Prolegomena to the History of Israel
Julius Wellhausen

Part 10 out of 13

The language of the pre-exilic historical books is in general much
akin to that of the Jehovistic work; that of the Priestly Code,
on the contrary, is quite different. It is common enough to
interpret this fact, as if the latter belonged to an earlier
period. But not to mention that in that case the Code must have
been entirely without influence on the history of the language,
it agrees ill with this view, that on going back to the oldest
documents preserved to us of the historical literature of the
Hebrews we find the difference increasing rather than diminishing.
Take Judges v. and 2Samuel i.; the poetical pieces in JE may be
compared with them, but in Q there is nothing like them. And on
the other hand, it is in the narratives which were introduced very
late into the history, such as Judges xix.-xxi.; 1Samuel vii.
viii. x. 17 seq. xii.; 1Kings xiii., and the apocryphal
additions in 1Kings vi.-viii. that we recognise most readily
some linguistic approximation to the Priestly Code. And as in the
historical so also in the prophetical literature. The speech of
Amos, Isaiah, Micah, answers on the whole to that of the Jehovist,
not to that of the priestly author.

Deuteronomy and the Book of Jeremiah first agree with the Priestly
Code in certain important expressions. In Ezekiel such expressions
are much more numerous, and the agreement is by no means with
Leviticus xvii.-xxvi. alone. /1/

I Especially noticeable is P)T NGB TYMNH in Ezekiel and the
Priestly Code. In the latter Negeb, even when it refers to the
actual Negeb, yet is used as denoting south (Numbers xxxiv. 3,
xxv. 2-4), i.e., it has completely lost its original meaning.

In the subsequent post-exilic prophets down to Malachi the points
of contact are limited to details, but do not cease to occur; they
occur also in the Psalms and in Ecclesiastes. Reminiscences of the
Priestly Code are found nowhere but in the Chronicles and some of
the Psalms. For that Amos iv. 11 is borrowed from Genesis xix. 29
is not a whit more clear than that the original of Amos i. 2 must
be sought in Joel iv. 19 [iii. 16].

The Priestly Code maintains its isolated literary character as
against the later literature also. This is the result partly of
the use of a number of technical terms, partly of the incessant
repetition of the same formulae, and of its great poverty of
language. But if we neglect what is due to the stiff and hard
idiosyncrasy of the author, it is undoubtedly the case that he
makes use of a whole series of characteristic expressions which
are not found before the exile, but gradually emerge and come
into use after it. The fact is not even denied, it is merely
put aside. To show what weight is due to it we may find room
here for a short statement of the interesting points for the
history of language to be found in Genesis i.

Genesis i. 1, R)#YT means in the older Hebrew, not the COMMENCEMENT
of a process which goes forward in time, but the FIRST
(and generally the BEST) part of a thing. In the sense of a
beginning in time, as the contrary to )XRYT, it is first found in
a passage of Deuteronomy, xi. 12; then in the titles in the Book
of Jeremiah, xxvi. 1, xxvii. 1, xxviii. 1, xlix. 34, and in Isaiah
xlvi. 10, and lastly in the Hagiographa, Job viii. 7, xili. 12;
Proverbs xvii. 14; Ecclesiastes vii. 8. In Genesis x. 10
R)#YT MMLKTW has a different meaning from that in Jeremiah xxvi. 1
in the one it is the principal part of the kingdom; in the other
it is the beginning of the reign. _In the beginning_ was in the
early time, if absolute, BFR)#NH, BATTXLH; if relative, BTXLT
TXLT. /1/

1 The vocalisation B:R#YT is very curious: we should expect
BFRA$YT. It has been attempted to do justice to it by translating:
"In the beginning, when God created heaven and earth--but the earth
was without form and void, and darkness lay upon the deep, and the
spirit of God brooded over the water--then God spake: Let there be
But this translation is desperate, and certainly not that followed
by the punctuators, for the Jewish tradition (Septuagint, Aquila,
Onkelos) is unanimous in translating:
"In the beginning God created heaven and earth."
In Aramaic, on the contrary, such adverbs take, as is well known,
the form of the _status constructus_. Cf. RBT Psalm lxvv. 10, cxx. 6.

We have already spoken of the word
BR), a word remarkable for its specific theological import. Apart
from Amos iv. 13 and Isaiah iv. 5 it is first found outside the
Priestly Code in the Deuteronomist in Exodus xxxiv. 10, Numbers xvi.
30 (?), Deuteronomy iv. 32, and in the Book of Jeremiah, xxxi. 22:
then in Ezekiel xxi. 35, xxviii. 13, 15; Malachi ii. 10; in Psalms
li. 12, lxxxix. 13, 48, cii. 19, civ. 30, cxlviii. 5; Ecclesiastes
xii. 1. It occurs, however, most frequently, 20 times in fact,
in Isaiah xl.-lxvi.; and curiously enough, never in Job, where we
should expect to find it. It has nothing to do with B"R") (cut down
wood) and BRY) (fat). /2/

2. I do not speak of the use of _Elohim_ and the application of
the names of God in the Priestly Code: the matter is not yet clear
to me. Very curious is H#M, Leviticus xxiv. 11.

Genesis i. 2, THW WBHW occurs also in Jeremiah iv. 23; Isaiah xxxiv.
11. THW alone is not so rare, but it also occurs, Isaiah xxix. 21
excepted, only in the later literature Deuteronomy xxxii. 10; 1Samuel
xii. 21; Isaiah xxiv. 10, xl. 17, 23, xli. 29, xliv. 9, xlv.
18 seq., xlix. 4, lix. 4; Job vi. 18, xii.24, xxvi. 7; Psalm
cvii. 40. The verb RXP (brood), which is common in Aramaic, only
recurs in a single passage in the Old Testament, and that a late
one, Deuteronomy xxxii. 11. Yet the possibility must be conceded
that there was no occasion for its more frequent employment.

Genesis i. 4, HBDYL and NBDL (divide and divide one's self), common
in the Priestly Code, is first used by Deuteronomy and the
Deuteronomist (Deuteronomy iv. 41, x.8, xix. 7, xxix. 10; 1Kings
viii. 53), then by Ezekiel (xxii. 26, xxxix. 14, xlii. 10) and
the author of Isaiah xl. seq. (lvi. 3, lix. 2). It is most used by
the writer of Chronicles, (1Chronicles xii. 8, xxiii. 13, xxv. 1;
2Chronicles xxv. 10; Ezra vi. 21, viii.24, ix. 1, x. 8, 11, 16 ;
Nehemiah x. 2, 29, xiii. 3). On YWM )XD Genesis i. 5 compare
Josephus, Antiquities I. i. 1: "That now would be the FIRST day,
but Moses says ONE day; I could give the reason of this here, but
as I have promised (in the Introduction) to give such reasons for
everything in a separate work, I shall defer the exposition till
then." The Rabbis also, in Genesis Rabba, feel the difficulty of
the expression, which, however, has its parallel in the )XD LXD#,
which belongs to the later way of speaking. In Syriac the
ordinary expression is XD B#B); hence in the New Testament MIA
SABBATWN for the first day of the week.

Genesis i. 6, RQY( (firmament) is found, outside the Priestly
Code, only in Ezekiel (i. 22-26, x. 1), and in still later
writers ; Psalms xix. 2, cl. 1 ; Daniel xii. 3; cf. Job
xxxviii. 18. /1/

1. It does not mean, as is generally assumed, that which is
beaten out thin, is stretched out. For, firstly, the heaven is
never considered to be made of sheet-metal; secondly, the meaning
in question only belongs to the Piel, and the substantive derived
from it is RIQQUA(. The Kal, with which RQY( must be connected,
is found in Isaiah xiii. 5, xliv. 24; Psalms cxxxvi. 6. It is
generally translated _spread out_, but quite unwarrantably.
Parallel with it are YSD and KWNN (compare Psalms xxiv. 2 with cxxxvi.
6); the Septuagint translates in all three passages with stereoun,
and accordingly renders RQY( with STEREWMA (firmamentum). This
rendering, which alone is supported by tradition, and which is very
satisfactory, is confirmed by the Syriac, where the verb RQ( is
frequent in the sense of _fortify_.

Genesis i. 10 YMYM (the sea, singular, see i. 22; Leviticus xi. 9,
10), is rare in older times, and belongs to lofty poetical
language; it is, on the contrary, frequent in Ezekiel (ten
times), and in the Psalms (seven times); and occurs besides in Job
vi. 3; Nehemiah ix. 6 ; Jonah ii. 4 ; Daniel xi. 45. Genesis i. 11
MYN (kind), a very peculiar word, especially in the form _Jeminehu_,
is found outside of this chapter and Leviticus xiv., Genesis vi. 20,
vii. 14, only in Deuteronomy xiv. and Ezekiel xlvii. 10.

Genesis i. 26, DMWT (likeness, verses 1, 3) does not occur in the
earlier literature. It first appears in 2Kings xvi. 10, in a
post-Deuteronomic passage, for the writer is that of chapter xi.
seq., xxi. seq. Then in Ezekiel (15 times), Isaiah xiii. 4, xl.
18; 2Chronicles iv. 3; Psalms lxviii. 5. It is a borrowed word
from Aramaic; and the corresponding verb only came into use in
the period when Aramaic began to find its way in.

Genesis i. 27 ZFKFR (male) is in earlier times ZFKW.R; for
this is the vocalization in Exodus xxiii. 17, xxxiv. 23; Deuteronomy
xvi. 16, xx. 13; and if it is right in these passages, as we cannot
doubt it is, it must be introduced in Exodus xxxiv. 19; Deuteronomy
xv. 19; 1Kings xi. 15 seq. as well. In the Priestly Code ZFKFR
occurs with great frequency, and elsewhere only in the later
literature, Deuteronomy iv. 16; Jeremiah xx. 15, xxx. 6; Ezekiel xvi.
17; Isaiah lxvi. 7; Malachi i. 14; Judges xxi. 11, 12; 2Chronicles
xxxi. 16; Ezra viii. As for NQBH (female), matters are even worse.
Outside the Priestly Code it is only found in Jeremiah (xxxi. 22)
and the Deuteronomist (iv. 16). The Jehovist, it is well known,
always says )Y#, W)Y#H even of the lower animals: the editor of
the Hexateuch, on the contrary, always follows the usage of the
Priestly Code.

Genesis i. 28 XYH HRM#T attracts attention by the omission of the
article with the substantive and its being merely prefixed to the
following adjective; as if one should say in Greek, )ANHR (O
)AGATHOS instead of (O )ANER (O )AGATHOS. In the same way i. 21
YWM H##Y, and ii. 3 YWM H#BY(Y. In Arabic there are some
analogies for this, but on seeking one in Hebrew we have to come
down to the period when it was usual to say KNST HGDWLH. KB#
and RDH are Aramaisms. In KBSHWH we find the only verbal suffix
in Genesis i. Instead we have always the forms )TM )TW; this is
so in the Priestly Code generally. In the Jehovistic main work,
in J, these substitutes with )T are only used sometimes and for
special reasons: it may be generally asserted that they are
more used the later we come down. Parallel with this is the use
of )nky in J and )ny in the Priestly Code; the latter form
grows always more frequent in later times.

These remarks carry us beyond Genesis i.; for the Priestly Code
generally I am now able to refer to F. Giesebrecht's essay on
the criticism of the Hexateuch. Such words as QRBN, (CM, L(MT,
(#TY are each, by itself, strong arguments for assuming a late
date for the production of the Priestly Code. We cannot believe
that such everyday words should never have come into use in the
other literature before the exile, if they were in existence.
They cannot be counted technical terms: QRBN used in Hebrew for
sacrifice and offering is simply as if an English writer should
say priere instead of worship. In such comparisons of the
vocabulary we have, however, to consider first the working up
and revision which has been at work in every part of the books
of the Bible, and secondly the caprice of the writers in apparent
trifles, such as )NKY and )NY, especially outside the Pentateuch.
These two agencies have so dislocated the original facts in this
matter, that in general we can only deal in proportions, and must
be content with showing that a word occurs say 3 times in the
other literature and 27 times in an equal extent of the later. /1/

1. Too much importance must not be attached to Aramaisms: even when
they admit of clear demonstration they prove little while
occurring merely in single instances. We early find remarkable
phenomena, such as NDR for NZR (hence NZYR = vovens), N+R for NCR
(Amos i. 11 , Y+R for Y+RP?), comp. Arabic _lata_ for _laisa_, Sur.
38, 2. Hudh. 84, 1. And yet such an Aramaism as BT #NTH in Numbers
xv. 27, or even QRBN, is very remarkable.

IX.III.2. The study of the history of language is still at a very
elementary stage in Hebrew. In that which pertains to the
lexicographer it would do well to include in its scope the proper
names of the Old Testament; when it would probably appear that
not only Parnach (Numbers xxxiv. 25) but also composite names such
as Peda-zur, Peda-el, Nathana-el, Pazi-el, Eli-asaph, point less to
the Mosaic than to the Persian period, and have their analogies in
the Chronicles. On the other hand, the prepositions and particles
would have to be examined the use of the prepositions Beth and
Lamed in the Priestly Code is very peculiar. That would lead
further, to syntax; or better still, to rhetoric and style--a
diffcult and little cultivated field of study, but one of great
importance and lending itself readily to comparative treatment.
This treatment yields the most far-reaching results in the case
of those parallels which have an undoubted and direct relation
to each other. The dependence of the Priestly Code on the Jehovist
cannot be more strikingly demonstrated than by comparing its CDYQ,
Genesis vi. 9, with the CDYQ BDWR HZH, of Genesis vii. 1 (JE.).
The plural DRWT is quite on a line with the MYNYM, and the (MY
H)RC, of the Rabbis, and the SPERMATA of Galatians iii. 15; it
does not denote the successive generations, but contemporaries,
the contemporaneous individuals of one and the same generation.

From words we are brought back to things again by noting that the
age of the word depends in many cases on the introduction of the
thing. The name BTR in the Song of Songs, for example,
presupposes the cultivation of the malobathron in Syria and
Palestine. The Priestly Code enumerates colours, stuffs,
goldsmiths' work and jewels, which nowhere occur in the older
literature: along with the Book of Ezekiel it is the principal
quarry in the Old Testament for the history of art; and this is
the less likely to be due to chance, as the geographical horizon
of the two works is also the same. There is also some contact in
this respect, though to a less degree, between the Priestly Code
and Isaiah xl.-lxvi., and this must doubtless receive a historical
explanation in the circumstances of the Babylonian age. /l/

1. On Canticles cf. Schuerer's Theol. Lit. Z., 1879, p. 31. It
also, by the names of plants and similar details mentioned in it,
is an important source for the history of external civilisation.
In Isaiah liv. 11, read with the Septuagint NPK: instead of the
meaningless PWK:, and )DNYK instead of )BNYK.


What importance the written letter, the book of the law, possessed
for the Jews, we all know from the New Testament. Of ancient
Israel, again, it is said in the introductory poem of Goethe's
West-Oestlicher Divan, that the word was so important there,
because it was a spoken word. The contrast which Goethe evidently
perceived is really characteristic, and deserves some further


X.I.1. Even if it be the case that Deuteronomy and the Priestly
Code were only reduced to writing at a late period, still there
remains the Jehovistic legislation (Exodus xx.-xxiii. xxxiv.)
which might be regarded as the document which formed the
starting-point of the religious history of Israel. And this
position is in fact generally claimed for it; yet not for the
whole of it, since it is commonly recognised that the Sinaitic
Book of the Covenant (Exodus xx.-xxiii. 19) was given to a
people who were settled and thoroughly accustomed to agriculture,
and who, moreover, had passed somewhat beyond the earliest stage
in the use of money. /1/

1. Exodus xxi. 35: compare xxi. 33 with Judges ix. 4

The Decalogue alone is commonly maintained to be in the strictest
sense Mosaic. This is principally on account of the statement
that it was written down on the two stone tables of the sacred
ark. Yet of Deuteronomy also we read, both that it was written
on twelve stones and that it was deposited in the sacred ark
(Deuteronomy xxxi. 26). We cannot therefore place implicit reliance
on such statements. What is attested in this way of the Decalogue
seems to find confirmation in 1Kings viii. 9. But the authority
of this statement is greatly weakened by the fact that it occurs
in a passage which has undergone the Deuteronomistic revision, and
has been, in addition to this, subjected to interpolation. The more
weight must we therefore allow to the circumstance, which makes for
a different conclusion, that the name "The Ark of the Covenant"
(i.e., the box of the law) /1/ is peculiar to the later writers,

1. Compare 1Kings viii. 21, "the ark wherein is the covenant of
Jehovah," and viii 9, "there was nothing in the ark save the two
tables of stone, which Moses put there at Horeb, the tables of the
covenant which Jehovah had made with the children of Israel." The
Deuteronomistic expression "tables of the covenant", alternates
in the Priestly Code with that of "tables of testimony"; i e.,
likewise of the law. For H(DWT, "the testimony," 2Kings xi. 12,
read HC(DWT, "the bracelets," according to 2Samuel i. 10.

and, when it occurs in older narratives, is proved by its sporadic
appearance, as well as by a comparison of the Septuagint with
the Massoretic text, to be a correction. In early times the ark
was not a mere casket for the law; the "the ark of Jehovah" was of
itself important, as we see clearly enough from 1Samuel iv.-vi.
Like the twelve maccebas which surrounded the altar on the holy hill
of Shechem, and which only later assumed the character of monuments
of the law, so the ark of the covenant no doubt arose by a change
of meaning out of the old idol. If there were stones in it at all,
they probably served some other purpose than that of writing materials,
otherwise they would not have been hidden as a mystery in the
darkness of the sanctuary; they must have been exposed to public
view. Add to this that the tradition is not agreed as to the
tenor of the ten words said to have been inserted on the two
tables; two decalogues being preserved to us, Exodus xx. and
Exodus xxxiv., which are quite different from each other. It
results from this that there was no real or certain knowledge as
to what stood on the tables, and further that if there were such
stones in the ark--and probably there were--there was nothing
written on them. This is not the place to decide which of the two
versions is prior to the other; the negative result we have
obtained is sufficient for our present purpose.

X.I.2. Ancient Israel was certainly not without God-given bases
for the ordering of human life; only they were not fixed in
writing. Usage and tradition were looked on to a large extent as
the institution of the Deity. Thus, for example, the ways and
rules of agriculture. Jehovah had instructed the husbandman and
taught him the right way. He it was whose authority gave to
the unwritten laws of custom their binding power. "It is never so
done in Israel," "that is folly in Israel," and similar
expressions of insulted public conscience are of frequent occurrence,
and show the power of custom: the fear of God acts as a
motive for respecting it. "Surely there is no fear of God in
this place, and they will slay me for my wife's sake," so
Abraham says to himself in Gerar. "How shall I do such great
wrong and sin against God?" says Joseph to the woman in Egypt.
"The people of Sodom were wicked and sinned grievously against
Jehovah," we read in Genesis xiii. 13. Similarly Deuteronomy
xxv. 18: "The Amalekites attacked Israel on the march, and killed
the stragglers, all that were feeble and fell behind, and feared
not God." We see that the requirements of the Deity are known and
of force, not to the Israelites only, but to all the world; and
accordingly they are not to be identified with any positive
commands. The patriarchs observed them long before Moses. "I
know Abraham," Jehovah says, xviii. 19, "that he will command his
children to keep the way of Jehovah, to do justice and judgment."

Much greater importance is attached to the special Torah of
Jehovah, which not only sets up laws of action of universal
validity, but shows man the way in special cases of difficulty,
where he is at a loss. This Torah is one of the special gifts
with which Israel is endowed (Deuteronomy xxxiii. 4); and it is
intrusted to the priests, whose influence, during the period of
the Hebrew kings, of which we are now speaking, rested much more
on this possession than on the privilege of sacrifice. The verb
from which Torah is derived signifies in its earliest usage to
give direction, decision. The participle signifies _giver of
oracles_ in the two, examples _gibeath moreh_ and _allon moreh_.
The latter expression is explained by another which alternates
with it, "oak of the soothsayers." Now we know that the priests
in the days of Saul and David gave divine oracles by the ephod
and the lots connected with it, which answered one way or the other
to a question put in an alternative form. Their Torah grew no doubt
out of this practice. /1/ The Urim and Thummim are regarded,

1. 1Sam xiv. xxiii. xxx. In connection with 1Samuel xxxi. 3
I have conjectured that the verb of which Torah is the abstract
means originally to throw the lot-arrows. The Thummim have been
compared in the most felicitous way by Freytag, and by Lagarde
independently of him (Proph. Chald. p. xlvii.) with the
Arabian Tamaim, which not only signifies children's amulets but
any means of "averruncatio". Urim is probably connected with
)RR "to curse" (cf. Iliad i. 11 and Numbers xxiii. 23): the two
words of the formula seem mutually to supplement each other.

according to Deuteronomy xxxiii. 8, as the true and universal insignia
of the priesthood; the ephod is last mentioned in the historical
books in 1Kings ii. 26, /1/

1 Bleek, Einleiung in das A. T., 1878, p. 642.

but appears to have remained in use down to the time of Isaiah
(Hosea iii. 4; Isaiah xxx. 22). The Torah freed itself in the
process of time, following the general mental movement, from such
heathenish media and vehicles (Hab. ii. 19). But it continued
to be an oral decision and direction. As a whole it is only a
power and activity of God, or of the priests. Of this subject
there can be no abstract; the TEACHING; is only thought of as
the action of the TEACHER. There is no torah as a ready-made
product, as a system existing independently of its originator and
accessible to every one: it becomes actual only in the various
utterances, which naturally form by degrees the basis of a fixed
tradition. "They preserve Thy word, and keep Thy law; they teach
Jacob Thy judgments and Israel Thy statutes " (Deuteronomy xxxiii.
9, 10).

The Torah of the priests appears to have had primarily a legal
character. In cases which there was no regular authority to
decide, or which were too difficult for human decision, the latter
was brought in the last instance before God, i.e., before the
sanctuary or the priests (Exodus xviii. 25 seq.). The priests
thus formed a kind of supreme court, which, however, rested on a
voluntary recognition of its moral authority, and could not
support its decisions by force. "If a man sin against another,
God shall judge him," 1Samuel ii. 25 says, very indefinitely.
Certain legal transactions of special solemnity are executed
before God (Exodus xxi. 6). Now in proportion as the executive
gained strength under the monarchy, _jus_--civil justice--necessarily
grew up into a separate existence from the older sacred _fas_. The
knowledge of God, which Hosea (chapter iv.) regards as the contents
of the torah, has as yet a closer connection with jurisprudence
than with theology; but as its practical issue is that God
requires of man righteousness, and faithfulness, and good-will,
it is fundamentally and essentially morality, though morality
at that time addressed its demands less to the conscience than
to society. A ritual tradition naturally developed itself even
before the exile (2Kings xvii. 27, 28). But only those rites
were included in the Torah which the priests had to teach others,
not those which they discharged themselves; even in Leviticus
this distinction may be traced; the instructions characterised
as toroth being chiefly those as to animals which might or might
not be eaten, as to clean and unclean states, as to leprosy and
its marks (cf. Deuteronomy xxiv. 8).

So it was in Israel, to which the testimony applies which we have
cited: and so it was in Judah also. There was a common proverb in
the days of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, "The Torah shall not perish
from the priest, nor counsel from the ancient, nor the word from
the prophet:" but no doubt the saying was not new in their time,
and at any rate it will apply to the earlier time as well. Not
because they sacrifice but because they teach, do the priests
here appear as pillars of the religious order of things; and
their Torah is a living power, equal to the occasion and
never-failing. Micah reproaches them with judging for reward
(iii. 11), and this shows their wisdom to have been based on a
tradition accessible to them alone; this is also shown by some
expressions of Deuteronomy (xvii. 10 seq., xxiv. 8). We have
the counterpart to the proverb above cited (Jeremiah xviii. 18;
Ezekiel vii. 26) in the complaint in Lamentations (ii. 9):
"Jerusalem is destroyed; her king and her princes are among the
Gentiles: the Torah is no more; the prophets obtain no vision
from Jehovah;" after the ruin of the sanctuary and the priests
there is no longer any Torah; and if that be so, the axe is laid
to the root of the life of the people. In the post-exile prophets
the torah, which even in Deuteronomy (xvii. 11) was mainly
legal in its nature, acquires a strong savour of ritual which one
did not notice before; yet even here it is still an oral teaching
of the priests (Haggai ii. 11).

The priests derived their Torah from Moses: they claimed only
to preserve and guard what Moses had left (Deuteronomy xxxiii 4,
9 seq.). He counted as their ancestor (xxxiii. 8; Judges xviii.
30); his father in-law is the PRIEST of Midian at Mount Sinai,
as Jehovah also is derived in a certain sense from the older deity
of Sinai. But at the same time Moses was reputed to be the
incomparable originator and practicer of PROPHECY (Numbers xii. 6
seq.; Deuteronomy xxxiv. 10; Hos. xii. 14), as his brother Aaron
also is not only a Levite (Exodus iv. 14), but also a prophet
(iv. 15; Numbers xii. 2). There is thus a close relation between
priests and prophets, i.e., seers; as with other peoples (1Samuel
vi.,; 1Kings xviii. 19, compare with 2Kings x. 19), so also
with the Hebrews. In the earliest time it was not knowing the
technique of worship, which was still very simple and
undeveloped, but being a man of God, standing on an intimate
footing with God, that made a man a priest, that is one who keeps
up the communication with heaven for others; and the seer is
better qualified than others for the office (1Kings xviii. 30
seq.). There is no fixed distinction in early times between the
two offices; Samuel is in 1Samuel i.-iii. an aspirant to the
priesthood; in ix. x. he is regarded as a seer.

In later times also, when priests and prophets drew off and
separated from each other, they yet remained connected, both in
the kingdom of Israel (Host iv. 5) and in Judah. In the latter
this was very markedly the case (2Kings xxiii. 2; Jeremiah xxvi.
7 seq., v. 31; Deuteronomy xviii. 1-8, 9-22; Zechariah vii. 3).
What connected them with each other was the revelation of Jehovah
which went on and was kept alive in both of them. It is Jehovah
from whom the torah of the priest and the word of the prophet
proceeds: He is the true DIRECTOR, as Isaiah calls Him in the
passage xxx. 20 seq., where, speaking of the Messianic time,
he says to the people, "Then thy director (MWRYK) is no more
concealed, but thine eyes see thy director, and thine ears hear
the words of One calling behind thee; this is the way, walk ye
in it; when ye are turning to the right hand or to the left."
TORAH and WORD are cognate notions, and capable of being
interchanged (Deuteronomy xxxiii. 9; Isaiah i. 10, ii. 3, v. 24,
viii. 16, 20). This explains how both priests and prophets
claimed Moses for their order: he was not regarded as the founder
of the cultus.

The difference, in the period when it had fully developed itself,
may be said to be this: the Torah of the priests was like a
spring which runs always, that of the prophets like a spring which
is intermittent, but when it does break forth, flows with all the
greater force. The priests take precedence of the prophets when
both are named together; they obviously consolidated themselves
earlier and more strongly. The order, and the tradition which
propagates itself within the order, are essential to them:
they observe and keep the torah (Deuteronomy xxxiii. 9).
For this reason, that they take their stand so entirely on the
tradition, and depend on it, their claim to have Moses for
their father, the beginner and founder of their tradition,
is in itself the better founded of the two. /l/

1 It is also more firmly rooted in history; for if Moses did
anything at all, he certainly founded the sanctuary at Kadesh
and the torah there, which the priests of the ark carried on after
him, thus continuing the thread of the history of Israel, which
was taken up again in power by the monarchy. The prophets only
appeared among the Hebrews from the time of Samuel onwards, but
the seers were older than Moses, and can scarcely have had such
a close connection with his tradition as the priests at the
sanctuary of the ark of Jehovah.

In the ordinary parlance of the Hebrews torah always meant first,
and chiefly the Priestly Torah. The prophets have notoriously no
father (1Samuel x. 12), their importance rests on the
individuals; it is characteristic that only names and sketches
of their lives have reached us. They do indeed, following the
tendency of the times, draw together in corporations; but in
doing so they really renounce their own distinctive
characteristics: the representative men are always single,
resting on nothing outside themselves. We have thus on the one
side the tradition of a class, which suffices for the occasions of
ordinary life, and on the other the inspiration of awakened
individuals, stirred up by occasions which are more than ordinary.
After the spirit of the oldest men of God, Moses at the head of
them, had been in a fashion laid to sleep in institutions,
it sought and found in the prophets a new opening; the old fire
burst out like a volcano through the strata which once, too, rose
fluid from the deep, but now were fixed and dead.

The element in which the prophets live is the storm of the world's
history, which sweeps away human institutions; in which the
rubbish of past generations with the houses built on it begins to
shake, and that foundation alone remains firm, which needs no
support but itself. When the earth trembles and seems to be passing
away, then they triumph because Jehovah alone is exalted. They
do not preach on set texts; they speak out of the spirit which
judges all things and itself is judged of no man. Where do they
ever lean on any other authority than the truth of what they
say; where do they rest on any other foundation than their own
certainty? It belongs to the notion of prophecy of true
revelation, that Jehovah, overlooking all the media of ordinances
and institutions, communicates Himself to the INDIVIDUAL, the
called one, in whom that mysterious and irreducible rapport in
which the deity stands with man clothes itself with energy.
Apart from the prophet, _in abstracto_, there is no revelation;
it lives in his divine-human ego. This gives rise to a synthesis
of apparent contradictions: the subjective in the highest sense,
which is exalted above all ordinances, is the truly objective,
the divine. This it proves itself to be by the consent of the
conscience of all, on which the prophets count, just as Jesus
does in the Gospel of John, in spite of all their polemic
against the traditional religion. They are not saying anything
new: they are only proclaiming old truth. While acting in the
most creative way they feel entirely passive: the _homo tantum
et audacia_ which may with perfect justice be applied to such men
as Elijah, Amos, and Isaiah, is with them equivalent to _deus
tantum et servitus_. But their creed is not to be found in
any book. It is barbarism, in dealing with such a phenomenon, to
distort its physiognomy by introducing the law.

X.I.3. It is a vain imagination to suppose that the prophets
expounded and applied the law. Malachi (circa 450 B.C.) says,
it is true, iv. 4, "Remember ye the torah of Moses my servant;"
but where shall we look for any second expression of this nature?
Much more correctly than modern scholars did these men judge, who
at the close of the preexilic history looked back on the forces
which had moulded it, both the divine and those opposed to God.
In their eyes the prophets are not the expounders of Moses, but
his continuators and equals; the word of God in their mouth is
not less weighty than in the mouth of Moses; they, as well as he,
are organs of the spirit of Jehovah by which He is present in
Israel. The immediate revelation to the people, we read in Deuteronomy
xviii., ceased with the ten commandments: from that point onwards
Jehovah uses the prophets as His mouth: "A prophet like unto
thee," He says to Moses, "will I raise up to them from among their
brethren, and will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak
unto them all that I shall command him; and whosoever shall not
hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will
require it of him."
We find it the same in Jeremiah; the voice of the prophets, always
sounding when there is need for it, occupies the place which,
according to the prevailing view, should have been filled by the
law: this living command of Jehovah is all he knows of, and not
any testament given once for all.
"This only I commanded your fathers when I brought them up out
of Egypt: Obey my voice, and walk ye in all the ways that I will
command you. Since the day that your fathers came forth out of Egypt,
I have sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up
early and sending them; but ye would not hear."
And even after the exile we meet in Zechariah (520 B.C.) the
following view of the significance of the prophets: "Thus spake
Jehovah of hosts [to the fathers before the exile], Speak true
judgment, and show mercy and compassions every man to his brother,
and oppress not the widow nor the fatherless, the stranger nor the
poor: and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in his
heart. But they refused to hearken, and shrugged the shoulder,
and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. Yea, they made
their hearts as a flint, lest they should hear the Torah and the
words which Jehovah Sebaoth hath sent by His Spirit through the
old prophets: therefore came a great wrath from Jehovah Sebaoth.
And as He cried and they would not hear, so now shall they cry
and I will not hear, and I will blow them away among the
peoples.... Thus saith Jehovah Sebaoth [after the exile to the
present generation], As I thought to punish you without pity
because your fathers provoked me to anger, so again have I
thought in these days to do well to the house of Judah: fear
ye not. These are the things that ye shall do: Speak ye every
man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth
and peace in your gates; and let none of you imagine evil in
your hearts against his neighbour, and love no false oath,
for all these are things which I hate, saith Jehovah"
(Zechariah vii. 9-11, viii. 14-16).
The contents of the Torah, on obedience to which the theocracy is
here based, are very suggestive, as also its derivation from the
"old" prophets. Even Ezra can say (ix. 10, 11):
"We have forsaken Thy commandments which Thou hast commanded by the
servants the prophets, saying, The land unto which ye go to
possess it is an unclean land with the filthiness of the people of
the land, which have filled it from one end to another with their
He is thinking of Deuteronomy, Ezekiel, and Leviticus xvii.-xxvi.

Of those who at the end reflected on the meaning of the
development which had run its course, the writer of Isaiah
xl.-lxvi. occupies the first place. The Torah, which he also
calls _mishpat_, right (i.e., truth), appears to him to be the
divine and imperishable element in Israel. With him, however,
it is inseparable from its mouthpiece, the servant of Jehovah,
xlii. 1-4, xlix. 1-6, l. 4-9, lii. 13-liii. 12. The name would
denote the prophet, but here it stands for the people, a prophet
on a large scale. Israel's calling is not that of the
world-monarchies, to make sensation and noise in the streets
(xiii. 1-4), but the greater one of promulgating the Torah and
getting it received. This is to be done both in Israel and among
the heathen. What makes Israel a prophet is not his own inner
qualities, but his relation to Jehovah, his calling as the
depository of divine truth: hence it involves no contradiction
that the servant should begin his work in Israel itself. /1/

1. This is as if one were to say that there is much to be done
before we Evangelicals are truly evangelical. Yet the
distinction as worked out in Isaiah xl. seq. is certainly very
remarkable, and speaks for a surprising degree of profound

Till now he has spent his strength only in the bosom of his own
people, which is always inclined to fall away from Jehovah and
from itself: heedless of reproach and suffering he has laboured
unweariedly in carrying out the behests of his Master and has
declared His word. All in vain. He has not been able to avert
the victory of heathenism in Israel, now followed by its victory
over Israel. Now in the exile Jehovah has severed His relation
with His people; the individual Hebrews survive, but the servant,
the people of Jehovah, is dead. Then is the Torah to die with
him, and truth itself to succumb to falsehood, to heathenism?
That cannot be; truth must prevail, must come to the light.
As to the Apostle Paul the Spirit is the earnest of the
resurrection of those who are born again, so to our author the
Torah is the pledge of the resurrection of Israel, the
justification of the servant of Jehovah. The final triumph of
the cause, which is God's, will surpass all expectations. Not
only in Israel itself will the Torah, will the servant of Jehovah
prevail and bring about a regeneration of the people: the truth
will in the future shine forth from Israel into the whole world,
and obtain the victory among all the Gentiles (xlix. 6). Then it
will appear that the work of the servant, resultless as it seemed
to be up to the exile, has yet not been in vain.

It is surely unnecessary for me to demonstrate how uncommonly
vivid, I might say how uncommonly historical, the notion of the
Torah is as here set forth, and how entirely incompatible that
notion is with "the Torah of Moses." It might most fitly be
compared with the Logos of the prologue of John, if the latter
is understood in accordance with John x. 35, an utterance
certainly authentic, and not according to Philo. As Jesus is
the revelation of God made man, so the servant of Jehovah is
the revelation of God made a people. The similarity of their
nature and their significance involves the similarity of their
work and of their sufferings, so that the Messianic interpretation
of Isaiah lii. 13-liii. 12 is in fact one which could not fail to
suggest itself. /1/

1. The personification is carried further in this passage than
anywhere else, and it is possible that the colours of the sketch
are borrowed from some actual instance of a prophet-martyr: yet
the Ebed Jahve cannot have a different meaning here from that
which it has everywhere else. It is to be noted that the
sufferings and death of the servant are in the past, and his
glorification in the future, a long pause lying between them in
the present. A resurrection of the individual could not be in
the mind of the writer of Isaiah xl seq., nor do the details of
the description, lii. 12 seq., at all agree with such an idea.
Moreover, it is clear that liv. 1-lvi. 8 is a kind of sermon on
the text lii. 13-liii. 12; and there the prophecy of the
glorification of the servant has reference to Zion. See Vatke,
p. 528 seq.


X.II.1. In the 18th year of King Josiah (621 B.C) Deuteronomy was
found and published. In the account of the discovery, 2Kings
xxii. xxiii., it is always called simply _the book of the Torah_;
it was accordingly the first, and in its time the only book of
the kind. It is certainly the case that the prophets had written
down some of their speeches before this, and the priests also may
before this time have written down many of their precepts: it
appears in fact, as Vatke surmises, that we have a monument of
their spirit, e.g., in the Sinaitic Book of the Covenant.
Deuteronomy presupposes earlier attempts of this kind, and
borrows its materials largely from them; but on the other hand it
is distinguished from them not only by its greater compass but
also by its much higher claims. It is written with the distinct
intention not to remain a private memorandum, but to obtain public
authority as a book. The idea of making a definite formulated
written Torah the law of the land, is the important point /1/

1. Duhm, ap. Cil. p. 201.

it was a first attempt and succeeded at the outset beyond
expectation. A reaction set in afterwards, it is true; but the
Babylonian exile completed the triumph of the law. Extraordinary
excitement was at that time followed by the deepest depression
(Amos viii. 11 seq.). At such a time those who did not despair
of the future clung anxiously to the religious acquisitions of the
past. These had been put in a book just in time in Deuteronomy,
with a view to practical use in the civil and religious life of
the people . The book of the Torah did not perish in the general
ruin, but remained in existence, and was the compass of those who
were shaping their course for a new Israel. How thoroughly
determined they were to use it as their rule we see from the
revision of the Hexateuch and of the historical books which was taken
in hand during the exile.

With the appearance of the law came to an end the old freedom,
not only in the sphere of worship, now restricted to Jerusalem,
but in the sphere of the religious spirit as well. There was now
in existence an authority as objective as could be; and this was
the death of prophecy.

For it was a necessary condition of prophecy that the tares
should be at liberty to grow up beside the wheat. The signs given
in Deuteronomy to distinguish the true from the false prophet,
are no doubt vague and unpractical: still they show the tendency
towards control and the introduction of uniformity; that is the
great step which is new. /1/

1. The difference between Deuteronomy xviii. 22 and 1Kings xxii.
19-23 may be thought to throw light on the two positions. In the
former passage we read that if a prophet says something in the
name of Jehovah which does not come to pass, it is a word which
Jehovah has not spoken. Here, on the contrary, Micaiah ben Imlah,
when the prophets of Jehovah promise the king of Israel a happy
issue of the campaign against the Syrians, regards the prediction
as contrary to the truth, but as none the less on that account
inspired by the spirit of prophecy; Jehovah, he said, had made
his spirit a Iying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. It
may be that this difference reflects to us the interval between
two different ages: but on the whole Micaiah's view appears to be
rather a piece of ingenuity which might have been resorted to in
later times as well. In the seventh century the command, "every
firstborn is mine," was held to apply to the human firstborn as
well, the sacrifice of which Jehovah was thought to require: this
appears from Jeremiah's protest, "I commanded them not, neither
came it into my mind," vii. 31, xix. 5. With reference to this
Ezekiel says that because the Israelites despised the wholesome
commandments of Jehovah, He gave them laws which were not good and
statutes by which they could not live. That is a similar
ingenious escape from a difficulty, without deeper meaning. See
the converse, Koran, Sura ii. 174.

It certainly was not the intention of the legislator to encroach
upon the spoken Torah or the free word. But the consequence,
favoured by outward circumstances, was not to be avoided: the
feeling that the prophets had come to an end did not arise in the
Maccabean wars only. In the exile we hear the complaint that the
instruction of the priests and the word of the prophets are silent
(Lamentations ii. 9); it is asked, where he is who in former times
put his spirit in Israel (Isa lxiii. 11); in Nehemiah's time a
doubtful question is left unsettled, at least theoretically, till
the priest with Urim and Thummim, i.e., with a trustworthy
prophecy, shall appear (Nehemiah vii. 69). We may call Jeremiah the
last of the prophets: /2/

2. In his early years Jeremiah had a share in the introduction of
the law: but in later times he shows himself little edified by
the effects it produced: the Iying pen of the scribes, he says,
has written for a lie. People despised the prophetic word because
they had the Torah in black and white (viii. 7-9).

those who came after him were prophets only in name. Ezekiel had
swallowed a book (iii. 1-3), and gave it out again. He also,
like Zechariah, calls the pre-exilic prophets the old prophets,
conscious that he himself belongs to the epigoni: he meditates on
their words like Daniel and comments on them in his own prophecy
(xxxviii. 17, xxxix. 8). The writer of Isaiah xl. seq. might with
much more reason be called a prophet, but he does not claim to be
one; his anonymity, which is evidently intentional, leaves no doubt
as to this. He is, in fact, more of a theologian: he is principally
occupied in reflecting on the results of the foregoing development,
of which prophecy had been the leaven; these are fixed possessions
now secured; he is gathering in the harvest. As for the prophets
after the exile, we have already seen how Zechariah speaks of the
old prophets as a series which is closed, in which he and those
like him are not to be reckoned. In the writing of an anonymous
contemporary which is appended to his book we find the following
notable expression:
"In that (hoped-for) day, saith Jehovah, I will cut off the names
of the idols out of the land, that they be no more remembered,
and also I will cause to cease the prophets and the unclean
spirit; and if a man will yet prophesy, his parents shall say
unto him, Thou shalt not live, for thou speakest lies in the name
of Jehovah, and his parents shall thrust him through when he
prophesieth" (xiii. 2-3).

X.II.2. Deuteronomy was the programme of a reform, not of a
restoration. It took for granted the existence of the cultus,
and only corrected it in certain general respects. But the temple
was now destroyed and the worship interrupted, and the practice of
past times had to be written down if it was not to be lost. Thus
it came about that in the exile the conduct of worship became the
subject of the Torah, and in this process reformation was naturally
aimed at as well as restoration. We have seen ) that
Ezekiel was the first to take this step which the circumstances of
the time indicated. In the last part of his work he made the
first attempt to record the ritual which had been customary in
the temple of Jerusalem. Other priests attached themselves to him
(Leviticus xvii.-xxvi.), and thus there grew up in the exile from
among the members of this profession a kind of school of people
who reduced to writing and to a system what they had formerly
practiced in the way of their calling. After the temple was
restored this theoretical zeal still continued to work, and the
ritual when renewed was still further developed by the action and
reaction on each other of theory and practice: the priests who
had stayed in Babylon took as great a part, from a distance, in
the sacred services, as their brothers at Jerusalem who had
actually to conduct them. The latter indeed lived in adverse
circumstances and do not appear to have conformed with great
strictness or accuracy to the observances which had been agreed
upon. The last result of this labour of many years is the
Priestly Code. It has indeed been said that we cannot ascribe
the creation of such a work to an age which was bent on nothing
but repristination. Granted that this is a correct description of
it, such an age is peculiarly fitted for an artificial
systematising of given materials, and this is what the originality
of the Priestly Code in substance amounts to. /1/

1. Dillmann arrives at the conclusion that the assumption is the
most natural one in the world, and still capable of proof from ACD
(!) that the priesthood of the central sanctuary wrote down their
toroth even in early times; and that it is absurd to suppose
that the priestly and ceremonial laws were first written down,
or even made, in the exile and in Babylon, where there was no
worship. We will let it be absurd, if it is true. It is not
progress, though it is a fact, that the kings were succeeded by
the high-priests, and the prophets by the Rabbis. Yet it is a
thing which is likely to occur, that a body of traditional
practice should only be written down when it is threatening to
die out, and that a book should be, as it were, the ghost of a
life which is closed.

The Priestly Code, worked into the Pentateuch as the standard
legislative element in it, became the definite "Mosaic law."
As such it was published and introduced in the year 444 B.C.,
a century after the exile . In the interval, the duration of which
is frequently under-estimated, Deuteronomy alone had been known
and recognised as the written Torah, though as a fact the essays of
Ezekiel and his successors may have had no inconsiderable
influence in leading circles. The man who made the Pentateuch the
constitution of Judaism was the Babylonian priest and scribe,
Ezra. He had come from Babylon to Jerusalem as early as the year
458 B.C., the seventh of Artaxerxes Longimanus, at the head of a
considerable company of zealous Jews, provided it is said with a
mandate from the Persian king, empowering him to reform according
to the law the congregation of the temple, which had not yet been
able to consolidate itself inwardly nor to shut itself off
sufficiently from those without.

"Thou art sent of the king and of his seven counsellors to hold an
inquiry concerning Judah and Jerusalem _according to the law of thy
God which is in thine hand_....And thou Ezra, according to _the
wisdom of thy God which is in thine hand_, set magistrates and
judges which may judge all the people that are beyond the river,
all such as acknowledge the laws of thy God, and teach ye them
that know them not. And whosoever will not do the law of thy God
and the law of the king, let him be prosecuted."
So we read in the commission of the Persian king to Ezra, vii.
12-26; which, even should it be spurious, must yet reflect the
views of his contemporaries. The expression taken from Ezra's
own memoirs, vii. 27, leaves no doubt that he was assisted by
Artaxerxes in the objects he had in view. /1/

1. With regard to his relation to the law, we have to consider the
following points: he was a scribe (SWPR = literatus), at home in
the Torah of Moses, vii. 6. He had directed his mind to study
the Torah of Jehovah, and to do and to teach in Israel judgment
and statute, vii. 10. "The priest Ezra, the master of the law
of the God of heaven," vii. 21. The most important expression,
however, is that which states that the law (the wisdom) of his God
was in his hand: thus it was his private property, though it
claimed authority for all Israel. With this agree the statements
as to the object of the learned priest's mission.

But Ezra did not, as we should expect, at once introduce the law
on his arrival in Judah. In concert with the heads of the people,
and proceeding on the existing Torah, that, namely, of
Deuteronony, he ordained and relentlessly carried out a strict
separation of the returned exiles from the heathen and
half-heathen inhabitants of the land. This was done a few months
after his arrival in Jerusalem. But a long time, at least
fourteen years, elapsed before he produced the law which he had
brought with him. Why he delayed so long we can at the best only
surmise, as no accounts have reached us of what he did in the
interval; there is a great gap in the narrative of the Books of
Ezra and Nehemiah between the 7th and the 20th year of Artaxerxes.
Perhaps the outward circumstances of the young community, which,
probably in consequence of the repellent attitude taken up to the
surrounding peoples, were not of the happiest, made it unadvisable
at once to introduce a legislative innovation; perhaps, too, Ezra
desired to wait to see the correcting influence of the practice of
Jerusalem on the product of Babylonian scholarship, and moreover
to train up assistants for the work. The principal reason,
however, appears to have been, that in spite of the good-will of
the king he did not enjoy the energetic support of the Persian
authorities on the spot, and could not without it get the
authority of the new law recognised.

But in the year 445 it came about that a Jew and a sympathiser of
Ezra, Nehemiah ben Hakkelejah, cup-bearer and favourite of
Artaxerxes, appeared in Judea as Persian governor. With
straightforward earnestness he first addressed himself to the task
of liberating the Jewish community from outward pressure and
lifting them up from their depressed condition; and, this being
accomplished, the time had come to go forward with the introduction
of the Pentateuch. Ezra and Nehemiah were manifestly in concert
as to this. On the 1st day of the 7th month--we do not know the
year, but it cannot have been earlier than 444 B.C.--the whole
people came together as one man before the water-gate, and Ezra
was called on to produce the book of the law of Moses, which
Jehovah had commanded Israel. The scribe mounted a wooden pulpit;
seven priests stood beside him on the right hand, and seven on the
left. When he opened the book all present stood up, both men and
women; with loud Amen they joined in the opening blessing, lifted
up their heads, and cast themselves on the ground. Then he read
the book, from early morning till mid-day, in small sections,
which were repeated and expounded by a number of Levites dispersed
throughout the crowd. The effect was that a general weeping arose,
the people being aware that they had not till then followed the
commandments of God. Nehemiah and Ezra and the Levites had to
allay the excitement, and said: "This day is holy unto Jehovah
your God; mourn not nor weep. Go your way, eat the fat and drink
the sweet, and give unto them that have brought nothing with them."
The assembled people then dispersed and set on foot a "great mirth,"
because they had understood the words which had been communicated
to them. The reading was continued the next day, but before the
heads of families only, and a very appropriate section was read,
viz., the ordinances as to festivals, and particularly that about
the feast of tabernacles, which was to be kept under branches of
trees on the 15th day of the 7th month, the month then just
beginning. The matter was taken up with the greatest zeal, and
the festival, which had not been kept RITE since the days
of Joshua ben Nun, was now instituted in accordance with the
precepts of Leviticus xxiii. and celebrated with general enthusiasm
from the 15th to the 22nd of the month. /1/

1. For eight days, according to Leviticus xxiii. 39: as against
Deuteronomy xvi. 13-15.

On the 24th, however, a great day of humiliation was held, with
sackcloth and ashes. On this occasion also the proceedings began
with reading the law, and then followed a confession of sins
spoken by the Levites in the name of the people, and concluding
with a prayer for mercy and compassion. This was preparatory to
the principal and concluding act, in which the secular and
spiritual officials and elders, 85 in number, bound themselves
in writing to the Book of the Law, published by Ezra, and all
the rest undertook an obligation, with oath and curse, to walk
in the Torah of God, given by His servant Moses, and to keep
all the commandments of Jehovah and His statutes and laws.
Special attention was directed to such provisions of the Pentateuch
as were of immediate importance for the people in the circumstances
of the day--the greater part of the whole work is about the ritual
of the priests--and those were in particular insisted on which
refer to the contributions of the laity to the priesthood, on
which the very existence of the hierocracy depended. /1/

1. Nehemiah viii. 1-x. 40. The credibility of the narrative
appears on the face of it. The writer of Chronicles did not write
it himself, but took it from his main source, from which also he
drew the fragments he gives us of the memoirs of Ezra and
Nehemiah. This we see from the fact that while copying Nehemiah vii.
in Ezra ii. he unconsciously goes on with the beginning of Nehemiah
viii. (= Ezra iii. 1). That shows that he found Nehemiah vii. and
viii. in their present connection, and did not write viii. seq.
himself, as we might suppose.

Lagarde expresses great surprise--and the surprise is reasonable--
that so little importance is attributed to this narrative by Old
Testament critics; only Kuenen had rightly appreciated its
significance. /2/

2 Goettinger Gel. Anzeigen, 1870, p. 1557 seq. Kuenen, Religion
of Israel, vol. ii. chapter viii.

It is obvious that Nehemiah viii.-x. is a close parallel to 2Kings
xxii. xxiii., especially to xxiii. 1-3. There we read that
Josiah caused all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem to come
together, and went up with the men of Judah and the inhabitants of
Jerusalem, with the priests and the prophets and all the people,
high and low, to the house of Jehovah; where he read to the
assemblage all the words of the Book of the Law, and bound himself
with all the people before Jehovah to keep all the words of the
book. Just as it is in evidence that Deuteronomy became known in
the year 621, and that it was unknown up to that date, so it is in
evidence that the remaining Torah of the Pentateuch--for there is
no doubt that the law of Ezra was the whole Pentateuch--became
known in the year 444 and was unknown till then. This shows in the
first place, and puts it beyond question, that Deuteronomy is the
first, and the priestly Torah the second, stage of the
legislation. But in the second place, as we are accustomed to
infer the date of the composition of Deuteronomy from its
publication and introduction by Josiah, so we must infer the date
of the composition of the Priestly Code from its publication and
introduction by Ezra and Nehemiah. It would require very strong
internal evidence to destroy the probability, thus based on a
most positive statement of facts, that the codification of the
ritual only took place in the post-exile period. We have already
seen of what nature the internal evidence is which is brought
forward with this view. /1/

1. It is not, however, necessary, and it can scarcely be correct,
to make Ezra more than the editor, the real and principal editor,
of the Hexateuch: and in particular he is not likely to have
been the author of Q. Nor on the other hand is it meant to deny
that many new features may have been added and alterations made
after Ezra. A body of customs is a subject which can scarcely
be treated quite exhaustively. There are no directions about the
_nervus ischiadicus_ <**sciatic nerve??**>, about the priests
having their feet bare, about shutting up before Jehovah
(1Samuel xxi cf. Jeremiah xxxvi. 5), or about the stoning of adulterers.

X.II.3. Ezra and Nehemiah, and the eighty-five men of the great
assembly (Nehemiah viii. seq.), who are named as signatories of
the covenant, are regarded by later tradition as the founders of
the canon. And not without reason: only King Josiah has a still
stronger claim to this place of honour. The introduction of the
law, first Deuteronomy, and then the whole Pentateuch, was in fact
the decisive step, by which the written took the place of the
spoken word, and the people of the word became a "people of the
book." To THE BOOK were added in course of time THE BOOKS; the
former was formally and solemnly introduced in two successive
acts, the latter acquired imperceptibly a similar public authority
for the Jewish church. The notion of the canon proceeds entirely
from that of the written Torah; the prophets and the hagiographa
are also called Torah by the Jews, though not Torah of Moses.

The origin of the canon thus lies, thanks to the two narratives
2Kings xxii. xxiii., Nehemiah viii.-x. in the full light of
history; but the traditional science of Biblical introduction has
no clear or satisfactory account to give of it. Josiah, the
ordinary notion is, introduced the law, but not the canon; Ezra,
on the other hand, the canon and not the law. An analogy drawn
from the secondary part of the canon, the prophets and
hagiographa, is applied without consideration to the primary
part, the Torah of Moses. The historical and prophetical books
were, in part at least, a long time in existence before they
became canonical, and the same, it is thought, might be the case
with the law. But the case of the law is essentially different.
The law claims to have public authority, to be a book of the
community; the difference between law and canon, does not exist.
Hence it is easy to understand that the Torah, though as a
literary product later than the historical and prophetical books,
is yet as law older than these writings, which have originally
and in their nature no legal character, but only acquired such
a character in a sort of metaphorical way, through their association
with the law itself.

When it is recognised that THE CANON is what distinguishes Judaism
from ancient Israel, it is recognised at the same time that what
distinguishes Judaism from ancient Israel is THE WRITTEN TORAH.
The water which in old times rose from a spring, the Epigoni
stored up in cisterns.


Writers of the present day play with the expressions "theocracy,"
and "theocratic" without making it clear to themselves
what these words mean and how far they are entitled to use them.
But we know that the word theokratia was only coined by
Josephus; /1/

KRATOS )ANAQEIS (contra Apion ii. 17). (" There are innumerable
differences in the particular customs and laws that are among
mankind; some have intrusted the power of their states to
monarchies, some to oligarchies, and some to democracies: but our
legislator had no regard to any of these forms, _but he ordered
our governmernt to be what I may call by a strained expression a
theocracy_, attributing the power and the authority to God."
Compare also, on this whole chapter, Die Pharisaer und die
Sadducaer, Greifswald, 1874.

and when this writer speaks of the Mosaic constitution, he has
before his eyes, it is well known, the sacred community of his
own day as it existed down to the year 70 A.D. In ancient Israel
the theocracy never existed in fact as a form of constitution.
The rule of Jehovah is here an ideal representation; only after
the exile was it attempted to realise it in the shape of a Rule of
the Holy with outward means. It is perhaps the principal merit
of Vatke's Biblical Theology to have traced through the centuries
the rise of the theocracy and the metamorphosis of the idea to an


XI.I.1. The upholders of the prevailing view do not assert that
Moses wrote the Pentateuch, but they maintain all the more firmly
that he organised the congregation of the tabernacle in the
wilderness after the fashion described in the Priestly Code. They
seem to think that Moses had no importance further than this; as
if it were an act of no moment to cast into the field of time a
seed which the action and reaction thence arising bring an
immeasurable time after to maturity (Mark iv. 26 seq.). In fact
Moses is the originator of the Mosaic constitution in about the
same way as Peter is the founder of the Roman hierarchy. Of the
sacred organisation supposed to have existed from the earliest
times, there is no trace in the time of the judges and the kings.
It is thought to have been a sort of pedagogic strait-waistcoat,
to subdue the ungovernable obstinacy of the Hebrews and to guard
them from evil influences from without. But even should it be
conceded that a constitution could come into existence in ancient
times which was so utterly out of relation to the peculiar life
and temper of the people, the history of the ancient Israelites
shows us nothing so distinctly as the uncommon freshness and
naturalness of their impulses. The persons who appear always
act from the constraining impulse of their nature, the men of
God not less than the murderers and adulterers: they are such
figures as could only grow up in the open air. Judaism, which
realised the Mosaic constitution and carried it out logically,
left no free scope for the individual; but in ancient Israel
the divine right did not attach to the institution but was in
the Creator Spirit, in individuals. Not only did they speak
like the prophets, they also acted like the judges and kings,
from their own free impulse, not in accordance with an outward
norm, and yet, or just because of this, in the Spirit of Jehovah.
The different view of different times is seen very characteristically
in the views taken of Saul by the two versions above sifted and
compared .

XI.I.2. It is a simple and yet a very important remark of Vatke,
that the sacred constitution of the congregation, so circumstantially
described to us in the Priestly Code, is after all very
defective, and presupposes the existence of that which it was the
chief task of the age of Moses to bring about, namely the state,
in the absence of which the church cannot have any subsistence
either. To maintain an elaborate and expensive worship, and an
immense swarm of clergy, must have required considerable rates and
taxes: and to raise these, as well as to uphold the authority of
the sacred persons and institutions, and most of all to enforce
the strict centralization and uniformity of the legitimate
worship, all this among a people not yet very civilised, must have
required an executive power which embraced and was able to
control, the whole people. But where is this central authority
in the period of the judges? Judicial competence resided at that
time chiefly in the smallest circles, the families and houses.
These were but little controlled, as it appears, by the superior
power of the tribe, and the very notion of the state or of the
kingdom did not as yet exist. Houses related to each other
sometimes united for common undertakings, as no doubt also did
neighbouring tribes; but this was not on the basis of any
constitutional order, but from necessity, when it happened that
a well-known man came forward to take the command and his summons
to the levy was obeyed. These transient combinations under generals
were the forerunners of a permanent union under a king: and even
at the time of the Midianite war an attempt seems to have been
made in this direction, which, however, was not quite successful.
In the severe and protracted struggle with the Philistines the
necessity for a solid union of the tribes was cryingly manifest,
and the man came forward to meet the hour. Saul, a distinguished
Benjamite of Gibeah, was overcome by anger at the scornful
challenge which even the Ammonites ventured at such a time to cast
in the teeth of his people: he called his fellow-countrymen to battle,
not in virtue of any office he held, but on the strength of his
own impulses; his enthusiasm proved contagious, none dared to say
him nay. He began his career just like one of the earlier judges,
but after he had led his people to victory they did not let him
retire again. The person sought for, the king, was found.

Out of such natural beginnings did the state at that time arise:
it owed nothing to the pattern of the "Mosaic theocracy," but
bears all the marks of a new creation. Saul and David first made
out of the Hebrew tribes a real people in the political sense
(Deuteronomy xxxiii. 5). David was in the eyes of later generations
inseparable from the idea of Israel: he was the king par
excellence: Saul was thrown into the shade, but both together are
the founders of the kingdom, and have thus a much wider importance
than any of their successors. It was they who drew the life of
the people together at a centre, and gave it an aim; to them the
nation is indebted for its historical self-consciousness. All the
order of aftertimes is built up on the monarchy; it is the soil
out of which all the other institutions of Israel grow up. In the
time of the judges, we read, every man did that which was right
in his own eyes, not because the Mosaic constitution was not in
force, but because there was no king in those days. The
consequences were very important in the sphere of religion as well:
since the political advance of the people brought the historic
and national character of Jehovah to the front again. During the
time of the judges the Canaanite festival cultus had gradually
been coming to be embodied in the worship of Jehovah, a process
which was certainly necessary; but in this process there was for
some time a danger that Jehovah would become a God of husbandry
and of cattle, like Baal-Dionysus. The festivals long continued
to be a source of heathenism, but now they were gradually divested
of their character as nature-festivals, and forced at length to
have reference to the nation and to its history, if they were not
to disappear completely. The relation of Jehovah to people and
kingdom remained firm as a rock: even to the worst idolaters He was
the God of Israel; in war no one thought of looking for victory
and success to any other God. This was the result of Israel's
becoming a kingdom: the kingship of Jehovah, in that precise
sense which we associate with it, is the religious expression of
the fact of the foundation of the kingdom by Saul and David. The
theocracy was the state of itself; the ancient Israelites
regarded the civil state as a miracle, or, in their own words,
a help of God. When the later Jews thought or spoke of the
theocracy, they took the state for granted as already there, and
so they could build the theocracy on the top of it as a
specially spiritual feature: just as we moderns sometimes see the
divine element in settled ordinances, such as marriage, not in
their own nature, but in the consecration added to them by the church.

XI.I.3. The kingdom of Saul and David did not long remain at its
height. Decay set in even at the separation, and when once the
Assyrians were heard at the door, it advanced with steps not to be
arrested. But the memory of the period of glory and power was
all the greener, and the hope arose of its return. From the
contrast between the sorrowful present and the brilliant past there
arose the picture of the state as it should be; when ruin was
seen without and anarchy within, the prophets set against this
the pattern of the theocracy. The theocracy as the prophets
represent it to themselves is not a thing essentially different
from the political community, as a spiritual differs from a secular
power; rather, it rests on the same foundations and is in fact
the ideal of the state. Isaiah gave this ideal its classical form
in those pictures of the future which we are accustomed to call
Messianic prophecies. These passages are not predictions of this
or that occurrence, but announcements of the aims which, it is true,
the prophet only expects the future to realise, but which are of
force or ought to be of force in the present, and towards which the
community, if true to its own nature, must strive.

The first feature of these Messianic descriptions is the expulsion
of the Assyrians; but most emphasis is laid on the restoration of
the inner bases of the state, the rottenness of which has brought
about and rendered inevitable the present crisis. The collapse of
the government, the paralysis fallen on the law, the spoliation of
the weak by the strong, these are the evils that call for redress.
"How is the honourable city become a harlot; it was full of
judgment, righteousness lodged in it--but now murderers! Thy
princes are rascals and companions of thieves, every one loveth
gifts and followeth after bribes; they judge not the fatherless,
neither cloth the cause of the widow come unto them. Therefore
saith the Lord: Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge
me of mine enemies! And I will turn my hand against thee, Zion,
and as with Iye I will purge away thy dross, and I will restore
thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the
beginning; afterwards thou shalt be called a righteous and
honourable city. Zion shall be redeemed by judgment and her
inhabitants by righteousness" (Isaiah i. 21-27).
The state the prophet has before his eye is always the natural
state as it exists, never a community distinguished by a peculiar
holiness in its organisation. The kingdom of Jehovah is with him
entirely identical with the kingdom of David; the tasks he sets
before it are political in their nature, similar, we might say,
to the demands one would address to the Turkish Empire in our own
days. He is unconscious of any difference between human and divine
law: law in itself, jurist's law in the proper juristic sense of
the word, is divine, and has behind it the authority of the Holy
One of Israel.
In that day shall Jehovah of hosts be for a crown of glory and a
diadem of beauty unto the residue of His people, and for a spirit
of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and a spirit of strength
to them that drive back the battle from the borders " (xxviii. 5, 6).
Jehovah is a true and perfect King, hence justice is His principal
attribute and His chief demand. And this justice is a purely forensic
or social notion: the righteousness of the Sermon on the Mount can
only come into consideration when civil justice and order have come
to be a matter of course--which at that time they had not yet done.

The representative of Jehovah is the human king. The earthly
ruler is not in the way of the heavenly: even the glorious
kingdom of the future cannot dispense with him.
"Then a king shall reign in righteousness and princes shall rule
in judgment; each of them shall be as an hiding-place from the wind
and as a covert from the tempest; as rivers of waters in a dry place,
as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land" (xxxii. 1, 2).
As the reigning king is in general unsatisfactory, Isaiah hopes for
a new one who will answer the pattern of David of old, the Messiah.
"There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a
branch shall grow out of his roots: and the spirit of Jehovah
shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the
spirit of counsel and of warlike might, the spirit of knowledge
and of the fear of the Lord; and His breath shall be drawn in the
fear of Jehovah. And He shall not judge after the sight of His
eyes, nor decide by hearsay: but with righteousness shall He
judge the poor, and give sentence with equity for the meek of the
earth; but He shall smite the scorners with the rod of His mouth,
and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked, so that
righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness
the girdle of His reins. Then the wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid: and the calf and the
young lion together, and a little child shall lead them. And the
cow and the bear shall feed, their young ones shall lie down
together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox: and the
sucking child shall stroke the head of the adder, and the weaned
child shall put his hand on the eye-ball of the basilisk. They
shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain" (xi. 1-9)
This is generally considered to be a prediction of a universal
golden age on earth; but Isaiah only speaks of the holy
mountain as the scene, meaning by this the whole city of David
as the centre of his kingdom. The just and strict government of
the descendant of David is to bring it about that righteousness
and truth kiss each other, and that the strong do not dare to
injure the weak. Fear of the severity of the law engenders
general confidence; the lamb is no longer afraid of the wolf. The
opposite of this ideal is lawlessness and anarchy within, not war
without; the hope is not that of international peace, as we see
both from verse 1-5 and from verse 9. The Messiah is adorned just
with the virtues which befit a ruler; and this shows sufficiently
what is the nature of the kingdom of which he is to be the head,
i.e., what is the notion of the theocracy.

The other prophets of this period agree with Isaiah (Lamentations iv.
20), only Hosea is peculiar in this as in other points. He
appears to have regarded the kingdom as such as an evil; in more
than one expression he makes it the antithesis of the rule of
Jehovah. But we have to remember that this judgment of his is
based entirely on his historical experience. In the kingdom of
the ten tribes the supreme power was constantly being seized by
usurpers, so that instead of being the pillar of order and law it
was the plaything of parties and the occasion of incessant
disturbances. It is this North-Israelite kingdom that Hosea has
in view; and he reprobates it for no other reason than that, in
the three hundred years of its existence, it has not approved
itself, and does not approve itself in the present time of need.
He does not proceed as on _a priori_ theory, he does not apply as
his rule a pattern of the theocratic constitution given
antecedently to any historical development. There can be no
doubt that it never entered his head that the form God desired the
community to take was not a thing to be determined by circumstances,
but had been revealed at Mount Sinai. /1/

1. He even speaks with favour of David and the kingdom of Judah,
but I consider all such references in Hosea (as well as in Amos)
to, be interpolations. In i. 7 there is a reference to the
deliverance of Jerusalem under Hezekiah.

XI.I.4. Nor did the theocracy exist from the time of Moses in the
form of the covenant, though that was afterwards a favourite mode
of regarding it. The relation of Jehovah to Israel was in its nature
and origin a natural one; there was no interval between Him and
His people to call for thought or question. Only when the
existence of Israel had come to be threatened by the Syrians and
Assyrians, did such prophets as Elijah and Amos raise the Deity
high above the people, sever the natural bond between them, and
put in its place a relation depending on conditions, conditions of
a moral character. To them Jehovah was the God of righteousness
in the first place, and the God of Israel in the second place, and
even that only so far as Israel came up to the righteous demands
which in His grace He had revealed to him. They inverted the
order of these two fundamental articles of faith. "If your sins
are as scarlet, how should they be reckoned white as snow? If
they are red like crimson, how should they be as wool? If ye
be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land,
but if ye refuse and rebel, ye must eat the sword, for the mouth
of Jehovah hath spoken it."
Thus the nature of the conditions which Jehovah required of His
people came to the very front in considering His relations with
them: the Torah of Jehovah, which originally, like all His dealings,
fell under the category of divine aid, especially in the doing of
justice, of divine guidance in the solution of difficult questions,
was now conceived of as incorporating the demands on the fulfilment
of which His attitude towards Israel entirely depended. In this way
arose, from ideas which easily suggested it, but yet as an entirely
new thing, the substance of the notion of covenant or treaty. The
name Berith, however, does not occur in the old prophets, not even
in Hosea, who certainly presents us as clearly as possible with
the thing, in his figure of the marriage of Jehovah and Israel
(Isaiah i. 21). That he was unacquainted with the technical usage
of Berith is strikingly proved by ii. 20 and vi. 7; and these
passages must decide the view we take of viii. 1, a passage which
is probably interpolated.

The NAME Berith comes, it is likely, from quite a different
quarter. The ancient Hebrews had no other conception of law nor
any other designation for it than that of a treaty. A law only
obtained force by the fact of those to whom it was given binding
themselves to keep it. So it is in Exodus xxiv. 3-8, and in
2Kings xxiii. 1-3; so also in Jeremiah xxxiv. 8 seq.--curiously
enough just as with the people of Mecca at the time of Mohammed
(lbn Hisham, p. 230 seq.). Hence also the term Sepher Berith for
the Deuteronomic as well as the Jehovistic Book of the Law.

This use of the phrase Berith (ie., treaty) for law, fitted very
well with the great idea of the prophets, and received from it in
turn an interpretation, according to which the relation of Jehovah
to Israel was conditioned by the demands of His righteousness, as
set forth in His word and instruction. In this view of the matter
Jehovah and Israel came to be regarded as the contracting parties
of the covenant by which the various representatives of the people
had originally pledged each other to keep, say, the Deuteronomic
law. /1/

I This variation gained entrance the more easily as Berith is used
in various applications, e.g:, of the capitulation, the terms of
which are imposed by the stronger on the weaker party: that the
contracting parties had equal rights was by no means involved in
the notion of the Berith. See the wavering of the notion in
Jeremiah xxxiv. 13-18.

After the solemn and far-reaching act by which Josiah introduced
this law, the notion of covenant-making between Jehovah and Israel
appears to have occupied the central position in religious thought:
it prevails in Deuteronomy, in Jeremiah, Ezekiel, in Isaiah xl.-lxvi.,
Leviticus xvii.-xxvi., and most of all in the Book of the Four
Covenants. The Babylonian exile no doubt helped, as the Assyrian
exile had previously done, to familiarise the Jewish mind with the
idea that the covenant depended on conditions, and might possibly be


XI.II.1. The tabernacle of David fell at last, and no king was born
to set it up again. The state suffered not a crisis, but
destruction. And the result was that such of the religious hopes
of the people as they still held fast, were no longer limited to
existing political conditions, but now took a freer flight, became
tinged with enthusiasm, and cast off all restrictions. In former
times there was always an enemy threatening in the background, a
danger really approaching, to give rise to the expectation of a
great conflagration, the materials for which had long been
collected in the nation itself: but after the exile fancy dealt
in general coalitions of God knows what peoples against the New
Jerusalem, vaticinations for which there was no ground whatever
in reality. /1/

1 Ezekiel xxxviii. xxxix.; Isaiah lxvi. 18-24; Joel iv.;
Zechariah xii. xiv. In Isaiah v. 26, on the other hand, we must,
of course, read GWY, for GWYM, the singular instead of the plural.

In earlier times the national state as it had existed under David
was the goal of all wishes. Now a universal world empire was
erected in imagination, which was to lift up its head at Jerusalem
over the ruins of the heathen powers. Prophecy was no longer
tied to history, nor supported by it.

But the extravagant hopes now built on Jehovah were balanced on
the other side by sober and realisable aims which the course of
history presented. Those who waited for the consolation of
Israel were then confronted from the nature of their situation
with practical tasks. The old prophets were satisfied with
expressing their ideas, with criticising existing evils; as to
practical points they had nothing to say, the leadership of the
people was in other hands. But the old community being now gone
and its heads having fallen with it, the godly both had the power
and felt the obligation to place themselves at the head of the
Israel now to be anew created, after which they had long been
striving, and their faith in which was still unshaken. In former
times the nation had not been so seriously threatened as that its
continued existence, notwithstanding the dangerous crises it might
have to pass through, should ever cease to be regarded as natural,
as a thing of course. But now this was by no means a thing of
course, the danger was a pressing one that the Jewish exiles,
like the Samaritan exiles before them, would be absorbed by the
heathens among whom they dwelt. In that case the Messianic hopes
also would have lost their point of application, for, however true
it was that the realising of them was Jehovah's concern, the men must
still be there to whom they were to be fulfilled. Thus everything
depended on getting the sacred remnant safe across this danger, and
giving it so solid an organisation that it might survive the
storms and keep alive the expectation of the promise.

But in the eyes of those whose words had weight in the restoration
the old community, as it had existed formerly, was not in good
repute. They could not but allow Jehovah's sentence of
condemnation to be just which He had spoken by the mouth of His
servants and through the voice of history. The utterances of the
prophets, that fortresses and horses and men of war, that kings and
princes, cannot help, were called to mind and turned into practical
principles: the sole rule of Jehovah was to be carried out in earnest.
Circumstances favoured the design, and this was the great point.
As matters then were, the reconstitution of an actual state was
not to be thought of, the foreign rule would not admit of it (Ezra
iv. 19 seq.). What plan was to be taken, what materials to be
used for such a building as the times allowed? The prophetic
ideas would not serve as building stones; they were not
sufficiently practical. Then appeared the importance of
institutions, of traditional forms, for the conservation even of
the spiritual side of the religion.

The Jewish royal temple had early overshadowed the other
sanctuaries, and in the course of the seventh century they were
extinct or verging on extinction. Under the shelter of the
monarchy the priests of Jerusalem had grown great and had at last
attained, as against their professional brethren elsewhere, a
position of exclusive legitimacy. The weaker the state grew, the
deeper it sank from the fall of Josiah onwards, the higher became
the prestige of the temple in the eyes of the people, and the
greater and the more independent grew the power of its numerous
priesthood; how much more do we feel it in Jeremiah's time than in
that of Isaiah! This advance of the priesthood indicates unmistakably
the rise into prominence of the cultus in the seventh century,
a rise rather helped than hindered by the long reign of Manasseh,
evil as is the reputation of that reign. It shows itself not only
in the introduction of more luxurious materials, incense, for example,
but even more in the importance given to great and striking services,
e.g., the sacrifice of children, and the expiatory offering. Even
after the abolition of the horrid atrocities of Manasseh's time,
the bloody earnestness remained behind with which the performance
of divine service was gone about.

So closely was the cultus of Jerusalem interwoven with the
consciousness of the Jewish people, and so strongly had the
priesthood established their order, that after the collapse of the
kingdom the elements still survived here for the new formation of
a "congregation" answering to the circumstances and needs of the
time. Around the ruined sanctuary the community once more lifted
up its head (1Kings viii.; Haggai i. seq.; Zechariah i. seq.).
The usages and ordinances were, though everywhere changes in
detail, yet not created afresh. Whatever creating there was lay
in this, that these usages were bound together in a system and
made the instruments of restoring an organisation of "the remnant."

Ezekiel first pointed out the way which was suited for the time.
He is the connecting link between the prophets and the law. He
claims to be a prophet, and starts from prophetic ideas: but they
are not his own ideas, they are those of his predecessors which
he turns into dogmas. He is by nature a priest, and his peculiar
merit is that he enclosed the soul of prophecy in the body of a
community which was not political, but founded on the temple and
the cultus. The chapters xl.-xlviii. are the most important in
his book, and have been called by J. Orth, not incorrectly, the
key of the Old Testament.

Thus arose that artificial product, the sacred constitution of
Judaism. In the Priestly Code we have the picture of it in
detail. /1/

1. It is not the case that the hierocracy is based on the
Priestly Code: that code was only introduced after the
hierocracy was already in existence, but helped, no doubt, to
consolidate and legalise it. The written law afterwards
undermined the rule of the priests; and the scriptures played
into the hands of the scribes and Pharisees. (Compare the case
of the Parsees and Sabians, and namely "p.157, note" is in error. There is no note on p. 157
and I do not know what is being referred to ..>.)

The distinction, drawn with such pains between the Mosaic
theocracy and the post-exilic hierocracy, is too fine. Theocracy
as a constitution is hierocracy. If Moses founded such a
constitution, he did it prophetically, with a view to circumstances
which only arose a thousand years after his day, .
Old Israel had not shrunk to a religious congregation, public life
was not quite absorbed in the service of the sanctuary; the high
priest and the dwelling of Jehovah were not the centre round which
all revolved . These great changes were
wrought by the destruction of the political existence first of
Samaria, then of Judah. In this way the people became "a kingdom
of priests and a holy nation," as we read in a Deuteronomistic
passage, Exodus xix. 6. If the divine rule was formerly a belief
supporting the natural ordinances of human society, it was now set
forth in visible form as a divine state, in an artificial sphere
peculiar to itself and transcending the ordinary life of the people.
The idea had formerly informed and possessed the natural body, but
now, in order that it might be thoroughly realised, it was to have
spiritual body of its own. There arose a material, external antithesis
of a sacred and profane; men's minds came to be full of this, and
it was their great endeavour to draw the line as sharply as possible
and to repress the natural sphere more and more. Holiness is the
ruling idea in Ezekiel, in Leviticus xvii.-xxvi., and in the Priestly
Code. The notion is a somewhat empty one, expressing rather what
a thing is not than what it is; at first it meant the same as divine,
but now it is used mainly in the sense of spiritual, priestly, as if
the divine could be distinguished from the worldly, the natural, by
outward visible marks of that kind.

The Mosaic theocracy, the residuum of a ruined state, is itself not
a state at all, but an unpolitical artificial product created in
spite of unfavourable circumstances by the impulse of an
ever-memorable energy: and foreign rule is its necessary
counterpart. In its nature it is intimately allied to the old
Catholic church, which was in fact its child. As a matter of taste
it may be objectionable to speak of the Jewish church, but as a
matter of history it is not inaccurate, and the name is perhaps
preferable to that of theocracy, which shelters such confusion of

XI.II.2. The Mosaic theocracy appears to show an immense
retrogression. The law of Jehovah should denote what is
characteristic of His people over against the heathen. But
this certainly did not consist in the cultus of Israel: it would
be vain labour to seek in this and that slight variation between
the Hebrew and the Greek ritual a difference of principle between
them. The cultus is the heathen element in the Israelite religion--
the word heathen not being understood, of course, in an ignoble or
unworthy sense. If the Priestly Code makes the cultus the principal
thing, that appears to amount to a systematic decline into the
heathenism which the prophets incessantly combated and yet were
unable to eradicate. It will be readily acknowledged that at the
constitution of the new Jerusalem the prophetic impulses were
deflected by a previously existing natural tendency of the mass on
which they had to operate. Yet in every part of the legal worship
we see the most decided traces of their influence. We have seen to
what a large extent that worship is everywhere marked by a
centralising tendency. This tendency is not connected in the Priestly
Code with opposition to improper or foreign worship; yet it must be
interpreted as a polemical measure; and if it be regarded as an
axiom necessary in the Priestly Code from the nature of the case,
that is only saving that the demands of the prophets had prevailed
most completely in a field where they had the greatest obstacles to
contend with. Exclusive monolatry is by no means innate in the
cultus; it can only be deduced from considerations which are
foreign to the nature of the cultus: it is the antitype of strict
monotheism. The prohibition of images, too, in the worship of the
Deity, is not expressly insisted on, as in Deuteronomy, but is a
provision which is taken for granted; so little is this position
in danger of question that even doubtful and repugnant elements are
embodied in the worship and assimilated by it without hesitation.
The golden ephod, denounced by Isaiah, has become an insignificant
decoration of the high-priest: talismans, forbidden even by
Ezekiel, are allowed (Numbers xv. 37-41), but the object of them is
"that ye may look upon them and remember all the commandments of
Jehovah, and do them, and that ye follow not after your own heart
and your own eyes, after which ye used to go a whoring." The gross
idolatry, with which the expression znh is always connected in
other passages, is by this time out of the question: the heart
itself with its lawless motions is the strange God, whose service
is forbidden.

We may go further and say that by the cultus-legislation the
cultus is estranged from its own nature, and overthrown in its own
sphere. That is most unmistakably the case with regard to the
festivals. They have lost their reference to harvest and cattle,
and have become historical commemorations: they deny their
birth from nature, and celebrate the institution of supernatural
religion and the gracious acts of Jehovah therewith connected.
The broadly human, the indigenous element falls away, they receive
a statutory character and a significance limited to Israel.
They no longer draw down the Deity into human life on all important
occasions, to take part in its joys and its necessities: they are
not HUMAN ATTEMPTS with such naive means as are at command to please
the Deity and render Him favourable. They are removed from the
natural sphere, and made DIVINE MEANS OF GRACE, which Jehovah has
instituted in Israel as sacraments of the theocracy. The worshipper
no longer thinks that in his gift he is doing God a pleasure,
providing Him with an enjoyment: what pleases Him and is effectual
is only the strict observance of the rite. The sacrifices must be
offered exactly according to prescription: at the right place, at
the right time, by the right individuals, in the right way. They are
not based on the inner value of what is done, on the impulse arising
out of fresh occasions, but on the positive command of a will outside
the worshipper, which is not explained, and which prescribes every
particular. The bond between cultus and sensuality is severed:
no danger can arise of an admixture of impure immoral elements,
a danger which was always present in Hebrew antiquity. Worship no
longer springs from an inner impulse, it has come to be an
exercise of religiosity. It has no natural significance; its
significance is transcendental, incomparable, not to be defined;
the chief effect of it, which is always produced with certainty,
is atonement. For after the exile the consciousness of sin, called
forth by the rejection of the people from the face of Jehovah,
was to a certain extent permanent: even when the hard service of
Israel was accomplished and the wrath really blown over, it would
not disappear.

If then the value of the sacred offerings lay not in themselves
but in obedience to the commandments of God, the centre of gravity
of the cultus was removed from that exercise itself and
transferred to another field, that of morality. The consequence
was that sacrifices and gifts gave way to ascetic exerctses,
which were more strictly and more simply connected with morality.
Precepts given originally in reference to the consecration of the
priests for their religious functions were extended to the laity:
the observance of these laws of physical cleanliness was of much
more radical importance in Judaism than the great public cultus,
and led by the straightest road towards the theocratic ideal of
holiness and of universal priesthood. The whole of life was
compressed into a certain holy path; there was always a divine
command to be fulfilled, and by thinking of it a man kept himself
from following after the desires and lusts of his own heart.
On the other hand this private cultus, which constantly required
attention, kept alive and active the individual sense of sin.

The great pathologist of Judaism is quite right: in the Mosaic
theocracy the cultus became a pedagogic instrument of discipline.
It is estranged from the heart; its revival was due to old
custom, it would never have blossomed again of itself. It no
longer has its roots in childlike impulse, it is a dead work, in
spite of all the importance attached to it, nay, just because of
the anxious conscientiousness with which it was gone about. At
the restoration of Judaism the old usages were patched together in
a new system, which, however, only served as the form to preserve
something that was nobler in its nature, but could not have been
saved otherwise than in a narrow shell that stoutly resisted all
foreign influences. That heathenism in Israel against which the
prophets vainly protested was inwardly overcome by the law on
its own ground; and the cultus, after nature had been killed in
it, became the shield of supernaturalistic monotheism.

The end of the Prolegomena


Reprinted from the "Encyclopaedia Britannica"

I S R A E L.


According to the Book of Genesis, Israel was the brother of Edom,
and the cousin of Moab and Ammon. These four petty peoples,
which may be classed together as the Hebrew group, must at one
time have formed some sort of a unity and have passed through a
common history which resulted in their settlement in
south-eastern Palestine. The Israelites, or rather that section of
the Hebrew group which afterwards developed into Israel, appear at
first to have been the immediate neighbours of Edom, and to have
extended westwards towards the border of Egypt. As regards the
ethnological position of the Hebrews as a whole, tradition has it
that they had connexions not only with the Aramaeans of Osrhoene
(Nahor), but also with certain of the old half-Arab inhabitants of
the Sinaitic peninsula (Kenites, Amalek, Midian). To the Canaanites,
whose language they had adopted, their relation was that of foreign
conquerors and lords to a subject race (Gen. ix, 26).

Some fifteen centuries before our era a section of the Hebrew group
left its ancient seat in the extreme south of Palestine to occupy
the not distant pasture lands of Egypt (Goshen), where they
carried on their old calling, that of shepherds and goatherds.
Although settled within the territory of the Pharaohs,
and recognising their authority, they continued to retain all
their old characteristics,--their language, their patriarchal
institutions, their nomad habits of life.

But in course of time these foreign guests were subjected to
changed treatment. Forced labour was exacted of them for the
construction of new public works in Goshen, an exaction which was
felt to be an assault upon their freedom and honour, and which in
point of fact was fitted to take away all that was distinctive of
their nationality. But they had no remedy at hand, and had
submitted in despair, until Moses at last saw a favourable
opportunity of deliverance. Reminding his oppressed brethren
of the God of their fathers, and urging that their cause was His,
he taught them to regard self-assertion against the Egyptians as
an article of religion; and they became once more a united people
in a determination to seek refuge from oppression in the wilderness
which was the dwelling-place of their kindred and the seat of their
God. At a time when Egypt was scourged by a grievous plague, the
Hebrews broke up their settlement in Goshen one night in spring,
and directed their steps towards their old home again. According
to the accounts, the king had consented to the exodus, and latterly
had even forced it on, but it was none the less a secret flight.

To a not very numerous pastoral people such an undertaking
presented no great difficulty. Nevertheless its execution was not
to be carried out unimpeded. The Hebrews, compelled to abandon
the direct eastward road (Exod. xiii. 17, 18), turned towards
the south-west and encamped at last on the Egyptian shore of the
northern arm of the Red Sea, where they were overtaken by
Pharaoh's army. The situation was a critical one; but a high
wind during the night left the shallow sea so low that it became
possible to ford it. Moses eagerly accepted the suggestion, and
made the venture with success. The Egyptians, rushing after, came
up with them on the further shore, and a struggle ensued. But the
assailants fought at a disadvantage, the ground being ill suited
for their chariots and horsemen; they fell into confusion and
attempted a retreat. Meanwhile the wind had changed; the waters
returned, apd the pursuers were annihilated./1/

1. Exod. xvi. 21, 24, 25, 27, 30, 31. According to the Old
Testament the exodus took place 480 years before the building of
Solomon's temple, and 960 years before the end of the Babylonian
captivity. These figures are "systematic" or at least
systematised, but even so they are certainly more trustworthy
than the combinations of the Egyptologists.

After turning aside to visit Sinai as related in Exodus, the
emigrants settled at Kadesh, eastwards from Goshen, on the
southern borders of Palestine, /2/

2. The site of Sinai (= Horeb?) hardly admits of ascertainment.
The best datum would be the sanctuary of Jethro, if we could
identify it with Midian (Jakut, iv. 451), which lies
on the Arabian coast of the Red Sea obliquely facing the
traditional Sinai. With regard to Qadesh, see Quarterly
Statement of the Palestine Exploration Fund (1871), pp. 20, 21.

where they remained for many years, having at the well of Kadesh
their sanctuary and judgment-seat only, while with their flocks
they ranged over an extensive tract. In all probability their
stay at Kadesh was no involuntary detention; rather was it this
locality they had more immediately had in view in setting out.
For a civilised community of from two to three millions such a
settlement would, of course, have been impossible; but it was
quite sufficient for the immediate requirements of the Goshen
shepherds, few in number as they were and inured to the life of
the desert. That attempts may have been made by them to obtain
possession of the more fertile country to the north is very likely;
but that from the outset they contemplated the conquest of the
whole of Palestine proper, and that it was only in expiation of
a fault that they were held back at the gate of the promised land
until the whole generation of the disobedient had died out, is not
historically probable.

We can assign a definite reason for their final departure from
Kadesh. In the district to the east of Jordan the (Canaanite)
Amorites had, sometime previously, driven the Ammonites from the
lower Jabbok and deprived the Moabites of all their territory to
the north of the Arnon; on the plateau opposite Jericho Heshbon
had become the capital of Sihon, the Amorite king. This sovereign
now set himself to subdue southern Moab also, and not without
"Fire went out from Heshbon, flame from the stronghold of Sihon,
devoured the cities of Moab upon the heights of Arnon.
Woe to thee, O Moab! thou art undone, O people of Chemosh!"
From these straits the Moabites were rescued by their cousins,
the nomads of the wilderness of Kadesh. The Israelites came
forward on behalf of what was at once the common Hebrew cause
and their own particular interest; they took the field against
the Amorites, vanquished them in battle, and broke up the kingdom
of Sihon. The consequence was that the land to the south of the
Arnon remained in the undisputed possession of Moab, while the
victors themselves became masters of the territory immediately
to the north. Settled thus between Moab and Ammon their kinsmen,
the Israelites supplied the link that was wanting in the chain of
petty Hebrew nationalities established in the south of eastern

The army that went out against the Amorites from Kadesh was
certainly not exclusively composed of men who, or whose fathers,
had accomplished the passage of the Red Sea Israel was not a
formed nation when it left Egypt; and throughout the whole period
of its sojourn in the wilderness it continued to be in process of
growth. Instead of excluding the kindred elements which offered
themselves to it on its new soil, it received and assimilated them.
The life they had lived together under Moses had been the first
thing to awaken a feeling of solidarity among the tribes which
afterwards constituted the nation; whether they had previously
been a unity in any sense of the word is doubtful. On the other
hand, the basis of the unification of the tribes must certainly
have been laid before the conquest of Palestine proper; for with
that it broke up, though the memory of it continued. At the same
time it must not be supposed that all the twelve tribes already
existed side be side in Kadesh. The sons of the concubines of
Jacob--Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher--manifestly do not pertain
to Israel in the same sense as do those of Leah and Rachel;
probably they were late arrivals and of very mixed origin.
We know, besides, that Benjamin was not born until afterwards,
in Palestine. If this view be correct, Israel at first consisted
of seven tribes, of which one only, that of Joseph, traced its
descent to Rachel, though in point of numbers and physical strength
it was the equal of all the others together, while in intellectual
force it surpassed them. The remaining six were the sons of
Leah:--Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah; Issachar, Zebulon. They are
always enumerated in this order; the fact that the last two are
also invariably mentioned apart from the rest and after Joseph
has its explanation in geographical considerations.

The time of Moses is invariably regarded as the properly creative
period in Israel's history, and on that account also as giving
the pattern and norm for the ages which followed. In point of
fact the history of Israel must be held to have begun then, and
the foundations of a new epoch to have been laid. The prophets
who came after gave, it is true, greater distinctness to the peculiar
character of the nation, but they did not make it; on the contrary,
it made them. Again, it is true that the movement which
resulted in the establishment of the monarchy brought together
for the first time into organic unity the elements which
previously had existed only in an isolated condition; but
Israel's sense of national personality was a thing of much earlier
origin, which even in the time of the judges bound the
various tribes and families together, and must have had a great
hold on the mind of the nation, although there was no formal and
binding constitution to give it support. When the Israelites
settled in Palestine they found it inhabited by a population
superior to themselves both in numbers and in civilisation, which
they did not extirpate, but on the contrary gradually subdued
and absorbed. The process was favoured by affinity of race
and similarity of speech; but, however far it went, it never had
the effect of making Israelites Canaanites; on the contrary, it
made Canaanites Israelites. Notwithstanding their inferiority,
numerical and otherwise, they maintained their individuality,
and that without the support of any external organisation.


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