The Old Testament in the Jewish Church

MERE is an order in the written revelation of God's truth very different often from that which men in their fancied wisdom would have suggested; for the Bible, though made up of the writings of different servants of God, penned, too, at varying epochs in the world's history, is really the product of one mind. Hence there is a plan throughout it, a moral order, which can be traced in the internal arrangement of its different books, as well as in the order in which the books appear in the sacred volume. The truth of these statements can be tested by a study of the books of Scripture, in detail, and, as far as the' Old Testament is concerned, by comparing as well the order in the Hebrew Bible with that in the oldest known version, the Greek Septuagint.
A strictly chronological arrangement, we learn from both the Old and the New Testament, was not always that to which it pleased the Spirit of God to conform. Comparing the Gospels of Matthew and Luke with that by Mark, we see this clearly brought out, The events recorded in Matt. 8;9, are not related in the order in which they severally occurred. So of the Gospel of Luke; if the chronological arrangement was to be always followed, how could we understand the introduction of a notice of the Lord's last journey to Jerusalem so early as in chap. 9: 51-56?
Turning back to the Old Testament, with which we are now to be directly occupied, we find, from a comparison between the Hebrew and the Greek Septuagint, a difference of order in the internal arrangement of a book, as well as in the sequence in which certain books are placed in the volume. How the difference of order originated we may not be able to discover, but the existence of it is patent to every reader. It is well known that the arrangement of the prophecies of Jeremiah differs materially in the Greek version from that which we find in the Hebrew Scriptures, and the order in which the former version has preserved the twelve minor prophets differs from that in which the first six stand in the original. Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, is the order in the Hebrew. Hosea, Amos, Micah, Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, such is their order in the Septuagint. There is a moral order in their arrangement in the former which is lost if we accept as correct the arrangement of the latter. So of the Prophet Jeremiah; the order of his prophecies from 25: 15-51. 64 is different in the Greek version from that which we meet with in the original Hebrew. Shall we accept the LXX. as our guide in this matter? We shall lose then the moral order in which the collection of his prophecies is presented to us in the Hebrew. By whom his predictions were arranged as we have received them in the language in which they were written, no one in our day, we presume, has authority to declare to us; but since each prophecy is but a portion of one great whole, the revelation in part of the Divine mind, we can readily understand how there may be an order in which predictions of old were committed to writing to be preserved for the benefit of posterity, and that the order was prescribed by Him whose mind was in part revealed by the different utterances of His servants, which form so large a part of the Old Testament Scriptures. Let us attempt to trace out the order in the book of the Prophet Jeremiah.
The book divides itself into four great parts, viz., chaps. 1.-25; chaps. 26.-33.; chaps. 34.-45.; 46.-end. In the first we have the prophet's indictment against the people set. forth in 2.-12., and summed up under three heads: general
corruption empty profession coupled with idolatry (7.-10.), and, what is also grievous in God's eyes, covenant breaking (11., 12.) God has therefore forsaken His 'house, left His heritage (12: 7). Prayer for them is now of no avail (11, 14). Yet afterward the Lord will be gracious, but in the meantime those who have provoked His anger must suffer for it. These three grand charges brought against them, the prophet is next shown, under different figures, the certainty of the Lord's rejection of His people. The girdle marred at the Euphrates (13.) is symbolical of the bringing down of their pride. By the occasion of a dearth the prophet learns, when desiring to intercede, that the Lord will not accept it now; and even if Moses and Samuel stood before Him, He would not hear them. The sword, the famine, death, captivity, will be their portion, and nothing now remains for the faithful but separation from the ungodly (14., 15.). The two next chapters (16., 17.) bring out in full relief how far this separation is to be carried; not merely separation in heart, but also in act (16: 1-8). Trying indeed must such a path ever be, but the faithful are strengthened by the assurance of blessing to those who trust in the Lord, and of the curse that will follow such as trust in man (17: 5-8). Next God illustrates His right to act with men as He pleases by the potter's vessel marred in the potter's hand; and He demonstrates the certainty of His thus dealing with them unless they repent by the vessel broken by the prophet in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom (18.-19.) But what prospect was there of the nation's. repentance if Jeremiah was put in the stocks because he prophesied such things? (20.) Hence in 21.- 24. we have the judgment declared which must come on the immediate heirs of David's, throne, yet coupled with a bright promise of the King, the righteous Branch, who shall reign and prosper (23: 5, 6). But ere that time of blessing can arrive a judgment of the nations, as well as of Judah, must take place. The cup first drunk by Judah must be, drunk by all, and by Babylon, the scourge then used of God to carry out His purpose (25.)
The second part of the book now commences. All hope of Judah's repentance was extinguished. Jeremiah was threatened with death for declaring the word of the Lord (26.); hence the sovereignty departing from Judah is transferred to Gentile hands, and all must submit to Nebuchadnezzar, though only for a limited time. But submission to the Babylonish power on the part of Judah and that of the nations around her-Edom and Ammon, Moab, and Tire and Sidon, did not imply of necessity deportation from their homes. If they submitted to God's will, and owned him and his throne whom Daniel describes as the head of gold, they would abide under his yoke and live (27: 12); for certain was it that no deliverance from that yoke was now near at hand, whatever the false prophets might declare (27:16-28:17). So the prophet of Anathoth writes to those already captive, and exhorts them to dwell in quietness and in subjection where they are; for the term of seventy years, dating from the fourth year of Jehoiakim, must be fulfilled ere any return from captivity could be expected (29.) But a return of the ten tribes shall take place, as well as that of the captives from Judah, and final blessing be enjoyed. With this prospect the Lord would comfort His sinful and captive people (30.-33.) Beyond that, which is still future, the prophet does not go. He expects the return from captivity of both Israel and Judah, and the throne at Jerusalem to be tenanted by David's heir, the Branch of righteousness.
That, as we have said, is future; hence, in the third part of the book (34.-45.), we have the contrast brought out between those who were obedient to that which they professed and those who were not, and God's then ways of government with the one and with the other. So we see contrasted the unfaithfulness of the king and people to the covenant they solemnly entered into with God (34.) with the obedience of the Rechabites to the commands of their ancestor Jonadab (35.). Next, the impiety of Jehoiakim is recounted (36.) and the vacillation and fear of man which characterized Zedekiah (37., 38.), and which ended, as the prophet foretold, in the capture of the city and the overthrow of the Jewish polity by the Babylonian power (39.) Would those left in the land after the taking of Jerusalem learn the wisdom of subjection to God's will, and of obedience to God's word? The history of that company, related in 41.-44., is the answer to that question. Nothing would lead them to be wise and obedient, though they could see in the Babylonian general's treatment of Jeremiah (40.) how the Lord can watch over those who are faithful to Him; and we see in the prophecy concerning Baruch another instance of God's governmental ways with those who are true in heart to Him (45.) His life was given him for a prey, whereas those who would go into Egypt were to die there. We now come to the last part of the book, by which Jeremiah's service was carried out as prophet to the nations (46.-51.); for if God deals with His disobedient people, He will deal with the nations also. Judah had first to drink the cup (25.), then Egypt and the rest, who were to submit to the Babylonish conqueror. So now Egypt, Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Edom, Syria, Kedar, and the kingdoms of Hazor, with Elam and Babylon, get each their word. But, differing from the prophetic messages of Isaiah and Ezekiel to those nations around the land of Israel, Jeremiah's predictions against the Gentiles do not look on to their condition in the last days. As in the previous sections of the book, so in this; it is God's dealings with the nations in the prophet's own day that he was called on to predict. With this his prophetic ministry ends. The book closes with chapter 53., a kind of historical appendix, almost identical in vers. 1-27 with the details in 2 Kings 24:18-25. 21; but adding in vers. 28-30 what is not found in that history, the whole chapter describing the Levitical code Ezra teaches were ordinances of the prophets.
Are his readers aware that only in one verse in his book does Ezra mention the prophets? and then it is with reference to one sin of the people, that of intermarrying with the nations around them. And why should there be any question raised about the promulgation of Levitical laws, seeing that God forbade the sin of which Ezra was speaking by the prophet Moses? (Ex. 34:15,1615Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice; 16And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods. (Exodus 34:15‑16); Deut. 7:33Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. (Deuteronomy 7:3)); and the injunction respecting them was reiterated by Joshua, in whose book (part of the writings of the former prophets) that reiteration is met with. Hence Ezra would be justified in writing of this law as the commandments of God's prophets. But there is a want of accuracy in stating that Ezra speaks of, some of them as ordinances of the prophets. The reader would 'scarcely credit that the ready scribe was only speaking of one of the laws of God. But is Mr. Smith correct as to the time of its promulgation? Nehemiah, Ezra's cotemporary (Neh.13: 26), distinctly declares that Solomon had sinned in that very way. He must then have understood that the law in question was of older date than what Mr. Smith would mean by the times of the prophets. And in truth it was, for the historian of 1 Kings (11: 1, 2) gives his readers to understand it was extant in the days of Solomon, and the angel at Bochim refers to it (Judg. 2:22And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this? (Judges 2:2)), for the children of Israel had already begun to contravene it (Judg. 3:66And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods. (Judges 3:6)).
The bold, outspoken statement which we have quoted is the end to which, by his volume of lectures, Mr. Smith would lead both his hearers and readers, and the evident purport of the volume is to educate them up to it. Of course, by the one who broaches such a theory the Scriptures are not owned as inspired. Belief in their being inspired cannot coexist with a belief that they are not, nor were meant to be, what they profess to be. And if Mr. Smith's statement is true, God has sanctioned in His Word imposture of the most flagrant kind. Over and over again we read, " Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, the capture of the city and temple, with the different end of Zedekiah and of his nephew Jehoiachin.
Now we think it is patent that there is a plan in this outline of the book, a moral order which would be lost if we accepted the arrangement of chapters found in the LXX. in place of the order which we have in the Hebrew. By whom this book, as we have it, and the order we have, attempted to trace out, was drawn up, it is impossible to say; but an examination of its contents, and the order in which they are given, does reveal the existence of a plan, the purpose of a mind, and whose mind no devout student of Scripture will be at a loss to determine.
We have been led into this train of thought by reading the book named at the head of this article. It is a saddening work, as it shows how the minds of men, teachers, and students, are being carried along by the infidel current of the day, which, under the guise of scholarship and critical study, would undermine the belief of men that we possess in the Scriptures a revelation from God. A few words from the close of the twelfth lecture will put the question in a clear light. " In India, when the Government brings a new water-supply into a village, the Village authorities make rules for its use and distribution, but ' these rules do not purport to emanate from the personal authority of their author or authors; there is always a sort of fiction under which some customs as to the distribution of water are supposed to have existed from all antiquity, although, in fact, no artificial supply had even been so much as thought of.' In the same way the new laws of the Levitical code are presented as ordinances of Moses, though when they were first promulgated every one knew they were not so-though Ezra himself speaks of some of them as ordinances of the prophets" (pp. 386, 387). This is bold and outspoken, at all events, but it lacks the merit of being correct. Ezra 9:10,1110And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken thy commandments, 11Which thou hast commanded by thy 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 lands, with their abominations, which have filled it from one end to another with their uncleanness. (Ezra 9:10‑11), speaks of a particular transgression forbidden by God through the instrumentality of the prophets. Mr. Smith states that the new laws of Speak unto the children of Israel," &C. Was this true or not? Have we in the Levitical code what Jehovah said, and said to Moses, or not? (See for the date of some of them Lev. 7:37,38; 16: 1; 25: 1; 27: 3437This is the law of the burnt offering, of the meat offering, and of the sin offering, and of the trespass offering, and of the consecrations, and of the sacrifice of the peace offerings; 38Which the Lord commanded Moses in mount Sinai, in the day that he commanded the children of Israel to offer their oblations unto the Lord, in the wilderness of Sinai. (Leviticus 7:37‑38).) If not, men, prophets, whoever they were, were inspired by the Holy Ghost to write what He knew, and they knew, was untrue; and the testimony of the Prophet like unto Moses we must reject as untrue. " Did not Moses give you the law? " He asked the Jews (John 7:1919Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me? (John 7:19)). Was He pandering to popular superstition, or was. He saying what He knew was true? " The history does not profess," we read (p. 320), " to be written by Moses, but only notes from time to time that he wrote down certain special things (Ex. 17:14; 24: 4; 34: 2714And the Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. (Exodus 17:14); Num. 33:22And Moses wrote their goings out according to their journeys by the commandment of the Lord: and these are their journeys according to their goings out. (Numbers 33:2); Deut. 31: 9,22,24)." " He wrote of Me," said the Lord Jesus Christ (John 5:4646For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. (John 5:46)). Where shall we find what he wrote of the Lord? It was extant in the days of the Apostles. What, and where is it now? But we are met with an objection supposed to be of overwhelming force. " It is a strong thing to suppose that so artificial a way of writing (using of one's self the third person) is as old as Moses, and belongs to the earliest age of Hebrew authorship. One asks for proof that any Hebrew ever wrote of himself in the third person " (p. 321). Did the Professor never read Eccles.
We have called attention to the conclusion to which the hearers and readers of these lectures are sought to be conducted. We would look for a little at some of the steps by which that is attempted to be established. The position taken up is as follows:-It was after Ezra came from Babylon. that we have the " establishment of the Pentateuch as the canonical and authoritative book of the Jews" (p. 158). "If we are shut up to choose between a Mosaic authorship of the whole five books and the skeptical opinion that the Pentateuch is a mere forgery, the skeptics must gain their case " (pp. 308, 309). " These facts... imply that the complete system of the Pentateuch was not known in the period of the kings of Judah, even as the theoretical constitution of Israel" (p. 247). "We know as a matter of historical fact that the Pentateuch as a whole was put into operation as the rule of Israel's life at the reformation of Ezra, with a completeness which had never been aimed at from the days of the conquest of Canaan. From this time onwards the Pentateuch, in its ceremonial as well as its moral precepts, was the acknowledged standard of Israel's righteousness (Neh. 13.; Mal. 1:77Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible. (Malachi 1:7) seq., 3: 8 seq., 4: 4; Acts 15:55But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. (Acts 15:5)) " (p. 208). From the days of Ezra "and forward the Pentateuch as we now have it... became the religious and municipal code of Israel " (p. 56).
On what are such statements based? Was it only from Ezra's day that the Pentateuch in its ceremonial and moral precepts was the acknowledged standard of Israel's righteousness? The contrary, as regards the ceremonial part, was really the fact; for in the Temple, with which Ezra was personally acquainted, there was not the ark, nor did sacred fire ever come down on its altar, nor was there a priest with Urim and Thummim (Ezra 2:6363And the Tirshatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and with Thummim. (Ezra 2:63)). The ceremonial law in its completeness could not in his day be carried out. How could atonement have been made without the mercy-seat, which formed the lid of the ark? But Mr. Smith seeks to establish his position by reference to Nehemiah's confession (9: 34), and his statement about the Feast of Tabernacles as it was observed in his day (8: 17). A simple mind would have supposed that since Nehemiah confessed that their kings, prince, priests, and fathers had not kept God's law, they must have had it to keep. And as to the Feast of Tabernacles, we learn from his book that since Joshua's day the people had not dwelt in booths during its continuance. It is to that. special point that he there draws the attention of his readers. Had they never kept the Feast of Tabernacles during all that time? we may ask. "Of course, never at all," (p. 56) is the ready answer of the exponent of critical results. But Scripture is precise about it. They did keep that of this procedure we have in p. 113, where he proposes, on the authority of the LXX., a shorter recension of Jer. 27; which, amongst other things, would eliminate from the Bible this remarkable prediction concerning the Babylonish monarchy, which is given, we believe, nowhere else: "And all nations shall serve him, and his son, and his Son's son, until the very time of his land come; and then many nations and great kings: shall serve themselves of him " (27: 7). The shorter recension would deprive us of this prophetic announcement. The duration of the years of the captivity we read of in Jer. 25:11;29. 10. The omission, then, of 27: 7 would not, of course, deprive us of that. But here alone is it that we learn, that the first of Daniel's four great empires Would only survive to the third generation of the family of its head. How that was really fulfilled the deciphering of cuneiform inscriptions has established, and set at rest. Belshazzar's father was Nabonadius, who, was not a descendant of the great king Nebuchadnezzar, but marrying his daughter Nitocris, her son, who was Belshazzar, and reigned conjointly with his father, though the fifth in order of the Babylonish monarchs, was really the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar. Thus what may have seemed at one time unlikely was actually fulfilled; that empire did not survive the life of the great conqueror's grandchild, Belshazzar. Now this prophecy, if we accepted the shorter recension offered, us, we should lose, and there would be a void in the Scriptures; for we think it can be maintained without a doubt that 2 Chron. 36:2020And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: (2 Chronicles 36:20) refers to it. Where else does Jeremiah speak in such a way of Nebuchadnezzar and his sons that we can point to it as the prophecy to whose fulfillment the chronicler draws attention? With 2 Chron. 36:20,2120And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: 21To fulfil the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years. (2 Chronicles 36:20‑21), before us, we must decline to accept what Professor Smith would press on us. " Is it natural," he asks, " that the prophet should turn aside to introduce such a prediction here, in the very midst of a solemn admonition, on which it has no direct bearing? " Perfectly natural. For three times over does he feast in the reign of Solomon (2 Chron. 7:9,109And in the eighth day they made a solemn assembly: for they kept the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days. 10And on the three and twentieth day of the seventh month he sent the people away into their tents, glad and merry in heart for the goodness that the Lord had showed unto David, and to Solomon, and to Israel his people. (2 Chronicles 7:9‑10)). They kept it also, "as it is written," in the days of Zerubbabel, between seventy and eighty years before Ezra appeared at Jerusalem (Ezra 3:4), in truth, before he was born. But Mr. Smith may say it never was observed according to law, i.e., dwelling in booths, till the occasion mentioned in Neh. 8 The words of Nehemiah do not even say that He dates the omission of dwelling in booths from the days of Joshua, not from the entrance of Israel into their land. Was the Pentateuch, we ask again, in its ceremonial and its moral precepts, unknown till Ezra's day as the Standard of Israel's, righteousness? As regards the ceremonial laws, 2 Chron. 8:12-1412Then Solomon offered burnt offerings unto the Lord on the altar of the Lord, which he had built before the porch, 13Even after a certain rate every day, offering according to the commandment of Moses, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts, three times in the year, even in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles. 14And he appointed, according to the order of David his father, the courses of the priests to their service, and the Levites to their charges, to praise and minister before the priests, as the duty of every day required: the porters also by their courses at every gate: for so had David the man of God commanded. (2 Chronicles 8:12‑14); Ezra 3; Hag. 2:1111Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying, (Haggai 2:11), are an answer to such a statement. As regards its moral precepts, 1 Kings 2:33And keep the charge of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself: (1 Kings 2:3); 2 Chron. 17:99And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the Lord with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people. (2 Chronicles 17:9), are proof to the contrary.
The sacrifices in Solomon's day were regulated by the law of Moses. The courses of the priests and the service of song were regulated by the ordinances of David. What the law had enjoined, and what David instituted, were known; and Owned as quite distinct, With the moral precepts of the law David was evidently acquainted, and he knew the law as a written law, the law of Moses, and charged his son to keep it, that he might prosper in all that he did, Jehoshaphat took away the high-places and groves out of. Jerusalem, and sent Levites and priests to teach in Judah, and they had the book of the law of the Lord with them. Upon what an unsubstantial basis would Mr. Smith rear up his structure! The Scriptures to which he appeals do not support what he says, and other Scriptures make plain that he is building on a sandy foundation.
But we have Said that he endeavors to educate his readers up to that point to which he himself has reached. He tells them about the canon of Scripture, and teaches them about the Greek Septuagint. Now, to establish his position, he must break down in their minds all confidence in the correctness of the Hebrew Scriptures as we have received them... An example wish to impress on all the hopelessness of refusing the foreign yoke, but at the same time tells them of the limited period to which they would be called to submit to it. But Mr. Smith goes farther, and intimates his preference for the arrangement of Jeremiah's predictions as found in the LXX. (p. 121); but we suppose he did not tell his hearers that
33:14-26 must then be struck out of their Bibles, for it was wanting in the LXX., and is said to have been supplied by Origen.
And he does not tell his readers that at times the New Testament writers discard the translation of the LXX.,. because it does not agree with the Hebrew. See, for examples, Matt. 2:15; 8: 17; 26:3115And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. (Matthew 2:15)
31Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. (Matthew 26:31)
; John 19:3737And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced. (John 19:37); Rom. 11:4; 14But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. (Romans 11:4) Cor. 15: 54; 1 Peter 2:77Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, (1 Peter 2:7); though, on the other hand, there are instances in which the LXX. has preserved the true reading, and the Maseretic text is proved to be incorrect. See, for an example, Acts 2:25-2825For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: 26Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: 27Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 28Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. (Acts 2:25‑28). An examination, however, of the whole question of the Hebrew versus the LXX. will result, we are persuaded, in the rejection of the text and arrangement of that version as better than that of the Hebrew. And as regards the book of the Prophet Jeremiah, we prefer the arrangement of it as we have it in the Hebrew, throughout which, as we have attempted above to point out, a moral order can be traced.
From remarks on the canon of Scripture we are called by the lecturer to a review of the origin of individual books. He begins with the Psalms. The object he has in view is steadily maintained; the goal to be reached we have already pointed out. That Mr. Smith has not understood the purport of the Book of Psalms, nor caught its moral order, is not to be wondered at. Many a devout reader of the book has not perceived either the one or the other. We believe, however, there is a purpose in the arrangement of the book, and a moral order in the way each psalm is introduced, which, if seized, would deepen the impression that the Sacred Scriptures are indeed of God. The Psalter is divided into five books: Psa. 1-41-42.,72.,73.- 89., 90.-106., 107.,-150. Now the subjects of the books are distinct, and the order in which they are arranged is prophetic, the different psalms providing suitable language, comfort, and instruction for God's saints who will be on earth when true Christians will be down here no longer. They are really the expression of the Spirit of God for saints on earth. As far, then, as the experience of saints is concerned,. God's people in all ages can find language in the book suited for them. But Christian experience is not their subject, so there are statements and desires, right in their place, which a Christian instinctively feels would be unsuited for him to take up. The Psalter is a collection of the writings of various authors, yet all of it inspired Scripture, and ranges over a great length of time. Between David and the writer of Psa. 137 centuries, of course, rolled by; hence it is plain that the book as a whole was not known to God's earthly people before the Babylonish captivity, and the special circumstances of which, as a whole, it is the exponent did not, it is plain, exist till after the cross. The second psalm, as Acts 4:25-2925Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? 26The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. 27For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, 28For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. 29And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, (Acts 4:25‑29) shows, supposes the rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ; and Psa. 74 describes a condition of things in connection with the people of Israel which has never yet taken place, viz., the Temple burned, no prophet among them to say how long, yet-God's turtledove, the congregation of His poor, crying to Him about it. In the days of Nebuchadnezzar they had prophets, and they knew what was to be the duration of the captivity. When Titus besieged Jerusalem their house had been left to them desolate, and the Jews could not, in accordance with God's mind, have addressed Him in the language of this psalm. Hence the design of the -book, as arranged, has reference to the future, when the remnant will be able thus to intercede with Him. By what human agency the book was arranged we know not. That there was a design in its formation, an examination of its contents makes manifest. But in the discovery of that design mere critical study will not aid us; we need to study the book in a different manner to get at the thread which runs through it, and to trade out its moral order.
A few remarks will elucidate what has been expressed. In Book I, we have the remnant of the Jews of the future day brought back to the land. In II. they are viewed as outside Jerusalem. In III. we have the condition of the last days described as it concerns the whole of God's earthly people Israel; the Temple destroyed (74.); Jerusalem captured (79.); and the throne as yet not tenanted by its only rightful occupant (89.) In IV. the -kingdom is viewed as being set up in power. In V. -we have exercises of the saints till the reign of peace is fully established; the whole closing with praise to God Jehovah in the fullest way.. The first book ends with Psa. 41, describing saints alive on earth at the Lord's return. The second book 'ends with the description of the Lord's millennial reign (72.;) The third ends with the cry to Him to fulfill His covenant to „David about the throne (89.) The fourth ends with 105., the recital of God's ways in grace with Israel; and 106., their ways of rebellion in the past, and the looking for the nation's full deliverance. Into a detailed account of each book it would be 'impossible within the limits of this article to enter. But just a few remarks on some psalms in. Books I. and II. may give an idea which, if the reader is so minded, he may trace out for himself more at length.
Psa. 1 gives us the godly and the ungodly in Israel, characteristic marks of the former, and the future of both, but only as regards earth. Psa. 2 gives the political character of things. God's counsel' about the king rejected, but to be ultimately made good. The spiritual and political condition of things thus described, it is plain that the walk of the' godly will be productive of trial to them, till the ungodly are dealt with by God. Hence Psa. 3-7 describe the different features 'of trial to which the saint will be' exposed. Many rise up against Him, but he will trust in Jehovah (3.), and he cries to a known God, and appeals to the ungodly to act aright (4.) This leads to a meditation in v. on the character of God and His ways with men (4-6), and the ways 'of the ungodly. In 6. he is further tried; God's hand is on him. In 7. we learn how he is exposed to the secret plots of the wicked, so he desires Jehovah's intervention in judgment. This is announced in Psa. 8, as we learn that all things are put under the Son of Man, the full effect of which the New Testament sets forth (1 Cor. 15; Eph. 1; Heb. 2) After that we have in Psa. 9 the looking for God to judge the earth, and to destroy the ungodly man, whose character is set forth more directly in Psa. 10 After this statement (3,-7.) of the different trials of the righteous, and of God's intervention in judgment-which 'is still future-we learn in 11.-15. the exercises of heart through which the saint passes whilst in trial, followed (16.-24.) by an outline of the Lord's life, (16., 17.) victory, (18.) humiliation and death, (20.-22.) and return to earth, (24.) an answer to the saint's desire, and an encouragement to hold still on his way.
Interesting as it would be to go through the psalms seriatim, the limits of this article forbid more than a brief notice of portions of the book; so we would now ask the reader to glance with us at some of the psalms in the order in which they are arranged in the second book, a further proof that there must be a design, a moral order, in their arrangement. The remnant driven out of Jerusalem, they look' and cry to be brought back (42., 43.)
How changed their circumstances from those of their fathers of old! This they express to God and supplicate for His intervention (44.), that He will answer their cry; and how. fully Psa. 45 teaches us, as the person of the King is described by whose power it will be effected. Then God will be in their midst (46.), so the nations are next called to praise Him who is King over all the earth (47.) But further, He is to be praised in the city of Jerusalem, which He has preserved from the last assault of the kings of the earth;. "for this God," they add, "is our God; He will be our guide unto death " (48.) After this comes a meditation on the future of the ungodly, and on that of the saints; the former pass into the grave, the latter are redeemed from it (49.) Closely connected with that meditation is the description of God's coming to the judgment of His earthly people (1.), approving of the saints, and then rejecting the wicked, this given in the spirit of prophecy to warn souls in time (1: 22, 23); and (51.) shows what becomes those who have sinned against God, and the grace which such, if they seek it, can find. The prophetic outline given, suited for the saints in their exile, we have next a series of psalms called Maschils, and another called Michtams, all by David, giving the feelings of the saints when driven out. Now, is it by accident or by design that in this book of the Psalter we have nearly all of those psalms of David whose titles, if correct, describe the exercises of his heart when driven out from house and home? We believe it is by design.
But turning to Professor Smith, we are told of an improved arrangement of the Psalter, as he thinks. The five books he would compress into three. The Davidic psalms are, we are informed, Unnaturally arranged; they should all come together, instead of being separated, as far as Books I. and II. are concerned, by Psalm 42.- 1., which he would place between 72. and 73. " We may fairly accept this," he writes, " as the original order, which possibly was changed by the final collector, in order that he might show by a distinct mark that the two Davidic collections in his work were originally separate" (p. 188). For Professor Smith it is merely a collection of Davidic, Korahitic, and Asaphic compositions, which should be arranged as specimens in a cabinet, each class by itself. But where is the Spirit of God' in all this? May we not say, in the language of the Psalms, that on such a subject " God is not in all his thoughts? " (Psa. 10:4). Unfortunately, however, for the theory of what ought to be, we have Psa. 1;2, which are not said in the book to be by David, as well as Psa. 10;33, which are also anonymous. Their presence, as they stand, upsets the proposed arrangement. Then in Book III. there is one psalm said to be by David (86.), and that we learn ought not to be accredited as such. A psalm of David there would be contrary to all critical order. (!) Hence he tells us its " title is unquestionably a mistake, for the psalm is a mere cento of reminiscences from older parts of Scripture. And the prayer (ver. 11), Unite my heart to fear Thy name,' is based on the promise (Jer. 32:3939And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: (Jeremiah 32:39)), I will give them one heart.... to fear me continually.' It is the law of religious life that prayer is based on promise, and not conversely" (p. 185). Is this last statement always correct? On what promise was the prayer of Jabez based? (1 Chron. 4:1010And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested. (1 Chronicles 4:10)). But why say ver. 11 is based on Jer. 32:3939And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: (Jeremiah 32:39)? Why not on Deut. 5:2929O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever! (Deuteronomy 5:29)? But that would militate against the Professor's position. To sustain, then, the arrangement of a Davidic collection, Psa. 10 must be merged, as in the LXX., into 9., and 33. quietly shelved as one of a later date. But the question remains, how did it get there? Psa. 86, too, cannot be by David, he tells us, nor Ps. 122., nor Ps. 139.
Into what a confusion the Psalter has got! What wonderful people are the critics to discern it, and to put all straight! But can they? Why should Psa. 10 be tacked on to Psa. 9? Its subject is closely connected with that treated of in Psa. 9 we freely grant; but if the whole psalm is really studied, we think it will be seen that it has nevertheless a distinct line of its own. The former takes up more God's triumph over the wicked in general by judgment; the latter dwells more on the character of the wicked man. But we are told that 9. and 10. form together a beautiful acrostic (p. 183) or alphabetical psalm. We will refer to this farther on. Passing on now to Psa. 33, why get rid of it here as out of place, because it is not said to be by David? It comes in in real harmony with what we believe is the moral order of the book. Psa. 32:1111Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart. (Psalm 32:11) calls on the righteous to rejoice in God. What then more suited to follow than a meditation about the Lord in whom they are exhorted to rejoice (33.), who delivers the saints when man's power is of no avail? This is succeeded by 34., the utterance of one who has been delivered, praising God, and desiring others to know Him likewise. All here seems in order and in harmony, and the arrangement is perfectly natural.
Objections are urged against other psalms. In Book III. there is one, and only one, said to be by David,-86. But that cannot be, says our critic. All sense of order, it seems, would be lost if one Davidic composition is found amongst a number of Asaphic or Korahitic poems. But why not? On what authority does he insist on an arrangement which would place the Davidic psalms in a class by themselves? The Psalter unquestionably was not formed as a whole till after the Babylonish exile, and it is formed to express the full feelings, and to describe in detail the circumstances of God's saints, which have never yet in their completeness been known. That Mr. Smith has not perceived this is no surprise. But to those who have, no manipulation of the arrangement of the book, such as he would advocate, could be satisfactory. And when it is seen, as it must be on examination, that the Psalter as a whole could not have been formed till after the captivity, the question which has to be settled, ere he is at liberty to bring it as a witness in behalf of his case, is simply this: Is the arrangement of it, as we have it in the Hebrew, the original one or not? Has it been rearranged since it was first compiled? Now the order of the psalms in the Hebrew is the order in the oldest known version, with the exception of Psa. 9;10, being classed as one, and Psa. 147 being divided into two, so as to make up the number of cl. in that version. His position is, that the laws of the Levitical code are presented as laws of Moses, when they are only ordinances of the prophets. 'This reference to the Book of Psalms will therefore only avail him, if, he can show that the Psalter, as we have it, has been rearranged since it was first compiled. That he cannot do. The question of the authorship of the different psalms has really nothing to do with it. They are not arranged according to their authors, but according to the subjects of which they treat. Hence it is perfectly natural and suited that 86., as written by David, should come in just where it does. In Psa. 84 we have expressed the saint's desire after God's house, after which we have two prayers (85., 86.), the former the expression of the remnant in their national character, the latter the prayer of the saint individually for preservation of life, founded on what Adonai is, and His ways in grace, and on Jehovah's ways in power. Who of God's saints was more suited to express themselves thus than David, whose experience must have tallied with that expressed in the fourteenth verse of this psalm? Then, closing with a request to be shown a token for good, does not 87. come in well as the answer to that petition? The more we examine the Psalter, the more its moral order is apparent. But all this is lost on Professor Smith, or rather, we should say, he has not perceived it. The beauty of the arrangement is all lost on him, who only sees a quantity of Davidic, Asaphic, and Korahitic poems, all higgledy-piggledy, awaiting the critical acumen of the lecturer, or those whose opinions he is retailing, to arrange them as he thinks right,-a work which all must see the most ordinary clerk could accomplish in the short space of half an hour.
But we may be reminded that other objections are urged against the Davidic authorship of some of the psalms. Ps. 122., we are told (pp. 192, 193), cannot have been written by David, for it speaks of "Jerusalem the rebuilt," and of the thrones of the house of David as a recollection of the past. Now the suggested translation of ver. 3, הַבְּנוּיׇה, Habbnuyah, " the rebuilt," is, for the purpose for which it is here adduced, a false one. Habbnuyah is simply ",the built one," or "that is built," without reference in itself to any former condition of that which is built. Nothing but the presuming on the credulity of one's hearers or readers could, we should have thought, have led any one conversant with the original to have hazarded such a statement for the purpose of disproving the Davidic authorship. And why insist that the author speaks of the thrones of the house of David as a recollection of the past? יׇשְבוּ does not of necessity intimate that. Hebrew scholars, as Gesenius, would reject such a translation. This want of accuracy of translation we meet with on other occasions. Were such instances simple inaccuracies, one would let them pass; but made use of for a purpose, as they are, it is a very different matter. On p. 193 Professor Smith translates Psa. 144:1010It is he that giveth salvation unto kings: who delivereth David his servant from the hurtful sword. (Psalm 144:10) ' Thou that givest deliverances unto kings, who didst save David from the hurtful sword, save me." Why "didst save"? In both clauses we have the present participle in the original, " who giveth," " who saveth." It deliverances unto kings, who His actions that is celebrated, not a mere statement of a fact in history.
Whilst on the point of translations, the reader should be warned to take on trust no translation or interpretation of the Divine Word given in these lectures. On p. 224 we read, " The worship of the sanctuary imperatively demands the tokens of material homage, the gift without which no Oriental would approach even an earthly court. ' None shall appear before me empty' (Ex. 23:1515Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:) (Exodus 23:15))." But that command in Exodus applies only to the appearance of every male before Jehovah at the three great festivals of the year. They worshipped at other times as well. Again, " In Levit. 17. it appears as a perpetual statute that no animal can be lawfully slain for food unless it be presented as a peace-offering before the central sanctuary, and its blood sprinkled on the altar. One has no right to slay an animal on other conditions " (p. 236). Has the author of these words read that chapter in Leviticus? That chapter distinguishes between domestic animals slain in or near the camp (ver. 3) and such as were taken in hunting (ver. 13), and lays down different rules for each, though forbidding the blood of any animal to be eaten.
The Professor has not read that chapter, or, if he has, certainly not with care; so his statement about it, made, indeed, for a purpose, viz., to discredit its being really God's revelation by Moses, is not correct. On p. 283, Isa. 51:77Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings. (Isaiah 51:7) is quoted as if the prophet wrote, " The people in whose hearts my revelation dwells." The prophet really wrote "in whose heart is my law." On p. 293 we read, "The business of the Levites is to give Torah to Israel (Deut. 33:1010They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law: they shall put incense before thee, and whole burnt sacrifice upon thine altar. (Deuteronomy 33:10))." Moses really said, " They shall teach Thy judgments to Jacob, and Thy law to Israel." They were not to give a law (Torah), but to teach, what bad been given, " Thy law." But the true statement of Deut. 33:1010They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law: they shall put incense before thee, and whole burnt sacrifice upon thine altar. (Deuteronomy 33:10) would militate against his theory of the law. Micah too, we read, "declares that the priests give Torahs or legal decisions for hire (3: 11)." The prophet wrote, " Her heads judge for reward, and her priests teach for hire." Does the lecturer, we again ask, read the passages of Scripture on which he professes to comment? Farther on we are taught (p. 319), " In Ex. 33:7, which is non-Levitical, we read that Moses took the tabernacle and pitched it outside the camp, and called it the tent of meeting; but the Levitical account of the setting- up of the tabernacle; with the similar circumstance of the descent of the cloud upon it, does not occur till chapter 40." Here again a reference to the original convicts the Professor of Hebrew of making misleading statements. Why on Ex. 33:7 does he write of tabernacle and tent? The Authorized Version throughout the passage uses the word tabernacle. Mr. Smith uses both, though he must know that in. the Hebrew we have only tent,אהׇֺל,not tabernacle, מִשְבַּן, whereas in Ex. 40 the tabernacle is rightly called מו֗ער אהֶֺל מִשְכַּן. The tent in Ex. 33 was only a tent, and not God's dwelling- place on earth. We cannot acquit the Professor of intentionally misleading his hearers. He must know, as a professed teacher of Hebrew he ought to know, that the משְכּן of Ex. 40 is quite distinct from the אהֶֹל of 33. Such statements seem like an attempt to throw dust 'into people's eyes, and one wonders on reading them, if they are genuine difficulties which the lecturer really feels, or only statements made by others, and taken up and repeated without careful consideration. Such a conclusion seems almost forced on the reader as he peruses the book. We cite one more instance. " How could Joshua, if he had known such a law (Deut. 12:33And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place. (Deuteronomy 12:3)), have erected a macceba, מַצֵּבׇה, or sacred pillar of unhewn stone under the sacred tree by the sanctuary at Shechem? " (p. 354). Again, "The two brazen pillars which stood at the porch (1 Kings 7:2121And he set up the pillars in the porch of the temple: and he set up the right pillar, and called the name thereof Jachin: and he set up the left pillar, and called the name thereof Boaz. (1 Kings 7:21)) were not different from the forbidden macceba, or from the twin pillars of Hercules, from which their Tyrian artist probably copied them " (p. 248). The Lord hated mambas (Deut. 16:2222Neither shalt thou set thee up any image; which the Lord thy God hateth. (Deuteronomy 16:22)). Would He have authorized, would He have directed, the erection of such in His Temple? All that Hiram made was in accordance with that in which Solomon had been instructed (2 Chron. 3:33Now these are the things wherein Solomon was instructed for the building of the house of God. The length by cubits after the first measure was threescore cubits, and the breadth twenty cubits. (2 Chronicles 3:3)), and the brazen pillars are mentioned as items in the list of things concerning which the king had been instructed. But the statement as to Joshua is quite untrue. He set up a stone eben, not a macceba, a stone of memorial, not an object of worship, nor to be connected with worship. The credulity of the audience, or its inability to check the misstatements, must be great, when such can be put forth as true without fear of contradiction.
But to return to the psalms. The title of Psa. 139 must be wrong, since it " belongs to the period when Hebrew was being largely superseded as a vernacular by Aramaic. It contains at least four Aramaic forms, which are not such loan-words as one nation may borrow from another to enrich its vocabulary, but Aramaic pronunciations of roots also found in the Hebrew." Then we are reminded of Grimm's law about English and German words, and Mr. Smith proceeds, " The Psalmist pronounces words with a guttural (ayin) where the Hebrew form has a sharp s (cade), and thus he declares himself a man whose vernacular was Aramaic as clearly, as the Ephraimites revealed their tribe by saying sibboleth" (pp. 193, 194). All this may sound very grand, but 'is it sound criticism? Was there no intercourse in David's day with the Aramaic-speaking population, that Aramaic words might not have been adopted by the Israelites? 2 Sam. 8 and 2 Chron. 18 show that there was. Does the existence of a few Aramaic words in a person's writings prove that his vernacular was Aramaic? Was that Jeremiah's vernacular, in whose writings (x. 11) we have a whole verse of pure Chaldee? But is the Professor's statement unimpeachable? We presume the two words to which he refers are רֵעִי (ver. 2) and רֵבְץ (ver. 3). As to the former, if Fuerst is correct, it comes from a Hebrew root, and is not Aramaic at all. As to the latter, it comes from a root which we meet with three times in Leviticus (18: 23, 19: 19, 20: 16). Now, granting that רׇבַץ may be an Aramaic root equivalent to the common Hebrew root רׇבַץ, it is jumping to a conclusion indeed to determine, that the writer of Psa. 139 must have spoken Aramaic as his vernacular, because he uses a noun the verb root of which his ancestors had for centuries been acquainted with.
We have warned the reader against taking on trust certain translations of the original. We must now point out how loose at times are the statements that we meet with, by which much may be left to the imagination of the reader. Omne ignotum pro magnifico,-Everything unknown is assumed to be magnificent. The remarks on the acrostic psalms will illustrate this. " Another clear sign that we have not every psalm in its original text lies in the alphabetical acrostics, Psa. 9;10;25, 34., 37., 111., 112., 119., 145., in which the initial letter of successive half verses, verses, or larger stanzas make up the alphabet. It is of the nature of an acrostic to be perfect. An acrostic poem which misses some letter, or puts it into a false place, is a failure, and therefore, when we find some of these acrostics are now imperfect, we must conclude that the text has suffered" (p. 182). Now there are three classes of acrostic psalms, as Mr. Smith states. Psa. 119 is an example of alphabetical stanzas, and a perfect one also. Psa. 111 and 112. are examples, the only ones that we have, of initial letters in alphabetical order at the commencement of every half verse, and both of them are perfect But all the others are imperfect. Mr. Smith says some are imperfect. The truth is, of the seven acknowledged alphabetical psalms, only three are perfect. Not one of those in which each verse should begin with a different letter is perfect, nor is there any proof that any of them ever were so. And of the beautiful acrostic, 9., 10., as he terms it, the text must have been tampered with indeed, if his supposition is correct. So great is the variance from the alphabetical order in the latter, that it is difficult to believe the two were ever intended to be one alphabetical acrostic.
On p. 179 he states: " The musical titles " of the psalms " are full of technical terms, which occur again in the Book of Chronicles in descriptions of the Levitical psalmody of the Temple." Out of about sixteen terms connected with the musical titles of the Psalms, six are met with elsewhere, one, שׁיִר, a song used several times in the Chronicles, and two more, שׁמיִניִח and נַצֵּחַ, occur each once, and in the same passage
(1 Chron. 15:2121And Mattithiah, and Elipheleh, and Mikneiah, and Obed-edom, and Jeiel, and Azaziah, with harps on the Sheminith to excel. (1 Chronicles 15:21)), in connection with the psalmody of the Temple, and that is all. A third example of this loose way of writing we meet with in p. 227: " The sanctuaries themselves were of ancient, and in great part of patriarchal consecration. Beersheba, Gilgal, Bethel, Shechem, Mizpah, were places of the most venerable sanctity, acknowledged by Samuel and earlier worthies." Samuel did make a yearly circuit to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah, but Shechem is not mentioned once in the history of his life, nor, though his sons were judges at Beersheba, have we any record that he was ever at that place, nor does Beersheba appear, we believe, in the history as a place of sanctity after the days of the patriarchs. Who would have thought from reading the statement on p. 227 that Samuel had nothing to do, that we read of, with Shechem, nor with Beersheba, as places of sanctity?
But there is something worse than all this loose statement, which may mean more than can be verified, and does not redound to the credit of the teacher. At page 186 we read, " In the greater part of Book II. and III. (Ps. 42.-83.) the name of Jehovah is rare, and Elohim takes its place, even where the substitution reads very awkwardly ... . In the Elohim psalms, and nowhere else in the Old Testament, we find the peculiar phrase, God my God,' with Elohim in the place of Jehovah." This may be true, but does the substitution of God for Jehovah read awkwardly? Does Mr. Smith remember those words, " God thy God," are in Psa. 45:77Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (Psalm 45:7)? They are the words of God to the Lord Jesus Christ (Heb. 1:8,98But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. 9Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (Hebrews 1:8‑9)). Does God use language which reads very awkwardly? To ask the question settles the matter. But what irreverence there is in such a display of would-be critical acumen! We can understand a difficulty rising up about the introduction of the name Elohim in the place of Jehovah, and on comparing Psa. 14 with Ps, 53. the change is manifest. But the true solution will not be found in the hypothesis, of an editor who for some reason suppressed the name of Jehovah, but in the character of things described in that book. The remnant are outside the city, "their covenant connection," as it has been observed, " with Jehovah is lost, hence they address Him as God rather than as Jehovah."
We must now briefly glance at other parts of these lectures. The reader, if the different statements of the lecturer were true, would learn much that was new and startling too. But are the statements that we meet with true, is a question which any thoughtful reader must of necessity ask. The difference of teaching, according to Mr. Smith, between the law and the prophets is divergent indeed. The law enjoined sacrifice, and without shedding of blood was there no remission. The prophets teach, we are told, very different doctrine. " What is quite certain is, that according to the prophets the Torah of Moses did not embrace a law of ritual. Worship by sacrifice and all that belongs to it, is no part of the Divine Torah to Israel. It forms, if you will, part of natural religion-[Does it? why then did Cain not bring an animal along with, or instead, of the fruits of the ground fl-which other nations share with Israel, and which is no feature in the distinctive precepts given at the Exodus..... The true distinction of Israel's religion lies in the character of the Deity, who has made Himself personally known to His people, and demands of them a life conformed to His spiritual character as a righteous and forgiving God. The difference between Jehovah and the gods of the nations is that He does not require sacrifice (!! 0 but only to do justly, and love mercy, and walk humbly with God. This standpoint is not confined to the prophetic books; it is the standpoint of the ten commandments, which contain no precept of positive worship " (pp. 298, 299). "If it is true that they exclude the sacrificial worship from the positive elements of Israel's religion, what becomes of the doctrine of the forgiveness of sins, which we are accustomed to regard as mainly expressed in the typical ordinances of atonement? " (p. 301). "According to the prophets, Jehovah asks only a penitent heart and desires no sacrifice. According to the ritual law, He desires a penitent heart approaching Him in certain sacrificial sacraments" (p. 304).
Did worship by sacrifice form no part of the Divine Torah given to Israel? Was it unknown as such in the days of the prophets? 1 Sam. 2:2929Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honorest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people? (1 Samuel 2:29) directly contradicts this, as we read Jehovah's message to Eli by one of His servants, " Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering which I have commanded in mine habitation? " Ere the school of the prophets arose, Jehovah declared that He had commanded sacrifices. Further, Jehovah Himself, speaking to the child Samuel (1 Sam. 3:1414And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever. (1 Samuel 3:14)), declared that " the iniquity of Eli's house should not be purged (or should not be atoned for, ithcapper) by sacrifice or offering forever." A pretty conclusive proof that atonement by sacrifice, in certain cases, was part of God's provision for His people centuries before the prophets, to whose writings Mr. Smith would turn us, appeared on the scene. Again, David was evidently under the impression that Jehovah had commanded sacrifices to be offered, and that continually, since after the entrance of the ark into Jerusalem he kept Levites to attend on it, and sent Zadok the priest and his brethren the priests to minister before the Tabernacle of the Lord at Gibeon, to offer the offerings there, " according to all that is written in the law of the Lord which He commanded Israel" (1 Chron. 16:39,4039And Zadok the priest, and his brethren the priests, before the tabernacle of the Lord in the high place that was at Gibeon, 40To offer burnt offerings unto the Lord upon the altar of the burnt offering continually morning and evening, and to do according to all that is written in the law of the Lord, which he commanded Israel; (1 Chronicles 16:39‑40)). Solomon, too, the wisest of men (except, we must suppose, the critics of the nineteenth century), was under the same impression when he asked Hiram to forward his desire to build an house to the Lord in which to " burn sweet incense before Him, and for the continual shewbread, and for the burnt-offerings, morning and evening, on the sabbaths, on the new moons, on the solemn feasts of the Lord our God." And then he adds, " This is an ordinance forever to Israel" (2 Chron. 2:44Behold, I build an house to the name of the Lord my God, to dedicate it to him, and to burn before him sweet incense, and for the continual showbread, and for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts of the Lord our God. This is an ordinance for ever to Israel. (2 Chronicles 2:4)). And under the spell of this singular delusion, if Mr. Smith is right in his teaching, the king remained till the house was built, when (8: 13, 14) the sacrificial ritual appointed by Moses, and carried on in the Tabernacle, was transferred to the Temple, and the ordinances of David concerning the priests and the service of song put in force for the first time. The existence, then, and observance of the sacrificial ritual, such as was afterward, as far as it could be, restored on the return of the captives from Babylon, its existence and observance, we say, before the eighth century B.C., are facts which cannot be gainsaid. How does the Professor meet this? With the utmost complacency, and, we suppose, lest his assertion should shock weak nerves, he would quiet all alarm by assuring us all, that though the prophets taught " Jehovah had not enjoined sacrifice, this does not imply that He has never accepted sacrifice, or that ritual service is absolutely wrong. But it is at best mere form (!!) which does not purchase any favor from Jehovah, and might be given up without offense " (p. 288). Indeed! This dictum from one occupying the professorial chair may be to some very consoling. For ourselves, who can only occupy seats on the scholar's bench, we prefer to follow on this point what Samuel, David, and Solomon plainly teach us, and what the law itself declares about it.
Now in Ex. 29:38-4238Now this is that which thou shalt offer upon the altar; two lambs of the first year day by day continually. 39The one lamb thou shalt offer in the morning; and the other lamb thou shalt offer at even: 40And with the one lamb a tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil; and the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink offering. 41And the other lamb thou shalt offer at even, and shalt do thereto according to the meat offering of the morning, and according to the drink offering thereof, for a sweet savor, an offering made by fire unto the Lord. 42This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord: where I will meet you, to speak there unto thee. (Exodus 29:38‑42) we read that God gave Moses, on the first occasion of his sojourn on Mount Sinai for forty days and forty nights, the ordinance about the daily sacrifice, to be offered on that altar on which the fire was to be always burning (Lev. 6:1212And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings. (Leviticus 6:12)). In Lev. 7:35-3835This is the portion of the anointing of Aaron, and of the anointing of his sons, out of the offerings of the Lord made by fire, in the day when he presented them to minister unto the Lord in the priest's office; 36Which the Lord commanded to be given them of the children of Israel, in the day that he anointed them, by a statute for ever throughout their generations. 37This is the law of the burnt offering, of the meat offering, and of the sin offering, and of the trespass offering, and of the consecrations, and of the sacrifice of the peace offerings; 38Which the Lord commanded Moses in mount Sinai, in the day that he commanded the children of Israel to offer their oblations unto the Lord, in the wilderness of Sinai. (Leviticus 7:35‑38), the law of sacrifice is said to have been commanded Moses on Mount Sinai. The ritual for the day of atonement was given by God to Moses to be made known to Aaron (Lev. 16:11And the Lord spake unto Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered before the Lord, and died; (Leviticus 16:1)). And in flat contradiction to Mr. Smith's assertion, that ritual could be given up without offense, we are told that the person who did riot perform the necessary purifications, or who eat of the peace-offering with his uncleanness upon him, or refused to afflict himself on the day of atonement, such an one, should be cut off from among his people (Lev. 7:20,21, 28, 2920But the soul that eateth of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings, that pertain unto the Lord, having his uncleanness upon him, even that soul shall be cut off from his people. 21Moreover the soul that shall touch any unclean thing, as the uncleanness of man, or any unclean beast, or any abominable unclean thing, and eat of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings, which pertain unto the Lord, even that soul shall be cut off from his people. (Leviticus 7:20‑21)
28And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 29Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, He that offereth the sacrifice of his peace offerings unto the Lord shall bring his oblation unto the Lord of the sacrifice of his peace offerings. (Leviticus 7:28‑29)
; Num. 9:13;19:13-2013But the man that is clean, and is not in a journey, and forbeareth to keep the passover, even the same soul shall be cut off from among his people: because he brought not the offering of the Lord in his appointed season, that man shall bear his sin. (Numbers 9:13)
13Whosoever toucheth the dead body of any man that is dead, and purifieth not himself, defileth the tabernacle of the Lord; and that soul shall be cut off from Israel: because the water of separation was not sprinkled upon him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is yet upon him. 14This is the law, when a man dieth in a tent: all that come into the tent, and all that is in the tent, shall be unclean seven days. 15And every open vessel, which hath no covering bound upon it, is unclean. 16And whosoever toucheth one that is slain with a sword in the open fields, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days. 17And for an unclean person they shall take of the ashes of the burnt heifer of purification for sin, and running water shall be put thereto in a vessel: 18And a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon all the vessels, and upon the persons that were there, and upon him that touched a bone, or one slain, or one dead, or a grave: 19And the clean person shall sprinkle upon the unclean on the third day, and on the seventh day: and on the seventh day he shall purify himself, and wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and shall be clean at even. 20But the man that shall be unclean, and shall not purify himself, that soul shall be cut off from among the congregation, because he hath defiled the sanctuary of the Lord: the water of separation hath not been sprinkled upon him; he is unclean. (Numbers 19:13‑20)
). But we need not multiply proofs of the existence of the laws relating to sacrifice.
The attempt to controvert it by dwelling on the teaching of the prophets is a mere artifice, which can only deceive those who are willing to accept the statements of men without testing them by the unerring standard, the Word 'of God. If the observance of ritual without the practice of righteousness was' all that Jehovah desired, the people could have deluged His altar with blood, and yet continued to practice unrighteousness, and to smite with the fist of wickedness at the same time.. But Jehovah is holy. So the prophets rightly insisted on reality, and not on mere lip-service, or the mere outward observance 'of the ritual, though without 'sacrifices forgiveness of sins could not be enjoyed. What set Isaiah at rest in the presence of Jehovah of Hosts but the live coal from off the altar? Nothing but the benefits of the sacrifice of One who could bear divine judgment on his behalf would meet his case. He, a prophet, knew that well, and proclaims by his recital of that which took place, as well as by his subsequent readiness to serve Jehovah, that nothing availed for him apart from the sacrifice which makes atonement.
But in various ways are artifices resorted to in this book to mislead the unstable. We are told (pp. 293, 305) that there is a priestly Torah, a prophetic Torah, a Mosaic Torah, all distinct; and also we are gravely told of a Torah of good husbandry (p. 335), which the reader is given to understand he will find in Isa. 28:23-29. Now this wonderful word Torah is derived from the Hebrew verb Yarah, to teach, and means primarily instruction. It is used as the title of that part of the Old Testament revelation called the law-Torah in Hebrew, νόμος in Greek. When we read of the law, Torah, the term, as in Rom. 3:1919Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. (Romans 3:19), may be used of the whole Old Testament teaching, or be restricted to that part commonly called the Pentateuch. But we have not several Torahs, as Mr. Smith would make out, nor could we say that wherever we read of Jehovah teaching, or any one teaching, that we have a new Torah, as he would persuade us from his reference to Isa. 28 Such statements are like conjuror's tricks, occupying the attention of his audience with one thing whilst he is really doing another. How rich we must be in Torahs if this way of reckoning them could be accepted! We have-does the reader know it? of course the Professor must-on that hypothesis a Torah from the beasts and a Torah from the earth, for both can teach us, as Job (12: 7, 8) declares. But all this about different Torahs is mere trifling. The law (Torah) of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. Does Jehovah's Torah of good husbandry convert the soul?
In truth there is neither reverence for God nor for His Word in this volume. But these are serious charges to make. We must substantiate them. The chronicler, we are told, was a very ignorant man on points on which he wrote. "He had no complete knowledge of the greatly different praxis of Israel before the exile" (p. 219). He writes of Gibeon in Solomon's days in a way the author of 1 Kings would never have done (p. 266); and he is accused of ignorance of his nation's history and of his own tongue (pp. 420,421). How could he state that Abijah called Rehoboam, his father, young, נַעַר, when he was forty-one years old? Into the question of Rehoboam's age at his accession we need not here enter. It is enough to reply to the objection, How could Joshua have been described by the same term when he was about that same age? (Ex. 33:1111And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle. (Exodus 33:11)). Then, ignorant man that he was, how came he, in reporting the same speech, to speak of the evening sacrifice as an animal sacrifice, when it is said to be well known that it was wholly cereal in its composition, being called מִנְחׇח, Minchah., in 1 Kings 18:3636And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. (1 Kings 18:36), 2 Kings 16:1515And king Ahaz commanded Urijah the priest, saying, Upon the great altar burn the morning burnt offering, and the evening meat offering, and the king's burnt sacrifice, and his meat offering, with the burnt offering of all the people of the land, and their meat offering, and their drink offerings; and sprinkle upon it all the blood of the burnt offering, and all the blood of the sacrifice: and the brazen altar shall be for me to inquire by. (2 Kings 16:15), Ezra 9:44Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the transgression of those that had been carried away; and I sat astonied until the evening sacrifice. (Ezra 9:4), the term used for a meat-offering in the law? But the tables are turned when it is seen that Minchah is used in Gen. 4 of Abel's offering, which certainly was not cereal in its character; and the chronicler is justified in the way he writes, since, 'in 2 Kings 3:2020And it came to pass in the morning, when the meat offering was offered, that, behold, there came water by the way of Edom, and the country was filled with water. (2 Kings 3:20),Minchah, is used of the morning burnt-offering as well. Hence the question is not as to the capability of the chronicler for his office, but as to the propriety of the Professor of Hebrew in the Free Church College of Aberdeen basing such charges on grounds which cannot be defended. Is it the chronicler that should be convicted of ignorance of the Hebrew language, or who? And why should not Rehoboam, whatever might be his age, be spoken of as 345 In, which in the only other place in which the phrase occurs (Deut. 20:88And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren's heart faint as well as his heart. (Deuteronomy 20:8)) is translated in the Authorized Version "faint-hearted"? That suits the context in 1 Chron. 13 very well, and is so rendered in this place in the LXX., of which the Professor has expressed so high an opinion. as well as in the Vulgate. And what irreverence, to use no stronger term, to charge the writer, selected by the Holy Ghost for His work, with ignorance of his nation's history and language. Any charge of the chronicler's unfitness for his task is really a reflection on Him who appointed him to write, and directed him in his service. Corruptions of the text there might be, for what is there which has been committed to man in which he has not failed? But to charge the writer with incompetence, is to impugn the competency of the Divine Author of the Scriptures to select suited instruments for His work. Had we not read it, we should have thought that even Mr. Smith would have recoiled from suggesting such a thought.
None, then, need wonder that there is no reverence for God. " The people, whose worship of Jehovah was hardly to be distinguished from a gross polytheism, could not be averse to worship other gods side by side with the national deity " (p. 229). " The Old Testament takes it for granted that Jehovah acknowledges and supplies in Israel the want which in other nations is met by the practice of divination. The place of the soothsayer is supplied by the prophet' of Jehovah (Deut. 18:1414For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the Lord thy God hath not suffered thee so to do. (Deuteronomy 18:14))" (p. 278). Is it the proper way to speak of the only true God as the national deity of Israel? Did His prophets supply for Israel the want elsewhere met by the soothsayers? But worse still (p. 271): " Jehovah Himself, according to Deut. 4:1919And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven. (Deuteronomy 4:19), has appointed the heavenly host and other false deities to the heathen nations (!!), while He conversely Himself is the portion of Jacob (Jer. 10:1616The portion of Jacob is not like them: for he is the former of all things; and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: The Lord of hosts is his name. (Jeremiah 10:16); comp. Deut. 29:2626For they went and served other gods, and worshipped them, gods whom they knew not, and whom he had not given unto them: (Deuteronomy 29:26))." Has the High and the Holy One sanctioned idolatry and provided the nations with their false gods? Here we must stop. His book is indeed a saddening one. It is also profane. God uses, we are given to understand, language which reads very awkwardly. He has selected writers incompetent for the work. He has appointed false deities to the nations. With a great parade of learning, and very probably acquaintance with the writings of men, one thing is evident, the book which the Professor has studied the least is the one about which he writes-the volume of Old Testament revelation.
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