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I Apocrypha 

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The Apocrypha have long been almost forgotten 
by the Christian public, although their claim to a 
place in the Greek, Latin, and English Bibles can 
hardly be denied. Our Puritan distaste for their re- 
ligious backwardness is largely responsible for this 
neglect. But however unrewarding some parts of 
them may be, from a Christian point of view, their 
literary value is considerable and their historical im- 
portance, when they are properly understood, is 

What makes them of positive importance to the 
New Testament, however, is the influence they 
exerted upon the personalities of the New Testa- 
ment and the light they throw upon its life and 
thought, the groups we meet in its pages, and the 
ideas there developed. For the full understanding 
of the New Testament, it is not too much to say 
that the Apocrypha are indispensable. As a part 
too of the complete Bible, as a source book for the 
cultural study of art and literature and religion, 
the Apocrypha demand attention. 

The Apocrypha are extremely interesting pieces 
of literature, and deserve a much wider reading and 
a more serious attention than they ordinarily re- 


This book is intended to bring the main facts as 
to the origin of the collection and of the several 
books concisely before the student and the general 
reader, to enable him more readily to gain from 
them what they have to contribute for literature, 
history, and religion. Much that it contains began 
to take shape in a series of lectures on the Apoc- 
rypha I had the honor of delivering at the Cali- 
fornia Institute of Technology in April of this year. 

I am indebted to my brother, Charles T. B. 
Goodspeed, for helping me in reading the proofs. 


June 21, 1939 























INDEX . .... 145 



Most Americans know the Apocrypha, if they 
know them at all, only as some mysterious books 
which they used to see in their grandfather's old 
Family Bible, but which for some unexplained 
reason they do not find in theirs. Three questions 
naturally occur to them: First, What are the Apoc- 
rypha? Second, How did these books get into the 
older Bibles? And third, Once in, how did they get 
out? As these questions inevitably arise' in people's 
minds whenever the Apocrypha are mentioned, 
they must be dealt with at the outset. 

The Apocrypha are the fourteen books that stand 
in old English Bibles between the Old Testament 
and the New. They are I and II Esdras, Tobit, 
Judith, some Additions to Esther, the Wisdom of 
Solomon, Ecclesiasticus or the Wisdom of Sirach, 
Baruch, Susanna, the Song of the Three Children, 
Bel and the Dragon, the Prayer of Manasseh, and 
I and II Maccabees. 

How did these books get into the Bible? 

Christianity made its first considerable progress 
among people of Greek speech and culture, and so 
it used the Greek Old Testament. That was its first 


Bible. It had arisen in Egypt, where Greek-speak- 
ing Jews in the third century before Christ had be- 
gun to translate their Hebrew scriptures into Greek. 
They later translated some books that were not 
scripture and wrote others in Greek. So in the 
Greek religious literature that the early church in- 
herited from Judaism, there were some books that 
the Jews of Palestine never included in their He- 
brew scriptures. 

But it was this larger Greek Bible that the early 
Christians used, though now and then one like 
Melito of Sardis, about A.D. 180, would visit Pales- 
tine and learn that the Jewish scriptures recognized 
there, lacked a number of books he was accustomed 
to find in his Bible. But it was the Greek Bible that 
was presently translated into Latin, so when in A.D. 
382 Pope Damasus commissioned Jerome to revise 
the Latin version of the Bible, and he went back 
to the older Hebrew text, he found that a dozen or 
more of the books in his Latin Bible were not in the 
Hebrew Old Testament of Palestine at all. 

Jerome learned Hebrew, and visited Palestine, 
and lived there for some years. In the east, he ob- 
served that the eastern church was inclined to omit 
these Old Testament books that were not in the 
Hebrew Old Testament from its Bible, although 
they went on being copied with the rest of the Old 
Testament in the great Greek biblical manuscripts 
of the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries. But he 


could hardly omit them from the Latin Bible he was 
revising, for they were regarded in the west as 

So he named them Apocrypha secret or hidden 
books probably having in mind the curious story 
in II Esdras, where Ezra dictates to his five 
amanuenses ninety-four books in forty days, and is 
then told to publish the twenty-four books that he 
had written first, for the worthy and the unworthy 
to read; but to keep the seventy books that were 
written last, to hand down to the wise among his 
people (14:45, 46). The Hebrew scriptures were 
usually reckoned as twenty-two or twenty-four in 
number, and they are evidently meant by the 
twenty-four books that were written first. The un- 
published books were to be a sort of esoteric library 
for only the initiated to use. 

When Jerome called these Jewish books, which 
he found in the Latin and Greek Bibles but not in 
the Hebrew, the Apocrypha, he did not mean to re- 
ject them as spurious, but to rate them as not in- 
spired, but still ecclesiastical, and suitable for a 
limited church use. He left them in the Latin Bible 
where he found them. He did not pick them out of 
it and gather them in a group by themselves. So 
they remained in the Latin Bible when he completed 
his revision of it, and have formed part of the Latin 
Vulgate ever since. 

When in the fourteenth century the Latin Bible 


was translated into German, the translation con- 
tained the Apocrypha scattered through it, just as 
they stood in the Latin text, and when Wyclif and 
Purvey, in 1382-88, made the first English transla- 
tion of the Bible, it was the Latin Bible, including the 
Apocrypha, that they translated. And when about 
the middle of the fifteenth century the Latin Bible 
was first printed, that printing contained the Apoc- 
rypha scattered through it, just as the medieval 
Latin manuscript Bibles had always done. 

The decisive step of gathering the books Jerome 
had called Apocrypha together into a group and 
putting them by themselves at the end of the Old 
Testament was first taken by Martin Luther, in 
1534. In that year he completed his translation of 
the Bible from Greek and Hebrew into German. 
When he had finished the Hebrew Old Testament, 
the Greek Apocrypha still remained, and he trans- 
lated them last, making them the sixth and final 
part of his Bible. By his time even the Greek of one 
book, II Esdras, had disappeared, and he had to 
translate it from the Latin version of it. So it was 
Luther who finally acted upon the suggestion 
Jerome had made eleven hundred years before and 
grouped the Apocrypha by themselves. 

Luther was not enthusiastic about the religious 
value of them, but he left them in his Bible, between 
the Old and New Testaments. And in this he was 
immediately followed by Myles Coverdale, in the 


first printed English Bible, which appeared the next 
year, 1535. Luther's striking innovation in gather- 
ing the Apocrypha out of the Old Testament and 
putting them by themselves was taken up not only 
by Coverdale but from him by all the Protestant 
English Bibles that followed: the Matthew Bible 
of 1537; the Taverner Bible of 1539; the Great 
Bible of 1539, the first Authorized English Bible, 
also the work of Coverdale; the Geneva Bible, pro- 
duced by the Puritans in 1560; the Bishops' Bible, 
the second Authorized, in 1568; and the King 
James, the third Authorized, in 1611. In all these 
the Apocrypha form a group by themselves, follow- 
ing the Old Testament. In the Douai translation 
of the Old Testament, the Catholic version made 
from the Latin Vulgate, and published in 1610, the 
Apocrypha remained scattered through the Old 
Testament, as they still do in the Catholic Bible, 
which is a revision of the Douai. 

But how did the Apocrypha get out of the Bible? 

The earliest of these English Bibles put at the 
beginning of the Apocrypha observations qualifying 
their authority. The Great Bible of 1539 in a pro- 
logue to them quotes with approval Jerome's judg- 
ment that they may be read for the edifying of the 
people, but not to confirm and strengthen the doc- 
trine of the church. /The Geneva Bible of 1560 takes 
a similar position: they are to be read not for doc- 
trine but for "knowledge of the history" and "in- 


struction of godly manners." In the second Author- 
ized Bible, the Bishops' of 1568, however, they are 
introduced with no such qualification, and in the 
third Authorized Bible, the King James of 1611, 
they are headed simply "Apocrypha." Indeed they 
were regarded as so integral a part of the King 
James Bible that George Abbot, one of the New 
Testament workers on that version, after he be- 
came Archbishop of Canterbury issued an ordinance 
that anyone who published the English Bible with- 
out the Apocrypha should be imprisoned for a year. 

But the Puritans had already begun to demand 
copies of their own Geneva version without the 
Apocrypha; they felt not so much the critical objec- 
tion, that these books were not in the Hebrew 
Bible, as the practical one, that they were for the 
most part so sensational in character and on so low a 
moral and religious level. As early as 1599 copies 
of the Geneva Bible began to omit the sheets con- 
taining the Apocrypha, even though the leaf 
numbering which continued through the New 
Testament showed that they had been left out. As 
Sir Frederic Kenyon crisply puts it, "The Puritans 
persecuted the Apocrypha." 

The King James Bible itself, in spite of Arch- 
bishop Abbot's ruling, began in 1629 to appear oc- 
casionally without the Apocrypha, and while the 
Sixth Article of the Church of England definitely 
affirmed that they belonged to the Bible, the Puri- 


tan influence in the rising denominational move- 
ments more and more pushed them into the back- 
ground. This practical rejection of them found ex- 
pression in 1827, in the action of the British and 
American Bible societies declining to use any of the 
funds given them in publishing the Apocrypha. 
Most printings of the King James Bible during the 
century that followed omitted them, and now it is 
difficult to find the Apocrypha in any English 
Bibles except those designed for pulpit use. The 
Cambridge Press has recently issued one, which 
can, it is true, be ordered through a bookstore, but 
few American booksellers have it for sale. Almost 
all the modern publishers of the King James Bible 
tacitly omit the Apocrypha. Yet, whatever may be 
our personal opinions of the Apocrypha, it is a his- 
torical fact that they formed an integral part of 
the King James Version, and any Bible claiming to 
represent that version should either include the 
Apocrypha, or state that it is omitting them. Other- 
wise a false impression is created. "--*_- 
The English Revision Committee organized in 
1870, completed and published the Apocrypha in 
1894, but sometimes printed them in smaller type 
than the Old and New Testament. The American 
Revision Committee did not revise them at all, al- 
though some copies of the American Standard Ver- 
sion include the English Revision of the Apocrypha, 
though in smaller type than the rest of the volume. 


Whatever may be thought of the English Re- 
vised Version of the Old and New Testaments, there 
can be no doubt that the Revised Apocrypha fall 
far below it in quality. Indeed the translation 
of the Apocrypha has always lagged behind that of 
the Old Testament, and especially of the New. 
When Coverdale published his English Bible in 
1535, he frankly described it on the title-page as 
"faithfully and truly translated out of Dutch and 
Latin into English." Coverdale did indeed have 
Tyndale's translation of the New Testament from 
the Greek, and his translation of the first five books 
of the Old Testament from the Hebrew, and these 
he introduced into his Bible. For the rest of the 
Old Testament and for the Apocrypha, however, 
he was dependent upon the German versions of 
Zwingli (1529) and Luther (1534), the Latin Vul- 
gate and the Latin version of Pagninus (1528); he 
made no pretense of translating the Apocrypha 
from the Greek. He simply translated them from 
the Latin, with the aid of these recent German 

The Thomas Matthew Bible of 1537 benefited 
by Tyndale's further work on the Hebrew Old 
Testament which he left half-finished at the time 
of his execution in 1536. For the second half of it 
and for the Apocrypha, that Bible reproduced the 
work of Coverdale. The Great Bible of 1539 was a 
revision by Coverdale of the Thomas Matthew 


Bible, and the Apocrypha in it therefore still rested 
upon the German and Latin versions. 

The makers of the Geneva Bible of 1560 knew 
Greek, however, and were able to revise the Apoc- 
rypha with the aid of that knowledge. Some books 
of it indeed they found so imperfect that they 
actually made their own translations of them from 
the Greek. The Bishops' and King James versions 
simply followed these earlier versions as far as the 
Apocrypha were concerned, revising them cau- 
tiously in the light of the Greek. 

The quality of the English in the King James 
Apocrypha is definitely inferior to that in the rest 
of that version. It abounds in such renderings as: 

Artaxerxes his letters [I Esd. 2:30], 

He sticketh not to spend his life with his wife 

[I Esd. 4:21], 

All men do well like of her works [I Esd. 4:39], 
And now is all Israel aloft [I Esd. 8:92], 
That leaveth his flock in the hands of cruel wolves 

[II Esd. 5:18], 

Whiles the lion spake these words [II Esd. 12:1], 
They slept both that night [Tob. 8:9], 
He will speak submissly [Ecclus. 29:5], 
Cocker thy child [Ecclus. 30:9], 
They took great indignation [Bel 28], 
It would have pitied a man to see [II Mace. 3:21], 
Not long afore [II Mace. 10:6], 
With proud brags [II Mace. 15:32]. 

This neglect on the part of the Apocrypha com- 
mittee of 1604-11 prepares us to understand the 


similar want of concern for the Apocrypha exhibited 
by the English revisers of 1870-94. Most of the 
above readings and many more like them persist in 
that revision. But of course it was no part of the 
plan of revision to remove the archaisms of the old 
translations; on the contrary, the rule was that if 
a rendering had to be changed, English as old as 
King James or older should be employed. 

On the other hand, it must be recognized that for 
some books the revisers found even revision inade- 
quate and virtually translated the books in question 
from Greek into English. Yet it remains true that 
a considerable part of the English Revised Version 
still rests upon the Latin version Coverdale first 
translated for his Bible of 1535. 

The aversion to translating the Apocrypha from 
the Greek is curiously illustrated by the transla- 
tions of the Septuagint made in the nineteenth cen- 
ury: the first by Charles Thomson, in 1808, and 
the second by Sir Lancelot Brenton, in 1844. One 
translation was made in America, and one in Eng- 
land, and Brenton had not seen Thomson's, al- 
though he had heard of it; but both omit the 
Apocrypha from their versions. 

Not less surprising is the procedure of the group 
of scholars organized by Dr. R. H. Charles to pro- 
duce the two large volumes, The Apocrypha and 
Pseudepigrapha, published at Oxford in 1913. While 
more than half of them produced new English 


translations of the individual books assigned to 
them, a minority contented themselves with re- 
printing the English Revised Version. So while 
individual books have here and there been trans- 
lated by highly competent scholars, there has been 
no translation of the Greek Apocrypha directly into 
English throughout, until the American translation 
of 1938. 

This neglect is all the more strange in view of the 
literary character of much of the Apocrypha. To 
the lively narratives and crisp epigrams in which 
the Apocrypha abound, the archaisms of sixteenth- 
century English are no longer appropriate, and the 
familiar arguments for the standard translations, 
that their language is so poetic and so familiar, and 
so freighted with religious associations, certainly 
have no bearing here. Very few people nowadays 
know what the Apocrypha are, much less what 
they have to say. Certainly the Apocrypha offer a 
fair field for retranslation, especially when it is 
remembered that they have so long remained un- 
translated directly from Greek into English. 

It has been well said that no one can have the 
complete Bible as a source book for the cultural 
study of art, literature, and religion without the 
Apocrypha, and as an aid to understanding the New 
Testament the Apocrypha are simply indispensable. 
How did they originate and what are their contribu- 
tions to history, literature, morality, and religion? 



1 . What are the Apocrypha? 

2. Name them. 

3. Who first called them by this name? 

4. What did he mean by it? 

5. Who first separated them from the Old Testament 

6. How did they come to have a place in the King James 

7. To what text or version do the standard English trans- 
lations of the Apocrypha ultimately go back? 

8. What translations of the Greek Old Testament were 
made in the last century? 

9. What was their attitude to the Apocrypha? 

10. What did the English revisers do with the Apocrypha? 

11. What did the American revisers do with them? 

12. How did the Puritans treat the Apocrypha? 

13. Have the Apocrypha been in all the four Authorized 
English Bibles, from the Great to the English Revised? 

14. What is the attitude of the Bible societies to the 



Of all the Apocrypha the earliest in date is the 
Book of Tobit, written about 200 B.C. Tobit is the 
ideal Jew. In times when Greek ideals were coming 
into fashion, Greeks and Jews too needed to be 
reminded of the strong features of the Jewish char- 
acter. Progressive young Jews had to be kept in 
line, and heathen made to see the values of Judaism, 
as a way of life. 

So early in the second century before Christ 
some Jew in Egypt wrote the Story of Tobit, to 
exalt the Jewish ideal in the eyes of Jews and Gen- 
tiles alike. For the Jews in Egypt were already at 
work to win recognition and if possible acceptance 
of their ideals from the peoples among whom they 
lived. They were translating their Hebrew scrip- 
tures into Greek, to make their religion and their 
culture known in the stirring Greek world in which 
they found themselves in Egypt. It is as a part of 
*fchis missionary movement in Egyptian Judaism, 
\m the days of the first Ptolemies, that Tobit must 
be understood. It was probably written in Greek, 
for the movement of which it was a part was putting 
Hebrew literature into Greek, and would hardly 



express itself in the language from which Egyptian 
Judaism was so pointedly turning away. 

Tobit is represented as a Jew of Galilee, in the 
eighth century before Christ. He does not join in 
the idolatry of the northern kingdom, but goes to 
Jerusalem to the feasts, taking three-tenths of his 
income to distribute there. With the rest of Israel, 
he is carried into captivity by the Assyrians; but in 
Nineveh he gains the king's favor and becomes his 
buyer. He lays up money, and deposits it with a 
friend in Ragae, in Media, With the accession of 
Sennacherib, his fortunes change. His pious prac- 
tice of burying the bodies of the king's Jewish vic- 
tims offends the king, and Tobit is stripped of his 
property and has to flee for his life. 

Tinder Sennacherib's successor, Esarhaddon, To- 
bit is recalled to Nineveh, through his nephew 
Ahikar, who had become the new king's vizier. He 
at once resumes his pious practice of burying the 
neglected dead, and in consequence of his scrupu- 
lous devotion to the ceremonial law contracts blind- 
ness. Ahikar is transferred to Elymais, and Tobit 
becomes dependent on his wife's labor for support. 
They quarrel, and Tobit in his humiliation prays 
for death. 

Meantime far away in Ecbatana, in Media, an- 
other was offering the same prayer. It was Sarah, 
a kinswoman of Tobit. She had been given in mar- 
riage to seven husbands in succession, and each one 


had been killed in the bridal chamber by the demon 
Asmodeus. The taunts of her maids drive her to 
despair, and she too prays for death. 

It now occurs to Tobit to recover the money he 
had deposited with his friend in Ragae, so long be- 
fore, and he decides to send his son Tobias to get it. 
Feeling that he is sending him out to face the world 
alone, he gives him a series of paternal admonitions, 
and then directs him to find a traveling companion 
and guide for the journey. He finds a certain 
Azariah, who is the angel Raphael in disguise, and 
they set off for Ragae. Lodging beside the Tigris 
on their way, they catch a large fish, and Tobias, in- 
structed by his guide, preserves its heart, liver, and 
gall, and takes them with him. At Ecbatana they 
visit Sarah's father Raguel, who is a kinsman of 
Tobit, and Tobias, who has been told Sarah's story 
by his guide, asks for her hand. Raguel tells him 
what has happened to her seven husbands, but 
Raphael has told Tobias how to deal with the 
demon, and he insists upon marrying her. That 
night, when the demon approaches them, Tobias 
takes the ashes of the incense and puts the heart and 
liver of the fish on them and makes a smoke, and 
this drives the demon to the uttermost parts of 
Upper Egypt, where the angel binds him. Tobias 
and Sarah pray together and fall asleep. Two weeks 
of marriage feasting follow, in the midst of which 
Tobias sends Amriah on to Ragae to get Tobit's 


money. When he returns with it and the days of 
feasting are over, Raguel insists upon dividing his 
property with his son-in-law, and Tobias and his 
wife set out with Raphael for Nineveh. 

Meantime Tobit and his wife have become 
alarmed over Tobias 7 prolonged absence, and 
anxiously await his return. When he comes, under 
the angel's direction he restores his father's sight 
with the gall of the fish, and there is a happy re- 
union. The old people welcome their daughter-in- 
law, and a second marriage feast, of seven days, is 
held. When they offer Tobias' guide a present, he 
makes himself known as Raphael, one of the seven 
holy angels, admonishes them to prayer, fasting, 
charity, and uprightness, and vanishes from their 
sight. Tobit bursts into a song of praise, and pre- 
dicts that Jerusalem will be rebuilt in splendor. He 
lives to a great age, and dies bidding his son move 
to Media. Tobias obeys his father's dying wish, and 
lives to hear of Nineveh's destruction. (1 

Persian and Egyptian influences are marked in 
Tobit. Its author was not afraid to incorporate ma- 
terials from the pagan world; it is not impossible 
that he wrote in part to counteract an Egyptian 
work, "The Tractate of Khons," which told how, 
with the aid of that Theban deity, a demon had 
been cast out of a princess. Part of its action, like 
part of Tobit's, is laid in Ecbatana. The writer's 
ignorance of the geography of western Asia would 


not be strange in Egypt; he speaks as though the 
Tigris were east of Nineveh, on the way to Ecba- 
tana (6:1), as the Greeks supposed, when in fact 
Nineveh lay on the east bank of that river. The use 
made of the organs of the fish resembles some prac- 
tices of Egyptian medicine. The Story of Ahikar, 
which so influenced Tobit, was well known in Egypt. 

But the Persian influence is even more marked. 
The appearance of angels and demons is a new 
development in Judaism and reflects Persian re- 
ligion, probably in the Magian stage of its develop- 
ment. Asmodeus is Aeshma Daeva of Persian de- 
monology, and the dog that follows Tobias on his 
travels recalls the dog that attends the Persian 
Sraosha. The dog was a sacred animal in Zoro- 
astrianism, but dogs were generally despised by 
the Jews; they did not regard dogs as companions 
and friends, but as scavengers and outcasts. So 
the writer gathered his materials from wide and 
varied fields, and wrote with Greek breadth in 
Egypt, where under the Ptolemies Greek and Jew- 
ish currents met and mingled. 

Tobit is a religious romance, intended for the 
general reader and admirably suited to interest and 
instruct him. That it begins in the first person and 
presently lapses into the third is nothing strange 
in a time when the author of Daniel begins in He- 
brew, lapses into Aramaic in 2:4, and quietly re- 
turns to Hebrew in 8 : i. The writer's art is not per- 


feet, but he has told a good story, and clothed it 
with religious meaning: God does not forget his 
servants. Yet there are also unmistakable touches 
of humor in Tobit, as when Raphael says to Tobit, 
"Are you in search of a tribe and family, or a hired 
man to go with your son?" and when Tobias begs 
to be excused from the risk involved in marrying 
Sarah, solely on account of the grief it would cause 
his parents if he were to die (6: 14). 

While the action is represented as taking place in 
the eighth and seventh centuries before Christ, be- 
fore and after the Fall of the Northern Kingdom, 
the book was probably written early in the second 
century before Christ, but before the Maccabean 
uprising which began about 166 B.C. And yet the 
writer of Tobit has many Pharisaic traits : "belief in 
angels and demons, regard for Law and scripture, 
clean foods, and ceremonial ablutions; emphasis 
upon charity, fasting, and prayer; going beyond the 
Law in setting aside not one but three tenths of 
one's income for the purposes of the pilgrimage to 
Jerusalem. Certainly this was the religious ideal of 
those Jewish saints who soon after rallied about the 
Maccabees, and later became the Pharisees. 

The influence of Tobit on the New Testament is 
very marked. It prepares us for the very specific 
demonology and angelology of the gospels and the 
Revelation. Gabriel and Michael are, like Raphael, 
among the seven holy angels (12 : 15). Tobit 's pious 


practice of burying the neglected dead prepares us 
to understand the action of Joseph of Arimathea in 
the gospels. The Sadducees' story of the woman 
who had had seven husbands and no children re- 
minds the reader of Sarah and her seven husbands. 
Tobit's dream of the future glory of Jerusalem with 
walls of precious stones and battlements of gold pre- 
pares us for the picture of the New Jerusalem in the 

In the Latin Vulgate version of Tobit and hence 
in the earliest English Bibles Tobias and Sarah are 
described as giving the first three nights after their 
marriage to religious exercise and postponing their 
wedlock until the fourth, and so this became the 
practice of religious people in the Middle Ages. 


1. Read the Book of Tobit through in one or more 

2. What do you think of its religious level? 

3. What was its purpose? 

4. Where was it written? 

5. What sources contributed to it? 

6. How does Tobit resemble the Pharisee of later times? 

7. In what period is the action placed? 

8. Who is meant by Asmodeus? 

9. What literary value has the story? 

10. What literary weaknesses does it exhibit? 

11. What is its social ideal? 

12. What is its religious ideal? 



In the first quarter of the second century before 
Christ there lived in Jerusalem a Hebrew sage or 
wise man of great sagacity and sense. His name was 
Jeshua the son of Sirach, or Sira. While he culti- 
vated the proverbial style so familiar to us from 
the books of Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes, and al- 
most worshiped the pursuit of wisdom, in which he 
found a reflection and disclosure of the will of God, 
fit to stand side by side with the Law itself, he also 
appreciated as few had ever done the beauty of the 
Temple ceremonial, with its stately priests and 
chanting choirs. He was a man in fact of great 
breadth and insight, for he perceived the religious 
character of man's daily work, and said of the 
farmer, the jeweler, the smith, and the potter that 
they support the fabric of the world, and their 
prayer is in the practice of their trade. He was alive 
to the beauty of nature, the morning star, the full 
moon, the rainbow, the rose, the lily, and the cy- 
press. He saw the clouds flying out like birds, the 
snow falling like birds fluttering down, the hoar- 
frost poured over the earth like salt, or freezing into 


points of thorns, and the water putting on the ice 
like a breastplate. 

He was no less keenly alive to the comradeship 
of his fellow-men, and must have gone to many a 
banquet in Jerusalem. He tells quaintly and even 
humorously of how one should behave at such af- 
fairs, if one is asked to preside, or speak; how one 
should converse, eat, and take one's leave. It was 
evidently the practice to have speaking and music 
at these dinners, for one is not to prolong his re- 
marks if a musical entertainment is to follow. One 
is to be polite in conversation, and considerate in 
one's table manners, not to be the first to help him- 
self, but the first to leave off, for good manners' 

The old sage had a high opinion of the physician 
and his services, and a real regard for the working- 
man's right to prompt payment for his work. Yet 
he believed in beating a lazy or disobedient servant, 
and in corporal punishment for his children. He had 
a keen sense of the disadvantages under which a 
poor man labors, and of the partiality generally 
shown to the rich. 

With much practical commbn sense, this sage of 
old Jerusalem combines a great deal of moral and 
of religious insight. Jewish wisdom was general- 
ly religious in tone. Children are to honor their 
parents by providing for their necessities. But a 
father should not divide his property among his 


children before his death, for he cannot be sure how 
this may alter their behavior to him. While Jeshua 
fully appreciates the value of a good wife, his gen- 
eral view of woman is low, and he regards a daugh- 
ter almost as a calamity there are so many ways in 
which she may bring disgrace upon her father! 

Jeshua has a great deal to say about the responsi- 
bilities of friendship; one must never forsake an old 
friend. One must give freely to charity, but not 
spoil the gift by harsh or thoughtless words. What 
a man says matters a great deal, and the mouth 
needs careful discipline. Life and death, the family 
and society, parents and children, employers and 
employees, friends and neighbors, rich and poor, 
loans and sureties, thrift and extravagance, prayer 
and charity, feasting and mourning these and 
many other matters are keenly handled, though not 
always humanely or with refinement. In fact al- 
most every aspect of ancient conduct and behavior 
is discussed in the book, but with no especial plan 
or system. One feels that its parts were written at 
different times, as the writer's interest and observa- 
tion moved him, and gradually accumulated in his 
hands until they formed the book we know, which is 
really a collection of all the poetic and proverbial 
pieces written by Jeshua in the course of his mature 
life. So it presents a fine and full picture of the 
Jewish ideal of life at the beginning of the second 
century before Christ. 


Jeshua must have been the leading sage of 
Jerusalem in his day. But he was also a traveled 
man. It was perhaps the contact with Greek ways 
of thinking to which these travels had led that 
moved him to associate uprightness with wisdom, 
as Jewish Wisdom literature generally sought to 
do. He speaks at the very end of his book of how he 
had prayed for wisdom, when he was very young, be- 
fore he went on his wanderings (51 : 13) ; and there 
is probably something autobiographical about his 
picture of the life of the ideal sage: 

He will serve among great men, 
And appear before rulers. 

He will travel through the lands of strange peoples, 
And test what is good and what is evil among men 

Jeshua may have visited Egypt and Syria as an 
emissary of his people, and he may refer to per- 
sonal experiences in those courts when he says : 

I have seen much in my travels, 

And I understand more than I can describe; 

I have often been in danger of death, 

But I have been saved by these qualities [34: n, 12]. 

An unrighteous tongue uttered slander to the king; 

My soul drew nigh to death, 

And my life was near to Hades beneath; .... 

Then I remembered your mercy, Lord, .... 

And I sent up my supplication from the earth, .... 

And my prayer was heard, 

For you saved me from destruction .... [51 : 


Jeshua found great satisfaction in the dignity and 
beauty of the Temple service and ritual, as con- 
ducted by his friend Simon the high priest: 

How glorious he was, surrounded by the people, 

As he came out of the sanctuary! 

Like the morning star among the clouds, 

Like the moon when it is full; 

Like the sun shining forth upon the sanctuary of the 

Most High; .... 

When he assumed his glorious robe, 
And put on glorious perfection, 
And when he went up to the holy altar, 
He made the court of the sanctuary glorious 

[50:5-7, n]. 

There is no mistaking the genuine enthusiasm for 
the ritual and the high priest in these lines. 

The construction of new foundations for the 
Temple inclosure, a large cistern, and fortifications 
for the city which Sirach ascribes to Simon (50: 1-4) 
can hardly be the improvements Josephus describes 
as authorized by Antiochus the Great on his visit to 
Jerusalem after his victory over Egypt in the battle 
of Panion in 198 B.C., for Simon died a year or two 
before that date. But it is possible that the work, 
undertaken under Simon, Antiochus ordered com- 

Jeshua must have written down his Wisdom 
from time to time, for it is quite unorganized and 
miscellaneous. The book as we have it seems to be his 
accumulated writings of this kind, loosely put to- 


gether. He wrote of course in Hebrew, but the 
original Hebrew of his book no longer exists. The 
considerable Hebrew portions of Ecclesiasticus, 
amounting to about two- thirds of the whole, that 
have come to light in recent years in medieval 
manuscripts are probably retranslations of it from 
Greek back into its original tongue, not genuine 
remains of the original Hebrew. But half a century 
after he had finished his book, his grandson, in the 
thirty-eighth year of King Euergetes (132 B.C.), went 
down into Egypt, and there observing the current 
movement to translate Jewish literature into Greek, 
felt that his grandfather's voice too ought to be 
heard, and translated the book into Greek. 

It must have been about 130 B.C. or soon after 
that this work of translation was done. The trans- 
lator apologizes for any possible shortcomings in 
his translation, because as he says, "Things once 
expressed in Hebrew do not have the same force in 
them when put into another language; and not only 
this book, but the Law itself, and the prophecies, 
and the rest of the books, differ not a little in trans- 
lation from the original.' 7 It is evident from this re- 
mark that when Jeshua's grandson made his trans- 
lation the work of putting the Hebrew scriptures 
into Greek was largely done. Just why it was called 
Ecclesiasticus in Greek is a question; perhaps as the 
ecclesiastical book par excellence, or perhaps under 
the influence of the name of Ecclesiastes. 


The time at which the Wisdom of Sirach was 
written can also be gathered from the fact that it 
gives no indication that the king of Syria was try- 
ing to force the Jews to give up the observance of 
the Law and adopt Greek ways of living the 
policy that led to the Maccabean revolt in 1 66 B.C. 
And the long account of the heroes of Jewish his- 
tory that fills the latter part of the book, chapters 
44-50, culminates in the great high priest Simon, 
son of Onias, who died in 200 B.C. After that date 
therefore and before 175 Jeshua probably finished 
writing his Wisdom, which his grandson translated 
into Greek half a century later. 

Jeshua was fond of music; not only in the Temple 
of the Lord where 

The singers too praised him with their voices ; 
They made sweet music in the fullest volume [50: 18]. 

but at dinners, where the speaking must not inter- 
fere with the music (32:3), for 

A carbuncle signet in a gold setting 

Is a musical concert at a banquet. 

An emerald signet richly set in gold 

Is the melody of music with the taste of wine [32 : 5, 6]. 

He had a sense of humor : 

If you hear something said, let it die with you! 
Have courage, it will not make you burst [19: 10]. 


One man keeps silence because he has nothing to say, 
And another keeps silence because he knows it is 

the time for it 

One man buys much for little, 

And yet pays for it seven times over [20:6, 12]. 

A man who lectures to a fool lectures to one who 

is dozing, 
And at the conclusion he will say, "What was it?" 


Sand and salt and a lump of iron 
Are easier to bear than a man without understanding 

Who pities a snake-charmer when he is bitten, 

Or all those who have to do with wild animals? 

In the same way who will pity a man who approaches 

a sinner, 
And mingles with his sins [12:13, 14]? 

A cheerful face is a sign of a happy heart, 
But it takes painstaking thought to compose prov- 
erbs [13:26]! 

Jeshua is suspicious of the man who has no fixed 
abode no address, as we say: 

For who will trust an active robber 
Who bounds from one city to another? 
So who will trust a man who has no nest, 
And spends the night wherever evening overtakes 
him [36:26]? 


His reflections range from the amusing to the pro- 

The bee is one of the smallest of winged creatures, 
But what she produces is the greatest of sweets [11:3]. 

One man toils and labors and hurries, 
And is all the worse ofl [n : n]. 

Count no one happy before his death [n : 28]. 

For a man's soul is sometimes wont to bring him news 
Better than seven watchmen sitting high on a watch- 
tower [37:14]. 

Where there are many hands, lock things up [42 : 6], 

He has much to say about after-dinner speaking : 

Speak concisely; say much in few words; 
Act like a man who knows more than he says 

Prepare what you have to say, and then you will 
be listened to [33 14]. 

He knew the worth of a servant: 

If you have a servant, treat him like a brother, 
For you need him as you do your own life [33 131]. 

And the insecurity of kings : 

Many sovereigns have had to sit on the ground, 
While a man who was never thought of has assumed 
the diadem [n : 5]. 

And then, speaking of the Lord: 
Where man ends, he begins, 
And when man stops, will he be perplexed [18:7]? 


The longest continuous section of the Wisdom of 
Sirach is the Praise of Famous Men, chapters 44-50. 
The introduction to it is the best-known passage 
in the Apocrypha: 

Let us now praise distinguished men, 

Our forefathers before us .... 

Men who exercised authority in their reigns, 

And were renowned for their might! .... 

Leaders of the people in deliberation and un- 

Men of learning for the people, 

Wise in their words of instruction; 

Composers of musical airs, 

Authors of poems in writing; .... 

All these were honored in their generation, 

And were a glory in their day 

Peoples will recite their wisdom, 

And the congregation declare their praise 

He goes on to characterize briefly a long series of 
Hebrew worthies from Enoch, Noah, and Abraham 
down to Zerubbabel and Nehemiah, and finally the 
great high priest Simon, his contemporary and 
friend. One might almost think the whole was a 
funeral oration, in poetic form, for Simon. The 
omission of Ezra from the list has been remarked, 
and may mean that Jeshua did not approve of the 
rising scribal type of Judaism. 

The Wisdom of Sirach is the longest book of Jew- 
ish wisdom that we possess, and is further remark- 


able as coming as a whole from the mind of one 
man. So it constitutes an authentic full-length 
portrait of a great Jewish sage, of wide experience, 
sound feeling, and deep piety, from the last genera- 
tion before the Maccabean war. Its remarkable 
variety of subject and its sustained vigor and pene- 
tration make it a work of unfailing interest and in- 


1. Read Ecclesiasticus through. 

2. What most impresses you about it? 

3. Do you observe any particular plan of organization? 

4. How do you explain this? 

5. What religious message does it convey? 

6. Was the writer interested in the temple ritual? 

7. Was he sympathetic with the scribal movement? 

8. Was he a man of wide experience or travel? 

9. When did he write and where? 

10. What seems to have been his social position? 

11. Had he any literary gifts? 

12. What picture of himself and his tastes does the writer 

13. What do you think the finest parts of the book? 

14. How did the book come to be preserved? 


When the Syrian kings were trying, with the co- 
operation of a Jewish party already attracted by 
Greek civilization, to impose Greek customs upon 
the Jews of Palestine, about 168 B.C., forcing them 
to give up circumcision, destroying copies of the 
Law wherever they found them, and breaking up 
their Temple service, the deeply pious Jews, the 
predecessors of the Pharisees of later days, felt it 
most keenly. In those dark days one of them com- 
posed a prayer of penitence, which has come down 
to us imbedded in the Greek version of the Book of 
Daniel. It is the Prayer of Azariah. The agonizing 
situation it reflects had come about in the following 

The conquests of Alexander the Great had 
enormously extended the influence of Greek civil- 
ization, and his successors carried on this work. It 
became the fashion all over the Near East to adopt 
Greek speech, sports, dress, arts, ideas, and cus- 
toms. The lands about the eastern Mediterranean 
were rapidly being Hellenized. 

The Jews had long resisted such pressure, which 
they saw threatened their religion as well as their 



habits, but some even of them were beginning to 
yield to Greek influences, when the accession of a 
new king of Syria reinforced the Hellenizing influ- 
ences and made continued Jewish isolation ap- 
parently impossible. Judea was subject to Syria, 
and Antiochus Epiphanes, becoming king of Syria 
in 175 B.C., resolved to raise his whole realm to the 
level of Greek civilization. Some Jews co-operated 
with him in this campaign, but most of them re- 
fused to relinquish their cherished faith and prac- 
tices. His efforts culminated in the sacking and 
desecration of the Temple and the erection of an 
altar to Zeus on the great altar of burnt offering, 
the "dreadful desecration" spoken of in Daniel. 

These misguided efforts to impose Greek fashions 
upon the Jews called forth violent opposition on the 
part of the pious party, the Chasidim, devout ad- 
herents of the Law, who became the Pharisees of 
later days, and also of the patriotic party, who 
came to be called the Hasmoneans, from an ancestor 
of the family which assumed their leadership. For 
when the agent of Antiochus went to a little town 
called Modin to enforce participation in heathen 
sacrifices and compel leading citizens to eat pork, 
an old priest named Mattathias and his sons re- 
sisted his efforts and killed him, and then fled to 
inaccessible parts of the wilderness. From these re- 
treats they rallied their sympathizers, and organ- 
ized such successful resistance that in a little more 


than two years they reoccupied Jerusalem and re- 
dedicated the Temple. 

The heroic story of the Maccabean struggle, as it 
was called from the name of Mattathias' most war- 
like son Judas Maccabeus, was told long afterward 
in I Maccabees, but out of the days of the conflict 
came the Book of Daniel, about 165 B.C. And when 
Daniel was translated into Greek many years later, 
some additions were made to it; among them what 
we know as the Prayer of Azariah and the Song of 
the Three Children, which were inserted after Dan. 
3 :2 3- 

The Prayer of Azariah (vss. 1-21) was probably 
composed in Hebrew, by one of these Jewish 
Puritans in the darkest days of religious oppression 
just before the outbreak of armed resistance on the 
part of Judas Maccabeus and his brothers. It sees 
in the miseries of the Jews the judgment of God 
upon them for their wickedness and disobedience: 

All that you have brought upon us, 

And all that you have done to us, 

You have done in justice. 

You have handed us over to enemies without law, 

to hateful rebels, 
And to a ruthless king, the most wicked ruler in 

all the world, 

Yet we cannot open our mouths 

And now there is no prince, or prophet, or leader, 
No burnt offering, or sacrifice, or offering, or incense, 
No place to make an offering before you, or to find 



The Temple worship had evidently been discon- 
tinued and the altar profaned, and this enables us 
to fix the date as between 168 and 165 B.C. 

This great prayer of penitence and entreaty is 
one of the enduring contributions of the Apocrypha 
to liturgy. It was afterward introduced into the 
Greek translations of the Book of Daniel partly for 
its own sake and partly perhaps to permit a Jew 
to take the lead in blessing and glorifying God and 
not leave it to the heathen king Nebuchadnezzar, 
3 : 28. Putting the prayer before the story of the de- 
liverance of Azariah and his companions from the 
fiery furnace has also the effect of making their de- 
liverance an answer to his prayer : 

Deliver us in your wonderful way, 
And glorify your name, Lord [vs. 19]. 

Another relic of these stirring days is the Song 
of the Three Children, described in the Book of 
Daniel as thrown into the fiery furnace, for their 
faithfulness to their ancestral religion. It too is the 
work of one who had agonized through the days of 
persecution and now, when the Temple was rededi- 
cated and the new altar built, felt all the tremen- 
dous reaction of joy and gratitude. It is a splendid 
hymn of thanksgiving, doubtless composed in He- 
brew in the days of the Maccabean triumph, 
toward the middle of the second century before 
Christ. It was evidently incorporated into the Book 
of Daniel when that book was translated into 


Greek, and in the Greek Daniel it follows the Prayer 
of Azariah. It obviously owes much to Ps. 148: 

Praise the Lord from the earth, 

Sea-monsters and all deeps! 

Fire and hail, snow and fog, 

Stormy wind, fulfilling his word! 

Mountains and all hills, 

Fruit-trees and all cedars! 

Wild beasts and all cattle, 

Reptiles and winged birds [vss. 7-10] ! 

Its striking antiphonal character recalls Ps. 136; 
with its oft repeated refrain, so familiar in the tra- 
ditional form: 

For his mercy endureth forever. 

It has been much used in public worship, in 
Roman and English churches, and still lives in 
Christian liturgy as the Benedicite of the prayer- 
book. It suggests, and perhaps suggested, St. 
Francis 7 great Canticle of the Sun: 

Praised be my Lord God with all his creatures, and 
specially our brother the sun, .... 

Praised be my Lord God for our sister the moon, and for 
the stars which he has set clear and lovely in heaven. 

Praised be my Lord for my brother the wind, and for air 
and cloud, calms and all weather. 

In it the worshiper calls upon all the forces of 
nature waters, sun, moon, stars, rain, wind, fire, 
cold, light, and darkness, clouds and mountains, 
seas and rivers, whales, birds, and beasts to join 
men and angels in praising God. "In this hymn of 


adoration man undertakes, as Nature's priest and 
spokesman, to give utterance to the silent service 
of worship which the earth, through all its gradu- 
ated activities, without speech or language, forever 
fulfils." 1 In Ps. 136 the refrain is repeated twenty- 
six times. But in the Song, the refrain or response, 
Sing praise to him and greatly exalt him forever, 

occurs thirty-two times, which makes it the most 
extended hymn in this style in the whole Bible. 

We may think of it as first used in the days of 
Judas Maccabeus' brother and successor Jonathan, 
toward the middle of the second century before 
Christ, when in the rededicated Temple they might 
well sing 

Blessed are you in the temple of your holy glory, 


r. References: 'Bumpus, Dictionary of Ecclesiastical 
Terms (1911), p. 33. 

2. What situation is reflected in the Prayer of Azariah? 

3. What is the religious attitude of the Prayer? 

4. To what party did the writer belong? 

5. Why was it introduced into Daniel? 

6. What situation called forth the Song of the Three 

7. To what type of psalm does it belong? 

8. What is its theme? 

9. What older psalm influenced its writer? 

10. What place has it in modern worship? 

11. Is it appropriate in its place in Daniel? 

12. When were these additions probably introduced into 
the Book of Daniel? 


The recovery of Jerusalem and the restoration of 
the Temple worship by Judas Maccabeus and his 
followers naturally reminded the Jews of similar 
events in their history long before, when after their 
exile in Babylon they had come back and rebuilt 
the Temple and revived its worship. So it came 
about that a Jew in Egypt, inspired by the stirring 
events of the Maccabean struggle and keenly in 
sympathy with the scribal Judaism that Ezra had 
founded, wrote in Greek an imaginative account of 
those earlier restorations of Jerusalem, embellishing 
the history with legend and folklore as the Jews out 
in the Greek world delighted to do, and making it 
all culminate in the scribal activity of Ezra, reading 
and explaining the Law to the returned exiles. 

He was one of those Greek-speaking Jews of 
Egypt who were anxious to make their history and 
culture known to the great Greek world of which 
they had become a part, and he wrote his book with 
that intention. He based his narrative upon parts 
of Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah, but he did not 
know them in their Greek forms. Probably they 
had not yet been translated into Greek, for he 



wrote about the middle of the second century be- 
fore Christ, in the midst of that great Jewish move- 
ment to get Jewish literature into the Greek lan- 
guage and Jewish history and institutions before the 
Greek world of which the Greek version of the Old 
Testament was to be the most commanding mon- 
ument. But he enriched his narrative with the 
delightful story of the Three Guardsmen, an un- 
mistakable bit of folklore, which marks his book 
as unquestionably composed in Greek. 

The story begins with an account of Josiah's 
great celebration of the Passover in 621 B.C., when 
he reformed the Jewish religion after the half- 
heathen reigns of Manasseh and Amon. It goes on 
to describe the collapse of the Jewish nation, para- 
phrasing the account in Chronicles. Passing lightly 
over the years of the Exile, it resumes with the 
proclamation of Cyrus, king of Persia (538 B.C.), 
permitting the Jews to return home. Sheshbazzar 
heads the returning exiles, taking with him all the 
fifty-four hundred and sixty-nine dishes that Nebu- 
chadnezzar had taken from the Temple when he 
despoiled it. 

The narrative goes on to say that in the time of 
Artaxerxes (465-425 B.C.) the Samaritans and other 
hostile neighbors of the returning Jews persuaded 
the king to stop the rebuilding of the Temple, and it 
proceeds to tell how in the second year of Darius 
(520 B.C.) its resumption was authorized. 


This came about in the following dramatic man- 
ner. Three members of the king's bodyguard on 
duty in his antechamber were keeping themselves 
awake by debating what was the strongest thing in 
the world. One said wine, another, the king, and 
the third, woman, though truth was really 
strongest of all. They wrote these answers down 
and put them under the king's pillow, so that he 
might decide between them when he awoke. But he 
submitted the question to his courtiers and called 
upon the three to defend their answers. The de- 
cision of the company was unanimous for truth; 
"Truth/' they all shouted, "is great and supremely 
strong." The third guardsman was asked to name 
the reward he most wanted. He turned out to be 
Zerubbabel and asked to be allowed to rebuild the 

The story goes on to tell the number and an- 
cestry of the exiles who then proceeded with Zerub- 
babel to Jerusalem to revive the ancient Jewish 
worship there, Zerubbabel and his party reached 
Jerusalem, carrying back the gold dishes Nebu- 
chadnezzar had taken from the Temple almost 
seventy years before. They began to rebuild the 
Temple, in the face of protests from neighboring 
governors, but the king had the records of the 
matter looked up in the Persian archives and found 
that Cyrus had authorized the rebuilding of it at 
the beginning of his reign. Four years after, the 


Temple was finished and dedicated just seventy 
years after its destruction as Jeremiah had proph- 
esied (i : 58) and the returned exiles celebrated the 
Passover with rejoicing. 

More than a century later, in the seventh year of 
Artaxerxes, 397 B.C. (for Artaxerxes II is proba- 
bly meant), Ezra the scribe came from Babylon to 
Jerusalem with another company of returning 
exiles, including priests, Levites, and Temple at- 
tendants. Ezra carried a commission from the king, 
and takes up the story in the first person, just as he 
does in Ezra 7:27, 28. He gives the names of the 
leading men of his party, secures a reinforcement of 
priests, and carries a large sum of money and a 
quantity of Temple dishes of gold and silver. 

Arrived in Jerusalem Ezra is horrified to learn 
that the Jewish people, including priests and lead- 
ers, have been intermarrying with non-Israelites. 
He rouses them to repentance, and they promise to 
cast off their foreign wives, and do so. The new 
colony settles in the country, a great meeting is 
held, and Ezra and his assistants read the Law 
aloud and explain it to the congregation. So the 
story ends, with Israel restored to its land and re- 
suming its long-interrupted religious life, with the 
Law and the Temple. 

It will be observed that the book records three 
returns of Jewish exiles, one in 538 B.C, or soon after, 
headed by Sheshbazzar; one in 520 B.C., headed by 


Zerubbabel; and one in 397 B.C., headed by Ezra, 
and curiously enough each one brings back the long- 
lost sacred dishes which Nebuchadnezzar had tak- 
en from the Temple when he sacked it (2:12; 
4:44, 57; 8:60). 

It is clear that the narrative is based directly 
upon II Chronicles, chapters 35, 36; Ezra i; 4: 7-24 
(after which the story of the Three Guardsmen is 
introduced); 2:1-70; 3:1 4:5; 4:24 10:44 (the 
end of Ezra); and Neh. 7:73 8:12. Practically 
nothing is added to what is supplied by these 
parts of Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah, except 
the Guardsmen story in I Esd. 3:1 5:6. 

The closeness with which the Hebrew of II 
Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah is followed by 
I Esdras where it uses them, makes it very im- 
probable that those books had been translated into 
Greek when it was written, and the inclusion of the 
folk tale of the Three Guardsmen shows that I 
Esdras is no translation from the Hebrew but was 
written in Greek; its view of woman and her posi- 
tion is entirely alien to Jewish ideas, for the woman 
who is praised in I Esdras is not the docile house- 
wife of Jewish lore but the captivating beauty of 
Greek romance. The whole story is thoroughly 
pagan in tone. The Three Choices Wine, King, 
Woman form a typical folklore pattern, to which 
Truth has been none too skilfully added. And even 
the exaltation of Truth is more Greek than Jewish; 


the Jew often grew lyrical in praise of Wisdom, but 
not of Truth, as used here; that is definitely a Greek 

The excellent Greek of I Esdras also shows it is 
no mere translation but was composed in Greek, 
though with the use of the materials supplied in 
Hebrew by II Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah. 

This fully explains the evidently Hebrew char- 
acter of the parts of the book that are taken directly 
from the older Hebrew books. But there would be 
no possible point in copying these out in Hebrew, 
except to insert the Guardsmen story. But that is 
so evidently Greek and not Jewish in its ideas, that 
while its use might commend the Jewish portions of 
the book to Greeks it could not possibly recommend 
them to Hebrew-reading Jews. The idea that I Es- 
dras is a translation of a Semitic work must be def- 
initely abandoned. 

As a historian, the writer of I Esdras leaves 
much to be desired, for he makes events of the 
second year of Darius that is, 520 B.C. follow 
events of the reign of Artaxerxes, which began in 
465 B.C. As he tells the story, Cyrus authorizes the 
rebuilding of the Temple in 538 B.C.; but Artaxerxes 
has it interrupted, sometime after 465 B.C.; and 
then Darius orders it resumed, 520 B.C. It is evi- 
dent that in paraphrasing the account in Ezra the 
writer skipped from the end of chapter i to the 
seventh verse of chapter 4, where the interruption of 


the work on the Temple through the jealousy of 
the Samaritans is recorded as taking place in the 
reign of Artaxerxes; and then returned (5:7 ff.) to 
the narrative of Ezra 2:1, thereafter following it 
pretty faithfully to the end. Indeed it is its large 
use of the book of Ezra that has given I Esdras its 
name, for Esdras is the Greek form of Ezra, The 
author evidently made the account of the interrup- 
tion of the rebuilding of the Temple appear to pre- 
cede the reign of Darius in order to introduce 
dramatically the story of the Three Guardsmen. 

The freedom with which the two sections of Ezra 
are transposed, and the seven chapters of Nehe- 
miah omitted, shows that the book is to be viewed 
not as a history but almost as a piece of historical 
fiction. Its relation to its Old Testament sources 
can best be shown in a tabular view: 

II Chronicles I Esdras 

35:136:21 1:1-58 


III-I I . . 2:i-l5 

4:7-24 2:16-30 

3 : 1 5 : 6 (The Three Guardsmen) 

2:14:5, 24 5:7-73 

5 : i 10 : 44 6 : i 9 : 36 


7:738:12 9:37-55 

The most famous line in I Esdras is from 4:41, 
"Truth is mighty and will prevail," a loose quota- 


tlon of unknown origin, but used by Thomas 
Brooks as early as 1662. 


1. Read I Esdras through. 

2. Is it intended as history? 

3. What Old Testament sources did the writer use? 

4. What Greek elements does the book contain? 

5. What was its writer's purpose? 

6. When and where was the book written? 

7. What contemporary situation guided the writer to his 

8. In what language was the book written? 

9. To what party did the writer belong? 

10. Why was the book called Esdras? 


With Jerusalem recovered through the Macca- 
bean struggle, and Judaism restored, a Jewish 
Puritan of the rising Pharisaic party wrote a novel. 
He wished to show the importance of observing 
the Jewish Law faithfully and in the fullest pos- 
sible sense, at all times and places, for he believed 
that only by so doing could the nation escape the 
danger of again displeasing God and suffering 
punishment for it. So he told how his heroine 
Judith went through the most perilous adventures 
without ever relaxing her scrupulous observance of 
the Law in any particular, and in consequence was 
not only preserved but enabled to rescue her city 
and nation from great danger. 

Judith was a beautiful Jewish widow who lived 
in the town of Bethulia (which may mean She- 
chem), not long after the return from the Exile. 
The forces of the Assyrian king, Nebuchadnezzar, 
are overrunning Palestine and the adjacent lands, 
and the Jews resist them and close their gates 
against them. Bethulia is besieged. The jVssjrian 
commander Holof ernes holds, a, Council of war, to 
learn what this resistance means. Achior, the lelder 
of his AmnTonite" allies, explains that the history 



of the Jews shows that if they disobey their God 
they can be easily overcome, but as long as they 
obey him faithfully no one can subdue them. Holo- 
fernes is indignant and has him bound and left 
under the hill on which Bethulia was built. The 
people of the town find him and take him in. The 
Assyrians now seize the springs from which the 
town gets its water, and the Hebrews begin to 
suffer from thirst. They call upon the elders to 
surrender the city, and the elders at last agree to 
do so if rain does not come within five days. 

At this point (8:1) Judith enters the story. She 
summons the elders to her house and rebukes them 
for putting the Lord to such a test. She hints dark- 
ly at a plan she has formed and tells them to let 
her leave the town with her maid that night. Then 
after a prayer for strength she dresses herself in her 
finest clothes, packs up some Jewish food, and with 
her maid passes out of the city gates. She makes 
her way to the Assyrian camp and to the tent of 
Holof ernes. Taken into his presence she professes 
to be acting in his interests. She declares that the 
townspeople are asking the authorities in Jerusalem 
to permit them to eat the consecrated first fruits 
and tithes, and otherwise violate the Law, and if 
this permission is granted she will inform him, and 
he will find the Hebrews easy prey. 

Holof ernes is enamored of her and agrees to this 
plan. She is given a place in his tent, going out in 


the night to bathe at the spring in the camp. She 
eats the "clean" food she had brought with her, and 
by her ablutions maintains her ceremonial purity. 
On the fourth day, Holofernes gives a feast, and in- 
structs his chief eunuch Bagoas to persuade Judith 
to come and eat and drink with him, and join in 
the festivity. Judith joyfully agrees. She dresses 
herself beautifully and comes in, only refusing to 
eat anything but what her maid prepares for her. 
When the banquet is over, she is left in the tent with 
Holofernes, who has fallen into a drunken sleep. 
She takes his scimitar and cuts off his head. Then 
she and her maid leave the camp as usual, taking 
the head with them in the bag in which they had 
brought their provisions. They go to Bethulia and 
display the head to the townspeople. Achior recog- 
nizes it as the head of Holofernes, and becomes a 
convert to Judaism. Judith directs them to hang 
the head upon the city wall, and at daybreak to 
sally from the town to attack the Assyrians. They 
do so, and the Assyrians, left leaderless by the 
death of Holofernes, take to flight. The Israelites 
drive them out of the country, and despoil their 
camp. Holofernes 7 tent and its furniture are given 
to Judith. She sings a song of triumph, like De- 
borah of old. Judith gives Holofernes' dishes and 
his bed canopy to God. She lives to a great age, and 
no enemy dared to attack Israel as long as she lived 
or for long- after. 


This was the Pharisee's novel, awakening memo- 
ries of Jael killing Sisera in his sleep, when the 
fleeing Canaanite general had taken refuge in her 
tent (Judg. 4:21). But all through the story of 
Judith runs the deep concern for the Law of food, 
and fasts, and washings, of tithes and first fruits. 
Even in the enemy's camp, and in the heathen gen- 
eral's tent, Judith does not forget the minutest re- 
quirements of the Law, and God remembers her, 
and through her brings a great deliverance to his 
distressed people. 

Judith was written about the middle of the 
second century before Christ, perhaps in Hebrew, 
but if so, it was very soon translated into Greek. 
A latest possible date is perhaps indicated by the 
mention of Ashdod (2 : 28), which is known to have 
been desolated by Jonathan about 147 B.C.; it seems 
to have been still inhabited when Judith was writ- 
ten. It is noteworthy that the Old Testament quota- 
tions in the book follow the Greek (Septuagint) ver- 
sion, not the Hebrew text. The book is said to have 
been read at the annual feast of Hanukkah, which 
was established in Maccabean times, to celebrate the 
rededication of the Temple, and Judas' victory over 
the Syrian general Nicanor (II Mace. 15:35, 36). 
It is first quoted about A.D. 95, in Clement of 
Rome's Letter to the Corinthians (55:4, 5). 

That Judith is a work of fiction is evident from 
the first line, in which we encounter Nebuchad- 


nezzar reigning over the Assyrians in Nineveh. Of 
course Nebuchadnezzar was king not of Assyria but 
of Babylonia; Babylon, not Nineveh, was his capi- 
tal. It was he who had carried the Jews into cap- 
tivity, a fact one would think no Jew could forget. 
But the later Jewish writers were not always care- 
ful to distinguish Assyrians from Babylonians; 
II Chron. 33:11 describes the Assyrians as taking 
King Manasseh as a captive to Babylon. Arphaxad, 
spoken of here (i : i) as king of Media and builder 
of the walls of Ecbatana, appears in the Old Testa- 
ment as the name of one of the ancestors of Abra- 
ham (Gen. 10:22); Herodotus says (History i. 98) 
that it was Deioces who built the walls of Ecba- 
tana, in 700 B.C. The names of Holof ernes and 
Bagoas recall those of participants in the Egyptian 
campaigns of Artaxerxes Ochus, 359-3383.0. Bagoas 
fought in the campaign of 351 B.C., in which the 
Jews were also involved. The mention of the 
Persians and the Medes in Judith's song of triumph 
(16:10) confirms the impression that the wars of 
Ochus form part of the background of the Judith 

So the book is more significant for the early ideals 
of Pharisaism than for the history of the times 
after the Exile. And among its Pharisaic traits are 
concern for the Temple and its tithes, which must 
in no circumstances be diverted from their sacred 
uses; for the food laws, prayer, fasting, and cere- 


monial washing, along with the horror of idolatry. 
The readiness to employ cunning, deceit, and vio- 
lence to further Jewish ideals, national and re- 
ligious, must not be left out of this picture of early 
Pharisaism. There is more than a hint of future 
punishment in the close of Judith's song, which, 
while based upon the closing lines of Isa. 66:24, 
goes far beyond their meaning: 

The Lord Almighty will take vengeance on them 

in the day of judgment, 
To apply fire and worms to their bodies, 
And they will feel them and wail forever [16: 17]. 

The story of Judith is on the whole well told, 
though the heroine is very slow in making her ap- 
pearance; she is not mentioned until the beginning 
of the eighth chapter. The early part of the book is 
devoted to accounts of the plans and counsels of 
Nebuchadnezzar and Holof ernes, and their mili- 
tary operations in and around Palestine. Even 
these however are described with a good deal of 
animation and vigor. Certainly after Judith is 
introduced, the narrative does not languish. Her 
stratagem in getting into Holof ernes 7 camp recalls 
that of the Persian Zopyrus, related by Herodotus 
(History iii. 153-58), who got into Babylon by a 
similar ruse, and later betrayed the city. The au- 
dacity of her exploit, especially in a Jewish woman, 
was sufficiently amazing, but it is the incongruity 
of her conscientious performance of her religious 


duties with her ruthless murder of an unconscious 
man that gives to the story of Judith its peculiar 
quality. Clement of Rome summarized it, expres- 
sing his approval of "the blessed Judith/' for her 
courage and patriotism (I Clem. 55:4, 5). But for 
the writer of Judith, her motive was more religious 
than patriotic, and the dramatic narrative is simply 
the vehicle for the message of Pharisaism. 


1. Read the Book of Judith through. 

2. Is it history, or fiction? 

3. What Old Testament heroine does it recall? 

4. To what party does the writer belong? 

5. What lesson does he intend to teach? 

6. When was the book written? 

7. What moral or religious values does the book possess? 

8. What moral defects does it show? 

9. What historical weaknesses has the book? 

10. What historical values does it possess? 

u. What Pharisaic traits can you find in the book? 
12. What is its literary value? 



The Prayer of Azariah was not the only great 
prayer of the Maccabean age. Another Jew of that 
period, probably out In the Greek world, in Egypt, 
gave moving expression to the same sense of guilt 
and penitence, in what is known as the Prayer of 

Of all the kings of Judah, Manasseh had the 
longest reign. For fifty-five years, the writers of 
Kings and Chronicles agree (II Kings 21:1; 
II Chron. 33 : i), he reigned in Jerusalem. This was 
much longer than the reign of either David or Solo- 
mon. It was also a very wicked reign. He rebuilt 
the high places, erected altars for Baal, worshiped 
all the host of heaven, caused his son to pass 
through the fire that is, sacrificed him prac- 
ticed augury and witchcraft and appointed nec- 
romancers and wizards. He also shed much inno- 
cent blood in Jerusalem. The prophets declared 
that he had been more wicked even than the Amo- 
rites that went before him, and that God would 
cast his people off and wipe Jerusalem as clean as a 
dish (II Kings 21:11-15) because of him. 

To the writer of Chronicles it seemed impossible 


that a man so wicked as Manasseh should not 
have been overtaken on earth by the judgment of 
God, and II Chronicles goes so far as to declare 
that because of Manasseh's sins God brought the 
Assyrians upon him and they carried him away in 
chains to Babylon. It goes on to say that he re- 
pented and prayed to God so earnestly that God 
forgave him and restored him to his kingdom. 

His prayer also, and how God was entreated by him, and 
all his sin and his guilt .... behold, they are written in the 
Records of the Seers [II Chron. 33 : 19]. 

There is not much in the Prayer at first sight to 
connect it specifically with Manasseh any more than 
with any other great sinner; yet it is given the name 
of Manasseh, and so it may have been written to sup- 
ply such a prayer as II Chronicles declared he had 
written and was still extant. The mention of sins 
more numerous than the sands of the sea, multi- 
plied transgressions, the multitude of his iniquities 
certainly suits the account of Manasseh's reign 
given in both Kings and Chronicles; his being 
weighed down with many an iron fetter recalls the 
picture in II Chronicles of his being taken to Baby- 
lon in chains; his setting-up of abominations sug- 
gests Manasseh's setting-up of an idol in the house 
of God; and the statement that all the host of 
heaven sings God's praise is curiously reminiscent 
of the statement in II Chron. 33:3 that Manasseh 
worshiped all the hosts of heaven; the author of 


the Prayer is evidently giving that phrase a very 
different meaning. 

Taking all this together, it seems probable that 
the Prayer was composed in Maccabean times to 
represent what one of the Chasidim, or Puritans, of 
that time believed would, or should, have been the 
emotions of the repentant Manasseh described in 
II Chronicles. The whole prayer reflects a belief in 
the willingness of God to forgive even the wickedest 
of men if he truly repents. 

Certainly its great sense of guilt and the marked 
sincerity and simplicity of its appeal led the early 
church to identify it with the prayer of Manasseh 
mentioned in II Chronicles as uttered by that 
wicked king in his distress and repentance, in Baby- 
lon, toward the end of the seventh century before 
Christ. But no Hebrew form of it has ever been 
found; it occurs in two ancient Greek manuscripts 
among the collection of Songs added to the Book of 
Psalms; a number of Latin manuscripts of the 
thirteenth century have the Prayer at the end of 
II Chronicles. It did not appear in Coverdale's 
Bible of 1535. In the Geneva Bible of 1560 it 
followed II Chronicles. It was in the Matthew 
Bible of 1537, the Great Bible of 1539, the 
Bishops' Bible of 1568, and the King James Bible 
of 1 6 1 1, in all four standing between the Story of 
Bel and the Dragon and the First Book of 'Macca- 
bees; in the Bishops' in very small print, but in the 


Great Bible and in King James in type the same 
size as the other books. The heading in the Great 
Bible reads: "The Prayer of Manasses Kyng of 
Juda, when he was holden captive in Babilon," and 
this is closely followed in the Bishops' and in King 

The Books of Kings however give no support to 
the account of Manasseh's removal to Babylon or 
of his repentance there and subsequent restoration 
to his throne. Certainly the connection of the 
Prayer with the one ascribed to him in II Chronicles 
is altogether fanciful. It has however had the effect 
of preserving another fine and moving piece of 
Maccabean liturgy, worthy to stand beside the 
Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three 

The Prayer consists of three parts: acknowledg- 
ment of the greatness of God; confession of sin; and 
prayer for forgiveness. It begins by addressing God 
as the God of the upright Jews, the maker of the 
world, a God of anger and yet of mercy, who has 
ordained repentance for such sinners as the author 
of the prayer. His sins overwhelm him; he has no 
apology to offer; he acknowledges them fully, and 
asks for forgiveness. He prays that God will not be 
angry with him forever, and lay up evil for him, 
and condemn him to the lowest parts of the earth. 
The Lord is the God of those who repent, and will 


save him in spite of his unworthiness. Then he will 
praise God continually as long as he lives, 

For all the host of heaven sing your praise, 
And yours is the glory forever. Amen. 

The Prayer makes its first appearance in church 
use in the Dldascalia, a manual of Christian be- 
havior and of church procedure, written in Greek 
in the third century, in which the story of Manas- 
seh's sin and repentance is told in language mostly 
drawn from II Kings, chapter 21, and II Chron- 
icles, chapter 33, and the Prayer is quoted in full 
as an example of true repentance and its effect. 1 
It was evidently adopted into the liturgical litera- 
ture of the church about the middle of the third 
century after Christ. Its simplicity, deep feeling, 
and power give it genuine religious worth, and re- 
mind us of the genuine religious feeling that welled 
up in Jewish hearts in the first great days of the 
Maccabean era. 


1. References: I Apostolical Constitutions, II, 22. 

2. Read the Prayer of Manasseh. 

3. What historical situation is it intended to reflect? 

4. Is its religious value dependent on this? 

5. When was it really written? 

6. What Jewish group cultivated this deep sense of sin? 

7. Does any New Testament writer give evidence of it? 

8. Into what parts does the Prayer fall? 

9. What is its religious message? 



About 100 B.C. a pious Jew of Egypt, attracted 
by the romantic story of Esther, but horrified at its 
failure to see the hand of God in the deliverance it 
described, translated it into Greek and at the same 
time introduced into it the religious note it so much 

The Old Testament Book of Esther was written 
in Maccabean times, probably not far from 150 
B.C., to encourage the observance of the newly 
instituted Feast of Purim. This was not so much a 
religious as a social celebration, which had origi- 
nated among the Jews of Mesopotamia. On it, the 
Jews entertained one another at dinner, and ex- 
changed presents. Esther seeks to show that it origi- 
nated in the fifth century before Christ, to perpetu- 
ate the memory of a great deliverance of the Jews 
in the Persian Empire, when their enemies at the 
court of Xerxes tried to have them massacred, but 
the queen, a Jewish woman named Esther, inter- 
ceded for them and saved them. 

The Old Testament Esther is a bitterly national- 
istic book, and exultingly records that the Jews, 



so far from being massacred, were able to turn on 
their persecutors throughout the Persian Empire 
and destroy seventy-five thousand of them. There 
is in fact very little that is religious in it; it does not 
even mention the name of God. But when it passed 
into this Greek translation, as it did within half a 
century, it was enlarged by almost half its original 
size by a series of six additions. These introduce a 
strong religious element into the story; Mordecai 
and Esther utter long prayers, and Mordecai closes 
the book with a survey of its action from a very 
religious point of view, explaining Purim which 
means "lots" by the two lots God had made, one 
for the people of God and one for all the heathen 
(10: 10). The additions also seek to explain obscuri- 
ties in the original story, and introduce two long 
letters of Artaxerxes (meaning Xerxes) : one sup- 
plying the decree mentioned in Esther 3 : 13-15 ; the 
other supplying that mentioned in 8:13, canceling 
the previous decree and exalting the God of the 

These additions are usually grouped together in 
the English Apocrypha. Even Jerome picked them 
out and put them in a group at the end of Esther, 
in the Latin Vulgate. But of course they can be un- 
derstood only if they are read as parts of the en- 
larged Book of Esther. They are: 

I. The Dream of Mordecai. Mordecai has a 
dream. He is already a functionary at the Persian 


court in Susa. His dream foreshadows the action 
of the story: he sees two dragons wrestling; the 
holy nation is in danger; they cry to God, and a 
little spring appears. It presently becomes a river 
and they are saved. This is the prelude. 

Mordecai overhears a plot against the king; he re- 
veals it, and the plotters are executed. The king 
honors Mordecai, but Haman, a man in high honor 
with the king, plans to injure him and his people. 

[At this point the Old Testament Book of Esther 
begins. Xerxes makes a great feast, and summons 
his queen Vashti to show herself at it. She refuses, 
and he divorces her, and proclaims the fact, so 
that every man may be master in his own house. 
In the search for a new queen, Mordecai's ward, 
Esther, is chosen by the king, and becomes queen. 
Mordecai learns of a plot against the king's life 
and tells Esther, who warns the king, and the plot- 
ters are executed. Haman the king's favorite is of- 
fended at Mordecai for not bowing before him, and 
resolves to destroy the Jews. He poisons the king's 
mind against them, and the king issues an edict 
authorizing their destruction (Esther i : 13 : 13).] 

II. The First Decree. The Greek version here 
quotes the decree, after Esther 3:13. 

[Mordecai hears of it, and sends word to Esther 
to appeal to the king and save her people: "Who 
knows whether you have not come to the kingdom 
for such a time as this?" Esther agrees: "I will go 


to the king, which, is not according to the law; and 
if I perish, I perish" (Esther 3: 14 4: 17)-] 

III. The Prayers of Mordecai and Esther. Here 
in the Greek version, Mordecai utters a very 
earnest prayer, pleading for his nation and excusing 
Ms refusal to bow before Haman, which had led to 
Hainan's hostility. Esther too humbles herself and 
utters a fervent prayer for courage and success in 
her effort to save her people. She excuses her ac- 
ceptance of heathen splendors and her relations 
with her heathen husband as repugnant to her but 
unavoidable in her position. 

IV. Esther's Appearance before the King (taking 
the place of Esther 5:1,2). When her fast is ended, 
she dresses herself magnificently and goes in all her 
beauty to the king. He is angry at her intrusion, 
and she faints away in terror. This alarms him, and 
he takes her in his arms and revives her. 

[Esther invites the king and Haman to a banquet. 
Haman plans to hang Mordecai and prepares a 
gallows. The king is reminded of how Mordecai's 
warning had saved his life, and asks Haman how he 
can best show a man honor. Haman supposes he is 
himself the man to be honored and replies accord- 
ingly, but to his chagrin Mordecai is the man. The 
queen entertains the king and Haman at a second 
banquet. She exposes Hainan's plot to destroy her 
and her people. The king orders his execution, and 
he is hung on the gallows he had prepared for 


Mordecai. Mordecai becomes the king's favorite, in 
place of Haman. At Esther's request, the king can- 
cels his decree ordering the destruction of the Jews 
(Esther 5:38:12).] 

V. The Second Decree (following 8:12). Here 
the Greek version introduces the full text of the 
new decree, reciting the treasonable designs of 
Haman and authorizing the Jews to defend them- 
selves when they are attacked. 

[The Old Testament Book of Esther goes on to 
describe the relief of the Jews at their escape, and 
their successful resistance to those who attacked 
them; they killed seventy-five thousand of these. 
In commemoration of their deliverance, the Jews 
in Susa instituted the feast of Purim, which is 
interpreted to mean "lots." Mordecai became the 
king's prime minister. The Old Testament Book of 
Esther ends (8:13 -10:3).] 

VI. The Meaning of Mordecai's Dream (follow- 
ing 10:3). The Greek adds, after the close of the 
book, the interpretation of the Dream of Mordecai, 
which it had given at the beginning. Haman and 
Mordecai are the wrestling dragons, and Esther is 
the tiny spring that became a river. Israel's lot pre- 
vailed over the heathen's lot. 

A curious postscript which concludes the Greek 
Esther states that the book ("the preceding letter of 
Purim") was brought to Egypt in the fourth year 
of Ptolemy and Cleopatra (probably meaning 114 


B.C.) by Dositheus "who said he was a priest and a 
Levite" and by Ptolemy, his son. They certified 
the truth of its contents and said it had been trans- 
lated by "Lysimachus, the son of Ptolemy, one of 
the residents of Jerusalem." The purpose of this 
postscript evidently is to further the influence of the 
book. The probable meaning of it is that Dositheus 
and his son Ptolemy brought the original Esther 
(considered as a letter of Mordecai) to Jerusalem in 
114 B.C., and this Ptolemy's son, Lysimachus, later 
translated it into Greek, enlarging it as he did so. 
This would be somewhat like the origin of Eccle- 
siasticus; the grandfather wrote it, and his grandson 
translated it in Egypt. Here the grandfather im- 
ported the Hebrew Esther; and his grandson trans- 
lated it. It would be natural to represent the trans- 
lation as the work of a Jerusalemite, in order to 
enhance its authority, but the Greek version, in- 
cluding the additions, was undoubtedly made in 
Egypt, and probably not far from 100 B.C. Cer- 
tainly the Greek translator enlarged the book as he 
translated it, giving it the religious tone and the his- 
torical documentation he felt were needed. It seems 
clear that what the postscript purports to say is 
that Dositheus and his son brought the Book of 
Esther to Jerusalem, where his grandson translated 
it into Greek. But what really happened was that 
some such men brought the book to Egypt and 


there it was translated and enlarged, some time 
after 114 B.C. The purpose of the postscript is to 
claim the authority of Jerusalem for the enlarged 

The Greek Esther was well known to Josephus, 
about A.D. 90, for he paraphrases most of the Greek 
form of it in Antiquities xi. 6. It was evidently 
known to Clement of Rome, who speaks of Esther 
as entreating the all-seeing Lord with her fasting 
and humiliation (55:6, cf. Esther 15:2), which goes 
beyond the statements of the Hebrew Esther, in 
which neither the all-seeing God nor prayer are 
ever mentioned. Clement of Alexandria refers to 
Esther's "perfect prayer to God" (Slromateis iv. 19). 
Origen says the Jews did not accept the Greek 
additions, but thinks they are fitted to edify the 
reader (Letter to Africanusiii). Yet the Jews in the 
Middle Ages (ninth, tenth, and eleventh centuries) 
made use of parts of the Greek Esther. 

It is not hard to understand why Egyptian Jews 
should feel that such a national deliverance as 
Esther described should be recognized as due to the 
favor and mercy of God, and that the want of any 
reference to God or prayer in the Old Testament 
Book of Esther should be supplied. 


1. Read the Old Testament Book of Esther through. 

2. What is the religious value of it? 


3. Read the enlarged Esther through, fitting the inser- 
tions in where they belong. 

4. How did the Greek Esther improve it? 

5. When was the Old Testament Esther written? 

6. When was the Greek enlarged edition produced? 

7. What additions did it make to the book? 

8. What was the purpose of the Old Testament Esther? 

9. What was the purpose of the Greek edition of it? 

10. Had it also a literary purpose? 



To secure a much-needed reform in Jewish legal 
procedure, a gifted Pharisee of Jerusalem early in 
the first century before Christ wrote a story. Not 
long after in a fuller form it was put into Greek in 
Egypt and added as an embellishment to the trans- 
lation of Daniel, and finally it was made to form the 
introduction to the Greek translation of that book. 
It is hardly five pages long, but it became one of the 
great short stories of the world. It is the Story of 
Susanna. The first English Bibles Coverdale, 
Matthew, the Great, and the Bishops'- called it 
a "Story' 7 ; but the King James version, following 
the Geneva Bible, dignified it as the History of 

The situation which moved the Hebrew story- 
teller was this. In the early years of the first cen- 
tury before Christ, there were two rival parties 
among the Jews of Judea. They were the Pharisees 
and the Sadducees. The Pharisees incurred the 
anger of the Jewish king, Alexander Jannaeus, and 
he slaughtered thousands of them. The leader of 
the Pharisees was Simeon ben Shetach. The Sad- 
ducees, being in the ascendancy, through false wit- 
nesses had his son condemned to death, but before 



he could be executed the witnesses confessed that 
they had testified falsely. Under the Law, which re- 
quired only a life for a life, they could not be 
punished, as no one had suffered death through their 
action, and the Pharisees demanded an interpreta- 
tion of the Law that would punish perjurers when 
they were found out, whether anyone had actually 
been put to death or not. It was to urge this reform 
in the Jewish law in the most moving manner pos- 
sible, that the Story was first written. 

Susanna was the beautiful wife of a leading Jew 
of Babylon, to whose house the Jewish elders and 
judges of the city constantly came. Two of these 
men became enamored of Susanna, and once when 
she went into her garden to bathe, surprised her 
and threatened to testify that they had found her 
in the arms of a lover, if she would not submit to 
them. Susanna repulsed their advances and cried 
for help. The elders shouted too, and protested 
that they had surprised her with a young man, but 
he had escaped. When she was brought to trial the 
next day, they told their story, and, though she pro- 
tested her innocence, yet as there were two of them, 
and their testimony agreed, under the Jewish law 
she was convicted and sentenced to death. 

As she was being led away to immediate execu- 
tion, a young man named Daniel interrupted the 
proceedings by shouting that he would not join in 
stoning her to death, which had of course to be done 


by the whole community (Lev. 24:14). He called 
them back to the place where she had been tried and 
there examined the two witnesses separately, ask- 
ing each one under which tree in the garden he had 
found Susanna and her supposed lover together. 

One said under a mastic tree, and Daniel sternly 
rejoined that the angel of God would certainly 
"masticate" him! (The Greek word means literally 
"cut him in two.") The other when he was ques- 
tioned said under a live oak tree, and Daniel replied 
with a similar bitter play upon the name of the 
tree; the angel of God would saw him in two. Be- 
trayed by their inconsistent answers, the guilty 
elders are promptly put to death, and Susanna is 

It was these plays upon words in Susanna that 
led Origen's friend Julius Africanus to write him 
that remarkable letter, about A.D. 240, protesting 
on a number of grounds against the acceptance of 
the Story as a part of Daniel; especially because 
the Greek plays upon words in the names of the 
trees marked the piece as a Greek composition. 
Africanus also pointed out the good Greek style of 
the Story, which he regarded as strange if the work 
was a translation from the Hebrew. Origen in his 
reply clung to his acceptance of the Story but 
acknowledged that the Jews he had questioned 
could not give him any Hebrew parallels for these 
particular plays upon words. 


The fact evidently is that Susanna was written 
in Hebrew, but was paraphrased and enlarged in 
Greek, and combined with the Greek translation 
of the Book of Daniel. For it is one of the three ad- 
ditions to Daniel made by the Greek translators of 
that book, the others being the Song of the Three 
Children and Bel and the Dragon. Daniel had been 
written partly in Hebrew and partly in Aramaic, in 
the times of the Maccabean revolt, about 165 B.C., 
and when it passed into Greek perhaps a hundred 
years later the translator embellished it, and at the 
same time preserved these three short but valued 
pieces, by combining them with it. 

So the Story of Susanna is a Greek elaboration of 
a shorter Hebrew narrative, long since lost, which 
lacked the bitter puns and probably the identifica- 
tion of Daniel as the young man who so successfully 
interfered on Susanna's behalf. 

The makers of the Septuagint translation of 
Daniel probably in the first century before Christ 
put Susanna at the end of the book, along with 
Bel and the Dragon. But another translator, Theo- 
dotion, early in the second century after Christ, 
put Susanna at the very beginning of Daniel, mak- 
ing it serve as an account of Daniel's debut; it is as 
the rescuer of Susanna from an undeserved punish- 
ment that he makes his dramatic first .appearance. 
And Theodotion's version of Daniel was so much 
preferred by the early church that the Septuagint 


form of it was almost forgotten, and has survived 
in only a single Greek manuscript. 

The Story of Susanna did not fail of its effect. 
When the Pharisees came into power in Judea after 
the death of Alexander Jannaeus in 76 B.C., they re- 
organized the Sanhedrin, and a more searching 
examination of the witnesses supporting an accusa- 
tion came to be required. But the Story lived in 
Jewish circles only in vague memories of the wicked 
elders, who were identified with the false prophets, 
Ahab and Zedekiah, mentioned in Jer. 29:21-23. 

In Christian circles, on the other hand, Susanna, 
as the first part of the Greek Book of Daniel, formed 
part of the Greek Bible of the early church. It was 
quoted by Irenaeus and Tertullian; Hippolytus 
allegorized it, Africanus challenged it, and Origen 
defended it. Jerome, in the Latin Vulgate, put it 
with Bel and the Dragon at the end of Daniel, fol- 
lowing chapter 12. The English Church has a read- 
ing from it in November, and the Roman Catholic 
Church has one in Lent, and prays "Lord, free the 
soul of thy servant as thou didst free Susanna from 
a false charge." 

The story recalls Tarquin and Lucrece in Roman 
legend, where Lucrece is put to a somewhat similar 
test. And the famous story of the adulterous woman 
introduced into the Gospel of John in the sixth 
century (John 7:53 8:11) reproduces many fea- 
tures of the story of Susanna; a woman accused of 


the same crime and declared to have been taken in 
the act, condemned by the Law and evidently being 
led out to be stoned by a band of scribes and 
Pharisees, when a searching remark by a great 
teacher turns the tables on her accusers, and con- 
victs them instead. 

Susanna means lily, in Hebrew (Hos. 14:5). It 
was probably chosen by our author as a symbol of 
purity. It is never a proper name in the Old Testa- 
ment, but appears in Luke 8:3 as the name of one 
of the women who provided for Jesus. It has as- 
sumed many modern forms, Susannah, Susanne, 
Susan, Susie, Sue. Shakespeare named one of his 
daughters Susanna. 


1. Read the Story of Susanna. 

2. What is its literary worth? 

3. What is its deeper purpose? 

4. What is its place in the prevalent Greek version of 

5. Where was the original story written? 

6. What was the historical situation? 

7. What changes did it undergo in passing into Greek? 

8. From what Jewish party does it come? 

9. Was its purpose humane? 

10. What classical and New Testament parallels can you 


To save his fellow- Jews from falling into idolatry, 
a Jew of Alexandria, early in the first century before 
Christ, wrote the two short stories known to us as 
Bel and the Dragon. 

Most of the Jews lived far from Jerusalem and 
the Temple, surrounded by heathen peoples and 
under the shadow of great pagan temples, where the 
worship of idols was carried on sometimes with the 
greatest pomp and splendor. In the world in which 
they lived, from the times of Alexander on, the uni- 
versal tendency had been to adopt Greek or oriental 
customs, social and religious. The world was mov- 
ing toward uniformity of life. 

So in great centers like Babylon and Alexandria 
Jews were under great pressure to adopt the man- 
ners and worship of the country, and earnest and 
faithful Jews made repeated efforts to keep them 
from doing so. These stories represent one of these 
efforts. While they are meant to interest and de- 
light the reader, their serious purpose is to warn 
him against idolatry by exposing its shams. They 
were probably written in Greek, to safeguard Jews 



in Alexandria against the attractions of Egyptian 

Both stories have to do with Daniel and were 
probably written before the middle of the first cen- 
tury before Christ and added to the Book of Daniel 
by its Greek translator, and then re-written by 
Theodotion about the middle of the second century 
after Christ, when he retranslated Daniel from Ara- 
maic and Hebrew into Greek. He put Susanna at 
the beginning of it, but followed the older Septua- 
gint translation in leaving the Song of the Three 
Children after Dan. 3:23, and Bel and the Dragon 
at the very end. 

Bel and the Dragon are really two separate 
stories, both written to ridicule idolatry. The first 
one is one of the oldest detective stories in the 
world. King Cyrus on coming to the Persian throne 
finds in Daniel his chief companion and friend. He 
asks him why he does not worship Bel, and points 
out how much flour and oil and how many sheep 
that deity consumes every day. Daniel persuades 
him to deposit the usual amount in the temple and 
then to close and seal the temple doors. But Daniel 
first takes the precaution of scattering ashes over 
the temple floor. 

When they return in the morning, the food is 
gone, but Daniel is able to show the king that the 
floor is covered with the footprints of the priests 


and their wives and children, who have come in in 
the night by a secret entrance under the table, and 
consumed the provisions. The king is convinced, 
the priests are slain, and the temple is destroyed. 

The Dragon is another story of the same kind. It 
is not a dragon at all, but a serpent, which the king 
worships, like the serpents venerated at Greek and 
oriental shrines, such as that of Aesculapius at 
Epidaurus. Daniel denies its divinity and kills it by 
feeding it lumps of pitch, fat, and hair. The Baby- 
lonians are furious at the destruction of their divin- 
ity, and declare that the king has become a Jew. 
They demand that Daniel be put to death. The 
king reluctantly consents and Daniel is thrown into 
the lions' den. The lions are given nothing else to 
eat, but they do not molest Daniel (this repeats the 
story of Dan. 6:1-28). Daniel himself is miracu- 
lously fed by the prophet Habakkuk who is caught 
up by an angel in Judea as he is taking some 
reapers their dinner, and brought to the lions' den 
in Babylon. He gives Daniel the food and is im- 
mediately returned to his home in Judea again. 

Daniel remains in the den with the lions for six 
days. On the seventh the king comes to mourn for 
him, and sees him sitting there alive. He glorifies 
the God of D,aniel and lifts him out of the den. 
Daniel's enemies are thrown into it and immediately 


The stories were both suggested by narratives in 
Daniel: the gold idol (chap. 3) and the lions' den 
(chap. 6). The name Dragon for the second story is 
taken from the Greek and Latin words for serpent, 
drakon and draco. Some scholars connect the ser- 
pent with the monster Tiamat of Babylonian 
mythology, slain by Marduk, but it is unnecessary 
to seek so far. Alexander the Great was said to 
have found huge serpents venerated in India, and 
the Apology of Aristides in the middle of the second 
century after Christ declares that the Egyptians 
still worship "serpents and asps." The serpent wor- 
ship connected with the shrine of Aesculapius at 
Epidaurus has been mentioned. 

There is little that can be called historical about 
either tale, and the angel catching up Habakkuk by 
the hair of his head and conveying him to Babylon 
with the speed of the wind is a crowning imagina- 
tive touch. These tales are pieces of Jewish fiction 
and belong with Tobit, Judith, and Susanna, to 
which they are of course decidedly inferior. 


1. Read Bel and the Dragon. 

2. What is the story of Bel? 

3. What is the purpose of it? 

4. What name do we give stories of this kind now? 

5. What is the story of the Dragon? 

6. What traces of serpent worship have we from ancient 


7. What literary indebtedness to the Book of Daniel 
does the story show? 

8. What other pieces of fiction have we found in the 

9. What other attacks upon idolatry do they contain? 
(See chaps. 13 and 14.) 

10. For Old Testament polemics against idolatry, see Isa. 
44:9-20 and Jer. 10:1-16. 


Less than a hundred years before the birth of 
Christ, a Sadducean admirer of the Maccabees 
wrote in Jerusalem, in Hebrew, the story of the 
three great brothers Judas, Jonathan, and Simon 
who had freed Judea from her Syrian oppressors 
and restored her worship. He was not a Pharisee, or 
Puritan, but belonged to the other branch of the 
Maccabean supporters, the Hasmoneans, the patri- 
otic party who fought for more than religious 
liberty; they aspired to political liberation. And 
this the Maccabean brothers had nobly won, at the 
cost of their own lives, for Judas and Eleazar had 
died in battle, and Jonathan and Simon were 
treacherously murdered. 

He wrote in the days of the Sadducean ascend- 
ancy under Alexander Jannaeus, the grandson of 
Simon, 103-76 B.C., after full political independence 
had at last been secured, when a Sadducee would 
naturally be moved to record the deeds of the three 
great brothers to whom his world owed so much. 

While the book opens with a general paragraph 
on Alexander's conquests, its narrative really be- 
gins with the accession of Antiochus Epiphanes as 
king of Syria in 175 B.C. and the emergence of a 



hellenizing party in Jerusalem, which welcomed 
and adopted heathen practices. Antiochus em- 
barked upon a policy of compelling the Jews to 
accept Greek civilization, and a series of clashes 
with faithful Jews resulted, culminating after the 
desecration of the Temple in the outbreak of revolt 
under Mattathias and his sons at the town of 
Modin, when they killed the king's officer and fled 
to the mountains. 

Judas is the hero of the period that follows 
(3:1 9:22); with small bodies of men he defeats 
one Syrian commander after another; and carries 
on such a spirited campaign against the Syrian 
forces sent against him that just three years after 
its desecration the Temple is recovered ( i : 5 9 ; 4 : 5 2) , 
the altar rededicated, and the Jewish worship there 
resumed. Judas punishes outlying foes of the Jews 
but has to contend with hellenizing forces among 
the Jews as well as with his Syrian foes. He sends 
ambassadors to Rome, to make friends with the 
Romans. This and his evident political aims led the 
Puritans the Chasidim, the Pharisees of later days 
who wanted only religious liberty to desert his 
cause. He met the Syrian commander, Bacchides, 
with an inferior force and was defeated and killed, 
in 160 B.C. 

His brother Jonathan succeeded him as leader 
of the Jewish cause, 160-142 B.C. (I Mace. 9:23 
12:53). His generalship and diplomacy extended 


the borders of Ms country. A new king of Syria 
appointed him high priest. But he was finally 
trapped in Ptolemais by his Syrian enemies and put 
to death. 

He was followed by his brother Simon, the third 
of the three great Maccabean brothers (142-135 
B.C.), who carried Jewish resistance to Syria on 
until practical political independence was achieved. 
He dislodged the Syrian garrison from the citadel 
of Jerusalem, cultivated foreign alliances, and 
practically made the Sadducees' dream of political 
independence come true. But he, like Jonathan, 
lost his life through treachery, being murdered at a 
banquet given in his honor near Jericho. His son 
John Hyrcanus succeeded him in the high priest- 
hood, which now united the civil, military, and re- 
ligious leadership of the Jewish people. 

Such a heroic story might well attract a Sadducee 
living in times of Sadducean leadership in the days 
of Alexander Jannaeus, Simon's grandson, and he 
tells it with enthusiasm indeed, but without much 
exaggeration. Heaven he felt was on the side of the 
three brothers, or they were on heaven's side, but 
there was nothing miraculous about it all. There 
are no angelic appearances in the book. The Law 
is sacred, but it was unwise to carry the observance 
of the Sabbath to the extreme of not resisting armed 
force on that day. Judas and his men were wiser 
when they said, "If anyone attacks us on the Sab- 


bath day, let us fight against him and not all die, 
as our brothers died in the hiding places [2:41]." 

The date of the writing of I Maccabees is pretty 
definitely fixed by its closing statement., that the 
rest of the acts of John and his wars and the exploits 
that he performed, and the building of the walls that 
he effected, and his deeds, are written in the chron- 
icles of his high priesthood. This sounds as though 
John's reign was over and the writer was writing 
early in the reign of his son, Alexander Jan- 
naeus, who became king in 103 B.C. The book 
was probably written in the early years of the first 
century before Christ, therefore, and very soon 
made its way to Alexandria and was translated 
into Greek, undergoing some expansion in the 

It is a curious fact that the writer of I Maccabees 
never mentions the name of God, but this is perhaps 
only a mark of his extreme reverence for the divine 
name. Certainly, he is by no means irreligious; the 
reader feels that he believes in God and in his 
participation in the deliverance of his people. In 
fact Judas says to his men at one crisis in the strug- 
gle, "He himself will crush them before us, and 
you must not be afraid of them [3:22]." On an- 
other occasion, when hard pressed, 

they called aloud to heaven, 

"What are we to do to these men [the Nazarites], and 
where can we take them, when your sanctuary is trodden 


down and profaned, and your priests are grieved and humili- 
ated? Here the heathen are gathered together against us to 
destroy us; you know their designs against us. How can we 
make a stand before them unless you help us [3: 50-53]?" 

It is evident that the only thing lacking in this 
prayer is the name of God. Immediately after, 
Judas says, as he prepares for battle, "But he will 
do just as shall be the will of heaven [3:60]." He 
seems sometimes to be using the name Heaven in 
the sense of God. So in 4: 10, Judas says, "So now 
let us cry to heaven, if perhaps he will accept us, 
and remember his agreement with our forefathers, 
and crush this camp before us today. Then all the 
heathen will know that there is one who ransoms 
and preserves Israel. 73 Later on, when he faces a 
fresh Syrian army, he prays, "Blessed are you, 
Savior of Israel, who stopped the rush of the 

champion by the hand of your slave David 

In like manner shut up this camp in the hand of 
your people Israel [4:30, 31; cf. 7:41]." Even 
the priests (7:37) pray to God without mentioning 
his name. 

Jonathan too calls on his men to "cry out to 
heaven that you may be delivered from the hands of 
our enemies [9:46]." It was evidently a part of the 
writer's religion to revere the name of God too 
much to utter it. 

His religious position is also reflected in his avoid- 
ance of the miraculous or marvelous, his sincere 


concern for the Law, rather than for any Pharisaic 
refinements of it, and his interest in the Temple and 
the priesthood. The scope of his narrative also re- 
veals the range of his interest, for he does not stop 
when religious freedom has been achieved under 
Judas (9:22), but pursues the story until, under 
Simon, Judea is politically liberated as well. 

Of the dozen or more state papers letters, 
decrees, and proclamations preserved in the book, 
some letters to Rome and to Sparta, in so far as 
they are genuine at all, belong to later dates than 
are here given them, while the decrees of the Syrian 
kings may have been inserted in the book by the 
hand of the Greek translator from the history of 
Jason of Cyrene mentioned in II Mace. 2:23, for 
Jason's five-volume history was written in Greek. 
The purpose of their inclusion by any hand was of 
course to enhance the importance of the Maccabean 
enterprise in the eyes of the reader. 

While Jerome in his Prologus Galeatus declares 
that he has seen a Hebrew copy of I Maccabees, it 
was only the Greek translation of it that survived 
or had any literary influence. It was probably in its 
Greek form that it was used by Josephus (Antiqui- 
ties, xii and xiii), and it was in that translation 
that it from the first formed part of the Greek Bible 
of the early church. Clement of Alexandria, Hippo- 
lytus in Rome, Origen, and Eusebius all know it as 
part of the Bible. I Maccabees is included in most 


of the leading manuscripts of the Greek Bible the 
Alexandrian, the Sinaitic, and the Venetus but not 
in the Vatican codex. With II Maccabees it is includ- 
ed in the Clermont list of books of scripture, repre- 
senting the practice of Egypt about A.D. 300. Both 
books passed into the Latin Bible, and so into the 
use of the medieval church, and into all the early 
German and English Bibles, Catholic and Protes- 


1. Read I Maccabees. 

2. What dramatic story does it tell? 

3. To what Jewish party did its writer belong? 

4. What features of his book support this impression? 

5. To what point does the writer trace the history? 

6. What Jewish aims had been achieved by that time? 

7. What is the writer's attitude to God? 

8. When did he write his book? 

9. Why should he have written the story then? 

10. WTiat happened to the four Maccabean brothers? 

11. What kingdom did they have to contend with? 

12. Was there a Jewish group that favored the adoption 
of Greek culture? 

13. What practice of the writer makes his book of especial 
value to the historian? (Cf. 1:10, 20, 54; 2:70, etc.) 


II Maccabees is not a sequel to I Maccabees, but 
a parallel account of the Maccabean struggle. A 
Pharisee of Alexandria, possessed of a five-volume 
work on the subject by one Jason of Cyrene, and 
dissatisfied with the cold Sadducean character of 
I Maccabees, undertook to summarize Jason's book 
and tell from the Pharisaic point of view what 
caused the Maccabean uprising and how God en- 
abled his people under the leadership of Judas 
Maccabeus to triumph over his enemies. We have 
seen how the Greek translator of Esther felt it 
necessary to remedy that book's failure to mention 
the name of God, by inserting long religious pas- 
sages in it, and it is not strange that in a time of 
great tension between Pharisees and Sadducees, so 
Sadducean an account as I Maccabees would lead 
a Pharisee to retell the story in the Pharisaic 

And Pharisaic the vocabulary certainly is. 
Miracle, angels, martyrdom, resurrection, feasts, 
Law, Sabbath are points of interest and emphasis 
for the Pharisaic writer. How far these~also marked 
the history by Jason which he is epitomizing we 
cannot be sure, but our writer, while he summarizes 



some of Jason's narrative most abruptly, dwells 
fondly upon these. 

The scope of his story is also significant; he stops 
with Judas' victory over Nicanor and the Feast of 
Nicanor, instituted in memory of it. Judas himself 
was killed a few months later, but that he does not 
mention. Judas is the only figure among the Macca- 
beans that interests him; of the work of Jonathan 
and Simon, his successors, he has nothing to say. 
For it was under them and Simon's son John that 
the Sadducean dream of political independence was 
realized, and the Sadducees gained the ascendancy. 
Their work would not interest a Pharisee. For him 
Judas was the true and only hero of the great strug- 
gle, and its significant result was the restoration of 
the Temple and the Law, celebrated in the festival 
of Hanukkah, or Dedication. 

The narrative of II Maccabees indeed is organ- 
ized about these celebrations. It begins with two 
letters from the Jews of Palestine to the Jews of 
Egypt, urging them to keep the festival of Dedica- 
tion. The writer wants to have the Jews of Egypt 
as well as of Palestine observe it. He declares his 
intention of writing an epitome of the history of 
Jason of Gyrene, a work of which nothing else is 
known. He begins with the sacrilegious attempt of 
Heliodorus, acting for the king of Syria, to rob the 
Temple of the money deposited in it, when he was 
struck down and beaten by angels. The high priest 


is ousted and murdered; first one and then another 
obtains the office by bribery. Antiochus Epiphanes 
enters Jerusalem, killing fabulous numbers of the 
people. He robs and profanes the Temple, and 
tortures and kills those who will not give up the 
Jewish religion. Some Pharisaic martyrdoms 
those of Eleazar and the seven brothers are re- 
lated in horrible detail. Judas Maccabeus now ral- 
lies his countrymen (8:1) and defeats the Syrian 
generals; King Antiochus who is away in Persia 
hears of it and starts back to punish the Jews, but 
dies a horrible death on the way, repenting of his 
wickedness before the end. Judas and his men re- 
cover Jerusalem and rededicate the Temple, in- 
stituting the festival of Dedication (10: 1-8). 

Judas continues his victories, sometimes aided 
by heavenly horsemen and portents. In a final 
struggle with Nicanor he defeats him again, and 
Nicanor is killed. Judas cuts off his head and 
arm and displays them before the Temple Nicanor 
had threatened to destroy. The Jews vote to cele- 
brate the day ever after, with the festival of Nica- 
nor's Day (15:36). As the city remained in Jewish 
hands from that time on, there seems to be nothing 
more to be said, and the writer concludes his ac- 
count (15:37-39)- 

How much of this the writer obtained from Ja- 
son's history we cannot tell; some of it is almost cer- 
tainly his own elaboration or insertion. But the full 


treatment of some events side by side with the mere 
listing of others (14:25) gives the impression of an 
unskilled and uneven epitomist The writer's style 
is elaborate and stilted, his attitude is bitter and 
partisan, he revels in horrible details of disease and 
torture. He is extravagantly fond of the supernatu- 
ral, and his efforts at fine writing, his homiletical ob- 
servations (such as 6 : 1 2-1 7) , and his lack of restraint 
defeat the purposes of his book. His martyrs are all 
clearly Pharisees, and he represents the Chasidim, 
the Puritan party, as the only real supporters of Ju- 
das (14 : 6) . In effect, he claims Judas as the leader of 
the Chasidim the Pharisees and disowns his po- 
litically minded successors. 

II Mace. 4:7 15:36 deals with the period 
covered by I Mace, i : 10 7 : 50 (175-160 B.C.). The 
book leaves off before the death of Judas, and says 
nothing at all about the work of Jonathan and Si- 
mon; in fact it barely mentions their names (8 122), 
telling elsewhere how it was Simon's men who were 
covetous and took bribes from the Idumeans in a 
beleaguered fort and let some of them escape 
(10 : 19, 20) a palpable slur upon the founder of the 
Hasmonean line. 

The history by Jason of Cyrene on which the 
writer bases his book is said in 2 : 19-23 to cover the 
story of Judas Maccabeus and his brothers, down 
to the recovery of the Temple, the liberation of the 


city, and the restoration of the laws. It was prob- 
ably written toward 100 B.C. or not long after that 

II Maccabees itself evidently rests upon I Macca- 
bees as well as upon Jason's book, and its strong 
Pharisaic color makes it altogether probable that 
it was in part a counterblast to I Maccabees, with 
its pronounced Sadducean attitude. If I Macca- 
bees was written early in the first century before 
Christ the times of Jannaeus, 103-76 B.C. and in 
a few years was brought to Alexandria and trans- 
lated into Greek, it would be natural for a Pharisee 
soon to seek to offset its picture by re-writing the 
story from the Pharisaic point of view, for which the 
history of Jason of Cyrene would give him sufficient 
material. It would be a natural product of the re- 
surgence of the Pharisees in the early years of Alex- 
andra's regency, which began in 76 B.C. On the 
other hand, if Pompey's capture of Jerusalem in 
63 B.C. had already taken place, even a Pharisee 
could hardly quote or invent the friendly Roman 
letter to the Jewish people that appears in 11:34- 
38. II Maccabees was probably written between 76 
and 63 B.C. although its date cannot be determined 
with certainty. But the closing statement that the 
city has been held by the Hebrews from that time 
(the time of Judas Maccabeus) would be impossible 


after Pompey in 63 B.C. besieged and captured the 
city and entered the Holy of Holies. 

II Maccabees was written in Alexandria, and it 
was known to Philo ; who died about A.D. 45. 
Josephus also may have known it and used it in his 
Antiquities; it was certainly used by the author of 
Hebrews in the last decade of the first century 
(Heb. ii :3S-37) ' 

Women had their dead restored to them by resurrection. 
Others endured torture, and refused to accept release, that 
they might rise again to the better life. Still others had to 
endure taunts and blows, and even fetters and prison. They 
were stoned to death, they were tortured to death, they were 
sawed in two, they were killed with the sword. 

The reference to the martyrs of II Mace. 6:29 
and chapter 7 is unmistakable. 

Every historian chiefly records himself, and it is 
of great interest and importance that we possess in 
I and II Maccabees these self-portraits of Sad- 
ducee and Pharisee from the first half of the last 
century before Christ. 


1. Read II Maccabees. 

2. What story does it tell? 

3. To what party did its writer belong? 

4. What larger history is he abbreviating? 

5. Does it continue I Maccabees, or overlap it? 

6. What characteristic traits of his party does the writer 
show? Compare Acts 23 : 8. 


7. What other books from members of his party have we 
found in the Apocrypha? 

8. What is the literary quality of the book? 

9. What is its moral tone? 

10. When and where was II Maccabees written? 

11. Who is the hero of II Maccabees? 

12. What is its closing scene? 


About forty years after the birth of Christ a Jew- 
ish sage of Alexandria wrote his Wisdom. Like the 
author of Ecclesiastes he wrote in the name of 
Solomon, the greatest sage of all, who above every- 
thing else asked Wisdom of God (I Kings 3 : 5-14) : 

Give me the wisdom that sits by your throne, .... 
You have chosen me out to be king of your people, .... 
You told me to build a sanctuary on your holy mountain, 
And an altar in the city where you dwell, .... [9:4, 7, 8]. 

Therefore I prayed, and understanding was given me; 
I called, and the spirit of wisdom came to me. 
I preferred her to scepters and thrones, 
And I thought wealth of no account compared with her 

The writer's purpose was to protect the Jews in 
Egypt from the danger of falling into skepticism, 
materialism, and idolatry, and of yielding to the 
pressure of persecution to which they had evidently 
been exposed. In Alexandria the Jews found them- 
selves surrounded with a triumphant idolatry; its 
great temple, the Serapeum, was said to be, after 
the Roman Capitol, the grandest structure of its 
time. The Museum with its library and its scholars 
gave to intellectual pursuits the most marked 



recognition they had ever received. The city was a 
center of the great movement to make Greek lan- 
guage and Greek culture universal, and the Jews 
themselves had gone so far as to translate their 
literature into Greek, for the benefit of Jews in the 
West who had lost their Hebrew, and to induce 
Greek readers to accept Judaism. In Alexandria 
Jews were even writing new books in Greek Tobit, 
I Esdras, Susanna, II Maccabees. 

But they must not go too far. They must not let 
this great Greek current sweep them away alto- 
gether from their ancient moorings. The Epicurean 
attitude that colors so much of Ecclesiastes must 
not control them. The horizon of the soul is not 
limited by this present world; they must look 

It was particularly important to say this when 
the Jews of Alexandria were suffering or had 
recently suffered from a persecution, probably the 
popular attack upon the Jews of Alexandria pre- 
cipitated by the visit to that city of the young Jew- 
ish prince Agrippa, upon whom the new emperor 
Gaius had just conferred the title of king, to the 
great annoyance of the Alexandrians. Not long 
after, in A.D. 40, Gaius demanded divine honors, 
and the efforts of the Alexandrians to force the 
Jews to comply with this demand, and worship his 
image, led to new excesses. The Jews at last sent 
an embassy to Gaius, Philo himself being a member 


of it and reporting its experiences with the mad 
emperor, in his Embassy to Gaius. 

It was to encourage the Jews of the city to main- 
tain the faith of their fathers in the face of the first 
of these attacks that the first part of Wisdom was 
written, probably early in the reign of Gains, or soon 
after. It had a message of comfort and cheer for the 
faithful; death itself must not daunt them. The 
ungodly men say of the upright man, 

"Let us test him with insults and torture, 
So that we may learn his patience, 
And prove his forbearance. 
Let us condemn him to a shameful death, 
For he will be watched over, from what he says 


The souls of the upright are in the hand of God, 
And no torment can reach them [3:1]. 

An upright man, if he dies before his time, will be at rest, 
For an honored old age does not depend on length of time, 
And is not measured by the number of one's years, .... 
Being perfected in a little while he has fulfilled long years, 
For his soul pleased the Lord; 
Therefore he hurried from the midst of wickedness [4:7-14]. 

With this the writer combines solemn warnings 
to apostate Jews against the Epicurean tendencies 
for which some passages in Ecclesiastes gave so 
much color. In fact, Wisdom seems sometimes to 
be definitely correcting passages in Ecclesiastes, and 


putting its teaching into the mouths of those whom 
Wisdom calls the wicked (2:4; cf. Eccles. 1:11). 
Certainly Ecclesiastes, no doubt in its Greek trans- 
lation, is often before the mind of the writer of Wis- 
dom, who does not hesitate to answer it and correct 
its darker reflections. 

To comfort and encouragement in persecution 
and to denunciation of apostasy must be added the 
note of warning against idolatry which pervades 
so much of the book. The emphasis laid upon this 
matter and the particular mention of the deification 
of kings, makes it very likely that the efforts of 
the Alexandrians to force the Jews to worship the 
image of Gaius are fresh in the writer's mind in 
the second part of the book: 

By the orders of monarchs carved images were wor- 

And when men could not honor them in their presence, 
because they lived far away, 

They imagined how they looked, far away, 

And made a visible image of the king they honored. 

He goes on to tell how the people 

Now regarded as an object of worship the one whom 
they had recently honored as a man [14:16-20]. 

The book is plainly the work of two hands, one 
leaving off at 11:4 and the other, who is far behind 
the first in simplicity and spontaneity, continuing 
from 11:5 to the end. The second writer develops 


to the utmost the idea that God used the very things 
that benefited his people to punish their enemies. 
But he carries this out so elaborately and so revels 
and delights in its intricacies that the reader's inter- 
est and patience are exhausted. Indeed it has been 
well said that the writer's ideas and vocabulary 
have both given out long before the end. His 
vocabulary is particularly artificial; he likes to use 
the rarest words he can find, and feebly strains to 
achieve fine writing. The two parts of the book 
exhibit a strong contrast in literary quality, and all 
the favorable things that have been said of the 
Greek of the book rest upon the early part of it. 

It would seem that the author of Wisdom i : i 
11:4 wrote after the persecution of A.D. 38, when 
Flaccus the Roman governor allowed the rights of 
the Jews as residents, and in some cases at least as 
citizens, of Alexandria, to be disregarded. The 
second part (11:5 19:22), which reflects Gaius' 
subsequent demand for worship in A.D. 40, was 
probably written not long after that date. It 
naturally has a great deal to say about idolatry. 

After a few words in praise of justice and wis- 
dom, the writer contrasts the ungodly persecutors 
of the upright with the men they persecuted, show- 
ing the shallowness of the materialistic and Epi- 
curean way of life : 

"Let us enjoy the good things that exist, .... 
Let us have our fill of costly wine and perfumes, .... 


Let us crown ourselves with rosebuds before they 
wither; .... 

Let us oppress the upright poor; .... 

Let us lie in wait for the upright, for he incon- 
veniences us 

And opposes our doings, 

And reproaches us with our transgressions of the Law, 

Let us condemn him to a shameful death [2 : 6-12, 20] !" 


God created man for immortality, 

And made him the image of his own eternity [2 : 23]. 

The souls of the upright are in the hand of God, 

And no torment can reach them 

They are at peace. 

For though in the sight of men they are punished, 

Their hope is full of immortality [3:1,3,4]. 

Their persecutors will some day realize their mis- 

"This is the man we fools once laughed at 
And made a byword of reproach. 
We thought his life was madness, 
And his end dishonored. 
How did he come to be reckoned among the sons 

of God, 
And -why is his lot among the saints [5:4, 5]?" 

In a splendid passage, reflected half a century 
later in Ephesians, the writer describes God as the 
champion and avenger of his people (5:15-23). He 
renews his contention that Wisdom is necessary to 
monarchs (chap, 6), Then speaking in the char- 


acter of Solomon, the greatest of the Sages (chaps. 
7-9), he professes his passionate devotion to Wis- 
dom. It has been pointed out that while in chapters 
1-6 Wisdom is sometimes personified, in chapters 
7-10 it becomes almost a substitute for God him- 
self, while in the rest of the book (chaps. 11-19) 
it is no more than practical godliness. The doctrine 
of Wisdom reaches its peak in chapter 7 : 

She is the breath of the power of God, 
And a pure emanation of his almighty glory; . . . 
For she is a reflection of the everlasting light, 
And a spotless mirror of the activity of God, 
And a likeness of his goodness [7:25, 26]. 

Solomon's prayer (chap. 9) shows what a great 
king should think of Wisdom. 

The writer traces the guiding hand of Wisdom in 
the history of the patriarchs and the chosen people 
(chap. 10) until Moses in the wilderness struck the 
rock and gave them water (11:4). 

Here the second hand takes the pen. He labors 
the point that in the punishment of the Egyptians 
the things that blessed the Hebrews were used to 
torment their persecutors. The Hebrews found the 
water from the rock refreshing and life giving; the 
Egyptians found the water of the Nile turned to 
blood! A long polemic against idolatry is inter- 
woven with this. 

This strong and even painful contrast between 
the two parts of the book cannot be explained away 


by the theory of an editor gathering his materials 
from here and there. For while one can imagine a 
man so insensible to literary and religious values as 
to write the latter part of the book, to imagine an- 
other man so equally insensible as to incorporate 
these unskilled meanderings into a book like Wis- 
dom, doubles the difficulty of the problem. When 
he must be supposed to have added such stuff to 
such a book as Wisdom 1:1 11:4 would have 
been, he is at once revealed as incapable of having 
written or even edited Wisdom i : 111:4. 

The natural explanation of Wisdom is that some 
one vaguely aware of the values people seemed to 
find in the original Wisdom, and wishing to secure 
circulation for his peculiar theological hobby, at- 
tached it to the earlier work, writing it up as nearly 
in the style of that book as he knew how. Without 
his excruciating addition, Wisdom would stand out 
as a little gem of Alexandrian Jewish literature. 

Not only the Greek version of Ecclesiastes but 
also that of Proverbs was well known to the writer 
of Wisdom, probably also to its continuator. The 
author was also familiar with Xenophon's Memora- 
bilia, and had some slight knowledge of Platonic 
philosophy, though far less than his Alexandrian 
contemporary, Philo. 

There is good reason to think that Paul knew the 
Book of Wisdom; he quotes it in Col. 1:15 and 
seems to show acquaintance with it in Romans. The 


author of Ephesians evidently knew it (Eph. 6:13- 
17), and the writer to the Hebrews quotes it in his 
opening lines, applying its words to Christ as the 
embodiment of the divine Wisdom: "Through 
whom he had made the world, He is the reflection 
of God's glory, and the representation of his being, 
and bears up the universe by his mighty word [Heb. 


The apparent identification of the divine Wisdom 
and the divine Word in Wisdom (9:1, 2) probably 
influenced the Fourth Evangelist to take the mo- 
mentous step of identifying Jesus not only with the 
divine Wisdom as Paul and Hebrews had done, but 
with the divine Word (John 1:1). So significant 
was the influence of the Apocrypha in the develop- 
ment of Christian thought. 

Thus from the beginning the Book of Wisdom 
influenced Christian thought, partly because its ac- 
count of Wisdom invited comparison with Christ 
and partly for its emphasis upon immortality. 


1. Read the Wisdom of Solomon. 

2. Why was it called by his name? 

3. To what type of Jewish literature does it belong? 

4. What is its purpose? 

5. What situations does it reflect? 

6. Where was it written? 

7. What earlier books of the same type does it show 
acquaintance with? 


8. Into what parts does it fall? 

9. What is the main argument of each? 

10. What different senses attach to the word "wisdom" 
in the different parts of the book? 

n. What is the first writer's attitude toward Ecclesiastes? 

12. What contribution did the book make to Christology? 

13. What New Testament writers made use of it? 

14. What literary contrast does the book present? 


The dreadful experiences of the Jews in the siege 
and capture of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70 
made a deep impression upon the Jews not only of 
Palestine but of Egypt and the West. The despair 
that must have first possessed them at the catas- 
trophe gradually gave way to a mood of resignation 
and even of hope. In such a spirit a Jew, probably 
in Egypt about the end of the first century after 
Christ, wrote the Book of Baruch, to interpret the 
misfortune that had overtaken his people and to 
find the silver lining in the dark cloud, very much 
as the old prophets had dealt with the destruction 
of Jerusalem and the exile of the Jews so long before. 

He wrote in Greek, though he may have used 
older Hebrew materials in the earlier parts of the 
book (1:1 3:8 and 3:9 4:4); but it is by no 
means certain whether these parts ever circulated 
in writing before their combination in our Book of 
Baruch, and their extreme brevity makes it unlike- 
ly. Certainly there is no trace or record of their 
earlier circulation or existence in writing except as 
it may be deduced from a study of them as they now 
appear in Baruch. 

The book represents itself as written by Baruch, 


the friend and secretary of Jeremiah (Jer, 32:12, 
16, etc.) in Babylon, in the fifth year after the 
destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, which 
would be 582 B.C., and as sent to Jerusalem with a 
sum of money, to help support the worship there, 
though how this could be done with the priests 
gone and the Temple in ruins is by no means clear. 
Still it is not impossible, as the visit of pilgrims re- 
ported in Jer. 41 : 5 shows. The group still lingering 
in the ruined city is told to pray for ^Nebuchadnez- 
zar, king of Babylon, and his son Belshazzar, mean- 
ing obviously Vespasian and his son Titus, or 
Domitian. 1 Bygones are to be bygones, and the 
Jews are not to seek revenge, but to live under the 
shadow of the emperors and serve them and find 
favor in their sight. That the Jews of that period 
needed such counsel is clear from the Bar-Cochba 
outbreak against Rome some thirty years later, 
A.D. 132-35. The Book of Baruch seeks to instil 
an attitude of loyalty to the Empire, which some 
Jews could not bring themselves to feel. 

The book, small as it is, consists of three parts. 
The most of part i is a prayer of penitence, recog- 
nizing in what has befallen them the just punish- 
ment of their sins, and reinforcing the plea for be- 
coming law-abiding and loyal subjects of the Em- 
pire. This prayer of confession the Jews are to read 
on festival days and days of assembly. It is a piece 
of liturgy, in the spirit of the prophets. 


This prose section (1:1 3:8) is followed by a 
poem in praise of Wisdom (3:9 4:4), in which 
Israel's misfortunes are explained, from the Sage's 
point of view, as due to her neglect of Wisdom. 
The poet seeks to recall his people to the divine 
Wisdom which had been intrusted to them: 

Blessed are we, Israel, 

Because we know the things that please God [4:4]. 

But he blends this Wisdom with the Law: 

This is the book of the commandments of God, 

And the Law that will endure forever 

Come back, Jacob, and take hold of it; 
Approach the radiance from her light. 
Do not give your glory to another, 
And your benefits to an alien people [4: 1-3]. 

The third part of the book (4:5 5:9) is also 
poetry; it is a message of comfort and hope for the 
distressed Jews. They had been delivered to the 
heathen because they had angered God. Jerusalem 
their mother speaks to them, in words reminiscent 
of the dirges of Lamentations (4:9-29), urging 
them to repent, 

For he who has brought these calamities upon you 
Will bring you everlasting joy with your deliverance. 

Spirited messages of hope and restoration, in the 
style of the later chapters of Isaiah, follow (4:30 
5:9). Destruction will overtake Israel's enemy, who 


has brought her so low, and the children of Jerusa- 
lem will be brought back to her in triumph. 

This third part seems to breathe a different spirit 
from the first one, which was so conciliatory and 
counseled adjustment to the imperial yoke, but it is 
not wholly inconsistent with it; the nation's triumph 
is to be left to God to accomplish. 

Historical considerations did not weigh much 
with the writer of Baruch: Belshazzar was not the 
son of Nebuchadnezzar, as he calls him, but of 
Nabonidus; Baruch's mistake is due to Dan. 5:2, 
n, 13, 18, 22, where it also appears. The use of 
Daniel is of importance however, for Daniel was 
written about 165 B.C., and so it is plain that the 
Book of Baruch was certainly not written in 582 
B.C., as the first lines declare. The first and third 
parts clearly belong to the last part of the first 
century, and there is nothing in the second part in- 
consistent with this; Israel has grown old in a 
strange land, and a younger generation has settled 
on the earth, which has not learned the way to 
knowledge. The note of resignation and of hope 
is in all three parts, different as they are in color. 
An indomitable faith in God characterizes the 
whole book, and gives it unity, although the three 
parts may come from different hands. All three re- 
flect the same Jewish disposition, a generation after 
the fall of the city before the Romans, to adjust 
themselves to the new conditions, acknowledge the 


justice of God, believe in Israel's supreme religious 
heritage, and look forward to the day when their 
own land would be restored to them, 

. In the Greek version of the Old Testament 
Baruch was early added to Jeremiah, and so came 
to be quoted as Jeremiah by Christian writers like 
Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria. 


1. References: J The movement to make Vespasian em- 
peror really began in Alexandria, when the governor of Egypt 
had his soldiers swear allegiance to Vespasian. 

2. Read the Eook of Baruch. 

3. What situation does it purport to reflect? 

4. Who was Baruch? 

5. When was the Book really written? 

6. What historical situation does it actually reflect? 

7. What advice does it give to the Jews in their distress? 

8. What reason have we to think they needed such ad- 

9. Into what parts does the Book fall? 

10. What is the distinctive character of each? 
n. What religious value does the Book possess? 

12. Where did it stand in the Greek version of the Old 


Late in the first century after Christ, a Jew of 
Alexandria wrote a tract to ridicule idolatry, and as 
Jeremiah had done the same thing so effectively in 
Jer. 10:1-16, he wrote it under Jeremiah's name. 
Jeremiah had written a letter to the exiles in 
Babylon (Jer. 29:1-23) and that suggested the liter- 
ary pattern. The Letter usually appears as the sixth 
chapter of Baruch. 

Never was idolatry more splendid and over- 
whelming than in Alexandria. It found expression 
as we have seen in the magnificent temple of Serapis, 
said to have been the most splendid building in 
the world, after the Capitol in Rome. Visitors 
from Upper Egypt still went to it to pray in the 
third century after Christ, feeling that the prayers 
they uttered went up, as one of them said, "with 
far greater force in the great Serapeum" (Oxyrhyn- 
chus Papyri, 1070). 

Jewish residents might well need a fresh warning 
against idolatry in Alexandria, in the latter part of 
the first century, when their own Temple had been 
destroyed and their Temple ritual had ceased. The 
vocabulary is that of apocalyptic, in which Nebu- 



chadnezzar means Vespasian, as it does in Baruch, 
and Babylon means Rome, as it does in Baruch, 
the Revelation, I Peter, and II Esdras. 

The writer warns his readers that they will re- 
main in Babylon for many years "seven genera- 
tions/' a long but indefinite period of time a clear 
evidence that he is using Babylon in a symbolic 
sense, meaning the Roman Empire, as the writer of 
Baruch does (Bar. 2:21). There they will see a 
great deal of idolatry, but they must not fall into 
it. The angel of God is with them, and will care for 
them (vss. 1-7). 

The idols are dressed in fine clothes, and have 
scepters and axes in their hands, but they cannot 
use them, even to defend themselves. The refrain, 
"They are not gods, so you must not stand in awe 
of them," concludes the paragraph (vss. 8-16). 

They have to be locked up at night to protect 
them from robbers. Decay, vermin, and smoke 
spoil them and their clothes, and bats, birds, and 
cats perch upon them. They are not gods, so you 
must not stand in awe of them (vss. 17-23). 
They have to be carried about, and picked up if 
they tip over. All that is offered to them goes to 
the priests; none of it goes to the poor or helpless. 
Their sacrifices are not kept ceremonially clean. 
So they are not gods; you must not stand in awe 
of them (vss. 24-29). 

Women set their tables, and their priests howl 


and shout before them. They cannot do anything 
for their worshipers. So why should anyone think 
them gods, or call them so (vss. 30-40)? 

Their worshipers really mock them by asking 
them to do what they cannot do. Women devotees 
(of Aphrodite) offer themselves to the passers-by, 
and are proud of being desired. So why should any- 
one think them gods, or call them so (vss. 6 : 406- 

They are just as the craftsmen make them. They 
cannot protect themselves in war or disaster; the 
priests have to hide them. Who then can be igno- 
rant that they are not gods (vss. 45-52)? 

Idols can do nothing. If the temple catches fire, 
they burn up like the timbers around them. Why 
then should anyone believe or suppose that they 
are gods (vss. 53-56)? 

They cannot defend themselves against robbers. 
A king, or a mere dish, or a post is of more use than 
they are; the sun, moon, and stars shine, and winds 
blow, but these idols settle nothing and help no- 
body. So as you know they are not gods, you must 
not stand in awe of them (vss. 57-65). 

They cannot hurt or help, or even shine like the 
sun or moon. The wild animals are better off, for 
they can at least take care of themselves. It is plain 
they are not gods; you must not stand in awe of 
them (vss. 66-69). 

They are as useless as a scarecrow in a cucumber 


patch. They are like a bush the birds light on. 
From the rotting of the clothes they wear, you can 
tell they are not gods. An upright man who has no 
idols is far better (vss. 70-73). 

The materials of the Letter are miscellaneous 
and unorganized, except for the recurring refrains 
(vss. 16, 23, 29, 40, 44, 52, 56, 65, 69). Something 
like these refrains occurs in the Apology of Aristides, 
toward the middle of the second century, and the 
Letter probably influenced both it and the so-called 
Preaching of Peter on which it was based. The 
Letter shows the use not only of earlier polemics 
against idolatry like Jer. 10: 1-16 and Isa. 44: 9-20, 
but of that in the latter part of the Book of Wis- 
dom, 1 which was written soon after A.D. 40. 

While modern scholars have declared that the 
Letter was composed in Hebrew, there is hardly a 
single really Jewish touch in it, after the first para- 
graph, and the older opinion that it was written in 
Greek is much more likely. For one thing, its use of 
Herodotus is practically certain; the highly apoc- 
ryphal story of the universal prostitution of Baby- 
lonian women can have no other source. 2 Indeed, 
the story as it stands in the Letter (vs. 43) has 
nothing to do with idols; it requires the context in 
Herodotus to connect it with idolatry (Aphrodite 
worship) at all. The writer evidently overlooked the 
fact that he had left that out. This passage really 


shows how far the writer lived from Babylon, and 
how little he knew about it. 

The reference to carrying idols in procession (vs. 
26) does not indicate a Babylonian background for 
the Letter; the Egyptians, too, carried their idols in 
religious processions. 3 The statue of Serapis that 
Ptolemy Soter, according to Plutarch, brought to 
Alexandria and set up there, had a scepter in its 
hand, as the Letter says one idol has (vs. 14). 

While the Letter appears in the later Greek 
manuscripts, in the Latin Vulgate, and in the Eng- 
lish Bible as chapter 6 of the Book of Baruch, in the 
oldest Greek manuscripts it stands by itself with the 
title of the Letter of Jeremiah, immediately following 
the Book of Baruch. It is so inferior in style and 
thought to Baruch that it cannot have belonged to 
it. But it did exert some influence upon early 
Christian attacks upon idolatry, as its reflections 
in the Preaching of Peter and the Apology of 
Aristides show. 


1. References: Compare vss. 34-37 with Wisdom 13:14- 
19; "Herodotus History i. 196, 198, 199; aBreasted, Ancient 
Records of Egypt, II, 357. 

2. Read the Letter of Jeremiah. 

3. To what period does it belong? 

4. Why was it given Jeremiah's name? 

5. What is its main idea? 


6. What is its religious value? 

7. What is its literary value? 

8. Where was it written? 

9. In what language was it written? 

10. What other books in the Apocrypha deal with the 
subject of the Letter? 

11. What influence did it have? 

12. How did it come to be attached to the Book of 


Not long after the middle of the third century 
after Christ, a Greek Christian, stirred by the ap- 
parent collapse of the eastern part of the Roman 
Empire, took a collection of Jewish apocalypses, or 
revelations, and added to it a conclusion, exulting 
over Rome because punishment was at last begin- 
ning to overtake it. A few years before, under 
Decius, the church had suffered a cruel persecution, 
but Decius himself was defeated and killed by the 
Goths, in A.D. 251. Other disasters followed for the 
Empire. The new king of Persia plundered the city 
of Antioch and defeated the emperor Valerian at 
Edessa in A.D. 260 and took him prisoner. He even 
began to invade Asia Minor, but was eventually 
driven back to his own borders by the prince of 
Palmyra, in A.D. 263-65. After the death of that 
prince in A.D. 267, his widow, the renowned Ze- 
nobia, took possession of Egypt A.D. 270 but was 
immediately driven out again by the Romans. 

It might well seem to a Christian in the East in 
the years 260-70 that the Roman Empire was at 
last beginning to break down, and that the punish- 
ment it deserved for its persecutions of the church 
was at hand. 


Apocalyptic was the language of persecution, and 
in such times men turned back to it and wrote in it. 
The man who finished II Esdras did both. "The 
days of persecution are here, and I will deliver you 
from them/ 3 wrote the Christian apocalyptist who 
finished it (16: 74). "In the midst of these disasters 
be like strangers in the earth [16:40]." 

This is the key to the exultant cry of chapters 15 
and 16: Alas for Babylon (that is, Rome), and 
Egypt, Asia, and Syria (16: i) ! The last three were 
quite literally being ravaged or threatened by orien- 
tal armies from Persia or Palmyra. The Empire was 
no longer the invincible force it had been so long. 
"And you, Asia, partner of the beauty of Babylon 
.... Alas for you [15 : 46] I" It might well seem that 
God was calling together all the kings of the earth 
Goths, Persians, Palmyrenes to requite the per- 
secuting Empire. The eastern part of the Roman 
world was out of control, and the writer saw in these 
amazing disasters the judgment of God upon the 

The book to which he attached this conclusion, 
between A.D. 260 and 270, had already received a 
Christian preface (chaps, i and 2), perhaps a cen- 
tury before. In that preface the writer declared 
that the kingdom formerly promised to the Jews was 
to be given to the church. This idea, which appears 
in the Gospel of Matthew (21:43), also colors 
Justin's Dialogue, about AJ>. 160. These chapters 


make use of the language of the gospels, and their 
dependence upon the Apocalypse of Zephaniah 
shows they were written after the middle of the 
second century. Their Christian color is very plain. 
Ezra says to the angel, 

"Who is that young man, who puts the crowns on them, 
and the palms in their hands?" 1 

He answered and said to me, 

"He is the Son of God, whom they confessed in the world 

The writer of the preface is well aware that he is 
appropriating a Jewish work to Christian purposes: 
"Thus speaks the Lord to Ezra: Tell my people 
that I will give them the kingdom of Jerusalem 

which I was going to give to Israel I will 

give to these the everlasting dwellings which I had 
prepared for those others [2: 10, n]." Ezra has of- 
fered the divine message to Israel, but they have re- 
fused it. "Therefore I say to you, heathen, who hear 
and understand, expect your shepherd [2 134]." 

The older Jewish book of revelations was evident- 
ly adopted and labeled as a Christian work by the 
writing of this preface, before the end of the second 
century. Christian writers adopted and revised the 
Jewish Sibylline Oracles in the same way. 

While the beginning and end of the book are 
Christian, the whole middle part of it (chaps. 3-14) , 
is of Jewish origin, and consists of seven visions, 


written at various times in the latter part of the 
first century or very early in the second. It falls 
into four parts. 

The first is the so-called Ezra Apocalypse (chaps. 
3-10) written, probably in Hebrew, about A.D. 100, 
in which Ezra asks God to explain certain theo- 
logical problems which were then very much dis- 
cussed among the rabbis. As the date of it is de- 
scribed as thirty years after the destruction of the 
city (3:1), it may be definitely dated in A.D. 100, 
since the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 is 
clearly meant. 

The Ezra Apocalypse falls into four visions. 

In the first (3:1 5:19) the seer, who calls him- 
self Salathiel as well as Ezra, asks God why Israel 
should be punished while Rome, which is so much 
more wicked, should be allowed to prosper. Uriel is 
sent to him to remind him that God's ways are be- 
yond man's comprehension. Ezra also asks when 
the number of the upright will be made up, and 
Uriel indicates that it will not be long. 

In the second (5:20 6:34), the seer asks why 
God, after choosing Israel, has given him up to his 
enemies. Uriel gives much the same answer as be- 
fore, and they talk of the signs of the end. 

In the third vision (6:359:25) the seer claims 
God's preference of Israel, and his scorn of all other 
peoples, and again asks why God has abandoned 
Israel. He also asks why so few are to be saved 


and whether the punishment of the departed takes 
place immediately or is postponed. Ezra thinks the 
faithfulness of the remnant should be considered. 
He also appeals to the divine mercy. God answers, 
"You are far from able to love what I have created 
more than I [8:47]." 

In the fourth vision (9:26 10:59) a mourning 
woman appears who turns into the city of Zion. 
The angel explains the vision to Ezra. 

To the Ezra Apocalypse were afterward added 
three further visions (chaps. 11-14), which may be 
called visions five, six, and seven, though they are 
not from the same hand as visions one to four. 

The fifth (chaps, n, 12) is the Eagle Vision. The 
seer sees a gigantic eagle, with three heads and 
many wings, reigning over the whole earth, when a 
lion comes roaring out of the forest and pronounces 
its doom. The lion is the Messiah, the eagle is the 
Roman Empire, and the date is in the reign of 
Domitian A.IX 81-96. 

The sixth vision (chap. 13) is the Vision of the 
Man from the Sea. A man rises from the sea, and 
when a great multitude gathers to oppose him, he 
destroys them with his fiery breath. The lost Ten 
Tribes, which have been hidden in the fastnesses 
of a remote region beyond Assyria, reappear and be- 
come his people. He is the pre-existent Messiah and 
as God speaks of him as his son, the vision has a 
strongly Christian tinge. The chapter was written 


about the time of the outbreak of the Jewish War, 
A.D. 66. 

The seventh vision is the Writing of the Books 
(chap. 14). God speaks to Ezra out of a bush and 
tells him to gather five rapid writers and the neces- 
sary writing materials. Ezra does so and after 
drinking a fiery draught is inspired to dictate to 
them for forty days. In forty days ninety-four 
books were written. Ezra was told to publish 
twenty-four (the Old Testament scriptures as the 
Jews counted them) ; but to keep the seventy that 
were written last, to hand down to the wise men 
among his people. It was evidently written in the 
early years of the second century. 

The oriental versions Syriac, Ethiopic, Arabic, 
and Armenian which preserve a better text than 
the Latin for the Ezra Apocalypse and for the ad- 
ditional chapters 11-14, here conclude with the 
statement that Ezra was caught up and taken to 
the land of those who were like him. These versions 
contain chapters 3-14 only. 

The Christian conclusion (chaps. 15, 16) has been 
shown above to belong to the years following the 
Decian persecution, probably A.D. 260-70. It exults 
over the disasters that are overtaking the Roman 
arms in the east. 

The several parts of the book thus arose in the 
following order: I, the sixth vision, the Man from 
the Sea (chap. 13), dating from the time of the out- 


break of the Jewish War, A.D. 66; II, the fifth 
vision, the Eagle and the Lion (chaps, n and 12), 
dating from the reign of Domitian, A.D. 81-96; 
III, the Ezra Apocalypse (chaps. 3-10), written 
about A.D. 100 ; IV, the seventh vision, the Writing 
of the Books (chap. 14), written soon after A.D. 100; 
V, the Christian introduction (chaps, i and 2), 
written soon after A.D. 150; and VI, the Christian 
conclusion (chaps. 15 and 16), written between A.D. 
260 and 270. 

The Ezra Apocalypse itself (chaps. 3-10) must 
have gone through a series of forms. Written prob- 
ably in Hebrew about A.D. 100, it soon took on, by 
the middle of the second century, the addition of 
three more visions, of earlier or later date (chaps. 
11-14). In this expanded form it passed into Greek 
and thence into the oriental versions mentioned 
above. Still later, probably toward the end of the 
second century, it received the Christian introduc- 
tion (chaps, i and 2) , and almost a century after was 
completed by the addition of the Christian con- 
clusion showing that the divine judgment was at 
last beginning to overtake the Roman Empire. A 
Greek parchment leaf from this latest part (15:57- 
59)3 dating from the fourth century, was found at 
Oxyrhynchus, and published among the Oxyrhyn- 
chus Papyri in 19 io. 2 

A large part of II Esdras (the Ezra Apocalypse) 
was evidently written in Hebrew, but the opening 


and closing sections are of Greek origin and con- 
sidered as a whole the book was first put together in 
Greek, the Hebrew part having been earlier trans- 
lated into Greek. Of the Hebrew form nothing re- 
mains, and of the Greek only the few verses in the 
Oxyrhynchus parchment leaf. The Ezra Apocalypse 
section, including chapters n to 14, was evidently 
put into Greek before the chapters that now pre- 
cede and follow it were added to It, for all the 
oriental versions rest upon a Greek form of chapters 
3 to 14, but lack chapters i and 2 and 15 and 16, 
The bracketed verse numbers in 7 : [36-105] mark the 
portion missing in the Latin version, discovered by 
Bensly in a Latin manuscript at Amiens and pub- 
lished in 1875. 

The only complete form of II Esdras is a very 
careless and inaccurate Latin text, long ago trans- 
lated from the Greek. As it appears in the Latin 
Vulgate as IV Esdras, chapters i and 2 and chapters 
15 and 1 6 are sometimes called V and VI Esdras by 
modern scholars. In the Vulgate the Book of Ezra 
is called I Esdras; Nehemiah, II Esdras; our I Es- 
dras, III Esdras; and our II Esdras, IV Esdras, 
The earliest English Bibles followed this terminol- 
ogy, the Coverdale, the Great, and the Bishops' 
Bibles separating III and IV from I and II and 
putting them with the Apocrypha. In the Geneva 
Bible of 1560, however, I and II Esdras were called 
Ezra and Nehemiah, and III and IV became I and 


II. This course was followed in the King James 
Version, in 1611. But in the Septuagint Greek ver- 
sion of the Old Testament, I Esdras is our I Esdras, 
and II Esdras consists of what we know as Ezra 
and Nehemiah. 

Until it is understood as a series of short apoca- 
lypses from various times, II Esdras may well 
confuse and bewilder the reader, as it did Luther, 
who is said to have declared that he threw it into the 


1. References: *Cf. Rev. 2 : 10; 7 : 9; 2 0xyrhynchus Papyri, 
Vol. VII, No. 1010. 

2. With this outline in mind, read II Esdras. 

3. How would you describe it? 

4. What are its chief characteristics? 

5. What Christian parts are there in it? 

6. Describe the remaining portions. 

7. From what times does it come? 

8. What historical situations do its various parts reflect? 

9. Why did Christian writers adopt Jewish apocalypses 
as their own? 

10. What is the apocalyptic name for Rome? 

11. In what situations did Jews and Christians turn to 

12. What apocalyptic writings appear in the Old and 
New Testaments? 



The Apocrypha are not only of great importance 
for the history of Judaism in the last two centuries 
before and the first century after Christ; they give 
us important help in understanding the writers of 
the New Testament. 

If we pass directly from the reading of the Old 
Testament to the reading of the New, we are im- 
mediately conscious that we are in a very different 
world, not only politically but also religiously and 
spiritually too. TEe Temple worship is at its grand- 
est, in Herod's splendid new Temple, which was 
not yet finished. The religious interest of the time 
is divided between two new groups, the Pharisees 
men of the scribal type, who rallied about the syna- 
gogue, and dealt elaborately with the Law and 
ttie Sadducees the priesthood, who controlled the 
Temple and its concessions. The scribes in the 
Exile had found a way by which the Jewish religion 
could survive the deportation of their people and 
the destruction of the Temple and its worship, and 
it was their tradition, carried on through the 
Pharisees, that chiefly colored Judaism as it ap- 


pears in the New Testament. Whence came these 
groups? The Apocrypha help us to understand. 

No group is more in evidence in the New Testa- 
ment than the Pharisees, and the Apocrypha show 
us that vigorous sect from its very infancy. They 
were the saints the Chasidim of the Maccabean 
era, and Paul, himself a former Pharisee, transferred 
that jitle to the Christian brotherhood; he spoke 
of them as the saints. We see their strivings after a 
better legal procedure in the story of Susanna, their 
insistence upon ceremonial observances, ablutions, 
fasts, feasts, and food they considered clean, in 
Judith; their heroism in persecution in the tales of 
the Maccabean martyrs. But most interesting of 
all are the two self-portraits which these two Jewish 
sects have left us, unaltered by hostile hands, in 
I and II Maccabees. For I Maccabees tells the 
story of the Maccabean brothers from the point of 
view of a Sadducee, and II Maccabees tells the 
story of Judas Maccabeus from the standpoint of a 
Pharisee. Like most historians they chiefly reflect 
themselves, and these reflections are of the utmost 
value for comparison with the pictures of the two 
parties in the New Testament. 

In the earliest gospels we find ourselves moreover 
in an atmosphere of angels and demons, which is 
in strong contrast with the Old Testament. The 
Book of Tobit gives us the key to this mystery, for 
in it we see th^s.e elements of Persian religion pass- 


ing into Judaism. The revival of the marvelous in 
II Maccabees helps us to see how natural this way 
of telling a religious story was in the first century 
before Christ, particularly in circles close to 

In short, the Apocrypha introduce us to the dram- 
atis personae of the New Testament Pharisees 
and Sadducees, angels and demons, saints and 
sinners as well as to the social, political, and re- 
ligious situation into which Christianity came, and 
the theological ideas that prevailed. 

But how did the Apocrypha affect the writers and 
even the actors the leading figures of the New 
Testament itself? How far were they known to 
Jesus or Paul, or to Luke or John? 

When Jesus describes the Rich Fool (Luke 12:16- 
20) , one is reminded of the picture of Sirach 1 1 : 18 f . : 

One man grows rich by carefulness and greed, 

And this will be his reward: 

When he says, "Now I can rest, 

And enjoy my goods," 

He does not know when the time will come 

When he will die and leave them to others. 

So the man in the parable says, 

"Soul, you have great wealth stored up for years to come. 
Now take your ease; eat, drink, and enjoy yourself!" But 
God said to him, "You fool! This very night your soul^will 
be demanded of you. Then who will have all you have pre- 
pared?" That is the way with the man who lays up money 
for himself, and is not rich with God. 


The Sadducees with their crude question about 
the woman who had married seven times and had no 
children, reminds us of Sarah and her seven hus- 
bands, in Tobit; and the disconsolate demon, cast 
out and homeless, wandering through waterless 
places recalls Asmodeus banished to the remotest 
parts of upper Egypt. Of the four archangels of 
later Judaism, Raphael and Uriel appear in the 
Apocrypha, Gabriel and Michael in the New 
Testament. The angelology and demonology of 
Tobit are part of the background of the gospels. 

Tobit's emphasis upon charity, prayer, and fast- 
ing as the three forms of uprightness an ideal of 
character that appears again in the Wisdom of 
Sirach is reflected and sharply criticized in the 
Sermon on the Mount: "When you give to charity, 
.... When you pray, .... When you fast, . . . ." 

The pious action of Joseph of Arimathea in ask- 
ing Pilate for the body of Jesus in order to give it 
decent burial, vividly recalls the behavior of Tobit 
in giving honorable burial to the Jewish victims 
of the king that he found lying dead about the 
streets and bazaars of Nineveh. It was in fact di- 
rectly because of this that Tobit was forced to fly 
from Nineveh, for his life. The story of Tobit lays 
great stress not only on ceremonial purity but on 
this Jewish duty of burying the 'dead of their own 
people, especially those cruelly slain by the govern- 
ment. The Jewish practice required burial, 1 but 


the Romans would have left the body to decay 
where it hung, as bodies were left hanging in chains 
in the Middle Ages in England and Europe. Yet 
it was obviously no particular duty of Joseph to 
bury Jesus, except as very pious Jews took the 
burial of strangers and the victims of the govern- 
ment upon themselves as especial acts of righteous- 
ness. Joseph may have done this often. The pur- 
chase of a burial ground for strangers (Matt. 27:7) 
is a further expression of the same attitude. 

The story of the adulterous woman brought be- 
fore Jesus isjreally no part pthe Gospel of John, 
but_ a^sixth-century addition, taken over from the 
Old Latin version. Eusebius seems to have known 
it as part of the Gospel of the Hebrews. We cannot 
fail to note its resemblance to the story of Susanna, 
charged with the same crime, and represented by 
her accusers as taken in the very act. The scribes 
and Pharisees brought her to Jesus, saying she 
ought to be stoned, just as the wicked elders were 
taking Susanna out to be stoned. Jesus convicts 
the accusing Jews of being sinful themselves, just 
as Daniel convicts the two accusing elders of them- 
selves being the guilty ones. Like Susanna, the 
woman goes free. A striking parallel runs through 
both stories. 

The story in Luke of the Unjust Judge (18: 2-8) 
is a sort of penumbra of a saying in Sirach 35 : 12-15 : 

For the Lord is a judge, 

And there is no partiality with him 


He will not disregard the supplication of the orphan, 
Or the widow, if she pours out her story. 
Do not the widow's tears run down her cheeks, 
While she utters her complaint against the man who 
has caused them to fall? 

The parable in Luke runs : 

There was once in a city a judge who had no fear of God 
and respect for men. There was a widow in the city, and 
she came to him and said, "Protect me from my opponent." 
And he would not for a time, but afterward he said to him- 
self, "Though I have no fear of God nor respect for men, yet 
because this widow bothers me, I will protect her, so that 
she may not finally wear me out with her coming." 

The parable sounds very much as though it was 
based upon this passage in Sirach. 

Jesus' instructions about behavior at a supper, 
and not assuming that you are the guest of honor, 
and seizing the best place, which may be intended 
for someone else (Luke 14:1-24), immediately re- 
calls very similar precepts in the Wisdom of Sirach, 
chapters 31 and 32, about polite behavior at such 
large dinners, which the Jews evidently liked to 
give and to attend (cf. Matt. 23:6). 

Again and again in the reported teachings of 
Jesus, we seem to hear echoes of the Wisdom of 
Sirach, which must have been well known either 
to him or to the evangelist, or to both. This is es- 
pecially true in Luke, whose use of the names 
Susanna (8:3) and Zaccheus (19:2; cf. II Mace. 
10 : 19) is a further hint of acquaintance with some 
of the Apocrypha. 


The festival of Dedication mentioned in John 
10:22 is no Old Testament feast, but the new 
Maccabean celebration of the rededication of the 
Temple, instituted in I Mace. 4: 59 and in II Mace. 
10 : 8, to commemorate the purification of the 
Temple and the re-erection of the altar. 

The Letter of James owes much to the Wisdom 
of Sirach. Both repudiate the idea that God ever 
tempts anyone or leads him astray (James 1:13; 
cf . Sirach 15:11,12). The third chapter of James, es- 
pecially, shows the writer's familiarity with Sirach's 
Wisdom, indeed it speaks of Wisdom, good or bad, 
three times in the last paragraph. 

The influence of the Wisdom of Solomon upon 
the letters of Paul, especially Romans, is so very 
marked that it has been thought Paul must have 
read or reread it not long before he wrote Romans. 
The intensely personal way in which the divine 
Wisdom is described in the Apocrypha, prepares us 
in some degree for Paul's bold identification of 
Jesus with that wisdom, in Col. 1:15: "He is the 
likeness of the unseen God, born before any crea- 
ture, for it was through him that everything was 
created" just the thought of the Book of Wisdom 
about Wisdom itself, where the same word for 
"likeness" is employed: 

For she is a reflection of the everlasting light, 
And a spotless mirror of the activity of God, 
And a likeness of his goodness [7 : 26]. 


Paul sees in Jesus the embodiment of the Wisdom 
of God, already personified in the Apocrypha. The 
same idea is carried a little farther, still under the 
influence of Wisdom, in the Letter to the Hebrews, 
where the famous words 

He is the reflection of God's glory, 

And the representation of his being, 

And bears up the universe by his mighty word 

reproduce the same description of Wisdom in the 
Book of Wisdom (7:26). The writer of Hebrews, 
like Paul before him, understands Jesus to be the 
impersonation or embodiment of the divine Wis- 
dom. And finally it was the apparent equating of 
the divine Wisdom and the divine Word in Wisdom 
9:1, 2, 

Who created all things by your word, 
And by your wisdom formed man, 

that influenced the writer of the Gospel of John to 
identify both the divine Word and the divine Wis- 
dom with Jesus, in the opening words of the great 
prologue: "In the beginning the Word existed. 
The Word was with God, and the Word was divine. 
.... Everything came into existence through him. 
.... So the Word became flesh and blood and lived 
for a while among us, abounding in blessing and 
truth. 3 ' 

So it is the Apocrypha rather than the Old Testa- 
ment that prepare us for the Christologies of the 


New. The use of Wisd. 5 : 17-20 combined with Isa. 
59; 17 in Eph. 6: 13-17, in building up the figure of 
the Christian soldier and his weapons, is unmistak- 
able: "You must take God's armor, .... the belt 
of truth, .... uprightness as your coat of mail, 
.... faith for your shield, . , . . salvation for your 
helmet, and for your sword the Spirit, which is the 
voice of God." 

The eleventh chapter of Hebrews with its list of 
the heroes of faith, is clearly influenced by the 
praise of famous men of Israel, in the Wisdom of 
Sirach, chapters 44-50, Verse 35 refers to the suf- 
ferings and hopes of resurrection of the Maccabean 
martyrs of II Maccabees, chapter 7, The words 
"put foreign armies to flight," may be an allusion 
to Judith's routing of the army of Holofernes. The 
climax of the chapter in Hebrews undoubtedly 
refers to the Maccabean persecution so much dwelt 
upon in II Maccabees: 

Still others had to endure taunts and blows, and even 
fetters and prison. They were stoned to death, they were 
tortured to death, they were sawed in two, they were killed 
with the sword. Clothed in. the skins of sheep or goats, 
they were driven from place to place, destitute, persecuted, 
misused men of whom the world was not worthy wander- 
ing in deserts, mountains, caves and holes in the ground 

Some readers of the Revelation cannot believe 
that Babylon there means Rome, until they find it 


used in that sense in Baruch, the Letter of Jeremiah, 
and II Esdras. Tobit's dream of a day when Jeru- 
salem would be rebuilt of sapphire and emerald, 
with walls of precious stones, and towers and battle- 
ments of pure gold, and streets paved with beryl, 
ruby, and stones of Ophir (Tob. 13:16, 17) must 
have been in the mind of the writer of the Revela- 
tion when he described the New Jerusalem as a city 
of pure gold, with a street of gold, and walls of 
jasper, sapphire, emerald, beryl, and all kinds of 
precious stones (Rev. 21:18-21). 

Origen and Jerome both held that the writers of 
the New Testament knew and used the Apocrypha, 
and we have seen how in the gospels, the letters, 
and the Revelation, the direct influence of the 
Apocrypha is easily traced. They formed part of 
the literary background of the first age of Christian- 
ity and helped to enrich its thought, its preaching, 
and its writing. Of course Christianity greatly 
elevated some of this material, and some of it if 
disdained; but some it appropriated to its own ends. 

Scholars sometimes speak as though religion in 
the Bible moved evenly onward and upward to its , 
culmination in Christ, but they have forgotten the 
Apocrypha. In some of them, religion sank for a 
time to a very low level, until it offered but a dark 
background for the dawn of Christianity. Consider 
the last page of the Apocrypha, the fifteenth chap- 


ter of II Maccabees, a recognized product of 
Pharisaism half a century before Christ. Judas has 
just defeated the Syrian general Nicanor, and Nica- 
nor has been slain. Judas triumphantly carries his 
head and arm to Jerusalem to hang them up in 
triumph before the sanctuary, and declares his in- 
tention of cutting out Nicanor's tongue and feeding 
it in little pieces to the birds. So the curtain falls 
on the Apocrypha. 

How different is the voice of the gospels ! "You 
have heard that they were told, 'You must love 
your neighbor, and hate your enemy.' But I tell 
you, love your enemies, and pray for your persecu- 
tors, so that you may show yourselves true sons of 
your Father in heaven. 7 ' 2 


1. References: r Deut. 21:22, 23; 2 Matt. 5:43-45. 

2. What light do the Apocrypha throw upon the Phari- 

3. What book throws light upon the Sadducees? 

4. What book throws light on the matter of angels and 
demons in the New Testament? 

5. What book most influenced New Testament Christol- 

6. What book seems to have influenced the parables in 

7. What precedent do the Apocrypha afford for the 
action of Joseph of Arimathea? 

8. What interpolation in the Gospel of John reminds us of 


9. What was the festival of Dedication, mentioned in 

10. What scenes in the Apocrypha does Hebrews reflect? 

11. In how many New Testament books can you trace 
the influence of the Apocrypha? 

12. Contrast the Pharisaic ethics of II Maccabees with 
those of the gospels. 

13. What light do the Apocrypha throw upon Matthew, 
chap. 23? 




Early Christian writers give abundant evidence 
of their acquaintance with the Apocrypha and their 
respect for them. Clement and Hernias, Polycarp 
and Barnabas, contemporary with the later writers 
of the New Testament itself, reflect their use, and 
the greater figures that followed Irenaeus of 
Lyons, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian and 
Cyprian of Carthage, Hippolytus of Rome, and 
Origen and Dionysius of Alexandria all knew 
them. For the Apocrypha were not then a definite 
collection of books standing apart and thought of 
together; they were scattered through the Greek 
Old Testament, and were thought of as parts of it. 

The earliest Christian writing outside the New 
Testament that has come down to us is the Letter of 
Clement, written in the name of the church at 
Rome to the church at Corinth, about A.D. 95. He 
ranks Judith with Esther, and says of her, "The 
blessed Judith, when her city was besieged, asked 
the elders to let her go out into the camp of the 
aliens. So she exposed herself to danger, and went 
out, for love of her country and her people who 



were besieged; and the Lord delivered Holof ernes 
into a woman's hand [55:4]." 

Twenty years later, Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, 
quoted to the Philippians some of Tobit's great 
words about charity: "Charity saves from death." 
Tobit's advice to his son about giving to charity 
is very sound and specific we still hear it quoted 
sometimes in church, when the collection is taken: 
"Do not let your eye begrudge what you give to 

charity Give to charity in proportion to 

what you have; if you have little do not be afraid to 
give sparingly to charity, .... for charity will save 
you from death [4:6-10; 12:9; Polycarp 10:2]." 

The Letter of Barnabas (12:1), fifteen years 
later, quotes the Ezra Apocalypse in II Esdras 
(4:33; 5:5) as one of the prophets. With Baruch 
appended to Jeremiah, it was natural to quote it 
as coming from him. Athenagoras of Athens who 
wrote a Plea for the Christians to the Emperor Mar- 
cus Aurelius, about A.D. 180, quotes the fine saying 
of Baruch, "He is our God; no other can be com- 
pared with him," as inspired words, and Irenaeus 
about the same time and Clement of Alexandria 
soon after quote passages in Baruch as the words 
of Jeremiah, 

The Book of Wisdom actually appears as a book 
of the New Testament in the earliest list of New 
Testament books we possess, that of the Mura- 
torian fragment, originally composed about A.D. 200 


and representing the practice of the church at 
Rome. The book is spoken of as the "Wisdom com- 
posed by the friends of Solomon in his honor." 
Nothing could more eloquently express the regard 
felt for it in Christian circles than this impulse to 
include it in the New Testament itself. We have 
seen how it molded the earliest Christian thought 
about Christ. 

Hippolytus included Susanna as part of Daniel 
among his commentaries on the scriptures. His 
opening observation is quaintly interesting: "What 
is narrated here happened at a later time although 
it is placed at the beginning of the book. For it was 
a custom with the writers to narrate many things in 
an inverted order in their writings" a custom, we 
may add, that they have never outgrown. Susanna 
formed the subject of an interesting correspondence 
ten years later (A.D. 240) between two of the great- 
est Christian scholars of their day Origen and 
Julius Africanus the latter contending on the basis 
of the Greek puns in the story that it must have 
been written in Greek and not in Hebrew. Origen 
stoutly maintained its genuineness, going on to talk 
of Tobit and Judith, which he accepted without 
question as scripture. 

The paintings of the Catacombs reflect familiar- 
ity with the scenes and subjects of the Apocrypha. 
But eastern Christianity began in the fourth cen- 
tury to regard them with less esteem, although the 


great Greek Bibles written in the East, probably in 
Egypt and Caesarea, in the fourth, fifth, and sixth 
centuries still included them. In the seventh cen- 
tury the East swung back to them, however, and in 
modern times, in the seventeenth century, limited 
its list of Apocrypha to Tobit, Judith, Ecclesiasti- 
cus, and Wisdom. 

It was Jerome as we have seen who first pointed 
out their absence from the Hebrew Bible of Pales- 
tine, and named them Apocrypha, but he left them 
in his Vulgate version, which became the Bible of 
western Europe. Luther took Jerome's point so 
seriously as to separate the Apocrypha from the rest 
of the Old Testament and group them together fol- 
lowing it, in his German Bible of 1534, and Cover- 
dale followed his example in the English Bibles of 
1535 and 1539. In fact all the Protestant Bibles 
long followed this course, except that the Puritan 
demand for a Bible without the Apocrypha led the 
publishers to begin to omit the Apocrypha sheets 
from some copies, from 1599 on. 

This Protestant depreciation of the Apocrypha 
led the Council of Trent in 1546 to reaffirm accept- 
ance of them all but II Esdras and the Prayer of 
Manasseh, which were relegated to an appendix 
following the New Testament. Luther called them 
useful and good to read, but not scripture. 

The Church of England in its Sixth Article in- 
dorses the reading of them for example of life and 


instruction in manners. But the Westminster Con- 
fession, framed principally by Presbyterian divines, 
in 1648 declared they were not to be otherwise used 
than other human writings. 

As Sir Frederic Kenyon has put it, the Puritans 
persecuted the Apocrypha, and we cannot alto- 
gether blame them, for while the historical interest 
and value of the Apocrypha are considerable, their 
religious levels are seldom high. It was this Puritan 
influence no doubt that led the British and Ameri- 
can Bible societies in 1827 to decide that they would 
no longer use funds given to them in the publication 
of the Apocrypha. The result has been that the 
Apocrypha are now seldom found in any but pulpit 
or old-fashioned Family Bibles. But it cannot be 
denied that they formed an integral part of the 
King James Version of 1611, and George Abbot, 
archbishop of Canterbury, made an ordinance that 
anyone who printed the English Bible without them 
should be imprisoned for a year. 

In the Latin version of Tobit and in the earliest 
English Bibles, Tobias and Sarah are described as 
giving the first three nights after their marriage to 
prayer, postponing their wedlock until the fourth. 
This practice was general in the Middle Ages, and 
was followed by Louis IX (St. Louis) of France and 
his queen, upon their marriage in 1234, in imitation 
of Tobias. To this reading of the Vulgate is due the 
fact that in the earliest Book of Common Prayer 


(1549), Tobias and Sarah, not Abraham and Sarah, 
are mentioned as the ideal pair: "And as thou didst 
send thy angel Raphael to Thobie and Sarah, the 
daughter of Raguel, to their great comfort, so 
vouchsafe to send thy blessing to these thy serv- 
ants." Evidently in the later marriage service, 
Abraham has taken Tobias' birthright. The medi- 
eval order of matrimony as laid down in the Use 
of Sarum, after a similar mention of Tobias and 
Sarah, concludes with the blessing of the bridal 
chamber and the marriage bed by the priest, who 
prays, "Keep thy servants who rest in this bed from 
all phantoms and illusions of devils" a manifest 
reference to the demon who had haunted Sarah and 
killed her husbands. 

The influence of the Apocrypha upon the litera- 
ture and art of the Middle Ages was considerable. 
In the Divine Comedy , the action of which began 
on the Thursday before Easter in the year 1300, 
Dante makes full use of them. The Wisdom of Solo- 
mon, Tobit, Judith, I and II Maccabees and II 
Esdras are all reflected in his lines. His vision of the 
eagle (the Empire) scattering its feathers over the 
cross (the church) meaning that when Constantine 
removed to Constantinople, he left the imperial 
authority in the West to the church is influenced 
by the Eagle Vision of II Esdras. And the third 
ring in the Inferno, where the betrayers of their 
friends are located, is called Tolomea, after that 


Ptolemy who murdered the Maccabean Simon and 
his sons at a banquet (Inferno, canto 33; I Mace. 

One of the most interesting monuments of the 
Middle Ages is certainly the Golden Legend of Jaco- 
bus de Voragine, Archbishop of Genoa, written 
about 1275. It paraphrases Judith and Tobit from 
the Latin Vulgate. It was translated into English 
and printed in 1483 by William Caxton, who says 
of Judith that it is read (in church, that is) on the 
last Sunday of October. 

The Church of England still includes some lessons 
from the Apocrypha in its church year, and the 
place of the Apocrypha in its Bible is so secure tliat 
the King on his accession cannot take the oath of 
office on a Bible that does not contain them. Upon 
the monument to the Prince Consort which Queen 
Victoria erected at Balmoral Castle, she placed an 
inscription from Wisd. 4:13, 14: "He being made 
perfect in a short time, fulfilled a long time: for 
his soul pleased the Lord : therefore hasted he to 
take him away from among the wicked," The Song 
of the Three Children has been sung in the Chris- 
tian church as the Benedicite ever since the fourth 
century, first in Latin and latterly in English. 

Shakespeare named his daughters Judith and 
Susanna, and the figures of the Apocrypha meet us 
again and again in the pages of English literature 
from Chaucer down. Indeed, long before, Gildas, 


"the earliest of British historians/' is said to have 
made copious use in the sixth century of II Esdras. 
Judas Maccabeus and Susanna became the sub- 
jects of oratorios by Handel. Judith has in modern 
times engaged the pens of Thomas Bailey Aldrich 
and Arnold Bennett, and Bennett's Ghost cer- 
tainly rests on Tobit's Asmodeus, who had been 
the hero of one of LeSage's novels, two centuries 
before. Tobit's latest literary revival is in Stella 
Benson's Faraway Bride, which was suggested by the 
Book of Tobit, being in fact published in England 
under the title Tobit Transplanted (1931). Indeed 
Susanna and the story of Bel have the leading places 
in Dorothy Sayers' first Omnibus of Crime, and Su- 
sanna is included in Clark and Lieber's Great Short 
Stories of the World (1926) . But it would take a book 
to record the literary influence of the Apocrypha. 
Like the artists of the catacombs, the painters 
of the Renaissance reveled in the subjects the Apoc- 
rypha afforded. Judith with the head of Holofernes. 
Susanna surprised by the elders, Tobias walking with 
his guide, attracted the genius of a long series of 
painters. Many people get their first introduction 
to the Apocrypha when they see their romantic 
characters and dramatic incidents represented in 
European picture galleries. And it is not without 
significance for the influence of the Apocrypha upon 
Renaissance Italy that one of its greatest painters 
was named after Tobias' guide, Raphael. 



1. How did early Christian writers regard the Apocrypha? 

2. How far back can we trace their use by Christian 

3. What did the Roman Christians think of the Book of 

4. When the Latin Bible replaced the Greek in Europe, 
what became of the Apocrypha? 

5. How did Dante use the Apocrypha? 

6. Which of them appear in the Golden Legend? 

7. What light do the catacombs throw upon their history? 

8. What did Luther do with them? 

9. Where do they stand in the first English Bibles? 

10. What influence began to eliminate them? 

11. How did this first find expression? 

12. What attitude have the Bible societies taken? 

13. What place have the Apocrypha in the art of the 

14. Do the Apocrypha still influence English literature? 

15. Which do you consider their chief value literary, 
historical, or religious? 



Soon after 200 The Book of Tobit 

200-175 - Ecclesiasticus 

1 68 . The Prayer of Azariah 

150 The Song of the Three Children 

150 .The First Book of Esdras 

150 . The Book of Judith 

150-100. ... . . .The Prayer of Manasseh 

100 ... The Additions to Esther 

100-75 .... ... .The Story of Susanna 

100-75 .Bel and the Dragon 

100-75 The First Book of Maccabees 

75-65 . . . .The Second Book of Maccabees 


38-41 The Wisdom of Solomon 

100 ... The Book of Baruch 

100 The Letter of Jeremiah 

66-270 The Second Book of Esdras 



The Apocrypha Translated out of the Greek and Latin Tongues: 
Being the Version Set forth A.D. 1611 Compared with the 
Most Ancient Authorities and Revised, A.D, i8g4. Oxford: 
University Press. 

GOODSPEED, EDGAR J. The Apocrypha: An American Trans- 
lation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1938. 

DEANE, W. J. The Book of Wisdom. Oxford: Clarendon 
Press, 1881. 

GOODRICK, A. T. S. The Book of Wisdom. With Introduc- 
tion and Notes. New York: Macmillan, 1913. 

DAUBNEY, W. H. The Three Additions to Daniel. Cam- 
bridge: University Press, 1906. 

. The Use of the Apocrypha in the Christian Church. 

London: C. J. Clay, 1900. 

HUGHES, H. MALDWYN. The Ethics of Jewish Apocryphal 
Literature. London: R. Culley, 1910. 

CHARLES, R. H. The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the 
Old Testament. 2 vols. Oxford, 1913. 

CHARLES, R. H. Religious Development between the Old and 
New Testaments. New York: Henry Holt, 1914. 

WICKS, H. J. The Doctrine of God in Jewish Apocryphal 
and Apocalyptic Literature. London: Hunter &Longhurst, 

MARCUS, RALPH. Law in the Apocrypha. New York: Co- 
lumbia University Press, 1927. 

Box, G. H. Judaism in the Greek Period. Oxford: Claren- 
don Press, 1932. 

HERFORD, R. TRAVERS. Talmud and Apocrypha. London: 
Soncino, 1933. 



OESTERXEY, W. O. E. An Introduction to the Books of the 
Apocrypha. New York: Macmillan, 1935. 

MALDEN, R. H. The Apocrypha. London: Oxford Univer- 
sity Press, 1936. 

RANKEST, O. S. Israel's Wisdom Literature; Its Bearing on 
Theology and the History of Religion. Edinburgh: T. and 
T. Clark, 1936. 

WALKER, THOMAS. Hebrew Religion between the Testaments. 
London: J. Clarke, 1937. 

WAXMAN, MEYER. A History of Jewish Literature, Vol. I: 
From the Close of the Canon to the End of the Twelfth Cen- 
tury. New York: Bloch, 1938. 


Abbot, George, 6, 136 

Abraham and Sarah, 137 

Accession, 138 

Achior, 45, 46 

Adulteress, 124 

Aesculapius, 73, 74 

Aeshma Daeva, 1 7 

Agrippa, gi 

Ahab and Zedekiah, 69 

Ahikar, 14, 17 

Aldrich, Thomas Bailey, 139 

Alexander Jannaeus, 65, 69, 

76, 78, 79, 87 
Alexander the Great, 31 
Alexandra, 87 

Alexandria, 83, 88, 90-94, 97 
American Standard Version, 7 
American Translation, 1 1 
Amiens, 118 
Angels, 1 6 

Angels and demons, 121-23 
Antioch, in 

Antiochus Epiphanes, 32, 76, 85 
Antiochus the Great, 24 
Aphrodite worship, 108 
Apocalyps? of Zephaniah, 113 
Apocrypha, the name, 3 
Apology of Aristides, 108, 109 
Apostasy, 93 
Aramaic in Daniel, 17 
Archangels, 123 
Arphaxad, 49 
Artaxerxes, 38, 42, 43, 58 

Artaxerxes Ochus, 49 
Ashdod, desolation of, 48 
Asmodeus, 17, 139 
Assyrians, Babylonians con- 
fused, 49 
Athenagoras, 133 
Authorized Bibles, 5, 6 
Azariah, Prayer of, 31, 33, 52 
Azariah (Raphael), 15 

Babylon-Rome, 101, 106, 112, 


Babylonian women, 108 
Bagoas, 46, 47 
Balmoral Castle, 138 
Bar-Cochba war, 101 
Barnabas, Letter of, 132, 133 
Baruch, Book of, 100, 101, 

109, 129, 133 

Bel and the Dragon, 72, 73 
Belshazzar, 101, 103 
Benedicite, 35, 138 
Bennett, Arnold, 139 
Bensly, 118 
Benson, Stella, 139 
Bethulia, 45 
Bible Societies, 7, 136 
Bishops' Bible, 5, 54, 65, 118 
Blindness cured, 16 
Book of Common Prayer, 136 
Brenton, Sir Lancelot, 10 
Brooks, Thomas, 44 
Burial, 123, 124 




Caesarea, 135 
Cambridge Press, 7 
Canticle of the Sun, 35 
Catacombs, 134, 139 
Caxton, William, 138 
Charity, 133 
Charles, R. H., 10 
Chasidim, 32, 54, 77, 121 
Chaucer, 138 
Christ, 98 

Christian armor, 128 
Christology, 98, 126-28, 131 
Church of England, 138 
Church of England, Sixth 

Article, 6, 135 
Clement of Alexandria, 63, 81, 

104, 132, 133 
Clement of Rome, 48, 51, 63, 


Cleopatra, wife of Ptolemy, 61 
Clermont list, 82 
Codex Alexandrinus, 82 
Codex Sinaiticus, 82 
Codex Vaticanus, 82 
Codex Venetus, 82 
Colossians, Letter to the, 97, 


Comradeship, 21 
Constantine, 137 
Constantinople, 137 
Corinth, 132 
Council of Trent, 135 
Coverdale, 4, 5, 8, 54 
Coverdale's Bible, 5, 65, 118, 

Craftsmen, 20 

Cyprian, 132 
Cyrus, 39, 42, 72 

Damasus, Pope, 2 

Daniel, 33-35, 65, 66, 72, 73, 

103, 124, 134 
Dante, 137, 140 
Darius, 42, 43 
Deborah, 47 
Decian Persecution, in 
Decius, in 
Dedication, 85, 126 
Demon, 15 

Desecration of the Temple, 32 
Dialogue of Justin, 112 
Didascalia, 56 

Dionysius of Alexandria, 132 
Divine Comedy, 137 
Dogs, 17 

Domitian, 101, 117 
Dositheus, 62 
Douai, 5 

Eagle Vision, 115, 137 

Ecbatana, 14-16, 49 

Ecclesiastes, 90-93, 97 

Ecclesiasticus, 20, 21, 25, 135 

Edessa, in 

Egyptian Judaism, 13 

Egyptian medicine, 17 

Elders, 124 

Eleazar, 76 

Embassy to Gams, 92 

English of King James Apoc- 
rypha, 9 

English of Revised Apocrypha, 
9, 10 

English Revision Committee, 7 

Ephesians, Letter to, 98, 128 

Epicureanism, 91, 92 

Esarhaddon, 14 


Esdras, I, II, III, IV, V, VI, 


Esdras, I, 37-44 
Esdras, II, 3, 111-19, 129, 133, 

135, 137, 139 
Esther, Additions to, 57-64, 


Euergetes, 25 
Eusebius, 81, 124 
Exorcism, 15 
Ezra, 3, 29,40, 113-16 
Ezra, Book of, 118 
Ezra Apocalypse, The, 114-18, 


Family Bibles, i, 136 
Faraway Bride, 139 
Fiction, 48, 74 
Flaccus, 94 
Folklore, 38, 39, 41 
Francis, St., 35 
Friendship, 22 

Gabriel, 18, 123 

Gaius worship, 91, 93, 94 

Geneva Bible, 5, 6, 9, 54, 65, 


Genoa, 138 
Ghost, The, 139 
Gildas, 138 

Golden Legend, The, 138, 140 
Gospel of John, 69, 98, 124, 

126, 127 

Gospel of Luke, 122, 125 
Gospel of Matthew, 124, 125 
Gospel of the Hebrews, 124 
Goths, in 

Great Bible, 54, 65, 118 
Great Short Stories, 139 

Greek, Jewish writings in, 42, 

62, 68, 71, 118 
Greek Old Testament, i 
Guardsmen, the Three, 39 

Habakkuk, 73 
Haman, 59-61 
Handel, 138 
Hanukkah, 48, 84 
Hasmoneans, 32 
Hebrew, 25, 33, 68, 117 
Hebrew Bible, 2, 135 
Hebrews, Gospel of the, 1 24 
Hebrews, Letter to the, 88, 98, 

127, 128 
Heliodorus, 84 
Hennas, 132 
Herodotus, 49, 50, 108 
Hippolytus, 81, 132, 134 
Holof ernes, 45, 46, 128, 133, 

Humor, 18, 21, 26, 27 

Idolatry, 71, 73, 90, 93, 94, 96, 


Immortality, 91, 92, 98 
Irenaeus, 69, 104, 132 
Isaiah, 102, 128 

Jacobus de Voragine, 138 

Jael, 48 

James, 126 

Jason of Cyrene, 81, 83, 84, 86, 


Jeremiah, 101, 133 
Jeremiah, Letter of, 105-10, 

Jerome, 2, 3, 58, 69, 81, 129, 

Jerusalem, 130 



Jeshua (Jesus), son of Sirach, 


Jesus, 122-27 
Jewish. Apocalypses, 1 1 1 
Jewish, fiction, 48, 74 
Jewish ideals, 13, 22 
Jewish sects, 121 
Jewish War, 100, 116, 117 
John, Gospel of, 69, 98, 124, 

126, 127 

John Hyrcanus, 78 
Jonathan, 77, So, 86 
Joseph of Arimathea, 19, 123, 


Josephus, 63, 81, 88 
Josiah's Passover, 38 
Judas Maccabeus, 33, 36, 37, 

80, 83-87, 121, 130, 139 
Judith, 45-5 1 , 121, 128, 132, 

134, 135, 137-49 
Judith Shakespeare, 138 
Julius Africanus, 67, 69, 134 
Justin, 112 

Kenyon, Sir Frederic G., 6, 136 

Kkons,, Tractate of, 16 

King James Bible, 5, 6, 19, 54, 
65, 136 

King James English in Apoc- 
rypha, 9 

Lamentations, 102 

Latin Vulgate, 2, 3, 8, 19, 58, 

109, 118, 136, 138 
Law, Jewish, 26, 38, 48, 49, 66, 


Le Sage, 139 

Letter of Jeremiah, 105-10 
Lions' den, 73 
Liturgy, 34, 35, 101 

Louis IX, 136 

Lucrece, 69 

Luke, Gospel of, 122, 125 

Luther, 4, 5, 8, 119, 135, 140 

Luther's Bible, 4, 135 

Lysimachus, 62 

Maccabean brothers, 76-81 
Maccabean martyrs, 121 
Maccabean persecution, 128 
Maccabees, I, 76-82, 121, 126, 

137, 138 
Maccabees, II, 83-89, 121, 122, 

125, 126, 128, 130, 137 
Magian religion, 1 7 
Manasseh, Prayer of, 52-56, 


Man from the Sea, 115, 116 
Marcus Aurelius, 133 
Marduk, 74 

Martyrdoms, 83, 85, 86 
Materialism, 90 
Mattathias, 32, 33, 77 
Matthew, Gospel of, 124, 125 
Matthew Bible, Thomas, 65 
Melito of Sardis, 2 
Memorabilia, 97 
Messiah, 115 
Michael, 18, 123 
Middle Ages, 19, 124, 137, 138 
Miracle, 83-85 
Mordecai, 58-61 
Muratorian fragment, 133 

Nabonidus, 103 

Name of God, 79, 80 

Nature, appreciation of, 20, 

Nebuchadnezzar, 39 



Neglect of the Apocrypha, 10, 


Nehemiah, 118, 119 
New Jerusalem, 19, 129 
New Testament, 120 
Nicanor, 48, 85, 130 
Nile, 96 
Nineveh, 14, 16, 17, 49, 123 

Old Latin Version, 124 
Omnibus of Crime, 139 
Oriental versions, 116 
Origen, 63, 67, 69, 81, 129, 132, 


Oxyrhynchus, 105 
Oxyrhynchus papyri, 117-19 

Pagninus, 8 
Palmyra, in, 112 
Panion, 24 
Paronomasia, 67 
Paul, 97, 98, 121, 126 
Persecution, 90, 91, 93 
Persecution, Decian, in, 116 
Persia, in, 112 
Persian religion, 17, 121 
Pharisaic literature, 48, 49, 51, 

65, 83 
Pharisaism, 50, 130 

Pharisees, 48, 65, 70, 77, 83, 86, 

1 20-22, 124 

Philippians, Polycarp to the, 133 
Philo, 88, 91, 92, 97 
Physician, 21 
Pilate, 123 

Platonic philosophy, 97 
Plea for Christians, 133 
Plutarch, 109 
Polycarp, 132, 133 
Pompey, 87, 88 

Poverty, 21 

Praise of Famous Men, 29 
Prayer of Azariah, 31, 33, 52 
Prayer of Manasseh, 52-56, 135 
Preaching of Peter, 108, 109 
Presbyterian influence, 136 
Prince Consort, 138 
Psalms, The, 35, 36 
Ptolemy and Cleopatra, 61 
Ptolemy, son of Abubus, 138 
Puritans, 5, 6, 136 

Queen Victoria, 138 

Ragae, 14, 15 
Raguel, 15, 1 6 

Raphael, 14-16, 18, 123, 137 
Raphael, painter, 139 
Renaissance, 139, 140 
Restoration, 38 
Revelation, the, 128, 129 
Revision English in the Apoc- 
rypha, 10 
Ridicule, 105 
Romans, the, 124 
Romans, Letter to the, 126 
Rome, 101, 106, 132 

Sadducees, 65, 76, 78, 83, 120, 

122, 123 
Salathiel, 114 
Samaritans, 43 
Sarah, 14, 15, 19, 123 
Sayers, Dorothy, 139 
Sennacherib, 14 
Septuagint translators, 10 
Septuagint version, 119 
Serapeum, 90, 105 
Serapis, 105 
Sermon on the Mount, 123 



Serpent worship, 73, 74 
Seven husbands, 19 
Seventy books, the, 116 
Shakespeare, 70, 138 
Sibylline Oracles, 113 
Simeon ben Shetach, 65 
Simon, the Maccabean, 78, 86 
Simon, son of Onias, 24, 26, 29 
Sirach, Jeshua, son of, 20-30, 

Sirach, Wisdom of, 20-30, 122- 


Sisera, 48 
Skepticism, 90 
Solomon, go, 134 
Solomon, Wisdom of, 90-99 
Song of the Three Children, 

34-36, 72, 138 
Sraosha, 17 
Susanna, 65-70, 72, 121, 124, 

125, 134, 139 
Susanna Shakespeare, 70, 138 

Table manners, 21 
Tarquin, 69 
Taverner, 5 
Temple dishes, 3941 
Temple worship, 24, 38 
Tcrtullian, 69, 132 
Theodotion, version of, 68 
Thomas Matthew Bible, 8 
Thomson, Charles, 10 

Three Guardsmen, the, 38, 39, 


Tiamat, 74 
Titus, 1 01 

Tobias, 15, 16, 19, 137, *39 
Tobias and Sarah, 19, 136, 137 

Tobit, 13-19, 121, 123, 129, 


Tobit Transplanted, 139 
Tolomea, 137 
Tractate of Khons, the, 16 
Translation, 25, 81 
Travel, 23 
Tyndale, 8 

Unjust Judge, the, 124, 125 

Uriel, 114, 123 

Use of Sarum, the, 137 

Vashti, 59 
Vespasian, 101 

Vulgate, Latin, 2, 3, 19, 58, 
109, 118, 135, 136, 138 

Westminster Confession, 136 
Wisdom, 20, 23, 90, 96, 98, 102 
Wisdom of Sirach, 20-30, 126, 

Wisdom of Solomon, 90-99, 

108, 126-28, 133-35, *37> 

138, 140 
Word, 98 
Writing of the Books, the, 116, 

Wyclif and Purvey, 4 

Xenophon, Memorabilia, 97 
Xerxes, 57-59 

Zaccheus, 125 

Zenobia, in 

Zephaniah, Apocalypse of, 113 

Zerubbabel, 39, 41 

Zion, 115 

Zopyrus, 50 

Zoroastrianism, 17 

Zwingli, 8 

]i_IN USA (I