions : the Epistle, or Written 
Address, and Oratory, the Spoken Address. 

The Epistolary literature of the Bible constitutes a department 
of the highest importance as regards its subject-matter. But its 
treatment need occupy only a small space in a 

work of which the purpose is to note distinctions Epistolary LU- 

f ,., f AH t - . erature: the 

of literary form. All that is necessary is to point written Address 

out that the generic term ' epistle* covers three 
classes of composition worth distinguishing, without reckoning the 
Epistle of St. James, which has already been treated as a part of 
Wisdom literature. 

The first and largest class is made up of epistles in the strictest 
sense, the Epistles of Pastoral Intercourse. These have the full 
form of epistolary correspondence : commencing with a salutation 



from the Apostle, 1 with whom other names are joined in some 
cases, to a distinct church or fellow- worker ; ending 
with further salutations and sometimes an auto- 
graph message, and with greetings, general or by 
name. Sometimes messages to individuals, or about the treat- 
ment of individuals, appear in the body of the letter ; information 
is given as to the writer's condition, or his prospective movements 
and the possibility of personal visits to his correspondents ; refer- 
ence is made to affairs of the church* or person addressed, and 
even to financial questions or to the disposal of articles of luggage 
left behind. The matter of the epistle, moreover, is called forth by 
particular circumstances; though in treating the particular the 
writer can rise or digress to the deepest principles touched in the 
. . highest forms of expression. The First Epistle to 

the Corinthians is an ideal example of this type. Its 
earlier paragraphs are drawn from St. Paul by tidings he has heard 
of the Church at Corinth : tidings of factions, of moral laxity, of 
proceedings against brethren in secular courts. Then he turns to 
answer questions of principle, or of ecclesiastical policy, which 
have been conveyed to him on behalf of the Corinthian church ; 
he thus treats of celibacy, of the idol feasts which constituted a 
burning question in the early days of Christianity, of the relation 
of the sexes in places of worship ; the question of diverse spiritual 
gifts seems also to be among those put to him, and in treating it 
he is led to the famous outpouring on ' charity/ or ' love.' He 
concludes with a summary of the ' gospel ' he has preached, but a 
summary really designed for a single purpose, to meet doubts that 
had arisen concerning the resurrection doctrine of the Apostles. 

The other pastoral epistles are, in their general character as a 

branch of literature, covered by this typical example. The Second 

Epistle to the Corinthians seems to have been 

Epistle" ^ called forth by the reception of the first. That to 

the Galatians is a personal remonstrance from St. 

Paul to churches with which he conceived himself to have a 

* In the case of //, /// John the writer appears only as ' The Elder.' 


special bond of intimacy, and which had been disturbed by Juda- 
ising tendencies such as it was the mission of this Apostle to resist. 
The epistle to the Philippians was perhaps originated by a desire 
to heal local differences, if we may judge from an appeal 
to that effect addressed to individuals by name ; but its IV ' * 
matter as a whole is general. Those to the Thessalonians have 
an individual colour given to them by the prominence of discus- 
sions touching the expected near 'coming of Christ 1 The epistles 
to Timothy are appeals to a < child in the faith ' and fellow-worker, 
touching his personal character as a teacher ; but St. Paul also 
pronounces through him upon questions likely to be disputed by 
those amongst whom Timothy would labour. The epistle to Titus 
is a general summary of instruction to one left in charge of a dis- 
trict where much organising was to be done. The epistle to 
Philemon was a personal appeal sent by St. Paul with a runaway 
^lave, now Christianised, and desiring to return to his master, a 
convert and friend of the Apostle. Of a similar personal char- 
acter are the epistles (numbered second and third) of St. John, 
addressed to an unnamed lady and to Gaius. 

There is a clear distinction between such epistles of Pastoral 
Intercourse and two others, which may be designated Epistolary 
Treatises. The Epistle to the Romans is addressed, 
it is true, to a particular church : but it is the 
church of the world's metropolis, and one which 
the writer has never visited. The formalities of salutation quickly 
lead the writer to that which is his text : the new con- 
ception of a < righteousness by faith/ which is salvation Romans 
4 to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 1 What follows is a for- 
mal and ordered exposition of this conception, the writer through- 
out keeping before him the two parties of Jews and non-Jews, 
whose attitudes to the new doctrine would be so different. Com- 
mencing with first principles he gradually reaches a climax in the 
idea of a world redemption ; if then he passes from argument to 
exhortation, yet his exhortations are only another form of his argu- 
ment, and represent the gospel realised in practical life. The con- 


elusion has the greetings, and references to the writer's movements, 
which belong to the pastoral epistles. The Epistle to the Hebrews 
lacks all epistolary form of opening, evev, the name of its 
author ; at the close there is only a reference to the libera- 
tion of Timothy, and a salutation from ' them of Italy.' The whole is 
an elaborate and symmetrical argument, brilliant in style, addressed 
by a Hebrew to Hebrews, the purport of which is that the Law 
must give place to the Gospel as to a higher and fuller dispensation. 
A third class of epistles is to be distinguished, which will include 
those to the Colossians and Ephesians y those of Peter, of Jude, 
Epistolary Mani- an d the First Epistle of John. Of these only the 
festos epistle to the Colossians has the regular epistolary 

salutations and greetings. That named after the Ephesians is really 
a circular letter to churches, of which the church at Ephesus was 
only the chief, and in place of final greetings we here find a recom- 
mendation of the bearer of the epistle. The others have in our 
Bibles the title of ' general ' : St. Peter's are addressed " To the 
elect who are sojourners of the Dispersion in Pontus, &c.," and 
" To them that have obtained a like precious faith with us " ; that 
of Jude, " To them that are called, beloved in God the Father, 
and kept for Jesus Christ " ; the First Epistle of St. John has no 
address. I think this group would be correctly designated Epis- 
tolary Manifestos. The writer's whole conception of the truth 
and the life of which he is a minister is concentrated in a single 
deliverance, not for purposes of general argument or exposition 
(though both are found), but drawn out by some special situation 
of the church, and making appeal to the whole nature of those who 
read, intellectual and spiritual, whether in their private or corporate 
Colossians and capacity. In the case of the Colossians and Ephe- 
Ephesians sians the inspiring situation seems to be the rivalry 

of some other well-ordered systems of truth, and the purpose of 
the epistles is to put forward the Christian faith and life as satis- 
fying every capacity of the fullest nature. St. Peter's ad- 
dress to the Dispersion is clearly called out by an era of 
cruel persecution, which has naturally driven the Church to test 


the foundations of the faith for which it is suffering. The Epistle 

of Jude, and the Second Epistle of Peter which has 

/ . . , . - Jude and II Peter 

so much in common with it, are manifestos neces- 
sitated by evil attacking the Church from within : the perversion 
of the doctrine of ' liberty ' into a bold antinomianism that set at 
defiance elementary morality as well as ecclesiastical order. St. 
John's Epistle seems in a general way to have originated 
in that which would be an accessory cause of the others, ' 
the sense that the age was ' the last time ' and the time of 
antichrists; in particular, the number of those who could bear 
personal witness to the life of Christ was fast disappearing, and 
the last pronouncements of those who still survived must be heard. 
Reviewing all three classes I may add one remark. The Epis- 
tles occupy in the New Testament the place occupied by Prophecy 
in the Old Testament. The prophets ministered O id Testament 
to a nation, and could move amongst their fellow- counterparts of 
countrymen and bring to bear on them the power tbe B * l8tles 
of vocal address. The Apostles addressed those who were scat- 
tered through distant cities, and could communicate with the 
Church as a whole only by letter. The Pastoral Epistles corre- 
spond to the Occasional Discourses and Prophetic Incidents which 
make up so large a proportion of prophetic literature. In our 
analysis of Prophecy we have also noticed the Prophetic Mani- 
festo, embodying, like the Epistolary Manifestos, the preacher's 
general conception of his ministry. For the Epistolary Treatises 
there is no counterpart in prophetic literature; for the prophet 
speaks with authority, not by argument, as a representative of the 
God his hearers acknowledge. The analogous Old Testament 
form is rather to be sought in Wisdom literature. But if so, the 
conception of Wisdom is found to have altered ; with a new world 
in which the Greek takes the intellectual lead Wisdom can no 
longer be mere reflection, but must arm itself with argument. In 
the passage from the Essays of Old Testament Wisdom to the 
Epistles named after Romans and Hebrews we have passed from 
Oriental to Western philosophy. 


THE department of Oratory, or Spoken Rhetoric, is represented 
in the Bible partly by the elaborate speeches already noted in the 
Drama of Job, attractive by their flowing elo- 
spoken Rhetoric quence and their pointed gnomic sayings. There 
are again numerous speeches scattered through the 
Old and New Testament, which, however, cannot well be appre- 
ciated from the literary standpoint, owing to the condensed form 
in which they are reported. Perhaps here also should be reck- 
oned, in a class by themselves, the formal Prayers, or Addresses 
to God, of which Solomon's Dedicatory Prayer, and the apocryphal 
Prayer of Manasses are the chief examples. But the department 
includes one work of the highest literary importance in the fifth 
book of the Pentateuch, called by its Greek name of Deuteronomy. 
This book of Deuteronomy might have for its second title ' The 
Orations and Songs of Moses before his ascent of Pisgah! The 
vast historic importance of the book, from its in- 
fluence on later Biblical writers, and the difficult 
questions surrounding its origin, have tended to 
divert attention from the literary interest attaching to its contents. 1 
There is, perhaps, no other work in which so much is gained by 
attempting to read the whole at a sitting. For this exercise some 
preparation should be made, in the way of separating the substance 
from accessories. To begin with, there are some long parenthetic 

1 It may be well to remind the reader that questions of literary history are ex- 
cluded from the present work. The analysis of Deuteronomy is analysis of the book 
as it stands, apart from any question how it has reached its present form. 



explanations, which are obviously not to be understood as part of 
the speeches in which they occur : in modern phraseology they 
are foot-notes, and they should be marked off. 1 Other verses 
should be separated as prefaces, titles, colophons, and the like, 2 
But in addition to these brief passages there is a lengthy section 
of fifteen chapters which may be understood as the ' Book 
of the Covenant f that is being mentioned continually in 
the speeches ; however important in itself, this section should, in 
such an exercise as I am describing, be taken as read, and not 
allowed to disturb the succession of orations. When, with these 
preparations, the whole book is reviewed at a sitting, an intense 
interest is thrown upon the orations from the pathetic situation in 
which they are delivered : the leader of the Hebrews in their wan- 
derings alone realising that promised land from which he alone 
is excluded. This thought from time to time breaks out in the 
cry "The Lord was angry with me for your sakes " ; and when 
not spoken in words it is none the less present as inspiration of 
the passionate appeals and denunciations with which Moses seeks 
to make the Covenant, of which he has been the interpreter, a 
power with the people when he is no longer present to uphold it. 
There is also a crescendo of interest throughout the book : narra- 
tive review, appeal, ceremonial and terrible denunciation, farewell 
and personal tenderness, a climax of song, simple story of the 
solemn and pathetic end. Read in any way, Deuteronomy reveals 
its rhetoric richness ; read at a single sitting, it is seen to be ora- 
tory arranged to produce all the effect of Drama. 

FIRST ORATION i.6-iv.4o 


The people are indicated as gathered together in the deep hol- 
low that makes the bed of the Jordan, on its eastern side. Moses, 
standing before them, commences in the calm tone of historic sur- 

1 They are: ii. 10-12; ii. 20-3; iii. 9 and n and again 14; x. 6-9. 

2 See throughout analysis in the Literary Index, 


vey. He goes to the central incident of the people's history 
the giving of the law on Horeb and tells how the first move- 
ment forward revealed the growing numbers ot the people, so 
that he could no longer support tne cumbrance and burden and 
strife of so vast a nation. 

The LORD, the God of your fathers, make you a thousand times GO 
many more as ye are, and bless you, as he hath promised you ! 

It thus became necessary to appoint captains of hundreds and 
fifties and tens; and in such organised form the people passed 
through the great and terrible wilderness, and reached Kadesh- 
Barnea. There the order came to advance on the foe. But 
though the spies sent on to explore brought back word of a good 
land, yet they made the heart to melt with their talc of cities great 
and fenced up to heaven, and children of the Anakim : until the 
people forgot the Lord their leader in the wilderness. Moses 
reviews how the Lord's wrath brake forth at the murmuring, and 
he sware that none save the faithful spies should enter the land : 
the children and little ones should alone inherit. Here for the 
first time comes the sad plaint that the Lord was angry with Moses 
for the people's sake, and he, too, must not pass over Jordan. The 
history continues to tell of the presumptuous courage that went up 
to the battle without the Lord, and was visited with defeat and 
rout. Then there is the turning back to the wilderness, and the 
eight and thirty years wandering while all the men of war of that 
generation were being gradually consumed : a wandering, never- 
theless, that lacked not the Lord's watchfulness. 

The LORD thy God hath blessed thee in all the work of thy hand : 
he hath known thy walking through this great wilderness: these 
forty years the LORD thy God hath been with thcc, thou hast lacked 

With the crossing of the brook Zered the new era begins : the 
dread and the fear of Israel falls upon the peoples. In vain Sihon 
king of Heshbon and Og king of Bashan resist : their cities are 
taken, their people smitten and extirpated, their land divided 


among the tribes that had much cattle. It now appears how these 
signs of Jehovah's favour to his people stirred the personal hopes 
of Moses. 

And I besought the LORD at that time, saying, O Lord GOD, thou 
hast begun to show thy servant thy greatness, and thy strong hand : 
for what god is there in heaven or in earth that can do according to 
thy works, and according to thy mighty acts? Let me go over, I 
pray thee, and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly 
mountain, and Lebanon. But the LORD was wroth with me for your 
sakes, and hearkened not unto me: and the LORD said unto me, 
Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter. Get thce 
up into the top of Pisgah, and lift up thine eyes westward, and north- 
ward, and southward, and eastward, and behold with thine eyes : for 
thou shalt not go over this Jordan. But charge Joshua, and encour- 
age him, and strengthen him : for he shall go over before this people. 

So, then, the office of Moses is to be ended : the words he has 
commanded are not to be added to, nor diminished from : it re- 
mains that the people shall keep them, and this shall be their 
wisdom and their understanding in the sight of the peoples, for 
no people can have a god so nigh or statutes so wise as theirs. 
But they must remember the occasion of the lawgiving, and how 
the mountain burned with fire unto the heart of heaven, and they 
heard the voice but saw no form ; they must take heed lest they 
make the form of anything in heaven or earth, to worship it ; and 
lest when they behold the sun and moon and all the host of 
heaven their hearts be lifted up and they worship these these 
which the Lord has divided unto all the peoples under the whole 
heaven, whereas Israel he has chosen for his own inheritance. 
And he will be jealous over the people with whom he has made 
his covenant. 

For ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee, 
since the day that God created man upon the earth, und from the 
one end of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such 
thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it? Did ever 
people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, 
as thou hasl heard, and live? Or hath God assayed to go and take 


him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by 
signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a 
stretched out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the 
LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? Unto thee 
it was shewed that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; 
there is none else beside him. Out of heaven he made thee to hear 
his voice, that he might instruct thee : and upon earth he made thee 
to see his great fire; and thou heardest his words out of the midst 
of the fire. And because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose 
their seed after them, and brought thee out with his presence, with 
his great power, out of Egypt; to drive out nations from before thee 
greater and mightier than thou, to bring thee in, to give thee their 
land for an inheritance, as at this day. Know therefore this day, 
and lay it to thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above 
and upon the earth beneath: there is none else. And thou shalt 
keep his statutes, and his commandments which I command thee 
this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after 
thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the land, which 
the LORD thy God giveth thee, for ever. 



The second oration of Moses is connected with a public cere- 
mony: the handing over the Book of the Covenant into the 
custody of the Levites and Elders. The scene of the preceding 
oration is repeated, and Moses appears, with officials grouped 
round him representing the Levites and Elders, holding in his 
hands the Covenant of the Lord, now for the first time reduced 
to writing. As in the former speech, he goes for a starting-point 
to the scene at Horeb; he recites the commandments one by 
one as delivered by the great Voice amid fire and darkness ; and 
he reminds the people how they came to him with words of panic : 

We have seen this day that God doth speak with man, and he liveth. 
Now therefore why should we die? 

Their petition was that Moses might stand in their stead before the 
Lord, and all that the Lord commands by him they will do. Now 


therefore all the separate commandments and statutes and judg- 
ments of which Moses has thus been the interpreter have been 
gathered into ?>ne Covenant, the book Moses holds in his hands. 
His task is to commend it to their obedience before they hear it 
read. He commences with the great Name. 

Hear, O Israel : the LORD our God is one LORD : and thou shalt 
love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, 
and with ail thy might. And these words, which I command thee 
this day, shall be upon thine heart : and thou shalt teach them dili- 
gently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in 
thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest 
down, and when thou nsest up. And thou shalt bind them for a 
sign upon thine hand, and they shall be for frontlets between thine 
eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the doorposts of thy house, 
and upon thy gates. And it shall be, that when the LORD thy God 
shall bring thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to 
Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee; great and goodly 
cities, which thou buildedst not, and houses full of all good things, 
which thou filledst not, and cisterns hewn out, which thou hewedst 
not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not, and thou 
shalt eat and be full; then beware lest thou forget the LORD. 

On the contrary, when their children ask them in the days to 
come, what mean these statutes and judgments, they shall tell how 
they were Pharaoh's bondmen in Egypt, and how Jehovah brought 
them out with wonders great and sore, and gave them these com- 
mandments to keep : and it shall be their righteousness if they 
observe the commandments of their God. 

This Covenant shall be their distinction among the nations. 
The Lord will cast out the nations before them : not suddenly, 
lest the beasts of the field increase upon them ; but by little and 
by little will he cast them out. They shall make no covenant with 
them, nor give them sons and daughters in marriage. 

For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD 
thy God hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above 
all peoples that are upon the face of the earth. The LORD did not set 
his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number 



than any people; for ye were the fewest of all peoples: but because 
the LORD loveth you, and because he would keep the oath which he 
sware unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a 
mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage. 

The orator turns to the past to find ground for emphasising 
the keeping of the Covenant. 

Thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God hath led 
thee these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble thee, 
to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou would- 
est keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suf- 
fered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest 
not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know 
that man doth not live by bread only, but by everything that pro- 
ceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. Thy raiment 
waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years. 
And thou shalt consider HI thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his 
son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee. And thou shalt keep 
the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and 
to fear him. For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, 
a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths, springing forth 
in valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig 
trees and pomegranates; a land of oil olives and honey; a land 
wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack 
anything in it; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills 
thou mayest dig brass. And thou shalt eat and be full, and thou 
shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given 
thee. Beware lest thou forget the LORD thy God, in not keeping his. 
commandments, and his judgements, and his statutes, which I com- 
mand thee this day : lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast 
built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; and when thy herds and thy 
flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that 
thou hast is multiplied ; then thine heart be lifted up, and thou for- 
get the LORD thy God, which brpught thee forth out of the land of 
Egypt, out of the house of bondage; who led thee through the great 
and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents and scorpions, 
and -thirsty ground where was no water; who brought thee forth 
water out. of the rock of flint; who fed thee in the wilderness with 
manna, which thy fathers knew not; that he might humble thee 
and that he might prove thee, to dp thee good at tliy latter end : 


and thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand 
hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shall remember the LORD thy 
God, fot it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth; that he may 
establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as at this day. 

Moses turns to the future. They are this day to pass over Jor- 
dan, and soon they will see the nations, even the tall sons of Anak, 
going down before them. But let them beware lest they say in 
their heart: "For my righteousness hath the Lord brought me 
into the land." Not for their righteousness, but for the wicked- 
ness of them that dwell in the land. Not for their righteousness, 
for they have been ever a stiff-necked generation : and the orator 
gathers into one single view all the outbreaks of rebellion and sin 
which had marred the history of the people in the wilderness. 
Yet why this rebellious spirit ? 

What doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD 
thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the 
LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, to keep the 
commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command 
thee this day for thy good? Behold, unto the LORD thy God be- 
longeth the heaven, and the heaven of heavens, the earth, with all 
that therein is. Only the LORD had a delight in thy fathers to love 
them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all peo- 
ples, as at this day. 

Moses speaks, not to children which have not known, but to those 
who have seen all the works of the Lord done upon Egypt, and 
how the LORD their God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, the 
great God, the mighty, the terrible. Let them therefore circum- 
cise their hearts, and so go over and possess the good land* 

For the land, whither thou goest in to possess it, is not as the land of 
Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou sowedst thy seed, and 
wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs; but the land, 
whither ye go over to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and 
drinketh water of the rain of heaven : a land which the LORD, thy 
God careth for; the eyes of the LORD thy God are always upon it, 
from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year. 


If, then, the people keep faithfully the Covenant of the Lord, he 
will give them the rain in its season, the former rain and the latter 
tain, and the land shall yield her increase ; but if they turn aside 
and serve other gods, the heavens shall be shut up, and the land 
shall not yield her fruit, and they shall perish quickly from off the 
good land their God has given them. 

Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your 
soul ; and ye shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they 
shall be for frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them 
your children, talking of them, when thou sittest in thine house, and 
when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when 
thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the doorposts of 
thine house, and upon thy gates; that your days may be multiplied, 
and the days of your children, upon the land which the LORD sware 
unto your fathers to give them, as the days of the heavens above 
the earth. 

Fresh promises follow of rewards for faithfulness : nations greater 
and mightier than themselves driven out before them, a border 
from the wilderness to Lebanon, from the hinder sea to the river 
Euphrates, every place where the sole of their foot shall tread 
shall be theirs. In conclusion Moses refers to the blessing and 
the curse, which are to be the sanctions of the Covenant ; and 
then must have come the time when he would hand over the Book 
of the Covenant in the eyes of the whole nation, to the Levites 
and Elders around him, to be read by them before the people on 
that day and many a day afterwards. 


When the fifteen chapters containing the Book of the Covenant 
are concluded, a succession of paragraphs follow which need close 
i 1-8 attention - First we ^ ave an ordinance formally appoint- 

ing the Ceremonial of the Blessing and Curse ; and this 
is a provision for the future, since the places designated Mounts 



Ebal and Gerizim are on the other side of Jordan. Next fol- 
low two verses in which it is said that Moses and the 
priests the Levites spake unto all Israel, to the effect that 
they had that day become the Lord's people,, and must keep 
his commandments. Then verses describe how Moses 
"charged the people the same day, 7 * the point of the 
charge being the division of the tribes six for the mountain of 
the Curse, and six for the mountain of the Blessing ; the descrip- 
tion brings out the antiphonal character of the ceremony, the 
Levites speaking, and the people responding with an 
Amen. Then follow the Curses in this full ritual form. 15 ~ 2 
But, instead of a similar series of Blessings, we find the matter of 
the Blessings put in oratorical language, which oratorical 
language continues into the matter of the Curses. The 
only way of satisfactorily interpreting such a succession of para- 
graphs is to suppose a Rehearsal of the Ceremony, the tribes 
being stationed upon opposite slopes in some spot resembling the 
mountains of Ebal and Gerizim ; and, when the ceremony has 
proceeded as far as the conclusion of the Curses, Moses since it 
is only a rehearsal interrupts it, and takes the whole into his 
own hands. This gives us the third oration. 

Moses describes how, if the people observe the commandments 
of their God, they shall be blessed in city and in field, in the fruit 
of their body and the fruit of their ground and their cattle, in 
basket, in kneading-trough, when they come in and when they go 
out, and in all that they do. 

The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasury the heaven to 
give the rain of thy land in its season, and to bless all the work of 
thine hand : and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt 
not borrow. And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the 
tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; 
if thou shalt hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God. 

But if the people shall not hearken unto the voice of the Lord 
their God, then curses shall come upon them and overtake them : 
curses in city and field, in basket and kneading-trough, in the fruit 


of body and of cattle and of field, curses when they come in and 
when they go out. Discomfiture and rebuke, consumption, fever, 
inflammation, fiery heat, the sword, blasting mildevr, shall pursue 
them until they perish. 

And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth 
that is under thee shall be iron. The LORD shall make the rain of 
thy land powder and dust : from heaven shall it come down upon 
thee, until thou be destroyed. The LORD shall cause thee to be 
smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against 
them, and shalt flee seven ways before them: and thou shalt be 
tossed to and fro among the kingdoms of the earth. 

There shall be madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart ; 
groping at noontide as the blind gropeth in darkness ; sons and 
daughters shall be borne into captivity, and the eyes of parents 
shall look and fail with longing for them all the day ; but there 
shall be nought in the power of their hand ; for they shall be only 
oppressed, and crushed alway, and they shall be mad for the sight 
of their eyes which they shall see. 

Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather little 
in; for the locust shall consume it. Thou shalt plant vineyards and 
dress them, but thou shalt neither drink of the wine nor gather the 
grapes; for the worm shall eat them. Thou shalt have olive trees 
throughout all thy borders, but thou shalt not anoint thyself with 
the oil; for thine olive shall cast its fruit. Thou shalt beget sons 
and daughters, but they shall not be thine; for they shall go into 

The stranger in their midst shall mount higher and higher as they 
go down lower and lower: and all because they have not heark- 
ened unto the voice of their God. 

Because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and 
with gladness of heart, by reason of the abundance of all things: 
therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the LORD shall send 
against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want 
of all things : and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until 
he have destroyed thee. The LORD shall bring a nation against 
thee from far, from the end of the earth, as the eagle flieth; a nation 


whose tongue thou sbalt not understand; a nation of fierce coun- 
tenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew 
favour to the young: and he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the 
fruit <?f thy ground, until thou be destroyed: which also shall not 
leave thee corn, wine, or oil, the increase of thy kine, or the young 
of thy flock, until he have caused thee to perish. And he shall be- 
siege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come 
down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land : and he shall 
besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the LORD 
thy God hath given thee. And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own 
body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters which the LORD thy 
God hath given thee; in the siege and in the straitness, wherewith 
thine enemies shall straiten thee. The man that is tender among 
you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward his brother, and 
toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the remnant of his chil- 
dren which he hath remaining : so that he will not give to any of 
them of the flesh of his children whom he shall eat, because he hath 
nothing left him; in the siege and in the straitness, wherewith thine 
enemy shall straiten thee in all thy gates. The tender and delicate 
woman among you, which would not adventure to set the sole of her 
foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall 
be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and 
toward her daughter; and toward her young one that cometh out 
from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall 
bear; for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly: in the 
siege and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall straiten thee 
in thy gates. 

If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are 
written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful 
name, THE LORD THY GOD; then the LORD will make thy plagues 
wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of 
long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance. 
And he will bring upon thee again all the diseases of Egypt, which 
thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee. Also every 
sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this 
law, them will the LORD bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed. 
And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of 
heaven for multitude; because thou didst not hearken unto the voice 
of the LORD thy God. And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD 
rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD 
will rejoice over you to cause you to perish, and to destroy you; and 


ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest in to pos- 
sess it. And the LORD shall scatter thee among all peoples, from* 
the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; and 
there thou shalt serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou 
nor thy fathers, even wood and stone. And among these nations, 
shalt thou find no ease, and there shall be no rest for the sole of thy 
foot: but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart, and fail- 
ing of eyes, and pining of soul : and thy life shall hang in doubt 
before thee; and thou shalt fear night and day, and shalt have none 
assurance of thy life : in the morning thou shalt say, Would God it 
were even ! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning ! 
for the fear of thine heart which thou shalt fear, and for the sight of 
thine eyes which thou shalt see. And the LORD shall bring thee 
into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I said unto thee, 
Thou shalt see it no more again : and there ye shall sell yourselves 
unto your enemies for bondmen and for bondwomen, and no man 
shall buy you. 

aarix-xxxi. 8 FOURTH ORATION 


The fourth oration has this title in the text, although the scene 
appears to be the same. After a brief historic survey, Moses 
seems to review the different classes of people standing before him. 

Ye stand this day all of you before the LORD your God; "your heads, 
your tribes, your elders, and your officers, even all the men of Israel, 
your little ones, your wives, and thy stranger that is in the midst of 
thy camps, from the hewer of thy wood unto the drawer of thy water : 
that thou shouldest enter into the covenant of the LORD thy God. 

We are thus led to the special point of this day's speech. It is 
personal, as distinct from national religion. Moses fears lest there 
may be some man or woman, or some family or tribe, who may 
nourish idolatry in their hearts, and think to escape in the general 
righteousness ; 

lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and worm- 
wood; and it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, 
that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though 
I walk in the stubbornness of mine heart. 


Moses declares that God will separate that man or that woman 
unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel, to bring upon him all the 
curses of thcv Covenant. As for such a tribe or family: the 
stranger from a far land, the children of the days to come, shall 
wonder to see the plagues of its land, and how it is brimstone, 
and salt, and a burning, like the ruin of Sodom, and they shall 
ask, Wherefore hath the Lord done thus unto this land? And 
they shall say, Because they forsook the covenant of the Lord, the 
God of their fathers. The secret things of the sin belong unta 
the Lord our God; but the judgment when it is revealed will 
belong to us and to our children for ever. 1 

But Moses has additional words of mercy to speak, as well as of 
judgment. When all these things are come upon them, the bless- 
ing and the curse, and they call them to mind among all the 
nations whither they have been driven, then if they turn with all 
their heart unto the Lord he will turn their captivity, and gather 
their outcasts from the uttermost parts of heaven, and bring them 
again into the land of their fathers, and do them good, and put 
these curses upon their enemies : if only they turn unto the Lord 
with all their heart and with all their soul 

For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not too- 
- hard for thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou 
shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto 
us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it? Neither is it beyond 
the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, 
and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it? 
But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, 
that thou mayest do it. 

The Leader of the people thus reaches the point of his final 
appeal. He calls heaven and earth to witness against them this 
day, that he has set before them life and death, the blessing and 
the curse. Therefore, he cries to them, 

i This is the only point where the argument of the orations is at all difficult. 
The line of thought is given by verse 18 (of chapter xxix) : the distinction of 
(a) man or woman, ($) family or tribe; then verses 30-21 follow the judgment on 
(a), verses 22-28 the judgment on (J). 


Choose life, that thou mayest live,"thou and thy seed: to love the 
LORD thy God, to obey his voice, and to cleave unto him : for he is 
thy life, and the length of thy days : that thou mayest dwell in the 
land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, 
and to Jacob, to give them/ 

'There remains the personal farewell. Moses tells how he is that 
day an hundred and twenty years old ; and the mystic strength 
that had supported the people in the wilderness, so that their feet 
swelled not these forty years, is no longer vouchsafed to their 
leader : " I can no more go out and come in." And the Lord has 
said to him that he shall not go over Jordan. But while physical 
strength is failing, the words on the old man's lips are of strength 
and courage : a worn-out leader puts courage into the nation 
before him, and into Joshua, whom he installs as leader in his 
place. Thus with his cry of " Be strong, and of good courage," 
and "The Lord shall go before you," Moses retires from his office 
of leader, and leaves Joshua in his place. 

The orations of Moses are concluded : but not yet his words. 
That very day, as he is presenting himself with Joshua his suc- 
cessor in the Tent of Meeting, the call comes to 
put his message to the people in the form of Song. 
His doctrine shall drop as the rain, his speech distil 
as the dew, while he sings of Jehovah the Rock, the God of faith- 
fulness. When the nations were divided, Israel was retained by 
the Creator for himself. 

For the LORD'S portion is his people : 

Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. 

He found him in a desert land, 

And in the waste howling wilderness . 

He compassed him about, he cared for him, 

He kept him as the apple of his eye : 

As un eagle that stirreth up her nest, 

That fluttereth over her young, 

He spread abroad his wings, he took them, 

He bare them on his pinions : 


The LORD alone did lead him, 

And there was no strange god with him. 

H,e made him ride on the high places of the earth, 

And he did eat the increase of the field ; 

And he made him to suck honey out of the rock, 

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 kidneys of wheat; 

And of the blood of the grape thou drankest wine. 

The joyousness of the song clouds over, as it tells how Jeshurun 
waxed fat and kicked, and moved the Lord to jealousy with new 
gods, that came up but yesterday, whom their fathers did not 
know. The fire of Divine anger burns as from the lowest pit, 
devouring the increase of the earth. Visions of mischiefs heaped 
upon the faithless people pass before us, of arrows spent upon 
them, wasting hunger, burning heat, teeth of beasts, poison of 
crawling things, without the Sword bereaving and terrors within : 
only short of entire destruction does the judgment stop, lest the 
adversary should misdeem, and think that their hand, and not 
Jehovah's wrath, had done all. And how blind and void of wis- 
dom must the nation be not to see the meaning of it all, and that 
their Rock has forsaken them ! 

For their rock is not as our Rock, 

Even our enemies themselves being judges. 

And the imagery flows forth to paint the loathly gods to which 
Israel has given preference things of rottenness like grapes of 
Sodom, bitter as clusters of gall, poisonous as wine of dragons : 
until, by a bold transition, the description is made to produce 
revulsion in the mind of God himself. He thinks with compla- 
cency of vengeance yet stored among his treasures, that he may 
use once more on his people's side : waiting till their strength is 
exhausted, and their last hope gone, and then raising himself in 
wrath to scorn their helpless idols, and recompense vengeance to 


their adversaries. And so with the joy of Jehovah returned to his. 
fallen people, this Song of the Rock of Israel concludes. 

Then the end comes. The whole people understand it, and alP 
are waiting to see their Leader set out on the mystic journey on 
The Passing of w ^ich none may accompany him. Heads of the 
Moses, xxxii. 48- tribes stand out from the masses of the people and 
x v line the route by which Moses must pass. The 

first sight of the whole nation, which he has ruled so long, seems 
to kindle in Moses a vision, which reaches us only dimly, in his 
words of Jehovah coming forth from amidst his holy ones, a fiery 
law at his right hand, the holy ones of the peoples sitting at his 
feet. Then, passing along the leaders of the tribes, he speaks last 
words to each : stirring words of past battle cries, or pregnant 
sayings destined to be watchwords in the future. Reuben, his 
men never few. Judah, sufficient of his hands. Levi - 

Who said of his father, and of his mother, 

I have not seen him; 

Neither did he acknowledge his brethren, 
Nor knew his own children, 

when he took sides with Jehovah at the waters of strife. Benjamin, 
beloved of the Lord, who dwelleth between his shoulders. Bless- 
ings on the princely Joseph. 

Blessed of the LORD be his land : 

For the precious things of heaven, for the dew, 

And for the deep that coucheth beneath, 

And for the precious things of the fruits of the sun, 

And for the precious things of the growth of the moons, 

And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, 

And for the precious things of the everlasting hills, 

And for the precious things of the earth and the fulness thereof, 

And the good will of him that dwelt in the bush. 

Zebulun, blessed in his going out over the seas, and Issachar in 
his tent life at home. N^phtali, with the blessings of the western 
sea and the sunny south ; Asher, dipping his foot in the oil of his 


own vineyards, shod with the iron and brass of his mines. The 
whole line of the tribes past, Moses lifts hands and voice in the 
final blessing.* 

There is none like unto God, O Jeshurun, 
Who rideth upon the heaven for thy help. 
And in his excellency on the skies. 
The eternal God is thy dwelling-place, * 
And underneath are the everlasting arms* 

From the height of lyric song we drop to simple, bare prose : 
fittest of forms to convey the solitary journey from which there is 
to be no return ; the going up to the top of Fisgah, the long 
gaze over the land of promise ; the lonely death ; the burial in 
the sepulchre that no man knoweth. So the days of weeping in the 
morning for Moses were ended. 










In this first Appendix the whole Bible > and the more important parts 
of the Apocrypha ', are divided up into the separate literary compositions of 
which they are composed. The form of each composition is indicated, and, 
in cases that admit of it, a suitable title is suggested. The arrangement 
follows the order in which the books of the Bible stand; the Appendix will 
therefore serve as a guide to Bible reading where it is desirca* to read from 
the literary point of view. 

Reference figures (in brackets) are added to previous pages in which 
particular compositions have been discussed. The Appendix will therefore 
serve also as an Index to the present work. 

It is suggested to the student to mark with pencil in his copy of the 
Revised Version the divisions and titles here suggested, or to make divisions 
and titles of his own. It is an immense help to literary appreciation to 
have the form of a piece of literature conveyed directly to the eye (as is 
done by the printer in all tooks except the Bible}, instead of having to 
collect the form by inference while reading. 


History Part I: Formation of the Chosen Nation. Primitive History 

Deals with the period preceding the appearance of the Chosen People as 
a Nation. An Historic Framework enclosing Epic Incidents (244). 


First Beginnings of the World 
The Patriarchal Succession 

Merged in this History, yet separable for literary pur poses > are various 
forms of Epic. 1 


i-ii.3 The Creation 

ii. {-Hi The Temptation in the Garden of Eden 

iv. 7-75 Cain and Abel 

vi. y-ix. 77 

The Flood 


OF ABRAHAM. Call of Abraham (xii. 7-9) Sarai and Pharaoh 
(xii. 10-20) The Parting of Abraham and Lot> and the Raid on Sodom 
(xiii-xiv) Sarai, Hagar> and the Promised Seed (xv-xvii) 77ie Judg- 
ment on Sodom (xvnt-xtx. 28) Abimelech and Sarah (xx) Birth of Isaac 
and casting off of Ishmael (xxi. 1-21) Offering of Isaac (xxii. 1-19) 
Burial of Sarah (xxiii) Wooing of Rebekah (xxiv) 

OF ISAAC- Birth of Isaac and casting off of Ishmael (xxi. /-/) 
Offering of Isaac (xxii. 7-79) Burial of Sarah (xxiii) Wooing of 
Rebekah (xxiv) 

OF JACOB. Guileful obtaining of Isaac's blessing (xxvii. 1-40) 
Flight of Jacob (xxvii. 4i-xxviit) How Jacob served under Laban {xxix- 
xxxii. 2) Meeting of Jacob and Esau (xxxii. 3~xxxiii) Blessing and 
Death of Jacob (xlvii. 28-1) 

xxxvii. 2-36 

xxxix. i-xlvi. 
? andxlvi. 28- 
xlvii. 12 

Joseph and his Brethren (222) 

1 The reader is warned against the common mistake of confusing Epic with 
Fiction. (Above, page 221.) 




History Part II : Migration of the Chosen Nation to the Land of 
Promise. Constitutional History 

Deals with the Chosen Nation up to their arrival at the Land of Promise. 
Successive Revelations of Law, and Incidents associated with these (245). 

Kxod. i-xviii 
Exod. from xix 

and Leviticus 

Slavery in Egypt, Deliverance, and Journey to Sinai 
Constitution of the Nation at Sinai 

The March from Sinai and the Thirty-eight Years' Wan- 

Merged in this History, but separable for literary purposes, are various 
forms of l:.pic. 

Exodus i. Svi. s 


vt. jS-xt and 
xi i. 21-3$ and 
xiii. JJ-xv. 21 

Moses and the Plagues of Egypt 

Numb, xxii-xxiv \ The Story of Balaam {224 and 345 note) 



The Orations and Songs of Moses 

An Historic Framework enclosing the Farewell Orations and Songs of 
Moses. (Fully analysed above, Chapter XX.) Portions described in italics 
may be omitted in the exercise of taking in Deuteronomy at a single sitting. 1 

t. 1-2 

i. 6-iv. 40 

Title page to the whole book 

Preface to the First Oration 

First Oration : Moses' Announcement of his Deposition 

1 Several passages (i. 2; ii. 10-12; ii. 20-3; iii. 9, n, 14: x. 6-9) should be 
marked off from the orations as ' explanatory footnotes. 1 



tv. 41-3 

v. i-xi. 32 

xxvii. 1-8 


xxix. i 

xxix. 2-xxxi. 8 

xx xi. 9-13 

xxxi. 14-30 
xxxii. 1-43 
xxxii. 44-7 

xxxii. 48-xx\iii. I 
xxxiii. 2-29 

Editorial Note connecting the first and second Orations 
Preface to the Second Oration 

Second Oration: The Delivery of the Covenant to the 
Levites and Elders 

The Book of the Covenant 

Ordinance appointing the Ceremony of the Blessing and 

the Curse 

Rehearsal of the Ceremony (see page 452) interrupted by 
Third Oration : At the Rehearsal of the Blessing and the 


Preface to the Fourth Oration 

Fourth Oration : The Covenant in the Land of Moah 
Editorial Note : Arrangements for the regular reading 
of the Covenant 

Preface to the Song of Moses 

The Song of Moses : Jehovah our Rock 

Colophon to the Song of Moses 

Preface to the Last Words of Moses 

The Last Words of Moses [2-3 and 26-9 General; 
4-25 Blessings on particular tribes, a Document in- 
corporated, of which 4-5 is the title] 

Editorial Conclusion : The Passing of Moses 


History Part III: The Chosen Nation in its Efforts towards Secular 
Government. Incidental History 

Deals with the Conquest of the Promised Land and Tentative Approach to 
Secular Government. Epic matter with connecting Historic Framework (246). 

I Samuel 

Conquest of Canaan, including [xiii-xxii] Division of the 

Sporadic attempts at secular government: including 

[viii. 22 and ix] first idea of secular kingship 
Gradual establishment of secular kingship and rise of 

Prophets to represent the Theocracy 



The main interest in this group of books is the Epic element^ to whuh the 
rest serves as connecting matter. 

Judges iii. 12-30 

vi-viii. 28 
mi. 2Q-ix 
x. 6-xii. 6 


Ehud's Assassination of Eglon 
IVar of Deborah and Barak against Sisera 
Gideon and the Midianites 
Crowning of Abimelech by the Men of Shecheni 
jfephthah and the Ammonites 
Micah's Images and the Danish Migration 
7'he Benjamite War 


OF JOSHUA. The Spies and the Woman of Jericho (ii)The Pas- 
sage of the Jordan (iii'-iv) The Siege of Jericho (y. 13-^1) Siege ofAi and 
Sin of Achan (yii-viii. 29} Embassy of the Gibeomtes (ix) League of the 
Five Kings (x. 1-27) Joshua's Farewell (xxiii-xxiv) 

OF SA.MSOX.- girth of Samson (Judges xiii. 2-25) Samson and the 
Woman of Timnah (xiv-xv. <9) The Jawbone of an Ass (xv. 9-20} 
77ie (rates of Gaza (xvi. y~j) Samson and Delilah (xvi. 4-22) Death 
of Samson (xvi. 

OF SAMUEL. Birth of Samuel (/ Sam. i-ii. //) Call of Samuel 
and Dooming of Eli (ii. 12-iv) The Ark and the Philistines (y-vii. /) 
The Anointing of Saul and the Retirement of Samuel (nit-xii) The Anoint- 
ing of David (xvi. /-/j) The Witch of Endor (xxviii. 3-25) 

OF SAUL. The Anointing of Saul and the Retirement of Samuel 
(/ Sam. vin-Jtn) The Raid on Michmash (xiit. /j-xiv. 46} War with 
the Amalekites and Breach between Samuel and Saul (xv) The Witch of 
Endor (xxviii. 


I Samuel xvi. 14 
to xxviii. 2 con- 
tinued xx ix to 
II Samuel i 


The Story of Ruth : An Idyl (-2-JJ-S) 
The Feud of Saul and David 





History Part IV : The Chosen Nation under a Secular Government and 
a Theocracy side by side. Regular History 

Deals with the period from the Settlement of the Monarchy to the Captiv- 
ity. Systematic account of successive reigns (247). 

II Samuel ii to 

I Kings xi 

I Kings xii to 

II Kings xvii 

II Kings 
from xviii 

Reigns of David and Solomon 

Kingdoms of Judah and Israel side by side 

Kingdom of Judah and its Captivity 

Merged in this His tor y> yet separable for literary purposes, are various 
forms of Epic, especially Epic Prophecy. 


The Feud between David^s Sons and the Revolt of 

Nathan, David, and Bathsheba 

Gad and the Numbering of the People 

The Man of God and the Old Prophet of Bethel 

Ahijah and the Wife of Jeroboam 

The Son of the Prophet and Ahab 

Micaiah and the Battle of Ramoth-gilead 


OF ELISHA. Elisha's Parting from Elijah (II Kings ii. /-/) 
The Healing of the Wafers (ii. 19-22) The Mocking Children (ii. 23-5) 
The Water Trenches (Hi. 4-27} The Vessels of Oil (iv. 7-7) The 
Shunammite Woman (iv. 8-37) Death in the Pot (iv. 38-41} The Feed- 
ing of the Hundred Men (iv. 42-4) The Healing of Naam an and Leprosy of 
Gehazi (v) The Axe-head that swam (vi. 7-7) The Expedition to arrest 
Elisha (vt. 8-23) The Siege of Samaria (vi. 24~vii. 20) The Shunam- 
mite Woman's Estate (viii. 7-6) Hazael's Visit to Elisha (r/m. 7-75) 
Death of Elisha (xiii. 14-21} 

II Sam. xiii-xx 

II Samuel xi. 2 

to xii. 25 

I Kings xiii. 1-32 

xiv. 1-18 

** 35~43 
xxii. 1-40 



I Kings xvii-xix 
continued xxi 
and II Kings 
i-ii. 18 


The History of Elijah the Tishbite 


History Part V : The Chosen Nation as a Church. Ecclesiastical 


A compilation of Historical Excerpts, Memoirs, Documents, etc., all bear- 
ing upon the Ecclesiastical Organisation of the Nation as restored after the 
Exile (248). 

I Chr. -I I Chr. ix 

II Chr. from x 
Ezra i-vi 


Neh. i-vii 

Reigns of David and Solomon 

Kingdom of Judah to its Captivity 

The Return under Zerubbabel, and Building of the 


The Return of Ezra 

The Return of Nehemiah and Building of the \Valis 
The Covenant under Ezra and Nehemiah 
Miscellaneous Memoirs of the Return 

An Epic History (230). 





A Dramatic Parable in a Frame of Epic Story 

Fully analysed in the Introduction, above, pages 3-41. 

The Story Opens 

The Dramatic Parable 

Act I : Job's Curse 

Act II : First Cycle of Speeches 

Act III : Second Cycle of Speeches 




xxxviii-xlii. 6 

x Hi from 7 

Act IV: Third Cycle of Speeches 1 
Act V : Job's Vindication 
Act VI : Interposition of Elihu 
Act VII : The Divine Intervention 

The Story Closes 

i In the third cycle the speeches need re-arrangement, by the transference of 
three verses (2-4 of Chapter xxvi) to the commencement of the next chapter, and 
the consequent alterations of headings to speeches. 

Then answered Eliphaz the Temanite, and said 
Chapter xxu 

Then Job answered and said 
Chapters xxiii, xxiv 

Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and s.nd 
Chapter xxv % continued in xxvi. 5-14 

Then Job answered and said 

Chapter xxvi. 2-4, continued in xxvit* 2-6 

Then answered Zophar the Naamathtte, and said 
Chapter xxvii. 7 to end of Chapter xxviu 

Then Job answered and said 
Chapters xxix t xxx 

This conjectural re-arrangement of the speeches is based on the following con- 
sideration : 

1. The utmost caution should be exercised in accepting conjectural emenda- 
tions affecting the sense of a passage ; but the same principle does not apply to 
changes in the arrangement of speeches, especially as the sacred books have 
passed through centuries in which the principles of parallelism were lost. 

2. All critics recognise the difficulty of the text as it stands between Chapters 
xxvi and xxviii (inclusive), which has the effect of making Job take up a position 
antagonistic to his former contention and to his subsequent words : and some com- 
mentators resort to violent explanations, such as prolonged irony, etc. 

3. The most marked feature of literary style in the book is its extreme parallel- 
ism ; this makes it most improbable that the third colloquy should be imperfect, 
by the omission of a speech from Zophar, and a reply to him from Job. Moreover 
the change in the introductory formulae when Chapters xxvii and xxix are reached 
viz. And Job again took up his parable and said instead of the usual Job 
answered and said is very suspicious. 

4. The conjecture here adopted is substantially that of Gratz, which is to a 
large extent the same as Cheyne's. Some eminent critics (e.g. Davidson, Driver) 
are deterred from seeking a third speech for Zophar by the shortness of Bildad's 
third speech (xxv), which they take as an indication that the controversy is becom- 
ing exhausted. But the present conjecture lengthens Bildad's speech and removes 
this objection. 















xiv =liii 

xv = xxiv. 1-6 


















A Collection of Lyrics in Five Books 

Compare above, Chapters V-VII generally 
Book I 

The Meditative and the Worldly Life (192) 

Ode: The Messiah (150) 

A Dramatic Lyric (179) 

A Liturgy of Devotion (168) 

Of Consecration : A Meditation 

A Dramatic Lyric (177) 

A Liturgy of Judgment (168) 

Man the Viceroy of God (70, 185) 

A Dramatic Lyric, \vith double change (182 note). 


Trust : A Meditation 
A Dramatic Lyric 
Judgment : A Meditation 
A Rhapsodic Meditation on Judgment (184) 
The Devout Life (101) 
Trust : A Meditation 
Judgment : A Meditation 
Ode : David's Song of Deliverance (83) 
The Heavens above and the Law within (91-8) 
(Antiphonal) Benediction on the King 
Benediction on the King 
A Dramatic Lyric (178) 
Jehovah's Follower (187) 

Anthems for the Inauguration of Jerusalem (100, 154) 
Liturgy of Devotion. Acrostic 
Consecration : A Meditation 
A Dramatic Lyric, with double change (180, 186) 
A Dramatic Lyric 
Ode: The Thunderstorm (147) 
Anthem for the Inauguration of Jerusalem (154) 
A Dramatic Lyric (duplicated: page 182 note) 
A Monody of Experience 









xxx ix 

xl (including bcx) 


Festal Hymn 

A Liturgy of Thanksgiving (167) 

An Elegy of Denunciation (159) 

The Supreme Evil and the Supreme Good (97) 

Judgment : A Meditation. Acrostic 

A Monody of Experience 

A Monody of Experience. With refrain 

A Liturgy 

A Monody of Experience 















Ix (with cviii) 










Book II 

Exile Song (63). With refrain 

An Elegy 

Marriage Hymn 

Occasional: Deliverance from Sennacherib (154,57). 

With refrain 
Accession Hymn 

Occasional: Victory over Sennacherib (153) 
Man that is in Honour : A Parable. With refrain 
Ode: On Judgment (150) 
Penitence: A Meditation (94-5, 184 note) 
An Elegy of Denunciation 
See xiv 

A Dramatic Lyric 
An Elegy of Denunciation 
A Dramatic Lyric. With refrain 
A Dramatic Lyric (179). With refrain 
An Elegy of Denunciation (189 note) 
A War Ballad. With double refrain 
Occasional: Hymn of Defeat and Victory (181 note) 
Exile Song 

Liturgy of Devotion (167). With refrain 
Exile Song 

Judgment : A Meditation 
A Liturgy of Praise ( 1 64) 
Votive Hymn 

Festal Hymn With refrain 
Processional Ode (144) 
A Dramatic Lyric, with transition stage (183 note 2) 



bcx (see xl) Elegy of Denunciation 

Ixxi A Dramatic Lyric 

Ixxii Encomium : On the King 















Book III 

The Mystery of Prosperous Wickedness 

An Elegy (158) 

A Song of Judgment 

Occasional: Deliverance from Sennacherib (153) 

A Monody of Experience (175) 

National Anthem: Of the Kingdom of Judah (139, 143) 

An Elegy 

An Elegy (158). With refrain 

Festal Hymn 

Elegy of Denunciation (188) 

Elegy of Denunciation 

A Song of God's House (185) 

A Dramatic Lyric, with double change and transition 

stage (182) 

A Liturgy of Supplication (169) 
Salutation to Zion (159) 
An Elegy 
Ode: On the Covenant (149) 








1 civ 



Book IV 

Life as a Passing Day (189) 

The Shadow of the Almighty 

Votive Hymn 

Accession Hymn (161) 

A Liturgy of Judgment (167) 

Accession Hymns. (For xcix see page 61) 

Anthem for the Inauguration of Jerusalem (155) 

An Elegy 

The World Within and 

The World Without (150-3) 

National Anthem : Of the Undivided Nation in Canaan 

National Anthem: For the Captivity (142-3) 




oviii (see be) 




















. cyxxiv 










Book V 

Ode : Of the Redeemed (65, 148). With double refrain 

A Dramatic Lyric, with double change 

An Elegy of Denunciation (159) 

Encomium : On the Ideal King 

An Acrostic Hallelujah 

The Hallel : a series of Hallelujah Psalms sung as one 

at the great feasts. (For cxiv see page 59, and for 

cxvi and cxviii pages 161, 162) 
The Law: An Acrostic Meditation (183) 
The Songs of Ascents (170-3) 
Song of the Exile (171) 
The Lord thy Keeper (172, 54) 
Pilgrim Song: Salutation to Jerusalem (172) 
Monody of the Exile (171) 
Monody of the Exile (171) 
Pilgrim Song: Thoughts on Mount Zion (172) 
Monody of the Exile (171) 
Pilgrim Song: Work and Home (172, 97) 
Pilgrim Song: Home Life (172) 
The Exile's Denunciation (171) 
The Exiled Nation's Liturgy of Penitence (172) 
Pilgrim Meditation: On Simplicity (172) 
Temple Hymn (172, 155) 
Pilgrim Song: Of Unity (172) 

Temple Song: Benediction of the Night Watch (172) 
Hallelujah Psalm 
National Anthem: Of the Nation in the Wilderness 


Elegy of the Exile (157-8) 
Judgment : A Meditation 
A Dramatic Lyric (77, 90, 178) 
An Elegy of Denunciation 
Consecration : A Meditation 
A Monody of Experience 
A Monody of Experience (176) 
A Dramatic Lyric, with double change and refrain (182 


Festal Hymn. Acrostic 
Series of Hallelujah Psalms that can be sung as one 



A Miscellany of Wisdom in Five Books 

Above, pages 284-8, 291, 323-4 

Title to the whole collection 
Motto to the whole collection 

Book I 
Sonnets on Wisdom (234-6) 

i. 8-9 


iii. i-io 



iv. 1-9 



vi. 1-5 


-jr.r. 16 


Sonnet: The Company of Sinners (273) 

Dramatic Monologue : Wisdom's Cry of Warning 

Sonnet : Wisdom the Preservative from Kvil 

Sonnet: The Commandment and its Reward (277) 

Sonnet : Wisdom the Prize in View 

Sonnet : Wisdom and Security 

Sonnet : Wisdom and Perversity 

Sonnet : The Tradition of Wisdom 

Sonnet : The Two Paths 

Sonnet : Wisdom and Health 

Sonnet: The Strange Woman 

Sonnet: Suretyship 

Sonnet: The Sluggard (280-1) 

A Pair of Sonnets : The Sower of Discord 

Sonnet : The Folly of Adultery 

Dramatic Monologue : Wisdom and the Strange Woman 

Sonnet of Sonnets: The House of Wisdom and the 
House of Folly [1-6 (Sonnet) is strophe to which 
13-18 is antistrophe; 7-9 (Epigram) is strophe to 
which 10-12 is antistrophe] 

Book II 

The Proverbs of Solomon 
x-xxii. 16 

Collection of isolated Unit Proverbs : no appearance of 
arrangement (286) 



xxii. 17-21 

xxiii. 1-3 





xxiv. j-i 



xxiv. 235 

Book III 

A Wisdom Epistle (286) 
xxii. ij-xxiv 

Superscription to the Epistle 

Disconnected Sayings [Epigrams and Unit Proverbs'} 

Epigram : Awe before Appetite 

Epigram : Transitoriness of Riches 

Epigram: Hospitality of the Evil Eye (262) 

Disconnected Sayings 

Epigram : Gluttony 

Disconnected Sayings 

Epigram : The Pit of Whoredom 

Sonnet: Woes of Wine (277-8) 

Disconnected Sayings 

Epigram : The Duty of Rescue 

Epigram: Wisdom and Honey (262) 

Disconnected Sayings 

Epigram : Respect of Persons 

Disconnected Sayings 

Sonnet: The Field of the Slothful (280-1) 

Book IV 
Solomonic Proverbs collected under Hezekiah 

XXV. 1 

xxv. 8-xxvi. 2 

xxvi. 3-12 



xxvi . 2f-xxvii, 22 
xxviL 23-7 

xxv xxix 

Title to Book IV 

Proverb Cluster : On Kings 

Disconnected Sayings 

Proverb Cluster : On Fools 

Proverb Cluster : On Sluggards 

Proverb Cluster : On Social Pests 

Disconnected Sayings 

Folk Song of Good Husbandry (287) 

Disconnected Proverbs 



xxxi. 1-9 

Book V 

Shorter Collections (287) 

Proverbs of Agur. [xxx. 1-4 Sonnet : The Unsearchable- 
ness of God (278). 5-6 Epigram. 7-9 Number 
Sonnet : The Golden Mean. 10 Unit Proverb. II- 
14 Sonnet: An Evil Generation. 15-16 Number 
Sonnet: Things never satisfied (275). 17 Epigram. 
18-19 Number Sonnet: Things not to be known. 
20 Epigram. 21-3 Number Sonnet: Things not to 
be borne. 24-8 Number Sonnet : Little and Wise. 
29-31 Number Sonnet: Things stately in their 
going. 32-3 Epigram : The Restraining of Wrath] 
The Oracle of Lemuel's Mother (262) 
Anonymous Acrostic Sonnet : The Virtuous Woman 


A Suite of Five Essays, broken by Miscellaneous Sayings 

Fully analysed, pages 293-304. Compare also 309-10, 323-4 

i. / 
i. 2-1 1 
i. 12-ii 

iii. i-iv. 8 
iv. q-v. g 
v. lo-vi. 12 

Z/II. 1-22 

vii. 23-ix. 1 6 

t'jc. i?-xi. 6 
xi. 7-xii. 7 

xii. 8-14 

Title to the whole [founded upon the first essay] 
Prologue : All is Vanity 

Essay I : in the form of a Dramatic Monologue : 
Solomon's Search for Wisdom 

Essay II : The Philosophy of Times and Seasons 

Miscellaneous Maxims of Life 

Essay III : The Vanity of Desire 

Miscellaneous Paradoxes of Life 

Essay IV : The Search for Wisdom, with Notes by 
the Way 

Miscellaneous Proverbs of Life 

Essay V : Life as a Joy shadowed by the Judgment 
[including Sonnet (xii. 1-7) : The Coming of the 
Evil Days] 
Epilogue : All is Vanity : Fear God 



i. 2-ii. 7 

Idyl I: 

ii. 8-iii. 5 

Idyl 11 : 

iii. 6-v. i 

Idyl III: 

v. 2-vi. 3 

Idyl IV: 

vi. 4-vii. 9 

Idyl V : 

vii. xo-viii. 4 

Idyl VI: 

viii. 5-14 

Idyl VII : 


A Suite of Seven Dramatic Idyls 

Fully analysed above, Chapter VIII 

The Wedding-Day 

The Bride's Reminiscences of the Courtship 

The Day of Betrothal 

The Bride's Troubled Dream 

The King's Meditation on his Bride 

The Bride's Longing for her Home on Lebanon 

The Renewal of Love in the Vineyard of Leb- 

A Prophetic Collection in Seven Books 

Book I 

General Prophecies 
i. 2-vi 

Discourse : The Great Arraignment (329) 
ii-iv Discourse : The Latter Glory and the Present Judgment 


v. 1-7 Parable of the Vineyard 

v. 8-30 Lyric Prophecy : A Sevenfold Denunciation 

vi The Prophet's Call 

Book II 

Prophecies on the Unholy Alliance 
vii-x. 4 

vii. 1-17 Prophecy of the sign 'Immanuel' (341 and note) 

vii. i8-viii. 8 A Cluster of Prophetic Sentences : 77ie Fly and the Bee 

(vii. 18-19) The Razor (20) Butter and Honey 
(21-2) Briers and Thorns (^J-j) Maher-shalal- 
hash'baz (viii. 1-4) The River C5"-). Above, 
pages 418-9 

viii. 9-ix. 7 Rhapsodic Discourse : Light for the People that walk in 


ix. 8-x. 4 Lyric Prophecy : Doom of the North (334) 



Book HI 

Prophecy under an Assyrian Invasion 

x. 5-xii 

Rhapsodic Discourse : The Rod of the Lord and the 
Reign of Peace (386) 

xm-xiv. 23 
xiv. 24-7 

xvii. i-n 




xxii. 1-14 

I5 ~ 25 



Book IV 
A Cycle of Judgment 


Doom Song on Babylon 
Doom Song on Assyria 
Doom Song on Philistia 
Doom Song on Moab 
Doom Song on Damascus 
A Doom Song 

Doom Song on Ethiopia (with Refrain) 
Prophecy Cluster : Doom SongonEgypt{i-i*f) followed 
by a series of Sentences on the Conversion of Egypt 
(/<?, 19-20, 21, 22, 23, 24-5). Above ', pages 419-20 
Emblem Prophecy against Ashdod 
Visions of Doom: The Prophetic Watchman (355-8) 
Denunciation : The Panic of the Valley of Vision (358) 
A Personal Denunciation 
Doom Song on Tyre 
Climax of Book IV : A Rhapsody of Judgment (373-80) 



xxxi-xxxii. 8 
. xxxii. 9-20 

Book V 

A Cycle of tfie Restoration (426) 


Discourses in the form of Animadversions upon the 
Political Situation [an Assyrian Invasion and ques- 
tion of the Egyptian Alliance] as a background for 
picturing the Redemption and the Golden Age (426) 
The Covenant with Death (426) 
The Nightmare of Judgment upon Ariel 
The Boaster that sitteth still (426) 
The Horses of Egypt and the Holy One of Israel 
The Women that are at ease 






Rhapsody of Salvation: [i Prelude, 2 Israel, 3 Pro- 
phetic Spectator, 7 Scenic, 10 God, 14 Sinners in 
Zion, 15-24 Godly in Zion] 

Finale to Book V : The Utter Destruction and the Great 
Redemption (426-7) 

Book VI 

The Invasion of Sennacherib 

Historical Excerpt : Prophetic History of the Sennach- 
erib Crisis 

xl. I-U 
xl. 12-xlviii 

li-lii. 12 
Hi. 13-liii 

Book VII 

Rhapsody of Zion Redeemed 

Fully analysed above, Chapter XVII 


Phase I : The Judgment on Babylon 

Phase II: The Servant of Jehovah and Desponding 


Phase III : The Awakening of Zion 
Phase IV : The Servant of Jehovah Exalted 
Phase V : Zion Exalted 
Phase VI : A Redeemer come to Zion 
Phase VII : Judgment on Zion and on the Nations 

A Prophetic Collection in Ten Books 

Book I 
The Prophet's Call and Manifesto 


The Prophet's Call 

Jeremiah's Manifesto: Discourse culminating in Rhap- 
sody of Doom and Panic (386-91 j 



Book II 

Miscellaneous Discourses and Sentences 

vii. 1-28 
vii. 29-viii. 3 
viii. 4~ix. 9 

ix. 10-16 

x. 1-16 

Discourse : The Temple of the Lord are we 

Discourse : Tophet 

Rhapsodic Discourse: The Hurt of the Daughter of 
my People [viii. 14 People, 16 Scenic, 17 God, 1 8 
Prophet, 19 Captive People, 19(6) God, 20 Captive 
People, 21 (to end) Prophet who quotes God] 

Discourse : A Lamentation for the Land 

Discourse : The Mourning Women 

Prophetic {417} Sentences {23-4, 25-6} 

Prophecy Cluster on Idolatry [i-io, u, 12-16] 

Scene of Panic 

Book III 

Prophecies of the Missionary journey 

xi. 1-8 

xi. i8-xii. 6 
xii. 7-17 

The Prophet's Commission : The Tour of Preaching the 

Prophetic Intercourse: On Judah's Rejection of the 


Prophetic Incident : The Conspiracy of Anathoth 
Judah and his Evil Neighbours 

Emblem Prophecy : The Girdle (336, 338) l 

Book IV 
The Drought and other Prophecies 

xiv-xv Rhapsody of the Drought (381-5) 

xvi Prophetic Intercourse : The Doom of the Land 

xvii. I-IM Prophetic Sentences [1-2, 3-4, 3-8, 9-10, //, 12} 

13-18 Prophetic Intercourse: A Prayer under Persecution 

19-27 Discourse : On the Sabbath 

i Found attached to the prophecies of the Missionary Journey, though with no 
necessary connection. 



xviii. 1-17 

Book V 

Discourses Founded on Pottery 


Emblem Prophecy : Potter's Clay (336) 
Prophetic Intercourse : The Conspiracy 
Prophetic Incident : The Potter's Bottle (337), including 

(xx. 7-13) a Prophetic Meditation and (14-18) a 

Prophetic Curse 

xxi. I-IO 


xxii. 1-9 


xxiii. 1-8 

Book VI 

Messages to Rulers 

Prophetic Response : On the Approach of Nebuchad- 
rezzar's Army 

Message to the Royal House 
Message to the Royal House 
Discourse : On Shallum 
Discourse : On Jehoiakim 
Discourse : On Coniah 
Discourse : The Shepherds of Israel 
Discourse : On False Prophets 





Book VII 

Occasional and Controversial Prophecies 


Emblem Prophecy: The Figs (336) 

The Cup of the Lord's Fury (354) 

Prophetic Controversy : Destruction of the Temple 

Prophetic Controversy : The Yoke 

Epistle : To the Elders of the Captivity 



xxx. 1-3 
xxx. 4-22 

xxx. 23-xxxi. 20 
xxxi. 21-40 

Book VIII 
Prophecies of the Restoration 


Preface to the Eighth Book 

Discourse (with Pendulum Structure) : The Restoration 

of Judah (332) 

Rhapsodic Discourse : The Restoration of Israel 
Prophetic Sentences {21-2, 23-6, 2J-S^ 29-30, 31-4 ( The 

New Covenant), 35-7, 38-40"] 


xxxiv. 1-7 




Book IX 

Incidental and Historical Prophecies 

Incident : The Anathoth Estate 

Incident : The Siege of the Fenced Cities 

Incident : The Hebrew Servants 

Incident : The Rechabites 

Incident : The Burning of the Roll 

Prophecy merged in History : Crisis of the Siege and 

Abduction of Jeremiah to Egypt (341) 
Prophetic Intercourse : Jeremiah and Baruch 

xlix. 1-6 





Book X 

Dooms of the Nations 

Doom of Egypt (Twofold) 

Doom of the Philistines 

Doom of Moab 

Doom of the Children of Ammon 

Doom of Edom 

Doom of Damascus 

Doom of Kedar and Hazor 

Doom of Elam 

Doom of Babylon (337) 

Historical Appendix to the Works of Jeremiah 



A Suite of Acrostic Elegies (157) 



xii. 1-16 


xiv. i-n 






xx. 1-44 

xxiv. 1-14 


A Prophetic Collection in Three Books (430) 

Book I 

Prophecies of Judgment 

Vision : The Prophet's Call 

Emblem Prophecy : The Mimic Siege (338-9) 

Discourse : Against the Land of Judah (337-8) 


Emblem Prophecy : Stuff for removing 

Emblem Prophecy : Bread of Trembling 

Discourse with Proverb Text 

Discourse : Against False Prophets 

Prophetic Response : On False Enquirers 

Discourse : On Vicarious Righteousness 

Parable : Of the Vine (345) 

Parable : Of the Ungrateful Spouse (345) 

Parable : Of the Eagle and the Cedar (345) 

Discourse : The Proverb of Fathers and Children 

Discourse : A Lamentation for the Princes of Israel 

Prophetic Response : A Vain Enquiry 

Discourse : The Forest of the South 

Emblem Prophecy: The Sword (337) 

Discourse : The Bloody City 

Parable : Oholah and Oholibah (345) 

Parable : Of the Caldron 

Emblem Prophecy : Death of the Prophet's Wife (340) 






xxxiii. 1-9 


xxxvii. 1-14 



Book II 

Dooms of the Nations 


Cycle of Dooms [1-7, 8-n, 12-14, 'S-'?] 

Threefold Doom on Tyre [xxvi; xxvii; xxviii. 1-19] and 

Doom on Zidon (359-61) 
Sevenfold Doom (361-3) on Egypt [xxix. 1-16; 17-21; 

xxx. 1-19; 20-26; xxxi; xxxii. 1-16; and 17-32] 

Book III 

Prophecies of the Restoration 

Discourse : The Watchman 
Dialectic Prophecy : Repentance 
Discourse : News of the Fall of Jerusalem 
Discourse : The Shepherds of Israel (330) 
Discourse : Mount Seir and the Mountains of Israel 
Vision : The Valley of Dry Bones (342) 
Emblem Prophecy : The Joining of the Sticks 
Discourse : Gog of the Land of Magog 





A Prophetic Collection in Two Books (430) 

Book I 

Prophetic Incidents and Interpretations of Visions 

Prophetic Incident : Daniel and the King's Meat 
Vision Interpretation : The Image and the Stone 
Prophetic Incident : The Burning Fiery Furnace 
Vision Interpretation: Nebuchadnezzar's Dream of the 

Tree cut down 

Vision Interpretation : The Writing on the Wall (343) 
Prophetic Incident : The Den of Lions 



Book II 
A Cycle of Visions 





Vision of the Four Beasts (343) 
Vision of the Ram and the He-goat (343) 
Vision Prophecy : The Time of Restoration (343) 
Vision Prophecy : The Time of the End 


A Prophetic Collection in Two Books 

Book I 
\ Emblem Prophecy of Corner (340) 



viii. 1-6 

ix. 1-6 
ix. j-x 

xi. l-ll 
xi. 12-xii 
xiii-xiv. 8 
xiv. 9 

Book II 

The Lord's Controversy 

Discourse culminating in a Rhapsody [v. 8 Panic, 9 God, 

vi. I People, 4 God] 
Discourse of Denunciation 

Discourse : The Idols and the Triumph of Judgment 
Prophetic Sentences [7(tf), ?()> 8-9(0), q(b}-io, //, 12, 

'3> *4\ 

Discourse : Joy turned to Judgment 
Prophetic Sentences \ix. 7, 8, 9, JO, 11-12, fj, 14, 15 

16-17; x. 1-2,3, 4*5-<>> 7-8, 9i 10-11, 12, 13-15} 
Dramatic Prophecy : The Divine Yearning (349-50) 
Discourse : Jacob's Doings and Recompense * 
A Drama of Repentance (350-1) 
Epilogue Sentence to Book II 

1 Marginal Reading of R. V. to xi. 12 



A Rhapsody of the Locust Plague (369-73) 

A Rhapsody of the Judgment to come (39*~3) 

A Doom Prophecy upon Edom 

A Prophetic Epic (240, 337-8) 

A Prophetic Collection in Two Books 

Book I 
Miscellaneous Prophecies 

ii. i-s 


vi. 1-8 


Rhapsody of Judgment Approaching [verse 8 The Pro- 
phet, 10-16 Scenic] 
Discourse : Against Oppression 
Discourse : Wickedness seeking to silence Prophecy 
Discourse : A Vision of the Breaking Forth 
Discourse : Against Rulers and Prophets 
Discourse : The Mountain of the Lord's House 

Book II 

Dramatic Prophecies 

The Lord's Controversy before the Mountains (347) 
The Lord's Cry and the Man of Wisdom (348-9) 



A Rhapsodic Doom Prophecy upon Nineveh 


A Prophetic Collection 

Rhapsody of the Chaldeans (365-7) 
An Ode of Judgment (147) 

A Rhapsodic Discourse (120) 

Four Occasional Discourses, dated 

i. 1-6 

i. 7-vi. 8 
vi. 9-15 
vii. 1-7 



A Prophetic Collection in Three Books 

Book I 

Miscellaneous Discourses 

The Prophet's Manifesto 

Vision Cycle (427) 

Emblem Prophecy : The Crowning of Joshua 

Response: On the Fasts (421-2) 

Discourse of Denunciation (42 1-2) 

Prophetic Sentences of Jerusalem Restored [viii. t-a, j, 

Discourse: The Seed of Peace for the Remnant of the 

People (421-2) 
Prophetic Sentences of the Restoration [18-19, 20-22, 23] 



Book II 




xii-xiii. 6 
xiii. 7-9 

Discourse : Thy King cometh 

Rhapsodic Discourse: The False Shepherds and the 
Flock of Slaughter 

Book III 


Discourse : The Fountain in the House of David 

Discourse : Against my Shepherd 

Discourse : Vision of Judgment and the Golden Age (332) 


A Dialectic Cycle of Six Discourses (346) 
[i. 2-5; i. 6-ii. 9; ii. 10-16; ii. ly-iii. 6; iii. 7-12; iii. I3iv. 6] 

A Suite of Five Discourses in the Form of Text and Comment 

Above, Chapter XIII : compare Appendix IV, and pages 323-4, 255 note 

i. i-n 

i. 12-vi. ii 

vi. 12-ix 
x-xi. 5 
xi. 5~xix 

Text [i. i] and Discourse I: Singleness of Heart (310) 

Text [i. 12] and Discourse II : Immortality and the Cov- 
enant with Death (311-5) 

Text [vi. 12] and Discourse III: Solomon's Winning of 
Wisdom (315-6) 

Text 1 [ix. 1 8, last clause] and Discourse IV : The World 
saved through Wisdom (317) 

Text 1 [xi. 5] and Discourse V: Judgments on the 
Wicked turning to Blessings on God's People (318- 
23 : compare Appendix IV) 

i In these two Discourses the text is made by the concluding words of the pre- 
ceding Discourse. 






A Miscellany of Wisdom in Five Books 

Above, pages 289-92, 255 note, 323-4 

Preface by the Author's Grandson 

Book I 

i. 1-20 


ii. 1-6 

iii. 1-16 

iv. i-io 



iv. 2<}-v. 3 
v. 4-8 
v. 9-vi. I 
vi. 2-4 


vii. 1-3 

vii. 7-18 

viii. i-ix. 1 6 

Sonnet : Wisdom and the Fear of the Lord 
Epigram : Unjust Wrath 
A Maxim 
A Maxim 
A Maxim 

Sonnet : True and False Fear 
Essay : Honour to Parents 
Essay: Meekness 
Disconnected Sayings 
Essay : Consideration for High and Low 
Essay : Wisdom's Way with her Children 
Essay : True and False Shame 
Disconnected Sayings 
A Maxim 

Proverb Cluster : Government of the Tongue (265) 
Epigram: Self- Will 
Essay: On Friendship 
Essay : On Pursuit of Wisdom 
Epigram : Sowing Sin and Reaping 
A Maxim 

Disconnected Sayings 
Essay : Household Precepts 

Essay: Adaptation of Behaviour to Various Sorts of 



ix. I7~x. 5 Essay: Wisdom and Government 

x. 6-xi. 6 Essay : Pride and True Greatness 

xi. 7-10 Proverb Cluster : Meddlesomeness 

11-28 Essay: Prosperity and Adversity are from the Lord 


xi. 29-xiii. 24 Essay : Choice of Company 

xiii. s^-xiv. 2 Disconnected Sayings 

xiv. 3-19 Essay: On Niggardliness 

xiv. 20-xv. 10 Essay : The Pursuer of Wisdom and his Reward 

11-20 Essay: On Free Will 

xvi. 1-23 Essay : No Safety for Sinners in Numbers 

xvi. 24-xviii. 14 Essay : God's Work of Creation and Restoration 

xviii. 15-18 Proverb Cluster : On Graciousness 

19-27 Essay : On Taking Heed in Time 

xviii. 28-9 Disconnected Sayings 

xviii. 3O-xix. 3 Three Temperance Maxims [30-31; 32-1 (a); I ()~3] 

xix. 4-17 Essay: Against Gossip (268) 

xix. 20-xx. 13 Essay: Wisdom and its Counterfeits 

xx. 14-31 Disconnected Sayings 

xxi. i-io Proverb Cluster : Sin and its Judgment 

11-26 Proverb Cluster: Wise Men and Fools 

xxi. 27~xxii. 5 Proverb Cluster : The Hatefulness of Evil 

xxii. 6-15 Proverb Cluster: Commerce with Fools Intolerable [in- 
cluding a Sonnet: 11-12] 

xxii. 16-26 Essay: The Steadfast Friend and the Uncertain 

xxii. 27-xxiii. 6 Sonnet: Watchfulness of Lips and Heart (279) 

xxiii. 7-15 Essay : The Discipline of the Mouth 

16-27 Essay: The Horror of Adultery 

Book II 


XXV. 1-2 

7-1 1 


xxiv-xxxtn. 15 

Preface to Book II, into which is interwoven (3-22) 
a Dramatic Monologue: Wisdom's Praise of Her- 
self (289-90) 

Number Sonnet : What Wisdom loves and hates (275) 

A Maxim 

Number Sonnet : The Love of the Lord (276) 

Epigram : The Wrath of an Enemy 



xxv. i6-xxvi. 18 

Proverb Cluster: Women Bad and Good [xxv. i6-xxvi. 4 

Essay; 5-6 Number Sonnet; 7-18 Sonnet] 

xxvi. 28 

Number Sonnet : The Backslider 

xxvi. 29-xxvii. 2 

A Maxim 

xxmi. 3-10 

Disconnected Sayings 


Proverb Cluster : The Discourse of Wise and Fools 

16-2 1 

A Maxim 


A Maxim 

xxvii. 25-xxviii. 1 1 

Essay : Retribution and Vengeance 

xxviii. 12-26 

Essay : On the Tongue (266) 

xxix. 1-20 

Essay : On Lending and Suretyship 


Essay : The Blessing of a House of One's Own 

xxx. 1-13 

Essay : On the Chastisement of Children 


Essay : On Health 

xxxi. I-II 

Essay : On Riches 

xxxi. 12-xxxii. 13 

Essay : On Feasting 

xxxii. 14- 

Disconnected Sayings 

xxxiii. 6 

xxxiii. 7-15 

Essay : An Analogy 

Book III 

xxxiii. i6-xxxix. IT 

xxxiii. 16-18 

Preface to Book III (290) 


Essay : On Giving and Bequeathing 


Essay : On Servants 

xxxiv. 1-8 

Essay : On Dreams 


A Maxim 

xxxiv. 13-17 

Sonnet : The Fearers of the Lord 

xxxiv. i8-xxxv 

Essay : On Sacrifices, Evil and Acceptable 

xxxvi. 1-17 

A Prayer for Mercy upon Israel 


Disconnected Sayings 


Essay : On Wives 

xxxvii. 1-6 

Essay : On False Friends 


Essay: On Counsel and Counsellors (269-70) 

xxxvii. 27- 

Essay : On Disease and Physicians 

xxxviii. 15 

xxxviii. 16-23 

Essay : On Mourning for the Dead 

xxxviii. 24- 

Essay: The Wisdom of Business and the Wisdom of 

xxxix. II 




Book IV 

xxxix. 12-35 

xl. I-IO 



xli. 1-4 


xli. 14-xlii. 8 
xlii. 9-14 

xxxix. 12-xlii. 14 

Preface into which is interwoven (16-31) a Rhetoric 

Encomium of God's Works 
Essay : The Burden of Life 
A Pair of Sonnets : A Garden of Blessing 
A Maxim 

Sonnet : On Death 
Essay : The Posterity of Sinners 
Essay : On Things to be ashamed of 
Essay : Women as a Source of Trouble 

Book V 

xlii. 15-xliii 
xliv-1. 24 

Longer Works 
xlii. i$-L 24 

Rhetoric Encomium : The Works of the Lord 
Rhetoric Encomium : The Praise of Famous Men (290) 

Epilogue to the Whole : Number Sonnet of the Hated Nations (1. 25-6) 

Colophon with Beatitude (27-9) 
Author's Preface to the Whole (li) 



Each of these constitutes a single Gospel, which must oe understood as 
a specific literary form (250) 

A continuation of one of the Gospels, and of the same literary form (251) 

An Epistolary Treatise (441) 

Epistles of Pastoral Intercourse (440) 

An Epistle of Pastoral Intercourse (440) 

An Epistolary Manifesto (442) 

An Epistle of Pastoral Intercourse (441) 

An Epistolary Manifesto (442) 

Epistles of Pastoral Intercourse (441) 



tpistles of Pastoral Intercourse (441) 

Epistles of Pastoral Intercourse (441) 

An Epistolary Treatise (442) 

f. i 

\. 2-4 
9-1 1 

ii. 1-13 

iii. 1-12 

iv. i-io 


iv. 13-v. 1 8 

A Wisdom Epistle (292) 

Superscription to the Epistle 

A Maxim 

A Maxim 

A Maxim 

Essay : On the Sources of the Evil and the Good in us 


Essay : On Respect of Persons 
Essay : Faith and Works 
Essay : On the Responsibility of Speech (267) 
Essay : The Earthly Wisdom and the Wisdom from above 
Discourse : On Worldly Pleasures 
A Maxim (264) 

Discourse : The Judgment to come 
A Maxim 

Epistolary Manifestos (442) 



An Epistolary Manifesto (442) 

Epistles of Pastoral Intercourse (441) 

An Epistolary Manifesto (443) 

A Vision Cycle (431-6) 



This second Appendix is intended for the technical student of Literary 
Morphology. It arranges in Tables all the literary forms found in Scripture^ 
with the examples of them, so that each form can be studied by itself. In the 
case of very common forms, such as the simple Discourse, it has not been 
thought necessary to give, the examples, The reference figures are to preced- 
ing pages of this book. 

f xxi. 17-18) Husbandry 
nents of others in Num- 

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Triumphal Odes : Deborah's Song i 
National Anthems : Psalms cv, Ixxv 
Processional Ode : Psalm Ixviii. 
Songs in Ode form: Moses' Song ( 
of the Thunderstorm (Psalm x> 
Odes on Themes : The World with 
Redeemed (cvii) On the Cov 

Anthems for the Inauguration of Jer 
Victory Hymns: Psalms xlvi, xlviu, 1 
Hymn of Defeat and Victory : Psaln 
[Most of the Odes are Occasional L 

On Saul and Jon 
Psalms xliv, Ixxiv 
Exile Songs: Ps. 
Acrostic Elegies : 

National: Ixxxiii 
Personal or Pub] 
\Var Ballad : lix, 







Elegies of 
Denunciation ! 



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itory: Migration of the < 
if us, Numbers. 
Exodus i-xviii : Slavei 
xix and Leviticus : Cc 
Sinai and Thirty-eight 
sssive Revelations of the La 
it: Epic History: Moses 
i; xiii. i7~xv. 21). Mixed 

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nd Nehemiah : Docum 
ged f amplified, arrangei 
of the Church as restor 

e understood as a spei 
uthoritative Statements 
. [The Fourth Gospel 
n the form of Text and 

e of the Gospels: Aut 
ly stages of founding th 

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Of Abraham (page 466) < 
Joshua (page 469) 
of Saul (page 469). 

Joseph and his Brethren 
xlvii. 12). 
Moses and the Plagues of 
xiii. I7~xv. 21). 
Feud of Saul and David (/ 
Feud between David's Sons 
The Book of Esther. The 





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[Burden (A.V. 
Exodus xx and De 
he Grand Arraignme 
pendulum structure ( 
oups of Prophetic Se 
iii. 8; xix. 18-25; Je 
anah viii. 1-8; viii. 18 
rses or other Oracles 
even books in Isaiah^ 
made up of several ' 
R.V. (Page 429. 
rses structurally 
aiah xxviii-xxxv) . 



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Books o 
Cycle o 

mgs : Utterances against par- 
Nations or Cities : partly cor- 
.ding to Satires and Philippics 
er literatures (353). Proto- 
The Curse (Genesis ix. 25) 

ag's x 
I-" 04 * 

> 3 

.Sr 3 


Eagle a 5 nd Cedar (ii)- of Oholah and Oho 
Isaiah's Parable of the Vineyard (v. 1-7) . Co 




tviii. 22-33). Examples: Jere- 
23-6; Ezekiel iv. 14; Habakkuk 



O 3 







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ST3 '3 
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Discourse founded on an inter- 
Examples : Isaiah xxviii ; Jere- 
Micah ii. 6-zz. The whole of 

-Conspiracy of Anathoth (Jere- 
\ v ; v vv \ rv+.. rt ,,<.r.,. ^ *v> 

The Anathoth Estate (Jeremiah 
habites (Jeremiah xxxv) The 
L (xlv) Daniel and the King's 
The Den of Lions (vi). 

miah xxxvii-xliv; Jeremiah lii- 
and the Book of Jonah. 

fountains Micah vi. g-vii The 

a Voo-ninrr UeA~ v.i,* V ;,r A 

) is a link between this type and 







{Isaiah xxxiii) OLthe Drought 
Of the Judgment to Come 
the Chaldeans (Habakkuk i-ii). 

, or becoming rhapsodic at par- 
Jererr.iah ii-vi; Jeremiah viii. 
The Book of Zephaniah is a 
Z,echariah x-xi mingles other 
Songs (except those of Ezekiel) 

:h God: Prototype: Abraham's Intercession (Genesis : 
miah xi-xii. 6; xvi; xvii. 13-18; xviii. 18-23; xxxi. '* 
i-ii. Compare above : the Prophetic Calls. 

;h Inquirers : the Response : compare as Prototype the 
(Genesis xxv. 23; / Samuel xxviii. 6). In the Pr 
i-io; xlii. 1-22; Ezekiel xiv. i-n; xx. 1-44; Zechar 

With this connect Dialectic Prophecy: 
ruption from an i imaginary disputant. 
mtah xiii. 12-14 \ Ezekiel xxxiii. 10-20 ; 
Malachi is a Dialectic Cycle. 

h the World : Prophetic Incidents and Controversies. - 

+isiJ* vi* TQ vii *;\ r rK D^t+^'e R^tfio fty**,***,;*! 

Temple (Jeremiah xxvi) Of the Yoke (xxvii-viii) 
xxxii-iii) The Siege (Jeremiah xxxiv) The Rec 
Burnt Roll (Jeremiah xxxvi) Jeremiah and Baruch 
Meat (Dame 1 i) The Burning Fiery Furnace (iii) 








a> d. 

l u 



.E E 



a I 


>s - 



tf) : -/l/^a^ vi. 1-8 The Lord's Controversy before the M 

tV*i \fo /-if \\TieAf^->^ J-T* f ~~ v ; -r TT TV***. Tinfin- 

tance. A Dramatic scene of Panic (Jeremiah x. 17-25 
Compare generally : The Book of Job. 


psodies of Judgment (Isaiah xxiv-xxvii) Of Salvation | 
(Jeremiah xiv-xv) Of the Locust PJague (Joel) 
(Amos) Of Judgment Approaching (Micah i) Of 

psodic Discourses : Discourses merging in Rhapsodies, 
ticular points. Isaiah viii. o-ix. 7; Isaiah x. 5~xii; 
4-ix. 9; Jeremiah xxx. 23-xxxi. 20; Hosea iv-vi. 
Discourse interrupted by (impersonal) lyric outbursts - 
types with Emblem Prophecy. Most of the Doom ! 
are rhapsodic at points. 








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L! Prayers 
Prayer of 


















I s 





In Biblical, as in other versification, the structure which appeals to the ear 
and the mind can also be conveyed to the eye by proper modes of printing. 
The devices of spacing stanzas and indenting lines, which in English verse are 
used to mark out correspondences of rhyme or metre, can be employed to 
indicate analogous relations of parallel clauses. 

The subject is best treated by examples. The system of structural printing 
followed for the most part in the present work I will illustrate by an arrange- 
ment of a famous passage from Ecclesiastes. 

Remember also thy Creator in the days of thy youth : 
Or ever the evil days come, 
And the years draw nigh 

When thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; 

Or ever the sun, 

And the light, 

And the moon, 

And the stars, 
Be darkened, 
And the, clouds return after the rain : 

In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, 
And the strong men shall bow themselves, 
And the grinders cease because they are few, 
And those that look out of the windows be darkened, 
And the doors shall be shut in the street; 
"When the sound of the grinding is low, 
And one shall rise up at the voice of a bird, 
And all the daughters of music shall be brought low; 
Yea, they shall be afraid of that which is high, 


And terrors shall be in the way; 
And the almond-tree shall blossom, 
And the grasshopper shall be a burden, 
And the caper-berry shall fail : 

Because man goeth to his long home, 
And the mourners go about the streets: 

Or ever the silver cord be loosed, 

Or the golden bowl be broken, 

Or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, 

Or the wheel broken at the cistern; 

And the dust return to the earth 

As it was, 
And the spirit return unto God 

Who gave it. 

The system is illustrated in all its essential features by this passage. Two 
of the principles underlying it are obvious : that similar clauses are similarly 
indented, and that stanzas are separated by spaces. It involves, however, 
two other points that need more explanation. 

The first of these points is raised by the opening stanza. When this 
stanza, or rather, the portion of it which follows the introductory first line, is 
examined, it is seen to be essentially a couplet, of which one member is 

Or ever the evil days come, 
and the other member is 

And the years draw nigh when thou shalt say, I have no 
pleasure in them. 

Considered from every point of view except one, these clauses are exactly 
parallel with one another. But when viewed in reference to the mass of the 
two they are found strangely unequal : the epithet of a single word ' evil ' in 
the one clause has to balance it in the other the long collocation of words, 
1 when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them. 1 Yet this collocation of 
words does not present itself to our ears as a clumsy enlargement of the 
second clause, but, on the contrary, as a valuable addition to the rhetoric 
richness of the whole passage. I would meet such a case by separating the 
collocation of words so as to make it an element in the general structure, and 

K K 


at the same time indenting it so as to indicate its subordination to the previous 
line, in the sense of which it is a single detail. 

Or ever the evil days come 
And the years draw nigh 

When thoirshalt say, I have no pleasure in them. 

It will be seen that the device of indenting is thus used not only to bring 
together lines which are co-ordinate with one another, but also (occasionally) 
to distinguish a portion of the whole rhetoric mass which is subordinate to 
another portion. I believe that no system of parallel printing will be found 
practicable which does not provide for subordinate as well as co-ordinate 

Another point illustrated by the extract from Ecclesiastes is the way in 
which parallel printing, besides affecting lines closely contiguous, can also 
convey to the eye correspondences between clauses widely sundered from one 
another. The passage cited is a poetic tour-de-force of extreme boldness; 
the infirmities of old age, which usually good taste would veil, are here 
enumerated in all their minuteness. Yet the effect is one of beauty, because 
the symptoms of decay are not expressed directly, but suggested under shadows 
of oriental symbolism, by symbols sometimes unintelligible to the Western 
reader, whereas others of them have from this passage been imported into 
familiar speech. At just three points in the whole poem the symbolism is 
dropped, and direct speech has a moment's prominence : in the opening line, 
bidding remember God in youth; once further on, where a string of symbols 
gives place to the simple words 

Because man goeth to his long home 
And the mourners go about the streets; 

and again at the conclusion which speaks of the dust returning to the earth 
and the spirit to God, As the passage is printed above it will be seen that 
these three passages stand out from all the rest by their common indenting on 
the extreme left. 

The system of structural printing thus illustrated aims at reflecting the 
Higher Parallelism. I have drawn attention in the body of this work (page 
73) to the distinction between the Lower and the Higher Parallelism : between 
the disposition of a passage in simple figures, like couplets and quatrains, and, 
on the other hand, the suppression of these figures in order to let higher 
correspondences appear, such as belong to the thought of the passage as a 
whole. By way of illustration I gave two arrangements of a passage from 
the Book of Job (see pages 74-6). The arrangement illustrating the Higher 


Parallelism was able to keep distinct to the eye the two strains of thought 
which in that passage are continually crossing one another. The same effect 
may be secured^in the close of the sixty-fifth psalm : as here arranged it will 
be seen that the left-hand lines express the general visitation of the God of 
nature, and the resulting bountiful harvest, while the right-hand lines put the 
special gift of rain with the richness of pasturage the rain produces. 

Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it : 

Thou greatly enrichest it, 

The river of God is full of water : 

Thou providest them corn, when thou hast so prepared the earth; 
Thou waterest her furrows abundantly, 
Thou settlest the ridges thereof, 
Thou makest it soft with showers, 
Thou blessest the springing thereof, 
Thou crownest the year with thy goodness : 

And thy paths drop fatness, 

They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness, 

And the hills are girded with joy : 

The pastures are clothed with flocks, 
The valleys also are covered over with corn : 
They shout for joy, they also sing. 

Many similar effects of Higher Parallelism can be conveyed by structural 
printing. In the arrangement of Psalm Ixxvii on page 175 it will be clear 
how a block of similar lines makes an enumeration of troubled emotions, 
then an indentation to the right voices the prayer of trouble; again left-hand 
lines express the struggle out of trouble to the confidence born of memories, 
and a change to right-hand lines introduces the comforting memories: the 
whole struggle, in the proportion of its parts, is reflected to the eye. The 
similar psalm cited on pages 1 76-7 separates the alternating trouble and confi- 
dence notwithstanding the irregularity of the alternations. In the psalms of 
double dramatic change (see pages 180-3) the retrogression to the time of 
affliction is marked off by indentation, and this arrangement conveys at once 
to the eye how the close of the psalm is a return to the mood of the 
opening. On page 206 is given the happy dream of the bride (in Canticles) : 
a glance shows how the lines indented to the right make an approach to a 
refrain. In the passage of the Reciting Chorus on the following page the 
left-hand lines exclaim at a sight, the right-hand lines describe it : the whole 
has the further effect of introversion. For the poems called in this work 
Sonnets, some structural printing is essential to bring out the correspondence 


of their parts : this has been fully explained and illustrated on pages 273-7. 
I will add one more example, on a larger scale, of the kind of printing I 
advocate : it is the section of Job which gives the hero's long-delayed vindi- 
cation of his innocence. 

I made a covenant with mine eyes; 
How then should I look upon a maid ? 

For what portion should I have of God from above? 

And what heritage of the Almighty from on high ? 

Is it not calamity to the unrighteous, 

And disaster to the workers of iniquity ? 

Doth not he see my ways, 

And number all my steps ? 

If I have walked with vanity 

And my foot hath hasted to deceit ; 

(Let me be weighed in an even balance, 
That God may know mine integrity ; ) 
If my step hath turned out of the way, 
And mine heart walked after mine eyes, 
And if any spot hath cleaved to mine hands : 
Then let me sow, and let another eat; 
Yea, let the produce of my field be rooted out. 

If mine heart have been enticed unto a woman, 
And I have laid wait at my neighbour's door : 
Then let my wife grind unto another, 
And let others bow down upon her. 

For that were an heinous crime; 
Yea, it were an iniquity to be punished by the judges : 
For it is a fire that consumeth unto Destruction, 
And would root out all mine increase. 

If I did despise the cause of my manservant or of my maidservant, 
When they contended with me, 

What then shall I do when God riseth up? 

And when he visiteth, what shall I answer him? 

Did not he that made me in the womb make him? 

And did not one fashion us in the womb? 
If I have withheld the poor from their desire 
Or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail; 


Or have eaten my morsel alone, 

And the fatherless hath not eaten thereof; 

(l^ay, from my youth he grew up with me as with a father, 
And I have been her guide from my mother's womb;) 

If I have seen any perish for want of clothing, 

Or that the needy had no covering; 

If his loins have not blessed me, 

And if he were not warmed with the fleece of my sheep; 

If I have lifted up my hand against the fatherless, 

Because I saw my help in the gate : 
Then let my shoulder fall from the shoulder blade, 
And mine arm be broken from the bone. 

For calamity from God was a terror to me, 

And by reason of his excellency I could do nothing. 

If I have made gold my hope, 

And have said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence; 

If I rejoiced because my wealth was great, 

And because mine hand had gotten much; 

If I beheld the sun when it shined, 

Or the moon walking in brightness; 

And my heart hath been secretly enticed, 

And my mouth hath kissed my hand : 

This also were an iniquity to be punished by the judges : 

For I should have lied to God that is above. 

If I rejoiced at the destruction of him that hated me, 
Or lifted up myself when evil found him ; 

(Yea, I suffered not my mouth to sin 

By asking his life with a curse;) 

If the men of my tent said not, 

Who can find one that hath not been satisfied with his flesh? 

The stranger did not lodge in the street; 

But I opened my doors to the traveller; 

If after the manner of men I covered my transgressions, 

By hiding mine iniquity in my bosom; 

Because I feared the great multitude, 

And the contempt of families terrified me, 

So that I kept silence, and went not out of the door- 


Oh that I had one to hear me ! 

(Lo, here is my signature, let the Almighty answer me ;) 

And that I had the indictment which mine adversary hath written ! 

Surely I would carry it upon my shoulder; 

I would bind it unto me as a crown. 

I would declare unto him the number of my steps; 

As a prince would I present it to him. 

If my land cry out against me, 

And the furrows thereof weep together ; 

If I have eaten the fruits thereof without money, 

Or have caused the owners thereof to lose their life : 
Let thistles grow instead of wheat, 
And cockle instead of barley ! 

It is abundantly clear that the whole of this elaborate deliverance is con- 
structed on thres notes, and the resultant three strains stand distinct to the 
eye. It is as if Job were adapting rhetorically a prescribed formulary of 
vindication to a great variety of particulars. In Psalm vii. 3 a similarly 
constructed passage is also a formulary of self- vindication. 

O LORD my God, if I have done this; 

If there be iniquity in my hands; 

If I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me; 

(Yea, I have delivered him that without cause was mine adversary:) 
Let the enemy pursue my soul, and overtake it; 
Yea, let him tread my life down to the earth, 
And lay my glory in the dust ! 

It is, however, the Lower Parallelism of figures that has obtained the 
widest acceptance at the present day. Besides the use of it in the com- 
mentaries of scholars, it has been followed in a few popular works, an example 
of which is the Golden Treasury Psalter. This follows a condensed notation, 
resting upon the use of the * hanging indent.' The opening of Psalm Ivii, in 
full rhythmic structure, would stand as follows : 

Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me, 
For my soul fleeth unto thee for refuge, 
Yea, under the shadow of thy wings shall be my refuge, 

Until this peril be overpast ! 

I will call unto the most high God, 
Even to God who doeth good unto me. 


That he send from heaven and save me, 

And put to shame him that would eat me up, 
Yea, that God send forth his mercy and truth. 

My soul is among lions, I lie even among ravening men, 
With the children of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, 
And their tongue a sharp sword. 

To make, in this way, separate stanzas of these triplets, couplet and quatrain 
loses space, and spreads the whole out further than may be desirable. The 
more compact structural scheme, instead of spacing, retains the ' hanging 
indent ' (to the extreme left) for the first line of each figure : and the other 
lines of the figure are made subordinate. 

Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me, 

For my soul fleeth unto thee for refuge, 

Yea, under the shadow of thy wings shall be my refuge, 
until this peril be overpast ! 
I will call unto the most high God, 

even to God who doeth good unto me, 
That he send from heaven and save me, 

and put to shame him that would eat me up, 
Yea, that God send forth his mercy and truth '. 
My soul is among lions. I lie even among ravening men, 

With the children of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, 

and their tongue a sharp sword. 

I doubt the advantages of this condensed structure, except where the figures 
are very simple and uniform. I have used it on pages 47 and 54. 

There is, however, a mode of printing Scriptural verse that reflects no 
parallelism at all, whether higher or lower, but simply distinguishes the lines 
of verse, all lines being uniformly indented. This is the mode followed in 
the Revised Version of the Bible. Standing by itself, this Verse Structure 
seems a very insufficient representation of the rhythmic poetry of the Bible. 
But it may be a useful adjunct to the Higher Parallelism; where there are 
no special correspondences to be indicated, it is better to fall back upon this 
neutral verse structure than upon the lower parallelism that rests upon figures 
and not sense. 

Yet another structural notation, which may be called Centric Printing, is 
followed (for example) by Dr. Samuel Cox in his admirable translation of Job. 
This device is attributed to the poet Southey, and he has used it in the elabo- 


rate verse system of his Kehama and Thalaba. Its law is simple, that the 
centre of each line corresponds with the centre of the page. 

Thy sons and thy daughters 

were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house: 

and, behold, 

there came a great wind from the wilderness, 

and smote the four corners of the house, 

and it fell upon the young men, 

and they are dead; 
and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. 

Though not without beauty to the eye, this mode of printing seems inadequate 
to the requirements of Biblical versification, as merely separating clauses, and 
not co-ordinating them. But it may have a real place in the expression of 
speech which is on the borderland between prose and verse, and I have used 
it in such passages (e.g. page 4) . 

As to the choice between these systems of structural printing, I would lay 
it down as a principle of rhythmic analysis that there is in these questions no 
right and wrong, but only better and worse. A given passage may be expressed 
in many different arrangements, and that will be the best which draws out of 
it the greatest symmetry. And even the sense of symmetry will vary accord- 
ing to the conception of a particular passage or the purpose of a particular 



I have remarked in Chapter XIII upon a peculiar feature of literary style 
that characterises the Wisdom of Solomon. This is the use in that book of 
the Digression, not as an accident or a makeshift, but as an end in itself. 
The exact usage may be described by the term Digressive Subordination : a 
succession of digressions, and digressions from those digressions, each reced- 
ing further from the original line of thought. It is difficult to find an illustra- 
tive parallel without going to literature of a very different order; but perhaps 
one is to be found in a feature of oriental fiction which French criticism has 
entitled histoires a tiroir. I refer to such fiction as is known to the West by 
the Arabian Nights or the Fables of Bidpai : the original story introduces a 
personage who tells a number of stories, in one of which a company entertain 
one another with stories; and the process is continued, story enclosed within 
story, like a set of Chinese boxes. Not dissimilar to such story subordination 
is the digressive subordination of the work we are considering; as perhaps the 
following scheme will help to make clear. 

For evil thoughts and works separate from God 

For Wisdom takes fright at even a wicked word 

For that which fills all things must hear every murmur 

Each line represents a whole paragraph of the original. It will be seen that 
the third line is a comment upon the second, and the second upon the first; 
or, if we read the other way, the second line is a digression from the first, and 
the third, being a digression from the second, is doubly a digression from 
the first. 

The argument represented by the above scheme I will quote in full (i. 2-1 1). 
Seek the Lord (urges the author) with singleness of heart : 



Because he is found of them that tempt him not, and is manifested to them that 
do not distrust him. For crooked thoughts separate from God, and the Supreme 
Power, when it is brought to the proof, putteth to confusion the 9 foolish ; 

Because wisdom will not enter into a soul that devise th evil, nor dwe II in a 
' body that is held in pledge by sin. For a holy spirit of discipline will flee 
deceit, and will start azvay from thoughts that are without understanding, 
and will be put to confusion when unrighteousness hath come in. For 
wisdom is a spirit that loveth man, and she will not hold a blasphemer 
guiltless for his lips; because God beareth witness of his reins, and is a 
true overseer of his heart, and a hearer of his tongue : 

Because the spirit of the Lord hath filled the world, and that which 
holdeth all things together hath knowledge of every voice : therefore no 
man that utter eth unrighteous things shall be unseen, neither shall 
Justice, when it convicteth, pass him by. For in the midst of his 
counsels the ungodly shall be searched out ; and the sound of his 
words shall come unto the Lord to bring to conviction his lawless 
deeds : because there is an ear of jealousy that listeneth to all things, 
and the noise ofmurmurings is not hid. Beware then of unprofitable 
murmttring, and refrain your tongue from backbiting; because no 
secret utterance shall go on its way void, and a mouth that be-lieth 
destroyeth a soul. 

In seeking an explanation of this marked feature of literary style, one 
remark may be ventured. The Wisdom of Solomon, however Greek it may 
be in origin and modes of thought, is nevertheless a contribution to Hebrew 
literature, and to the long literary period that intervenes between the Old 
and New Testament. But the main religious literature of this period was the 
oral literature of commentary, which, from the time of Ezra, maintained itself 
and gathered strength, until, in the Christian era, it took written shape in the 
Talmud. It would be strange if that which made so large a part of Jewish 
religious life had left no trace in the written literature of the times; and we 
have seen that the whole of the Wisdom of Solomon falls into the shape of 
texts and comments. But there is a close connection between the comment 
and the digression: a digression may be looked upon as a comment upon 
that point of the discourse from which it digresses. Hence the prominence 
of the digression in the Book of Wisdom may be connected with the influ- 
ence of the oral literature of commentary upon written literature. 

This influence is found to extend to the literature of the New Testament. 
In the style of St. Paul the digression is almost as prominent as in the book 
which is the subject of this Appendix. It is also specially observable in the 


Gospel of St. John: the apparent repetitions and involutions of its style lose 
their difficulty when text and comment are separated. 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the 
Word was God. 

[ The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him ; 
and without him was not anything made. That which hath been made 
was life in him ; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth 
in the darkness ; and the darkness overcame it not. There came a man 
sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for witness, that 
he might bear witness of the light, that all might believe through him. He 
was not the light, but came that he might bear witness of the light. The 
true light \ which lighteth every man, was coming into the world. He was 
in the world, and the Tuorld was made by him, arid the world knew him 
not. He came unto his own, and they that were his own received him 
not. But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become 
children of God, even to them that believe on his name : which were born, 
not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God^\ 

And the word became flesh, and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth. 
[And we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father. 
hn beareth witness of him, and crieth, etcJ\ 

In the same way care is often needed in this Gospel to distinguish exactly 
where a discourse of Jesus ends, and the Evangelist's comment begins. Thus 
the Discourse to Nicodemus should probably end with verse 15, and verses 
1 6-2 1 are the words of St. John. 

To return to the Book of Wisdom. That such digressive subordination is 
not the result of confused or lax thought, but is an end in itself, is strongly 
suggested by the fact that, in the most elaborate examples, the process is 
carried on to the point of reversing itself, and the dropped threads are picked 
up one by one, till the argument has returned to the original line of thought 
by stages as regular as those by which it had departed from it. Another 
scheme may illustrate this. 

With the loathsome plague of vermin compare 

But note nemesis: vermin on foolish vermin-worshippers - 

Not but what all idolatry is folly, as corrupting God^s gifts 

For idolatry in its origin is a corruption 
All idolatry is folly, but there are degrees of folly 
Vermin-worship was the vilest and deserved such doom 
With that loathsomeness compare the tasty quails of the Israelites. 


The reader must understand that each of these lines has to do duty for what 
in the original is a train of argument running sometimes to several pages. 
It will be seen that each of the successive digressions is futfher removed from 
the original thought, until the discussion on the origin of idolatry represented 
by the fourth line stands three degrees distant from the argument of the 
opening line; then the argument returns on its steps, each of the previous 
digressions is resumed and concluded, and the first line of thought is recovered. 
It may be added that, once the key to the arrangement is caught, the points 
of junction in the text will be seen to be clearly marked; and the whole 
complex of thought gives the impression of symmetry and finish. 

The portion of the text represented by this second scheme (from xi. 15 to 
xvi. 4) is too long to quote in full, but I give a condensation, indented so as 
to bring out the digressive subordination. References are inserted indicating 
the exact point at which each digression leads off. 

Appetite (it is argued, though the argument is not apparent until after the 
close of the digressions in xvi. 4) is one of the things in reference to which the 
enemy was punished, and the righteous nation benefited. The Egyptians suf- 
fered a plague of VERMIN. 

Note : Vermin on vermin-worshippers (xi. 1 6) : by what things a man 
sinneth, by these he is punished. The choice of that punishment in kind 
over all other modes of punishment evidences the mercy of the omnipotent 
lover of lives (such a reminder to the sinner being part of his way of con- 
victing little by little, as when hornets were sent upon the Canaanites before 
the final destroyers came) . God 's sovereignty over all makes him forbear- 
ing to all ; teaching his people to be lovers of men, and giving them hope in 
the time of their own chastisement. The Egyptians were justly chastised 
with their own abominations, because they were so far gone in the POLL Y 

For all idolatry is folly (xiii. i) : to see God^s works, and not recog- 
nise the Creator. Least blameable are those who mistake the heavenly 
bodies or beautifttl works of nature for God (though, knowing so 
much, these might have known more). But miserable indeed are 
those who rest their hopes in dead things : gold, silver, useless stone, 
or even refuse of a tree carved in an idle hour into a god; the work- 
man prayeth all help from this which is in all things helpless : accursed 
idolater that turns what God has created into CORRUPTION. 

For idolatry is a corruption of life (xiv. 12), and not one of the 
things ivhich have been from the beginning. Origin of idola- 


try : perhaps an image of a lost child, honoured with rites^ 
that afterwards grow into a law. Or, an image of a king, 
made^ for flattery in his absence, forced by the art of the ar- 
tificer into a beauty that in time draws worship: thus stocks 
and stones become invested with the incommunicable Name. 
Moral corruption folloivs : the conflict within the idolaters' hearts 
caused by their loss of the knowledge of God they consider peace, 
and organise for it rites and ceremonies, which admit foul sin ; 
besides that the empty idols are no restraint upon perjury. 

But we have knowledge of the true God (xv. i), and are not led into 
folly by the devices of men's art to worship dead images. Such a fool 
is the potter, who out of clay makes vessels for clean uses and the con- 
trary (he decides which), and out of this same clay mouldeth a god 
though he was himself earth but lately, and into earth will shortly 
return : he is full of anxiety, not about the shortness of his term, but 
in matching himself against the goldsmith's work, as if life were a 
plaything, or a fair for making gain : he beyond other idolaters must 
know that he sinneth. 

The vermin-worshippers of Egypt were further gone than all in the folly 
of idolatry (xv. 14) : they made their gods, not only the senseless idols of the 
nations, but also creatures that in themselves are hateful and void of 
beauty. Hence they were worthily punished through these same abomina- 
tions which they worshipped. 

But (xvi. 2) instead of this plague of vermin, through which the Egyptians 
came to loathe their necessary food, the people of God received benefits in the 
matter of food, quails of rare flavour to satisfy dainty appetite : having 
suffered want just enough to know what the torment of the enemy would be. 

In conclusion, the remark often made in reference to the literary style of 
St. Paul, may be applied also to the Book of Wisdom, that what is in form a 
digression will be found, as regards the matter, to be an advance in the course 
of the argument. 


V For Books of the Bible, or any portions of them, see above, Literary Index to the 

V For Literary Forms ( Prophecy: ' Epic: ' Lyric f 
(such as ' Emblem Prophecy,' ' Dramatic Lyrics,' 

.), or subdivisions of these 
), see above, Appendix 77. 

Accession Hymns : i6oand (Table) 501. 
Acrostic devices : 157 and note Acros- 

tic Elegies, 157 Meditations, 183 

Various examples, 161, 287, and 

(Table) 500-1. 
Acts (or advancing Stages) as a mode 

of movement in Prophetic literature : 

Address, Literature of: 439 and Book 
VI Divine Address as element of 
Rhapsodic dialogue, 368. 

Alternation as a mode of Lyric move- 
ment (Pendulum Movement) : 139-42, 
143, 146-7, 148-9, 182 (note), 515 in 
Prophetic literature, 332, 349-51, 373- 
80, 387-91, 399-405. 4I5-6. 

Analytic Imagination in Wisdom : 

Anthems, National: 142 and (Table) 

Antiphonal structure of ' Deborah's 

Song': 132 of Ritual Psalms, 161. 
Antiphony as a mode of Lyric move- 

ment : 103, 132, 161, 397-8, 413-4. 
Antistrophic structure : 58-61 Exam- 

ples, 76-7,79, 135-6, 150 Antistro- 

phic Introversion, 50-60 Interweav- 

ing, 61 a mode of Lyric movement, 

Antithesis (or Contrast) as mode of 

Lyric development : 192, 91, 97, 150-2. 
Apostrophe : 131, compare 133-6. 
Ascents, Songs of: 170-3 and (Table) 


Association as an effect in Prophetic 
literature: 432-6. 

Augmenting as a mode of Lyric move- 
ment : 137, compare 119, 158, 408. 

' Authorized Version ' of the Bible : 45, 
46, 82-90. 

Authorship not an element in literary 
study: 92-3 in application to Bibli- 
cal poetry, 93-6. 

Ballad Dance as a primitive literary 
form : 107-11 War Ballads : (Table) 

Benedictions : 160 and (Table) 501. 

Blessing as a form of Prophetic litera- 
ture : 460-1 and (Table) 508. 

Burden : 328 and (Table) 508. 

Call (Prophetic) : 343 and (Table) 509. 

Cardinal Points, The Four, of Litera- 
ture: 105-6. 

Ceremonial Worship a prototype of Em- 
blem Prophecy: 340. 

Chain figure : 52-3. 

Chorus, Characterised : Of Nations, 366, 
408-9 Of Elders, 376-7 Celestial, 
407-8 of Watchmen, 413 as an 
element of Rhapsodic dialogue, 368. 

Chorus, Impersonal, as an element in 
Rhapsodic dialogue : 368 illustra- 
tions : 120-4, 379. 4o, 402. 403, 406, 
409, 410, 412. 

Chorus, Reciting, in Solomon's Song 




Climax and Crescendo as devices of 
Lyric movement: 76, 80, 145, 148, 152, 
158 as an effect in Lyric Prophecy : 

Cluster of Prophecy : 430 of Prophetic 

Sentences, 420. 
Cluster of Proverbs : 265 and (Table) 


Colophon in Ecclesiasticus : 291 in 
Deuteronomy \ 468. 

Commandments, The Ten, as prototype 
of the Prophetic Discourse : 329. 

Comment, Text and, as a literary form : 
263 and Appendix IV its connec- 
tion with the Digression, 522 applied 
to Wisdom, 305-6. 

Concentration as a mode of Lyric move- 
ment: 130, 145. 

Contrast (or Antithesis) as a mode of 
Lyric development : 192, 91, 97, 150-2. 

Controversy Prophetic : 347 and (Table) 


Couplet and Triplet as figures of Par- 
allelism : 48-9. 

Creation, Account of in Genesis as ex- 
ample of Parallelism : 71-2. 

Creeds, Lyrical and Modern : 166-8. 

Crescendo and Climax as devices of Lyric 
movement : 76, 80, 145, 148, 152, 158 - 
as an effect in Lyric Prophecy: 334. 

Cries as element of Rhapsodic dialogue : 
368, 370, 387-9- 

Curse, The, in Job : 6, 31 the Primi- 
tive Curse a prototype of the Doom 
Song: 355. 

Cycle in Prophecy: 425-8 and (Table) 
508. [Of Discourses, 426-7 Dialec- 
tic Cycle, 425 (compare 346-7) Of 
Dooms, 425 (compare 114-7), 429 
Emblem Cycle, 425 (compare 393) 
Vision Cycle, 427-8, 430, 431.] 

Cycle, Prophetic [of Stories] : 238 and 
(Table) 504. 

Cycle or Game of Riddles: 257 and 
(Table) 505. 

Description as a Cardinal Point of Lit- 
erature: 105, 107-11. 

Description, Scenic (in the Rhapsody) : 
368; compare 374-80, 386, 399, 400, 

408, 411-2 Prophetic, 368, 374, 
(Vision) 389. 

Development, Lyric, 186. (See Move- 

Dialogue, Elements of, in Rhapsody: 

Digression in Wisdom : 306 and Appen- 
dix IV Chain of Digressions and 
Digressive Subordination, 319 and Ap- 
pendix IV. 

Dirge as prototype of Elegy: 156 
Dirge Rhythm, 156, 333, 361. 

Discourse : Wisdom Discourses, 491, 
305 and Chapter XIII Prophetic, 328 
and (Table) 508 Rhapsodic, 386 and 
(Table) 510. 

Divine Intervention in Job, 22-4, 34-5. 

Doom Songs : Chapter XV and (Table) 

Doxologies (Table) : 501. 

Drama as one of the six fundamental 
literary forms : 108, 109 Hebrew 
literature shows dramatic influences 
rather than drama, in, compare 381 
and Chapter XVI. Dramatic Interest 
in Job, 25-7. 

Dramatic Lyrics : 174 and (Table) 501 

Dramatic Monologue, 282 and 
(Table) 507. 

Dramatic Transition as a mode of 
Lyric movement: 78-9 (compare 90), 
177-9 (compare 184) as an effect in 
Prophetic literature : 381-5,366. 

Dumb Show in Prophecy : 338. 

Elegies : 156 and (Table) 500. 

Emblem Literature : 336 Quarles's 
emblems, 336. 

Emendation, Textual : 57 (note) com- 
pare 17-8, 472 (note), 61, 276 (notes). 

Encomium Lyric : 156, 159, and (Table) 
500 Rhetoric : 281-2 and (Table) 

Enumeration as a mode of Lyric devel- 
opment: 160,145. (See Reiteration.) 

In Rhetoric style, 299, 315, 360. 
Envelope Figure: 53-4 compare 69, 

70, 77-80, 150-1 Enveloping Vision : 
Epic as one of the six fundamental lite- 



rary forms : 107-9 question of Epic 
Poetry in the Bible, 221 Epic and 
History, 221 Epic Interest in Job, 

Epic, Various forms of: 223-43 an< ^ 
(Table) 504. 

Epic Idyl: 235 and (Table) 511, 504. 

Epic Prophecy : 238 and (Table) 504. 

Epigram : 260 and (Table) 507. 

Epilogue : 302, 385, 393. 

Epistle, Gnomic: 286-7, 292-3 Epis- 
tolary Manifesto, 442-3 Pastoral 
Epistle, 439-41 Epistolary Treatise, 
441-2. (See also Table, 511.) 

Essay : 264-72 and (Table) 506. 

Exile Songs : 63, 157, 171-2, and (Table) 
500, SOL 

Fable: Table on page 505 compare 
345 and note. 

Festal Hymns : 160 and (Table) 501. 

Floating Poetry : 93-6. 

Folk Songs : Table on page 500 com- 
pare 68-9, 287. 

Footnotes in Deuteronomy : 445. 

Gnomic Epistles: 286-7, 292-3, and 

(Table) 5x1. 
Gospels as a literary form: 250 and 

(Table) 503. 
Gradual Psalms: 170, (note). 

Hallelujahs : 160 and (Table) 501. 

Hebrew Literature, Distinguishing fea- 
tures of: 111-24. t Not Drama but 
dramatic influences, in special de- 
partment of Prophecy, 112 Overlap- 
ping of Verse and Prose, 112-24.] 

History as one of the six fundamental 
literary forms: no. 

History, Various forms of: 244 and 
Chapter X, and (Table) 502-3. 

Idyl as a literary form :, 195 (note), and 
(Table) 511 Solomon's Song, 194 
and Chapter VIII Ruth, 235. 

Imagery as a mode of Lyric develop- 
ment : 186-92, 84, 161 massing of 
imagery, 186-8 (compare 435-6) 
Concealed Imagery, 188-92. 

Inauguration of Jerusalem, Anthems 

for: 100-3, 154-5- 
Incident : in History, 223 in Prophecy, 

347 and (Table) 510. 
Indenting, Coordinate and Subordinate : 

Inquiry, Prophetic: 339, 346, and 

(Table) 510. 
Intercession as Prophetic prototype: 

Intercourse, Prophetic: 346 and (Table) 

Interlacing (or Interweaving) Parallel- 

ism: 51,61. 
Interruption as mode of Lyric move- 

ment: 131, 149 in Prophetic litera- 

ture, 120-4 (compare 385). 
Interweaving (or Interlacing) Parallel- 

ism : 51, 61. 
Introversion : in Couplets and Triplets, 

50, 51 Antistrophic, 59-60 Stro- 

Judgment : force of the word in O. T. : 
167, 302 as a motive in Lyric poetry : 
(see Table on page 501) in Pro- 
phetic literature : Book V generally 
especially 364 and Chapter XVI, 398, 

Lamech, Song of: 68. 

Lectionary, Revised: 46. 

Liturgies Modern and Biblical: 166 

Liturgical Poetry 160-70 and (Table) 

501 compare 414. 
Lord's Prayer, The, as an Envelope 

Figure: 69-70. 
Lyric as one of the six fundamental 

literary forms: 108-10 Lyric move- 

ment or development : see Movement 

Lyric elements in Rhapsodic dia- 
logue, 368 Lyric Outbursts in Proph- 
ecy, 120-4, 3^6, S7&-9, 400-5. 406, 412 

Lyric Interest in Job % 31-2. 
Lyric Prophecy : 333 and (Table) 508. 
Lyrics Prophetic : 333 and (Table) 508. 

Manifesto, Prophetic : 386, 430, 482, 490. 

Epistolary: 442, 443, and (Table) 




Maxims : 263 and (Table) 505. 

Meditations,Lyric : 183 and (Table) 501. 

Miscellanies of Wisdom: 284, 289; 
compare 294. 

Monodies, Lyric: 183, 164, 174-7, and 
(Table) 501. 

Monologue, Dramatic: 282-3 and 
(Table) 507 Prophetic Monologue 
or Soliloquy, 405, 406, 413 Alter- 
nating Monologue as an element of 
Rhapsodic dialogue: 368, compare 
350 and 399-405- 

Movement, Modes of, in Lyric poetry: 
Alternation (or Pendulum move- 
ment), 139-42, 143. 146-7, 148-9 
Antiphony, 132, 103, 161 Augment- 
ing, 137, 119, 158, 408 Concentration, 

130, 145 Contrast or Antithesis, 
192, 91, 97, 150-2 Crescendo and 
Climax, 76, 80, 145, 148, 152, 158, 334 

Dramatic Transition, 78-9 (com- 
pare 90), 177-9 (compare 184) 
Imagery, 186-92, 84 - Interruption, 

131, 149 Reiteration, Enumeration, 
Repetition, and Refrain, 185, 57, 61, 
63-5, 144, 145, 147, 148 (compare 65- 
7) , 160 Retrogression (180-3) 

Movement, Modes of, in Prophetic liter- 
ature : Advancing Stages or ' Acts,' 
369-73 Distinct Stages or 4 Phases, 1 
391, 391-4, 395-7 and Chapter XVII 

Alternation (or Pendulum move- 
ment), 332, 349-Si, 373-80. 387-91, 
399-405, 415-6 Antistrophic, 334-5 

Crescendo and Climax, 334 Dra- 
matic Transition, 366, 381-5 Inter- 
ruption, 120-4 (compare 385) Sud* 
den Realisation, 385-6 (compare 184) 

Reiteration, Enumeration, Repe- 
tition, Refrain, 334-5, 360, 362-3, 392, 

Music : Confusion of figures in chanting, 
48-9 Musical Expression of Struc- 
ture, 67. 

Narrative, Historic and Lyric : 130. 

Occasional Poetry, 153 and (Table) 500. 
Ode: Greek, 58 Biblical, 127 and 
(Table) 500. 

Oracle as a form of Prophecy: 328 
(note) and (Table) 508 ; compare 346, 

Oral tradition in relation to Biblical poe- 
try: 93-6. 

Oratory as a branch of the Literature of 
Address : 439, 444, and Chapter XX ; 
compare Table on page 511. 

Overlapping of Verse and Prose in Bib- 
lical literature: 112-24 Examples, 
334, 356-7, 361-3- 

Parable : Table on page 505 Pro- 
phetic, 345 and (Table) 509 Drama- 
tised : Table on page 505. 

Paradox : 294. 

Parallelism: the basis of Biblical Ver- 
sification, 46-7 Figures of Parallel- 
ism, 48-54 Lower or Rhythmic Par- 
allelism, 45 and Chapter I, 73-6 
Musical Expression of Parallel Struc- 
ture, 48-9, 67 Lower Parallelism rep- 
resented in Structural Printing, 51^-9 
Parallelism a factor in Interpreta- 
tion, 68-73 Higher Parallelism or 
Parallelism of Interpretation, 68- and 
Chapter II Higher Parallels in rep- 
resented in Structural Printing, 5 12-8 
Parallelism and its antithesis Surprise, 
76-80 the Higher and Lower Par- 
allelism applied to the same passage, 

Parallelism, Figures of: Couplet and 
Triplet, 48-9 confusion of these in 
chanting, 48-51 Quatrains, 50-51 
Double Triplets, 51 Chain Figure, 
52-3 Envelope Figure, 53-4 
Question and Answer, 54 (note) 
Recitative additions to figures, 51-2. 

Pause, as a literary device : 182, 366. 

Pendulum Movement (or Alternation) : 
in Lyric Poetry, 139-42, 143, 146-7, 
148-9 in Prophetic literature, 332, 
349-51, 373-8o, 387-91, 399-405, 4*5-6- 

Phases as a mode of movement in Pro- 
phetic literature : 391, 391-4, 395, and 
Chapter XVII. 

Philippic in relation to Doom Song: 355. 

Philosophy as one of the six fundamen- 
tal literary forms: no Biblical Phi* 



losophy or Wisdom, 255 Interest of 
Philosophy in Job, 33. 

Philosophy or Wisdom : Various forms 
of: Chapter Xl^ind (Table) 505-7. 

Poetry as one of the four Cardinal 
Points of Literature : 106, 107-11. 

Postscript: 184. 

Prayer as part of the Literature of Ad- 
dress : 444 and (Table) 511. 

Prayer-Book Version of Psalms : 83. 

Prefaces, 289-90, and see 492-5. 

Prelude : in Lyric Poetry, 133, 137, 139, 
144, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150 in 
Prophecy, 374, 382, 397. 

Presentation as one of the four Car- 
dinal Points of Literature, 105, 107- 

Printing of Bible obscures its form : 45 

Structural Printing, Appendix III. 
[Higher Parallelism, 512-8 Lower, 
518-20 Condensed Structure, 518 
Verse Structure, 519 Centric Print- 
ing, 519-20.] 

Prologue: 294. 

Prophecy, one of the three distinguish- 
ing features of Hebrew literature : 
112 the word 'prophecy/ 327, 342 

as a department of literature, 327- 
Interest of Prophecy in Job, 39. 

Prophecy, Various Forms of: Chapters 

XIV-XVI, and (Table) 508-10. 
Prophet, Sign of the : 340 and (Table) 

509 Call of the Prophet: 343 and 

(Table) 509. 
Prophetic Call, 343 and (Table) 509 

Controversies, 347 and (Table) 510 

Cycle, 425-8 and (Table) 508 
Description, 368 (compare 375-80, 
389) -Discourse, 328 and (Table), 
508 Epics, 240 and (Table ) 504 
Incidents, 347 and (Table) 510 In- 
tercourse, 346 and (Table) 510 
Lyrics, 333 and (Table) 508 Para- 
We, 345 and (Table) 509 Response, 
346 and (Table) 510 Rhapsody, 
Chapters XVI and XVII, and 
(Table) 510 -Sentences 4 I 7-S and 
(Table) 508. 

Prose as one of the four Cardinal Points 
Of Literature: 106, 107-11 double 

usage of the word, 106 Overlapping 
of Prose and Verse a distinguishing 
feature of Hebrew literature, 112-24 
(compare 334, 356-7, 361-3). 
Proverb : 256 and (Table) 505-7. 
Proverb Cluster : 265 and (Table) 505, 
Psalms, Varieties of: see Table on 
pages 500-1. 

Quarles's Emblems : 336. 
Quatrain: 50-51. 

Question and Answer as a figure of Par* 
allelism : 54 (note) . 

Realisation is a mode of movement in 
Prophetic literature: 385-6 (compare 

Recitative in figures of Parallelism: 51-2. 

Refrains as a structural device and mode 
of movement in Lyric poetry (see 
Reiteration) : 55, 57, 61, 63-5, 65-7, 
114-7, 138-9, 147, 196-7, 205, 392, 414, 
515 in Lyric Prophecy, 334 as a 
Uit motif in Joel, 369. 

Refrain augmenting : 158 parenthetic, 

Reiteration in Prophecy : 338 in Pro- 
phetic Sentences, 419. 

Reiteration (Enumeration, Repetition, 
Refrain) as a mode of Lyric movement, 

185, 57 61, 63-5, 144. 145, 147. 148 (com- 
pare 65-7), 160 in Prophetic litera- 
ture, 334-5, 360, 362-3, 392, 114-7. 

Reminiscences, Dramatised: 197-9. 

Repetition as a mode of Lyric move- 
ment, 185. (See Reiteration.) 

Response, Prophetic : 346 and (Table) 

Retrogression as a mode of Lyric move- 
ment : 180-3. 

Revelation as a form of Prophecy : 342- 
5 and (Table) 509. 

Rhapsody as a form of Prophetic liter- 
ature : 364, and Chapter XVI Rhap- 
sodic Discourse : 386 and (Table) 510. 

Rhetoric as one of the six fundamental 
literary forms: no as a division of 
Biblical literature, 439 and Book VI, 
and (Table) 511 Interest of Rhet- 
oric in Job, 39. 



Rhetoric Encomium : 281-2 and (Table) 


Rhythmic Parallelism : 73 and Chapter I. 
Riddle as a form of Wisdom literature : 

256 and (Table) 505. 
Righteousness, meaning of the word in 

the Old Testament : 399 (note). 
Ritual Hymns : 160 and (Table) 501. 

Salutation (or Encomium) as a form of 
Lyric Poetry : 159 and (Table) 500. 

Satan in Job : 3, 28-9. 

Satire in relation to Doom Song : 355. 

Scenic Description as an element of 
Rhapsodic dialogue: 368 (compare 
374-So, 386, 399-400, 408, 411-2). 

Science, Interest of, in Job : 37-9. 

Sennacherib's Invasion, Occasional 
Poetry connected with : 153-4. 

Sentences (or Sayings) of the Wise: 
258 and (Table) 505 Prophetic Sen- 
tences, 417-25 and (Table) 508. 

Servant of Jehovah in Isaiahan Rhap- 
sody: 397, 399, 400 and note, 405-6, 
408-9, 410-3, 414. 

Soliloquy : 405, 406, 413. (See Mono- 

Seven as a common form in Biblical 
literature: 404 (note). 

Sign of the Prophet : 340 and (Table) 


Songs: of Deborah, 127-36; of Moses 
and Miriam, 137-9; of Moses, 146, 
458-60 ; of the Thunderstorm, 147 ; of 
Ascents or Degrees, 170-3 Choral 
Songs in Prophecy : 366, 368, 376, 377, 
379. 407-8, 408, 408-9, 413 Imper- 
sonal Songs in Prophecy : 368 (com- 
pare 120-4), 379, 400, 402, 403, 406, 
409, 410, 412 Songs in Ode form: 
146 and (Table) 500 Doom Songs: 
Chapter XV and (Table) 508. 

Sonnet : 272-81 and (Table) 507. 

Spectator, Prophetic, in Rhapsodic dia- 
logue: 368,378,380; compare 387-9. 

Speeches : in Job, 39-40, 444 Various : 
444 and (Table) 511 in Deuteronomy \ 
444 and Chapter XX. 

Stages as a mode of movement in Pro- 
phetic literature : 369-73. 

Stanzas : 54-67. [Of Similar Figures, 
54-5 ; of Varying Figures, 55-7 ; Anti- 
strophic Structure, 58-61; Strophic 
Structure, 62-7.] u 

Story, Prophetic: 238 and (Table) 


Strophic structure : 62-7. 

Structure of Versification: 45, and 
Chapters I and II. [Rhythmic 
Structures, 45 and Chapter I fig- 
ures of parallelism, 48-54 stanzas, 
^4-67 Antistrophic structure, 58-61 

Strophic Structure, 62-7 musical 
expression of structure, 48-9, 67 
structure and interpretation, 68-73 
the Lower and Higher Parallelism, 

Structure, Antiphonal: 132, 161. 

Structural Printing: Appendix III. 
[Higher Parallelism, 512-8 Lower, 
518-20 Condensed Structure, 518 
Verse Structure, 519 Centric Print- 
ing, 5 I 9-2Q.] 

Subordination, Digressive : 521 and Ap- 
pendix IV. 

Taunt-Song : connected with the Elegy, 
156 with Prophecy, 333 compare 
366, 403- 

Text and Comment as a form of Wisdom 
literature : 263, 522-3 and (Table) 505 

applied to Wisdom, 305-6. 
Title Pages : 288, 467, 477, 479. 
Transitional Stage (or Pause) in Lyric 

Poetry : 182 (compare Table on page 

501) in Prophecy, 366. 
Transition, Dramatic: as a mode of 

Lyric movement, 78-9 (compare 90), 

177-9 (compare 184) in Prophetic 

literature : 381-5, 366. 
Treatise : 264 Epistolary : 441-2, 443, 

and (Table) 511. 
Triplet and Couplet: 48-9 Double 

Triplet, 51 Triplet Reversed, 51. 

Unit Proverb : 256 and (Table) 505, 
Unity, Higher : distinguished from 
Lower Unities, 81-3 obscured by 
modes of reading and printing Scrip- 
ture, 84-90 relation of Higher Unity 



to literary classification, 105 literary 
unity distinguished from unity of 
authorship, 95. " 

Unity, Higher, Various forms of: Sim- 
ple, 90 of Transition, 90-1 of 
Contrast and Antithesis, 91-8 of 
Aggregation, 98-100 of External 
Circumstances, 100-3. 

Verse and Prose overlapping, a dis- 
tinguishing feature of Hebrew litera- 
ture: 112-24 (compare 334, 356-7, 


Versification, Interest of, in Job : 41 
Versification and Rhythmic Parallel- 
ism, 45 and Chapter I. [Obscured by 
printing, 45 based on parallelism, 
46 figures of parallelism, 48-54 
stanzas, 54-67.] 

Version : ' Authorized,' 45, 46, 82, 90 
Prayer-Book Version (of the Psalms) , 
83 Revised Version of the Bible, 46, 

Victory Hymns : 153 and (Table) 500. 

Vision as a form of Prophecy : 342 and 
(Table) 509. 

Voices as an element in Rhapsodic dia- 
logue : 368 (compare 375-80, 388, 397- 

Votive Hymns : 160 and (Table) 501. 

Wail as a prototype of the Elegy: 156 
JWail over Egypt, 361. 

War Ballad : see Table on page 500. 

Watchman, Prophetic : 355, 413. 

Whirlwind in Job: 21-4, 25. 

Wisdom : Biblical term for Philosophy, 
255 conception of Wisdom in Pro- 
verbs % 288 in Ecclesiasticus, 291-2 
in St. James, 292-3 in Ecclesiastes, 
302-4 in Wisdom of Solomon, 306-9 
summary: 323-4. 

Wisdom, Sacred Books of: 284 and 
Chapters XII, XIII, and Table on 
pages 505-7 analogies to these of 
N. T. works, 443. 

Wisdom, Various Forms of: 256 and 
Chapter XI, with Table on pages 505-7. 


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