of the Bible.

Old Testament, Part I.





Genesis. Patriarchs. Noah. Noah's Ark. Tower of Babel. Abraham. Joseph.

Exodus. Pasch or Passover. Leviticus. Tabernacle. The Jewish Priesthood. Numbers.

Deuteronomy. Authenticity. Moses. Cana, Canaanites.

Josue (Joshua). Judges. Samson. Book of Ruth.

First and Second Books of Kings. King David. The Books of Paralipomenon (Chronicles). Elijah. Ezechias. Manasses.

Esdras (or Ezra). I Esdras. II Esdras. III Esdras. IV Esdras. Book of Nehemiah. Esther. Book of Esther.

The Machabees. The Books of Machabees. The First Book of Machabees. The Second Book of Machabees. The Third and Fourth Books of Machabees. Book of Tobias. Book of Judith.

Some History and Geography

Biblical Chronology. Israelites. Jerusalem. Temple of Jerusalem. Samaria. Babylonia. Nabuchodonosor. Persia. Assyria. Rome.





In Greek pentateuchos, is the name of the first five books of the Old Testament. Though it is not certain whether the word originally was an adjective, qualifying the omitted noun biblos, or a substantive, its literal meaning "five cases" appears to refer to the sheaths or boxes in which the separate rolls or volumes were kept.

At what precise time the first part of the Bible was divided into five books is a question not yet finally settled. Some regard the division as antedating the Septuagint translation; others attribute it to the authors of this translation; Blessed Jerome was of opinion (Ep. 52, ad Paulin., 8; P.L. XXII, 545) that St. Paul alluded to such a division into five books in I Cor. 14:19. At any rate, Philo and Josephus are familiar with the division now in question ("De Abrahamo," I; "Cont. Apion." I, 8).

However ancient may be the custom of dividing the initial portion of the Old Testament into five parts, the early Jews had no name indicating the partition. They called this part of the Bible hattorah (the law), or torah (law), or sepher hattorah (book of the law), from the nature of its contents (Jos. 8:34; 1:8; 1 Esdr. 10:3; 2 Esdr. 8:2-14; 10:35-37; 2 Par. 25:4. They named it torath Mosheh (law of Moses), sepher Mosheh (book of Moses), sepher torath Mosheh (book of the law of Moses) on account of its authorship (Jos. 8:31-32; 23:6; 3 Kings 2:3; 4 Kings 14:16; 23:25; Dan. 9:11; I Esdr. 3:2; 6: 18; II Esdr. 8:1; 13:1; etc.). Finally, the Divine origin of the Mosaic Law was implied in the names: law of Yahweh (I Esdr. 7:10; etc.), law of God (II Esdr., 8:18; etc.), book of the law of Yahweh (II Par. 17:9; etc.), book of the law of God (Jos. 24:26; etc.).

The word law in the foregoing expressions has been rendered by nomos, with or without the article, in the Septuagint version. The New Testament refers to the Mosaic law in various ways: the law (Matt. 5:17; Rom. 2:12; etc.); the law of Moses (Luke 2:22; 24:44; Acts 28:23); the book of Moses (Mark 12:26); or simply, Moses (Luke 24:2; Acts 15:21). Even the Talmud and the older Rabbinic writings call the first part of the Bible the book of the law, while in Aramaic it is simply termed law (cf. Buxtorf, "Lexicon Chaldaicum Talmudicum Rabbinicum," 791, 983; Levy, "Chaldaisches Worterbuch," 268, 16; Aicher, "Das Alte Testament in der Mischna," Freiburg, 1906, p. 16).

The Greek name pentateuchos, implying a division of the law into five parts, occurs for the first time about A.D. 150-75 in the letter to Flora by the Valentinian Ptolemy (cf. St. Epiphan., "Haer.," XXXIII, iv; P.G. XLI, 560). An earlier occurrence of the name was supposed to exist in a passage of Hippolytus where the Psalter is called kai auto allon pentateuchon (cf. edition of de Lagarde, Leipzig and London, 1858 p. 193); but the passage has been found to belong to Epiphanius (cf. "Hippolytus" in "Die griechischen Schriftsteller der ersten drei Jahrhunderte," Leipzig, 1897, t. I, 143). Origen uses the name (Comment. in Ev. Jo., t. II; P.G. XIV, 192; cf. P.G. XIII, 444), as does St. Athanasius (Ep. ad Marcellin., 5; P.G. 27: 12), and, several times, St. Epiphanius (De mensur. et ponderib., 4, 6; P.G. XLIII, 244). In Latin, Tertulian uses the masculine form Pentateuchus (Adv. Marcion., I, 10; P.L. II, 257), while Isidore of Seville prefers the neuter Pentateuchum (Etym., VI 2:1, 2; P.L. LXXXII, 230). The analogous forms Octateuch, Heptateuch, and Hexateuch have been used to refer to the first, eight, seven, and six books of the Bible respectively. The Rabbinic writers adopted the expression "the five-fifths of the law" or simply "the five-fifths" to denote the five books of the Pentateuch.

Both the Palestinian and the Alexandrian Jews had distinct names for each of the five books of the Pentateuch. In Palestine, the opening words of the several books served as their titles; hence we have the names: bereshith, we'elleh shemoth or simply shemoth, wayyiqra, wayedhabber, and elleh haddebarim or simply debarim. Though these were the ordinary Hebrew titles of the successive Pentateuchal books, certain Rabbinic writers denote the last three according to their contents; they called the third book torath kohanim, or law of priests; the fourth, homesh happiqqudhim, or book of census; the fifth, mishneh thorah, or repetition of the law.

The Alexandrian Jews derived their Greek names of the five books from the contents of either the whole or the beginning of each division. Thus the first book is called Genesis kosmou or simply Genesis; the second, Exodus Aigyptou or Exodus; the third, Leueitikon; the fourth, Arithmoi; and the fifth, Deuteronomion. These names passed from the Septuagint into the Latin Vulgate and from this into most of the translations of the Vulgate. Arithmoi however was replaced by the Latin equivalent Numeri, while the other names retained their form.


The contents of the Pentateuch are partly of an historical, partly of a legal character. They give us the history of the Chosen People from the creation of the world to the death of Moses, and acquaint us too with the civil and religious legislation of the Israelites during the life of their great lawgiver.

Genesis may be considered as the introduction to the other four books. It contains the early history down to the preparation of Israel's exit form Egypt. Deuteronomy, consisting mainly of discourses, is practically a summary repetition of the Mosaic legislation. It concludes also the history of the people under the leadership of Moses.

The three intervening books consider the wanderings of Israel in the desert and the successive legal enactments. Each of these three great divisions has its own special introduction (Gen. 1:1-2:3; Ex. 1:1-7; Deut. 1:1-5). Since the subject matter distinguishes Leviticus from Exodus and Numbers, not to mention the literary terminations of the third and fourth books (Lev. 27:34; Num. 26:13), the present form of the Pentateuch exhibits both a literary unity and a division into five minor parts.



The Book of Genesis prepares the reader for the Pentateuchal legislation. It tells us how God chose a particular family to keep His Revelation, and how He trained the Chosen People to fulfill its mission. From the nature of its contents, the book consists of two rather unequal parts; cc. 1-11 present the features of a general history, while cc. 12-49 contain the particular history of the Chosen People.

By a literary device, each of these parts is subdivided into five sections differing in length. The sections are introduced by the phrase elleh tholedhoth (these are the generations) or its variant zeh sepher toledhoth (this is the book of the generations). "Generations," however, is only the etymological meaning of the Hebrew toledhoth; in its context the formula can hardly signify a mere genealogical table, for it is neither preceded nor followed by such tables.

As early Oriental history usually begins with genealogical records, and consists to a large extent of such records, one naturally interprets the above introductory formula and its variant as meaning, "this is the history" or "this is the book of the history." We understand history, in these phrases, not as a narrative resting on folklore, but as a record based on genealogies. Moreover, the introductory formula often refers back to some principal feature of the preceding section, thus forming a transition and connection between the successive parts. Gen. 5:1, e. g., refers back to Gen. 2:7 sqq.; 6: 9 to 5:29 sqq. and 6:8; 10:1 to 9:18-19, etc. Finally, the sacred writer deals very briefly with the non-chosen families or tribes, and he always considers them before the chosen branch of the family. He treats of Cain before he speaks of Seth; similarly, Cham and Japhet precede Sem; the rest of Sem's posterity precedes Abraham; Ismael precedes Isaac; Esau precedes Jacob.

Bearing in mind these general outlines of the contents and the literary structure of Genesis, we shall easily understand the following analytical table.

Introduction (Genesis 1:1-2:3)Consists of the Hexaemeron; it teaches the power and goodness of God as manifested in the creation of the world, and also the dependence of creatures on the dominion of the Creator.

General History (2:4-11:26)Man did not acknowledge his dependence on God. Hence, leaving the disobedient to their own devices, God chose one special family or one individual as the depositary of His Revelation.

History of Heaven and Earth (2:4-4:26)Here we have the story of the fall of our first parents 2:5-3:24; of the fratricide of Cain 4:1-16; the posterity of Cain and its elimination 4:17-26.

History of Adam (5:1-6:8)The writer enumerates the Sethites, another line of Adam's descendants 5:1-32, but shows that they too became so corrupt that only one among them found favor before God 6:1-8.

History of Noe (6:9-9:29)Neither the Deluge which destroyed the whole human race excepting Noe's family 6:11-8:19, nor God's covenant with Noe and his sons 8:20-9:17, brought about the amendment of the human family, and only one of Noe's sons was chosen as the bearer of the Divine blessings 9:18-29.

History of the Sons of Noe (10:1-11:9)The posterity of the non-chosen sons 10:1-32, brought a new punishment on the human race by its pride 11:1-9.

History of Sem (11:10-26)The posterity of Sem is enumerated down to Thare the father of Abraham, in whose seed God shall bless all the nations of the earth.

Special History (11:27-50:26)Here the inspired writer describes the special Providence watching over Abraham and his offspring which developed in Egypt into a large nation. At the same time, he eliminates the sons of Abraham who were not children of God's promise. This teaches the Israelites that carnal descent from Abraham does not suffice to make them true sons of Abraham.

History of Thare (11:27-25:11)This section tells of the call of Abraham, his transmigration into Chanaan, his covenant with God, and His promises.

History of Ismael (25:12-28)This section eliminates the tribes springing from Ismael.

History of Isaac (25:19-35:29 Here we have the history of Isaac's sons, Esau and Jacob.

History of Esau (36:1-37:1)The sacred writer gives a list of Esau's posterity; it does not belong to the number of the Chosen People.

History of Jacob (37:2-50:26)This final portion of Genesis tells of the fate of Jacob's family down to the death of the Patriarch and of Joseph.

The above shows a uniform plan in the structure of Genesis, which some scholars prefer to call "schematism."

  1. The whole book is divided into ten sections.
  2. (ii) Each section is introduced by the same formula.
  3. (iii) The sections are arranged according to a definite plan, the history of the lateral genealogical branches always preceding that of the corresponding part of the main line.
  4. (iv) Within the sections, the introductory formula or the title is usually followed by a brief repetition of some prominent feature of the preceding section, a fact duly noted and explained by as early a writer as Rhabanus Maurus (Comment. In Gen., II, xii; P.G. CVII, 531-2), but misconstrued by our recent critics into an argument for a diversity of sources.
  5. (v) The history of each Patriarch tells of the development of his family during his lifetime, while the account of his life varies between a bare notice consisting of a few words or lines, and a more lengthy description.
  6. (vi) When the life of the Patriarch is given more in detail, the account usually ends in an almost uniform way, indicating the length of his life and his burial with his ancestors (cf. 9:29; 11:32; 25:7; 35:28; 47:28). Such a definite plan of the book shows that it was written with a definite end in view and according to preconceived arrangement. The critics attribute this to the final "redactor" of the Pentateuch who adopted, according to their views, the genealogical framework and the "schematism" from the Priestly Code. The value of these views will be discussed later; for the present, it suffices to know that a striking unity prevails throughout the Book of Genesis.


The word patriarch as applied to Biblical personages comes from the Septuagint version, where it is used in a broad sense, including religious and civil officials (e.g. I Par. 24:31; 27:22). In the more restricted sense and common usage, it is applied to the antediluvian fathers of the human race, and more particularly to the three great progenitors of Israel: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In the New Testament, the term is extended also to the sons of Jacob (Acts 7:8-9) and to King David (ibid. 2:29).

The earlier patriarchs comprise the antediluvian group, and those who are placed between the Flood and the birth of Abraham. Of the former, the Book of Genesis gives a twofold list. The first (Gen. 4:17-18, passage assigned by critics the so-called "J" document) starts with Cain and gives as his descendants Henoch, Irad, Maviael, Mathusael, and Lamech. The other list (Gen. 5:3-31, ascribed to the priestly writer, "P") is far more elaborate, and is accompanied by minute chronological indications. It begins with Seth and, strange to say, it ends likewise with Lamech. The intervening names are Enos, Cainan, Malaleel, Jared, Henoch, and Mathusala.

The fact that both lists end with Lamech, who is doubtless the same person, and that some of the names common to both are strikingly similar, makes it probable that the second list is an amplification of the first, embodying material furnished by a divergent tradition. Nor should this seem surprising when we consider the many discrepancies exhibited by the twofold genealogy of the Saviour in the First and Third Gospels. The human personages set forth in these lists occupy a place held by the mythical demi-gods in the story of the prehistoric beginnings of other early nations. It may well be that the chief value of the inspired account given of them is didactic, destined in the mind of the sacred writer to inculcate the great truth of monotheism which is so distinctive a feature of the Old Testament writings.

Be that as it may, the acceptance of this general view helps greatly to simplify another difficult problem connected with the Biblical account of the early patriarchs, viz. their enormous longevity. The earlier account (Gen. 4:17-18) gives only the names of the patriarchs there mentioned, with the incidental indication that the city built by Cain was called after his son Henoch. The later narrative (Gen. 5:3-31) gives a definite chronology for the whole period. It states the age at which each patriarch begot his first-born son, the number of years he lived after that event, together with the sum total of the years of his life. Nearly all of the antediluvian fathers are represented as living to the age of 900 or thereabouts, Mathusala, the oldest, reaching 969.

These figures have always constituted a most difficult problem for commentators and Bible readers; and those who defend the strict historical character of the passages in question have put forward various explanations, none of which are considered convincing by modern Biblical scholars.

Thus it has been conjectured that the years mentioned in this connation were not of ordinary duration but of one or more months. There is, however, no warrant for this assumption in the Scripture itself, where the word year has a constant signification, and is always clearly distinguished from the minor periods.

It has also been suggested that the ages given are not those of individuals, but signify epochs of antediluvian history, and that each is named after its most illustrious representative. The hypothesis may be ingenious, but even a superficial reading of the text suffices to show that such was not the meaning of the sacred writer. Nor does it help the case much to point out a few exceptional instances of persons who in modern times are alleged to have lived to the age of 150 or even 180. For even admitting these as facts, and that in primitive times men lived longer than at present (an assumption for which we find no warrant in historic times), it is still a long way from 180 to 900.

Another argument to corroborate the historical accuracy of the Biblical account has been deduced from the fact that the legends of many people assert the great longevity of their early ancestors, a circumstance which implies an original tradition to that effect. Thus the first seven Egyptian kings are said to have reigned for a period of 12,300 years, making an average of about 1757 years for each, and Josephus, who is preoccupied with a desire to justify the Biblical narrative, quotes Ephorus and Nicolaus as relating "that the ancients lived a thousand years." He adds, however, "But as to these matters, let every one look upon them as he thinks fit" (Antiq. I 3:in fine).

On the other hand, it is maintained that as a matter of fact there is no trustworthy historic or scientific evidence indicating that the average span of human life was greater in primitive than in modern times. In this connation, it is customary to cite Gen. 6:3, where God decrees by way of punishment of the universal corruption which was the occasion of the Flood, that henceforth the days of man "shall be a hundred and twenty years." This is taken as indicating a point at which the physical deterioration of the race resulted in a marked decrease in longevity. Despite the critical considerations which bear on this passage, it is strange to note further on (Gen. 11) that the ages of the subsequent patriarchs were by no means limited to 120 years. Sem lived to the age of 600, Arphaxad 338 (Massoretic text 408), Sale 433, Heber 464, etc.

The one ground on which the accuracy of all these figures can be defended is the a priori reason that being contained in the Bible, they must of a necessity be historically correct. The older commentators maintain this position generally. Many scholars, on the other hand, are agreed in considering the genealogical and chronological lists of Gen. 5 and 11, to be mainly artificial, and this view seems to be confirmed, they say, by a comparison of the figures as they stand in the Hebrew original and in the ancient versions. The Vulgate is in agreement with the former (with the exception of Arphaxad), showing that no substantial alteration of the figures has been made in the Hebrew at least since the end of the fourth century A.D.

But when we compare the Massoretic text with the Samaritan version and the Septuagint, we are confronted by many and strange discrepancies which can hardly be the result of mere accident. Thus, for instance, with regard to the antediluvian patriarchs, while the Samaritan version agrees in the main with the Massoretic text, the age at which Jared begot his first-born is set down as 62 instead of the Hebrew 162. Mathusala, likewise, who according to the Hebrew begot his first-born at the age of 187, was only 67 according to the Samaritan; and though the Hebrew places the same event in the case of Lamech when he was 182, the Samaritan gives him only 53. Similar discrepancies exist between the two texts as regards the total number of years that these patriarchs lived, viz. Jared, Heb. 962, Sam. 847; Mathusala, Heb. 969, Sam. 720; Lamech, Heb. 777, Sam. 653.

Comparing the Massoretic text with the Septuagint, we find that in the latter the birth of the first-born in the case of Adam, Seth, Enos, Cainan, Malaleel, and Henoch was at the respective ages of 230, 205, 190, 170, 165, and 165, as against 130, 105, 90, 70, 65, and 65 as stated in the Hebrew. The same systematic difference of 100 years in the period before the birth of the first-born appears likewise in the lives of the postdiluvian patriarchs, Arphaxad, Sale, Heber, Phaleg, Reu, and Sarug. For this list, however, the Samaritan agrees with the Septuagint as against the Massoretic text.

As regards the list of the antediluvians, the Hebrew and Septuagint agree as to the sum total of each patriarch's life, since the Greek version reduces regularly by a hundred years the period between the birth of the first-born and the patriarch's death. These accumulated differences result in a wide divergence when the duration of the entire patriarchal period is considered. Thus the number of years which elapsed from the beginning down to the death of Lamech is, according to the Hebrew, 1651, while the Samaritan gives 1307, and the Septuagint 2227. These are but a few of the peculiarities exhibited by the comparison of the perplexing genealogical lists. That the divergences are for the most part intentional seems to be a necessary inference from their systematic regularity, and the implied manipulation of the figures by the early translators goes far to make probable the more or less artificial character of these primitive chronologies as a whole.


[Hebrew Nôah, "rest"; Greek Noe; Latin Noe].

The ninth patriarch of the Sethite line, grandson of Mathusala and son of Lamech, who with his family was saved from the Deluge and thus became the second father of the human race (Genesis 5:25-9:29).

The name Noah was given to him because of his father's expectation regarding him. "This same," said Lamech on naming him, "shall comfort us from the works and labors of our hands on [or more correctly "from," i.e. "which come from"] the earth, which the Lord hath cursed." Most commentators consider Lamech's words as an expression of a hope, or as a prophecy, that the child would in some way be instrumental in removing the curse pronounced against Adam (Genesis 3:17 sqq.).

General corruption resulted from the marriages of "the sons of God" with "the daughters of men" (Genesis 6:2 sqq.), that is of the Sethites with the Cainite women. But amid this corruption, "Noah was a just and perfect man in his generations" and "walked with God" (6:9). Hence, when God decreed to destroy men from the face of the earth, he "found grace before the Lord." According to the common interpretation of Genesis 6:3, Noah first received divine warning of the impending destruction one hundred and twenty years before it occurred, and therefore when he was four hundred and eighty years old (cf. 7:11); he does not seem, however, to have received at this time any details as to the nature of the catastrophe.

After he reached the age of five hundred years three sons, Sem, Cham, and Japheth, were born to him (6:10). These had grown to manhood and had taken wives, when Noah was informed of God's intention to destroy men by a flood, and received directions to build an ark in which he and his wife, his sons and their wives, and representatives, male and female, of the various kinds of animals and birds, were to be saved (6:13-21). How long before the Deluge God imparted this revelation to him, it is impossible to say; it can hardly have been more than seventy-five years (cf. 7:11), and probably was considerably less.

Noah had announced the impending judgment and had exhorted to repentance (II Peter 2:5), but no heed was given to his words (Matthew 24:37 sqq.; Luke 17:26, 27; I Peter 3:20). When the fatal time arrived, no one except Noah's immediate family found refuge in the ark. Seven days before the waters began to cover the earth, Noah was commanded to enter the ark with his wife, his three sons and their wives, and to take with him seven pairs of all clean, and two pairs of all unclean animals and birds (7:1-4). It has been objected that, even though the most liberal value is allowed for the cubit, the ark would have been too small to lodge at least two pairs of every species of animal and bird. However, there can be no difficulty if, as is now generally admitted, the Deluge was confined to the Mesopotamian region.

After leaving the ark Noah built an altar, and taking of all clean animals and birds, offered holocausts upon it. God accepted the sacrifice, and made a covenant with Noah, and through him with all mankind, that He would not waste the earth or destroy man by another deluge. The rainbow would for all times be a sign and a reminder of this covenant. He further renewed the blessing which He had pronounced on Adam (Genesis 1:28), and confirmed the dominion over animals which He had granted to man. In virtue of this dominion, man may use animals for food, but the flesh may not be eaten with the blood (8:20-9:17).

Noah now gave himself to agriculture, and planted a vineyard. Being unacquainted with the effects of fermented grape-juice, he drank of it too freely and was made drunk. Cham found his father lying naked in his tent, and made a jest of his condition before his brothers; these reverently covered him with a mantle. On hearing of the occurrence, Noah cursed Chanaan, as Cham's heir, and blessed Sem and Japheth.

He lived three hundred and fifty years after the Deluge, and died at the age of nine hundred and fifty years (9:20-29). In the later books of Scripture Noah is represented as the model of the just man (Eccliasticus 44:17; Ezechiel, 14:14-20), and as an exemplar of faith (Hebrews 11:7). In the Fathers and tradition, he is considered as the type and figure of the Saviour, because through him the human race was saved from destruction and reconciled with God (Ecclus. 44:17-18). Moreover, as he built the ark, the only means of salvation from the Deluge, so Christ established the Church, the only means of salvation in the spiritual order, the Ark of salvation.

The Babylonian account of the Deluge in many points closely resembles that of the Bible. Four cuneiform recensions of it have been discovered, of which, however, three are only short fragments. The complete story is found in the Gilgamesh epic (Tablet 11) discovered by G. Smith among the ruins of the library of Assurbanipal in 1872. Berosus gives another version. In the Gilgamesh poem the hero of the story is Ut-napishtim (or Sit-napishti, as some read it, surnamed Atra-hasis "the very clever." In two of the fragments, he is simply styled Atra-hasis, which name is also found in Berosus under the Greek form Xisuthros.

The story in brief is as follows: A council of the gods having decreed to destroy men by a flood, the god Ea warns Ut-napishtim, and bids him build a ship in which to save himself and the seed of all kinds of life. Ut-napishtim builds the ship (of which, according to one version, Ea traces the plan on the ground), and places in it his family, his dependents, artisans, and domestic as well as wild animals, after which he shuts the door. The storm lasts six days; on the seventh, the flood begins to subside. The ship steered by the helmsman Puzur-Bel lands on Mt. Nisir. After seven days Ut-napishtim sends forth a dove and a swallow, which, finding no resting-place for their feet return to the ark, and then a raven, which feeds on dead bodies and does not return. On leaving the ship, Ut-napishtim offers a sacrifice to the gods, who smell the godly odor and gather like flies over the sacrificer. He and his wife are then admitted among the gods.

The story as given by Berosus comes somewhat nearer to the Biblical narrative. Because of the striking resemblances between the two, many maintain that the Biblical account is derived from the Babylonian. But the differences are so many and so important that this view must be pronounced untenable. The Scriptural story is a parallel and independent form of a common tradition.

Noah's Ark.

The Hebrew name to designate Noah's Ark, the one which occurs again in the history of Moses' childhood, suggests the idea of a box of large proportions, though the author of Wisdom terms it a vessel (Wisd. 14:6). The dimensions attributed to it by the Bible narrative lead to the same conclusion: three hundred cubits in length, fifty in breadth, and thirty in height.

The form, very likely foursquare, was certainly not very convenient for navigation, but, as has been proven by the experiments of Peter Jansen and M. Vogt, it made the Ark a very suitable device for shipping heavy cargoes and floating upon the waves without rolling or pitching. The Ark was constructed of gofer wood, or cypress, smeared without and within with pitch, or bitumen, to render it watertight. The interior contained a certain number of rooms distributed among three stories. The text mentions only one window, and this measuring a cubit in height, but there existed possibly some others to give to the inmates of the Ark air and light. A door had also been set in the side of the Ark; God shut it from the outside when Noah and his family had gone in.

Apart from Noah's family, the Ark was intended to receive and keep animals that were to fill the earth again (Gen. 6:19-20; 7:2-3) and all the food which was necessary for them. After the Flood, the Ark rested upon the mountains of Armenia (Gen. 8:4 — according to Vulgate and Douay, the mountains of Ararat, according to Authorized Version). Tradition is divided as to the exact place where the Ark rested. Josephus (Ant. I 3:6), Berosus (Eus. Praep. Ev., IX 2, P.G. 21:697), Onkelos, Pseudo-Jonathan, St. Ephrem, locate it in Kurdistan. Berosus relates that a part of Xisuthrus's ship still remained there, and that pilgrims used to scrape off the bitumen from the wreck and make charms of it against witchcraft. Jewish and Armenian tradition admitted Mount Ararat as the resting place of the Ark. In the first century B.C. the Armenians affirmed that remnants of it could yet be seen. The first Christians of Apamea, in Phrygia, erected in this place a convent called the monastery of the Ark, where a feast was yearly celebrated to commemorate Noah's coming out of the Ark after the Flood.

Suffice it to remark that the text of Genesis (8:4) mentioning Mount Ararat is somewhat lacking in clearness, and the Scripture says nothing concerning what became of the Ark after the Flood. Critics raise many difficulties, especially in our epoch, against the pages of the Bible which narrate the history of the Flood and of the Ark. This is not the place to dwell upon these difficulties, however considerable some may appear. They all converge towards the question whether these pages should be considered as strictly historical throughout, or only in their outward form. The opinion that these chapters are mere legendary tales, Eastern folklore, is held by some scholars; according to others they preserve, under the embroidery of poetical parlance, the memory of a fact handed down by a very old tradition. This view, were it supported by good arguments, could be readily accepted; it has, over the age-long opinion that every detail of the narration should be literally interpreted and trusted in by the historian, the advantage of suppressing as meaningless some difficulties once deemed unanswerable.


Tower of Babel.

The "Tower of Babel" is the name of the building mentioned in Genesis 11:1-9.

History of the Tower

The descendants of Noe had migrated from the "east" (Armenia) first southward, along the course of the Tigris, then westward across the Tigris into "a plain in the land of Sennar." As their growing number forced them to live in localities more and more distant from their patriarchal homes, "they said: Come, let us make a city and a tower, the top whereof may reach to heaven; and let us make our name famous before we be scattered abroad into all lands." The work was soon fairly under way; "and they had brick instead of stones, and slime (asphalt) instead of mortar." But God confounded their tongue, so that they did not understand one another's speech, and thus scattered them from that place into all lands, and they ceased to build the city.

This is the Biblical account of the Tower of Babel. Thus far, no Babylonian document has been discovered which refers clearly to the subject. However, we find a possible reference to the Tower of Babel in the "History" of Berosus as it is handed down to us in two variations by Abydenus and Alexander Polyhistor respectively ("Histor. Graec. Fragm.," ed. Didot, II, 512; IV, 282; Euseb., "Chron.," I, 18, in P.G. XIX, 123; "Praep. Evang.," IX, 14, in P.G. 21:705). Special interest attaches to this reference, since Berosus is now supposed to have drawn his material from Babylonian sources.

Site of the Tower of Babel.

Both the inspired writer of Genesis and Berosus place the Tower of Babel somewhere in Babylon. But there are three principal opinions as to its precise position in the city.

(1) Pietro della Valle ("Viaggi descritti," Rome, 1650) located the tower in the north of the city, on the left bank of the Euphrates, where now lie the ruins called Babil. Schrader inclines to the same opinion in Riehm's "Handworterbuch des biblischen Altertums" (I, 138), while in "The Cuneiform Inscriptions" (I, 108) he leaves to his reader the choice between Babil and the temple of Borsippa. The position of Babil within the limits of the ancient Babylon agrees with the Biblical location of the tower; the name Babil itself may be regarded as a traditional relic of the name Babel interpreted by the inspired writer as referring to the confusion of tongues.

(2) Rawlinson (Smith-Sayce, "Chaldean account of the Genesis," 1880, pp. 74, 171) places the tower on the ruins of Tell-Amram, regarded by Oppert as the remnants of the hanging gardens. These ruins are situated on the same side of the Euphrates as those of the Babil, and also within the ancient city limits. The excavations of the German Orientgesellschaft have laid bare on this spot the ancient national sanctuary Esagila, sacred to Marduk-Bel, with the documentary testimony that the top of the building had been made to reach Heaven. This agrees with the description of the Tower of Babel as found in Genesis 11:4: "The top whereof may reach to heaven." To this locality belongs also the tower Etemenanki, or house of the foundation of Heaven and earth, which is composed of six gigantic steps.

(3) Sayce (Lectures on the Religion of the Ancient Babylonians, p. 112-3, 405-7), Oppert ("Expédition en Mésopotamie," I, 200-16; "Études assyriennes," pp. 91-132), and others follow the more common opinion which identifies the tower of Babel with the ruins of the Birs-Nimrud, in Borsippa. These ruins, situated on the right side of the Euphrates, some seven or eight miles from the ruins of the city proper, are the ruins of the temple Ezida, sacred to Nebo, which according to the above-cited inscription of Nabuchodonosor, was repaired and completed by that king. A former ruler had left it incomplete in far distant days.

These data are too vague to form the basis of an apodictic argument. The Babylonian Talmud (Buxtorf, "Lexicon talmudicum," col. 313) connects Borsippa with the confusion of tongues; but a long period elapsed from the time of the composition of Genesis 11 to the time of the Babylonian Talmud. Besides, the Biblical account seems to imply that the tower was within the city limits, while it is hardly probable that the city limits extended to Borsippa in very ancient times. The historical character of the tower is not impaired by our inability to point out its location with certainty.

Form of the Tower of Babel.

The form of the tower must have resembled the constructions which today exist only in a ruined condition in Babylonia. The most ancient pyramids of Egypt present a vestige of the same form. Cubic blocks of masonry, decreasing in size, are piled one on top of the other, thus forming separate stories; an inclined plane or stairway leads from one story to the other. The towers of Ur and Arach contained only two or three stories, but that of Birs-Nimrud numbered seven, not counting the high platform on which the building was erected. Each story was painted in its own peculiar colour according to the planet to which it was dedicated. Generally the corners of these towers faced the four points of the compass, while in Egypt the sides of the pyramids held this position. On top of these constructions there was a sanctuary, so that they served both as temples and as observatories. Their interior consisted of sun-dried clay, but the outer walls were coated with fire-baker brick. The asphalt peculiar to the Babylonian neighbourhood served as mortar; all these details are in keeping with the report of Genesis.

Though some writers maintain that every Babylonian city possessed such a tower, or zikkurat (meaning "pointed" according to Schrader, "raised on high" according to Haupt, "memorial" according to Vigouroux), no complete specimen has been preserved to us. The Tower of Khorsabad is perhaps the best preserved, but Assyrian sculpture supplements our knowledge of even this construction. The only indication of the time at which the Tower of Babel was erected, we find in the name of Phaleg (Genesis 11:10-17), the grandnephew of Heber; this places the date somewhere between 101 and 870 years after the Flood. The limits are so unsatisfactory, because the Greek Version differs in its numbers from the Massoretic text.


The original form of the name, Abram, is apparently the Assyrian Abu-ramu. It is doubtful if the usual meaning attached to that word, "lofty father," is correct. The meaning given to Abraham in Genesis 17:5 is popular word play, and the real meaning is unknown. The Assyriologist, Hommel suggests that in the Minnean dialect, the Hebrew letter ("h") is written for long a. Perhaps here we may have the real derivation of the word, and Abraham may be only a dialectical form of Abram.

The story of Abraham is contained in the Book of Genesis, 11:26 to 25:18. We shall first give a brief outline of the Patriarch's life, as told in that portion of Genesis, then we shall in succession discuss the subject of Abraham from the viewpoints of the Old Testament, New Testament, profane history, and legend.

A brief outline of Abraham's life.

Thare had three sons, Abram, Nachor, and Aran. Abram married Sarai. Thare took Abram and his wife, Sarai, and Lot, the son of Aran, who was dead, and leaving Ur of the Chaldees, came to Haran and dwelt there till he died. Then, at the call of God, Abram, with his wife, Sarai, and Lot, and the rest of his belongings, went into the Land of Chanaan, amongst other places to Sichem and Bethel, where he built altars to the Lord. A famine breaking out in Chanaan, Abram journeyed southward to Egypt, and when he had entered the land, fearing that he would be killed on account of his wife, Sarai, he bade her say she was his sister. The report of Sarai's beauty reached the Pharao, and he took her into his harem, and honored Abram on account of her. Later, however finding out that she was Abram's wife, he sent her away unharmed, and, upbraiding Abram for what he had done, he dismissed him from Egypt.

From Egypt Abram came with Lot towards Bethel, and there, finding that their herds and flocks had grown to be very large, he proposed that they should separate and go their own ways. Lot chose the country about the Jordan, whilst Abram dwelt in Chanaan, and came and dwelt in the vale of Mambre in Hebron. Now, on account of a revolt of the Kings of Sodom and Gomorrha and other kings from Chodorlahomor King of Elam, after they had served him twelve years, he in the fourteenth year made war upon them with his allies, Thadal king of nations, Amraphel King of Senaar, and Arioch King of Pontus.

The King of Elam was victorious, and had already reached Dan with Lot a prisoner and laden with spoil, when Abram overtook him. With 318 men the patriarch surprises, attacks, and defeats him, he retakes Lot and the spoil, and returns in triumph. On his way home, he is met by Melchisedech, king of Salem who brings forth bread and wine, and blesses him and Abram gives him tithes of all he has; but for himself he reserves nothing.

God promises Abram that his seed shall be as the stars of heaven, and he shall possess the land of Chanaan. But Abram does not see how this is to be, for he has already grown old. Then the promise is guaranteed by a sacrifice between God and Abram, and by a vision and a supernatural intervention in the night. Sarai, far advanced in years, had given up the idea of bearing children, persuaded Abram to take to himself her handmaid, Agar. He does so, and Agar being with child despises the barren Sarai. For this Sarai afflicts her so that she flies into the desert, but is persuaded to return by an angel who comforts her with promises of the greatness of the son she is about to bear. She returns and brings forth Ismael.

Thirteen years later God appears to Abram and promises him a son by Sarai, and that his posterity will be a great nation. As a sign, he changes Abram's name to Abraham, Sarai's to Sara, and ordains the rite of circumcision. One day later, as Abraham is sitting by his tent, in the vale of Mambre, Jehovah with two angels appears to him in human form. He shows them hospitality. Then Abraham again receives the promise of a son named Isaac. The aged Sarah hears incredulously and laughs.

Abraham learns of the impending destruction of Sodom and Gomorrha for their sins. But he obtains from Jehovah the promise that he will not destroy them if he finds ten just men therein. Then follows a description of the destruction of the two cities and the escape of Lot. Next morning Abraham, looking from his tent towards Sodom, sees the smoke of destruction ascending to heaven.

After this, Abraham moves south to Gerara, and again fearing for his life says of his wife, "she is my sister." The king of Gerara, Abimelech, sends and takes her, but learning in a dream that she is Abraham's wife he restores her to him untouched, and rebukes him and gives him gifts.

In her old age, Sarah bears a son, Isaac, to Abraham, and he is circumcised on the eighth day. Whilst he is still young, Sarah is jealous, seeing Ismael playing with the child Isaac, so she procures that Agar and her son shall be cast out. Then Agar would have allowed Ismael to perish in the wilderness, had not an angel encouraged her by telling her of the boy's future.

Abraham next has a dispute with Abimelech over a well at Bersabee, which ends when they make a covenant between them. It was after this that the great trial of the faith of Abraham takes place. God commands him to sacrifice his only son Isaac. When Abraham has his arm raised and is in the very act of striking, an angel from heaven stays his hand. The angel makes the most wonderful promises to him of the greatness of his posterity because of his complete trust in God.

Sarah dies at the age of 127, and Abraham, having purchased from Ephron the Hethite the cave in Machpelah near Mambre, buries her there. His own career is not yet quite ended for first of all he takes a wife for his son Isaac, Rebecca from the city of Nachor in Mesopotamia. Then he marries Cetura, old though he is, and has by her six children. Finally, leaving all his possessions to Isaac, he dies at age 170, and Isaac and Ismael bury him in the cave of Machpelah.

Viewpoint of Old Testament.

Abraham may be looked upon as the starting-point or source of Old Testament religion. From the days of Abraham men were wont to speak of God as the God of Abraham, whilst we do not find Abraham referring in the same way to anyone before him. Abraham's servant speaks of "the God of my father Abraham" (Gen. 24:12). Jehovah, in an apparition to Isaac, speaks of himself as the God of Abraham (Gen. 26:24), and to Jacob he is "the God of my father Abraham" (Gen. 31:42). The religion of Israel does not begin with Moses. God says to Moses: "I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham" etc. (Ex. 3:6). The same expression is used in the Psalms (46:10) and is common in the Old Testament.

Abraham is thus selected as the first beginning or source of the religion of the children of Israel and the origin of its close connection with Jehovah, because of his faith, trust, and obedience to and in Jehovah and because of Jehovah's promises to him and to his seed. So, in Genesis 15:6, it is said: "Abram believed God, and it was reputed to him unto justice." He showed this trust in God when he left Haran and journeyed with his family into the unknown country of Chanaan. He showed it principally when he was willing to sacrifice his only son Isaac, in obedience to a command from God. It was on that occasion that God said: "Because thou hast not spared thy only begotten son for my sake I will bless thee" etc. (Gen. 22:16-17).

It is to this and other promises made so often by God to Israel that the writers of the Old Testament refer over and over again in confirmation of their privileges as the chosen people. These promises are recorded to have been made no less than eight times God will give the land of Chanaan to Abraham and his seed (Gen. 12:7). Abrahan’s seed shall increase and multiply as the stars of heaven; he himself shall be blessed. In him, "all the kindred of the earth shall be blessed" (12:3). Accordingly, the traditional view of the life of Abraham, as recorded in Genesis, is that it is history in the strict sense of the word.

Viewpoint of New Testament.

St. Matthew traces the generation of Jesus Christ back to Abraham. And though in Our Lord's genealogy according to St. Luke, he is shown to be descended according to the flesh not only from Abraham but also from Adam, still St. Luke shows his appreciation of the fruits of descent from Abraham by attributing all the blessings of God on Israel to the promises made to Abraham. This he does in the Magnificat 3:55, and in the Benedictus 3:73. Moreover, as the New Testament traces the descent of Jesus Christ from Abraham, so it does of all the Jews; though as a rule, when this is done, it is accompanied with a note of warning, lest the Jews should imagine that they are entitled to place confidence in the fact of their carnal descent from Abraham, without anything further. Thus (Luke 3:8) John the Baptist says: "Do not begin to say: We have Abraham for our father, for I say to you God is able of these stones to raise up children to Abraham." In Luke 19:9 our Saviour calls the sinner Zacheus a son of Abraham, as he likewise calls a woman whom he had healed a daughter of Abraham (Luke 13:16). But in these and many similar cases, is it not merely another way of calling them Jews or Israelites? For at times he refers to the Psalms under the general name of David, without implying that David wrote all the Psalms, and as he calls the Pentateuch the Books of Moses, without pretending to settle the question of the authorship of that work. However, importance is attatched not to carnal descent from Abraham, but rather to practising the virtues attributed to Abraham in Genesis.

Thus in John 8 the Jews, to whom Our Lord was speaking, boast (33): "We are the seed of Abraham," and Jesus replies (39): "If ye be the children of Abraham, do the works of Abraham." St. Paul, too, shows that he is a son of Abraham and glories in that fact as in II Cor. 11:22, when he exclaims: "They are the seed of Abraham, so am I." And again (Rom. 11:1): "I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham," and he addresses the Jews of Antioch in Pisidia (Acts 13:26) as "sons of the race of Abraham." But, following the teaching of Jesus Christ St. Paul does not attach too much importance to carnal descent from Abraham; for he says (Gal. 3:29): "If you be Christ's, then you are the seed of Abraham," and again (Rom. 9:6): "All are not Israelites who are of Israel; neither are all they who are the seed of Abraham, children."

So, too, we can observe in all the New Testament the importance attached to the promises made to Abraham. In the Acts of the Apostles 3:25, St. Peter reminds the Jews of the promise, "in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." So does St. Stephen in his speech before the Council (Acts 7:), and St. Paul in the Epistle to the Hebrews 6:13.

Nor was the faith of the ancient patriarch less highly thought of by the New Testament writers. The passage of Genesis that was most prominently before them was 15:6: "Abraham believed God, and it was reputed to him unto justice." In Romans 4, St. Paul argues strongly for the supremacy of faith, which he says justified Abraham; "for if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory, but not before God."

The same idea is inculcated in the Epistle to the Galatians 3: where the question is discussed: "Did you receive the spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" St. Paul decides that it is by faith, and says: "Therefore they that are of faith shall be justified with faithful Abraham." It is clear that this language, taken by itself, and apart from the absolute necessity of good works upheld by St. Paul, is liable to mislead and actually has misled many in the history of the Church.

Hence, in order to appreciate to the full the Christian doctrine of faith, we must supplement St. Paul by St. James. In 2:17-22, of the Catholic Epistle we read: "So faith also, if it have not works, is dead in itself. But some man will say: Thou hast faith, and I have works, show me thy faith without works, and I will show thee by works my faith. Thou believest that there is one God. Thou dost well; the devils also believe and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, and by works faith was made perfect?"

In the seventh chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, St. Paul enters into a long discussion concerning the eternal priesthood of Jesus Christ. He recalls the words of the 109th psalm more than once, in which it is said: "Thou art a Priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedech." He recalls the fact that Melchisedech is etymologically the king of justice and also king of peace; moreover, that he is not only king, but also priest of the Most High God. Then, calling to mind that there is no account of his father, mother, or genealogy, nor any record of his heirs, he likens him to Christ king and priest; no Levite nor according to the order of Aaron, but a priest forever according to the order of Melchisedech.

In the Light of Profane History.

Coming now to look at the light thrown by profane history upon the stories of Abraham's life as given in Genesis, we have, first of all, the narratives of ancient historians, as Nicholas of Damascus, Berosus, Hecateus, and the like. Nicholas of Damascus tells how Abraham, when he left Chaldea lived for some years in Damascus. In fact, in Josephus he is said to have been the fourth king of that city. But then there is no practical doubt that this story is based on the words of Genesis 14:15, in which the town of Damascus is mentioned. As to the great man whom Josephus mentions as spoken of by Berosus, there is nothing to show that that great man was Abraham. In the "Praeparatio Evang." of Eusebius extracts are recorded from numerous ancient writers, but no historical value can be attached to them. In fact, as far as ancient historians are concerned, we may say that all we know about Abraham is contained in the book of Genesis.

A much more important and interesting question is the amount of value to attach to archaeological discoveries of Biblical and other explorers in the East. Archaeologists like Hommel, and more especially Sayce, are disposed to attach very great significance to them. They say, in fact, that these discoveries throw a serious element of doubt over many of the conclusions of the higher critics. On the other hand, critics, both advanced as Cheyne and moderate as Driver, do not hold the deductions drawn by these archaeologists from the evidence of the monuments in very high esteem, but regard them as exaggerations.

To put the matter more precisely, we quote the following from Professor Sayce, to enable the reader to see for himself what he thinks (Early Hist. of the Hebrews, 8). He writes, "Cuneiform tablets have been found relating to Chodorlahomor and the other kings of the East mentioned in the 14th chapter of Genesis, while in the Tel-el-Amarna correspondence the king of Jerusalem declares that he had been raised to the throne by the 'arm' of his God, and was therefore, like Melchisedech, a priest-king. But Chodorlahomor and Melchisedech had long ago been banished to mythland and criticism could not admit that archaeological discovery had restored them to actual history. Writers, accordingly, in complacent ignorance of the cuneiform texts, told the Assyriologists that their translations and interpretations were alike erroneous." That passage will make it clear how much the critics and archaeologists are at variance.

But no one can deny that Assyriology has thrown some light on the stories of Abraham and the other patriarchs. Thus the name of Abraham was known in those ancient times; for amongst other Canaanitish or Amorite names found in deeds of sale of that period are those of Abi-ramu, or Abram, Jacob-el (Ya'qub-il), and Josephel (Yasub-il). So, too, of the fourteenth chapter of Genesis, which relates the war of Chodorlahomor and his allies in Palestine, it is not so long ago that the advanced critics relegated it to the region of fable, under the conviction that Babylonians and Elamites at that early date in Palestine and the surrounding country was a gross anachronism. But since Professor Pinches deciphered certain inscriptions relating to Babylonia in which the five kings, Amraphel King of Senaar, Arioch King of Pontus, Chodorlahomor King of the Elamites, and Thadal King of nations, are identified with Hammurabi King of Babylon, Eri-aku, Kudur-laghghamar, and Tuduchula, son of Gazza, and which tells of a campaign of these monarchs in Palestine.

So that no one can any longer assert that the war spoken of in Genesis 14, can only be a late reflection of the wars of Sennacherib and others in the times of the kings. From the Tel-el-Amarna tablets, we know that Babylonian influence was predominant in Palestine in those days. Moreover, we have light thrown by the cuneiform inscriptions upon the incident of Melchisedech. In Genesis 14:18, it is said: "Melchisedech, the King of Salem, bringing forth bread and wine, for he was the priest of the Most High God, blessed him." Amongst the Tel-el-Amarna letters is one from Ebed-Tob, King of Jerusalem (the city is Ursalim, i. e. city of Salim, and it is spoken of as Salem). He is priest appointed by Salem, the god of Peace, and is hence both king and priest. In the same manner, Melchisedech is priest and king, and naturally comes to greet Abraham returning in peace; and hence, too, Abraham offers to him as to a priest a tithe of the spoils.

While archeological findings are susceptible to different interpretations, there is no doubt that they have put an end to the idea that the patriarchal legends are mere myth. A state of things has been disclosed in patriarchal times quite consistent with much that is related in Genesis, and at times even apparently confirming the facts of the Bible.


The eleventh son of Jacob, the firstborn of Rachel, and the immediate ancestor of the tribes of Manasses and Ephraim. His life is narrated in Gen. 30:22-24; ch 37-39.

The date of his eventful career can be fixed only approximately at the present day, for the Biblical account of Joseph's life does not name the particular Pharaoh of his time, and the Egyptian customs and manners therein alluded to are not decisive as to any special period in Egyptian history. His term of office in Egypt falls probably under one of the later Hyksos kings. His name, either contracted from Jehoseph (Ps. 81:6, in the Heb), or abbreviated from Joseph-El (cf. Karnak inscription of Thothmes III, no. 78), is distinctly connected in Gen. 30:23, 24, with the circumstances of his birth and is interpreted: "may God add."

He was born in Haran, of Rachel, Jacob's beloved and long-barren wife, and became the favorite son of the aged patriarch. After Jacob's return to Chanaan, various circumstances made Joseph the object of the mortal hatred of his brothers. He had witnessed some very wicked deed of several among them, and they knew that it had been reported to their father. Moreover, in his partiality to Joseph, Jacob gave him an ample garment of many colors, and this manifest proof of the patriarch's greater love for him aroused the jealousy of Joseph's brothers to such an extent that "they could not speak peaceably to him." Finally, with the imprudence of youth, Joseph told his brothers two dreams which clearly portended his future elevation over them all, but which, for the present, simply caused them to hate him all the more (Gen. 37:1-11).

In this frame of mind, they seized upon the first opportunity to get rid of the one of whom they spoke as "the dreamer." As they fed their father's flocks in Dothain (now Tell Dothain, about fifteen miles north of Sichem), they saw from afar Joseph, who had been sent by Jacob to inquire about their welfare, coming to them, and they at once resolved to reduce to naught all his dreams of future greatness.

At this point, the narrative in Genesis combines two distinct accounts of the manner in which the brothers of Joseph actually carried out their intention of avenging themselves upon him. These accounts present slight variations, which commentators on Genesis examined in detail, and which, far from destroying, rather confirm the historical character of the fact that, through the enmity of his brothers, Joseph was brought down to Egypt. To protect themselves the brothers dipped Joseph's fine garment into the blood of a kid, and sent it to their father. At the sight of this bloodstained garment, Jacob naturally believed that a wild beast had devoured his beloved son, and he gave himself up to the most intense grief (37:12-35).

While thus bewailed as dead by his father, Joseph was sold into Egypt, and treated with the utmost consideration and the greatest confidence by his Egyptian master, to whom Gen., xxxvii, 36, gives the name of Putiphar ["He whom Ra (the sun-god) gave"] and whom it describes as Pharaoh's eunuch and as the captain of the royal body-guard (cf. 39:1). Quick and trustworthy, Joseph soon became his master's personal attendant. He was next entrusted with the superintendence of his master's house, a most extensive and responsible charge, such as was unusual in large Egyptian households. With Yahweh's blessing, all things, "both at home and in the field," became so prosperous under Joseph's management that his master trusted him implicitly, and "knew not any other things, save the bread which he ate."

While thus discharging with perfect success his manifold duties of major-domo (Egyp. mer-per), Joseph was often brought in contact with the lady of the house, for at that time there was as much free intercourse between men and women in Egypt as there is among us in the present day. Oftentimes she noticed the youthful and handsome Hebrew overseer, and carried away by passion, she repeatedly tempted him to commit adultery with her, till at length, resenting his virtuous conduct, she accused him of those very criminal solicitations wherewith she had herself pursued him. The credulous master believed the report of his wife, and in his wrath cast Joseph into prison. There also Yahweh was with His faithful servant: He gave him favor with the keeper of the prison, who soon placed in Joseph implicit confidence, and even committed to his charge the other prisoners (39:2-23).

Shortly afterwards two of Pharaoh's officers, the chief butler and chief baker, having incurred the royal displeasure for some reason unknown to us, were put in ward in the house of the captain of the guard. They also were placed under Joseph's charge, and as he came in to them one morning, he noticed their unusual sadness. They could not catch the meaning of a dream which each had had during the night, and there was no professional interpreter of dreams near at hand. Then it was that Joseph interpreted their dreams correctly, bidding the chief butler to remember him when restored to his office, as indeed he was three days after, on Pharaoh's birthday (11).

Two years rolled by, after which the monarch himself had two dreams, the one of the fat and lean kine, and the other of the full and withered ears. Great was Pharaoh's perplexity at these dreams, which no one in the realm could interpret. This occurrence naturally reminded the chief butler of Joseph's skill in interpreting dreams, and he mentioned to the king what had happened in his own case and in that of the chief baker. Summoned before Pharaoh, Joseph declared that both dreams signified that seven years of plenty would immediately be followed by seven years of famine, and further suggested that one-fifth of he produce of the years of plenty be laid by as provision for the years of famine.

Deeply impressed by the clear and plausible interpretation of his dreams, and recognizing in Joseph a wisdom more than human, the monarch entrusted to him the carrying out of the practical measure which he had suggested. For this purpose, he raised Joseph to the rank of keeper of the royal seal. This invested him with an authority second only to that of the throne. Pharaoh bestowed on him the Egyptian name of Zaphenath-paneah ("God spoke, and he came into life"), and gave him to wife Aseneth, the daughter of Putiphares, the priest of the great national sanctuary at On (or Heliopolis, seven miles north east of the modern Cairo).

Soon the seven years of plenty predicted by Joseph set in, during which he stored up corn in each of the cities from which it was gathered, and his wife, Aseneth, bore him two sons whom he called Manasses and Ephraim, from the favorable circumstances of the time of their birth. Next came the seven years of dearth, during which by his skilful management Joseph saved Egypt from the worst features of want and hunger, and not only Egypt, but also the various countries around, which had to suffer from the same grievous and protracted famine (41). Among these neighboring countries was counted the land of Chanaan where Jacob had continued to dwell with Joseph's eleven brothers.

Having heard that corn was sold in Egypt, the aged patriarch sent his sons thither to purchase some, keeping back, however, Rachel's second child, Benjamin, "lest perhaps he take harm in the journey." Admitted into Joseph's presence, his brothers failed to recognize in the Egyptian grandee before them the lad whom they had so cruelly treated twenty years before. He roughly accused them of being spies sent to discover the undefended passes of the eastern frontier of Egypt, and when they volunteered information about their family, he, desirous of ascertaining the truth concerning Benjamin, retained one of them as hostage in prison and sent the others home to bring back their youngest brother with them.

On their return to their father, or at their first lodging-place on the way, the brothers discovered the money that Joseph had ordered to be placed in their sacks. Great was their anxiety and that of Jacob, who for a time refused to allow his sons to return to Egypt in company with Benjamin. At length he yielded under the pressure of famine, sending, at the same time, a present to conciliate the favor of the Egyptian prime minister.

At the sight of Benjamin Joseph understood that his brothers had told him the truth at their first appearance before him, and he invited them to a feast in his own house. At the feast he caused them to be seated exactly according to their age, and he honored Benjamin with "a greater mess," as a mark of distinction (42-43). Then they left for home, unsuspecting that at Joseph's order his divining cup had been hidden in Benjamin's sack. They were soon overtaken, charged with theft of that precious cup, which, upon search, was found in the sack where it had been hidden. In their dismay, they returned in a body to Joseph's house, and offered to remain as his bondmen in Egypt, an offer that Joseph declined, declaring that he would only retain Benjamin. Whereupon Juda pleads most pathetically that, for the sake of his aged father, Benjamin be dismissed free, and that he be allowed to remain in his brother's place as Joseph's bondman. Then it was that Joseph disclosed himself to his brothers, calmed their fears, and sent them back with a pressing invitation to Jacob to come and settle in Egypt (44-45:24).

It was in the land of Gessen, a pastoral district about forty miles north-east of Cairo, that Joseph called his father and brothers to settle. There they lived as prosperous shepherds of the king, while in their misery the Egyptians were gradually reduced to sell their lands to the Crown, in order to secure their subsistence from the all-powerful prime minister of Pharaoh. And so Joseph brought it to pass that the former owners of landed property — with the exception, however, of the priests — became simple tenants of the king. These tenants paid to the royal treasury, as it were, an annual rent of one-fifth of the produce of the soil (46:28-47:26).

During Jacob's last moments, Joseph promised his father that he would bury him in Chanaan, and caused him to adopt his two sons, Manasses and Ephraim (47:25-48:). After his father's demise, he had his body embalmed and buried with great pomp in the Cave of Machpelah (1:1-14). He also allayed the fears of his brothers who dreaded that he should now avenge their former ill treatment of him. He died at the age of 110, and his body was embalmed and put in a coffin in Egypt (1:15-25). Ultimately, his remains were carried into Chanaan and buried in Sichem (Exod. 13:19; Josue 24:32).

Such, in substance, is the Biblical account of Joseph's career. In its wonderful simplicity, it sketches one of the most beautiful characters presented by Old-Testament history. As a boy, Joseph has the most vivid horror for the evil done by some of his brothers; and as a youth, he resists with unflinching courage the repeated and pressing solicitations of his master's wife. Cast into prison, he displays great power of endurance, trusting to God for his justification. When raised to the rank of viceroy of Egypt, he shows himself worthy of that exalted dignity by his skilful and energetic efforts to promote the welfare of his adopted countrymen and the extension of his master's power.

A character so beautiful made Joseph a most worthy type of Christ, the model of all perfection, and it is comparatively easy to point out some of the traits of resemblance between Jacob's beloved son and the dearly beloved Son of God. Like Jesus, Joseph was hated and cast out by his brethren, and yet wrought out their salvation through the sufferings they had brought upon him. Like Jesus, Joseph obtained his exaltation only after passing through the deepest and most undeserved humiliations; and, in the kingdom over which he ruled, he invited his brethren to join those whom heretofore they had looked upon as strangers, in order that they also might enjoy the blessings which he had stored up for them. Like the Savior of the world, Joseph had but words of forgiveness and blessing for all who, recognizing their misery, had recourse to his supreme power. It was to Joseph of old, as to Jesus, that all had to appeal for relief, offer homages of the deepest respect, and yield ready obedience in all things. Finally, to the Patriarch Joseph, as to Jesus, it was given to inaugurate a new order of things for the greater power and glory of the monarch to whom he owed his exaltation.

While thus recognizing the typical meaning of Joseph's career, one should not for a moment lose sight of the fact that one is in presence of a distinctly historical character. Efforts have indeed been made in certain quarters to transform the history of Joseph into a story of a tribe of the same name which, at some remote period, would have attained to great power in Egypt, and which, at a much later date, popular imagination would have simply pictured as an individual. But such a view of the Biblical account is decidedly inadmissible. To careful scholars it will always appear more difficult to think of Joseph as a tribe that rose to power in Egypt than as an individual who actually passed through the experiences which are described in Genesis. Again, they will always look upon the incidents narrated in the sacred record as too natural, and too closely related, to be entirely the product of fiction.

The same historical character of the Biblical narrative is powerfully confirmed by the substantial agreement which contemporary critics feel bound to admit between the two principal documents (J, E), which, according to them, have been used in its composition. Such an agreement points manifestly to an earlier oral tradition, which, when committed to writing in two distinct forms, was not materially affected by the altered circumstances of a later age. Finally, theEgyptian coloring comon to both these documents removes all possibility of doubt. This Egyptian element is no mere literary dress with which the poplar fancy of a later date and in a distant land could have vested more or less happily the incidents narrated. It belongs to the very core of the history of Joseph, and is plainly a direct reflection of the manners and customs of ancient Egypt. Its constant truthfulness to things Egyptian proves the existence of an ancient tradition, dating as far back as the Egyptian period, and faithfully preserved in the composite account of Genesis.

Scholars have closely investigated the extent of the Egyptian coloring just referred to in the history of Joseph, finding evidence in Egyptian customs and history for the element in the description of his life. The brown-skinned children of Israel, who brought camels richly laden from the East to the Nile, are drawn to life on the Egyptian monuments, and the three kinds of spices they were carrying into Egypt are precisely those which would be in demand in that country for medicinal, religious, or embalming purposes. The existence of various overseers in the houses of Egyptian grandees is in perfect harmony with ancient Egyptian society, and the mer-per or superintendent of the house, such as Joseph was, is in particular often mentioned on the monuments.

To the story of Joseph and his master's wife, there is a remarkable and well-known parallel in the Egyptian "Tale of the Two Brothers." The functions and dreams of the chief butler and chief baker are Egyptian in their minute details. In the seven cows which Pharaoh saw feeding in the meadow, we have a counterpart of the seven cows of Athor, pictured in the vignette of chapter cxlviii of the "Book of the Dead." Joseph's care to shave and change his raiment before appearing in the presence of Pharaoh is in agreement with Egyptian customs. His advice to gather corn during the seven years of plenty falls in with Egyptian institutions, since all the important cities had granaries. References to Egyptian monuments easily illustrate Joseph's investiture and his change of name at his elevation. The occurrence of famines of long duration, the successful efforts made to supply the corn to the people year after year while they lasted, find their parallels in inscriptions found by archeologists. The charge of being spies, made by Joseph against his brothers, was most natural in view of the precautions that the Egyptian authorities were known to have taken for the safety of their Eastern frontier.

The subsequent history of Joseph exhibits in a striking manner the great accuracy of the Biblical account in its numerous and oftentimes passing references to Egyptian habits and customs. These details appear in descriptions of his divining cup, his giving to his brothers changes of garments, the land of Gessen being set apart for his father and brethren, because the shepherd was an abomination to the Egyptians, Joseph's embalming of his father, the funeral procession for Jacob's burial, etc. Even the age of 110 years, at which Joseph died, appears to have been regarded in Egypt — as is shown by several papyri — as the most perfect age to be desired.



After the death of Joseph, Israel had grown into a people, and its history deals no longer with mere genealogies, but with the people's national and religious development. The various laws are given and promulgated as occasion required them; hence they are intimately connected with the history of the people, and the Pentateuchal books in which they are recorded are rightly numbered among the historical books of Scripture. Only the third book of the Pentateuch exhibits rather the features of a legal code. The Book of Exodus consists of a brief introduction and three main parts:

Introduction 1:1-7. A brief summary of the history of Jacob connects Genesis with Exodus, and serves at the same time as transition from the former to the latter.

(1) First Part 1:8-13:16. It treats of the events preceding and preparing the exit of Israel from Egypt.

(a) Ex. 1:8-2:25; the Israelites are oppressed by the new Pharao "that knew not Joseph," but God prepares them a liberator in Moses.

(b) Ex. 3:1-4:31. Moses is called to free his people; his brother Aaron is given him as companion; their reception by the Israelites.

(c) 5:1-10:29. Pharao refuses to listen to Moses and Aaron; God renews his promises; genealogies of Moses and Aaron; the heart of Pharao is not moved by the first nine plagues.

(d) 11:1- 13:16. The tenth plague consists in the death of the first-born; Pharao dismisses the people; law of the annual celebration of the Pasch in memory of the liberation from Egypt.

(2) Second Part 13:17-18:27. Journey of Israel to Mt. Sinai and miracles preparing the people for the Sinaitic Law.

(a) 13:1-15:21. The Israelites, led and protected by a pillar of cloud and fire, cross the Red Sea, but the persecuting Egyptians perish in the waters.

(b) 15:22-17:16. The route of Israel is passing through Sur, Mara, Elim, Sin, and Rephidim. At Mara the bitter waters are made sweet; in the Desert of Sin God sent quails and manna to the children of Israel; at Raphidim God gave them water from the rock, and defeated Amalec through the prayers of Moses.

(c) 18:1-27. Jethro visits his kinsmen, and at his suggestion Moses institutes the judges of the people.

(3) Third Part 19:1-40:38. Conclusion of the Sinaitic covenant and its renewal. Here Exodus assumes more the character of a legal code.

(a) 19:1-20:21. The people journey to Sinai, prepare for the coming legislation, receive the Decalogue, and ask to have the future laws promulgated through Moses.

(b) 20:22-24:8. Moses promulgates certain laws together with promises for their observance, and confirms the covenant between God and the people with a sacrifice. The portion 20:1-23:33, is also called the Book of the Covenant.

(c) 24:9-31:18. Moses alone remains with God on the mountain for forty days, and receives various instructions about the tabernacle and other points pertaining to Divine worship.

(d) 32:1-34:35. The people adore the golden calf; at this sight, Moses breaks the divinely given tables of the law, punishes the idolaters, obtains pardon from God for the survivors, and, renewing the covenant, receives other tables of the law.

(e) 35:1-40:38. The tabernacle with its appurtenances is prepared, the priests are anointed, and the cloud of the Lord covers the tabernacle, thus showing that He had made the people His own.

Pasch, or Passover.

Jews of all classes and ways of thinking look forward to the Passover holidays with the same eagerness as Christians do to Christmastide. It is for them the great event of the year. With the exception of the Temple sacrifices, their manner of observing it differs but little from that which obtained in the time of Christ. Directions for keeping the feast were carefully laid down in the Law, and carried out with great exactness after the Exile.

The Preparation.

The feast of the Passover begins on the fourteenth day of Nisan (a lunar month which roughly corresponds with the latter part of March and the first part of April) and ends with the twenty-first. The Jews now, as in ancient times, make elaborate preparations for the festival. Every house is subjected to a thorough Spring cleaning.

The Saturday preceding the day of the Pasch (fifteenth) is called a "Great Sabbath," because it is supposed that the tenth day of the month Abib (or Nisan) — when the Israelites were to select the Paschal lambs, before their deliverance from Egypt — fell on a Sabbath. On this Sabbath, the day of the following week on which the Passover is to fall is solemnly announced.

Some days before the feast, culinary and other utensils to be used during the festival are carefully and legally purified from all contact with leaven, or leavened bread. They are then said to be kosher. Special sets of cooking and table utensils are often kept in every household.

On the evening of the thirteenth, after dark, the head of the house makes the "search for leaven" according to the manner indicated in the Mishna (Tractate Pesachim, I), which is probably the custom followed by the Jews for at least two thousand years. The search is made by means of a lighted wax candle. A piece of ordinary, or leavened, bread is left in some conspicuous place, generally on a window-sill. The search begins by a prayer containing a reference to the command to put away all leaven during the feast. The place of the piece of bread just mentioned is first marked to indicate the beginning of the search. The whole house is then carefully examined, and all fragments of leaven are carefully collected on a large spoon or scoop by means of a brush or bundle of quills. The search is ended when all come back to the piece of bread with which it began. This also is collected on the scoop. The latter, with its contents, and the brush are then carefully tied up in a bundle and suspended over a lamp to prevent mice from scattering leaven during the night and necessitating a fresh search. The master of the house then proclaims in Aramaic that all the leaven that is in his house, of which he is unaware, is to him no more than dust.

During the forenoon of the next day (fourteenth) all the leaven that remains is burnt, and a similar declaration is made. From this time till the evening of the 22nd, when the feast ends, only unleavened bread is allowed. The legal time when the use of leavened bread was prohibited was understood to be the noon on the fourteenth Nisan; but the rabbis, in order to run no risks, and to place a hedge around the Law, anticipated this by one or two hours.

The Paschal Feast.

On this day, the fourteenth, the first-born son of each family, if he be above thirteen, fasts in memory of the deliverance of the first-born of the Israelites, when the destroying angel passed over Egypt. On the evening of the fourteenth, the male members of the family, attired in their best, attend special services in the synagogue.

On their return home they find the house lit up and the Seder, or Paschal Table, prepared. The head of the family takes his place at the head of the table, where there is an arm-chair prepared for him with cushions or pillows. A similar chair is also ready for the mistress of the house. Ashkenaziac Jews call the meal Seder, while Sephardic Jews call it Haggadah (because of the story of the deliverance recited during it). All the members of the Jewish family, including servants, sit round the table.

In front of the head of the family is the Seder-dish, which is of such a kind as to allow three unleavened cakes or matzoth, each wrapped in a napkin, to be placed on it one above the other. A shank bone of lamb (with a small portion of meat attached), which has been roasted on the coals, is placed, together with an egg that has been roasted in hot ashes, on another dish above the three unleavened cakes. The roasted shank represents the Paschal lamb, and the roasted egg the chagigah, or free will offerings, made daily in the Temple. Bitter herbs, such as parsley and horseradish, a kind of sop called charoseth, consisting of various fruits pounded into a mucilage and mixed with vinegar, and salt water, are arranged in different vessels, sometimes disposed like candelabra above the leavened bread. The table is also furnished with wine, and cups or glasses for each person, an extra cup always being left for the prophet Elias, whom they expect as the precursor of the Messiah.

The First Cup.

When all are seated around the table the first cup of wine is poured out for each. The head of the house rises and thanks God for the fruits of the vine and for the great day which they are about to celebrate. He then sits down and drinks his cup of wine in a reclining posture, leaning on his left arm. The others drink at the same time. In the time of the Temple, the poorest Jew was to drink four cups of wine during this joyful meal; and if he happened to be too poor, it was to be supplied out of public funds. Though four cups are prescribed, the quantity is not restricted to that amount. Some water is generally added to the wine. In early days, red wine was used; but on account of the fear of fostering the groundless blood accusations against Jews, this usage was discontinued. Unfermented raisin wine or Palestinian wine is now generally used.

The Bitter Herbs and Afikoman.

After drinking the first cup, the master rises and washes his hands. The others remain seated. Eldersheim is of the opinion that it was at this point of the supper that Christ washed the disciples feet. After washing his hands, the head of the family sits down, takes a small quantity of bitter herbs, dips them in salt water, and eats them, reclining on his left elbow. Jewish interpreters say that only the first Passover was to be eaten standing, and with circumstances of haste. During the Passovers commemorative of the first they reclined "like a king [or free man] at his ease, and not as slaves" — in this probably following the example of the independent Romans with whom they came into contact. After the head of the family has eaten his portion of bitter herbs, he takes similar portions, dips them in salt water, and hands them round to be eaten by the others.

He then takes out the middle unleavened cake, breaks it in two, and hides away one-half under a pillow or cushion, to be distributed and eaten after supper. If this practice existed in the time of Christ, it is not improbable that it was from this portion, called afikoman, that the Eucharist was instituted. As soon as this portion is laid aside, the other half is replaced, the dish containing the unleavened cakes is uncovered, and all, standing up, take hold of the dish and solemnly lift it up, chanting slowly in Aramaic: "This is the bread of affliction which our fathers ate in Egypt. This year here, next year in Jerusalem. This year slaves, next year free."

The Second Cup.

The dish is then replaced and the shank bone, roasted egg, etc. restored to their places above it. All sit down, and the youngest son asks why this night above all other nights they eat bitter herbs, unleavened bread, and in a reclining posture. The head of the house then tells how their fathers were idolaters when God chose Abraham, how they were slaves in Egypt, how God delivered them, etc. They praise and bless God for His wondrous mercies to their nation. This first part of the ceremony is brought to a close by their breaking forth with the recitation of the first part of the Hallel (Psalms 112 and 114) and drinking the second cup of wine, which is triumphantly held aloft and called the cup of the Haggadah, or story of deliverance.

The Meal Proper.

The ceremony so far has been only introductory. The meal proper now begins. First all wash their hands; the president then recites a blessing over the unleavened cakes, and, after having dipped small fragments of them in salt water, he eats them reclining. He next distributes pieces to the others. He also takes some bitter herbs, dips them in the charoseth, and gives them to the others to be eaten. He next makes a kind of sandwich by putting a portion of horse-radish between two pieces of unleavened bread and hands it around, saying that it is in memory of the Temple and of Hillel, who used to wrap together pieces of the paschal lamb, unleavened bread, bitter herbs, and eat them, in fulfilment of the command of Exodus 12:8.

The supper proper is now served, and consists of many courses of dishes loved by Jews, such as soup, fish, etc., prepared in curious ways unknown to Gentiles. At the end of the meal, some of the children snatch the afikoman that has been hidden away, and it has to be redeemed by presents — a custom probably arising from a mistranslation of the Talmud. It is then divided between all present and eaten. Oesterly and Box think that this is a survival from an earlier time when a part of the paschal lamb was kept to the end and distributed, to be the last thing eaten.

The Third Cup.

When the afikoman is eaten, the third cup is filled; and grace after meals is said, and the third cup drunk in a reclining posture. A cup of wine is now poured out for the prophet Elias, in a dead silence which is maintained for some time, and the door is opened. Imprecations against unbelievers, taken from the Psalms and Lamentations, are then recited. These were introduced only during the Middle Ages.

The Fourth Cup.

After this, the fourth cup is filled and the great Hallel (Psalms 115-118) and a prayer of praise are recited. Before drinking the fourth cup, the Jews of some countries recite five poetical pieces and then the fourth cup is drunk. At the end a prayer asking God to accept what they have done is added. Among the German and Polish Jews, popular songs follow this prayer.

The Remainder of Passover Week.

The same ceremonies are observed the next evening. According to the Law, the fifteenth and twenty-first were to be kept as solemn festivals and days of rest. At present the fifteenth and sixteenth, the twenty-first and twenty-second are whole holidays, a custom introduced among the Jews of the Dispersion to make sure that they fulfilled the precepts of the Law on the proper day. The other days are half-holidays. Special services are held in the synagogues throughout the Passover week. Formerly the date of the Pasch was fixed by actual observations. It is now deduced from astronomical calculations.



Leviticus, called by Rabbinic writers "Law of the Priests" or "Law of the Sacrifices," contains nearly a complete collection of laws concerning the Levitical ministry. They are not codified in any logical order, but still we may discern certain groups of regulations touching the same subject. The Book of Exodus shows what God had done and was doing for His people; the Book of Leviticus prescribes what the people must do for God, and how they must render themselves worthy of His constant presence.

(1) First Part 1:1-10:20. Duties of Israel toward God living in their midst.

(a) 1:1-6:7. The different kinds of sacrifices are enumerated, and their rites are described.

(b) 6:8-7:36. The duties and rights of the priests, the official offerers of the sacrifices, are stated.

(c) 8:1-10:20. The first priests are consecrated and introduced into their office.

(2) Second Part 11:1-27:34. Legal cleanness demanded by the Divine presence.

(a) 11:1-20:27. The entire people must be legally clean; the various ways in which cleanness must be kept; interior cleanness must be added to external cleanness.

(b) 21:1-22:33. Priests must excel in both internal and external cleanness; hence they have to keep special regulations.

(c) 23:1-27:34. The other laws, and the promises and threats made for the observance or the violation of the laws, belong to both priests and people.


(Latin tabernaculum, tent).

Tabernacle in Biblical parlance usually designates the movable tent-like sanctuary of the Hebrews before the erection of Solomon's Temple. There are various expressions in the Hebrew text in reference to the Tabernacle ('ohel, tent; 'ohel mo'ed, tent of meeting; 'ohel ha-'eduth, tent of the testimony; mishkan, dwelling; mishkan ha- 'eduth, dwelling of the testimony; mishkan 'ohel, dwelling of the tent; beth Yahweh, house of Yahweh; qodesh, holy; miqdash, sanctuary; hekal, temple). While these enable us to form a fair idea of this construction, they raise, by the seeming consistency of the passages in which they severally occur, many problems with which all modern commentators of the Scriptures have to grapple. Thus, Exodus describes the ark as sheltered in a tent (33:7; Hebr. 'ohel mo'ed), whose position was "without the camp afar off" (Cf. Num. 11:16 sqq.; 24-30; 12; Deut. 31:14 sqq.), guarded by "Josue the son of Nun" (11), and at the door of which Yahweh was wont to manifest himself to Moses (9-11; cf. Num. 12:5; Deut. 31:15).

Independent critics urge that this "tent of tryst" (or better, perhaps, "tent of the oracle") was not identical with the tabernacle. They cite the fact that this 'ohel mo'ed was in existence before Beseleel and Ooliab commenced the construction of the Tabernacle (Ex. 35-36) and that the customary place of the latter was in the very midst of the encampment (Num. 2:1 sqq.; 10:15 sqq.). Much stress is laid upon this and other seeming discrepancies to conclude that the description of the tabernacle found in Ex., xxv-xxxi, xxxix-xl, is the work of post-exilian authors of the Priestly Code.

Assuming, however, the historical accuracy of the Biblical narratives, we shall limit ourselves here to a brief description of that "portable sanctuary" of the Hebrews. In this sanctuary, we should distinguish the tent or tabernacle proper from the sacred enclosure in which the tent stood. The "court of the tabernacle" (Ex. 27:9) was a rectangular space, measuring 100 by 50 cubits (probably the Egyptian cubit, 203/4 ins.). It was screened off by curtains of "fine twisted linen" (27:9), 5 cubits high, 100 cubits long on the north and south sides, 50 on the east and 15 on the west, and 20 cubits on either side of the entrance. The entrance was closed by a hanging of fine twisted linen, embroidered in violet, purple, and scarlet and "twice dyed" on a white ground (probable meaning of Ex. 27: 16). All these curtains were suspended from sixty pillars, but not in a "loose and flowing manner," as Josephus wrongly states, since the total length of the curtains is exactly the same as the perimeter of the court, one pillar being assigned to every five cubits of curtain.

These pillars of setimwood, five cubits high, stood on bases ("sockets," Ex. 39:39) of brass, and were held in position by means of cords (ibid. 39:40) fastened to brass pegs ("pins," ibid. 35:18). The pegs were stuck in the ground. The pillars ended in a capital ("head," Exod. 39:17, etc. We must believe that the height given above includes both the base and capital of the pillar) with a band or necking (to hang the curtain) overlaid with silver. East of the entrance were found successively: the altar of holocausts (Ex. 27: 1-8, etc.), the brazen layer (30:18-21; 38:8, etc.), and the tabernacle proper. The latter was conceived to be the dwelling-tent of God; hence, it consisted essentially of curtains, the wooden framework, though indispensable, being only of secondary importance. The whole structure measured 30 by 10 cubits, and was divided into two sections; the one to the west, the "Holy Place," containing the altar of incense, the golden candlestick, and the table of shewbreads; and the other, the "Holy of Holies," containing the Ark of the Covenant with the propitiatory and the cherubim. These sections were respectively 20 and 10 cubits long.

Jewish exegetical tradition, followed by almost every Christian exponent of the Bible, understood the wooden framework to consist of 48 massive boards (rather beams) of setim wood, measuring 10 by 11/2 by 1 cubit, placed side by side. This means a weight (about fifty tons) out of proportion with what these beams would have to bear, and very difficult to transport. Some scholars, having studied more closely the technical terms used in the original adopt another view. According to them, the "boards" of the tabernacle must be understood as light frames consisting of two uprights joined (probably at the top, middle, and bottom) by ties or cross-rails (the "mortises" in Ex. 26:17). Of these frames, overlaid with gold (26:29), there were 20 on the north side of the tabernacle, 20 on the south, and 6 on the east.

To provide solidity and rigidity, a slanting frame was put at the north-east and south-east corners to buttress the structure (26:23); the lower part of the uprights was sunk deep into silver sockets or bases, probably to be understood as square blocks (about 1 cubit high and 3/4 cubit square). Finally, five wooden bars, passing through rings attached to the frames, ran along the sides (26:26-28). On the west, the frames were to be replaced by five pillars of setimwood overlaid with gold, sunk in brass bases, and crowned with golden capitals (26:37). Four pillars of the same workmanship, with silver bases, separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies.

A curtain, two pieces of fine tapestry joined by golden rings, was spread over the whole framework; each piece of tapestry consisted of five strips, 28 by 4 cubits, fitted together by loops. The total dimension of this being 20 by 40 cubits, it must have reached on the north and south the top of the bases, against which it was possibly fixed (there were loops at the top of the curtains likely for this purpose), whereas on the east it reached to the ground. Covering this curtain was another woven of goats' hair (the ordinary tent material), fitted in somewhat similarly. Its dimensions, 11 (6+5) x 4 =44 by 30 cubits, were so calculated as to cover entirely the inside curtain on the north, east, and south sides and to hang down doubled on the west side, thus covering the tops and capitals of the pillars (Ex. 26:7-13). Two outer coverings (no dimensions are given), one of dyed rams' skin and one of dugongs' skins, protected the whole structure. A hanging of apparently the same workmanship as that closing the entrance of the court, screened the entrance of the tabernacle (ibid., 36); finally, a veil of the same tapestry as the inner curtain, hooked from the four pillars mentioned above, completed the separation of the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place.


Delayed by the people's outburst of idolatrous worship pending the long conversation of Moses with God on Mount Sinai, the construction was achieved by the skilful workmen selected by God, and was dedicated on the first day of the second year after the flight from Egypt. Henceforth the tabernacle, under the special care of the Levites of the family of Gerson, accompanied the Israelites through their wanderings in the wilderness. During marches, it came after the first six tribes and before the other six (Num. 2:3-34). In encampments, it occupied the middle of the camp, three tribes being on each side. After the crossing of the Jordan, it remained very likely at Galgala until its removal to Silo (Jos. 18:1), where it remained many years. In Saul's time, we hear of the tabernacle at Nobe (I Kings 21:1-6), and later at Gabaon (I Par. 16:39), until Solomon had it removed to his new Temple (III Kings 8:4; II Par. 5:5). It disappeared in the first years of the sixth century B.C., being either taken away by the Babylonian army in 588, or, if credence be given the letter prefacing II Mach., hidden by Jeremias in an unknown and secure place.

The Jewish Priesthood.

In the age of the Patriarchs, the offering of sacrifices was the function of the father or head of the family (cf. Gen. 8:20; 12:7, etc.; Job 1:5). But even before Moses, there were also regular priests, who were not fathers of family (cf. Ex. 19:22 sqq.). In the Mosaic priesthood we must distinguish: priests, Levites, and high-priest.


It was only after the Sinaitical legislation that the Israelitic priesthood became a special class in the community. From the tribe of Levi Jahweh chose the house of Aaron to discharge permanently and exclusively all the religious functions. Aaron himself and later the first-born of his family was to stand at the head of this priesthood as high-priest, while the other Levites were to act, not as priests, but as assistants and servants.

The solemn consecration of the Aaronites to the priesthood took place at the same time as the anointing of Aaron as high-priest and with almost the same ceremonial (Ex. 29:1-37; 40:12 sqq.; Lev. 8:1-36). This single consecration included that of all the future descendants of the priests, so that the priesthood was fixed in the house of Aaron by mere descent, and was thus hereditary. After the Babylonian Exile, strict genealogical proof of priestly descent was even more rigidly demanded, and any failure to furnish the same meant exclusion from the priesthood (I Esd. 2:61 sq.; II Esd. 7:63 sq.). Certain bodily defects, of which the later Talmudists mention 142, were also a disqualification from the exercise of the priestly office (Lev. 21:17 sqq.). Age limits (twenty and fifty years) were also appointed (II Par. 31:17). The priests were forbidden to take to wife a harlot or a divorced woman (Lev. 21:7). During the active discharge of the priesthood, marital intercourse was forbidden.

In addition to an unblemished earlier life, Levitical cleanness was also indispensable for the priesthood. Whoever performed a priestly function in Levitical uncleanness was to be expelled like one who entered the sanctuary after partaking of wine or other intoxicating drinks (Lev. 10:9; 22:3). To incur an uncleanness "at the death of his citizens," except in the case of immediate kin, was rigidly forbidden (Lev. 21:1 sqq.). In cases of mourning, no outward signs of sorrow might be shown (e.g. by rending the garments). On entering into their office, the priests had first to take a bath of purification (Ex. 29:4; 40:12), be sprinkled with oil (Ex. 29:21; Lev. 8:30), and put on the vestments.

The priestly vestments consisted of breeches, tunic, girdle, and mitre. The breeches (feminalia linea) covered from the reins to the thighs (Ex. 28:42). The tunic (tunica) was a kind of coat, woven in a special manner from one piece; it had narrow sleeves, extended from the throat to the ankles, and was brought together at the throat with bands (Ex. 28:4). The girdle (balteus) was three or four fingers in breadth and (according to rabbinic tradition) thirty-two ells long; it had to be embroidered after the same pattern and to be of the same colour as the curtain of the forecourt and the tabernacle of the covenant (Ex. 39:38). The official vestments were completed by the mitre (Ex. 39:26), a species of cap of fine linen. As nothing is said of foot-covering, the priests must have performed the services barefooted as Jewish tradition indeed declares (cf. Ex. 3:5). These vestments were prescribed for use only during the services; at other times, they were kept in an appointed place in charge of a special custodian. For detailed information concerning the priestly vestments, see Josephus, "Antiq." III 7:1 sqq.

The official duties of the priests related partly to their main occupations, and partly to subsidiary services. To the former category belonged all functions connected with the public worship, e.g. the offering of incense twice daily (Ex. 30:7), the weekly renewal of the loaves of proposition on the golden table (Lev. 24:9), the cleaning and filling of the oil-lamps on the golden candlestick (Lev. 24:1). All these services were performed in the sanctuary.

There were in addition certain functions to be performed in the outer court — the maintenance of the sacred fire on the altar for burnt sacrifices (Lev. 6:9 sqq.), the daily offering of the morning and evening sacrifices, especially of the lambs (Ex. 29:38 sqq.). As subsidiary services the priests had to present the cursed water to wives suspected of adultery (Num. 5:12 sqq.), sound the trumpets announcing the holy-days (Num. 10:1 sqq.), declare the lepers clean or unclean (Lev. 13-14; Deut. 24:8; cf. Matt. 8:4), and dispense from vows. They had to appraise all objects vowed to the sanctuary (Lev. 27:), and finally offer sacrifice for those who broke the law of the Nazarites, i.e. a vow to avoid all intoxicating drinks and every uncleanness (especially from contact with a corpse) and to let one's hair grow long (Num. 6:1-21).

The priests furthermore were teachers and judges. Not only were they to explain the law to the people (Lev. 10:11; Deut. 33:10) without remuneration (Mich. 3:11) and to preserve carefully the Book of the Law, of which a copy was to be presented to the (future) king (Deut. 17:18), but they had also to settle difficult lawsuits among the people (Deut. 17:8; 19:17; 21:5). In view of the complex nature of the liturgical service, David later divided the priesthood into twenty-four classes or courses, of which each in turn, with its eldest member at its head, had to perform the service from one Sabbath to the next (IV Kings 11:9; cf. Luke 1:8). The order of the classes was determined by lot (I Par. 24:7 sqq.).

The income of the priests came from the tithes and the firstlings of fruits and animals. To these were added as accidentals the remains of the food, and guilt-oblations, which were not entirely consumed by fire; also the hides of the animals sacrificed and the natural products and money vowed to God (Lev. 27; Num. 8:14). With all these perquisites, the Jewish priests seem never to have been a wealthy class, owing partly to the increase in their numbers and partly to the large families which they reared. But their exalted office, their superior education, and their social position secured them great prestige among the people. In general, they fulfilled their high position worthily, even though they frequently merited the stern reproof of the Prophets (cf. Jer. 5:31; Ezech. 22:26; Os. 6:9; Mich. 3:11; Mal. 1:7). With the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in A.D. 70 the entire sacrificial service and with it the Jewish priesthood ceased. The later rabbis never represent themselves as priests, but merely as teachers of the law.

Levites in the Narrow Sense.

As was said above, the real priesthood was hereditary in the house of Aaron alone. The other descendants of Levi held a subordinate position as servants and assistants of the priests. The latter are the Levites in the narrow sense. They were divided into the families of the Gersonites, Caathites, and Merarites (Ex. 6:16; Num. 26: 57), so named after Levi's three sons, Gerson, Caath, and Merari (cf. Gen. 46:11; I Par. 6:1). As simple servants of the priests, the Levites might not enter the sanctuary, nor perform the real sacrificial act, especially the sprinkling of the blood (aspersio sanguinis). This was the privilege of the priests (Num. 18:3, 19 sqq.; 18:6). The Levites had, however, to assist the latter during the sacred services, to prepare the different oblations and to keep the sacred vessels in proper condition.

Among their chief duties was the constant guarding of the tabernacle with the Ark of the Covenant. the Gersonites were encamped towards the west, the Caathites towards the south, the Merarites towards the north, while Moses and Aaron with their sons guarded the holy tabernacle towards the east (Num. 3:23 sqq.). When the tabernacle had found a fixed home in Jerusalem, David created four classes of Levites: servants of the priests, officials and judges, porters, and finally musicians and singers (I Par. 23:3 sqq.). After the building of the Temple by Solomon, the Levites naturally became its guardians (I Par. 26: 12 sqq.). When the Temple was rebuilt, Levites were established as guards in twenty-one places around (Talmud; Middoth, I, i). In common with the priests, the Levites were also bound to instruct the people in the Law (II Par. 17:8; II Esd. 8:7), and they even possessed at times certain judicial powers (II Par. 19:11).

They were initiated into office by a rite of consecration: sprinkling with the water of purification, shaving of the hair, washing of the garments, offering of sacrifices, imposition of the hands of the eldest (Num. 8:5 sqq.). As to the age of service, thirty years was fixed for the time of entrance and fifty for retirement from office (Num. 4:3; I Par. 23:24; I Esd. 3:8). The Law prescribed no special vestments for them; in the time of David and Solomon, the bearers of the Ark of the Covenant and the singers wore garments of fine linen (I Par. 15:27; II Par. 5:12).

At the division of the Promised Land among the Twelve Tribes, the tribe of Levi was left without territory, since the Lord Himself was to be their portion and inheritance (cf. Num. 18:20; Deut. 12:12; Jos. 13:14). In compensation, Jahweh ceded to the Levites and priests the gifts of natural products made by the people, and other revenues. The Levites first received the tithes of fruits and beasts of the field (Lev. 27: 30 sqq.; Num. 18:20 sq.), of which they had in turn to deliver the tenth part to the priests (Num. 18:26 sqq.). In addition, they had a share in the sacrificial banquets (Deut. 12:18) and were, like the priests, exempt from taxes and military service.

The question of residence was settled by ordering the tribes endowed with landed property to cede to the Levites forty-eight Levite towns, scattered over the land, with their precincts (Num. 35:1 sqq.); of these, thirteen were assigned to the priests. After the division of the monarchy into the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Juda, many Levites from the northern portion removed to the Kingdom of Juda, which remained true to the Law, and took up their abode in Jerusalem. After the Northern Kingdom had been chastised by the Assyrian deportation in 722 B.C., the Babylonians also overthrew the Southern Kingdom in 606 B.C., and numbers of the Jews, including many Levites, were hurried away into the "Babylonian exile." Only a few Levites returned to their old home under Esdras in 450 (cf. I Esd. 2:40 sqq.). With the destruction of the Herodian Temple in A.D. 70, the doom of the Levites was sealed.

The High-priest.

At Jahweh's command Moses consecrated his brother Aaron first high-priest, repeated the consecration on seven days, and on the eighth day solemnly introduced him into the tabernacle of the covenant. The consecration of Aaron consisted in washings, investment with costly vestments, anointing with holy oil, and the offerings of various sacrifices (Ex. 29:). As a sign that Aaron was endowed with the fullness of the priesthood, Moses poured over his head the oil of anointing (Lev. 8:12), while the other Aaronites, as simple priests, had only their hands anointed (Ex. 29:7, 29). The high-priest was for the Jews the highest embodiment of theocracy, the monarch of the whole priesthood, the special mediator between God and the People of the Covenant, and the spiritual head of the synagogue. He was the priest par excellence, the "great priest" (Greek, archiereus), the "prince among the priests," and, because of the anointing of his head, the "anointed priest."

To this exalted office corresponded his special and costly vestments, worn in addition to those of the simple priests (Ex. 28). A (probably sleeveless) purple-blue upper garment (tunica) fell to his knees, the lower seam being ornamented alternately with small golden bells and pomegranates of coloured thread. About the shoulders he also wore a garment called the ephod; this was made of costly material, and consisted of two portions about an ell long, which covered the back and breast, were held together above by two shoulderbands or epaulets, and terminated below with a magnificent girdle. Attached to the ephod in front was the shield (rationale), a square bag bearing on the outside the names of the twelve tribes engraved on precious stones (Ex. 28:6), and containing within the celebrated Urim and Thummim (q.v.) as the means of obtaining Divine oracles and prophecies. A precious turban (tiara), which bore on a golden frontal plate the inscription: "Sacred to Jahweh," completed the vestments of the high-priest.

The high-priest had supreme supervision of the Ark of the Covenant (and of the Temple), of Divine service in general and of the whole personnel connected with public worship. He presided at the Sanhedrin. He alone could perform the liturgy on the Feast of Expiation, on which occasion he put on his costly vestments only after the sacrifices were completed. He alone might offer sacrifice for his own sins and those of the people (Lev. 4:5), enter the holy of holies (sanctum sanctorum), and seek counsel of Jahweh on important occasions. The office of high-priest in the house of Aaron was at first hereditary in the line of his first-born son Eleazar, but in the period from Heli to Abiathar (1131 to 973 B.C.) it belonged, by right of primogeniture, to the line of Ithamar. Under the rule of the Seleucidæ (from about 175 B.C.) the office was sold for money to the highest bidder. At a later period, it became hereditary in the family of the Hasmon. With the destruction of the central sanctuary by the Romans, the high-priesthood disappeared.

Without entering upon a detailed criticism of Wellhausen and the critical school, we may here remark in general that the conservative view can admit that additions, extensions, and adaptations to the original text by an inspired author of a later period are not excluded. It must also be admitted that, though one place of worship was appointed, sacrifices were offered even in early times by laymen and simple Levites away from the vicinity of the Ark of the Covenant, and that in restless and politically disturbed epochs the ordinance of Moses could not always be observed. In the gloomy periods marked by neglect of the Law, no attention was paid to the prohibition of hill-sacrifices, and the Prophets were often gratified to find that on the high places (bamoth) sacrifice was offered, not to pagan gods, but to Jahweh. However, the Pentateuch problem is one of the most difficult and intricate questions in Biblical criticism. The Wellhausen hypothesis with its bold assumptions of pious deceits and artificial projections is open to as great, if not greater, difficulties and mysteries as the traditional view, even though some of its contributions to literary criticism may stand examination. It cannot be denied that the critical structure has suffered a severe shock since the discovery of the Tell-el-Amarna letters dating from the fifteenth century B.C., and since the deciphering of the Hammurabi Code. The assumption that the oldest religion of Israel must have been identical with that of the primitive Semites (Polydæmonism, Animism, Fetishism, Ancestor-worship) has been proved false, since long before 2000 B.C. a kind of Henotheism, i.e., Polytheism with a monarchical head was the ruling religion in Babylon. The beginnings of the religions of all peoples are purer and more spiritual than many historians of religions have hitherto been willing to admit. One thing is certain: the final word has not yet been spoken as to the value of the Wellhausen hypothesis.



Numbers, at times called "In the Desert" by certain Rabbinic writers because it covers practically the whole time of Israel's wanderings in the desert. Their story began in Exodus, but the Sinaitic legislation interrupted it; Numbers takes up the account from the first month of the second year, and brings it down to the eleventh month of the fortieth year. But the period of 38 years is briefly treated, only its beginning and end being touched upon; for this span of time was occupied by the generation of Israelites that had been condemned by God.

(1) First Part 1:1-14:45. Summary of the happenings before the rejection of the rebellious generation, especially during the first two months of the second year. The writer inverts the chronological order of these two months, in order not to interrupt the account of the people's wanderings by a description of the census, of the arrangement of the tribes, of the duties of the various families of the Levites, all of which occurrences or ordinances belong to the second month. Thus he first states what remained unchanged throughout the desert life of the people, and then reverts to the account of the wanderings from the first month of the second year.

(a) 1:1-6:27. The census is taken, the tribes are arranged in their proper order, the duties of the Levites are defined, the regulations concerning cleanness are the camp are promulgated.

(b) 7:1-9:14. Occurrences belonging to the first month: offerings of the princes at the dedication of the tabernacle, consecration of the Levites and duration of their ministry, celebration of the second Pasch.

(c) 9:15-14:45. Signals for breaking up the camp; the people leave Sinai on the twenty-second day of the second month, and journey towards Cades in the desert Pharan; they murmur against Moses on account of fatigue, want of flesh-meat, etc.; deceived by faithless spies, they refuse to enter into the Promised Land, and the whole living generation is rejected by God.

(2) Second Part 15:1-19:22. Events pertaining to the rejected generation.

(a) 15:1-41. Certain laws concerning sacrifices; Sabbath-breaking is punished with death; the law of fringes on the garments.

(b) 16:1-17:13. The schism of Core and his adherents; their punishment; the priesthood is confirmed to Aaron by the blooming rod which is kept for a remembrance in the tabernacle.

(c) 18:1-19:22. The charges of the priests and Levites, and their portion; the law of the sacrifice of the red cow, and the water of expiation.

(3) Third Part 20:1-36:13. History of the journey from the first to the eleventh month of the fortieth year.

(a) 20:1-21:20. Death of Mary, sister of Moses; God again gives the murmuring people water from the rock, but refuses Moses and Aaron entrance to the Promised Land on account of their doubt; Aaron dies while the people go around the Idumean mountains; the malcontents are punished with fiery serpents.

(b) 21:21-25:18. The land of the Amorrhites is seized; the Moabites vainly attempt to destroy Israel by the curse of Balaam; the Madianites lead the people into idolatry.

(c) 26:1-27:23. A new census is taken with a view of dividing the land; the law of inheritance; Josue is appointed to succeed Moses.

(d) 28:1-30:17. Certain laws concerning sacrifices, vows, and feasts are repeated and completed.

(e) 31:1-32:40. After the defeat of the Madianites, the country across Jordan is given to the tribes of Ruben and Gad, and to half of the tribe of Manasses.

(f) 33: 1-40. List of encampments of people of Israel during their wandering in the desert.

(g) 33:50-36:13. Command to destroy the Chanaanites; limits of the Promised Land and names of the men who are to divide it; Levitical cities, and cities of refuge; law concerning murder and manslaughter; ordinance concerning the marriage of heiresses.



Deuteronomy is a partial repetition and explanation of the foregoing legislation together with an urgent exhortation to be faithful to it. The main body of the book consists of three discourses delivered by Moses to the people in the eleventh month of the fortieth year; but a short introduction precedes the discourses, and several appendices follow them.

Introduction 1:1-5. Brief indication of the subject matter, the time, and the place of the following discourses.

(1) First Discourse 1:6-4:40. God's benefits are enumerated, and the people are exhorted to keep the law.

(a) 1:6-3:29. The main occurrences during the time of the wandering in the desert are recalled as showing the goodness and justice of God.

(b) 4:1-40. Hence the covenant with God must be kept. By way of parenthesis, the sacred writer adds here (1) the appointment of three cities of refuge across the Jordan 4:41-43; (2) an historical preamble, preparing us for the second discourse 4:44-49.

(2) Second Discourse 5:1-26:19. This forms almost the bulk of Deuteronomy. It rehearses the whole economy of the covenant in two sections, the one general, the other particular.

(a) The General Repetition 5:1-11:32. Repetition of the decalogue, and reasons for the promulgation of the law through Moses; explanation of the first commandment, and prohibitions of all intercourse with the gentiles; reminder of the Divine favors and punishments; promise of victory over the Chanaanites; God's blessing on the observance of the Law, His curse on the transgressors.

(b) Special Laws 12:1-26:19. (1) Duties towards God: He is to be duly worshiped, never to be abandoned; distinction of clean and unclean meats; tithes and first fruits; the three principal solemnities of the year. (2) Duties towards God's representatives: toward the judges, the future kings, the priests, and Prophets. (3) Duties towards the neighbor: as to life, external possessions, marriage, and various other particulars.

(3) Third Discourse 27: 1-30:20. A renewed exhortation to keep the law, based on diverse reasons.

(a) 27:1-26. Command to inscribe the law on stones after crossing the Jordan, and to promulgate the blessings and curses connected with the observance or non-observance of the law.

(b) 28:1-68. A more minute statement of the good or evil depending on the observance or violation of the law.

(c) 29:1-30: 20. The goodness of God is extolled; all are urged to be faithful to God.

(4) Historical Appendix 31:1-34:12.

(a) 31:1-27. Moses appoints Josue as his successor, orders him to read the law to the people every seven years, and to place a copy of the same in the ark.

(b) 31:28-32:47. Moses calls an assembly of the Ancients and recites his canticle.

(c) 32:48-52. Moses views the Promised Land from a distance.

(d) 33:1-29. He blesses the tribes of Israel.

(e) 34:1-12. His death, burial, and special eulogium.


The contents of the Pentateuch furnish the basis for the history, the law, the worship, and the life of the Chosen People of God. Hence, the authorship of the work, the time and manner of its origin, and its historicity are of paramount importance. These are not merely literary problems, but questions belonging to the fields of history of religion and theology. The Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch is inseparably connected with the question, whether and in what sense Moses was the author or intermediary of the Old-Testament legislation, and the bearer of pre-Mosaic tradition.

According to the trend of both Old and New Testament, and according to Jewish and Christian theology, the work of the great lawgiver Moses is the origin of the history of Israel and the basis of its development down to the time of Jesus Christ. But modern criticism sees in all this only the result, or the precipitate, of a purely natural historical development. The question of the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch leads us, therefore, to the alternative, revelation or historical evolution; it touches the historical and theological foundation of both the Jewish and the Christian dispensation. We shall consider the subject first in the light of Scripture; secondly, in the light of Jewish and Christian tradition; thirdly, in the light of internal evidence, furnished by the Pentateuch; finally, in the light of ecclesiastical decisions.

Testimony of Sacred Scripture.

It will be found convenient to divide the Biblical evidence for the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch into three parts: (i) Testimony of the Pentateuch; (ii) Testimony of the other Old-Testament books; (iii) Testimony of the New Testament.

Witness of the Pentateuch.

The Pentateuch in its present form does not present itself as a complete literary production of Moses. It contains an account of Moses' death, it tells the story of his life in the third person and in an indirect form, and the last four books do not exhibit the literary form of memoirs of the great lawgiver. Besides, the expression "God said to Moses" shows only the Divine origin of the Mosaic laws, but does not prove that Moses himself codified in the Pentateuch the various laws promulgated by him. On the other hand, the Pentateuch ascribes to Moses the literary authorship of at least four sections, partly historical, partly legal, partly poetical.

  1. After Israel's victory over the Amalecites near Raphidim, the Lord said to Moses (Ex. 17:14): "Write this for a memorial in a book, and deliver it to the ears of Josue." This order is naturally restricted to Amalec's defeat, a benefit which God wished to keep alive in the memory of the people (Deut. 25:17-19). The present pointing of the Hebrew text reads "in the book," but the Septuagint version omits the definite article. Even if we suppose that the Massoretic pointing gives the original text, we can hardly prove that the book referred to is the Pentateuch, though this is highly probable (cf. von Hummelauer "Exodus et Leviticus," Paris, 1897, p. 182; Idem, "Deuteronomium," Paris, 1901, p. 152; Kley, "Die Pentateuchfrage," Munster, 1903, p. 217).
  2. Again, Ex. 24:4: "And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord." The context does not allow us to understand these words in an indefinite manner, but as referring to the words of the Lord immediately preceding or to the so-called "Book of the Covenant," Ex. 22-23.
  3. Ex. 34:27: "And the Lord said to Moses: Write thee these words by which I have made a covenant both with thee and with Israel." The next verse adds: "and he wrote upon the tables the ten words of the covenant." Ex. 34:1, 4, shows how Moses had prepared the tables, and Ex. 34:10-26, gives us the contents of the ten words.
  4. Num. 33:1-2: "These are the mansions of the children of Israel, who went out of Egypt by their troops under the conduct of Moses and Aaron, which Moses wrote down according to the places of their encamping." Here we are informed that Moses wrote the list of the people's encampments in the desert; but where it this list to be found? Most probably it is given in Num. 33:3-49, or the immediate context of the passage telling of Moses' literary activity. There are, however, scholars who understand this latter passage as referring to the history of Israel's departure from Egypt written in the order of the people's encampments, so that it would be our present Book of Exodus. But this view is hardly probable; for its assumption that Num. 33:3-49, is a summary of Exodus cannot be upheld, as the chapter of Numbers mentions several encampments not occurring in Exodus.

Besides these four passages, there are certain indications in Deuteronomy which point to the literary activity of Moses. Deut. 1:5: "And Moses began to expound the law and to say"; even if the "law" in this text refer to the whole of the Pentateuchal legislation, which is not very probable, it shows only that Moses promulgated the whole law, but not that he necessarily wrote it. Practically the entire Book of Deuteronomy claims to be a special legislation promulgated by Moses in the land of Moab: 4:1-40; 44-49; 5:1 sqq.; 12:1 sqq.

But there is a suggestion of writing too: 17:18-9, enjoins that the future kings are to receive a copy of this law from the priests in order to read and observe it. Deut. 27:1-8, commands that on the west side of the Jordan "all the words of this law" be written on stones set up in Mount Hebal. Deut. 28:58, speaks of "all the words of this law, that are written in this volume" after enumerating the blessings and curses which will come upon the observers and violators of the law respectively, and which are again referred to as written in a book in 29:20, 21, 27, and 32:46-47. Now, the law repeatedly referred to as written in a book must be at least the Deuteronomic legislation. Moreover, 31:9-13 states, "and Moses wrote this law," and 31:26, adds, "take this book, and put it in the side of the ark . . .that it may be there for a testimony against thee." To explain these texts as fiction or as anachronisms is hardly compatible with the inerrancy of Sacred Scripture. Finally 31:19, commands Moses to write the canticle contained in Deut. 32:1-43.

The Scriptural scholar will not complain that there are so few express indications in the Pentateuch of Moses' literary activity; he will rather be surprised at their number. As far as explicit testimony for its own, at least partial, authorship is concerned, the Pentateuch compares rather favorably with many other books of the Old Testament.

Witness of other Old-Testament Books.

(a) Josue. The narrative of the Book of Josue presupposes not merely the facts and essential ordinances contained in the Pentateuch, but also the law given by Moses and written in the book of the law of Moses: Jos. 1:7-8; 8: 31; 22:5; 23:6. Josue himself "wrote all these things in the volume of the law of the Lord" (24:26). Some maintain that this "volume of the law of the Lord" is the Pentateuch; others believe that it refers at least to Deuteronomy. At any rate, Josue and his contemporaries were acquainted with a written Mosaic legislation, which was divinely revealed.

(b) Judges; I, II Kings. In the Book of Judges and the first two Books of Kings there is no explicit reference to Moses and the book of the law, but a number of incidents and statements presuppose the existence of the Pentateuchal legislation and institutions. Thus Judges 15:8-10, recalls Israel's delivery from Egypt and its conquest of the Promised Land. Judges 11:12-28, states incidents recorded in Num. 20:14; 21:13,24; 22:2. Judges 13:4, states a practice founded on the law of the Nazarites in Num. 6:1-21. Judges 18:31, speaks of the tabernacle existing in the times when there was no king in Israel. Judges 20:26-8 mentions the Ark of the Covenant, the various kinds of sacrifices, and the Aaronic priesthood. The Pentateuchal history and laws are similarly presupposed in I Kings 10:18; 15:1-10; 10:25; 21:1-6; 22:6 sqq.; 23:6-9; II Kings 6.

(c) III, IV Kings. The last two Books of Kings repeatedly speak of the Law of Moses. To restrict the meaning of this term to Deuteronomy is an arbitrary exegesis (cf. III Kings 2:3; 10:31. Amasias showed mercy to the children of the murderers "according to that which is written in the book of the law of Moses" (IV Kings 14:6). The sacred writer records the Divine promise of protecting the Israelites "Only if they will observe to do all that I have commanded them according to the law which my servant Moses commanded them" (IV Kings 21:8). In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josias was found the book of the law (IV Kings 22:8, 11), or the book of the covenant (IV Kings 23:2), according to which he conducted his religious reform (IV Kings 23:10-24), and which is identified with "the law of Moses" (IV Kings 23:25). Commentators are not at one whether this law-book was Deuteronomy.

(d) Paralipomenon. The inspired writer of Paralipomenon refers to the law and the book of Moses much more frequently and clearly. The objectionable names and numbers occurring in these books are mostly due to transcribers. The omission of incidents that would detract from the glory of the Israelite kings or would not edify the reader is not detrimental to the credibility or veracity of the work. Otherwise, one should have to place among works of fiction a number of biographical or patriotic publications intended for the young or for the common reader. On their part, the modern critics are too eager to discredit the authority of Paralipomena. "After removing the account of Paralipomena," writes de Wette (Beitrage, I, 135), "the whole Jewish history assumes another form, and the Pentateuchal investigations take another turn; a number of strong proofs, hard to explain away, for the early existence of the Mosaic books have disappeared, the other vestiges of their existence are placed in a different light." A glance at the contents of Parlipomenon suffices to explain the efforts of de Witte and Wellhausen to disprove the historicity of the books. Not only are the genealogies (I Par. 1-9) and the descriptions of worship traced after the data and laws of the Pentateuch, but the sacred writer expressly points out their conformity with what is written in the law of the Lord (I Par. 16:40), in the law of Moses (II Par. 23:18; 31:3), thus identifying the law of the Lord with that written by Moses (cf. II Par. 25:4). The reader will find similar indications of the existence and the Mosaic origin of the Pentateuch in I Par. 22:12 seq.; II Par. 17:9; 33:4; 34:14; 25:12. By an artificial interpretation, indeed, the Books of Paralipomenon may be construed to represent the Pentateuch as a book containing the law promulgated by Moses; but the natural sense of the foregoing passages regards the Pentateuch as a book edited by Moses.

(e) I, II Esdras. The Books of Esdras and Nehemias, too, taken in their natural and commonly accepted sense, consider the Pentateuch as the book of Moses, not merely as a book containing the Law of Moses. This contention is based on the study of the following texts: I Esd. 3:2 sqq.; 6: 18; 7:14; II Esd. 1:7 sqq.; 8:1-14; 9:3; 10:34, 36; 13:1-3. Graf and his followers expressed the view that the book of Moses referred to in these texts is not the Pentateuch, but only the Priestly Code. But when we keep in mind that the book in question contained the laws of Lev. 23: and Deut. 7:2-4; 15:2, we perceive at once that the book of Moses cannot be restricted to the Priestly Code. To the witness of the historical books we may add II Mach. 2:4; 7:6; Judith 8:23; Ecclus. 24:33; 45:1-6; 45:18, and especially the Preface of Ecclus.

(f) Prophetic Books. Express reference to the written Law of Moses is found only in the later Prophets: Bar. 2:2, 28; Dan. 9:11, 13; Mal. 4:4. Among these, Baruch knows that Moses has been commanded to write the law, and though his expressions run parallel to those of Deut. 28:15, 53, 62-64, his threats contain allusions to those contained in other parts of the Pentateuch. The other Prophets frequently refer to the law of the Lord guarded by the priests (cf. Deut. 31:9), and they put it on the same level with Divine Revelation and the eternal covenant of the Lord. They appeal to God's covenant, the sacrificial laws, the calendar of feasts, and other laws of the Pentateuch in such a way as to render it probable that a written legislation formed the basis of their prophetic admonitions (cf. Osee 8:12), and that they were acquainted with verbal expressions of the book of the law. Thus in the northern kingdom Amos (iv, 4-5; 5:22 sqq) and Isaias in the south (1:11 sqq) employ expressions which are practically technical words for sacrifice occurring in Lev. 1-3; 7:12-16; and Deut. 12:6.

Witness of the New Testament.

We need not show that Jesus and the Apostles quoted the whole of the Pentateuch as written by Moses. If they attributed to Moses all the passages which they happen to cite, if they ascribe the Pentateuch to Moses whenever there is question of its authorship, even the most exacting critics must admit that they express their conviction that the work was indeed written by Moses. When the Sadducees quote against Jesus the marriage law of Deut. 25:5, as written by Moses (Matt. 22:24; Mark 12:19; Luke 20:28), Jesus does not deny the Mosaic authorship, but appeals to Ex. 3:6, as equally written by Moses (Mark 12:26; Matt. 22:31; Luke 20:37). Again, in the parable of Dives and Lazarus (Luke 16:29), He speaks of "Moses and the prophets," while on other occasions He speaks of "the law and the prophets" (Luke 16:16), thus showing that in His mind the law, or the Pentateuch, and Moses are identical. The same expressions reappear in the last discourse addressed by Christ to His disciples (Luke 24:44-6; cf. 27): "which are written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms concerning me." Finally, in John 5:45-7, Jesus is more explicit in asserting the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch: "There is one that accuseth you, Moses . . . for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?" Nor can it be maintained that Christ merely accommodated himself to the current beliefs of his contemporaries who considered Moses as the author of the Pentateuch not merely in a moral but also in the literary sense of authorship. Jesus did not need to enter into the critical study of the nature of Mosaic authorship, but He could not expressly endorse the popular belief, if it was erroneous.

The Apostles too felt convinced of, and testified to, the Mosaic authorship. "Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith to him: We have found him of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets did write." St. Peter introduces a quotation from Deut. 18:15, with the words: "For Moses said" (Acts 3:22). St. James and St. Paul relate that Moses is read in the synagogues on the Sabbath day (Acts 15:21; II Cor. 3:15). The great Apostle speaks in other passages of the law of Moses (Acts 13:33; I Cor. 9:9); he preaches Jesus according to the Law of Moses and the Prophets (Acts 28:23), and cites passages from the Pentateuch as words written by Moses (Rom 10:5-8; 19). St. John mentions the canticle of Moses (Apoc. 15:3).

Witness of Tradition.

The voice of tradition, both Jewish and Christian, is so unanimous and constant in proclaiming the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch that down to the seventeenth century it did not allow the rise of any serious doubt. The following paragraphs are only a meagre outline of this living tradition.

Jewish Tradition.

It has been seen that the books of the Old Testament, beginning with those of the Pentateuch, present Moses as the author of at least parts of the Pentateuch. The writer of the Books of Kings believes that Moses is the author of Deuteronomy at least. Esdras, Nehemias, Malachias, the author of Paralipomena, and the Greek authors of the Septuagint Version consider Moses as the author of the whole Pentateuch. At the time of Jesus Christ and the Apostles, friend and foe take the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch for granted; neither our Lord nor His enemies take exception to this assumption.

In the first century of the Christian era, Josephus ascribes to Moses the authorship of the entire Pentateuch, not excepting the account of the lawgiver's death ("Antiq. Jud.," IV 8:3-48; cf. I Procem., 4; "Contra Apion." I, 8). The Alexandrian philosopher Philo is convinced that the entire Pentateuch is the work of Moses, and that the latter wrote a prophetic account of his death under the influence of a special divine inspiration ("De vita Mosis," II, II, III in "Opera," Geneva, 1613, pp. 511, 538). The Babylonian Talmud ("Baba-Bathra," II, col. 140; "Makkoth," fol. IIa; "Menachoth," fol. 30a; cf. Vogue, "Hist. de la Bible et de l'exegese biblique jusqua'a nos jours," Paris, 1881, p. 21), the Talmud of Jerusalem (Sota 5:5), the rabbis, and the doctors of Israel (cf. Furst, "Der Kanon des Alten Testaments nach den Überlieferungen im Talmud und Midrasch," Leipzig, 1868, pp. 7-9) bear testimony to the continuance of this tradition for the first thousand years. Though Isaac ben Jasus in the eleventh century and Abenesra in the twelfth admitted certain post-Mosaic additions in the Pentateuch, still they as well as Maimonides upheld its Mosaic authorship. He did not substantially differ in this point from the teaching of R. Becchai (thirteenth cent.), Joseph Karo, and Abarbanel (fifteenth cent.; cf. Richard Simon, "Critique de la Bibl. des aut. eccles. de E. Dupin," Paris, 1730, III, pp. 215-20). Only in the seventeenth century, Baruch Spinoza rejected the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, pointing out the possibility that the work might have been written by Esdras ("Tract. Theol. politicus," c. viii, ed. Tauchnitz, III, p. 125). Among the more recent Jewish writers, several have adopted the results of the critics, thus abandoning the tradition of their forefathers.

Christian Tradition.

Christ Himself and the Apostles brought the Jewish tradition concerning the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch into the Christian Church. No one will seriously deny the existence and continuance of such a tradition from the patristic period onward; one might indeed be curious about the interval between the time of the Apostles and beginning of the third century. For this period we may appeal to the "Epistle of Barnabus" (x, 1-12; Funk, "Patres apostol.," 2nd ed., Tubingen, 1901, I, p. 66-70; 12:2-9k; ibid., p. 74-6), and to St. Clement of Rome (I Cor., xli, 1; ibid., p. 152). We appeal to St. Justin ("Apol. I," 59; P. G., VI, 416; I, 32, 54; ibid., 377, 409; "Dial.," 29; ibid., 537), to the author of "Cohort. Ad Graec" (9, 28, 30, 33, 34; ibid., 257, 293, 296-7, 361), to St. Theophilus ("Ad Autol.," III, 23; ibid., 1156; 11, 30; ibid., 1100), to St. Irenaeus (Cont. haer., I 2:6; P.G. VII, 715-6), to St. Hippolytus of Rome ("Comment. In Deut.," 31:9, 31, 35; cf. Achelis, "Arabische Fragmente etc.," Leipzig, 1897, I, 118; "Philosophumena," VIII, 8; 10:33; P.G. XVI, 3350, 3448), to Tertullian of Carthage (Adv. Hermog., XIX; P. L., II, 214), to Origen of Alexandria (Contra. Cels., III, 5-6; P. G., XI, 928; etc.), to St. Eusthatius of Antioch (De engastrimytha c. Orig., 21; P.G. XVIII, 656). For all these writers (and others might be added) bear witness to the continuance of the Christian tradition that Moses wrote the Pentateuch. A list of the later Fathers who bear witness to the same truth may be found in Mangenot's article in the "Dict. de la Bible" (V, 74 seq.). Hoberg (Moses und der Pentateuch, 72 seq) has collected the testimony for the existence of the tradition during the Middle Ages and in more recent times.

However, Church tradition does not necessarily maintain that Moses wrote every letter of the Pentateuch as it is today, and that the work has come down to us in an absolutely unchanged form. This rigid view of the Mosaic authorship began to develop in the eighteenth century, and practically gained the upper hand in the nineteenth. The arbitrary treatment of Scripture on the part of Protestants, and the succession of the various destructive systems advanced by Biblical criticism, caused this change in the minds of some scholars.

Voice of Internal Evidence.

The possibility of producing a written record at the time of Moses is no longer contested. The art of writing was known long before the time of the great lawgiver, and was extensively practiced both in Egypt and in Babylon. As to the Israelites, Flinders Petrie infers from certain Semitic inscriptions found in 1905 on the Sinaitic peninsula, that they kept written accounts of their national history from the time of their captivity under Ramses II. The Tell-el-Amarna tablets show the language of Babylon was in a way the official language at the time of Moses, known in Western Asia, Palestine, and Egypt; the finds of Taanek have confirmed this fact. But it cannot be inferred from this that the Egyptians and Israelites employed this sacred or official language among themselves and in their religious documents (cf. Benzinger, "Hebraische Archaologie," 2nd ed., Tubingen, 1907, p. 172 sqq.). It is not merely the possibility of writing at the time of Moses and the question of language that confronts us here; there is the further problem of the kind of written signs used in the Mosaic documents. The hieroglyphic and cuneiform signs were widely employed at that early date; the oldest inscriptions written in alphabetical characters date only from the ninth century B.C. However, there can hardly be any doubt as to the higher antiquity of alphabetic writing, and there seems to be nothing to prevent our extending it back to the time of Moses.

Finally, the Code of Hammurabi, discovered in Susa in 1901 by the French expedition funded by Mr. and Mrs. Dieulafoy, shows that even in pre-Mosaic times legal enactments were committed to, and preserved in, writing; for the Code antedates Moses some five centuries, and contains about 282 regulations concerning various contingencies in the civic life.

Thus far, it has been shown negatively that an historic and legal document claiming to be written at the time of Moses involves no antecedent improbability of its authenticity. But the internal characteristics of the Pentateuch show also positively that the work is probably Mosaic. It is true that the Pentateuch contains no express declaration of its entire Mosaic authorship; but even the most exacting of critics will hardly require such testimony. It is practically lacking in all other books, whether sacred or profane. On the other hand, it has already been shown that four distinct passages of the Pentateuch are expressly ascribed to the authorship of Moses. Deut. 31:24-9, is especially noted; for it knows that Moses wrote the "words of this law in a volume" and commanded it to be placed in the ark of the covenant as a testimony against the people who have been so rebellious during the lawgiver's life and will "do wickedly" after his death.

Again, a number of legal sections, though not explicitly ascribed to the writing of Moses, are distinctly derived from Moses as the lawgiver. Besides, many of the Pentateuchal laws bear evidence of their origin in the desert; hence they too lay an indirect claim to Mosaic origin. What has been said of a number of Pentateuchal laws is equally true of several historical sections. These contain in the Book of Numbers, for instance, so many names and numbers that they must have been handed down in writing. Unless the critics can bring irrefutable evidence showing that in these sections we have only fiction, they must grant that these historical details were written down in contemporary documents, and not transmitted by mere oral tradition.

Moreover, Hommel ("Die altisraelitische Überlieferung in inschriftlicher Beleuchtung," p. 302) has shown that the names in the lists of the Book of Numbers bear the character of the Arabian names of the second millennium before Christ. They can have originated only in the time of Moses, though it must be admitted that the text of certain portions, e.g., Num. 13 has suffered in its transmission. We need not remind the reader that numerous Pentateuchal laws and data imply the conditions of a nomadic life of Israel. Finally, both the author of the Pentateuch and its first readers must have been more familiar with the topography and the social conditions of Egypt and with the Sinaitic peninsula than with the land of Chanaan. Cf., e.g., Deut. 8:7-10; 11:10 sqq. These internal characteristics of the Pentateuch have been developed at greater length by Smith, "The Book of Moses or the Pentateuch in its Authorship, Credibility, and Civilisation," London, 1868.


(1) The arguments accumulated by the critics to impugn the Mosaic authenticity of the sacred books designated by the name Pentateuch are not of such weight as to give us the right to maintain that these books have not Moses as their author, but are compiled from sources for the greatest part later than the Mosaic age. We see this, having set aside numerous passages of both Testaments taken collectively, and having considered the continuous consensus of the Jewish people, the constant tradition of the Church, and internal indications derived from the text itself,

(2) The Mosaic authenticity of the Pentateuch does not necessarily require such a redaction of the whole work as to render it absolutely imperative to maintain that Moses wrote all and everything with his own hand or dictated it to his secretaries. The hypothesis of those can be admitted who believe that he entrusted the composition of the work itself, conceived by him under the influence of Divine inspiration, to others, but in such a way that they were to express faithfully his own thoughts, were to write nothing against his will, were to omit nothing. Finally, the work thus produced should be approved by the same Moses, its principal and inspired author, and published under his name.

(3) It may be granted without prejudice to the Mosaic authenticity of the Pentateuch, that Moses employed sources in the production of his work, i.e., written documents or oral traditions, from which he may have drawn a number of things in accordance with the end he had in view and under the influence of Divine inspiration, and inserted them in his work either literally or according to their sense, in an abbreviated or amplified form.

(4) The substantial Mosaic authenticity and integrity of the Pentateuch remains intact if it be granted that in the long course of centuries the work has suffered several modifications. These modifications may be post-Mosaic additions either appended by an inspired author or inserted into the text as glosses and explanations; the translation of certain words and forms out of an antiquated language into the recent form of speech, and, finally, wrong readings due to the fault of transcribers, which one may investigate and pass sentence on according to the laws of criticism.

Scholars variously interpret the post-Mosaic additions and modifications allowed in the Pentateuch without removing it from the range of substantial integrity and Mosaic authenticity.

Finally, there is the question as the theological certainty of the thesis maintaining the Mosaic authenticity of the Pentateuch.

(1) Certain scholars expressed their opinion that the thesis in question is not revealed in Scripture nor taught by the Church; that it expresses a truth not contained in Revelation, but a tenet that may be freely contested and discussed.

(2) Other writers grant that the Mosaic authenticity of the Pentateuch is not explicitly revealed, but they consider it as a truth revealed formally implicitly, being derived from the revealed formulae not by a syllogism in the strict sense of the word, but by a simple explanation of the terms. The denial of the Mosaic authenticity of the Pentateuch is an error, and the contradictory of the thesis maintaining the Mosaic authenticity of the Pentateuch is erronea in fide (cf. Mechineau, "L'origine mosaique du Pentateuque," p. 34).

(3) A third class of scholars considers the Mosaic authenticity of the Pentateuch neither as a freely debatable tenet, nor as a truth formally implicitly revealed; they believe it has been virtually revealed, or that it is inferred from revealed truth by truly syllogistic deduction. It is, therefore, a theologically certain truth, and its contradictory is a rash (temeraria) or even erroneous proposition.

Opponents of the Mosaic Authorship of the Pentateuch.

A detailed account of the opposition to the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch is neither desirable nor necessary. In itself, it would form only a noisome history of human errors; each little system has had its day, and its successors have tried their best to bury it in hushed oblivion. The actual difficulties we have to consider are those advanced by our actual opponents of today; only the fact that the systems of the past show us the fleeting and transitory character of the actual theories now in vogue can induce us to briefly enumerate the successive views upheld by the opponents of the Mosaic authorship.

Hypothesis of Documents.

Reuss had proposed a course of religious development in Israel in 1830 and 1834; Vatke proposed the same in 1835 and George in the same year. In 1865-66 Graf took up this idea and applied it to the literary criticism of the Hexateuch; for the critics had begun to consider the Book of Josue as belonging to the preceding five books, so that the collection formed a Hexateuch instead of a Pentateuch. Merx made the same application in 1869. Thus modified the documentary theory continued in its development until it reached the state described in the translation of the Bible by Kautzsch (3rd ed., with Introduction and Annotations, Tubingen, 1908 sqq.). In itself, there is nothing against the assumption of documents written by Moses; but we cannot ascribe with certainty anything of our literary remains to the hands of the Hebrew lawgiver.

The beginning of written accounts must be placed towards the end of the time of Judges; only then were fulfilled the conditions which must precede the origin of a literature properly so called, i.e., a general acquaintance with the art of writing and reading, stationary settlement of the people, and national prosperity. What then are the oldest literary remains of the Hebrews? They are the collections of the songs dating from the heroic time of the nation, e.g., the Book of the Wars of the Lord (Num. 21:14), the Book of the Just (Jos. 10:12 sqq.), the Book of Songs (III Kings 8:53; cf. Budde, "Geschichte der althebr. Literature," Leipzig, 1906, 17). The Book of the Covenant (Ex. 20:24-23:19) too must have existed before the other sources of the Pentateuch. The oldest historical work is probably the book of the Yahwist, designated by J, and ascribed to the priesthood of Juda, belonging most probably to the ninth century B.C.

Akin to this is the Elohim document, designated by E, and written probably in the northern kingdom (Ephraim) about a century after the production of the Yahweh document. A redactor into one work combined these two sources soon after the middle of the sixth century. Next follows the law-book, almost entirely embodied in our actual Book of Deuteronomy, discovered in the temple 621 B.C., and containing the precipitate of the prophetic teaching which advocated the abolition of the sacrifices in the so- called high places and the centralization of worship in the temple of Jerusalem. During the Exile originated the Priestly Code, P, based on the so-called law of holiness, Lev., xvii-xxvi, and the program of Ezechiel, 40-48; the substance of P was read before the post-exilic community by Esdras about 444 B.C. (II Esd., 8:-10), and was accepted by the multitude.

History does not tell us when and how these divers historical and legal sources were combined into our present Pentateuch; but it is generally assumed that there was an urgent call for a compilation of the tradition and pre-exilic history of the people. The only indication of time may be found in the fact that the Samaritans accepted the Pentateuch as a sacred book probably in the fourth century B.C. Considering their hatred for the Jews, one must conclude that they would not have taken this step, unless they had felt certain of the Mosaic origin of the Pentateuch. Hence, a considerable time must have intervened between the compilation of the Pentateuch and its acceptance by the Samaritans, so that the work of combining must be placed in the fifth century.

It is quite generally agreed that the last redactor of the Pentateuch completed his task with great adroitness. Without altering the text of the older sources, he did all within man's power to fuse the heterogeneous elements into one apparent (?) whole, with such success that not only the Jews after the fourth century B.C., but also the Christians for many centuries could maintain their conviction that the entire Pentateuch was written by Moses.

Deficiencies of the Critical Hypothesis.

As several Pentateuchal critics have endeavored to assign the last redaction of the Pentateuch to more recent dates, its placement in the fifth century may be regarded as rather favorable to conservative views. However, it is hard to understand why the patrons of this opinion should not agree in considering Esdras as the last editor. Again, it is quite certain that the last editor of the Pentateuch must have notably preceded its acceptance on the part of the Samaritans as a sacred book.

But is it probable that the Samaritans would have accepted the Pentateuch as such in the fourth century B.C., when the national and religious opposition between them and Jews was well developed? Is it not more probable that the mixed nation of Samaria received the Pentateuch through the priest sent to them from Assyria? Cf. IV Kings 17:27. Or again, as this priest instructed the Samaritan population in the law of the god of the country, is it not reasonable to suppose that he taught them the Pentateuchal law, which the ten tribes carried with them when they separated from Juda? At any rate, the fact that the Samaritans accepted as sacred only the Pentateuch, but not the Prophets, leads us to infer that the Pentateuch existed among the Jews before a collection of the prophetic writings was made. Further, we infer that Samaria chose its sacred book before even Juda placed the works of the Prophets on the same level with the work of Moses.

But this natural inference finds no favor among the critics; for it implies that the historical and legal traditions codified in the Pentateuch, described the beginning, and not the end, of Israel's religious development. The view of Israel's religious development prevalent among the critics implies that the Pentateuch is later than the Prophets, and that the Psalms are later than both. After these general considerations, we shall briefly examine the main principles, the methods, the results, and the arguments of the critical theory.

(a) Principles of the Critics

Without pretending to review all the principles involved in the theories of the critics, we draw attention to two: the historical development of religion, and the comparative value of internal evidence and tradition.

(i) The theory of the historical evolution of Israelitic religions leads us from Mosaic Yahwehism to the ethical monotheism of the Prophets, from this to the universalist conception of God developed during the Exile, and from this again to the ossified Phariseeism of later days. This religion of the Jews is codified in our actual Pentateuch, but critics fictitiously project it backwards in the historical books into the Mosaic and pre-prophetic times.

The idea of development is not a purely modern discovery. Meyer ("Der Entwicklungsgedanke bei Aristoteles," Bonn, 1909) shows that Aristotle was acquainted with it; Gunkel ("Weiterbildung der Religion," Munich, 1905, 64) maintains that its application to religion is as old as Christianity, and that St. Paul has enunciated this principle; Diestel ("Geschichte des A.T. in der chrislichen Kirche," Jena, 1869, 56 sqq.), Willmann ("Geschichte des Idealismus," 2nd ed., II, 23 sqq.), and Schanz ("Apologie des Christentums," 3rd ed. II, 4 sqq., 376) find the same application in the writings of the Fathers, though Hoberg ("Die Forschritte der bibl. Wissenschaften," Freiburg, 1902, 10) grants that the patristic writers often neglect the external forms which influenced the ideas the Chosen People.

The Fathers were not fully acquainted with profane history, and were more concerned about the contents of Revelation than about its historical development. Pesch ("Glaube, Dogmen und geschichtliche Thatsachen" in "Theol. Zeitfragen," IV, Freiburg, 1908, 183) discovers that Roman Catholic scholar Thomas Aquinas, too, admits the principle of development in his "Summa" (II-II, Q. i, a. 9, 10; Q. ii, a. 3; etc.). But the Orthodox conception of this principle avoids two extremes: the theory of degeneracy, based on the teaching of the early Lutheran theologians (cf. Giesebrecht, "Die Degradationshypothese und die altl. Geschichte," Leipzig, 1905; Steude, "Entwicklung und Offenbarung," Stuttgart, 1905, 18 sqq.); the theory of evolution which dissolves all truth and history into purely natural development to the exclusion of everything supernatural.

It is this latter extreme which Biblical critics amplify. Their description of the early religion of Israel is contradicted by the testimony of the oldest Prophets whose authority is not questioned by them. These inspired seers know of the fall of Adam (Osee 6:7), the call of Abraham (Is. 29:23; Mich. 7:20), the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrha (Osee 11:8; Is. 1:9; Amos 4:11), the history of Jacob and his struggle with the angel (Os. 12:2 sqq.), Israel's exodus from Egypt and dwelling in the desert (Os. 2:14; 7:16; 11:1; 12:9, 13; 13:4, 5; Am. 2:10; 3:1; 9:7), the activity of Moses (Os. 12:13; Mich. 6:4; Is. 63:11, 12), a written legislation (Os 8:12), and a number of particular statutes (cf. Kley, "Die Pentateuchfrage," Munster, 1903, 223 sqq.).

Again, the results of historical investigation increasingly contradict this theory of development. Weber ("Theologie und Assyriologie im Streit um Babel und Bibel," Leipzig, 1904, 17) points out that the recent historical results imply decadence rather than development in ancient oriental art, science, and religion; Winckler ("Religionsgeschichtler und geschichtl. Orient," Leipzig, 1906, 33) considers the evolutionary view of the primitive state of man as false, and believes that the development theory has, at least, been badly shaken, if not actually destroyed by recent Oriental research (cf. Bantsch, "Altorientalischer und israelitischer Monothesismus," Tubingen, 1906). Köberle ("Die Theologie der Gegenwart," Leipzig, 1907, I, 2) says that the development theory has exhausted itself, reproducing only the thoughts of Wellhausen, and deciding particular questions not in the light of facts, but according to the postulates of the theory. Finally, even the rationalistic writers have thought it necessary to replace the development theory by another more in agreement with historical facts. Hence Winckler ("Ex Oriente lux," Leipzig, 1905- 6; Idem, "Der Alte Orient," III, 2-3; Idem, "Die babylonische Geisteskultur in ihren Beziehungen zur Kulturentwicklung der Menschheit" in "Wissenschaft und Bildung,"

Leipzig, 1907; cf. Landersdorfer in "Historisch-Politische Blatter," 1909, 144) has originated the theory of pan-Babelism according to which Biblical religion is conceived as a conscious and express reaction against the Babylonian polytheistic state religion. It was not the common property of Israel, but of a religious sect that was supported in Babylon by certain monotheistic circles irrespective of nationality. This theory has found powerful opponents in Budde, Stade, Bezold, Köberle, Kugler, Wilke, and others; but it has also a number of adherents. Though wholly untenable from a Christian point of view, it shows at least the weakness of the historical development theory.

(ii) Another principle involved in the critical theory of the Pentateuch supposes that the internal evidence of literary criticism is of higher value than the evidence of tradition. But thus far the results of excavations and historical research have been favorable to tradition rather than to internal evidence. Let the reader only remember the case of Troy, Tiryns, Mycenae, and Orchomenos (in Greece). The excavations of the English explorer Evans in Crete have shown the historical character of King Minos and his labyrinth. Assyrian inscriptions have re-established the historical credit of King Midas of Phrygia. Similarly, Menes of Thebes and Sargon of Agade have been shown to belong to history; in general, the more accurate have been the scientific investigations, the more clearly have they shown the reliability of even the most slender traditions. In the field of New-Testament criticism the call "back to tradition" had begun to be heeded, and had been endorsed by such authorities as Harnack and Deissmann.

In the study of the Old Testament too there have been unmistakable signs of change. Hommel ("Die altisrealitische Überlieferung in inschriftlicher Beleuchtung," Munich, 1897) maintains that Old Testament tradition, both as a whole and in its details, proves to be reliable, even in the light of critical research. Meyer ("Die Entstehung des Judentums," Halle, 1896) concludes that the foundations of the critical Pentateuchal theory are destroyed, if it can be proved that even part of the impugned Hebrew tradition is reliable. The same writer proves the credibility of the sources of the Books of Esdras (cf. "Grundriss der Geographie und Geschichte des alten Orientes," Munich, 1904, 167 sqq.). S.A. Fries has been led by his critical studies, and without being influenced by dogmatic bias, to accept the whole traditional view of the history of Israel. Cornill and Oettli express the conviction that Israel's traditions concerning even its earliest history are reliable and will withstand the bitterest attacks of criticism. Dawson (cf. Fonck, "Kritik und Tradition im A.T." in "Zeitschrift fur katholische Theologie," 1899, 262-81) and others apply to tradition the old principle which has been so frequently misapplied, "magna est veritas, et praevalebit". Gunkel ("Religionsgeschichtliche Volksbucher," II, Tubingen, 1906, 8) grants that Old Testament criticism has gone a little too far, and that many Biblical traditions previously rejected will be re-established.

(b) Critical Method

The falsehood of the critical method does not consist in the use of criticism as such, but in its illegitimate use. Criticism became more common in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; at the end of the eighteenth, it was applied to classical antiquity. Bernheim ("Lehrbuch der historischen Methode," Leipzig, 1903, 296) believes that by this means alone history first became a science. In the application of criticism to the Bible, we are limited, indeed, by the inspiration and the canonicity of its books; but there is an ample field left for our critical investigations (Pesch, "Theol. Zeitfragen," III, 48).

Some of the principal sins of the critics in their treatment of Sacred Scripture are the following:

They deny everything supernatural, so that they reject not merely inspiration and canonicity, but also prophecy and miracle a priori (cf. Metzler, "Das Wunder vor dem Forum der modernen Geschichtswissenschaft" in "Katholik," 1908, II, 241 sqq.).

They seem to be convinced a priori of the credibility of non-Biblical historical documents, while they are prejudiced against the truthfulness of Biblical accounts. (Cf. Stade, "Geschichte Israel's," I, 86 seq., 88, 101.).

Depreciating external evidence almost entirely, they consider the questions of the origin, the integrity, and the authenticity of the sacred books in the light of internal evidence.

They overestimate the critical analysis of the sources, without considering the chief point, i.e., the credibility of the sources (Lorenz, "Die Geschichtswissenschaft in ihren Hauptrichtungen und Aufgaben," ii, 329 sqq.). Recent documents may contain reliable reports of ancient history. Some of the critics begin to acknowledge that the historical credibility of the sources is of greater importance than their division and dating (Stark, "Die Entstehung des A.T.," Leipzig, 1905, 29; cf. Vetter, "Tübinger theologische Quartalschrift," 1899, 552).

The critical division of sources is based on the Hebrew text, though it is not certain how far the present Massoretic text differs from that, for instance, followed by the Septuagint translators, and how far the latter differed form the Hebrew text before its redaction in the fifth century B.C.. Dahse ("Textkritische Bedenken gegen den Ausgangspunkt der heutigen Pentateuchkritik" in "Archiv fur Religionsgeschichte," VI, 1903, 305 sqq) shows that the Divine names in the Greek translation of the Pentateuch differ in about 180 cases from those of the Hebrew text (cf. Hoberg, "Die Genesis," 2nd ed., p. xxii sqq.). In other words and phrases the changes may be fewer, but it would be unreasonable to deny the existence of any. Again, it is antecedently probable that the Septuagint text differs less from the Massoretic than from the ante-Esdrine text, which must have been closer to the original. The starting point of literary criticism is therefore uncertain.

(c) Critical Results

Here we must distinguish between the principles of criticism and its results. The principles of the historical development of religion, for instance, and of the inferiority of tradition to internal evidence, are not the outcome of literary analysis, but are its partial basis. Again, we must distinguish between those results of literary criticism that are compatible with the Mosaic authenticity of the Pentateuch and those that contradict it. The patrons of the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, and even the ecclesiastical Decree relating to this subject, plainly admit that Moses or his secretaries may have utilized sources or documents in the composition of the Pentateuch. Both admit also that the sacred text has suffered in its transmission and may have received additions, in the form of either inspired appendices or exegetical glosses. If the critics, therefore, can succeed in determining the number and the limits of the documentary sources, and of the post-Mosaic additions, whether inspired or profane, they render an important service to the traditional tenet of Pentateuchal authenticity. The same must be said with regard to the successive laws established by Moses, and the gradual fidelity of the Jewish people to the Mosaic Law. Here again the certain or even probable results of sane literary and historical criticism will aid greatly the conservative commentator of the Pentateuch.

We do not quarrel with the legitimate conclusions of the critics, if the critics do not quarrel with each other. However, they do quarrel with each other. According to Merx (loc. cit), there is nothing certain in the field of criticism except its uncertainty; each critic proclaims his views with the greatest self-reliance, but without any regard to the consistency of the whole. Former views are simply killed by silence; even Reuss and Dillmann are junk-iron, and there is a noticeable lack of judgment as to what can or cannot be known.

Hence the critical results, in as far as they consist merely in the distinction of documentary sources, in the determination of post-Mosaic materials, e.g., textual changes, and profane or inspired additions, in the description of various legal codes, are not at variance with the Mosaic authenticity of the Pentateuch. Nor can an anti-Mosaic character be pointed out in the facts or phenomena from which criticism legitimately infers the foregoing conclusions. Such facts or phenomena are, for instance, the change of the Divine names in the text, the use of certain words, the difference of style, the so-called double accounts of really, not merely apparently, identical events; the truth of falsehood of these and similar details does not directly affect the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch.

In which results then does criticism clash with tradition? Criticism and tradition are incompatible in their views as to the age and sequence of the documentary sources, as to the origin of the various legal codes, and as to the time and manner of the redaction of the Pentateuch.

(i) Pentateuchal Documents. As to the age and sequence of the various documents, the critics do not agree. Dillmann, Kittel, Konig, and Winckler place the Elohist, who is subdivided by several writers into the first, second, and third Elohist, before the Yahwist, who also is divided into the first and second Yahwist; but Wellhausen and most critics believe that the Elohist is about a century younger than the Yahwist. At any rate, both are assigned to about the ninth and eight centuries B.C.; both, too, incorporate earlier traditions or even documents.

All critics appear to agree as to the composite character of Deuteronomy; they admit rather a Deuteronomist school than single writers. Still, the successive layers composing the whole book are briefly designated by D1, D2, D3, etc. As to the character of these layers, the critics do not agree: Montet and Driver, for instance, assigned to the first Deuteronomist cc. 1-21; Kuenen, Konig, Reuss, Renan, Westphal ascribe to DN 4:45-9, and 5:-26:; a third class of critics reduce D1 to 12:1-26:19, allowing it a double edition: according to Wellhausen, the first edition contained 1:1-4:44; 12-26-27: while the second comprised 4:45-11:39; 12-26; 27-30; both editions were combined by the redactor who inserted Deuteronomy into the Hexateuch. Cornill arranges the two editions somewhat differently. Horst considers even cc. 22-26 as a compilation of pre-existing elements, gathered together without order and often by chance.

Wellhausen and his adherents do not wish to assign to D1 a higher age than 621 B.C., Cornill and Bertholet consider the document as a summary of the prophetic teaching. Colenso and Renan ascribe it to Jeremias, others place its origin in the reign of Ezechias or Manasses. Klostermann identifies the document with the book read before the people in the time of Josaphat, while Kleinert refers it back to the end of the time of the Judges. The Deuteronomist depends on the two preceding documents, J and E, both for his history land his legislation; the historical details not found in these may have been derived from other sources not known to us, and the laws not contained in the Sinaitic legislation and the decalogue are either pure fiction or a crystallization of the prophetic teaching.

Finally, the Priestly Code, P, is also a compilation: the first stratum of the book, both historical and legal in its character, is designated by P1 or P2; the second stratum is the law of holiness, H or Lev. 17:-26:, and is the work of a contemporary of Ezechiel, or perhaps of the Prophet himself (H, P2, Ph); besides, there are additional elements springing rather from a school than from any single writer, and designated by Kunen as P3, P4, P5, but by other critics as Ps and Px. Bertholet and Bantsch speak of two other collections of laws: the law of sacrifices, Lev. 1-7, designated as Po; and the law of purity, Lev. 11-15, designated as Pr.

The first documentary hypothesis considered PN as the oldest part of the Pentateuch. Duston and Dillmann place it before the Deuteronomic code, but other critics regard it as more recent than the other documents of the Pentateuch, and even later than Ezech. 44:10-46:15 (573-2 B.C.); the followers of Wellhausen date the Priestly Code after the return from the Babylonian Captivity, while Wildeboer places it either after or towards the end of the captivity. The historical parts of the Priestly Code depend on the Yahwistic and the Elohistic documents, but Wellhausen's adherents believe that the material of these documents has been manipulated so as to fit it for the special purpose of the Priestly Code. Dillmann and Driver maintain that facts have not een invented or falsified by P, but that the latter had at hand other historical documents besides J and E. As to the legal part of P, Wellhausen considers it as an a priori program for the Jewish priesthood after the return from the captivity, projected backwards into the past, and attributed to Moses. But other critics believe that P has systematized the pre-exilic customs of worship, developing then, and adapting them to the new circumstances.

What has been said clearly shows that the critics are at variance in many respects, but they are at one in maintaining the post-Mosaic origin of the Pentateuchal documents. What is the weight of the reasons on which they base their opinion?

The conditions laid down by the critics as prerequisites to literature do not prove that the sources of the Pentateuch must be post-Mosaic. The Hebrew people had lived for, at least, two hundred years in Egypt; besides, most of the forty years spent in the desert were passed in the neighborhood of Cades, so that the Israelites were not longer a nomadic people. Whatever one may say of their material prosperity, or of their proficiency in writing and reading, the above-mentioned researches of Flinders Petrie show that they kept records of their national traditions at the time of Moses.

If the Hebrew contemporaries of Moses kept written records, why should not the Pentateuchal sources be among these documents? It is true that in our actual Pentateuch we find non-Mosaic and post-Mosaic indications; but, then, the non-Mosaic, impersonal style may be due to a literary device, or to the pen of secretaries. The post-Mosaic geographical and historical indications may have crept into the text by way of glosses, or errors of the transcribers, or even inspired additions. The critics cannot reject these suggestions as mere subterfuges, for they should have to grant a continuous miracle in the preservation of the Pentateuchal text, if they were to deny the moral certainty of the presence of such textual changes.

But would not the Pentateuch have been known to the earlier Prophets, if it had been handed down from the time of Moses? This critical exception is really an argument e silentio, which is very apt to be fallacious, unless it be most carefully handled. Besides, if we keep in mind the labor involved in multiplying copies of the Pentateuch, we cannot be wrong in assuming that they were very rare in the interval between Moses and the Prophets, so that few were able to read the actual text. Again, it has been pointed out that at least one of the earlier Prophets appeals to a written mosaic law, and that all appeal to such a national conscience as presupposes the Pentateuchal history and law. Finally, some of the critics maintain that J views the history of man and of Israel according to the religious and the moral ideas of the Prophets; if there be such an agreement, why not say that the Prophets write according to the religious and moral ideas of the Pentateuch?

The critics urge the fact that the Pentateuchal laws concerning the sanctuary, the sacrifices, the feasts, and the priesthood agree with different stages of post-Mosaic historical development; that the second stage agrees with the reform of Josias, and the third with the enactments enforced after the time of the Babylonian Exile. However, one must keep in mind that the Mosaic Law was intended for Israel as the Christian law is intended for the whole world. If then two thousand years after Christ the greater part of the world is still un-Christian, it is not astonishing that the Mosaic Law required centuries before it penetrated the whole nation. Besides, there were, no doubt, many violations of the law, just as the Ten Commandments are violated today without detriment to their legal promulgation. Again, there were times of religious reforms and disasters as there are periods of religious fervor and coldness in the history of the Christian Church; but such human frailties do not imply the non-existence of the law, either Mosaic or Christian. As to the particular laws in question, it will be found more satisfactory to examine them more in detail.

(ii) Pentateuchal Codes. The critics endeavor to establish a triple Pentateuchal code: the Book of the Covenant, Deuteronomy, and the Priestly Code. Instead of regarding this legislation as applying to different phases in the forty years' wandering in the desert, they consider it as agreeing with three historical stages in the national history. As stated above, the main objects of this triple legislation are the sanctuary, the feast, and the priesthood.

(a) The Sanctuary

At first, so the critics say, sacrifices were allowed to be offered in any place where the Lord had manifested his name (Ex. 20:24-6); then the sanctuary was limited to the one place chosen by God (Deut. 12:5); thirdly, the Priestly Code supposes the unity of sanctuary, and prescribes the proper religious rites to be observed. Moreover, the critics point out historical incidents showing that before the enforcement of the Deuteronomic law sacrifices were offered in various places quite distinct from the resting place of the ark. What do the defenders of the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch answer?

First, as to the triple law, it points to three different stages in Israel's desert life: before the erection of the tabernacle at the foot of Mt. Sinai, the people were allowed to erect altars and to offer sacrifices everywhere provided the name of the Lord had been manifested. Next, after the people had adored the golden calf, and the tabernacle had been erected, sacrifice could be offered only before the tabernacle, and even the cattle killed for consumption had to be slaughtered in the same place, in order to prevent a relapse into idolatry. Finally, when the people were about to enter the Promised Land, the last law was abolished, being then quite impossible, but the unity of sanctuary was kept in the place which God would choose.

Secondly, as to the historical facts urged by the critics, some of them are caused by direct Divine intervention, miracle or prophetic inspiration, and as such are fully legitimate; others are evidently violations of the law, and are not sanctioned by the inspired writers. It should be admitted that before God had chosen the site of national sanctuary, it was not forbidden by law to sacrifice anywhere, even away from the place of the ark. After the building of the temple, the law was not considered so stringent as to bind under all circumstances. Thus far, then the argument of the critics is not conclusive.

(b) The Sacrifices

According to the critics, the Book of the Covenant enjoined only the offering of the first fruits and the first-born of animals, the redemption of the first-born of men, and a free-will offering on visiting the sanctuary (Ex. 22:28-9; 23:15, [Heb. 23:19]). Deuteronomy more clearly defines some of these laws (15:19-23; 26:1-11), and imposes the law of tithes for the benefit of the poor, the widows, the orphans, and the Levites (26:12-5). The Priestly Code distinguishes different kinds of sacrifices, determines their rites, and introduces also incense offering. But history hardly bears out this view: as there existed a permanent priesthood in Silo, and later on in Jerusalem, we may safely infer that there existed a permanent sacrifice. The earliest prophets are acquainted with an excess of care bestowed on the sacrificial rites (cf. Amos 4:4, 5; 5:21- 2, 25; Osee, passim). The expressions of Jeremias (7:21-3) may be explained in the same sense. Sin offering was known long before the critics introduce their Priestly Code (Osee 4:8; Mich. 6:7; Ps. 39 [40]: 7; 1 Kings 3:14). Trespass offering is formally distinguished from sin offering in IV Kings 13:16 (cf. I Kings 6:3-15; Is. 53:10). Hence the distinction between the different kinds of sacrifice is due neither to Ezech., 45: 22- 5, nor to the Priestly Code.

(c) The Feasts

The Book of the Covenant, so the critics tell us, knows only three feasts: the seven-days feast of the azymes in memory of the exodus form Egypt, the feast of the harvest, and that of the end of the harvest (Ex. 23:14-7). Deuteronomy ordains the keeping of the feasts at the central sanctuary adds to Pasch to the feast of the azymes, places the second feast seven weeks after the first, and calls the third, "feast of tabernacles," extending its duration to seven days (Deut. 16:1-17). The Priestly Code prescribes the exact ritual for five feasts, adding the feast of trumpets and of atonement, all of which must be kept at the central sanctuary.

Moreover, history appears to endorse the contention of the critics. Judges 21:19 knows of only one annual feast in Silo. I Kings 1:3, 7, 21 testifies that the parents of Samuel went every year to Silo to the sanctuary. Jeroboam I established in his kingdom one annual feast similar to that celebrated in Jerusalem (III Kings 12:32-3). The earliest Prophets do not mention the names of the religious feasts; the Pasch is celebrated for the first time after the discovery of Deuteronomy (IV Kings 23:21-3); Ezechiel knows only three feasts and a sin offering on the first day of the first and the seventh month. But here again, the critics use the argument e silentio, which is not conclusive in this case. The feast of atonement, for instance, is not mentioned in the Old Testament outside the Pentateuch; only Josephus refers to its celebration in the time of John Hyrcanus or Herod. Will the critics infer from this, that the feast was not kept throughout the Old Testament? History does not record facts generally known. As to the one annual feast mentioned in the early records, weighty commentators are of opinion that after the settlement of the people in the Promised Land, the custom was gradually introduced of going to the central sanctuary only once a year. This custom prevailed before the critics allow the existence of the Deuteronomic law (III Kings 12:26-31), so that the latter cannot have introduced it. Isaias (29:1; 30:29) speaks of a cycle of feasts, but Osee 12:9 alludes already to the feast of tabernacles, so that its establishment cannot be due to the Priestly Code as the critics describe it. Ezechiel (45:18-25) speaks only of the three feasts that had to be kept at the central sanctuary.

(d) The Priesthood

The critics contend that the Book of the Covenant knows nothing of an Aaronitic priesthood (Ex. 24:5). They maintain that Deuteronomy mentions priests and Levites without any hierarchical distinction and without any high priest, determines their rights, and distinguishes only between the Levite living in the country and the Levite attached to the central sanctuary. Finally, they hold that the Priestly Code represents the priesthood as a social and hierarchical institution, with legally determined duties, rights, and revenues. This theory is said to be borne out by the evidence of history. However, the testimony of history points in the opposite direction.

At the time of Josue and the early Judges, Eleazar and Phinees, the son and nephew of Aaron, were priests (Num. 26: 1; Deut. 10:6; Jos. 14:1 sqq.; 22:13, 21; 24:33; Judges 20:28). From the end of the time of Judges to Solomon, the priesthood was in the hands of Heli and his descendants (I Kings 1:3 sqq.; 14:3; 21:1; 22:1) who sprang from Ithamar the younger son of Aaron (I Par. 24:3; cf. I Kings 22:29; 14:3; 2:7 sqq.). Solomon raised Sadoc, the son of Achitob, to the dignity of the high priesthood, and his descendants held the office down to the time of the Babylonian Captivity (II Kings 8:17; 15:24 sqq.; 20:25; III Kings 2:26-27, 35; Ezech. 44:15); that Sadoc too was of Aaronic descent is attested by I Par. 6:8. Besides the Books of Josue and Paralipomenon acknowledge the distinction between priests and Levites; according to I Kings 6:15, the Levites handled the ark, but the Bethsamites, the inhabitants of a priestly city (Jos. 21:13-6), offered sacrifice.

A similar distinction is made in II Kings 15:24; III Kings 8:3 sq.; Is., lxvi, 21. Van Hoonacker ("Les pretres et les levites dans le livre d'Ezechiel" in "Revue biblique," 1899, VIII, 180-189, 192-194) shows that Ezechiel did not create the distinction between priests and Levites, but that supposing the traditional distinction in existence, he suggested division in to these classes were made according to merit, and not according to birth (xliv, 15-xlv, 5). Unless the critics simply set aside all this historical evidence, they must grant the existence of an Aaronitic priesthood in Israel, and its division into priests and Levites, long before the D and P codes were promulgated according to the critical theory. It is true that in a number of passages persons are said to offer sacrifice who are not of Aaronitic descent: Judges 6:25 sqq.; 13:9; I Kings 7:9; 10:8; 13:9; II Kings 6:17; 24:25; III Kings 8:5, 62; etc. But in the first place, the phrase "to offer sacrifice" means either to furnish the victim (Lev. 1:2-5) or to perform the sacrificial rite. Any devout layman might furnish the victim. Secondly, it would be hard to prove that God committed the priestly office in such a way to Aaron and his sons as not to reserve to himself the liberty of delegating in extraordinary cases a non-Aaronite to perform the priestly functions.

(iii) Pentateuchal Redaction. The four documentary sources of the Pentateuch thus far descried were combined not by any one individual. Critics require rather three different stages of combination: first, a Yahwistic redactor RXX or RX combined J and E with a view of harmonizing them, and adapting them to Deuteronomic ideas; this happened either before or after the redaction of D. Secondly, after D had been completed in the sixth century B.C., a redactor, or perhaps a school of redactors, imbued with the spirit of D combined the documents JE into JED, introducing however the modifications necessary to secure consistency. Thirdly, a last redactor RX imbued with the letter and the spirit of P, combined this document with JED, introducing again the necessary changes. The table of nations in Gen., xiv was according to Kunen added by this last redactor.

At first sight, one is struck by the complex character of this theory; as a rule, truth is of a more simple texture. Secondly, one is impressed by the unique nature of the hypothesis; antiquity has nothing to equal it. Thirdly, if one reads or studies the Pentateuch in the light of this theory, one is impressed by the whimsical character of the redactor; he often retained what should have been omitted, and omitted what should have been retained. The critics themselves have to take refuge, time and time again, in the work of the redactor, in order save their own views of the Pentateuch. One German writer does not hesitate to call the complex redactor ein genialer Esel. Fourthly, a truth-loving, straightforward reader is naturally shocked by the literary fictions and forgeries, the editorial changes and subterfuges implied in the critical theory of the Pentateuchal documents and redaction.

The more moderate critics endeavor to escape this inconvenience. Some appeal to the difference between the ancient and the modern standard of literary property and editorial accuracy; others practically sanctify the means by the end. Oettli considers the dilemma "either the work of Moses or the work of a deceiver" as the expression of sheer imprudence; Kautzsch unctuously points to the depth of the wisdom and knowledge of God whose ways we cannot fathom, but must admire. The left wing of criticism openly acknowledges that there is no use in hushing up matters; it actually is the result of scientific research that both form and contents of a great part of the Old Testament are based on conscious fiction and forgery.

Style of the Pentateuch.

In some general introductions to the Pentateuch its messianic prophecies are specially considered, i.e., the so-called proto-evangelium, Gen. 3:15; the blessing of Sem, Gen. 9:26-7; the patriarchal promises, Gen. 12:2; 13:16; 15:5; 17:4-6, 16; 18:10-15; 22:17; 26:4; 28:14; the blessing of the dying Jacob, Gen. 49:8-10; the Prophecy of Balaam, Num. 24:15 sqq.; and the great Prophet announced by Moses, Deut. 18:15-19. But these prophecies belong rather to the province of exegesis than introduction. Again, some general introductions of the work consider the text of the Pentateuch. We have seen already that besides the Massoretic Text we have to take into account the earlier text followed by the Septuagint translators, and the still earlier readings of the Samaritan Pentateuch; a detailed investigation of this subject belongs to the field of textual or lower criticism. But the style of the Pentateuch can hardly be referred to any other department of Pentateuchal study.

As Moses no doubt employed pre-existent documents in the composition of his work, and as he must have made use too of the aid of secretaries, we expect antecedently a variety of style in the Pentateuch. It is no doubt due to the presence of this literary phenomenon that the critics have found so many points of support in their minute analysis. But in general, the style of the work is in keeping with its contents. There are three kinds of material in the Pentateuch: first, there are statistics, genealogies, and legal formularies; secondly, there are narrative portions; thirdly, there are parenthetic sections.

No reader will find fault with the writer's dry and simple style in his genealogical and ethnographic lists, in his table of encampments in the desert, or his legal enactments. Any other literary expression would be out of place in records of this kind. The narrative style of the Pentateuch is simple and natural, but also lively and picturesque. It abounds in simple character sketches, dialogues, and anecdotes. The accounts of Abraham's purchase of a burying-ground, of the history of Joseph, and of the Egyptian plagues are also dramatic. Deuteronomy has its peculiar style because of the exhortations it contains. Moses explains the laws he promulgates, but urges also, and mainly, their practice. As an orator, he shows a great deal of unction and persuasiveness, but is not destitute of the earnestness of the Prophets. His long sentences remain at times incomplete, thus giving rise to so-called anacolutha (cf. Dt. 6:10-12; 8: 11- 17; 9:9-11; 11:2-7; 24:1-4). Being necessarily a popular preacher, he is not lacking in repetitions. But his earnestness, persuasiveness, and unction do not interfere with the clearness of his statements. He is not merely a rigid legislator, but he shows his love for the people, and in turn wins their love and confidence.


The various exegetical systems which exclude the literal and historical sense of the first three chapters of the Book of Genesis are not based on solid foundation. It should not be taught that these three chapters do not contain true narrations of facts, but only fables derived from the mythologies and cosmogonies of earlier peoples, purged of the polytheistic errors and accommodated to monotheism. It should not be taught that they are allegories and symbols, with no objective reality, set forth in the guise of history to inculcate religious and philosophical truths; or, finally, legends partly historical and partly fictitious put together for instruction and edification. In particular, doubt should not be cast on the literal and historical sense of passages which touch on the foundations of the Christian religion, as, for instance, the creation of the universe by God at the beginning of time; the special creation of man; the formation of the first woman from the first man; the unity of the human race; the original happiness, integrity, and immortality of our first parents in the state of justice; the precept given by God to man to try his obedience; the transgression of the Divine precept, at the suggestion of the Devil, under the form of a serpent; the fall of our first parents from their original state of justice; the promise of a future Redeemer.

In explaining such passages in these chapters as the Fathers of the Church interpreted differently, one may follow and defend the opinion that meets his approval. Not every word or phrase in these chapters is always necessarily to be taken in its literal sense so that it may never have another, as when it is manifestly used metaphorically or anthropomorphically. The literal and historical meaning of some passages in these chapters presupposed, an allegorical and prophetical meaning may wisely and usefully be employed. As in writing the first chapter of Genesis the purpose of the sacred author was not to expound in a scientific manner the constitution of the universe or the complete order of creation, but rather to give to the people popular information in the ordinary language of the day, adapted to the intelligence of all, so here the strict propriety of scientific language is not always to be looked for in their terminology. The expression six days and their division should be taken in the sense of certain periods of time.



Hebrew liberator, leader, lawgiver, prophet, and historian, lived in the thirteenth and early part of the twelfth century, B.C.


Moshéh (M. T.), Mouses, Moses. In Ex. 2:10, a derivation from the Hebrew Mashah (to draw) is implied. Josephus and the Fathers assign the Coptic mo (water) and uses (saved) as the constituent parts of the name. Nowadays the view of Lepsius, tracing the name back to the Egyptian mesh (child), is widely patronized by Egyptologists, but nothing decisive can be established.


To deny or to doubt the historic personality of Moses is to undermine and render unintelligible the subsequent history of the Israelites. Rabbinical literature teems with legends touching every event of his marvellous career. Taken singly, these popular tales are purely imaginative, yet, considered in their cumulative force, they vouch for the reality of a grand and illustrious personage, of strong character, high purpose, and noble achievement, so deep, true, and efficient in his religious convictions as to thrill and subdue the minds of an entire race for centuries after his death. The Bible furnishes the chief authentic account of this luminous life.

Birth to Vocation (Exodus 2:1-22).

Of Levitic extraction, and born at a time when by kingly edict had been decreed the drowning of every new male offspring among the Israelites, the "goodly child" Moses, after three months' concealment, was exposed in a basket on the banks of the Nile. An elder brother (Ex. 7:7) and sister (Ex. 2:4), Aaron and Mary (AV and RV, Miriam), had already graced the union of Jochabed and Amram. The second of these kept watch by the river, and was instrumental in inducing Pharaoh's daughter, who rescued the child, to entrust him to a Hebrew nurse. The one she designedly summoned for the charge was Jochabed, who, when her "son had grown up," delivered him to the princess. In his new surroundings, he was schooled "in all the wisdom of the Egyptians" (Acts 7:22). Moses next appears in the bloom of sturdy manhood, resolute with sympathies for his degraded brethren. Dauntlessly he hews down an Egyptian assailing one of them, and on the morrow tries to appease the wrath of two compatriots who were quarrelling. He is misunderstood, however, and, when upbraided with the murder of the previous day, he fears his life is in jeopardy. Pharaoh has heard the news, and seeks to kill him. Moses flees to Madian. An act of rustic gallantry there secures for him a home with Raguel, the priest. Sephora, one of Raguel's seven daughters, eventually becomes his wife and Gersam his first-born. His second son, Eliezer, is named in commemoration of his successful flight from Pharaoh.

Vocation and Mission (Exodus 2:23-12:33).

After forty years of shepherd life, Moses speaks with God. To Horeb (Jebel Sherbal?) in the heart of the mountainous Sinaitic peninsula, he drives the flocks of Raguel for the last time. A bush there flaming unburned attracts him, but a miraculous voice forbids his approach and declares the ground so holy that to approach he must remove his shoes. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob designates him to deliver the Hebrews from the Egyptian yoke, and to conduct them into the "land of milk and honey," the region long since promised to the seed of Abraham, the Palestine of later years.

Next, God reveals to him His name under a special form Yahweh (see article JEHOVAH) as a "memorial unto all generations." He performs two miracles to convince his timorous listener, appoints Aaron as Moses's "prophet," and Moses, so to speak, as Aaron's God (Ex. 4:16). Diffidence at once gives way to faith and magnanimity. Moses bids adieu to Jethro (Raguel), and, with his family, starts for Egypt. He carries in his hand the "rod of God," a symbol of the fearlessness with which he is to act in performing signs and wonders in the presence of a hardened, threatening monarch. His confidence waxes strong, but he is uncircumcised, and God meets him on the way and fain would kill him. Sephora saves her "bloody spouse," and appeases God by circumcising a son.

Aaron joins the party at Horeb. The first interview of the brothers with their compatriots is most encouraging, but not so with the despotic sovereign. Asked to allow the Hebrews three days' respite for sacrifices in the wilderness, the angry monarch not only refuses, but he ridicules their God, and then effectually embitters the Hebrews' minds against their new chiefs as well as against himself, by denying them the necessary straw for exorbitant daily exactions in brick making. A rupture is about to ensue with the two strange brothers, when, in a vision, Moses is divinely constituted "Pharaoh's God," and is commanded to use his newly imparted powers. He has now attained his eightieth year.

The episode of Aaron's rod is a prelude to the plagues. Either personally or through Aaron, sometimes after warning Pharaoh, or again quite suddenly, Moses causes a series of Divine manifestations, described as ten in number. In these he humiliates the sun and river gods, afflicts man and beast, and displays such unwonted control over the earth and heavens that even the magicians are forced to recognize in his prodigies "the finger of God."

Pharaoh softens at times but never sufficiently to meet the demands of Moses without restrictions. He treasures too highly the Hebrew labor for his public works. A crisis arrives with the last plague. The Hebrews, forewarned by Moses, celebrate the first Pasch or Phase with their loins girt, their shoes on their feet, and staves in their hands, ready for rapid escape. Then God carries out his dreadful threat to pass through the land and kill every first-born of man and beast, thereby executing judgment on all the gods of Egypt. Pharaoh can resist no longer. He joins the stricken populace in begging the Hebrews to depart.

Exodus and the Forty Years (Exodus 12:34 and After).

At the head of 600,000 men, besides women and children, and heavily laden with the spoils of the Egyptians, Moses follows a way through the desert, indicated by an advancing pillar of alternating cloud and fire, and gains the peninsula of Sinai by crossing the Red Sea. A dry passage, miraculously opened by him for this purpose at a point today unknown, afterwards proves a fatal trap for a body of Egyptian pursuers, organized by Pharaoh and possibly under his leadership. The event furnishes the theme of the thrilling canticle of Moses.

For upwards of two months the long procession, much retarded by the flocks, the herds, and the difficulties inseparable from desert travel, wends its way towards Sinai. To move directly on Chanaan would be too hazardous because of the warlike Philistines, whose territory would have to be crossed; whereas, on the southeast, the less formidable Amalacites are the only inimical tribes and are easily overcome thanks to the intercession of Moses. For the line of march and topographical identifications along the route, the miraculous water obtained from the rock Horeb, and the supply of the quails and manna, bespeak the marvelous faith of the great leader. The meeting with Jethro ends in an alliance with Madian, and the appointment of a corps of judges subordinate to Moses, to attend to minor decisions.

At Sinai the Ten Commandments are promulgated, Moses is made mediator between God and the people, and, during two periods of forty days each, he remains in concealment on the mount, receiving from God the multifarious enactments, by the observance of which Israel is to be molded into a theocratic nation. On his first descent, he exhibits an all-consuming zeal for the purity of Divine worship, by causing to perish those who had indulged in the idolatrous orgies about the Golden Calf; on his second, he inspires the deepest awe because his face is emblazoned with luminous horns.

After instituting the priesthood and erecting the Tabernacle, Moses orders a census that shows an army of 603,550 fighting men. These with the Levites, women, and children, duly celebrate the first anniversary of the Pasch, and, carrying the Ark of the Covenant, shortly enter on the second stage of their migration. Hobab, Jethro’s son, who acts as a guide, accompanies them. Two instances of general discontent follow, of which the first is punished by fire, which ceases as Moses prays, and the second by plague. When the manna is complained of, quails are provided as in the previous year. Seventy elders- a conjectural origin of the Sanhedrin- are then appointed to assist Moses. Next Aaron and Mary envy their brother, but God vindicates him and afflicts Mary temporarily with leprosy. From the desert of Pharao Moses sends spies into Chanaan, who, with the exceptions of Joshue and Caleb, bring back startling reports which throw the people into consternation and rebellion. The great leader prays and God intervenes, but only to condemn the present generation to die in the wilderness.

The subsequent uprising of Core, Dathan, Abiron, and their adherents suggests that, during the thirty-eight years spent in the Badiet et-Tih, habitual discontent, so characteristic of nomads, continued. It is during this period that tradition places the composition of a large part of the Pentateuch (q.v.). Towards its close, Moses is doomed never to enter the Promised Land, presumably because of a momentary lack of trust in God at the Water of Contradiction. When the old generation, including Mary, the prophet's sister, is no more, Moses inaugurates the onward march around Edom and Moab to the Arnon.

After the death of Aaron and the victory over Arad, "fiery serpents" appear in the camp, a chastisement for renewed murmurings. Moses sets up the brazen serpent, "which when they that were bitten looked upon, they were healed." The victories over Sehon and Og, and the feeling of security animating the army even in the territory of the hostile Balac, led to presumptuous and scandalous intercourse with the idolatrous Moabites which results, at Moses's command, in the slaughter of 24,000 offenders. The census, however, shows that the army still numbers 601,730, excluding 23,000 Levites. Of these, Moses allows the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasses to settle in the east-Jordan district, without, however, releasing them from service in the west-Jordan conquest.

Death and Posthumous Glory.

As a worthy legacy to the people for whom he has endured unparalleled hardships, Moses in his last days pronounces the three memorable discourses preserved in Deuteronomy. His chief utterance relates to a future Prophet, like to himself, whom the people are to receive. He then bursts forth into a sublime song of praise to Jahweh and adds prophetic blessings for each of the twelve tribes. From Mount Nebo — on "the top of Phasga" — Moses views for the last time the Promised Land, and then dies at the age of 120 years. He is buried "in the valley of Moab over against Phogor," but no man "knows his sepulchre." His memory has ever been one of "isolated grandeur." He is the type of Hebrew holiness, so far outshining other models that twelve centuries after his death, the Christ Whom he foreshadowed seemed eclipsed by him in the minds of the learned. It was, humanly speaking, an indispensable providence that represented him in the Transfiguration, side by side with Elias, and quite inferior to the incomparable Antitype whose coming he had predicted.

Cana, Canaanites.

The Hebrew word Kenaan, denoting a person, occurs:

In the days when the trading Phoenicians held a prominent place, especially among the Canaanites, this word (Kena'ani), and even Canaan (e.g. Is. 23:8), got the signification of "merchant, trader." As the name of the country it occurs under the forms Kinahhi, Kinahni, and Kinahna, as early as two centuries before Moses in the cuneiform letters of Syrian and Palestinian princes to Egyptian Pharaos, found at Tell el-Amarna; and earlier still in Egyptian inscriptions, in the form Ka-n-'-na. The Phoenician town of Laodicea calls itself on coins from the second century B.C. "a mother in Kena'an." In Grecian literature too, evidence remains that the Phoenicians called one of their ancestors, as well as their country, Chna, and even at the time of St. Augustine the Punic country people near Hippo called themselves Chanani, i.e. Canaanites.

If the word be of Semitic origin, it should be derived from the root Kana, and mean originally, low, or, in a figurative sense, small, humble, despicable, subjected. Following this derivation in its original sense, "the land of Canaan" has been explained by various scholars as "the low land" — whether the name may have originally denoted only the flat seashore, or the mountainous country of Western Palestine as well, in opposition to the still higher mountains of the Lebanon and the Hermon.

But Biblical tradition rather seems to derive the name of the country from that of the person. It takes the "land of Canaan" as "the border of the Canaanites" (A.V. Gen. 10:19) i.e. of the race of Canaan, Ham's son, and it does not seem advisable to put against this so uncertain a conjecture as the etymology given above. The less so, as the figurative meaning of the word as a synonym of slave or servant, fits in very well with the little we know of Noah's grandson.

Canaan, the Son of Ham.

In Genesis 9:18 and 9:22, Ham appears as the father of Canaan, and in Noah's prediction (9:25-27) Canaan stands side by side with his "brothers" (in the larger sense of the Hebrew word) Shem and Japheth:

"He said: Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.

"And he said: Blessed be the Lord God of Shem, be Canaan his servant.

"May God enlarge Japheth, and may he dwell in the tents of Shem, and Canaan be his servant."

The curse called down on Canaan is undoubtedly connected with the sin of his father, Ham (verse 22). But it is rather hard to indicate the precise nature of this connection. Had Canaan in some way a share in his father's sin, and is it for this reason that what was said in verse 18 is repeated in the story of the sin, viz.: that Ham was the father of Canaan? Or is the latter struck by Noah's prophetic curse for the sins of his posterity, who were to imitate Ham's wickedness?

Certain it is, that this curse, as well as the blessing invoked upon Shem and Japheth, was especially fulfilled in their posterity. The descendants of Canaan were partly rooted out, partly subjected by the Israelites and all the Canaanite races, as such, disappeared from the scene of history. Others have tried to solve the problem by critical methods. It was supposed that Gen. 10:20-27 was derived from a source in which Canaan had taken the place of his father, Ham, and so was passed off as Noah's third son. It is as conceivable that in the original prophecy the name of Ham occurred, and that the Israelites, seeing the prophecy fulfilled, especially in the posterity of Canaan might have changed it to that of the son. But none of these critical conjectures has any solid foundation.

Quite uncertain, too, is the opinion that represents Canaan as the youngest of Ham's four sons. It is based on Gen. 10:6: "And the sons of Ham: Chus, and Mesram and Phuth, and Canaan." But this whole list of the descendants of Noah's sons is, at least in substance, ethnographical, and the order of succession geographical, hence an enumeration of tribes beginning with the most distant and ending in Palestine. In verses 16-20, therefore, there is question only of Canaanite tribes, and they occupy the last place because they dwell in or near, Palestine. Consequently, it cannot be concluded from this that Canaan was the youngest son of Ham.

The Land of Canaan.

With a few exceptions, the Biblical writers seem to indicate by this name at the least, the whole of Western or cis-Jordanic Palestine. It extends from the desert of Sin in the south to near Rohob and the entrance to Emath in the north (Num. 13:3, 18; cf. 22). A more accurate demarcation of the land of Canaan is in Num. 34:3-12, and Ezech., 47:15-20. For though the name does not occur in Ezechiel, the identity of the boundary lines is drawn there is not to be doubted. In either text, the western boundary is formed by the Mediterranean, and the greater part of the eastern by the Dead Sea and the lower course of the Jordan.

The southern frontier coincides with that of the territory of Juda (Jos. 15:1-4), whilst Cadesbarne (Ain Kedis), 30°33' N. latitude, may be taken as the most southern point. From this of Blessed Jerome’s time (In Ezech, Migne 25:476-478) the northern frontier was placed in Middle or even Northern Syria. From this passage of Blessed Jerome even a fons Daphnis (Daphne near Antioch) found its way into Vulgate (Num. 34:11) instead of the town of Ain. But though some of the border towns are not yet known with absolute certainty, we may take for granted nowadays that this northern boundary-line of Canaan must be drawn to the south of the Lebanon and Hermon, at about 33°18' N. lat. We may consider that it completely coincides with the northern frontier of the country conquered and inhabited by the Israelites, which, according to numerous quotations, stretched "from Dan to Bershabee" or "from the entering in of Emath unto the brook of Egypt." The northern part of the eastern boundary, however, seems to follow, not the upper course of the Jordan but the course of the Rukkad from Hasar-Enan (El-Hadr) to Ain (Ayun). Thus here the whole of Western Jaulan still seems to be included in the land Canaan — not, however, the land of Galaad or the country in general beyond the Jordan to the south of the Jarmuk.

All the places quoted above agree with this conception, and only twice does the name of the country Canaan occur in a more limited sense: first for the Phoenician coast (Is. 23:11), and secondly for the low land of the Philistines (Soph. 2:5) — both in a time when only these regions along the coast were still inhabited by Canaanites. We have already seen how the name was honored even later still in Phoenicia itself. In Egypt name of the country seems to be used especially for the seacoast; at the same time, the name Canaanites is also applied to the inhabitants of the mountainous country behind it. In the Tell el-Amarna letters the country of Kinahhi seems to include both the Phoenician coast and the mountains of Upper Galilee, and probably, farther to the north, the country of Amurri (Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon). Cf. H. Clauss Zeitschrift des Deutschell Palastinavereins (1907) 30:17-67.

Gen. 10:15-18 enumerates as the descendants of Canaan a series of tribes, most of which, and originally perhaps all, were settled outside Palestine proper and up to Northern Syria. "And Canaan begot Sidon, his firstborn, the Hethite, and the Jebusite, and the Amorrhite, and the Gergesite, the Hevite and the Aracite: the Sinite, and the Aradian, the Samarite, and the Hamathite: and afterwards the families of the Canaanites were spread abroad." These latter are the tribes peopling Biblical Canaan or western Palestine: "And the limits of Canaan were from Sidon as one comes to Gerara even Gaza, until thou enter Sodom and Gomorrha, and Adama, and Seboim even to Lesa."

If we may identify Lesa (A.V. Lasha) with Lesem (Jos. 19:47) or Lais (Judges 18:14, etc), the Dan of later days, the coast from Sidon to Gaza and Gerara is here indicated as the western boundary of Canaan, and the valley of the Jordan from the Pentapolis to Lais-Dan as the eastern boundary. But the "Codex Samaritanus" has in verse 19 quite another statement: "And the border of the Canaanite was from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, and [from the Euphrates] to the hindmost [or Western] Sea." Apparently by "the Canaanite" are here meant all the descendants of Canaan, mentioned in verses 15-18, of whom the Hethites, at least, lived close to the Euphrates.

It is hard to decide which reading is the original one. Both show the descendants of Canaan settled in the Biblical "land of Canaan," i.e. the later "land of Israel." As a rule, it is the pre-Israelite inhabitants of this "land of Canaan," taken collectively, who are indicated by this common name of Canaanites. It is thus in the Pentateuch, especially in parts attributed to a Jahvistic source, as e.g. Gen. 12:6, 24:37 38:2. Elsewhere, however, chiefly in so-called Elohistic parts, the name of Amorrhites is used in the same general sense. And very often as many as six or seven or even eleven, different tribes or peoples are distinguished; one of which in particular bears the name of Canaanites. Thus e.g. Exod. 3:8: "The Canaanite, and Hethite, and Amorrhite and Pherezite, and Hevite, and Jebusite." Repeatedly (e.g. Jos. 3:l0), the Gergesites, mentioned above (Gen 10:16), are added; and in Gen. 15:19-21, we find "the Cineans and Cenezites, Cedmonites . . . the Raphaim also"; whilst in Num. 14:25, the Amelectite; in A.V. Deut 2:23 and Jos. 13:3, the Avims; and in Jos. 11:21 (and elsewhere), the Enacims are named, leaving out other older, and probably trans-Jordanic, tribes like the Zuzim, the Emim, and the Chorreans (Gen. 14:5-6).

Of most of these tribes, little or nothing is known. The Hethites founded a mighty kingdom in Northern Syria, but it is uncertain whether their namesakes in the south of Palestine (Gen., 23:3, 24:34, etc) had anything in common with them besides the name. About the Canaanites in a more limited sense we learn that they had their dwelling-place to the east and west of the mountains, i.e. along the coast of the Mediterranean and in the valley of the Jordan and the Araba to the south of the Dead Sea (Num. 13:30 14:25; Deut 1:7; 11:29 sq; Jos. 5:1 11:3-13:3). So it is by this name that the Phoenicians are still called in Abd., 20; and the "Syrophenician" woman of Mark 7:26, is a Canaanite woman in Matth. 15:22.

It is not likely that all the various pre-Israelite tribes remained sharply distinguished from one another. "There are good reasons for believing that at a very early period the population of Palestine already presented a mixture of races, and that through intermarriage the dividing lines between these races became fainter in the course of time, until all sharp distinctions were obliterated. The problem of distinguishing between these various groups whom the Hebrews encountered upon setting in Palestine is at present incapable of solution" (Morris, Jastrow, Jr. Encyclop. Bibl., I, 642).

Still it does not seem too great a venture to distinguish (with Hughes Vincent, "Canaan," p. 455) two principal groups of tribes: the Amorrhites in the mountains and the Canaanites along the seacoast and in the valley of the Jordan, and perhaps in the plain of Esdrelon (Jos. 17:12-18). On the other hand, when the Israelites under Josue penetrated into Canaan they found this mixed "Canaanite" or "Amorrhite" population, not bound together politically under one government but divided into more than thirty petty kingdoms (Jos. 12:7-14), a state of things which must have made the conquest considerably easier for them.

This same system of cutting up the country into small parts obtained two or three centuries earlier, in the time of the Tell el-Amarna letters, which were for the greater part written by, or to a number of these city-kings — and apparently even earlier still in the days of Abraham (Gen. 14:2, 8, 18 20:2). In this respect, these letters contain a striking corroboration of the Biblical story. After the campaigns of Tothmes III in the sixteenth century B.C. all these small states acknowledged the supremacy of the Egyptian Pharaohs and paid them tribute. After a time, however, this sovereignty must have gradually become more and more nominal, and in spite of the later campaigns of Seti I and Rames II against Hethites, it left no traces after the conquest by Josue.

The further particulars given by the Bible about the Canaanites are rather scanty. We read occasionally of their cities "great and walled up to the sky" (Deut. 1:28; cf. Num. 13:29); of their "chariots of iron" (Jos. 17:16): and repeatedly of their gods Baal and Moloch and their goddesses Astarte and Ashera. We read of their altars and their stone pillars (masseboth) and wooden posts (asherim), in connection with these altars, of their sacrifices of children and manifold forms of moral perversity. We learn of the abominations on account of which "the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants" (A.V. Lev. 18:25), and which, in spite of the severe prohibition of the Law and the admonitions of the Prophets, found but too much imitation in Israel itself. Most of these particulars have received a splendid corroboration and explanation in archaeological discoveries, principally in consequence of the systematic excavations conducted in Palestine by W.H. Flinders Petrie and F.J. Bliss at Tell el-Hesy; by Bliss and M.R.A. Stewart Macalister at Tell Zakariya, Tell es-Safy, and Tell Jedeide. They’ve been borne out by Macalister at Teil Jezer; by E. Sellin at Thenac; by G. Schumacher at Tell el-Mutesallim — to all of which Sellin added in 1907 his labors at old Jericho.

Even before the tribes who are introduced to us as Canaanites in the Bible penetrated into Palestine (between 3000 and 2500 B.C.), there must have lived for many centuries an older population, dwelling there partly in caves, but also possessing their primitive "towns" surrounded by earthen walls. This period is characterized especially by stone instruments and very primitive earthenware. The Canaanite tribes who gradually took their place came from the north and were for a long time, if not under the supremacy, without a doubt under the manifold influence of Babylon, which Sellin added in 1907 his labors at old Jericho.

In the fifteenth century B.C., when the country was already politically subject to Egypt, the kings of the Canaanite towns used in their correspondence, not only with the Pharaos but also between themselves, the Babylonian cuneiform characters, and — with the addition of a number of Canaanite words — the language of Babylon as well. Macalister (Pal. Expl. fund Quart. Stat. 1905, 323 sq), and, quite lately, Sellin (Mitth.und Nach. des Deutschen Palastinavereins, 1907, 70) found some scanty evidence that the Old Hebrew or Phoenician characters were also known in those days.

Civilization meanwhile, had made immense progress, as is evident from the rise of bronze and other metals — soon, too, of iron. It appears evident from the building of dwelling-places, city stalls, towers, and strongholds; from the increasing number and value of objects of domestic and religious use. We learn it from the designs and fitting up of sanctuaries and burial caves; and from the richer variety of form, ornamentation, and painting in the products of the potter's art — though art does not appear to have enjoyed a continuous and even development.

When the Israelites (Num 13:29; Deut. 1:28) speak in awe of "great cities," the hyperbole is nearly as great as in the expression "walled up to the sky." Those explored have covered, at most, seven or eight hectares (about 19 acres), but the fortifications have been excellent. The walls of Jericho, built of burnt bricks, had a width of from three to twelve metres, i.e. from about 9 to 39 feet (Sellin. op. cit., p. 69).

If the ancient inhabitants offered their sacrifices in dish-like cups cut in the surface of the rocky ground, the Canaanites had their open-air temples, or Bamoth (high places), with altar, sacrificial pit, and stone pillars from about seven to nine feet high. At Gazer eight pillars were found, still standing, the smallest of which (about 51/2 feet high) seems to the oldest, and is perhaps the real emblem of the deity. Of the asherim, or wooden posts, only the stone bases seem to remain. Two large grottos situated under the sanctuary must also have played a part in this worship.

But the most disgusting traces of this idolatry are the skeletons of infants — mostly new-born babes — sacrificed to the deity, which at Gazer were found buried in jars beneath the floor of the sanctuary, and elsewhere, especially at Mageddo, in its immediate neighborhood. Several times the remains of these human victims, among which have been adults, were found beneath or in the foundations of houses and other buildings; a striking illustrations of the words of Jos. 6:26: "Cursed be the man before the Lord that shall raise up and build the city of Jericho. In [or with] his firstborn may be lay the foundation thereof, and in [or with] the last of his children set up its gates."

The naturalistic character of this religion becomes especially evident in the numerous Astarte plaques, or statuettes, of divergent types, and likewise in the often-occurring phallic emblems. Among these latter, some class part of the baetylic stone pillars, and find in a few bulls' heads representations of Baal or Moloch. Some representations of Babylonian deities also occur, and, still more frequently, images from Egyptian mythology. The Astarte plaques likewise show Egyptian inspiration. In short, the Canaanite civilization seems continually to have felt the influence of both these nations. In pottery, moreover, Aegean-Phoenician art produced marked results from the beginning of the fourteenth century B.C. On the other hand, the settlement of the Israelites in Canaan, judging from the explorations made, opened no new period in so far as archaeology is concerned, so that the "Canaanite" period (i.e. the various "Semitic" periods of Macalister, Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statements, 1907, p. 203) has been extended to about the ninth or eighth century B.C.

Indeed, the submission of the Canaanite was not made effectual nearly so soon as some chapters of the Book of Josue might lead us to expect. Particularly the places that have become best known to us through the excavations, Thenac, Mageddo, and Gazer, are among those that submitted to Israel only after a lapse of time (Jos. 17:11-13; Judges 1:27-29). Gazer even in the days of Solomon was still inhabited by Canaanites (III Kings 9:16). And in the same context (verses 20-21) we learn that Solomon, through forced statute labor, subjugated "unto this day," the whole of the Canaanite population of his realm. Thus, Canaan had become once and for all the servant of Shem. Afterwards Phoenicia with its colonies was subjugated by the Romans, sons of Japheth, and soon vanished altogether from the roll of nations.


Josue (Joshua).

The name of eight persons in the Old Testament, and of one of the Sacred Books.

('Oseé), a Bethsamite in whose field the ark stood on its way back from the land of the Philistines to Juda (I Kings 6:14, 18).

('Iesoûs), governor of Jerusalem whose idolatrous altars King Josias destroyed, during the latter's attempts to undo the evil wrought by his father Amon and grandfather Manasses (IV Kings 22:8).

('Iesoûs), the son of Josedec and the high­priest who returned with Zorobabel from the Babylonian Captivity to Jerusalem (I Esd. 2:2; II Esd. 7:7; 21:1). In I and II Esd. the Vulgate calls him Josue; in Agg. and Zach, Jesus. He assisted Zorobabel in rebuilding the Temple, and was most zealous for the restoration of the religion of Israel (I Esd. 3:2, 8; 4:3; 5:2). It was he whom Zacharias saw in vision stripped of filthy garments and clothed in clean robes and mitre, while the angel of the Lord proclaimed the high­priest the type of the coming Messias (Zach. 3).

('Iesoué, 'Iesoû), a head of the family of Phahath Moab, one of the families named in the list of Israelites that returned from the Babylonian Exile (I Esd. 2:6; II Esd. 7:11).

('Iesoî 'Iesoû), a head of the priestly family of Idaia, maybe the high­priest Josue mentioned above (I Esd. 2:36; II Esd. 7:39).

('Iesoûs, 'Iesoû), the name of a priestly family descended from Oduia, as also of various heads of that family after the Exile (I Esd. 2:40; 3:9; 8: 33; II Esd. 3:19; 7:43; 8: 7; 9:4, 5; 12:8, Vulg. Jesua; 12:24).

('Iesía), one of the sons of Herem who were ordered to put away their wives taken from the land of the stranger (I Esd. 10:31).

(First called Osee; Sept. 'Iesoûs, first Aúsé), the son of Nun; the genealogy of the family is given in I Par. 7:20-27; it belonged to the tribe of Ephraim. Josue commanded the army of Israel, after the Exodus, in its battle with Amalec (Ex. 17:9-13), was called the minister of Moses (24:13), accompanied the great lawgiver to and from Mount Sinai (31:17) and into the tabernacle of the covenant (33:11), and acted as one of twelve spies whom Moses sent to view the land of Chanaan (Num. 13:9).

On this occasion, Moses changed his servant's name from Osee to Josue (Num. 13:17). The new name most likely means "Jahweh is salvation." Josue and Caleb alone spoke well of the land, even though the people wished to stone them for not murmuring and these two lived on (Num. 14:38). Josue was chosen by God to succeed Moses. The words of the choice show the character of the chosen (Num. 27:17-18). Before Eleazar and all the assembly of the people Moses laid hands on Josue. Later this soldier was proposed by Moses to the people to lead them into the land beyond the Jordan (Deut. 31:3), and was ordered by the Lord to do so (31:23). After the death of Moses, Josue was filled with the spirit of wisdom and was obeyed by the children of Israel (Deut. 34:9). The rest of story of Josue is told in the Book of Josue.

The Book of Joshua.

The sixth book of the Old Testament; in the plan of the critics, the last book of the Hexateuch. In the Fathers, the book is often called "Jesus Nave." The name dates from the time of Origen, who translated the Hebrew "son of Nun" by uìòs Nauê and insisted upon the Nave as a type of a ship; hence in the name Jesus Nave many of the Fathers see the type of Jesus, the Ship wherin the world is saved.


The Book of Josue contains two parts: the conquest of the Promised Land and the division thereof. (a) The Conquest (1:-12:). Josue enters the land of promise, after being assured by spies that the way is safe. It is the tenth day of the first month, forty-one years since the Exodus. The channel of the Jordan is dry during the passage of Israel (1:-3:) A monument is erected in the midst of the Jordan, and one at Galgal, to commemorate the miracle. Josue camps at Galgal (4:). The Israelites born during the wandering are circumcised; the pasch is eaten the first time in the land of promise; the manna ceases to fall; Josue is strengthened by the vision of an angel (5:). The walls of Jericho fall without a blow; the city is sacked; its inhabitants are put to death; only the family of Rahab is spared (6:).

Israel goes up against Hai. The crime of Achan causes defeat. Josue punishes that crime and takes Hai (7-8:29); sets up an altar on Mount Hebal; subjugates the Gabaonites (8:30-9:), defeats the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jerimoth, Lachis, and Eglon; captures and destroys Maceda, Lebna, Lachis, Eglon, Hebron, Dabir, and the South even to Gaza; marches North and defeats the combined forces of the kings at the waters of Meron (10:-12:). (b) The Division of the Land among the Tribes of Israel (13:-22:). Epilogue: last message and death of Josue (23:-24:).


(a) In the Jewish canon Josue is among the Early Prophets Josue, Judges, and the four Books of Kings. It was not grouped with the Pentateuch, chiefly because, unlike Exodus and Leviticus, it contained no Torah, or law; also because the five books of the Torah were assigned to Moses. (b) In the Christian canon Josue has ever held the same place as in the Jewish canon.


Non-Orthodox have almost all followed the critics in the question of the "Hexateuch"; even the conservative Hastings, "Dict. of the Bible," ed. 1909, takes it for granted that Josue (Joshua) is a post-Exile patchwork.

The first part (1: -12:) is made up of two documents, probably J and E (Jehovistic and Elohistic elements), put together by J E and later revised by the Deuterocanonical editor (D); to this latter is assigned all of the first chapter. Very little of this portion is the work of P (the compiler of the Priestly Code).

In the second part (xiii-xxii), the critics are uncertain as to whether the last editing was the work of the Deuteronomic or the Priestly editor. They agree in this that the same hands those of J, E, D, and P are at work in both parts, and that the portions that must be assigned to P have characteristics that are not at all found in his work in the Pentateuch.

The final redaction is post-Exilic a work done about 440-400 B.C.

Such in brief is the theory of the critics, who differ here as elsewhere in the matter of the details assigned to the various writers and the order of the editing, which all assume was certainly done. (See G. A. Smith and Welch in Hastings, "Dict. of the Bible," large and small editions respectively, s. v. "Joshua"; Moore in Cheyne, "Encyc. Bibl."; Wellhausen, "Die Composition des Hexateuchs und der historischen Bücher des A. T.," Berlin, 1889; Driver, "Introd. to Lit. of O.T.," New York, 1892, 96.).

The Jews knew no such Hexateuch, no such six books set together by a final editor; they always kept a marked distinction between the Pentateuch and Josue, and rather linked Josue with Judges than with Deuteronomy. The well-known preface to Ecclus. (Sept.) separates the "Law" from the "Prophets." The Samaritans have the Torah entirely separate from the recently discovered Samaritan Josue.

The Church defends the pre-Exilic unity of composition of Josue and its editorial independence of the Pentateuch. This independence is shown by the completeness and originality of the plan of the book. We have seen the unity of this plan Josue's conquest and division of the Promised Land. The purpose is clear to carry on the history of the chosen people after the death of Moses. The purpose of the Pentateuch was very different, to codify the laws of the chosen people as well as to sum up their primitive history. No laws are codified in Josue. The critics argue that the death of Moses leaves a void to be filled up, i. e. the conquest of the land of promise, and therefore postulate this conquest for the historical, if not for the legal, completeness of the Pentateuch. Such an hypothesis would justify one in postulating also that the history of the conquest after the death of Josue be needed for the historical completeness of the Pentateuch.

Again, the completeness of Josue's narrative of the conquest of the Promised Land is clear from the fact that it repeats data that are already given in the Pentateuch and are details of that conquest. The orders of Moses to the children of Ruben and of Gad are clear-cut in the Pentateuch (Num. 32:20 sqq.). So, too, is the execution of these orders by the Rubenites and Gadites in the lands of the Amorrhites and of Basan (Num. 32:33-38).

If Josue is part of the composite and late composition which the critics make the Mosaic books out to be, how comes it that these very data concerning the children of Ruben and of Gad are repeated by the supposititious Deuteronomic D¹ or D² when he comes to set together the J and E and P of Josue? Why does he break in upon his continued narrative (see Jos. 1:12; 13:15-28)? Why this useless repetition of the same names, if not because of the unity of composition of Josue? Why are the cities of refuge given again (cf. 20:8; Deut. 4:41 sqq.)? To answer these and similar difficulties, the critics have recourse to an uncritical subterfuge. D¹ or D² was not brought up in the school of modern criticism; hence his blunderings. We cannot accept so uncritical and freehanded a writer as the God-chosen and inspired editor of the Pentateuch and Josue.


  1. The Book of Josue was certainly written before the time of David, for the Chanaanite still dwelt in Gazer (16:10), the Jebusite in Jerusalem (15:63), and Sidon held supremacy in Phoenicia (14:28). Whereas, before the time of Solomon, the Egyptians had driven the Chanaanite from Gazer (III Kings 9:16), David had captured Jerusalem in the eighth year of his reign (II Kings 5:5), and Tyre (twelfth century B.C.) had supplanted Sidon in the supremacy of Phoenicia. Moreover, in David's time, no writer could have set down his allies the Phoenicians among the peoples to be destroyed (13:6).
  2. Internal evidence favors the view that the author lived not long after the death of Josue. The territory assigned to each tribe is very exactly described. Only the land allotted to Ephraim is set down (16:5), since occupation was delayed (17:16); on the other hand, we are told not only the portion of land allotted to Juda and Benjamin, but the cities they had captured (15:1 sqq.; 18:11 sqq.); as for the other tribes, the progress they had made in winning the cities of their lot is told us with an accuracy which could not be explained were we to admit that the narrative is post-Exilic in its final redaction. Only the inadmissible bungling of the uncritical D¹ or D² will serve to explain away this argument.
  3. The question remains: Did Josue write all save the epilogue? Opinions are divided. Most of the Fathers seem to have taken it for granted that the author is Josue; still there have ever been scholars who assigned the work to some one shortly after the death of the great leader. Theodoret (In Jos., q. xiv), Pseudo-Athanasius (Synopsis Sacr. Scrip.), Tostatus (In Jos. 1:q. xiii; vii), Maes ("Josue Imperatoris Historia," Antwerp, 1574), Haneberg ("Gesch. der bibl. Offenbarung," Ratisbon, 1863, 202), Danko ("Hist. Rev. Div. V. T.," Vienna, 1862, 200), Meignan ("De Moïse à David," Paris, 1896, 335), and many other authors admit that the Book of Josue contains signs of later editing; but all insist that this editing was done before the Exile.


The chief objection of rationalists to the historical worth of the book is the almost overwhelming force of the miraculous therein; this objection has no worth to the Biblical exegete. Saints Paul (Heb. 11:30, 31; 13:5), James (2:25), and Stephen (Acts 7:45), the tradition of the Synagogue and of the Church accept the Book of Josue as historical. To the Fathers Josue is an historical person and a type of the Messias. As an antidote to accusations that Josue was cruel and murderous, etc., one should read the Assyrian and Egyptian accounts of the almost contemporary treatment of the vanquished. Blessed Augustine solved the rationalistic difficulty by saying that the abominations of the Chanaanites merited the punishment which God, as Master of the world, meted out to them by the hand of Israel (In Hept., III, 56; P.L. 34:702, 816). These abominations of phallic worship and infant sacrifice have been proven by the excavations of the Palestine Exploration Fund at Gazer.


The Septuagint is preserved in two different recensions the Alexandrian (A) and Vatican (B) and varies considerably from the Masorah; the Vulgate often differs from all three (3:4; 4:3-13; 5:6). The Samaritan Josue recently discovered, resembles the Sept. more closely than the Masorah.



The seventh book of the Old Testament, second of the Early Prophets of the Hebrew canon.


The Hebrew name of the book was transliterated by Origen Safateím, and by Blessed Jerome Sophtim; it was translated by Melito and Origen Kritaí, by the Septuagint ì tôn kritôn bíblos or tôn kritôn, so, too, by the Greek Fathers; the Latins translated liber Judicum or Judicum.

The Hebrew verb meant originally "to act as a Divine judge," and was applied to God (Gen. 18:25), and to Moses acting as the specially inspired lawgiver and judge of Israel (Ex. 18:13, 16). In time, the elders of the people became the "judges." In this book the term judges (shôphatîm) is applied to the leaders of Israel, and would seem to indicate that their right was Divine (Judges 10:2, 3). The office of judge differed from that of king only in the absence of hereditary succession (12:7-15). It is worth noting that the Phoenicians, according to Livy, called their chief magistrate suffetes (XXVIII, xxxvii), and gave to the suffetes of Carthage a power analogous to that of the Roman consul (30, vii; 34, lxi).


(1) Introduction (1-25:5). A summary of the conquest of Chanaan (1:1-36). The angel of Jahweh reproves the tribes that made league with the stranger (2:1-5). (2) The history of Israel under the judges (2:6-16), introduced by a summary of its contents — Israel's forsaking of Jahweh, turning to Baal and Astaroth, defeat by her enemies, and deliverance by Jahweh (2:6-3:6). Then follow the wonderful deeds of the judges, of whom Gedeon and Samson are the chief heroes; to them are devoted seven chapters. (3) Two more stories of the times of the judges — the migration of Dan and their idolatrous worship of the idol of Michas (17-18), the crime of the Benjamites and their punishment by Israel (19:-21:).


The Book of Judges is admitted by all to belong to the canons of the Jews of Palestine, the Jews of the Dispersion (the Alexandrian canon), and the Christians. Only the authority of the Church can determine the canon of Sacred Scripture, and define the inspired meaning of the Books. Hence, Orthodox Christians may not go the way of Rationalists and of Protestants in the matter of the so-called late and manifold redaction of Judges.


The chief arguments for the authenticity of Judges are given below under Historicity and Sources. We now appeal to: The canonizing of the book by Jews and Christians as an authentic narrative of part of Israel's history; the life-like style of the work; the minute and accurate details of the narrative; the evident purpose of the narrator to give a history of the things whereof he knows.


Although the purpose of the narrator is evidently to give a history of the events that took place in Israel between the days of Josue and of Samuel, yet that purpose is rather epic and didactic than historical in the modern sense of the word.

(1) The narrator does not purpose history in the modern sense; he does not narrate in historical order all the important events of the period. This fact is clear from the appendixes (17:-21:), which give very important events outside their proper historical order.

(2) The historian of Judges has an epic purpose, as early historians (e.g. Herodotus) often had. The epos, or theme, of the historian of Judges is evolved in the summary (2:6-3:6), wherewith he introduces the history proper; he has it ever in mind to unfold why Jahweh allowed the foe to abide so long in the promised land, and even to defeat the chosen people, and why He raised up the judges. The idolatry of Israel is the reason.

(3) The didactic purpose of the book is to teach Israel that the commandments of Jahweh should be obeyed (3:4). When Israel leaves Jahweh, Jahweh leaves Israel, at least for the while; the foes of Israel triumph (cf. Aug., "De Civ. Dei," 16: 43).


The problem is complicated. Most contradictory theories have been proposed. In the matter of historical criticism of Judges, as of the Pentateuch, Biblical scholars do not deny the use of various sources by the inspired writer, but postulate that these documents shall have been written and put together very much earlier than the Rationalists wish. There is no proof whatsoever of the late and manifold redactions of these documents in our present book. Cornely (loc. cit., 214-22) and Hummelauer (In Lib. Jud. et Ruth, 27) both consider that the writer of Judges was probably Samuel; and both admit that the work shows signs of the use of pre-existing documents. Such is the opinion also of Kaulen ("Einleitung in die heilige Schrift," 3rd ed., Freiburg, 1890, 181).

(1) Judges, in its present state, cannot have been written before Israel had a king. Only in the time of a king could the writer have said: "In those days there was no king in Israel, but every one did that which seemed right to himself" (17:6; cf. 18:1; 21:24). These words appear only in the appendix (17:-21:), which we admit to be later than some of the sources used by the sacred writer; this appendix is generally admitted to be part of the work done by the last editor of Judges. This editor, then, wrote while Israel had a king.

(2) The book was not written after Solomon had done evil. The writer deems the lack of a king to be the explanation of the idolatry of the Danites and the misdeeds of the tribe of Benjamin. Such an explanation would have been out of the question had the writer known either of the idolatry brought in by Jeroboam and encouraged by Solomon or of the separation of Juda from Israel.

(3) This last editor must have written before David had reigned seven years. For Jerusalem was still called Jebus and was occupied by the Jebusites (19:11); whereas, in the seventh year of his reign, David took the citadel of Sion, called it the city of David, and destroyed the Jebusites (II Kings, 5:).

(4) Finally, it is likely that Judges antedates even the first seven years of David's reign and the last years of Saul's. The book purposes to keep the children of Israel from idolatry and from the Divine punishments thereof. In the beginning of David's and the end of Saul's reign there was no need of such purpose: Saul had "rooted out the magicians and soothsayers from the land" (I Kings 28:9). Moreover, in that period the writer would have seen that even a "king in Israel" did not prevent the tribal and internal dissensions of the days of the judges.

(5) Since, then, Judges was most likely written in the first years of Saul's reign, there is no more probable writer thereof than Samuel. He had yielded to Israel's clamors, and set up Saul as king. A new war was impending. There was none in Israel more likely to make the people ready for that war by driving home to them the thesis of Judges — that fidelity to Jahweh meant success against the foe of Israel.

(6) The use of previous documents by Samuel sufficiently explains the varied literary style on account of which the Rationalists frame their various hypotheses. The song of Debbora (5:) is archaic by contrast with the language of its setting. The story of Gedeon is originally from a different hand than that of the first writer of Samson's history.


Internal Evidence.

The writer of Judges was contemporary with some of the events that he narrated; used documents written by those who were contemporary, or all but contemporary, with the deeds they told; and shows every sign of sincerity, care, and truth. The very concern of the writer to give the truth explains the manifold literary style of the book. He has preserved to us unchanged the style of the song of Debbora and that of the fable of Joatham. He has transmitted sayings peculiar to place and to person (2:5; 4:5; 6: 24, 32; 15:19; 18:12, 29). The nationalistic objections to the miraculous in the stories of Gedeon and Samson are generally accepted by Protestant writers, who look upon these portions of Judges as legendary; to Orthodox these are as historical as any other portion of the work. The enemies to the historicity of the book in vain insist that these stories are set down as legends to please the Israelites. The writer of Judges so berates the Israelites for idolatry and inter-tribal dissension that it is unscientific to accuse him of truckling to their pride in their heroes.

External Evidence.

(a) Orthodox tradition is clear. The Fathers look upon the narrative of Judges as fact-narrative; all who deem that unanimity worth consideration admit their unanimity.

(b) O. T. testimony is manifold. The opening summary (1:1-2:5) gives details the historical value of which is attested by Josue: Juda's siege of Dabir (1:10-15; Jos. 15:14-19), the Jebusites in Jerusalem (1:21; Jos. 15:63), the Chanaanite in Gazer along with Ephraim (1:29; Jos. 16:10), the Chanaanite dwelling with Manasses (1:27; Jos. 17:11). Like details are the death of Josue (2:6-9; Jos. 24:28-31) and the capture of Lesem by Dan (17, 18; Jos. 19:47). The Books of Kings tell us as facts much that we read in Judges. Both books include Israel's forgetfulness of Jahweh, her defeat by the foe and salvation by the judges (I Kings 12:9-11); the death of Abimelech, son of Gedeon (9:53; II Kings 11:21). The Psalms dwell proudly on the deeds of the judges: the fate of Sisara, Jabin, Oreb, Zeb, Zebee, and Salmana (7:22, 25; 4:15; 8: 21; Ps. 82:10-12); the entire history of Judges in outline (Ps. 105: 34-46). The Prophets refer to real facts given in Judges: the defeat of Madian by Gedeon (Is. 9:4; 10:26); the crime at Gabaa (Osee 9:9; 10:9).

(c) In the N. T., St. Paul mentions the judges in their proper place between Josue and Samuel (Acts 13:20); praises some of the judges along with certain kings (Heb. 11:32).


(1) Hebrew. Kittel's edition shows that the Masoretic text is in very good condition. "It is better preserved than any other of the historical books" (Moore, "Judges," 43). The only serious difficulties are in the song of Debbora.

(2) Greek. We have two distinct Septuagint forms (cf. Lagarde, "Septuaginta-Studien," 1892, 1-72): one is seen in the Alexandrinus (A), Coislinianus (P), Basiliano­Vaticanus (V), and many cursives; the other version is represented by the Vatican (B), and a considerable number of cursives.

(3) Latin. Blessed Jerome's version is one of his most careful efforts at translation of the Masorah, and is of the greatest exegetical importance.


(Derived from the Hebrew word for "sun").

The last and most famous of the Judges of Israel. The narrative of the life of Samson and his exploits is contained in chapters 13-16 of the book of Judges. After the deliverance effected by Jephte, the Israelites again fell into their evil ways and were delivered over to the Philistines for forty years. An angel of the Lord in the form of a man appears to the barren wife of Manue of the tribe of Dan and promises her that she shall bear a son who shall deliver Israel from the oppression of the Philistines. He prescribes abstinence on the part of both mother and son from all things intoxicating or unclean, and that no razor shall touch the child's head, "for he shall be a Nazarite [q.v.] of God." The angel bearing a similar message again appears to Manue as well as to his wife, and it is only after his disappearance in the flame of a burnt offering that they recognize with great fear his celestial nature.

The child is born according to the prediction and receives the name Samson, and the narrative informs us that the "spirit of the Lord" was with him from his youth. Strangely enough, this spirit impels him in spite of his parents' opposition to choose a wife from among the ungodly Philistines (Judges 14:1-4). On a visit to Thamnatha, the town of his intended bride, Samson gives the first evidence of his superhuman strength by slaying a lion without other weapon than his bare hands. Returning later, he finds that a swarm of bees has taken up their abode in the carcass of the lion. He eats of the honey and the incident becomes the occasion of the famous riddle proposed by him to the thirty Philistine guests at the wedding festivities: "Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness."

In their inability to find the answer, the guests, toward the end of seven days' feast, induce Samson's wife to coax him to reveal it to her, and not sooner has she succeeded than she declares it to her countrymen. Samson, however, in order to provide the thirty garments pledged in the wager, goes down to Ascalon in "the spirit of the Lord" and slays thirty Philistines whose garments he gives to the guests who had declared the answer to the riddle. In anger he returns to his father's house, and his bride chooses one of his wedding companions for her husband.

He returns later to claim her and her father informs him that she has been given to one of his friends, but that he may have instead her younger and fairer sister. Samson declines the offer and catching three hundred foxes he couples them tail to tail, and having fastened torches between their tails turns them loose to set fire to the corn harvests of the Philistines which are thus destroyed together with their vineyards and olive-yards.

The Philistines retaliate by burning the faithless wife and her father, whereupon Samson makes a "great slaughter of them" and then retires to dwell in a cavern of Etam in the tribe of Juda. Three thousand Philistines follow him and take up their quarters at Lechi. The men of Juda, alarmed, blame Samson for this invasion and deliver him up bound to the enemy.

But when Sampson is brought to them the spirit of the Lord come upon him; he bursts his bonds and slays a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of an ass. Being thirsty after this exploit, he is revived by a spring of water that the Lord causes to flow from the jawbone. Later while Samson is visiting a harlot in Gaza the Philistines gather about the city gate in order to seize him in the morning, but he, rising at midnight, takes the gate, posts and all, and carries it to the top of a hill in the direction of Hebron.

Subsequently he falls in love with a woman named Dalila of the valley of Sorec, whom the Philistines bribe to betray him into their hands. After deceiving her three times as to the source of his strength, he finally yields to her entreaties and confesses that his power is due to the fact that his head has never been shaved. The paramour treacherously causes his locks to be shorn and he falls helpless into the hands of the Philistines who put out his eyes and cast him into prison. Later, after his hair has grown again he is brought forth on the occasion of the feast of the god Dagon to be exhibited for the amusement of the populace. The spectators, among whom are the princes of the Philistines, number more than three thousand, and they are congregated in, and upon, a great edifice that is mainly supported by two pillars. These are seized by the hero whose strength has returned; he pulls them down, causing the house to collapse, and perishes himself in the ruins together with all the Philistines.

Because of certain resemblances, some scholars have claimed that the biblical account of the career and exploits of Samson is but a Hebrew version of the pagan myth of Hercules. This view, however, is nothing more than a superficial conjecture lacking serious proof. Still less acceptable is the opinion which sees in the biblical narrative merely the development of a solar myth, and which rests on little more than the admitted but inconclusive derivation of the name Samson from shemesh, "sun." Both views are rejected by such eminent and independent scholars as Moore and Budde. The story of Samson, like other portions of the Book of Judges, is doubtless derived from the sources of ancient national legend. It has an ethical as well as a religious import, and historically it throws not a little light on the customs and manners of the crude age to which it belongs.


Book of Ruth.

One of the proto-canonical writings of the Old Testament, which derives its name from the heroine of its exquisitely beautiful story.


The incidents related in the first part of the Book of Ruth (1-4:17) are briefly as follows. In the time of the judges, a famine arose in the land of Israel, in consequence of which Elimelech with Noemi and their two sons emigrated from Bethlehem of Juda to the land of Moab. After Elimelech's death Mahalon and Chelion, his two sons, married Moabite wives, and not long after died without children. Noemi, deprived now of her husband and children, left Moab for Bethlehem. On her journey thither, she dissuaded her daughters-in-law from going with her. One of them, however, named Ruth, accompanied Noemi to Bethlehem.

The barley harvest had just begun and Ruth, to relieve Noemi's and her own poverty, went to glean in the field of Booz, a rich man of the place. She met with the greatest kindness, and following Noemi's advice, she made known to Booz, as the near kinsman of Elimelech, her claim to marriage. After a nearer kinsman had solemnly renounced his prior right, Booz married Ruth who bore him Obed, the grandfather of David. The second part of the book (4:18-22) consists in a brief genealogy that connects the line of David through Booz with Phares, one of the sons of Juda.

Place in the Canon.

In the series of the sacred writings of the Old Testament, the short Book of Ruth occupies two different principal places. The Septuagint, the Vulgate, and the English Versions give it immediately after the Book of Judges. The Hebrew Bible, on the contrary, reckons it among the Hagiographa or third chief part of the Old Testament. Of these two places, the latter is most likely the original one.

It is attested to by all the data of Jewish tradition, namely, the oldest enumeration of the Hagiographa in the Talmudic treatise "Baba Bathra," all the Hebrew MSS. whether Spanish or German, the printed editions of the Hebrew Bible, and the testimony of Blessed Jerome in his Preface to the Book of Daniel, according to which eleven books are included by the Hebrews in the Hagiographa. The presence of the Book of Ruth after that of Judges in the Septuagint, whence it passed into the Vulgate and the English Versions, is easily explained by the systematic arrangement of the historical books of the Old Testament in that ancient Greek Version.

As the episode of Ruth is connected with the period of the judges by its opening words "in the days . . .when the judges ruled," its narrative was made to follow the Book of Judges as a sort of complement to it. The same place assigned to it in the lists of St. Melito, Origen, Blessed Jerome (Prol. Galeatus), is traceable to the arrangement of the inspired writings of the Old Testament in the Septuagint, inasmuch as these lists bespeak in various ways the influence of the nomenclature and grouping of the sacred books in that Version, and consequently should not be regarded as conforming strictly to the arrangement of those books in the Hebrew Canon.

It has indeed been asserted that the Book of Ruth is really a third appendix to the Book of Judges and was, therefore, originally placed in immediate connection with the two narratives which are even now appended to this latter book (Judges 17-18; 19-21). But this view is not probable owing to the differences between these two works with respect to style, tone, subject, etc.


As the precise object of the Book of Ruth is not expressly given either in the book itself or in authentic tradition, scholars are greatly at variance concerning it. According to many, who lay special stress on the genealogy of David in the second part of the book, the chief aim of the author is to throw light upon the origin of David, the great King of Israel and royal ancestor of the Messias. Had this, however, been the main purpose of the writer, it seems that he should have given it greater prominence in his work. Besides, the genealogy at the close of the book is but loosely connected with the preceding contents, so it is not improbably an appendix added to that book by a later hand.

According to others, the principal aim of the author was to narrate how, in opposition to Deut. 23:3, which forbids the reception of Moabites into Yahweh's assembly, the Moabitess Ruth was incorporated with Yahweh's people, and eventually became the ancestress of the founder of the Hebrew monarchy. However, this second opinion is hardly more probable than the foregoing. Had the Book of Ruth been written in such full and distinct view of the Deuteronomic prohibition as is affirmed by the second opinion, it is most likely that its author would have placed a direct reference to that legislative enactment on Noemi's lips when she endeavoured to dissuade her daughters-in-law from accompanying her to Juda, or particularly when she received from Ruth the protestation that henceforth Noemi's God would be her God.

Several recent scholars have regarded this short book as a kind of protest against Nehemias's and Esdras's efforts to suppress intermarriage with women of foreign birth. However, this is plainly an inference not from the contents of the book, but from an assumed late date for its composition, an inference therefore no less uncertain than that date itself. Others finally, and indeed with greater probability, have maintained that the author's chief purpose was to tell an edifying story as an example to his own age and an interesting sketch of the past, effecting this by recording the exemplary conduct of his various personages who act as simple, kindly, God-fearing people ought to act in Israel.

Historical Character.

The charming Book of Ruth is no mere "idyll" or "poetical fiction." It is plain that the Jews of old regarded its contents as historical, since they included its narrative in the Septuagint within the prophetic histories (Josue-Kings). The fact that Josephus in framing his account of the Jewish Antiquities utilizes the data of the Book of Ruth in exactly the same manner as he does those of the historical books of the Old Testament shows that this inspired writing was then considered as no mere fiction.

Again, the mention by St. Matthew of several personages of the episode of Ruth (Booz, Ruth, Obed), among the actual ancestors of Christ (Matt. 1:5), points in the same direction. Intrinsic data agree with these testimonies of ancient tradition. The book records the intermarriage of an Israelite with a Moabitess, which shows that its narrative does not belong to the region of the poetical. The historical character of the work is also confirmed by the friendly intercourse between David and the King of Moab which is described in I Kings 22:3, 4; by the writer's distinct reference to a Jewish custom as obsolete (Ruth 4:7), etc.

In view of this concordant, extrinsic and intrinsic, evidence, little importance is attached by scholars generally to the grounds which certain critics have put forth to disprove the historical character of the Book of Ruth. It is rightly felt, for instance, that the symbolical meaning of the names of several persons in the narrative (Noemi, Mahalon, Chelion) is not a conclusive argument that they have been fictitiously accommodated to the characters in the episode. More than the similar symbolical meaning of the proper names of well known and full historical personages mentioned in Israel's annals (Saul, David, Samuel, etc.). It is rightly felt likewise that the striking appropriateness of the words put on the lips of certain personages to the general purpose of edification apparent in the Book of Ruth does not necessarily disprove the historical character of the work, since this is also noticeable in other books of Holy Writ that are undoubtedly historical.

Finally, it is readily seen that however great the contrast may appear between the general tone of simplicity, repose, purity, etc., of the characters delineated in the episode of Ruth, and the opposite features of the figures which are drawn in the Book of Judges. Both writings describe actual events in the same period of Jewish history; for all we know, the beautiful scenes of domestic life connected in the Book of Ruth with the period of the judges may have truly occurred during the long intervals of peace that are repeatedly mentioned in the Book of Judges.

Author and Date of Composition.

The Book of Ruth is anonymous, for the name which it bears as its title has never been regarded otherwise than that of the chief actor in the events recorded. In an ancient Beraitha to the Talmudic treatise "Baba Bathra" (Babylonian Talmud, c. i), it is definitely stated that "Samuel wrote his book, Judges, and Ruth"; but this ascription of Ruth to Samuel is groundless and hence almost universally rejected at the present day. The name of the author of the book of Ruth is unknown, and so is also the precise date of its composition. The work, however, was most likely written before the Babylonian exile.

On the one hand, there is nothing in its contents that would compel one to bring down its origin to a later date; and, on the other hand, the comparative purity of its style stamps it as a pre-exilic composition. The numerous critics who hold a different view overrate the importance of its isolated Aramaisms which are best accounted for by the use of a spoken patois plainly independent of the actual developments of literary Hebrew. They also make too much of the place occupied by the Book of Ruth among the Hagiographa, for, as can be easily realized, the admission of a writing into this third division of the Hebrew Canon is not necessarily contemporary with its origin. But, while the internal data supplied by the Book of Ruth thus point to its pre-exilic origin, they remain indecisive with regard to the precise date to which its composition should be referred, as clearly appears from the conflicting inferences which have been drawn from them by recent Biblical scholars.


First and Second Books of Kings.

For the First and Second Books of Kings in the Authorized Version.

In the Vulgate both titles are given (Liber Primus Samuelis, quem nos Primum Regum dicimus, etc.); in the Hebrew editions and the Protestant versions the second alone is recognized, the Third and Fourth Books of Kings being styled First and Second Books of Kings. To avoid confusion, the designation "First and Second Books of Samuel" is adopted by Western writers when referring to the Hebrew text, otherwise "First and Second Books of Kings" is commonly used.

The testimony of Origen, Blessed Jerome, etc., confirmed by the Massoretic summary appended to the second book, as well as by the Hebrew MSS., shows that the two books originally formed but one, entitled "Samuel." This title was chosen not only because Samuel is the principal figure in the first part, but probably also because, by having been instrumental in the establishment of the kingdom and in the selection of Saul and David as kings, he may be said to have been a determining factor in the history of the whole period comprised by the book. The division into two books was first introduced into the Septuagint, to conform to the shorter and more convenient size of scrolls in vogue among the Greeks. The Book of Kings was divided at the same time, and the four books, being considered as a consecutive history of the Kingdoms of Israel and Juda, were named "Books of the Kingdoms" (Basileiôn biblía).

Blessed Jerome retained the division into four books, which from the Septuagint had passed into the Itala, or old Latin translation, but changed the name "Books of the Kingdoms" (Libri Regnorum) into "Books of the Kings" (Libri Regum). The Hebrew text of the Books of Samuel and of the Books of Kings was first divided in Bomberg's edition of the rabbinical Bible (Venice, 1516-17), the individual books being distinguished as I B. of Samuel and II B. of Samuel, I B. of Kings and II B. of Kings. This nomenclature was adopted in the subsequent editions of the Hebrew Bible and in the Protestant translations, and thus became current among non­Orthodox.

Contents and Analysis.

I-II Books of Kings comprise the history of Israel from the birth of Samuel to the close of David's public life, and cover a period of about a hundred years. The first book contains the history of Samuel and of the reign of Saul; the second, the history of the reign of David, the death of Saul marking the division between the two books. The contents may be divided into five main sections: (1) 1:1-7:, history of Samuel; (2) 8-14 or, better 15: history of Saul's government; (3) 16:-31:, Saul and David; (4) II, 1-20, history of the reign of David; (5) xxi-xxiv, appendix containing miscellaneous matter. The division between (3) and (4) is sufficiently indicated by the death of Saul and by David's accession to power; the other sections are marked off by the summaries 7:15-17; 14:47-58; 20:23-26; 15:however, which is an introduction to what follows, according to the subject­matter belongs to (2).

History of Samuel.

Samuel's birth and consecration to the Lord, I, 1-11:11. Misdeeds of the sons of Heli and prediction of the downfall of his house 2:12-36. Samuel's call to the prophetic office; his first vision, in which the impending punishment of the house of Heli is revealed to him. 3: The army of Israel is defeated by the Philistines, Ophni and Phinees are slain and the ark taken; death of Heli. 4: The ark among the Philistines; it is brought back to Bethsames and then taken to Cariathiarim, 5: -7:1. Samuel as judge; he is instrumental in bringing the people back to the Lord and in inflicting a crushing defeat on the Philistines 7:2-17.

History of Saul's Government.

The people demand a king; Samuel reluctantly yields to their request, 8. Saul, while seeking his father's asses, is privately anointed king by Samuel, 9: -10:, 16. Samuel convokes the people at Maspha (Mizpah) to elect a king; the lot falls on Saul, but he is not acknowledged by all 10:17-27. Saul defeats the Ammonite king, Naas, and opposition to him ceases, 11:. Samuel's farewell address to the people, 12:. War against the Philistines; Saul's disobedience for which Samuel announces his rejection, 13:. Jonathan's exploit at Machmas; he is condemned to death for an involuntary breach of his father's orders, but is pardoned at the people's prayer 14:1-46. Summary of Saul's wars; his family and chief commander 14:47-52. War against Amalec; second disobedience and final rejection of Saul, 15:.

Saul and David.

David at Court

David, the youngest son of Isai (Jesse), is anointed king at Bethlehem by Samuel 16:1-33. He is called to court to play before Saul and is made his armor bearer 16:14-23. David and Goliath, 17:. Jonathan's friendship for David and Saul's jealousy; the latter, after attempting to pierce David with his lance, urges him on with treacherous intent to a daring feat against the Philistines by promising him his daughter Michol in marriage, 18:. Jonathan softens his father for a time, but, David having again distinguished himself in a war against the Philistines, the enmity is renewed, and Saul a second time attempts to kill him 19:1-10. Michol helps David to escape; he repairs to Samuel at Ramatha, but, seeing after Jonathan's fruitless effort at mediation that all hope of reconciliation is gone, he flees to Achis, King of Geth, stopping on the way at Nobe, where Achimelech gives him the loaves of proposition and the sword of Goliath. Being recognized at Geth he saves himself by feigning madness 19:11-21:.

David as an Outlaw

He takes refuge in the cave of Odollam (Adullam), and becomes the leader of a band of outlaws; he places his parents under the protection of the King of Moab. Saul kills Achimelech and the priests of Nobe, 22:. David delivers Ceila from the Philistines, but to avoid capture by Saul he retires to the desert of Ziph, where Jonathan visits him. He is providentially delivered when surrounded by Saul's men, 23:. He spares Saul's life in a cave of the desert of Engaddi, 24:. Death of Samuel. Episode of Nabal and Abigail; the latter becomes David's wife after her husband's death, 25:. During a new pursuit, David enters Saul's camp at night and carries off his lance and cup, 26:. He becomes a vassal of Achis, from whom he receives Siceleg (Ziklag); while pretending to raid the territory of Juda, he wars against the tribes of the south, 27:. New war with the Philistines; Saul's interview with the witch of Endor, 28:. David accompanies the army of Achis, but his fidelity being doubted by the Philistine chiefs he is sent back. On his return he finds that Siceleg has been sacked by the Amalecites during his absence, and Abigail carried off with other prisoners; he pursues the marauders and recovers the prisoners and the booty, 29:-30:. Battle of Gelboe; death of Saul and Jonathan, 31:.

History of the Reign of David.

David at Hebron

He hears of the death of Saul and Jonathan; his lament over them, II, i. He is anointed King of Juda at Hebron 2:1-7. War between David and Isboseth, or Esbaal (Ishbaal), the son of Saul, whom the other tribes recognize 2:8-32. Abner, the commander of Isboseth's forces, having quarrelled with his master, submits to David and is treacherously slain by Joab, 3:. Isboseth is assassinated; David punishes the murderers and is acknowledged by all the tribes, 4-5:5.

David at Jerusalem

Jerusalem is taken from the Jebusites and becomes the capital 5:6-16. War with the Philistines 5:17-25. The ark is solemnly carried from Cariathiarim to Sion, 6:. David thinks of building a temple; his intention, though not accepted, is rewarded with the promise that his throne will last forever, 7:. Summary of the various wars waged by David, and list of his officers, 8:. His kindness to Miphiboseth, or Meribbaal, the son of Jonathan, 9:. War with Ammon and Syria, 10:.

David's Family History

His adultery with Bethsabee, the wife of Urias, 11:. His repentance when the greatness of his crime is brought home to him by Nathan 12:1-23. Birth of Solomon; David is present at the taking of Rabbath 12:24-31. Amnon ravishes Thamar, the sister of Absalom; the latter has him assassinated and flies to Gessur; through the intervention of Joab he is recalled and reconciled with his father, 13:-14:. Rebellion of Absalom; David flies from Jerusalem; Siba, Miphiboseth's servant, brings him provisions and accuses his master of disloyalty; Semei curses David; Absalom goes in to his father's concubines, 15:-16:. Achitophel counsels immediate pursuit, but Absalom follows the advice of Chusai, David's adherent, to delay, and thus gives the fugitive king time to cross the Jordan, 17:. Battle of Mahanaim; Absalom is defeated and slain by Joab against the king's order, 18:. David's intense grief, from which he is aroused by Joab's remonstrance. At the passage of the Jordan he pardons Semei, receives Miphiboseth back into his good graces, and invites to court Berzellai, who had supplied provisions to the army 19:1-39. Jealousies between Israel and Juda lead to the revolt of Seba; Amasa is commissioned to raise a levy, but, as the troops are collected too slowly, Joab and Abisai are sent with the bodyguard in pursuit of the rebels; Joab treacherously slays Amasa. Summary of officers 19:40-20.


The two sons of Respha, Saul's concubine, and the five sons of Merob, Saul's daughter, are put to death by the Gabaonites 21:1-14. Various exploits against the Philistines 21:15-22. David's psalm of thanksgiving (Ps. 17), 22. His "last words," 23:1-7. Enumeration of David's valiant men 23:8-39. The numbering of the people and the pestilence following it, 14.

Unity and Object.

I-II Books of Kings never formed one work with III-IV, as was believed by the older commentators and is still maintained by some writers, although the consecutive numbering of the books in the Septuagint and the account of David's last days and death at the beginning of III Kings seem to lend color to such a supposition. The difference of plan and method pursued in the two pairs of books shows that they originally formed two distinct works. The author of III-IV gives a more or less brief sketch of each reign, and then refers his readers for further information to the source whence he has drawn his data. While the author of I-II furnishes such full and minute details, even when they are of little importance, that his work looks more like a series of biographies than a history, and, with the exception of II 1:18, where he refers to the "Book of the Just," he never mentions his sources. Moreover, the writer of III-IV supplies abundant chronological data. Besides giving the length of each reign, he usually notes the age of the king at his accession and, after the division, the year of the reign of the contemporary ruler of the other kingdom; he also frequently dates particular events. In the first two books, on the contrary, chronological data are so scant that it is impossible to determine the length of the period covered by them.

The position taken by the author of III-IV, with regard to the facts he relates, is also quite different from that of the author of the other two. The former praises or blames the acts of the various rulers, especially with respect to forbidding or allowing sacrifices outside the sanctuary, while the latter rarely expresses a judgment and repeatedly records sacrifices contrary to the prescriptions of the Pentateuch without a word of censure or comment.

Lastly, there is a marked difference in style between the two sets of books; the last two show decided Aramaic influence, whereas the first two belong to the best period of Hebrew literature. At the most, it might be said that the first two chapters of the third book originally were part of the Book of Samuel, and were later detached by the author of the Book of Kings to serve as an introduction to the history of Solomon; but even this is doubtful. These chapters are not required by the object which the author of the Book of Samuel had in view, and the work is a complete whole without them. Besides, the summary, II 20:23-26, sufficiently marks the conclusion of the history of David. In any case, these two chapters are so closely connected with the following that they must have belonged to the Book of Kings from its very beginning.

The general subject of I-II Kings is the foundation and development of the Kingdom of Israel, the history of Samuel being merely a preliminary section intended to explain the circumstances which brought about the establishment of the royal form of government. On closer examination of the contents, however, it is seen that the author is guided by a leading idea in the choice of his matter, and that his main object is not to give a history of the first two kings of Israel, but to relate the providential foundation of a permanent royal dynasty in the family of David. This strikingly appears in the account of Saul's reign, which may be summarized in the words: elected, found wanting, and rejected in favor of David. The detailed history of the struggle between David and Saul and his house is plainly intended to show how David, the chosen of the Lord, was providentially preserved amid many imminent dangers and how he ultimately triumphed, while Saul perished with his house.

The early events of David's rule over united Israel are told in few words, even such an important fact as the capture of Jerusalem being little insisted on, but his zeal for God's worship and its reward in the solemn promise that his throne would last forever (II 7:11-16) are related in full detail. The remaining chapters tell how, in pursuance of this promise, God helps him to extend and consolidate his kingdom, and does not abandon him even after his great crime, though he punishes him in his most tender feelings. The conclusion shows him in peaceful possession of the throne after two dangerous rebellions. The whole story is thus built around a central idea and reaches its climax in the Messianic promise, II 7:11 sqq. Besides this main object a secondary one may be observed, which is to convey to king and people the lesson that to obtain God's protection they must observe His commands.

Author and Date.

The Talmud attributes to Samuel the whole work bearing his name. This strange opinion was later adopted by St. Gregory the Great, who naïvely persuaded himself that Samuel wrote the events that occurred after his death by prophetic revelation. Rabbinical tradition and most of the older Christian writers ascribe to this prophet the part referring to his time (I, 1: -24:), the rest to the Prophets Gad and Nathan. This view is evidently based on I Par. 29:29, "Now the acts of king David first and last are written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer." But the wording of the text indicates that there is question of three distinct works. Besides, the unity of plan and the close connection between the different parts exclude composite authorship; we must at least admit a redactor who combined the three narratives. This redactor, according to Hummelauer, is the prophet Nathan; the work, however, can hardly be placed so early. Others attribute it to Isaias, Jeremias, Ezechias, or Esdras. None of these opinions rests on any solid ground, and we can only say that the author is unknown.

The same diversity of opinion exists as to the date of composition. Hummelauer assigns it to the last days of David. Vigouroux, Cornely, Lesêtre, and Thenius place it under Roboam; Kaulen, under Abiam the son of Roboam; Haevernick, not long after David, Ewald, some thirty years after Solomon; Clair, between the death of David and the destruction of the Kingdom of Juda. According to other critics, it belongs to the seventh century, but received retouches as late as the fifth or even the fourth century. No sufficient data are at hand to fix a precise date. We can, however, assign certain limits of time within which the work must have been composed.

The explanation concerning the dress of the king's daughters in David's time (II 13:18) supposes that a considerable period had elapsed in the interval, and points to a date later than Solomon, during whose reign a change in the style of dress was most likely introduced by his foreign wives. How much later is indicated by the remark: "For which reason Siceleg belongeth to the kings of Juda unto this day" (I 27:6). The expression kings of Juda implies that at the time of writing the Kingdom of Israel had been divided, and that at least two or three kings had reigned over Juda alone. The earliest date cannot, therefore, be placed before the reign of Abiam. The latest date, on the other hand, must be assigned to a time prior to Josias's reform (621 B.C.).

As has been remarked, the author repeatedly records without censure or comment violations of the Pentateuchal law regarding sacrifices. Now it is not likely that he would have acted thus if he had written after these practices had been abolished and their unlawfulness impressed on the people, since at this time his readers would have taken scandal at the violation of the Law by such a person as Samuel, and at the toleration of unlawful rites by a king like David. The force of this reason will be seen if we consider how the author of II-IV Kings, who wrote after Josias's reform, censures every departure from the Law in this respect or, as in III 3:2, explains it. The purity of language speaks for an early rather than a late date within the above limits. The appendix, however, may possibly be due to a somewhat later hand. Moreover, additions by a subsequent inspired revisor may be admitted without difficulty.


It is now universally recognized that the author of I-II Kings made use of written documents in composing his work. One such document, "The Book of the Just," is mentioned in connection with David's lament over Saul and Jonathan (II 1:18). The canticle of Anna (I 2:1-10), David's hymn of thanksgiving (II 22:2-51; cf. Ps. 17), and his "last words" were very probably also drawn from a written source. But besides these minor sources, the writer must have had at hand, at least for the history of David, a document containing much of the historical matter that he narrates. This we infer from the passages common to I-II Kings and the First Book of Paralipomenon (Chronicles), which are shown in the following list:

I K. 23:

II K. 3:2-5





" " "


I Par. 10:1-12






16:1-3, 43


I K. 8:







I Par. 18:








Although these passages often agree word for word, the differences are such that the author of Paralipomenon, the later writer, cannot be said to have copied from I-II Kings, and we must conclude that both authors made use of the same document. This seems to have been an official record of important public events and of matters pertaining to the administration, such as was probably kept by the court "recorder" (II Kings 8:16; 20:24), and is very likely the same as the "Chronicles of King David" (I Par. 27: 24). To this document we may add three others mentioned in I Par. (29:29) as sources of information for the history of David, namely, the "Book of Samuel," the "Book of Gad," and the "Book of Nathan."

These were works of the three Prophets, as we gather from II Par. 9:29; 12:15; 20:34, etc.; and our author would hardly neglect writings recommended by such names. Samuel very probably furnished the matter for his own history and for part of Saul's; Gad, David's companion in exile, the details of that part of David's life, as well as of his early days as king; and Nathan, information concerning the latter part, or even the whole, of his reign. Thus between them they would have fairly covered the period treated of, if, indeed, their narratives did not partially overlap.

Besides these four documents other sources may occasionally have been used. A comparison of the passages of I-II Kings and I Par. given in the list above shows further that both writers frequently transferred their source to their own pages with but few changes. For, since one did not copy from the other, the agreement between them cannot be explained except on the supposition that they more or less reproduce the same document. We have therefore reason to believe that our author followed the same course in other cases, but to what extent we have no means of determining.

The Critical Theory.

According to Protestant critics, I-II Kings is nothing but a compilation of different narratives so unskillfully combined that they may be separated with comparative ease. In spite of this comparative ease in distinguishing the different elements, the critics do not agree as to the number of sources, nor as to the particular source to which certain passages are to be ascribed. At present the Wellhausen-Budde theory is accepted, at least in its main outlines, by nearly the whole critical school. According to this theory, II, 9: -20:, forms one document, which is practically contemporary with the events described; the rest (excluding the appendix) is chiefly made up of two writings, an older one, J, of the ninth century, and a later one, E, of the end of the eighth or the beginning of the seventh century. They are designated J and E, because they are either due to the authors of the Jahwist and Elohist documents of the Hexateuch, or to writers belonging to the same schools. Both J and E underwent modifications by a revisor, J² and E² respectively, and after being welded together by a redactor, RJE, were edited by a writer of the Deuteronomic school, RD. After this redaction some further additions were made, among them the appendix. The different elements are thus divided by Budde:

J. –I 9:1-10:7, 9-16; 11:1-11, 15; 13:1-7a, 15b-18; 14:1-46, 52; 16:14-23; 18:5-6, 11, 20-30; 20:1-10, 18-39, 42b; 22:1-4, 6-18, 20-23; 23:1-14a; 26; 27:; 29:-31:. II 1:1-4, 11-12, 17-27; 2:1-9, 10b, 12-32; 3:; 4:; 5:1-3, 6-10, 17-25; 6:; 9:-11:; 12:1-9, 13-30, 13:-20:22.

J².–I 10:8; 13:7b- 15a, 19-22.

E. –I 4:1b-7:1; 15:2-34; 17:1-11, 14-58; 18:1-4, 13-29; 19:1, 4-6, 8-17; 21:1-9; 21:19; 22:19-xxiv, 19; 15; 28:. II 1:6-10, 13-16; 7:.

E². –I 1:1-28; 2:11- 22a, 23-26; 3:1-iv, 1a; 7:2-8:22; 10:17-24; 12.

RJE.–I 10:25-27; 11:12-14; 15:1; 18:21b; 19:2-3, 7; 20:11-17, 40-42a; 22:10b; 23:14b-18; 24:16, 20-22a. II 1:5.

RD.–1 4:18 (last clause); 7:2; 13:1; 14:47-51; 28:3. II 2:10a, 11; 5:4-5; 8:; 12:10-12.

Additions of a later editor.–I 4:15, 22; 6: 11b, 15, 17-29; 11:8b; 15:4; 24:14; 30:5. II 3:30; 5:6b, 7b, 8b; 15:24; 20:25- 26.

Latest additions.–I 2:1-10, 22b; 16:1-13; 17:12-13; 19:18-24; 20:10-15; 22:5. II 14:26; 21: -24:.

This minute division, by which even short clauses are to a nicety apportioned to their proper sources, is based on the following grounds. (1) There are duplicate narratives giving a different or even a contradictory presentation of the same event. There are two accounts of Saul's election (I 8:1-11:), of his rejection (13:1-14 and 15:), of his death (I 31:1 sqq., and II 1:4 sqq.), of his attempt to pierce David (I 23:10-11, and 19:9-10d). There are also two accounts of David's introduction to Saul (I 16:14 sqq. and 17:55-58), of his flight from court (19:10 sqq., and 21:10), of his taking refuge with Achis (21:10 sqq., and 27:1 sqq.), of his sparing Saul's life (24: and 26:). Lastly, there are two accounts of the origin of the proverb: "Is Saul too among the prophets?" (10:12; 19:24).

Some of these double narratives are not only different, but also contradictory. In one account of Saul's election the people demand a king, because they are dissatisfied with the sons of Samuel; the prophet manifests great displeasure and tries to turn them from their purpose; he yields, however, and Saul is chosen by lot. In the other, Samuel shows no aversion to the kingdom. He privately anoints Saul at God's command that he may deliver Israel from the Philistines. Saul is proclaimed king only after, and in reward of his victory over the Ammonite king, Naas. According to one version of Saul's death, he killed himself by falling on his sword; according to the other, he was slain at his own request by an Amalecite. Again, in 16:, David, then arrived at full manhood and experienced in warfare, is called to court to play before Saul and is made his armor bearer, and yet in the very next chapter he appears as a shepherd lad unused to arms and unknown both to Saul and to Abner.

Moreover, there are statements at variance with one another. In I 7:33, it is stated that "the Philistines . . . did not come any more into the borders of Israel . . . all the days of Samuel"; while in 9:16, Saul is elected king to deliver Israel from them, and in 13: a Philistine invasion is described. In I 7:15, Samuel is said to have judged Israel all the days of his life, though in his old age he delegated his powers to his sons (8:1), and after the election of Saul solemnly laid down his office (12:).

Finally, in I 15:35, Samuel is said never to have seen Saul again, and yet in 19:24, Saul appears before him. All this shows that two narratives, often differing in their presentation of the facts, have been combined, the differences in some cases being left unharmonized.

(2) Certain passages present religious conceptions belonging to a later age, and must therefore be ascribed to a later writer, who viewed the events of past times in the light of the religious ideas of his own. A difference of literary style can also be detected in the different parts of the work. If all this were true, the theory of the critics would have to be admitted. In that case, much of I-II Kings would have but little historical value. The argument from the religious conceptions assumes the truth of Wellhausen's theory on the evolution of the religion of Israel; while that from literary style is reduced to a list of words and expressions most of which must have been part of the current speech, and for this reason could not have been the exclusive property of any writer. The whole theory, therefore, rests on the argument from double narratives and contradictions. As this seems very plausible, and presents some real difficulties, it demands an examination.

Doublets and Contradictions.

Some of the narratives said to be doublets, while having a general resemblance, differ in every detail. This is the case with the two accounts of Saul's disobedience and rejection, with the two narratives of David's sparing Saul's life, and of his seeking refuge with Achis. Such narratives cannot be identified, unless the improbability of the events occurring as related be shown. But is it improbable that Saul should on two different occasions have disregarded Samuel's directions and that the latter should repeat with greater emphasis the announcement of his rejection? Or that in the game of hide-and-seek among the mountains David should have twice succeeded in getting near the person of Saul and should on both occasions have refrained from harming him? Or that under changed conditions he should have entered into negotiations with Achis and become his vassal?

Even where the circumstances are the same, we cannot at once pronounce the narratives to be only different accounts of the same occurrence. It is not at all strange that Saul in his insane moods should twice have attempted to spear David, or that the loyal Ziphites should twice have betrayed to Saul David's whereabouts. The two accounts of Saul among the prophets at first sight seem to be real doublets, not so much because the two narratives are alike, for they differ considerably, as because both incidents seem to be given as the origin of the proverb: "Is Saul too among the prophets?" The first, however, is alone said to have given rise to the proverb. The expression used in the other case–"Wherefore they say, Is Saul also among the prophets?"–does not necessarily imply that the proverb did not exist before, but may be understood to say that it then became popular. The translation of the Vulgate, "Unde et exivit proverbium," is misleading.

There is no double mention of David's flight from court. When in 21:10, he is said to have fled from the face of Saul, nothing more is affirmed than that he fled to avoid being taken by Saul, the meaning of the expression "to flee from the face of" being to flee for fear of some one. The double narrative of Saul's election is obtained by tearing asunder parts that complement and explain one another. Many a true story thus handled will yield the same results. The story as it stands is natural and well connected. The people, disgusted at the conduct of the sons of Samuel, and feeling that a strong central government would be an advantage for the defence of the country, request a king. Samuel receives the request with displeasure, but yields at God's command and appoints the time and place for the election. In the meanwhile he anoints Saul, who is later designated by lot and acclaimed king. All, however, did not recognize him.

Influential persons belonging to the larger tribes were very likely piqued that an unknown man of the smallest tribe should have been chosen. Under the circumstances, Saul wisely delayed assuming royal power till a favorable opportunity presented itself, which came a month later, when Naas besieged Jabes. It is objected, indeed, that, since the Jabesites did not send a message to Saul in their pressing danger, chap. 1:4 sq., must have belonged to an account in which Saul had not yet been proclaimed king, whence a double narrative is clearly indicated. But even if the Jabesites had sent no message, the fact would have no significance, since Saul had not received universal recognition; nothing, however, warrants us to read such a meaning into the text.

At all events, Saul on hearing the news immediately exercised royal power by threatening with severe punishment anyone who would not follow him. Difficulties, it is true, exist as to some particulars, but difficulties are found also in the theory of a double account. The two accounts of Saul's death are really contradictory; but only one is the historian's; the other is the story told by the Amalecite who brought to David the news of Saul's death, and nothing indicates that the writer intends to relate it as true. We need have little hesitation in pronouncing it a fabrication of the Amalecite. Lying to promote one's interests is not unusual, and the hope of winning David's favor was a sufficient inducement for the man to invent his story.

With regard to the apparent contradiction between 16:14-23, and 17:, it should be remarked that the Vatican (B) and a few other MSS. of the Septuagint omit 17:12-31 and 17:55-18:5. This form of the text is held to be the more original, not only by some conservative writers, but by such critics as Cornill, Stade, W. R. Smith, and H. P. Smith. Though this text, if it were certain, would lessen the difficulty, it would not entirely remove it, as David still appears as a boy unused to arms. The apparent contradiction disappears if we take 16:14-23, to be out of its chronological place, a common enough occurrence in the historical books both of the Old and of the New Testament.

The reason of the inversion seems to be in the desire of the author to bring out the contrast between David, upon whom the spirit of the Lord came from the day of his anointing, and Saul, who was thenceforth deserted by the spirit of the Lord, and troubled by an evil spirit. Or it may be because with xvii the author begins to follow a new source. This supposition would explain the repetition of some details concerning David's family, if 17:17-21, is original. According to the real sequence of events, David after his victory over Goliath returned home, and later, having been recommended by one who was aware of his musical skill, he was called to court and permanently attached to the person of Saul. This explanation might seem inadmissible, because it is said (18:2) that "Saul took him that day, and would not let him return to his father's house." But as "on that day" is often used in a loose way, it need not be taken to refer to the day on which David slew Goliath, and room will thus be left for the incident related in 16:14-23.

It is not true, therefore, that it is impossible to reconcile the two accounts, as is asserted. The so-called contradictory statements may also be satisfactorily explained. As 7: is a summary of Samuel's administration, the words "the Philistines . . . did not come any more into the borders of Israel" must be taken to refer only to Samuel's term of office, and not to his whole lifetime. They do not, therefore, stand in contradiction with 13:, where an incursion during the reign of Saul is described. Besides, it is not said that there were no further wars with the Philistines; the following clause: "And the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines, all the days of Samuel," rather supposes the contrary. There were wars, indeed, but the Philistines were always defeated and never succeeded in gaining a foothold in the country. Still they remained dangerous neighbors, who might attack Israel at any moment. Hence it could well be said of Saul, "He shall save my people out of the hands of the Philistines" (9:16), which expression does not necessarily connote that they were under the power of the Philistines. Ch. 13:19-21, which seems to indicate that the Philistines were occupying the country at the time of Saul's election, is generally acknowledged to be misplaced. Further, when Samuel delegated his powers to his sons, he still retained his office, and when he did resign it, after the election of Saul, he continued to advise and reprove both king and people (cf. I 12:23). He can therefore be truly said to have judged Israel all the days of his life.

The last contradiction that Budde declares to be inexplicable rests on a mere quibble about the verb "to see." The context shows clearly enough that when the writer states that "Samuel saw Saul no more till the day of his death" (15:35), he means to say that Samuel had no further dealings with Saul, and not that he never beheld him again with his eyes. Really, is it likely that a redactor who, we are told, often harmonizes his sources, and who plainly intends to present a coherent story, and not merely a collection of old documents, would allow glaring contradictions to stand? There is no sufficient reason, then, why we should not grant a historical character to the section I, 1:-II 8:as well as to the rest of the work. Those internal marks–namely, lifelike touches, minuteness of detail, bright and flowing style–which move the critics to consider the latter part as of early origin and of undoubted historical value, are equally found in the first.

The Hebrew Text, the Septuagint, and the Vulgate.

The Hebrew text has come down to us in a rather unsatisfactory condition, by reason of the numerous errors due to transcribers. The numbers especially have suffered, probably because in the oldest manuscripts they were not written out in full. In I 6:19, seventy men become "seventy men, and fifty thousand of the common people." In I 13:5, the Philistines are given the impossible number of thirty thousand chariots. Saul is only a year old when he begins to reign, and reigns but two years (I 13:1). Absalom is made to wait forty years to accomplish the vow he made while in Gessur (II 15:7). In I 8:16, oxen are metamorphosed into "goodliest young men," while in II 10:18, forty thousand footmen are changed into horsemen. Michol, who in II 6:23, is said to have had no children, in II 21:8, is credited with the five sons of her sister Merob (cf. I 18:19; 25:44; II 3:15). In II 21:19, Goliath is again slain by Elchanan, and, strange to say, though I Par. 20:5, tells us that the man killed by Elchanan was the brother of the giant; some critics here also see a contradiction. Badan in I 12:11, should be changed to Abdon or Barak, and Samuel, in the same verse, to Samson, etc. Many of these mistakes can readily be corrected by a comparison with Paralipomenon, the Septuagint, and other ancient versions. Others antedate all translations, and are therefore found in the versions as well as in the Massoretic (Hebrew) text. In spite of the work of correction done by modern commentators and textual critics, a perfectly satisfactory critical text is still a desideratum.

The Septuagint differs considerably from the Massoretic text in many instances; in others, the case is not so clear. The Vulgate was translated from a Hebrew text closely resembling the Massoretic; but the original text has been interpolated by additions and duplicate translations, which have crept in from the Itala. Additions occur: I 4:1; 5:6, 9; 8:18; 10:1; 11:1; 13:15; 14:22, 41; 15:3, 12; 17:36; 21:11; 30:15; II 1:26; 5:23; 10:19; 13:21, 27; 14:30; duplicate translations, I 9:15; 15:32; 20:15; 23:13, 14; II 1:18; 4:5; 6: 12; 15:18, 20.


King David.

In the Bible the name David is borne only by the second king of Israel, the great-grandson of Boaz and Ruth (Ruth 4:18 sqq.). He was the youngest of the eight sons of Isai, or Jesse (I Kings 16:8; cf. I Par. 2:13), a small proprietor, of the tribe of Juda, dwelling at Bethlehem, where David was born. Our knowledge of David's life and character is derived exclusively from the pages of Sacred Scripture, viz., I K., 16:; III K., 2:; I Par., 2: 3:, 10:-29:; Ruth 4:18-22, and the titles of many Psalms. According to the usual chronology, David was born in 1085 and reigned from 1055 to 1015 B.C. Recent writers have been induced by the Assyrian inscriptions to date his reign from 30 to 50 years later. Within the limits imposed, it is impossible to give more than a bare outline of the events of his life and a brief estimate of his character and his significance in the history of the chosen people, as king, psalmist, prophet, and type of the Messias.

The history of David falls naturally into three periods: (1) before his elevation to the throne; (2) his reign, at Hebron over Juda, and at Jerusalem over all Israel, until his sin; (3) his sin and last years. He first appears in sacred history as a shepherd lad, tending his father's flocks in the fields near Bethlehem, "ruddy and beautiful to behold and of a comely face." Samuel, the Prophet and last of the judges, had been sent to anoint him in place of Saul, whom God had rejected for disobedience. The relations of David do not seem to have recognized the significance of this unction, which marked him as the successor to the throne after the death of Saul.

During a period of illness, when the evil spirit troubled Saul, David was brought to court to soothe the king by playing on the harp. He earned the gratitude of Saul and was made an armor bearer, but his stay at court was brief. Not long afterwards, whilst his three elder brothers were in the field, fighting under Saul against the Philistines, David was sent to the camp with some provisions and presents; there he heard the words in which the giant, Goliath of Geth, defied all Israel to single combat, and he volunteered with God's help to slay the Philistine. His victory over Goliath brought about the rout of the enemy. Saul's questions to Abner at this time seem to imply that he had never seen David before, though, as we have seen, David had already been at court. Various conjectures have been made to explain this difficulty. As the passage which suggests a contradiction in the Hebrew text is omitted by Septuagint codices, some authors have accepted the Greek text in preference to the Hebrew. Others suppose that the order of the narratives has become confused in our present Hebrew text. A simpler and more likely solution maintains that on the second occasion Saul asked Abner only about the family of David and about his earlier life. Previously he had given the matter no attention.

David's victory over Goliath won for him the tender friendship of Jonathan, the son of Saul. He obtained a permanent position at court, but his great popularity and the imprudent songs of the women excited the jealousy of the king, who on two occasions attempted to kill him. As captain of a thousand men, he encountered new dangers to win the hand of Merob, Saul's eldest daughter, but, in spite of the king's promise, she was given to Hadriel. Michol, Saul's other daughter, loved David, and, in the hope that the latter might be killed by the Philistines, her father promised to give her in marriage, provided David should slay one hundred Philistines. David succeeded and married Michol. This success, however, made Saul fear the more and finally induced him to order that David should be killed. Through the intervention of Jonathan he was spared for a time, but Saul's hatred finally obliged him to flee from the court.

First he went to Ramatha and thence, with Samuel, to Naioth. Saul's further attempts to murder him were frustrated by God's direct interposition. An interview with Jonathan convinced him that reconciliation with Saul was impossible, and for the rest of the reign he was an exile and an outlaw. At Nobe, whither he proceeded, David and his companions were harbored by the priest Achimelech, who was afterwards accused of conspiracy and put to death with his fellow-priests. From Nobe David went to the court of Achis, king of Geth, where he escaped death by feigning madness. On his return, he became the head of a band of about four hundred men, some of them his relations, others distressed debtors and malcontents, who gathered at the cave, or stronghold, of Odollam (Adullam). Not long after their number was reckoned at six hundred. David delivered the city of Ceila from the Philistines, but was again obliged to flee from Saul.

His next abode was the wilderness of Ziph, made memorable by the visit of Jonathan and by the treachery of the Ziphites, who sent word to the king. David was saved from capture by the recall of Saul to repel an attack of the Philistines. In the deserts of Engaddi, he was again in great danger, but when Saul was at his mercy, he generously spared his life. The adventure with Nabal, David's marriage with Abigail, and a second refusal to slay Saul were followed by David's decision to offer his serves to Achis of Geth and thus put an end to Saul's persecution.

As a vassal of the Philistine king, he was set over the city of Siceleg, whence he made raids on the neighboring tribes, wasting their lands and sparing neither man nor woman. By pretending that these expeditions were against his own people of Israel, he secured the favor of Achis. When, however, the Philistines prepared at Aphec to wage war against Saul, the other princes were unwilling to trust David, and he returned to Siceleg. During his absence, the Amalecites had attacked it. David pursued them, destroyed their forces, and recovered all their booty. Meanwhile the fatal battle on Mount Gelboe (Gilboa) had taken place, in which Saul and Jonathan were slain. The touching elegy, preserved for us in II Kings 1: is David's outburst of grief at their death.

By God's command, David, who was now thirty years old, went up to Hebron to claim the kingly power. The men of Juda accepted him as king, and he was again anointed, solemnly and publicly. Through the influence of Abner, the rest of Israel remained faithful to Isboseth, the son of Saul. Abner attacked the forces of David, but was defeated at Gabaon. Civil war continued for some time, but David's power was ever on the increase. At Hebron six sons were born to him: Amnon, Cheleab, Absalom, Adonias, Saphathia, and Jethraam. As the result of a quarrel with Isboseth, Abner made overtures to bring all Israel under the rule of David; Joab however, treacherously murdered him without the king's consent. Two Benjamites murdered Isboseth, and David was accepted by all Israel and anointed king. His reign at Hebron over Juda alone had lasted seven years and a half.

By his successful wars, David succeeded in making Israel an independent state and causing his own name to be respected by all the surrounding nations. A notable exploit at the beginning of his reign was the conquest of the Jebusite city of Jerusalem, which he made the capital of his kingdom, "the city of David," the political centre of the nation. He built a palace, took more wives and concubines, and begat other sons and daughters. Having cast off the yoke of the Philistines, he resolved to make Jerusalem the religious center of his people by transporting the Ark of the Covenant (q.v.) from Cariathiarim. It was brought to Jerusalem and placed in the new tent constructed by the king. Later on, when he proposed to build a temple for it, the prophet Nathan told him that God had reserved this task for his successor. In reward for his piety, the promise was made that God would build him up a house and establish his kingdom forever.

No detailed account has been preserved of the various wars undertaken by David; only some isolated facts are given. The war with the Ammonites is recorded more fully because, whilst his army was in the field during this campaign, David fell into the sins of adultery and murder, bringing thereby great calamities on himself and his people. He was then at the height of his power, a ruler respected by all the nations from the Euphrates to the Nile. After his sin with Bethsabee and the indirect assassination of Urias, her husband, David made her his wife. A year elapsed before his repentance for the sin, but his contrition was so sincere that God pardoned him, though at the same time announcing the severe penalties that were to follow. The spirit in which David accepted these penalties has made him for all time the model of penitents.

The incest of Amnon and the fratricide of Absalom (q.v.) brought shame and sorrow to David. For three years, Absalom remained in exile. When he was recalled, David kept him in disfavor for two years more and then restored him to his former dignity, without any sign of repentance. Vexed by his father's treatment, Absalom devoted himself for the next four years to seducing the people and finally had himself proclaimed king at Hebron. David was taken by surprise and was forced to flee from Jerusalem. The circumstances of his flight are narrated in Scripture with great simplicity and pathos. Absalom's disregard of the counsel of Achitophel and his consequent delay in the pursuit of the king made it possible for the latter to gather his forces and win a victory at Manahaim, where Absalom was killed. David returned in triumph to Jerusalem. A further rebellion under Seba at the Jordan was quickly suppressed.

At this point in the narrative of II Kings we read that "there was a famine in the days of David for three years successively," in punishment for Saul's sin against the Gabaonites. At their request, seven of Saul's race were delivered up to be crucified. It is not possible to fix the exact date of the famine. On other occasions, David showed great compassion for the descendants of Saul, especially for Miphiboseth, the son of his friend Jonathan.

After a brief mention of four expeditions against the Philistines, the sacred writer records a sin of pride on David's part in his resolution to take a census of the people. As a penance for this sin, he was allowed to choose either a famine, an unsuccessful war, or pestilence. David chose the third and in three days 70,000 died. When the angel was about to strike Jerusalem, God was moved to pity and stayed the pestilence. David was commanded to offer sacrifice at the threshing-floor of Areuna, the site of the future temple.

The last days of David were disturbed by the ambition of Adonias, whose plans for the succession were frustrated by Nathan, the prophet, and Bethsabee, the mother of Solomon. The son who was born after David's repentance was chosen in preference to his older brothers. To make sure that Solomon would succeed to the throne, David had him publicly anointed. The last recorded words of the aged king are an exhortation to Solomon to be faithful to God, to reward loyal servants, and to punish the wicked. David died at the age of seventy, having reigned in Jerusalem thirty-three years. He was buried on Mount Sion. St. Peter spoke of his tomb as still in existence on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Ghost descended on the Apostles (Acts 2:29). David is honored by the Church as a saint. He is especially celebrated, along with Sts. James and Joseph, on the Sunday after the Feast of the Nativity.

The historical character of the narratives of David's life has been attacked chiefly by writers who have disregarded the purpose of the narrator in I Par. He passes over those events that are not connected with the history of the Ark. In the Books of Kings all the chief events, good and bad, are narrated. The Bible records David's sins and weaknesses without excuse or palliation, but it also records his repentance, his acts of virtue, his generosity towards Saul, his great faith, and his piety. Critics who have harshly criticized his character have not considered the difficult circumstances in which he lived or the manners of his age. It is uncritical and unscientific to exaggerate his faults or to imagine that the whole history is a series of myths. The life of David was an important epoch in the history of Israel. He was the real founder of the monarchy, the head of the dynasty. Chosen by God "as a man according to His own heart,"

David was tried in the school of suffering during the days of exile and developed into a military leader of renown. To him was due the complete organization of the army. He gave Israel a capital, a court, a great center of religious worship. The little band at Odollam became the nucleus of an efficient force. When he became King of all Israel, there were 339,600 men under his command. At the census, 1,300,000 were enumerated capable of bearing arms. A standing army, consisting of twelve corps, each 24,000 men, took turns in serving for a month at a time as the garrison of Jerusalem. The administration of his palace and his kingdom demanded a large retinue of servants and officials. Their various offices are set down in I Par. 27:. The king himself exercised the office of judge, though Levites were later appointed for this purpose, as well as other minor officials.

When the Ark had been brought to Jerusalem, David undertook the organization of religious worship. The sacred functions were entrusted to 24,000 Levites; 6,000 of these were scribes and judges, 4000 were porters, and 4000 singers. He arranged the various parts of the ritual, allotting to each section its tasks. The priests were divided into twenty-four families; the musicians into twenty-four choirs. To Solomon had been reserved the privilege of building God's house, but David made ample preparations for the work by amassing treasures and materials, as well as by transmitting to his son a plan for the building and all its details. We are told in I Par. how he exhorted his son Solomon to carry out this great work and made known to the assembled princes the extent of his preparations.

The prominent part played by song and music in the worship of the temple, as arranged by David, is readily explained by his poetic and musical abilities. His skill in music is recorded in I Kings 16:18 and Amos 6:5. Poems of his composition are found in II Kings, 1: 22, and 23. His connection with the Book of Psalms, many of which are expressly attributed to various incidents of his career, was so taken for granted in later days that many ascribed the whole Psalter to him. The authorship of these hymns and the question how far they can be considered as supplying illustrative material for David's life is treated in the article Psalms.

David was not merely king and ruler. He was also a prophet. "The spirit of the Lord hath spoken by me and his word by my tongue" (II Kings 23:2) is a direct statement of prophetic inspiration in the poem there recorded. St. Peter tells us that he was a prophet (Acts 2:30). His prophecies are embodied in the Psalms he composed that are literally Messianic and in "David's last words" (II K., 23:). The literal character of these Messianic Psalms is indicated in the New Testament. They refer to the suffering, the persecution, and the triumphant deliverance of Christ, or to the prerogatives conferred on Him by the Father.

In addition to these his direct prophecies, David himself has always been regarded as a type of the Messias. In this, the Church has but followed the teaching of the Old Testament Prophets. The Messias was to be the great theocratic king; David, the ancestor of the Messias, was a king according to God's own heart. His qualities and his very name are attributed to the Messias.

Incidents in the life of David are regarded by the Fathers as foreshadowing the life of Christ. Bethlehem is the birthplace of both. The shepherd life of David points out Christ, the Good Shepherd. The five stones chosen to slay Goliath are typical of the five wounds. The betrayal by his trusted counselor, Achitophel, and the passage over the Cedron remind us of Christ's Sacred Passion. Many of the Davidic Psalms, as we learn from the New Testament, are clearly typical of the future Messias.


The Books of Paralipomenon (Chronicles).

(Paraleipomenon; Libri Paralipomenon).

Two books of the Bible containing a summary of sacred history from Adam to the end of the Captivity. The title Paralipomenon, books "of things passed over," which, from the Septuagint, passed into the old Latin Bible and thence into the Vulgate, is commonly taken to imply that they supplement the narrative of the Books of Kings (otherwise known as I-II Sam. and I-II Kings); but this explanation is hardly supported by the contents of the books, and does not account for the present participle. The view of Blessed Jerome, who considers Paralipomenon as equivalent to "epitome of the Old Testament," is probably the true one. The title would accordingly denote that many things are passed over in these books. The Hebrew title is Dibhere Hayyamim, "the acts of the days" or "annals." In the Protestant, printed Hebrew, and many contemporary bibles, they are entitled "Books of Chronicles."

Unity and Places in the Canon.

The two books are really one work, and are treated as one in the Hebrew manuscripts and in the Massoretic summary appended to the second book. The division was first made in the Septuagint for the sake of convenience, and thence was adopted into the Latin Bibles. The Hebrew text was first divided in Bomberg's edition of the rabbinical Bible (Venice, 1516-7). Moreover, there is a probability that Paralipomenon originally formed part of a larger work that included the two Books of Esdras (Esdras Nehemias). For not only is there similarity of diction and style, of spirit and method, but I Esdras begins where II Paralipomenon ends, the decree of Cyrus being repeated and completed.

It should be remarked, however, that these facts can be explained by simple community of authorship. In the Septuagint and Vulgate, as well as in the Protestant bibles, the Books of Paralipomenon are placed immediately after the Books of Kings. In the printed edition of the Hebrew Bible, they stand at the end of the third division, or Kethubhim.


The first part of I Paralipomenon (1: -9:), which is a sort of introduction to the rest of the work, contains a series of genealogical and statistical lists, interspersed with short historical notes. It comprises:

  1. the genealogy of the patriarchs from Adam to Jacob (1:);
  2. the genealogy of the twelve tribes (2:-8:);
  3. a list of the families of Juda, Benjamin, and Levi dwelling in Jerusalem after the Exile, with the genealogy of the family of Saul repeated (9:).

The second part of I Paralipomenon contains the history of the reign of David preceded by the account of the death of Saul (10: -29:). II Paralipomenon comprises the reign of Solomon (1:-9:), and the reigns of the kings of Juda (10-36:21). Part of the edict of Cyrus allowing the Jews to return and to rebuild the temple is added as a conclusion (36:22-23). The historical part of Paralipomenon thus covers the same period as the last three Books of Kings. Hence naturally much of the matter is the same in both; often, indeed, the two narratives not only agree in the facts they relate, but describe them almost in the same words.

The Books of Paralipomenon also agree with the Books of Kings in plan and general arrangement. But side by side with these agreements, there are many differences. The Books of Paralipomenon narrate some events more briefly, or present them in a different manner, and omit others altogether (e.g., the adultery of David, the violation of Thamar, the murder of Amnon, and the rebellion of Absalom), while they dwell more on facts regarding the temple, its worship and its ministers, furnishing much information on these subjects which is not found in the other books. Moreover, they ignore the northern kingdom except where the history of Juda requires mention of it.


On comparing Paralipomenon with the Books of Kings, we are forced to the conclusion that the writer's purpose was not to supplement the omissions of these latter books. The objects of his interest are the temple and its worship. He intends primarily to write the religious history of Juda with the temple as its center, and, as intimately connected with it, the history of the house of David. This clearly appears when we consider what he mentions and what he omits. Of Saul, he narrates only his death as an introduction to the reign of David. In the history of David's reign he gives a full account of the translation of the ark to Mount Sion, of the preparations for the building of the temple, and of the levitical families and their offices; the wars and the other events of the reign he either tells briefly, or passes over altogether. Solomon's reign is almost reduced to the account of the building and the dedication of the temple. After the disruption of the kingdom the apostate tribes are hardly mentioned, while the reigns of the pious kings, Asa, Josaphat, Joas, Ezechias, and Josias, who brought about a revival of religion and showed great zeal for the temple and its worship, are specially dwelt on.

Again, the additions to the narrative of the Books of Kings in most cases refer to the temple, its worship and its ministers. Nor is the decree of Cyrus allowing the rebuilding of the temple without significance. The same purpose may be noted in the genealogical section, where the tribes of Juda and Levi are given special prominence and have their genealogies continued beyond the Exile. The author, however, writes his history with a practical object in view. He wishes to urge the people to a faithful and exact adherence to the worship of God in the restored temple, and to impress upon them that thus only will the community deserve God's blessings and protection. Hence, he places before them the example of the past, especially of the pious kings who were distinguished for their zeal in building the temple or in promoting the splendor of its worship.

Hence, too, he takes every occasion to show that the kings, and with them the people, prospered or were delivered from great calamities because of their attachment to God's worship, or experienced misfortune because of their unfaithfulness. The frequent mention of the Levites and of their offices was probably intended to induce them to value their calling and to carry out faithfully their duties.

Author and Time of Composition.

The Books of Paralipomenon were undoubtedly written after the Restoration. For the genealogy of the house of David is carried beyond Zorobabel (I Paralipomenon 3:19-24), and the very decree of Cyrus allowing the return is cited. Moreover, the value of the sums collected by David for the building of the temple is expressed in darics (I Paralipomenon 29:7, Heb.), which were not current in Palestine until the time of the Persian domination. The peculiarities of style and diction also point to a time later than the Captivity. The older writers generally attributed the authorship to Esdras. Most modern non-Orthodox scholars attribute the work to an unknown writer and place its date between 300 and 250 B.C. The main reasons for this late date are that the descendants of Zorobabel are given to the sixth (in the Septuagint and the Vulgate to the eleventh) generation, and that in II Esdras (12:10-11, 22) the list of the high-priests extends to Jeddoa, who, according to Josephus, held the pontificate in the time of Alexander the Great. These lists, however, show signs of having been brought up to date by a later hand and cannot, therefore, be considered as decisive. On the other hand, a writer living in Greek times would not be likely to express the value of ancient money in darics. Moreover, a work written for the purpose mentioned above would be more in place in the time immediately following the Restoration, while the position and character of Esdras would point him out as its author. Hence, most Biblical scholars still adhere to Esdrine authorship, and place the time of composition at the end of the fifth or at the beginning of the fourth century B.C.

Historical Value.

Critics such as de Wette, Wellhausen etc. have severely attacked the reliability of the Books of Paralipomenon as a historical work. They accuse the author of exaggeration, of misrepresenting facts, and even of appealing to imaginary documents. Other writers of the same school who, while admitting errors, absolve the author of intentional misrepresentation have considerably mitigated this harsh judgment. The objections urged against the books cannot be examined here in detail; a few general remarks in vindication of their truthfulness must suffice.

In the first place, the books have suffered at the hands of copyists; textual errors in names and in numbers, which latter originally were only indicated by letters, are especially numerous. Gross exaggerations, such as the slaying of 7000 charioteers (I Paralipomenon 19:18) as against 700 in II Kings (10:18) and the impossibly large armies mentioned in II Paralipomenon (13:3), are plainly to be attributed to this cause.

In the next place, if the one compares the sections common to Paralipomenon and the Books of Kings, one finds substantial agreement to exist between them. If the author, then, reproduces his sources with substantial accuracy in the cases where his statements can be controlled by comparing them with those of another writer who has used the same documents, there is no reason to suspect that he acted differently in the case of other sources. His custom of referring his readers to the documents from which he has drawn his information should leave no doubt on the subject.

In the third place, the omission of the facts not to the credit of the pious kings (e.g. the adultery of David) is due to the object that the author has in view, and proves no more against his truthfulness than the omission of the history of the northern tribes. He did not intend to write a full history of the kings of Juda, but a history for the purpose of edification. Hence, in speaking of the kings whom he proposes as models, he naturally omits details that are not edifying. Such a presentation, while one-sided, is no more untruthful than a panegyric in which the foibles of the subject are passed over. The picture is correct as far as it goes, only it is not complete.


Elijah (Heb. 'Eliahu, "Yahveh is God"; also called Elijah).

The loftiest and most wonderful prophet of the Old Testament. What we know of his public life is sketched in a few popular narratives enshrined, for the most part, in the First (Third) Book of Kings. These narratives, which bear the stamp of an almost contemporary age, very likely took shape in Northern Israel, and are full of the most graphic and interesting details. Every part of the prophet's life therein narrated bears out the description of the writer of Ecclesiasticus: He was "as a fire, and his word burnt like a torch" (48:1). The times called for such a prophet. Under the baneful influence of his Tyrian wife Jezabel, Achab, though perhaps not intending to forsake altogether Yahveh's worship, had nevertheless erected in Samaria a temple to the Tyrian Baal (1 Kings 16:32) and introduced a multitude of foreign priests (18:19). Doubtless, he had occasionally offered sacrifices to the pagan deity, and, most of all, hallowed a bloody persecution of the prophets of Yahveh.

Of Elijah's origin nothing is known, except that he was a Thesbite; whether from Thisbe of Nephtali (Tob. 1:2, Gr.) or from Thesbon of Galaad, as our texts have it, is not absolutely certain, although most scholars, on the authority of the Septuagint and of Josephus, prefer the latter opinion. Some Jewish legends, echoed in a few Christian writings, assert moreover that Elijah was of priestly descent; but there is no other warrant for the statement than the fact that he offered sacrifices.

His whole manner of life resembles somewhat that of the Nazarites and is a loud protest against his corrupt age. His skin garment and leather girdle (2 Kings, 1, 8), his swift foot (1 Kings 18:46), his habit of dwelling in the clefts of the torrents (17:3) or in the caves of the mountains (19:9), of sleeping under a scanty shelter (19:5), betray the true son of the desert. He appears abruptly on the scene of history to announce to Achab that Yahveh had determined to avenge the apostasy of Israel and her king by bringing a long drought on the land. His message delivered, the prophet vanished as suddenly as he had appeared. Guided by the spirit of Yahveh, betook himself by the brook Carith, to the east of the Jordan, and the ravens (some critics would translate, however improbable the rendering, "Arabs" or "merchants") "brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening, and he drank of the torrent" (17:6).

After the brook had dried up, Elijah, under Divine direction, crossed over to Sarepta, within the Tyrian dominion. There a poor widow whom the famine had reduced to her last meal hospitably received him (12). Her charity he rewarded by increasing her store of meal and oil all the while the drought and famine prevailed, and later on by restoring her child to life (14-24). For three years, there fell no rain or dew in Israel, and the land was utterly barren. Meanwhile Achab had made fruitless efforts and scoured the country in search of Elijah. At length the latter resolved to confront the king once more, and, suddenly appearing before Abdias, bade him summon his master (18:7, sq.).

When they met, Achab bitterly upbraided the prophet as the cause of the misfortune of Israel. But the prophet flung back the charge: "I have not troubled Israel, but thou and thy father's house, who have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and have followed Baalim" (18:18). Taking advantage of the discountenanced spirits of the silenced king, Elijah bids him to summon the prophets of Baal to Mount Carmel, for a decisive contest between their god and Yahveh. The ordeal took place before a great concourse of people whom Elijah, in the most forcible terms, presses to choose: "How long do you halt between two sides? If Yahveh be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him" (18:21). He then commanded the heathen prophets to invoke their deity; he himself would "call on the name of his Lord"; and the God who would answer by fire, "let him be God" (24).

An altar had been erected by the Baal-worshippers and the victim laid upon it; but their cries, their wild dances and mad self-mutilations all the day long availed nothing: "There was no voice heard, nor did any one answer, nor regard them as they prayed" (29). Elijah, having repaired the ruined altar of Yahveh that stood there, prepared thereon his sacrifice. Then, when it was time to offer the evening oblation, as he was praying earnestly, "the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the holocaust, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench" (38). The issue was fought and won. The people, maddened by the success, fell at Elijah's command on the pagan prophets and slew them at the brook Cison. That same evening the drought ceased with a heavy downpour of rain, in the midst of which the strange prophet ran before Achab to the entrance of Jezrael.

Elijah's triumph was short. The anger of Jezabel, who had sworn to take his life (19:2), compelled him to flee without delay, and take his refuge beyond the desert of Juda, in the sanctuary of Mount Horeb. There, in the wilds of the sacred mountain, broken spirited, he poured out his complaint before the Lord, who strengthened him by a revelation and restored his faith. Three commands are laid upon him: to anoint Hazael to be King of Syria, Jehu to be King of Israel, and Eliseus to be his own successor.

At once Elijah sets out to accomplish this new burden. On his way to Damascus, he meets Eliseus at the plough, and throwing his mantle over him, makes him his faithful disciple and inseparable companion, to whom the completion of his task will be entrusted. The treacherous murder of Naboth was the occasion for a new reappearance of Elijah at Jezrael, as a champion of the people's rights and of social order, and to announce to Achab his impending doom. Achab's house shall fall. In the place where the dogs licked the blood of Naboth will the dogs lick the king's blood; they shall eat Jezabel in Jezrael; their whole posterity shall perish and their bodies be given to the fowls of the air (21:20-26). Conscience-stricken, Achab quailed before the man of God, and in view of his penance the threatened ruin of his house was delayed.

The next time we hear of Elijah, it is in connation with Ochozias, Achab's son and successor. Having received severe injuries in a fall, this prince sent messengers to the shrine of Beelzebub, god of Accaron, to inquire whether he should recover. They were intercepted by the prophet, who sent them back to their master with the intimation that his injuries would prove fatal. Several bands of men sent by the king to capture Elijah were stricken by fire from heaven; finally, the man of God appeared in person before Ochozias to confirm his threatening message. Another episode recorded by the chronicler (II Par., 21:12) relates how Joram, King of Juda, who had indulged in Baal-worship, received from Elijah a letter warning him that all his house would be smitten by a plague, and that he himself was doomed to an early death.

According to 2 Kings 3, Elijah's career ended before the death of Josaphat. This statement is difficult — but not impossible — to harmonize with the preceding narrative. However this may be, Elijah vanished still more mysteriously than he had appeared. Like Enoch, he was "translated," so that he should not taste death. As he was conversing with his spiritual son Eliseus on the hills of Moab, "a fiery chariot, and fiery horses parted them both asunder, and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven" (2 Kings 2:11), and all the efforts to find him made by the sceptic sons of the prophets disbelieving Eliseus's recital, availed nothing.

The memory of Elijah has ever remained living in the minds both of Jews and of Christians. According to Malachias, God preserved the prophet alive to entrust him, at the end of time, with a glorious mission (4:5-6). At the New Testament period, this mission was believed to precede immediately the Messianic Advent (Matt. 17:10, 12; Mark 9:11); according to some Christian commentators, it would consist in converting the Jews (St. Jer., in Mal. 4:5-6); the rabbis, finally, affirm that its object will be to give the explanations and answers hitherto kept back by them. I Mach. 2:58, extols Elijah's zeal for the Law, and Ben Sira entwines in a beautiful page the narration of his actions and the description of his future mission (Ecclus. 48:1-12). Elijah is still in the N.T. the personification of the servant of God (Matt. 16:14; Luke 1:17; 9:8; John 1:21). No wonder, therefore, that with Moses he appeared at Jesus' side on the day of the Transfiguration.

Nor do we find only in the sacred literature and the commentaries thereof evidences of the conspicuous place Elijah won for himself in the minds of after-ages. To this day, the name of Jebel Mar Elyas, usually given by modern Arabs to Mount Carmel, perpetuates the memory of the man of God. Various places on the mountain.: Elijah's grotto; El-Khadr, the supposed school of the prophets; El-Muhraka, the traditional spot of Elijah's sacrifice; Tell el-Kassis, or Mound of the priests — where he is said to have slain the priests of Baal — are still in great veneration both among the Christians of all denominations and among the Moslems. Every year the Druses assemble at El-Muhraka to hold a festival and offer a sacrifice in honor of Elijah. All Moslems have the prophet in great reverence; no Druse, in particular, would dare break an oath made in the name of Elijah. Not only among them, but to some extent also among the Jews and Christians, many legendary tales are associated with the prophet's memory.

The old stichometrical lists and ancient ecclesiastical writings (Const. Apost., 6:16; Origen, Comm. in Matth. 27: 9; Euthalius; Epiphan., Haer., xliii) mention an apocryphal "Apocalypse of Elijah," citations from which are said to be found in I Cor. 2:9, and Eph. 5:14. Lost to view since the early Christian centuries, this work was partly recovered in a Coptic translation found (1893) by Maspéro in a monastery of Upper Egypt. Other scraps, likewise in Coptic, also have since been discovered. What we possess now of this Apocalypse — and it seems that we have by far the greater part of it — was published in 1899 by G. Steindorff; the passages cited in I Cor. 2:9, and Eph. 5:14, do not appear there; the Apocalypse on the other hand, has a striking analogy with the Jewish "Sepher Elia."


Ezechias (Hebrew = "The Lord strengtheneth"; Septuagint Ezekias; in the cuneiform inscriptions Ha-za-qi-ya-hu).

King of Juda, son and successor of Achaz. We learn from Second Kings, Chapter 18, that he began his reign in the third year of Osee, King of Israel, that he was then twenty-five years of age, that his reign lasted twenty-nine years, and that his mother was Abi, daughter of Zecharias. The account of his reign is beset with unsolved chronological difficulties, and there exists a difference of opinion among scholars as to the year in which he ascended the throne. The commonly received computation reckons his reign from 726 to 697 B.C.

In character and policy, Ezechias was pious and agreeable to God. He was a strenuous civil and religious reformer, and on this account, the sacred writer compares him to King David. The events of his reign are related in the Fourth Book of Kings, and also in the parallel account in the Second Book of Chronicles. But in the latter, as might be expected, stress is laid chiefly on the religious reforms that he carried out, whereas the earlier account mentions these briefly, and dwells at greater length on the civil and political aspects of his reign.

Among the religious reforms are mentioned the purification of the Temple, which had been closed by Achaz, the irreligious predecessor of Ezechias (II Chronicles 28-29), the resumption and proper celebration of the feast of the Passover which had been neglected (II Chronicles 30), and in general the extirpation of idolatry, and the reorganization of the Hebrew worship (II Kings 18, II Chronicles 31). The title prefixed to the twenty-fifth chapter of Proverbs states that the sayings contained in the following collection (25-29) were copied out by the "men of Ezechias." This would seem to indicate, on the part of the king, some literary interest and activity, and in the Talmudic tradition, these "men of Ezechias" are credited with the composition of several books of the Old Testament. Soon after his accession to the throne Ezechias threw off the yoke of the Assyrians, to whom his father had become a vassal (II Kings 18:). Other notable events of his reign are his sickness and miraculous cure, the embassy of Berodach Baladan, and the invasion of Sennacherib. The story of the sickness of Ezechias is narrated in II Kings 20, and in Isaiah 28.

The king having been stricken with some mortal disease, the prophet Isaiah comes in the name of Yahweh to warn him to put his affairs in order, for he is about to die. But Ezechias prays to the Lord, Who sends the prophet back to announce to him that he will recover, and that fifteen years are to be added to his life. As a sign of the fulfillment of this promise, Isaiah causes the shadow to recede a distance of ten lines on the sundial.

Connected with this event is the sending of an embassy by Berodach Baladan, King of Babylon, who having heard of the illness of Ezechias, sent messengers to him with presents. The motive of this action on the part of the Babylonian king was probably to enlist the services of Ezechias in a league against Sennacherib, King of Assyria. Ezechias received the envoys with great honor, and exhibited to them his various treasures and armaments of war. This spirit of ostentation was displeasing to the Lord, and Isaiah was sent to announce that the treasures, in which the king seemed to place his confidence, would be all carried off as plunder to Babylon.

Not long after (according to the cuneiform inscriptions, in the year 701), Sennacherib undertook a great campaign against Syria and Egypt. The story of this expedition is told, from the Assyrian standpoint, in the official cuneiform inscription known as the Taylor prism. The plan of Sennacherib was, first, to vanquish the kings of Ascalon, Sidon and Juda who had formed a coalition against him, and then to turn his attention to the land of the Pharaohs.

After subduing Ascalon and Accaron, the Assyrian invader captured and plundered all the fortified towns of Juda, and carried their inhabitants into exile. Then he besieged Jerusalem, and Ezechias, finding himself shut up "like a bird in a cage," resolved to come to terms with his enemy. Sennacherib demanded thirty talents of gold and three hundred talents of silver, and, in order to supply it, Ezechias was obliged to yield up not only the contents of the royal treasury, but also the silver belonging to the Temple, and the plates of gold which were on the doors thereof (II Kings 18).

However, when in addition to this, the Assyrian demanded the surrender of Jerusalem with a view to carrying its inhabitants into exile, the courage of Ezechias was revived, and he prepared himself for a vigorous resistance. Haughty demands of surrender were repulsed, and the king taking counsel with the prophet Isaiah turned in supplication to Yahweh; he received the assurance that the enemy would soon abandon the siege without doing any harm to the city. This prophecy was shortly verified when after the angel of the Lord slew in the night 185,000 of the besieging forces, the remainder fled with Sennacherib, and returned to Assyria. Echezias survived this deliverance only a few years, and he was buried with great pomp in the tomb of the sons of David (II Kings 20:21; II Chronicles 32:33).


MANASSES, thirteenth King of Juda (692-638 B.C. — cf. Schrader, "Keilinschr. und das A. T."), son and successor to Ezechias (IV Kings 20:21 sq.). The historian of IV Kings tells us much about the evil of his reign (21:2-10), and the punishment thereof foretold by the Prophets (verses 10-15), but practically nothing about the rest of the doings of Manasses. He brought back the abominations of Achaz; imported the adoration of "all the host of heaven," seemingly the astral, solar, and lunar myths of Assyria; introduced the other enormities mentioned in the Sacred text; and "made his son pass through fire" (verse 6) in the worship of Moloch. It was probably in this frenzy of his varied forms of idolatry that "Manasses shed also very much innocent blood, till he filled Jerusalem up to the mouth" (verse 16). The historian of II Par. tells much the same story, and adds that, in punishment, the Lord brought the Assyrians upon Juda. They carried Manasses to Babylon. The Lord heard his prayer for forgiveness and deliverance, and brought him again to Jerusalem, where Manasses did his part in stemming the tide of idolatry that he had formerly forced upon Juda (33:11-20).

At one time, doubt was cast on the historicity of this narrative of II Par., because IV Kings omits the captivity of Manasses. Schrader (op. cit., 2nd ed., Giessen, 1883, 355) gives cuneiform records of twenty-two kings that submitted to Assurhaddon during his expedition against Egypt; second on the list is Mi­na­si­i sar ir Ya­u­di (Manasses, king of the city of Juda). Schrader also gives the list of twenty-two kings who are recorded on a cuneiform tablet as tributaries to Asurbanipal in the land of Hatti; second on this list is Mi­in­si­i sar mat Ya­u­di (Manasses, king of the land of Juda). Since a Babylonian brick confirms the record of the historian of II Par., his reputation is made a little more secure in rationalistic circles. Winckler and Zimmern admit the presence of Manasses in Babylon (see their revision of Schrader's "Keilinschr. und das A. T.," I, Berlin, 1902, 274). Conjectures of the Pan-Babylonian School as to the causes that led to the return of Manasses, the groundwork of the narrative in IV Kings, etc., do not militate against the historical worth of the Inspired Record.


Esdras (or Ezra).

Esdras the Man.

Esdras is a famous priest and scribe connected with Israel's restoration after the Exile. The chief sources of information touching his life are the canonical books of Esdras and Nehemias. A group of apocryphal writings is also much concerned with him, but they can hardly be relied upon, as they relate rather the legendary tales of a later age. Esdras was of priestly descent and belonged to the line of Sardoc (I Esdras 7:1-5). He styles himself "son of Saraias" (7:1), an expression which is by many understood in a broad sense, as purporting that Saraias, the chief priest, spoken of in IV Kings 25:18-21, was one of Esdras's ancestors. Nevertheless, he is known rather as "the scribe" than as "priest": he was "a ready scribe [a scribe skilled] in the law of Moses," and therefore especially qualified for the task to which he was destined among his people.

The chronological relation of Esdras's work with that of Nehemias is, among the questions connected with the history of the Jewish Restoration, one of the most mooted. Many Biblical scholars still cling to the view suggested by the traditional order of the sacred text (due allowance being made for the break in the narrative — I Esdras 4:6-23), and place the mission of Esdras before that of Nehemias. Others, among whom we may mention Professor Van Hoonacker of Louvain, Dr. T.K. Cheyne in England, and Professor C.F. Kent in America, to do away with the numberless difficulties arising from the interpretation of the main sources of this history, maintain that Nehemias's mission preceded that of Esdras. The former view holds that Esdras came to Jerusalem about 458 B.C., and Nehemias first in 444 and the second time about 430 B.C.; whereas, according to the opposite opinion, Esdras's mission might have taken place as late as 397 B.C. However this may be, since we are here only concerned with Esdras, we will limit ourselves to summarizing the principal features of his life and work, without regard to the problems involved, which it suffices to have mentioned.

Many years had elapsed after permission had been given to the Jews to return to Palestine; amidst difficulties and obstacles, the restored community had settled down again in their ancient home and built a new temple. But their condition, both from the political and from the religious point of view, was most precarious: they chafed under the oppression of the Persian satraps and had grown indifferent and unobservant of the Law. From Babylon, where this state of affairs was well known, Esdras longed to go to Jerusalem and use his authority as a priest and interpreter of the Law to restore things to a better condition. He was in favor at the court of the Persian king; he not only obtained permission to visit Judea, but a royal edict clothing him with ample authority to carry out his purpose, and ample support from the royal treasury. The rescript, moreover, ordered the satraps "beyond the river" to assist Esdras liberally and enacted that all Jewish temple officials should be exempt from toll, tribute, or custom. "And thou, Esdras, appoint judges and magistrates, that they may judge all the people, that is beyond the river" (I Esdras 7:25). Finally, the Law of God and the law of the king were alike to be enforced by severe penalties.

The edict left all Jews who felt so inclined free to go back to their own country. Some 1800 men, including a certain number of priests, Levites, and Nathinites, started with Esdras from Babylon, and after five months, the company safely reached Jerusalem. Long-neglected abuses had taken root in the sacred city. These Esdras set himself vigorously to correct, after the silver and gold he had carried from Babylon were brought into the Temple and sacrifices offered.

The first task that confronted him was that of dealing with mixed marriages. Regardless of the Law of Moses, many, even the leading Jews and priests, had intermarried with the idolatrous inhabitants of the country. Horror-stricken by the discovery of this abuse — the extent of which was very likely unknown heretofore to Esdras — he gave utterance to his feelings in a prayer which made such an impression upon the people that Sechenias, in their names, proposed that the Israelites should put away their foreign wives and the children born of them. Esdras seized his opportunity, and exacted from the congregation an oath that they would comply with this proposition. The princes and the ancients called a general assembly of the people. But the business could not be transacted easily at such a meeting and a special commission, with Esdras at its head, was appointed to take the matter in hand. For three full months, this commission held its sessions; at the end of that time the "strange wives" were dismissed.

What was the outcome of this drastic measure we are not told; Esdras's memoirs are interrupted here. Nor do we know whether, his task accomplished, he returned to Babylon or remained in Jerusalem. At any rate, we find him again in the latter city at the reading of the Law that took place after the rebuilding of the walls. No doubt, this event had rekindled the enthusiasm of the people; and to comply with the popular demand, Esdras brought the Book of the Law. On the first day of the seventh month (Tishri), a great meeting was held "in the street that was before the watergate," for the purpose of reading the Law. Standing on a platform, Esdras read the book aloud "from the morning until midday." At hearing the words of the Law, which they had so much transgressed, the congregation broke forth into lamentations unsuited to the holiness of the day; Nehemias therefore adjourned the assembly. Esdras resumed the reading on the next day, and they found in the Law the directions concerning the feast of the Tabernacles. Thereupon steps were at once taken for the due celebration of this feast, which was to last seven days, from the fifteenth to the twenty-second day of Tishri.

Esdras continued the public reading of the Law every day of the feast; and two days after its close a strict fast was held, and "they stood, and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers" (II Esdras 9:2). There was a good opportunity to renew solemnly the covenant between the people and God. This covenant pledged the community to the observance of the Law, the abstention from intermarriage with heathens, the careful keeping of the Sabbath and of the feasts, and to various regulations agreed to for the care of the Temple, its services, and the payment of the tithes. It was formally recited by the princes, the Levites, and the priests, and signed by Nehemias and chosen representatives of the priests, the Levites, and the people (strange as it may appear, Esdras's name is not to be found in the list of the subscribers — II Esdras 10:1-27).

Henceforth no mention whatever is made of Esdras in the canonical literature. He is not spoken of in connection with the second mission of Nehemias to Jerusalem, and this has led many to suppose that he was dead at the time. In fact, both the time and place of his death are unknown, although there is on the banks of the Tigris, near the place where this river joins the Euphrates, a monument purporting to be Esdras's tomb, and which, for centuries, has been a place of pilgrimage for the Jews.

Esdras's role in the restoration of the Jews after the exile left a lasting impression upon the minds of the people. This is due mostly to the fact that henceforth Jewish life was shaped on the lines laid down by him, and in a way from which, in the main, it never departed. There is probably a great deal of truth in the tradition which attributes to him the organization of the synagogues and the determination of the books hallowed as canonical among the Jews. Esdras's activity seems to have extended still further. The Talmud credits him with having compiled "his own book" (that is to say Esd. Nehem.), "and the genealogies of the book of Chronicles as far as himself" (Treat. "Baba bathra," 15a). Modern scholars, however, differ widely as to the extent of his literary work: some regard him as the last editor of the Hexateuch, whereas, on the other hand, they doubt his part in the composition of Esdras-Nehemias and Paralipomenon. At any rate, it is certain that he had nothing to do with the composition of the so-called Third and Fourth books of Esdras.

As is the case with many men who played an important part at momentous epochs in history, in the course of time Esdras's personality and activity assumed, in the minds of the people, gigantic proportions; legend blended with history and supplied the scantiness of information concerning his life. He was looked upon as a second Moses, to whom were attributed all institutions that could not possibly be ascribed to the former. According to Jewish traditions, he restored from memory — an achievement little short of miraculous — all the books of the Old Testament, which were believed to have perished during the Exile. He likewise replaced, in the copying of Holy Writ, the old Phoenician writing by the alphabet still in use. Until the Middle Ages, and even the Renaissance, the crop of legendary achievements attributed to him grew; it was then that Esdras was hailed as the organizer of the famous Great Synagogue — the very existence of which seems to be a myth — and the inventor of the Hebrew vocal signs.

The Books of Esdras.

Not a little confusion arises from the titles of these books. Esdras A of the Septuagint is III Esdras of Blessed Jerome, whereas the Greek Esdras B corresponds to I and II Esdras of the Vulgate, which were originally united into one book. Protestant writers, after the Geneva Bible, call I and II Esdras of the Vulgate respectively Ezra and Nehemiah, and III and IV Esdras of the Vulgate respectively I and II Esdras. It would be desirable to have uniformity of titles. We shall follow here the terminology of Blessed Jerome.

I Esdras.

(Gr. Esdras B, first part; A.V. Ezra). As remarked above, this book formed in the Jewish canon, together with II Esdras, a single volume. However, Christian writers of the fourth century adopted the custom — the origin of which is not easy to assign — of considering them as two distinct works. This custom prevailed to such an extent that it found its way even into the Hebrew Bible, where it has remained in use. On the other hand, the many and close resemblances undeniably existing between Esd. Neh. and Par., and usually accounted for by unity of authorship, have suggested that possibly all these books formed, in the beginning, one single volume, for which the title of "Ecclesiastical Chronicle of Jerusalem" has been proposed as fairly expressing its contents.

Should these books be regarded as independent, or as parts of a larger work? There is little discussion as to the union of I and II Esdras, which may well be considered as a single book. As to the opinion holding Esd. Neh. and Par. to be only one work, although it seems to have gained ground among Biblical students, yet it is still strongly opposed by many who deem its arguments unable to outweigh the evidence in the opposite direction. We should not expect to find in I Esdras, any more than in II Esdras, a complete account of the events connected with the Restoration, even a complete record of the lives of Esdras and Nehemias. The reason for this lies in the author's purpose of simply narrating the principal steps taken in the re-establishment of the theocracy in Jerusalem. Thus, in two parallel parts, our book deals with the return of the Jews under the leadership of Zorobabel; with the return of another band commanded by Esdras.

In the former, with the decree of Cyrus (1:1-4) and the enumeration of the most prominent members of the caravan (2:), we read a detailed account of the rebuilding of the Temple and its successful completion, in spite of bitter opposition (3: -4:). The events therein contained cover twenty-one years (536-515). The latter part deals with facts belonging to a much later date (458 or 397). Opening with the decree of Artaxerxes (7:) and the census of the members of the party, it briefly relates the journey across the desert (8:), and gives all the facts connected with the enforcement of the law concerning marriages with foreign women (9: -10:).

I Esd. is a compilation the various parts of which differ in nature, in origin, and even in language. At least three of the parts may be recognized:

These the compiler put together into the present shape, adding, of course, now and then some remarks of his own, or some facts borrowed from sources otherwise unknown to us. This compilatory character does not, as some might believe, lessen in any way the high historical value of the work. True, the compiler was very likely not endowed with a keen sense of criticism, and he has indiscriminatingly transcribed side by side all his sources "as if all were alike trustworthy" (L.W. Batten). But we should not forget that he has preserved for us pages of the highest value. Even those that might be deemed of inferior trustworthiness are the only documents available with which to reconstruct the history of those times; and the compiler, even from the standpoint of modern scientific research, could hardly do anything more praiseworthy than place within our reach, as he did, the sources of information at his disposal. The composition of the work has long been attributed without discussion to Esdras himself. This view, taught by the Talmud, and still admitted by scholars of good standing, is, however, abandoned by several Protestant Biblical students, who, although their opinions are widely at variance on the question of the date, fairly agree, nevertheless, that the book is later than 330 B.C.

II Esdras.

See the Book of Nehemiah.

III Esdras.

(Gr. Esdras A; Protestant writers, I Esdras) Although not belonging to the Canon of the Sacred Scriptures, this book is usually found, ne prorsus intereat, in an appendix to the editions of the Vulgate. It is made up almost entirely from materials existing in canonical books. The following scheme will show sufficiently the contents and point out the canonical parallels:

III Esdras, 1 and II Par. 35:-36: — History of the Kingdom of Juda from the great Passover of Josias to the Captivity.

III Esdras 2:1-15 (Greek text, 14) and I Esdras, 1: — Cyrus's decree. Return of Sassabasar.

III Esdras 2:16 (Gr. 15)-31 (Gr. 25) and I Esdras 4:6-24 — Opposition to the rebuilding of the Temple.

III Esdras 3:1-5:6 — Original portion. Story of the three pages. Return of Zorobabel.

III Esdras 5:7-46 (Gr. 45) and I Esdras, 2: — List of those returning with Zorobabel.

III Esdras 5:47 (Gr. 46)-73 (Gr. 70) and I Esdras 3:1-4:5 — Altar of holocausts. Foundation of the Temple laid. Opposition.

III Esdras 6:vii and I Esdras 5:vi — Completion of the Temple.

III Esdras 8:1-9:36 and I Esdras 7:-10: — Return of Esdras.

III Esdras 9:37-56 (Gr. 55) and II Esdras 7:73-8:12 — Reading of the Law by Esdras.

The book is incomplete, and breaks off in the middle of a sentence. True, the Latin version completes the broken phrase of the Greek; but the book in its entirety probably contained also the narrative of the feast of Tabernacles (II Esdras 8:).

A very strange feature in the work is its absolute disregard of chronological order; the history, indeed, runs directly backwards, mentioning first Artaxerxes (2:16-31), then Darius (3-5:6), finally Cyrus (5:7-73). All this makes it difficult to detect the real object of the book and the purpose of the compiler. It has been suggested that we possess here a history of the Temple from the time of Josias down to Nehemias, and this view is well supported by the subscription of the old Latin version. Others suppose that, in the main, the book is rather an early translation of the chronicler's work, made at a time when Par., Esdras, and Neh. still formed one continuous volume. Be this as it may, there seems to have been, up to Blessed Jerome, some hesitation with regard to the reception of the book into the Canon. It was freely quoted by the early Fathers, and included in Origen's "Hexapla." This might be explained by the fact that III Esd. may be considered as another recension of canonical Scriptures. Unquestionably our book cannot claim to be Esdras's work. From certain particulars, such as the close resemblance of the Greek with that of the translation of Daniel, some details of vocabulary, etc., scholars are led to believe that III Esd. was compiled, probably in Lower Egypt, during the second century B.C. Of the author nothing can be said except, perhaps, that the above-noted resemblance of style to Dan. might incline one to conclude that both works are possibly from the same hand.

IV Esdras.

Such is the title of the book in most Latin manuscripts; the (Protestant) English apocrypha, however, give it as II Esdras, from the opening words: "The second book of the prophet Esdras." Modern authors often call it the Apocalypse of Esdras. This remarkable work has not been preserved in the original Greek text; but we possess translations of it in Latin, Syriac, Arabic (two independent versions), Ethiopian, and Armenian. The Latin text is usually printed in the appendix to the editions of the Vulgate; but these editions miss seventy verses between 7:35, and 7:36. The missing fragment, which was read in the other versions, was discovered in a Latin manuscript by R.L. Bensly, in 1874, and has been since repeatedly printed in the Latin. The book is divided into sixteen chapters. The two opening (1:, 2:) and the two concluding (15:, 16:) chapters, however, which are not to be found in the Eastern translations, are unhesitatingly regarded by all as later additions, foreign to the primitive work.

The body of the Fourth Book, the unity of which appears to be unquestionable, is made up of seven visions that Esdras is supposed to have seen at Babylon, the thirtieth year after the destruction of Jerusalem (the date given is wrong by about a century).

In the first vision (3:1-5:20), Esdras is lamenting over the affliction of his people. Why does not God fulfill his promises? Is not Israel the elect nation, and better, despite her "evil heart," than her heathen neighbors? The angel Uriel chides Esdras for inquiring into things beyond his understanding; the "prophet" is told that the time that is past exceeds the time to come, and the signs of the end are given him.

In another vision (5:21-6:34), he learns, with new signs of the end, why God "doeth not all at once."

Then follows (6:35-9:25) a glowing picture of the Messianic age. "My son" shall come in his glory, attended by those who did not taste death, Moses, Henoch, Elias, and Esdras himself; they shall reign 400 years, then "my son" and all the living shall die; after seven days of "the old silence," the Resurrection and the Judgment.

Next (9:26-10:60) Esdras beholds, in the appearance of a woman mourning for her son who died on his wedding day, an apocalyptic description of the past and future of Jerusalem. This vision is followed by another (11:1-12: 39) representing the Roman Empire, under the figure of an eagle, and by a third (13:) describing the rise of the Messianic kingdom.

The last chapter (14:) narrates how Esdras restored the twenty-four books of the Old Testament that were lost, and wrote seventy books of mysteries for the wise among the people.

The Fourth Book of Esdras is reckoned among the most beautiful productions of Jewish literature. Widely known in the early Christian ages and frequently quoted by the Fathers (especially St. Ambrose), and its veneration in the West has been profound. It may be said to have framed the popular Western belief of the Middle Ages concerning the last things. The second chapter has furnished the verse Requiem oeternam to the Office of the Dead (24-25 in the Roman-Catholic church). The response Lux perpetua lucebit sanctis tuis of the Office of the Martyrs during Easter time (35). The introit Accipite jucunditatem for Whit-Tuesday (36-37), the words Modo coronantur of the Office of the Apostles (45). In like manner, the verse Crastine die for Christmas Eve, is borrowed from 16:53.

However beautiful and popular the book, its origin is shrouded in mystery. The introductory and concluding chapters, containing evident traces of Christianity, are assigned to the third century (about A.D. 201-268). The main portion (3: -14:) is undoubtedly the work of a Jew — whether Roman, or Alexandrian, or Palestinian, no one can tell; as to its date, authors are mostly widely at variance, and all dates have been suggested, from 30 B.C. to A.D. 218; scholars, however, seem to rally more and more around the year A.D. 97.


Book of Nehemiah.

Also called the second Book of Esdras (Ezra), this book is reckoned both in the Talmud and in the early Christian Church, at least until the time of Origen, as forming one single book with Esdras, and Blessed Jerome in his preface (ad Dominionem et Rogatianum), following the example of the Jews, still continues to treat it as making one with the Book of Esdras. The union of the two in a single book doubtless has its origin in the fact that the documents of which the Books of Esdras and Nehemiah are composed, underwent compilation and redaction together at the hands probably, as most critics think, of the author of Paralipomenon about B.C. 300. The separation of the Book of Nehemiah from that of Esdras, preserved in our editions, may in its turn be justified by the consideration that the former relates in a distinct manner the work accomplished by Nehemiah, and is made up, at least in the great part, from the authentic memoirs of the principal figure. The book comprises three sections:

Section I (Chapters 1-6);

Section II (Chapters 7-13:3);

Section III (Chapter 13:4 - 31).

Sections I and III will be treated first, and section II, which raises special literary problems, will be discussed at the end.

Section I: Chapters 1-6.

(1) Comprises the account, written by Nehemiah himself, of the restoration of the walls of Jerusalem. Already in the reign of Xerxes (B.C. 485-65), and especially during the first half of the reign of Artaxerxes I (B.C. 465-24), the Jews had attempted, but with only partial success, to rebuild the walls of their capital, a work, up to then, never sanctioned by the Persian kings (see I Esd. 4:6-23). In consequence of the edict of Artaxerxes, given in I Esd. 4:18-22, the enemies of the Jews at Jerusalem forcibly stopped the work (ibid., 23) and pulled down a part of what had already been accomplished.

(2) With these events the beginning of the Book of Nehemiah is connected. Nehemiah, the son of Helchias, relates how, at the court of Artaxerxes at Susa where he fulfilled the office of the king's cup-bearer, he received the news of this calamity in the twentieth year of the king (Neh. 1:). He relates and how, thanks to his prudence, he succeeded in getting himself sent on a first mission to Jerusalem with full powers to rebuild the walls of the Jewish capital (Neh. 2:1-8). This first mission lasted twelve years (5:14; 13:6); he had the title of Perah (5:14; 12:26) or Athersatha (8:9; 10:1). It had long been the opinion of most historians of Israel that the Artaxerxes of Nehemiah was certainly the first of that name, and that consequently the first mission of Nehemiah fell in the year B.C. 445. The Aramaic papyri of Elephantine, recently published by Sachau, put this date beyond the shadow of a doubt. For in the letter that they wrote to Bahohim, Governor of Judea, in the seventeenth year of Darius II (B.C. 408), the Jewish priests of Elephantine say that they have also made an application to the sons of Sanaballat at Samaria. Now Sanaballat was a contemporary of Nehemiah, and the Artaxerxes of Nehemiah, therefore, was the predecessor, and not the successor, of Darius II.

(3) On his arrival at Jerusalem, Nehemiah lost no time; he inspected the state of the walls, and then took measures and gave orders for taking the work in hand (2:3, 9-18). Chapter iii, a document of the highest importance for determining the area of Jerusalem in the middle of the fifth century B.C., contains a description of the work, carried out at all points at once under the direction of the zealous Jewish governor. The high priest Eliasib is named first among the fellow workers of Nehemiah (3:1). To bring the undertaking to a successful termination the latter had to fight against all sorts of difficulties.

(4) First of all, the foreign element had great influence in Judea. The Jews who had returned from captivity almost a century before, had found the country partly occupied by people belonging to the neighboring races, and being unable to organize themselves politically, had seen themselves reduced, little by little, to a humiliating position in their own land. And so, at the time of Nehemiah, we see certain foreigners taking an exceedingly arrogant attitude towards the Jewish governor and his work. Sanaballat the Horonite, chief of the Samaritans (4: 1, 2), Tobias the Ammonite, Gossem the Arabian, claim to exercise constant control over Jewish affairs, and try by all means in their power, by calumny (2:19), scoffs (4:1 ff), threats of violence (4:7 ff), and craft (6:1 ff), to hinder Nehemiah' work or ruin him. The reason of this was that the raising up again of the walls of Jerusalem was destined to bring about the overthrow of the moral domination, which for many years’ circumstances had secured for those foreigners.

(5) A party of Jews, traitors to their own nation, upheld the cause of the foreigners. The prophet Noadias and other false prophets sought to terrify Nehemiah (6: 14); there were some who, like Samaia, allowed themselves to be hired by Tobias and Sanaballat to set snares for him (6: 10-14). Many Jews sided with Tobias because of the matrimonial alliances existing between his family and certain Jewish families. Nehemiah, however, does not speak of the mixed marriages as if they had been actually forbidden. The father-in-law of Tobias' son, Mosollam, the son of Barachias, on the contrary, was a fellow worker of Nehemiah (6:18; 3:4). The law of Deuteronomy only forbade marriages between Jews and Chanaanites (Deut. 7:1, 3).

(6) Difficulties of a social nature, the result of the selfish treatment of the poor by the rich, who misused the common distress for their own ends, likewise called for the energetic intervention of Nehemiah (5). On this occasion, Nehemiah recalls the fact that previous governors had practiced extortion, while he was the first to show himself disinterested in the discharge of his duties (5:15 ff).

(7) In spite of all these difficulties, the rebuilding of the wall rapidly progressed. We learn from vii, 15 that the work was completely finished within fifty-one days. Josephus (Ant. 5:7, 8) says that it lasted two years and four months, but his testimony, often far from reliable, presents no plausible reason for setting aside the text. The relatively short duration of the work is explained, when we consider that Nehemiah had only to repair the damage wrought after the prohibition of Artaxerxes (I Esd. 4:23), and finish off the construction, which might at that moment have been already far advanced [see above (1)].

Section III: Chapter 13:431).

After the expiration of his first mission, Nehemiah had returned to Susa in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes (B.C. 433; 13:6). Some time after, he was charged with a fresh mission to Judea, and it is with his doings during this second mission that 13:4-31 is concerned. The account at the beginning seems mutilated. Nehemiah relates how, at the time of his second arrival at Jerusalem, he began by putting an end to the abuses which Tobias, the Ammonite, supported by the high priest Eliasib, was practicing in the temple in the matter of the depository for the sacred offerings (13:4-9). He severely blames the violation of the right of the Levites in the distribution of the tithes, and takes measures to prevent its occurrence in future (13:10-14). He insists on the Sabbath being strictly respected even by the foreign merchants (13:15-22). Finally, he dealt severely with the Jews who were guilty of marriages with strange wives, and banished a grandson of Eliasib who had married a daughter of Sanaballat (13:23-28). To this son-in-law of Sanaballat is generally attributed the inauguration of the worship in the temple of Garizim. It is plain that Nehemiah' attitude during his second mission with regard to mixed marriages differs greatly from his attitude at the beginning of his first stay in Jerusalem [see section I, (5)].

Section II: Chapters 7 to 13:3.

(1) Contains accounts or documents relating to the work of politico-social and religious organization effected by Nehemiah, after the walls were finished. Here we no longer have Nehemiah speaking in the first person, except in 7:1-5, and in the account of the dedication of the walls (12:31-39). He relates how, after having rebuilt the walls, he had to proceed to erect houses, and take measures for bringing into the town a population more in proportion to its importance as the capital (7:1-5; cf. Ecclus. 49, 15).

(2) He gives (7:5 ff) the list of the families who had returned from captivity with Zorobabel. This list is in I Esd., ii. It is remarkable that in the Book of Nehemiah, following on the list we find reproduced (7:70 ff), with variants, the remark of I Esd. 2:68-70 about the gifts given towards the work of the temple by Zorobabel's companions, and the settlement of these latter in the country; and again that Neh. 8:1 resumes the narrative in the very words of I Esd. 3. This dependence is probably due to the redactor, who in this place gave a new form to the notes supplied him by the Jewish governor's memoirs which also explains the latter's being spoken of in the third person, Neh. 8:9.

(3) There is a description of a great gathering held in the seventh month under the direction of Nehemiah (8:9-12) at which Esdras reads the Law (8:13). They then kept the Feast of Tabernacles (8:13-18). When this feast is over, the people gather together again on the twenty-fourth day of the seventh month (9:1 ff) to praise God, confess their sins, and to bind themselves by a written covenant faithfully to observe their obligations. Chapter X, after giving the list of the subscribers to the covenant, sets forth the obligations, which the people bind themselves to fulfill. In particular it covers the prohibition of mixed marriages (verse 30); the keeping of the Sabbath, especially in their treatment of foreign merchants (verse 31), the yearly tribute of a third part of a sicle for the Temple (verse 32), and other measures to ensure the regular celebration of sacrifices (verses 33-34). It includes the offering of the firstfruits and of the first born (verses 35-37), and the payment and the distribution of the tithes (verses 35-39). After chapter 10, it is advisable to read 12:43-13:1-3; the appointment of a commission for the administration of things brought to the Temple, and the expulsion of foreigners from among the community. Chapter 11:1, 2, recalls the measures taken to people Jerusalem; verses 3-36 give the census of Jerusalem and of other towns as Nehemiah' measures left it. In chapter xii, 27-43, we have the account of the solemn dedication of the walls of Jerusalem; Esdras the scribe is mentioned as being at the head of a group of singers (verse 35). The list in 12:1-26, has no connection whatever with the events of this epoch.

(4) The proceedings set forth in 8:-10: are closely connected with the other parts of the history of Nehemiah. The obligations imposed by the covenant, described in x, have to do with just the very matters with which Nehemiah concerned himself most during his second stay (see above, section III). Nehemiah recalls in 13:31 the regulation concerning the providing of the wood for the altar (10:34), and the very words used in 10:39 (end of verse), we find again in 13:11. The covenant entered into by the people during Nehemiah' first mission was broken in his absence. At the time of his second mission, he put down the abuses with severity. For instance, the attitude he takes towards mixed marriages is quite different from his attitude at the beginning of his first stay [see above section I (5); section III].

This change is explained precisely by the absolute prohibition pronounced against these marriages in the assembly described in 9:-10:. The view has been put forward that 8-10 gives an account of events belonging to the period of the organization of worship under Zorobabel, the names of Nehemiah (8:9; 10:1) and Esdras (8:1 ff) having been added later. But there was certainly sufficient reason for the reorganization of worship in the time of Nehemiah (cf. the Book of Malachias and Neh. 13). Others on the contrary would regard Neh. 8-10, as the sequel to the narrative of I Esdras 9: -10:, and they likewise hold that Nehemiah' name has been interpolated in Neh. 8:9, and 10:1.

This theory is equally untenable. It is true that in the Third Book of Esdras (the Greek I Esdras) the narrative of Neh. 8 is reproduced immediately after that of Esdras 9-10; but the author of the Third Book of Esdras was led to do this by the fact that Neh. 8 presents his hero as reader of the Law. He has moreover preserved (III Esd. 9:50) the information of Neh. 8:9, about the intervention of the Athersatha (Nehemiah), Esdras' superior, which clearly proves that this account does not refer to the epoch when Esdras had returned to Jerusalem entrusted by the king with full powers for the administration of the Jewish community. See, moreover, the following paragraph.

(5) According to our view the return of Esdras with his emigrants and the reform effected by him (I Esd. 7-10) ought, chronologically, to be placed after the history of Nehemiah, and the Artaxerxes, in the seventh year of whose reign Esdras returned to Jerusalem, is Artaxerxes II (B.C. 405-358). As a matter of fact, Esdras finds the wall of Jerusalem rebuilt (I Esd. 9:9), Jerusalem well populated (10:1 ff.), the Temple treasure under proper management (8:29 ff.), Jonathan, son of Eliasib, high priest (10:6; cf. Neh. 12:23, Hebrew text), and the unlawfulness of mixed marriages recognized by every one (9:1 ff.). The radical reform, which Esdras introduced in this matter without being troubled by foreigners who still held the upper hand at the time of Nehemiah' first coming, definitively put an end to the abuse in question which had proved rebellious to all preventive measures (10:). The politics and social situation described in the first six chapters of Nehemiah [see above, section I (4), (5), (6)], the religious situation to which the proceedings of the gathering in Neh. 10, bear witness [see above, section II (3)], do not admit of being explained as immediately following after the mission of Esdras. This is particularly so in virtue of the king's edict, disposed of very valuable resources for the celebration of worship (I Esd. 7: 8:25 ff.).

Esdras is again entirely unnoticed in Neh. 1: -6, and in the list of the subscribers to the covenant (10:1 ff.). He is mentioned in Neh. 8:1 ff., and in 12:35, as fulfilling subordinate functions. Considering the singular number of the verbs in Neh. 8:9, 10, it is probable that in the former of these two verses "Esdras and the Levites" being named as part of the subject of the phrase is due to a later hand. At the epoch of Nehemiah, therefore, Esdras was at the beginning of his career, and must have gone a little later to Babylonia, whence he returned at the head of a band of emigrantsin the seventh year of Artexerxes II (B.C. 398).

(6) Many critics have maintained that in Neh. 8, we have the history of the first promulgation of the "Priestly Code" by Esdras, but the narrative in question does not authorize such an interpretation. Esdras was probably still a very young man at this time, and all he does is to read the Law before the assembled people. It is quite true that in I Esd. 7 there is made mention in the royal edict of the Law of his God which Esdras has in mind (verse 14), but besides the fact that we hold the events related in I Esd. 7 to be posterior to Neh. 8: [see above (5)], these words must not be understood literally of a new document of which Esdras was the bearer. In the same terms, mention is made of the wisdom of his God, which Esdras has in mind (verse 25), and in this same passage, it is supposed that Esdras' compatriots already know the Law of their God.



From the Hebrew meaning star, happiness; Queen of Persia and wife of Assuerus, who is identified with Xerxes (485-465 B.C.). She was a Jewess of the tribe of Benjamin, daughter of Abihail, and bore before her accession to the throne the name of Edissa (Hádássah, myrtle). Her family had been deported from Jerusalem to Babylon in the time of Jechonias (599 B.C.). On the death of her parents, she was adopted by her father's brother, Mardochai, who then dwelt in Susan, the capital of Persia. King Assuerus, being angered at the refusal of his wife Vasthi to respond to his invitation to attend a banquet that he gave in the third year of his reign, divorced her and ordered the most attractive maidens of the kingdom brought before him that he might select her successor from among them. Among these was Esther, whose rare beauty captivated the king and moved him to place her on the throne. Her uncle Mardochai remained constantly near the palace so that he might advise and counsel her. While at the gate of the palace he discovered a plot of two of the king's eunuchs to kill their royal master. This plot he revealed to Esther, who in turn informed the king. The plotters were executed, and a record of the services of Mardochai was entered in the chronicles of the kingdom.

Not long thereafter, Aman, a royal favorite before whom the king had ordered all to bow, having frequently observed Mardochai at the gate of the palace and noticed that he refused to prostrate himself before him, cunningly obtained the king's consent for a general massacre in one day of all the Jews in the kingdom. Following a Persian custom, Aman determined by lot (pûr, pl. pûrîm), that the massacre should take place a twelvemonth hence. A royal decree was thereupon sent throughout the Kingdom of Persia. Mardochai informed Esther of this and begged her to use her influence with the king and thus avert the threatening danger. At first, she feared to enter the presence of the king unsummoned, for to do so was a capital offence. But, on the earnest entreaty of her uncle, she consented to approach after three days, which with her maids she would pass in fasting and prayer, and during which she requested her uncle to have all the Jews in the city fast and pray.

On the third day, Esther appeared before the king, who received her graciously and promised to grant her request whatever it might be. She then asked him and Aman to dine with her. At the banquet, they accepted her invitation to dine with her again on the following day. Aman, carried away by the joy that this honor gave him, issued orders for the erection of a gallows on which he purposed to hang the hated Mardochai. But that night the king, being sleepless, ordered the chronicles of the nation to be read to him. Learning that Mardochai had never been rewarded for his service in revealing the plot of the eunuchs, he asked Aman, the next day, to suggest a suitable reward for one "whom the king desired to honor." Thinking it was himself that the king had in mind, Aman suggested the use of the king's apparel and insignia. These the king ordered to be bestowed on Mardochai.

At the second banquet, when the king repeated to Esther his offer to grant her whatever she might ask, she informed him of the plot of Aman which involved the destruction of the whole Jewish people to which she belonged, and pleaded that they should be spared. The king ordered that Aman should be hanged on the gibbet prepared for Mardochai, and, confiscating his property, bestowed it upon the intended victim. He charged Mardochai to address to all the governors of Persia letters authorizing the Jews to defend themselves and to kill all those who, by virtue of the previous decree, should attack them. During two days, the Jews took a bloody revenge on their enemies in Susan and other cities. Mardochai then instituted the feast of Purim (lots), which he exhorted the Jews to celebrate in memory of the day which Aman had determined for their destruction, but which had been turned by Esther into a day of triumph.

The foregoing story of Esther is taken from the Book of Esther as found in the Vulgate. Jewish traditions place the tomb of Esther at Hamadân (Ecbatana). The Fathers of the Church considered Esther as a type of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In her, poets have found a favorite subject.


Book of Esther.

In the Hebrew Bible and the Septuagint, the Book of Esther bears only the word "Esther" as title. But the Jewish rabbis called it also the "volume of Esther," or simply "the volume" (megillah) to distinguish it from the other four volumes (megilloth), written on separate rolls, which were read in the synagogues on certain feast days.

As this one was read on the feast of Purim and consisted largely of epistles (cf. Esth. 9:20, 29), it was called by the Jews of Alexandria the "Epistle of Purim." In the Hebrew canon the book was among the Hagiographa and placed after Ecclesiastes. In the Latin Vulgate, it has always been classed with Tobias and Judith, after which it is placed. The Hebrew text that has come down to us varies considerably from those of the Septuagint and the Vulgate. The Septuagint, besides showing many unimportant divergencies, contains several additions in the body of the book or at the end. The additions are the portion of the Vulgate text after ch. 10: 3. Although no trace of these fragments is found in the Hebrew Bible, they are most probably translations from an original Hebrew or Chaldaic text. Origen tells us that they existed in Theodotion's version, and that Josephus used them in his "Antiquities" (XVI).

Blessed Jerome, finding them in the Septuagint and the Old Latin version, placed them at the end of his almost literal translation of the existing Hebrew text, and indicated the place they occupied in the Septuagint. The chapters being thus rearranged, the book may be divided into two parts: the first relating the events which preceded and led up to the decree authorizing the extermination of the Jews (1-3:15; 11:2; 13:7); the second showing how the Jews escaped from their enemies and avenged themselves (4-5, 8; 13-15).

The Book of Esther, thus taken in part from the Hebrew Canon and in part from the Septuagint, found a place in the Christian Canon of the Old Testament. The chapters taken from the Septuagint were considered deuterocanonical, and, after Blessed Jerome, were separated from the ten chapters taken from the Hebrew, which were called protocanonical. A great many of the early Fathers clearly considered the entire work as inspired, although no one among them found it to his purpose to write a commentary on it. Its omission in some of the early catalogues of the Scriptures was accidental or unimportant.

The first to reject the book was Luther, who declared that he so hated it that he wished that it did not exist (Table Talk, 59). His first followers wished only to reject the deuterocanonical parts, whereupon these, as well as other deuterocanonical parts of the Scriptures, elsewhere in the non-Orthodox world were declared by the Council of Trent (Sess. IV, de Can. Scripturæ) to be canonical and inspired. With the rise of rationalism, the opinion of Luther found many supporters. When modern rationalists argue that the Book of Esther is irreligious in character, unlike the other books of the Old Testament, and therefore to be rejected, they have in mind only the first or protocanonical part, not the entire book, which is manifestly religious. However, although the first part is not explicitly religious, it contains nothing unworthy of a place in the Sacred Scriptures. And any way, as Driver points out (Introduc. to the Lit. of the Testament), there is no reason why every part of the Biblical record should show the "same degree of subordination of human interests to the spirit of God."

As to the authorship of the Book of Esther, there is nothing but conjecture. The Talmud (Baba Bathra 15a) assigns it to the Great Synagogue; St. Clement of Alexandria ascribes it to Mardochai; St. Augustine suggests Esdras as the author. Many, noting the writer's familiarity with Persian customs and institutions and with the character of Assuerus, hold that he was a contemporary of Mardochai, whose memoirs he used. But such memoirs and other contemporary documents showing this familiar knowledge could have been used by a writer at a later period. And, although the absence in the text of allusion to Jerusalem seems to lead to the conclusion that the book was written and published in Persia at the end of the reign of Xerxes I (485-465 B.C), or during the reign of his son Artaxerxes I (465-425 B.C.), the text seems to offer several facts which may be adduced with some show of reason in favour of a later date. They are:

On the strength of these passages, various Protestant critics have assigned late dates for the authorship of the book, as, 135 B.C., 167 B.C., 238 B.C., the beginning of the third century B.C., or the early years of the Greek period that began 332 B.C. The majority accepts the last opinion.

Some of the modern critics who have fixed upon late dates for the composition of the book deny that it has any historical value whatever, and declare it a work of the imagination, written for the purpose of popularizing the feast of Purim. In support of their contention they point out in the text what appear to be historical improbabilities, and attempt to show that the narrative has all the characteristics of a romance, the various incidents being artfully arranged so as to form a series of contrasts and to develop into a climax. However, what seem to be historical improbabilities are in many cases trivial. Even advanced critics do not agree as to those which seem quite serious. For instance, some consider it wholly improbable that Assuerus and Aman should have been ignorant of the nationality of Esther, who was in frequent communication with Mardochai, a well-known Jew. Others maintain that it was quite possible and probable that a young woman, known to be a Jewess, should be taken into the harem of a Persian king, and that with the assistance of a relative she should avert the ruin of her people, which a high official had endeavored to effect. The seeming improbability of other passages, if not entirely explained, can be sufficiently explained to destroy the conclusion, on this ground, that the book is not historical.

As to artful contrasts and climax to which appeal is made as evidences that the book is the work of a mere romancer, it may be said with Driver (op. cit.) that fact is stranger than fiction, and that a conclusion based upon such appearances is precarious. There is undoubtedly an exercise of art in the composition of the work, but no more than any historian may use in accumulating and arranging the incidents of his history. A more generally accepted opinion among contemporary critics is that the work is substantially historical. Recognizing the author's close acquaintance with Persian customs and institutions, they hold that the main elements of the work were supplied to him by tradition, but that, to satisfy his taste for dramatic effect, he introduced details that were not strictly historical. However, the opinion held by most scholars is that the work is historical in substance and in detail. They base their conclusions especially on the following:

The explanation of some that the story of Esther was engrafted on a Jewish feast already existing and probably connected with a Persian festival, is only a surmise. Nor has any one else succeeded better in offering an explanation of the feast than that it had its origin as stated in the Book of Esther.


The Machabees.

(Gr. Hoi Makkabaioi; Lat. Machabei; most probably from Aramaic maqqaba="hammer").

A priestly family, which under the leadership of Mathathias initiated the revolt against the tyranny of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, King of Syria, and after securing Jewish independence, ruled the commonwealth till overthrown by Herod the Great. The name Machabee was originally the surname of Judas, the third son of Mathathias, but was later extended to all the descendants of Mathathias, and even to all who took part in the rebellion. It is also given to the martyrs mentioned in II Mach., 6:18-7. Of the various explanations of the word, the one given above is the most probable. Machabee would accordingly mean "hammerer" or "hammer-like," and would have been given to Judas because of his valor in combating the enemies of Israel. The family patronymic of the Machabees was Hasmoneans or Asmoneans, from Hashmon, Gr. Asamonaios, an ancestor of Mathathias. This designation, which is always used by the old Jewish writers, is now commonly applied to the princes of the dynasty founded by Simon, the last of the sons of Mathathias.

Events Leading to the Revolt of Mathathias.

The rising under Mathathias was caused by the attempt of Antiochus IV to force Greek paganism on his Jewish subjects. This was the climax of a movement to Hellenize the Jews, begun with the king's approval by a party among the Jewish aristocracy, who were in favor of breaking down the wall of separation between Jew and Gentile and of adopting Greek customs. The leader of this party was Jesus, or Josue, better known by his Greek name Jason, the unworthy brother of the worthy high priest, Onias III. By promising the king a large sum of money, and by offering to become the promoter among the Jews of his policy of Hellenizing the non-Greek population of his domains, he obtained the deposition of his brother and his own appointment to the high-priesthood (174 B.C.). As soon as he was installed, he began the work of Hellenizing and carried it on with considerable success.

A gymnasium was built below the Acra (citadel), in close proximity to the temple, where the youths of Jerusalem were taught Greek sports. Even priests became addicted to the games and neglected the altar for the gymnasium. Many, ashamed of what a true Jew gloried in, had the marks of circumcision removed to avoid being recognized as Jews in the baths or the gymnasium. Jason himself went so far as to send money for the games celebrated at Tyre in honor of Hercules (I Mach., 1: 11-16; II Mach., 4:7-20).

After three years, Jason was forced to yield the pontificate to Menelaus, his agent with the king in money matters, who secured the office by outbidding his employer. To satisfy his obligations to the king, the man, who was a Jew only in name, appropriated sacred vessels, and when the former high-priest Onias protested against the sacrilege, he procured his assassination. The following year Jason, emboldened by a rumor of the death of Antiochus, who was then warring against Egypt, attacked Jerusalem and forced Menelaus to take refuge in the Acra. On hearing of the occurrence, Antiochus marched against the city, massacred many of the inhabitants, and carried off what sacred vessels were left (I Mach., 1:17-28; II Mach., 4: 23-5: 23).

In 168 B.C. Antiochus undertook a second campaign against Egypt, but was stopped in his victorious progress by an ultimatum of the Roman Senate. He vented his rage on the Jews, and began a war of extermination against their religion. Apollonius was sent with orders to Hellenize Jerusalem by extirpating the native population and by peopling the city with strangers. The unsuspecting inhabitants were attacked on the Sabbath, when they would offer no defense; the men were slaughtered, the women and children sold into slavery. The city itself was laid waste and its walls demolished.

An order was next issued abolishing Jewish worship and forbidding the observance of Jewish rites under pain of death. A heathen altar was built on the altar of holocausts, where sacrifices were offered to Olympic Jupiter, and the temple was profaned by pagan orgies. Altars were also set up throughout the country at which the Jews were to sacrifice to the king's divinities. Though many conformed to these orders, the majority remained faithful and a number of them laid down their lives rather than violate the law of their fathers. The Second Book of Machabees narrates at length the heroic death of an old man, named Eleazar, and of seven brothers with their mother. (I Mach., 1: 30-67; II Mach., 5:24-7:41.)

The persecution proved a blessing in disguise. It exasperated even the moderate Hellenists, and prepared a rebellion that freed the country from the corrupting influences of the extreme Hellenist party. The standard of revolt was raised by Mathathias, as priest of the order of Joarib (cf. I Par., 24: 7), who to avoid the persecution had fled from Jerusalem to Modin (now El Mediyeh), near Lydda, with his five sons: John, Simon, Judas, Eleazar and Jonathan. When solicited by a royal officer to sacrifice to the gods, with promises of rich rewards and of the king's favor, he firmly refused, and when a Jew approached the altar to sacrifice, he slew him together with the king's officer, and destroyed the altar. He and his sons then fled to the mountains, where they were followed by many of those who remained attached to their religion. Among these were the Hasîdîm, or Assideans, a society formed to oppose the encroaching Hellenism by a scrupulous observance of traditional customs. Mathathias and his followers now overran the country destroying heathen altars, circumcising children, driving off aliens and apostate Jews, and gathering in new recruits. He died, however, within a year (166 B.C.). At his death, he exhorted his sons to carry on the fight for their religion, and appointed Judas military commander with Simon as adviser. He was buried at Modin amid great lamentations (I Mach., 2).

Judas Machabeus.

(166-161 B.C.).

Judas fully justified his father's choice. In a first encounter, he defeated and killed Apollonius, and shortly after routed Seron at Bethoron (I Mach., 3: 1-26). Lysias, the regent during Antiochus's absence in the East, then sent a large army under the three generals Ptolemee, Nicanor and Gorgias. Judas's little army unexpectedly fell on the main body of the enemy at Emmaus (later Nicopolis, now Amwâs) in the absence of Gorgias, and put it to rout before the latter could come to its aid; whereupon Gorgias took to flight (I Mach., 3:27-4: 25; II Mach., 8). The next year Lysias himself took the field with a still larger force; but he, too, was defeated at Bethsura (not Bethoron as in the Vulgate).

Judas now occupied Jerusalem, though the Acra still remained in the hands of the Syrians. The temple was cleansed and rededicated on the day on which three years before it had been profaned (I Mach., 4:28-61; II Mach., 10:1-8). During the breathing time left to him by the Syrians Judas undertook several expeditions into neighboring territory, either to punish acts of aggression or to bring into Judea Jews exposed to danger among hostile populations (I Mach., 5: II Mach., 10:14-38; 12:3-40).

After the death of Antiochus Epiphanes (164 B.C.) Lysias led two more expeditions into Judea. The first ended with another defeat at Bethsura, and with the granting of freedom of worship to the Jews (II Mach., 11). In the second, in which his ward, Antiochus V Eupator, accompanied Lysias, Judas suffered a reverse at Bethzacharam (where Eleazar died a glorious death); and Lysias laid siege to Jerusalem. Just then, troubles concerning the regency required his presence at home; he therefore concluded peace on condition that the city be surrendered (I Mach., 6: 21-63; II Mach., 13). As the object for which the rebellion was begun had been obtained, the Assideans seceded from Judas when Demetrius I, who in the meanwhile had dethroned Antiochus V, installed Alcimus, "a priest of the seed of Aaron," as high-priest (I Mach., 7: 1-19). Judas, however, seeing that the danger to religion would remain as long as the Hellenists were in power, would not lay down his arms till the country was freed of these men. Nicanor was sent to the aid of Alcimus, but was twice defeated and lost his life in the second encounter (I Mach., 7: 20-49; II Mach., 14: 11-15:37). Judas now sent a deputation to Rome to solicit Roman interference; but before the senate's warning reached Demetrius, Judas with only 800 men risked a battle at Laisa (or Elasa) with a vastly superior force under Baccides, and fell overwhelmed by numbers (I Mach., 8-9:20). Thus perished a man worthy of Israel's most heroic days. He was buried beside his father at Modin (161 B.C.).

Jonathan (161-143 B.C.).

The handful of men who still remained faithful to Judas's policy chose Jonathan as their leader. Arabs near Madaba soon after killed John, and Jonathan with his little army escaped the hands of Bacchides only by swimming the Jordan. Their cause seemed hopeless. Gradually, however, the number of adherents increased and the Hellenists were again obliged to call for help. Bacchides returned and besieged the rebels in Bethbessen; but disgusted at his ill success he returned to Syria (I Mach., 9:23-72). During the next four years, Jonathan was practically the master of the country.

Then began a series of contests for the Syrian crown, which Jonathan turned to such good account that by shrewd diplomacy he obtained more than his brother had been able to win by his generalship and his victories. Both Demetrius I and his opponent Alexander Balas sought to win him to their side. Jonathan took the part of Alexander, who appointed him high priest and bestowed on him the insignia of a prince. Three years later, in reward for his services, Alexander conferred on him both the civil and military authority over Judea (I Mach., 9: 73-10:66). In the conflict between Alexander and Demetrius II Jonathan again supported Alexander, and in return received the gift of the city of Accaron with its territory (I Mach., 10: 67-89). After the fall of Alexander, Demetrius summoned Jonathan to Ptolemais to answer for his attack on the Acra; but instead of punishing him, Demetrius confirmed him in all his dignities, and even granted him three districts of Samaria.

Jonathan having lent efficient aid in quelling an insurrection at Antioch, Demetrius promised to withdraw the Syrian garrison from the Acra and other fortified places in Judea. As he failed to keep his word, Jonathan went over to the party of Antiochus VI, the son of Alexander Balas, whose claims Tryphon was pressing. Jonathan was confirmed in all his possessions and dignities, and Simon appointed commander of the seaboard. While giving valuable aid to Antiochus, the two brothers took occasion to strengthen their own position. Tryphon fearing that Jonathan might interfere with his ambitious plans treacherously invited him to Ptolemais and kept him a prisoner (I Mach., 11: 19-12: 48).


(143-135 B.C.).

Simon was chosen to take the place of his captive brother, and by his vigilance frustrated Tryphon's attempt to invade Judea. Tryphon in revenge killed Jonathan with his two sons whom Simon had sent as hostages on Tryphon's promise to liberate Jonathan (I Mach. 13:1-23). Simon obtained from Demetrius II exemption from taxation and thereby established the independence of Judea. To secure communication with the port of Joppe, which he had occupied immediately upon his appointment, he seized Gazara (the ancient Gazer or Gezer) and settled it with Jews. He also finally drove the Syrian garrison out of the Acra. In recognition of his services, the people decreed that the high- priesthood and the supreme command, civil and military, should be hereditary in his family. After five years of peace and prosperity under his wise rule, Antiochus VII Sidetes threatened Judea, but his general Cendebeus was defeated at Modin by Judas and John, Simon's sons. A few months later Simon was murdered with two of his sons by his ambitious son-in-law Ptolemy (D.V. Ptolemee), and was buried at Modin with his parents and brothers, over whose tombs he had erected a magnificent monument (I Mach. 13:25-16:17). After him, the race quickly degenerated.

The Hasmoneans.

John Hyrcanus.

(135-105 B.C.).

Simon's third son, John, surnamed Hyrcanus, who escaped the assassin's knife through timely warning, was recognized as high priest and chief of the nation. In the first year of his rule, Antiochus Sidetes besieged Jerusalem, and John was forced to capitulate though under rather favorable conditions. Renewed civil strife in Syria enabled John to enlarge his possessions by the conquest of Samaria, Idumea, and some territory beyond the Jordan. By forcing the Idumeans to accept circumcision, he unwittingly opened the way for Herod's accession to the throne. In his reign, we first meet with the two parties of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Towards the end of his life, John allied himself with the latter.

Aristobulus I.

(105-104 B.C.).

John left the civil power to his wife and the high priesthood to his oldest son Aristobulus or Judas. But Aristobulus seized the reins of government and imprisoned his mother with three of his brothers. The fourth brother, Antigonus, he ordered to be killed, in a fit of jealousy instigated by a court cabal. He was the first to assume the title King of the Jews. His surname Philellen shows his Hellenistic proclivities.

Alexander Jannæus.

(104-78 B.C.).

Aristobulus was succeeded by the oldest of his imprisoned brothers, Alexander Jannæus (Jonathan). Though generally unfortunate in his wars, he managed to acquire new territory, including the coast towns except Ascalon. His reign was marred by a bloody feud with the Pharisees.

The Last Machabees.

(78-37 B.C.).

Alexander bequeathed the government to his wife Alexandra Salome, and the high priesthood to his son Hyrcanus II. She ruled in accordance with the wishes of the Pharisees. At her death (69 B.C.), civil war broke out between Hyrcanus II and his brother Aristobulus II. This brought on Roman interference and loss of independence (63 B.C.). Hyrcanus, whom the Romans recognized as ethnarch, was ruler only in name. Aristobulus was poisoned in Rome by the adherents of Pompey, and his son Alexander was beheaded at Antioch by order of Pompey himself (49 B.C.). The Parthians made Antigonus, the son of Aristobulus, king; but the next year he was defeated by Herod with the aid of the Romans, and beheaded at Antioch (37 B.C.). With him ended the rule of the Machabees. Herod successively murdered (a) Aristobulus III, the grandson of both Aristobulus II and Hyrcanus II through the marriage of Alexander, the son of the former, with Alexandra, the daughter of the latter (35 B.C.); (b) Hyrcanus II (30 B.C.) and his daughter Alexandra (28 B.C.); (c) Mariamne, the sister of Aristobulus III (29 B.C.); and lastly his own two sons by Mariamne, Alexander and Aristobulus (7 B.C.). In this manner, the line of the Machabees became extinct.



The Books of Machabees.

The title of four books, of which the first and second only are regarded by the Church as canonical; the third and fourth, as Protestants consider all four, are apocryphal. The first two have been so named because they treat of the history of the rebellion of the Machabees, the fourth because it speaks of the Machabee martyrs. The third, which has no connection whatever with the Machabee period, no doubt owes its name to the fact that like the others it treats of a persecution of the Jews. For the canonicity of I and II Mach.

The First Book of Machabees.

(Makkabaion A; Liber Primus Machabaeorum).


The First Book of the Machabees is a history of the struggle of the Jewish people for religious and political liberty under the leadership of the Machabee family, with Judas Machabeus as the central figure. After a brief introduction (1:1-9) explaining how the Jews came to pass from the Persian domination to that of the Seleucids, it relates the causes of the rising under Mathathias and the details of the revolt up to his death (1:10-2:). It tells of the glorious deeds and heroic death of Judas Machabeus (3: -9:22), the story of the successful leadership of Jonathan (9:23-12:), and of the wise administration of Simon (13-16:17). It concludes (16:18-24) with a brief mention of the difficulties attending the accession of John Hyrcanus and with a short summary of his reign. The book thus covers the period between the years 175 and 135 B.C.


The narrative in both style and manner is modeled on the earlier historical books of the Old Testament. The style is usually simple, yet it at times becomes eloquent and even poetic, as, for instance, in Mathathias's lament over the woes of the people and the profanation of the Temple (2:7-13), or in the eulogy of Judas Machabeus (3:1-9), or again in the description of the peace and prosperity of the people after the long years of war and suffering (14:4-15). The tone is calm and objective, the author as a rule abstaining from any direct comment on the facts he is narrating. The more important events are carefully dated according to the Seleucid era, which began with the autumn of 312 B.C. It should be noted, however, that the author begins the year with spring (the month Nisan), whereas the author of II Mach. begins it with autumn (the month Tishri). By reason of this difference some of the events are dated a year later in the second than in the first book. (Cf. Patrizzi, "De Consensu Utriusque Libri Mach.," 27 sq.; Schürer, "Hist. of the Jewish People," I, I, 36 sq.).

Original Language.

The text from which all translations have been derived is the Greek of the Septuagint. However, there is little doubt that the Septuagint is itself a translation of a Hebrew or Aramaic original, with the probabilities in favor of Hebrew. Not only is the structure of the sentences decidedly Hebrew (or Aramaic); but many words and expressions occur which are literal renderings of Hebrew idioms (e.g. 1:4, 15, 16, 44; 2:19, 42, 48; 5:37, 40; etc.). These peculiarities can scarcely be explained by assuming that the writer was little versed in Greek, for a number of instances show that he was acquainted with the niceties of the language. Besides, there are inexact expressions and obscurities that can be explained only in the supposition of an imperfect translation or a misreading of a Hebrew original (e.g. 1:16, 28; 4:19, 24; 11:28; 14:5).

The internal evidence is confirmed by the testimony of Blessed Jerome and of Origen. The former writes that he saw the book in Hebrew: "Machabaeorum primum librum Hebraicum reperi" (Prol. Galeat.). As there is no ground for assuming that Blessed Jerome refers to a translation, and as he is not likely to have applied the term Hebrew to an Aramaic text, his testimony tells strongly in favor of a Hebrew as against an Aramaic original. Origen states (Eusebius, "Hist. Eccl.," vi, 25) that the title of the book was Sarbeth Sarbane el, or more correctly Sarbeth Sarbanaiel. Though the meaning of this title is uncertain (a number of different explanations have been proposed, especially of the first reading), it is plainly either Hebrew or Aramaic. The fragment of a Hebrew text published by Chwolson in 1896, and later again by Schweitzer, has little claim to be considered as part of the original.

Author and Date of Composition.

No data can be found either in the book itself or in later writers which would give us a clue as to the person of the author. Names have indeed been mentioned, but on groundless conjecture. That he was a native of Palestine is evident from the language in which he wrote, and from the thorough knowledge of the geography of Palestine that he possessed. Although he rarely expresses his own sentiments, the spirit pervading his work is proof that he was deeply religious, zealous for the Law, and thoroughly in sympathy with the Machabean movement and its leaders. However, strange to say, he studiously avoids the use of the words "God" and "Lord" (that is in the better Greek text; in the ordinary text "God" is found once, and "Lord" three times; in the Vulgate both occur repeatedly. But this is probably due to reverence for the Divine names, Jahweh and Adonai, since he often uses the equivalents "heaven," "Thou," or "He." There is absolutely no ground for the opinion, maintained by some modern scholars, that he was a Sadducee. He does not, it is true, mention the unworthy high priests, Jason and Menelaus; but as he mentions the no less unworthy Alcimus, and that in the severest terms, it cannot be said that he wishes to spare the priestly class.

The last verses show that the book cannot have been written till some time after the beginning of the reign of John Hyrcanus (135-105 B.C.), for they mention his accession and some of the acts of his administration. The latest possible date is generally admitted to be prior to 63 B.C., the year of the occupation of Jerusalem by Pompey; but there is some difference in fixing the approximately exact date. Whether it can be placed as early as the reign of Hyrcanus depends on the meaning of the concluding verse, "Behold these [the Acts of Hyrcanus are written in the book of the days of his priesthood, from the time (xx xx, "ex quo") that he was made high priest after his father." Many understand it to indicate that Hyrcanus was then still alive, and this seems to be the more natural meaning. Others, however, take it to imply that Hyrcanus was already dead. In this latter supposition, the composition of the work must have followed close upon the death of that ruler. For not only does the vivid character of the narrative suggest an early period after the events, but the absence of even the slightest allusion to events later than the death of Hyrcanus, and, in particular, to the conduct of his two successors which aroused popular hatred against the Machabees, makes a much later date improbable. The date would, therefore, in any case, be within the last years of the second century B.C.


In the eighteenth century the two brothers E.F. and G. Wernsdorf made an attempt to discredit I Mach., but with little success. Modern scholars of all schools, even the most extreme, admit that the book is a historical document of the highest value. "With regard to the historical value of I Mach.," says Cornill (Einl., 3rd ed., 265), "there is but one voice; in it we possess a source of the very first order, an absolutely reliable account of one of the most important epochs in the history of the Jewish people."

The accuracy of a few minor details concerning foreign nations has, however, been denied. The author is mistaken, it is said, when he states that Alexander the Great divided his empire among his generals (1:7), or when he speaks of the Spartans as akin to the Jews (12: 6, 7, 21). He is inexact in several particulars regarding the Romans (8:1 sq.); he exaggerates the numbers of elephants at the battle of Magnesia (8:6), and some other numbers (e.g. 5:34; 6: 30, 37; 11:45, 48). However, the author cannot be charged with whatever inaccuracies or exaggerations may be contained in viii, 1-16. He there merely sets down the reports, inexact and exaggerated, no doubt, in some particulars, which had reached Judas Machabeus. The same is true with regard to the statement concerning the kinship of the Spartans with the Jews. The author merely reproduces the letter of Jonathan to the Spartans, and that written to the high-priest Onias I by Arius.

When a writer simply reports the words of others, an error can be laid to his charge only when he reproduces their statements inaccurately. The assertion that Alexander divided his empire among his generals (to be understood in the light of vv. 9 and 10, where it is said that they "made themselves kings . . . and put crowns on themselves after his death") cannot be shown to be erroneous. Quintus Curtius, who is the authority for the contrary view, acknowledges that there were writers who believed that Alexander made a division of the provinces by his will.

As the author of I Mach is a careful historian and wrote about a century and a half before Q. Curtius, he would deserve more credit than the latter, even if he were not supported by other writers. As to the exaggeration of numbers in some instances, in so far as they are not errors of copyists, it should be remembered that ancient authors, both sacred and profane, frequently do not give absolute figures, but estimated or popularly current numbers. Exact numbers cannot be reasonably expected in an account of a popular insurrection, like that of Antioch (11:45,48), because they could not be ascertained. Now the same was often the case with regard to the strength of the enemy's forces and of the number of the enemy slain in battle. A modifying clause, such as "it is reported," must be supplied in these cases.


That the author used written sources to a certain extent is witnessed by the documents that he cites (8: 23-32; 10:3-6, 18-20, 25-45; 11:30-37; 12:6-23; etc.). But there is little doubt that he also derived most of the other matter from written records of the events, oral tradition being insufficient to account for the many and minute details. There is every reason to believe that such records existed for the Acts of Jonathan and Simon as well as for those of Judas (9:22), and of John Hyrcanus (16:23-24). For the last part he may also have relied on the reminiscences of older contemporaries, or even drawn upon his own.

Greek Text and Ancient Versions.

The Greek translation was probably made soon after the book was written. The text is found in three uncial codices, namely the Sinaiticus, the Alexandrinus, and the Venetus, and in sixteen cursive MSS. The textus receptus is that of the Sixtine edition, derived from the Codex Venetus and some cursives. The best editions are those of Fritzsche ("Libri Apocryphi V. T.," Leipzig, 1871, 203 sq.) and of Swete "O. T. in Greek," Cambridge, 1905, III, 594 sq.), both based on the Cod. Alexandrinus. The old Latin version in the Vulgate is that of the Itala, probably unretouched by Blessed Jerome. Part of a still older version, or rather recension (chap. i-xiii), was published by Sabatier (Biblior. Sacror. Latinae Versiones Antiquae, II, 1017 sq.), the complete text of which was recently discovered in a MSS. at Madrid. Two Syriac versions are extant: that of the Peshitto, which follows the Greek text of the Lucian recension, and another published by Ceriani ("Translatio Syra photolithographice edita," Milan, 1876, 592-615), which reproduces the ordinary Greek text.

The Second Book of Machabees.

(Makkabaion B; Liber Secundus Machabaeorum).


The Second Book of Machabees is not, as the name might suggest, a continuation of the First, but covers part of the same ground. The book proper (2:20-15:40) is preceded by two letters of the Jews of Jerusalem to their Egyptian coreligionists (1:1-2:19). The first (1:1-10a), dated in the year 188 of the Seleucid era (i.e. 124 B.C.), beyond expressions of goodwill and an allusion to a former letter, contains nothing but an invitation to the Jews of Egypt to celebrate the feast of the Dedication of the Temple (instituted to commemorate its rededication, I Mach. 4:59; II Mach. 10:8). The second (i, 10b-ii, 19), which is undated, is from the "senate" (gerousia) and Judas (Machabeus) to Aristobulus, the preceptor or counselor of Ptolemy (D.V. Ptolemee) (Philometor), and to the Jews in Egypt. It informs the Egyptian Jews of the death of Antiochus (Epiphanes) while attempting to rob the temple of Nanea, and invites them to join their Palestinian brethren in celebrating the feasts of the Dedication and of the Recovery of the Sacred Fire. The story of the recovery of the sacred fire is then told, and in connection with it the story of the hiding by the Prophet Jeremias of the tabernacle, the ark and the altar of incense. After an offer to send copies of the books that Judas had collected after the example of Nehemias, it repeats the invitation to celebrate the two feasts, and concludes with the hope that the dispersed of Israel might soon be gathered together in the Holy Land.

The book itself begins with an elaborate preface (2:20-33) in which the author after mentioning that his work is an epitome of the larger history in five books of Jason of Cyrene states his motive in writing the book, and comments on the respective duties of the historian and of the epitomizer. The first part of the book (3-4:6) relates the attempt of Heliodoris, prime minister of Seleucus IV (187-175 B.C.), to rob the treasures of the Temple at the instigation of a certain Simon, and the troubles caused by this latter individual to Onias III. The rest of the book is the history of the Machabean rebellion down to the death of Nicanor (161 B.C.), and therefore corresponds to I Mach., I, 11-7: 50. Section iv, 7-x, 9, deals with the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes (I Mach. 1:11-6:16), while section x, l0-xv, 37, records the events of the reigns of Antiochus Eupator and Demetrius I (I Mach. 6:17-7:50). II Mach. thus covers a period of only fifteen years, from 176 to 161 B.C. But while the field is narrower, the narrative is much more copious in details than I Mach., and furnishes many particulars, for instance, names of persons, which are not found in the first book.

Object and Character.

On comparing the two Books of Machabees, it is plainly seen that the author of the Second does not, like the author of the First, write history merely to acquaint his readers with the stirring events of the period with which he is dealing. He writes history with a view to instruction and edification. His first object is to exalt the Temple of Jerusalem as the center of Jewish worship. This appears from the pains he takes to extol on every occasion its dignity and sanctity. It is "the great temple," (2:20), "the most renowned" and "the most holy in all the world" (2:23; 5:15), "the great and holy temple" (14:31). Even heathen princes esteemed it worthy of honor and glorified it with great gifts (3:2-3; 5:16; 13:23). The concern of the Jews in time of danger was more for the holiness of the Temple than for their wives and children (15:18). God protects it by miraculous interpositions (iii 14:31 sq.) and punishes those guilty of sacrilege against it (3:24 sq.; 9:16; 13:6-8; 14:31 sq.; 15:32); if He has allowed it to be profaned, it was because of the sins of the Jews (5:17-20). It is, no doubt, with this design that the two letters, which otherwise have no connection with the book, were prefixed to it. The author apparently intended his work especially for the Jews of the Dispersion, and more particularly for those of Egypt, where a schismatical temple had been erected at Leontopolis about 160 B.C.

The second object of the author is to exhort the Jews to faithfulness to the Law, by impressing upon them that God is still mindful of His covenant. He reminds them that God does not abandon them unless they first abandon Him; the tribulations they endure are a punishment for their unfaithfulness, and will cease when they repent (4:17; 5:17, 19; 6: 13, 15, 16; 7:32, 33, 37, 38; 8: 5, 36; 14:15; 15:23, 24). To the difference of object corresponds a difference in tone and method. The author is not satisfied with merely relating facts, but freely comments on persons and acts, distributing praise or blame as they may deserve when judged from the standpoint of a true Israelite. Supernatural intervention in favor of the Jews is emphasized. The style is rhetorical, the dates are comparatively few. As has been remarked, the chronology of II Mach. slightly differs from that of I Mach.

Author and Date.

II Mach. is, as has been said, an epitome of a larger work by a certain Jason of Cyrene. Nothing further is known of this Jason except that, judging from his exact geographical knowledge, he must have lived for some time in Palestine. The author of the epitome is unknown. From the prominence that he gives to the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, it has been inferred that he was a Pharisee. Some have even maintained that his book was a Pharisaical partisan writing. This last, at any rate, is a baseless assertion. II Mach. does not speak more severely of Alcimus than I Mach., and the fact that it mentions the high-priests, Jason and Menelaus, by name no more proves it to be a Pharisaic partisan writing than the omission of their names in I Mach. proves that to be a Sadducee production. Jason must have finished his work shortly after the death of Nicanor, and before disaster overtook Judas Machabeus, as he not only omits to allude to that hero's death, but makes the statement, which would be palpably false if he had written later, that after the death of Nicanor Jerusalem always remained in the possession of the Jews (15:38). The epitome cannot have been written earlier than the date of the first letter, that is 124 B.C.

As to the exact date, there is great divergence. In the very probable supposition that the first letter was sent with a copy of the book, the latter would be of about the same date. It cannot in any case be very much later, since the demand for an abridged form of Jason's history, to which the author alludes in the preface (2:25-26), must have arisen within a reasonably short time after the publication of that work. The second letter must have been written soon after the death of Antiochus, before the exact circumstances concerning it had become known in Jerusalem, therefore about 163 B.C. That the Antiochus there mentioned is Antiochus IV and not Antiochus III, as many Biblical commentators maintain, is clear from the fact that his death is related in connection with the celebration of the Feast of the Dedication, and that he is represented as an enemy of the Jews, which is not true of Antiochus III.

Original Language.

The two letters, which were addressed to the Jews of Egypt, who knew little or no Hebrew or Aramaic, were in all probability written in Greek. That the book itself was composed in the same language is evident from the style, as Blessed Jerome already remarked (Prol. Gal.). Hebraisms are fewer than would be expected considering the subject, whereas Greek idioms and Greek constructions are very numerous. Jason's Hellenistic origin, and the absence in the epitome of all signs that would mark it as a translation, are sufficient to show that he also wrote in Greek.


The Second Book of Machabees is much less thought of as a historical document by non-Orthodox scholars than the First, though Niese has recently come out strongly in its defense. The objections brought against the two letters need not, however, concern us, except in so far as they affect their authenticity, of which hereafter. These letters are on the same footing as the other documents cited in I and II Mach.; the author is therefore not responsible for the truth of their contents. We may, then, admit that the story of the sacred fire, as well as that of the hiding of the tabernacle, etc., is a pure legend, and that the account of the death of Antiochus as given in the second letter is historically false; the author's credit as a historian will not in the least be diminished thereby.

Some recent scholars have thought that errors could also be admitted in the book itself without casting any discredit on the epitomizer, inasmuch as the latter declines to assume responsibility for the exact truth of all its contents. But though this view may find some support in the Vulgate (2:29), it is hardly countenanced by the Greek text. Besides, there is no need to have recourse to a theory, which, while absolving the author from formal error, would admit real inaccuracies in the book, and so lessen its historical value. The difficulties urged against it are not such as to defy satisfactory explanation. Some are based on a false interpretation of the text, as when, for instance, it is credited with the statement that Demetrius landed in Syria with a mighty host and a fleet (14:1), and is thus placed in opposition to I Mach. 7:1, where he is said to have landed with a few men. Others are due to subjective impressions, as when the supernatural apparitions are called into question. The exaggeration of numbers has been dealt with in connection with I Mach.

The following are the main objections with some real foundation:

  1. The campaign of Lysias, which I Mach. 4:26-34, places in the last year of Antiochus Epiphanes, is transferred in II Mach. 11: to the reign of Antiochus Eupator;
  2. The Jewish raids on neighboring tribes and the expeditions into Galilee and Galaad, represented in I Mach. 5: as carried on in rapid succession after the rededication of the temple, are separated in II Mach. and placed in a different historical setting (8: 30; 10:15-38; 12:10-45);
  3. The account given in II Mach. 9: differs from that of I Mach. 6: regarding the death of Antiochus Epiphanes, who is falsely declared to have written a letter to the Jews;
  4. The picture of the martyrdoms in vi, 18-vii, is highly colored, and it is improbable that Antiochus was present at them.

To these objections it may be briefly answered:

  1. The campaign spoken of in II Mach. 11: is not the same as that related in I Mach. 4.
  2. The events mentioned in 8: 30 and 10:15 sq. are not narrated in I Mach. 5. Before the expedition into Galaad (12:10 sq.) can be said to be out of its proper historical setting, it would have to be proved that I Mach. invariably adheres to chronological order, and that the events grouped together in chap. 5 took place in rapid succession.
  3. The two accounts of the death of Antiochus Epiphanes differ, it is true, but they fit very well into one another. Considering the character of Antiochus and the condition he was in at the time, it is not at all improbable that he wrote a letter to the Jews.
  4. There is no reason to doubt that in spite of the rhetorical form the story of the martyrdoms is substantially correct. As the place where they occurred is unknown, it is hard to see on what ground the presence of Antiochus is denied. It should be noted, moreover, that the book betrays accurate knowledge in a multitude of small details, and that Josephus, who was unacquainted with it, often supports it. Even its detractors admit that the earlier portion is of the greatest value, and that in all that relates to Syria its knowledge is extensive and minute. Hence, it is not likely that it would be guilty of the gross errors imputed to it.

Authenticity of the Two Letters.

Although these letters have a clear bearing on the purpose of the book, they have been declared palpable forgeries. Nothing, however, justifies such an opinion. The glaring contradiction in the first letter, which represents the climax of affliction as having been experienced under Demetrius II, has no existence. The letter does not compare the sufferings under Demetrius with those of the past, but speaks of the whole period of affliction including the time the time of Demetrius. The legend of the sacred fire etc., proves nothing against the genuineness of the second letter, unless it be shown that no such legend existed at the time. The false account of the death of Antiochus Epiphanes is rather a proof in favor of the authenticity of the letter. Such an account would be quite natural if the letter was written soon after the first news, exaggerated and distorted as first news often is, had reached Jerusalem. There remains only the so-called blunder of attributing the building of the Temple to Nehemias. The very improbability of such a gross blunder on the part of an educated Jew (the supposed forger) should have made the critics pause. Nehemias put the last touches to the Temple (II Esdr. 2:8; Josephus, "Antiq.," 11:5:6), which justifies the use of oikodomesas. Codex 125 (Mosquensis) reads oikonomesas "having ordered the service of the temple and altar"; this would remove all difficulty (cf. II Esdr. 10:32 sq.; 13 sqq.).

Greek Text and Versions.

The Greek text is usually found in the same MSS. as I Mach.; it is wanting, however, in the Cod. Sinaiticus. The Latin version in the Vulgate is that of the Itala. An older version was published by Peyron and again by Ceriani from the Codex Ambrosianus. A third Latin text is found in the Madrid MSS., which contains an old version of I Mach. The Syriac version is often a paraphrase rather than a translation.

The Third and Fourth Books of Machabees.

III Mach. is the story of a persecution of the Jews in Egypt under Ptolemy IV Philopator (222-205 B.C.), and therefore has no right to its title. Though the work contains much that is historical, the story is a fiction. IV Mach. is a Jewish-Stoic philosophical treatise on the supremacy of pious reason, that is, religious principles, over the passions. The martyrdom of Eleazar and of the seven brothers (II Mach. 6:18-7) is introduced to illustrate the author's thesis. Neither book has any claim to canonicity, though the first for a while received favorable consideration in some Churches.


Book of Tobias.

A canonical book of the Old Testament.


In Cod. Alex., biblos logon Tobit; in Vat., Tobeit; in Sinaitic, Tobeith; in Latin manuscripts Liber Tobiae, Liber Tobit et Tobiae, Liber utriusque Tobiae. In the Vulgate and Hebrew Fagii, both father and son have the same name, Tobias, tobyyah. In other texts and version, the name of the father varies: tobi, "my good" is Jahweh, In Heb. Munster; Tobit or Tobeit in the Sept.; Tobis, or Tobit, standing for tobith "goodness" of Jahweh, in the Old Latin.

Text and Versions.

The original text, supposed to have been Hebrew, is lost; the reasons assigned for an Aramaic original warrant only a probable opinion that an Aramaic translation influenced our present Greek versions.

(1) Vulgate Versions

Blessed Jerome had not yet learned Aramaic when, with the aid of a rabbi who knew both Aramaic and Hebrew, he made the Vulgate version. The rabbi expressed in Hebrew the thought of the Aramaic manuscripts and Blessed Jerome straightway put the same into Latin. It was the work of only a day (cf. Praef. in Tobiam). The Old Latin certainly influenced this hurried version. The Vulgate recension of the Aramaic version tells the story in the third person throughout, as do the Aramaic of Neubauer and the two Hebrew texts of Gaster (HL and HG), whereas all the other texts make Tobias speak in the first person up to 3:15.

The following passages occur in the Vulgate alone: the wagging of the dog's tail (11:9); the comparison of the coating on Tobias's eye to the membrane of an egg (101:14); the wait of half an hour while the gall of the fish effected its cure (101:14); Tobias closing of the eyes of Raguel and Edna in death; also 2:12, 18; 3:19, 24; 6: 16- 18, 20, 21; 8: 4,5; 9:12b. Some parts of the Vulgate, such as the continence of Tobias (6:18; 7:4), were looked upon at times as Christian interpolations of Jerome until they were found in one of Gaster's Hebrew texts (HL). Lastly, the Vulgate and HL omit all mention of Ahikhar; Achior of Vulg. 11:20 is probably an addition to the text.

(2) Aramaic Versions

Besides the Aramaic version used by Jerome and now lost, there is the extant Aramaic text recently found in an Aramaic commentary on Genesis, "Midrash Bereshit Rabba." The writing of this Midrash is fifteenth-century work; it contains the Book of Tobias as a haggada on the promise Jacob makes to give tithes to God (Gen. 28:22). Neubauer edited the text, "The Book of Tobit, a Chaldee Text from a unique manuscript in the Bodleian Library" (Oxford, 1878). He thinks that it is a briefer form of Jerome's Aramaic text. This is not likely. The language is at times a transliteration of Greek and gives evidence of being a transliteration of one or other of the Greek texts. It agrees with the Vulgate in that from the outset the tale of Tobias is told in the third person; otherwise, it is closer to Codex Vaticanus and closer still to Cod. Sinaiticus.

(3) Greek versions

There are three Greek recensions of Tobias. We shall refer to them by the numbers given to the Vatican and Sinaitic codices in Vigouroux, "La sainte bible polyglote," III (Paris, 1902).

(a) AB, the text of the Alexandrian (fifth century) and Vatican (fourth century) codices. This recension is found in many other codices of the Greek text, has been used for centuries by the Greek Church, is incorporated into the Sixtine edition of the Septuagint, and has been translated into Armenian as the authentic text of that rite. AB is preferred to the Sinaitic recension by Nöldeke, Grumm, and others, and yet rated by Nestle, Ewald, and Haris as a compendium rather than as a version of the entire original text. It condenses Edna's Prayer (10:13), omits the blessing of Gabael (9:6), and has three or four unique readings (3:16; 14:8, 10; 11:8).

(b) Aleph, the text of the Sinaitic (fourth-century) Codex. Its style is very much more diffuse than that of AB, which seems to have omitted of set purpose many stichoi of Aleph — cf. 2:12, "on the seventh of Dustros she cut the web"; 5:3, the incident of the bond divided into two parts, one for Tobias and the other for Raguel; 5:5, the long conversation between Raphael and young Tobias; 6: 8; 10:10; 12:8, etc. Aleph omits 4:7-19, and xiii, 6b-9, of AB.

(c) The Text of Codices 44, 106, 107 for 6:9-13:8. The first portion (1:1-6:8) and the last (13:9 to end) are identical with AB; the remainder seems to be an attempt at a better version of the original text. Independent work is shown by 6:9, to 7:17; 8: 1, to 12:6, is very close to the Syriac and nearer to Aleph than to AB; 12:7-13:8 resembles each text in various small details. Distinctive readings of these cursives are Edna's Gnostic prayer, "Let all the Æons praise thee' (8: 15); and the fact that Anna saw the dog running before Tobias (11:5).

(d) Grenfell and Hunt, in "Oxyrhyneus Papyri" (Oxford, 1911), present what seems to be a third recension of the second chapter, part viii. The text differs from both AB and Aleph and consequently the Greek cursives.

(4) Old Latin Versions

Before the Latin Vulgate translation of the Aramaic, recension (see above) there existed at least three Old Latin versions of a Greek text that was substantially Aleph;

    1. The recension of Codex Regius Parisiensis 3654 and Cod. 4 of the Library of St-Germain;
    2. The recension of Cod. Vat. 7, containing 1-6, 12;
    3. The recension of the "Speculum" of St. Augustine.

(5) Syriac Version

Down to 7:9, it is a translation of AB; thereafter, it agrees with the Greek cursive text, save that 13:9-18, is omitted. This second part is clearly a second recension; its proper names are not spelled as in the first part. Ahikhar (14:10) is Achior (2:10); 'Edna (7:14) is 'Edna (7: 2) 'Arag (9:2) is Raga (4:1, 20).

(6) Hebrew Versions

There are four Hebrew versions of this deuterocanonical story:

  1. HL, Hebrew Londinii, a thirteenth-century manuscript, found by Gaster in the British Museum, and translated by him in the "Proceedings of the Soc. of the Bibl. Archaeology" (xvii and xx). Besides a cento of Scriptural exhortations, this manuscript contains the narrative portion of Tobias, translated, Gaster thinks, from a text that stood in closest relation to the Aramaic used by Blessed Jerome. It is just possible, though not in the least probable, that the thirteenth-century Jewish author of HL made use of the Vulgate.
  2. HG, Hebrew Gasteri, a text copied by Gaster from a Midrash on the Pentateuch and published in the "Proc. of the Soc. of Bib. Arch" (xix). This manuscript, now lost, agreed with the Aramaic of Neubauer and was in a compact style like that of the Vulgate recension.
  3. HF, Hebrew Fagii, a very free translation of AB, done in the twelfth century by a Jewish scholar: it is found in Walton's "Polyglot"
  4. HM, Hebrew Munsteri, published by Munster in Basle A.D. 1542, found in Walton's "Polyglot." This text agrees as a rule with Neubauer's Aramaic, even when the latter is at variance with AB. It is, according to Ginsburg, of fifth-century origin. The Hebrew versions together with the Aramaic omit reference to the dog, which plays a prominent part in the other versions.

The foregoing review of the various and diverse recensions of the Book of Tobias shows how hard it would be to reconstruct the original text and how easily textual errors may have crept into our Vulgate or the Aramaic, on which it depends.


Unless otherwise stated, these references are to the Vulgate recension, whereof the Douay is a translation. The story naturally divides itself into two parts:

1) The fidelity of Tobias the elder and of Sara to the Lord (1:1-3:25); (a) the fidelity of Tobias (1:1-3:6) shown by his acts of mercy to fellow captives (1:11-170 and especially to the dead (1:18-25), acts that resulted in his blindness (2:1-18), the taunts of his wife (2:19-23), and the recourse of Tobias to God in prayer (3:1-6). (b) The fidelity of Sara, daughter of Raguel and Edna (3:7-23). The very day that Tobias in Ninive was taunted by his wife and turned to God, Sara in Ecbatana was taunted by her maid as the murderess of seven husbands (3:7-10), and turned to God in prayer (3: 11-23). The prayers of both were heard (3:24-25).

2) The fidelity of the Lord to Tobias and to Sara through the ministrations of the angel Raphael (4:1-12:22). (a) Raphael cares for the young Tobias on his journey to Gabael in Rages of Media to obtain the ten talents of silver left in bond by his father (4:1-9:12). The young man set out, after long instruction by his father (4:1-23). Raphael joins him as guide (5:1-28). Tobias while bathing in the Tigris is attacked by a large fish, catches it, and, at the advice of Raphael, keeps its heart, liver, and gall (6:1-22). They pass through Ecbatana, stop at Raguel's; Tobias asks Sara for wife and receives her (7:1- 20); by continence and exorcism and the odor of the burning liver of the fish and the aid of Raphael, he conquers the devil who had slain the seven previous husbands of Sara (8:1-24); Raphael gets the money of Gabael in Rages, and brings him to Ecbatana to the marriage celebration of young Tobias (9:1-23). (v) Raphael cures the blindness of the elder Tobias, on the return of his son, and manifests the truth that he is an angel (10:2-12:31). Conclusion: the hymn of thanksgiving of Tobias the elder, and the subsequent history of both father and son (13:1-14:7).


To show that God is faithful to those that are faithful to Him is evidently the chief purpose of the book. Neubauer (op. cit., p. xvi) makes out the burial of the dead to be the chief lesson; but the lesson of almsgiving is more prominent. Ewald, "Gesch. des Volkes Israel," IV, 233, sets fidelity to the Mosaic code as the main drift of the author, who writes for Jews of the Dispersion. But the book is meant for all Jews, and clearly inculcates for them many secondary lessons and one that is fundamental to the rest-God is true to those who are true to Him.


(1) In Judaism

The Book of Tobias is deuterocanonical, i.e. contained not in the Canon of Palestine but in that of Alexandria. That the Jews of the Dispersion accepted the book as canonical Scripture is clear from its place in the Septuagint. That the Palestinian Jews reverenced Tobias as a sacred book may be argued form the existence of the Aramaic translation used by Blessed Jerome and that published by Neubauer, as also from the four extant Hebrew translators. Then, most of these Semitic versions were found as Midrashim, or hagganda, of the Pentateuch.

(2) Among Christians

Despite the rejection of Tobias from the Protestant Canon, its place in the Christian Canon of Holy Writ is undoubted. The Church has ever esteemed it as inspired. St. Polycarp (A.D. 117), "Ad Philippenses," 10:, urges almsgiving, and cites Tob. 4:10, and 12: 9, as authority for his urging. Deutero-Clement (A.D. 150), "Ad Corinthios," 16:, has praises of almsgiving that are an echo of Tob. 12:8,9. St. Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 190-210), in "Stromata," vi, 12 (P.G. IX, 324), cites as the words of Holy Writ: "Fasting is good with prayer" (Tob. 12:9); and in "Stromata," i, 21 2:23 (P.G. VIII, 853, 1089), "What thou hatest, do not unto another" (Tob. 4:16). Origen (about A.D. 230) cites as Scripture Tob. 3:24 and 12:12, 15, in "De oratione," II; Tob. 2:1, in sec. 14; Tob. 12:12, in sec. 31 (cf. P.G. XI, 448, 461, 553); and writing to Africanus (P.G. XI, 80) he explains that, although the Hebrews do not use Tobias, yet the Church does. St. Athanasius (A.D. 350) uses Tob. 12:7 and iv, 19, with the distinctive phrase "as it is written," cf. "Apol. contra arianos," II, and "Apol. ad Imper. Constantium" (P.G. 25:268, 616).

In the Western Church, St. Cyprian (about A.D. 248) very often refers to Tobias as of Divine authority just as he refers to other books of Holy Writ; cf. "De mortalitate," x; "De opere et eleemosynis," v, xx; "De patientia," xviii (P.G. IV, 588, 606, 634); "Ad Quirinum," i, 20 for Tob., xii; 3:1 for Tob. 2:2; and 4: 5-11; 2:62 for Tob. 4:12 (P.G. IV, 689, 728, 729, 767). St. Ambrose (about A.D. 370) wrote a book entitled "De Tobia" against usury (P.L. XIV, 759), and introduced it by referring to the Biblical work of that name as "a prophetic book," "Scripture." In the entire Western Church, however, the canonicity of Tobias is clearest from its presence in the Old Latin Version, the authentic text of Scripture for the Latin Church from about A.D. 150 until Blessed Jerome's Vulgate replaced it.

The canonical use of Tobias in that part of the Byzantine Church whose language was Syriac is seen in the writings of St. Ephraem (about A.D. 362) and of St. Archelaus (about A.D. 278). The earliest canonical lists all contain the Book of Tobias; they are those of the Council of Hippo (A.D. 393), the councils of Carthage (A.D. 397 and 419), St. Innocent I (A.D. 405), Blessed Augustine (A.D. 397). Moreover, the great fourth- and fifth- century manuscripts of the Septuagint are proof that not only the Jews but also the Christians used Tobias as canonical.

Against the canonicity of Tobias are urged several rather trivial objections, which would, at first sight, seem to impugn the inspiration of the narrative.

  1. Raphael told an untruth when he said he was "Azarias the son of the great Ananias" (5:18). There is no untruth in this. The angel was in appearance just what he said he was. Besides, he may have meant by azaryah, "the healer of Jah"; and by ananyah, "the goodness of Jah." In this event, he only told the young Tobias that he was God's helper and the offspring of the great goodness of God; in this, there would be no falsehood.
  2. A second objection is that the angelology of Tobias is taken over from that of the Avesta either directly by Iranian influence or indirectly by the inroad of Syriac or Grecian folklore. For Raphael says: "I am the angel Raphael, one of the seven who stand before the Lord" (12:15). These seven are the Amesha Spentas of Zoroastrianism: cf. Fritzsche, "Exegetisches Handbuch zu den Apocr.," II (Leipzig, 1853), 61. The answer is that the reading seven is doubtful; it is in Aleph, AB, Old Latin, and Vulg.; it is wanting in the Greek cursive text, Syriac, and HM. Still, admitting the reading of the Vulgate, the Amesha Spentas have infiltrated into Avestic religion from the seven Angels of Hebraistic Revelation and not vice versa. Moreover, there are not seven Amesha Spentas in the angelology of the Avesta, but only six. They are subordinated to Ahura Mazda, the first principle of good. True, he is, at times, grouped with the six lower spirits as seven Amesha Spentas; but in this grouping, we have not by any means seven angels standing before the Deity.

Historical Worth.

(1) To Protestants

The destructive criticism which, among Protestants, has striven to do away with the canonical books of the Old Testament have quite naturally had no respect for those books the critics call apocryphal. The Book of Tobias is to them no more than are the Testament of Job, the Book of Jubilees, and the story of Ahikhar. From the standpoint of historical criticism, it is to be grouped with these three apocryphal (J.T. Marshall, Principal of the Baptist College, Manchester, in Hasting's "Dict. of the Bible," s.v.). Simrock in "Der gute Gerhard und die dankbaren Todten" (Bonn, 1858) reduces the story to the folk-lore theme of the gratitude of the departed spirit; the yarn is spun out of this slim thread of fancy that the souls of the dead, whose remains Tobias buried, did not forget his benevolence. Erbt (Encycl. Biblica, s.v.) finds traces of Iranian legend in the name of the demon Asmodeus (Tob. 3:8) which is the Persian Aeshma daeva; as also in the dog — "with the Persians a certain power over evil spirits was assigned to the dog." And again: "the Jewish nation takes up a foreign legend, goes on repeating it until it has got it into fixed oral form, in order next to pass it on to some story-writer who is able to shape it into an edifying household tale, capable of ministering comfort to many succeeding generations." Moulton, "The Iranian background of Tobit" (Expository Time, 1900, p. 257), considers the book to be Median folklore, in which the Semitic and Iranian elements meet.

In the Ahikhar story, cf. "The Story of Ahikhar from the Syriac, Arabic, Armenian, Ethiopic, Greek, and Slavonic versions" by Conybeare, Harris, and Mrs. Smith, a work which will be brought back to 407 B.C. in a new edition soon to appear (Expositor, March 1912, p. 212).

(2) To Orthodox

Until recently there never was question in regard to the historicity of Tobias. It was among the historical books of the Old Testament. The Fathers had always referred to both elder and younger Tobias and to the other personages of the narratives as to facts and not to fancies. The stories of almsgiving, burial of the dead, angelophany, exorcism, marriage of Sara with Tobias the younger, cure of the elder Tobias — all these incidents were taken for granted as fact-narrative; nor was there ever any question of likening them to the tales of "The Arabian Nights" and the "Fables of Aesop." With few exceptions, Biblical exegetes are unanimous in clearly defending the historicity of Tobias.

Now, the arguments against the historical worth of Tobias are not at all solid; they are mere conjectures, which it would be most rash to admit. We shall examine some of these conjectures.

  1. The Ahikhar story is not in the Vulgate at all. As it is in AB, Aleph, and the Old Latin, Blessed Jerome undoubtedly knew it. Why did he follow the Aramaic text to the exclusion of this episode? He may have looked upon it as an interpolation, which was not written by the inspired author. Even though it were not an interpolation, the Ahikhar episode of Tobias has not been proven to be a legend drawn from a non-canonical source.
  2. The angelic apparition and all incidents connected therewith are no more difficult to explain than the angelophanies of Gen. 18:19, and Acts 12:6.
  3. The demonology is not unlike to that of the New Testament. The name "Asmodeus" need not be of Iranian origin; but may just as readily be explained as Semitic. The Aramaic word ashmeday is cognate with the Hebrew hashmed, "destruction." And even though it be a mutilated form of some Iranian ancestor of the Persian Aeshma daeva, what more natural than a Median name for a demon whose obsession was accomplished upon Median soil? The slaying of the seven husbands was allowed by God in punishment of their lust (Vulg., v. 16); it is the youth Tobias, not the sacred writer, that suggests (according to AB, Aleph, and Old Latin) the demon's lust as the motive of his killing all rivals. The binding of the devil in the desert of Upper Egypt, the farthest end of the then known world (viii, 3), has the same figurative meaning as the binding of Satan for a thousand years (Apoc. 20:2).
  4. The unlikelihood of the many coincidences in the Book of Tobias is mere conjecture (cf. Gigot, op. cit., 345). Divine Providence may have brought about these similarities of incident, with a view to the use of them in an inspired book.

(e) Certain historical difficulties are due to the very imperfect condition in which the text has reached us.

(i) It was Theglathphalasar III who led Nephthali (IV Kings 15:29) into captivity (734 B.C.), and not, as Tobias says (1:2), Salmanasar. Yet, this reading of the Vulgate, Old Latin, and Aramaic is to be corrected by the name Enemesar of AB and Aleph. The latter reading would be equivalent to the Hebrew transliteration of the Assyrian kenum sar. As the appellative sar "king," may precede or follow a personal name, kenum sar is sar kenum, that is Gargon (sarru-kenu II, B.C. 722). It can readily be that, twelve years after Theglath-phalasar III began the deportation of Israel out of Samaria, Sardon's scouts completed the work and routed some of the tribe of Nephthali from their fastnesses.

(ii) A like solution is to be given to the difficulty that Sennacherib is said to have been the son of Salmanasar (1:18), whereas he was the son of the usurper Sargon. The Vulgate reading here, as in i, 2, should be that of AB and Aleph, to wit, Enemesar; and this stands for Sargon.

(iii) In B 14:15, Ninive is said to have been captured by Ahasuerus (Asoueros) and Nabuchodonosor. This is a mistake of the scribe. Aleph reads that Achiacharos took Ninive and adds that "he praised God for all He had done against the children of Ninive and Assyria." The word for Assyria is Athoureias, Hebrew asshur, Aramaic ahur: This Greek word mislead the scribe to write Lsyeros for the name of the king, Achiacharos, i.e. the Median King Cyaxares. According to Berossus, Cyaxares was, in his campaign against Ninive, allied to the Babylonian King Nabopalassar, the father of Nabuchodonosor; the scribe of V has written the name for the son for that of the father, as Nabopalassar was unknown to him.

(iv) Rages is a Seleucid town and hence an anachronism. Not at all; it is an ancient Median town, which the Seleucids restored.


It is likely that the elder Tobias wrote at least that part of the original work in which he uses the first person singular, cf. 1:1-3:6, in all texts except the Vulgate and Aramaic. As the entire narrative is historical, this part is probably autobiographical. After revealing his angelic nature, Raphael bade both father and son to tell all the wonders that God had done them (Vulg. 12:20) and to write in a book all the incidents of his stay with them (cf. same verse in AB, Aleph, Old Latin, HF, and HM). If we accept the story as fact-narrative, we naturally conclude that it was written originally during the Babylonian Exile, in the early portion of the seventh century B.C.; and that all save the last chapter was the work of the elder and younger Tobias. Almost all Protestant scholars consider the book post-Exilic. Ewald assigns it to 350 B.C.; Hgen, the bulk to 280 B.C.; Gratz, to A.D. 130; Kohut, to A.D. 226.


Book of Judith.


Nabuchodonosor, King of Nineveh, sends his general Holofernes to subdue the Jews. The latter besieges them in Bethulia, a city on the southern verge of the Plain of Esdrelon. Achior, the Ammonite, who speaks in defense of the Jews, is maltreated by him and sent into the besieged city to await his punishment when Holofernes shall have taken it. Famine undermines the courage of the besieged and they contemplate surrender, but Judith, a widow, upbraids them and says that she will deliver the city. She goes into the camp of the Assyrians and captivates Holofernes by her beauty, and finally takes advantage of the general's intoxication to cut off his head. She returns inviolate to the city with his head as a trophy, and a sally on the part of the Jews results in the rout of the Assyrians. The book closes with a hymn to the Almighty by Judith to celebrate her victory.

The Text.

The book exists in distinct Greek and Latin versions, of which the former contains at least eighty-four verses more than the later. Blessed Jerome (Praef. in Lib.) says that he translated it from the Chaldaic in one night, "magis sensum e sensu, quam ex verbo verbum transferens" (aiming at giving sense for sense rather than adhering closely to the wording). He adds that his codices differed much, and that he expresses in Latin only what he could clearly understand of the Chaldaic.

Two Hebrew versions are known at present, a long one practically identical with the Greek text, and a short one, which is entirely different; we shall return to the latter when discussing the origin of the book. The Chaldaic, from which Blessed Jerome made our present Vulgate version, is not recoverable unless it be identified with the longer Hebrew version mentioned above. If this be the case, we can gauge the value of Blessed Jerome's work by comparing the Vulgate with the Greek text. We at once find that Blessed Jerome did not exaggerate when he said that he made his translation hurriedly. Thus, a comparison between 6:11 and 8:9 shows us a certain confusion relative to the names of the elders of Bethulia — a confusion that does not exist in the Septuagint, where also 10:6, should be compared. Again, in 4:5, the high priest is Eliachim, which name is later changed into Joachim (15:9) — an allowable change but somewhat misleading: the Septuagint is consistent in using the form Joachim. Some of the historical statements in the Septuagint directly conflict with those of the Vulgate; for example, the thirteenth year (Vulg.) of Nabuchodonosor becomes the eighteenth in the Septuagint, which also adds a long address of the king to Holofernes. Blessed Jerome has also frequently condensed the original -- always on the supposition that the Septuagint and the longer Hebrew version do really represent the original. To give but one instance:

Septuagint (2:27): "And he came down into the plain of Damascus at the time of the wheat harvest, and burnt up all their fields, their flocks and their herds he delivered to destruction, their cities he ravaged, and the fruits of their fertile plains he scattered like chaff, and he struck all their young men with the edge of the sword."

Vulgate (2:17): "And after these things he went down into the plains in the days of the harvest, and he set all the corn on fire, and he caused all the trees and vineyards to be cut down."

With regard to the Septuagint version of the Book of Judith it should be noted that it has come down to us in two recensions: Codex B or Vaticanus on the one hand, and Codex Alexandrinus with Codex Sinaiticus on the other.


Scholars with very few exceptions accept the book of Judith as a narrative of facts, not as an allegory. Why carry out the genealogy of a fictitious person through fifteen generations? The Fathers have ever looked upon the book as historical. Blessed Jerome, who excluded Judith from the Canon, nonetheless accepted the person of the valiant woman as historical (Ep. 65:1).

Against this traditional view there are, it must be confessed, very serious difficulties, due, as Calmet insists, to the doubtful and disputed condition of the text. The historical and geographical statements in the book, as we now have it, are difficult to understand. Thus, Nabuchodonosor was apparently never King of Nineveh, for he came to the throne in 605, whereas Nineveh was destroyed certainly not later than 606, and after that, the Assyrians ceased to exist as a people. The allusion in i, 6, to Erioch, King of the Elicians, is suspicious; we are reminded of the Arioch of Gen. 14:i. The Septuagint makes him King of the Elumaens, presumably the Elamites, the character of Nabuchodonosor is hardly that portrayed for us on the monuments: in the India House Inscription, for example, his sentiments are remarkable for the modesty of their tone.

On the other hand, we must remember that, as Sayce says, the "Assyrian kings were most brazen-faces liars on their monuments." The name Vagao, or the Septuagint Bagoas, for the eunuch of Holofernes is suggestive of the Bagoses, who, according to Josephus (Antiquities, XI 7:1), polluted the temple and to whom apparently we have a reference in the recently discovered papyri from Assuan. The mixture of Babylonian, Greek, and Persian names in the book should be noted. The genealogy of Judith as given in the Vulgate is a medley: that given in the three principal Greek codices is perhaps better but varies in every one. Still, it is an historical genealogy, though ill-conserved; a geographical puzzle is presented by the Vulgate of 2:12-16; the Septuagint is much superior, and it should be noted that throughout this version, especially in Codex B, we have the most interesting details furnished us (cf. particularly 1:9; 2:13, 28-9).

The Septuagint also gives us information about Achior which is wanting in the Vulgate. It is apparently hinted in 6:2, 5, that he was an Ephraimite and a mercenary hired by Moad; Bethulia itself is a mystery: according to the Septuagint it was large, had streets and towers (7:22, 32), and withstood a long siege at the hands of a vast army. Its position, too, is stated with minuteness; it stood on the edge of the Plain of Esdrelon and guarded the pass to Jerusalem; yet no trace of the existence of such a place is to be found (unless we accept the theory of Conder, "Handbook," 5th ed., p. 239). The names, Judith (Jewess), Achior (brother of light), and Bethulia (perhaps Bethel, i.e. Jerusalem, or perhaps from the Hebrew word meaning "virgin" — in the shorter Hebrew version Judith is called not "the widow" but "the virgin," i.e. Bethulia), sound rather like symbolic names than those of historical places or persons. In Judith's speech to Holofernes, there is (11: 12, 15) some apparent confusion between Bethulia and Jerusalem; while the events are referred to the time of Nabuchodonosor, and therefore to the close of the Hebrew monarchy, we seem to have in 5:22, and 8:18-19, an allusion to the time subsequent to the Restoration. There is no king in Palestine (4:5), but only a high priest, Joachim or Eliachim; and in 4:8; 11:14; 15:8 (Sept.), the Sanhedrin is apparently mentioned; the book has a Persian and even a Greek coloring, as is evidenced by the recurrence of such names as Bagoas and Holofernes.

These are serious difficulties, and a Christian student must be prepared to meet them. There are two ways of doing so.

(a) According to what we may term "conservative" criticism, these apparent difficulties can every one be harmonized with the view that the book is perfectly historical and deals with facts which actually took place. Thus, the geographical errors may be ascribed to the translators of the original text or to copyists living long after the book was composed, and consequently ignorant of the details referred to. Calmet insists that the Biblical Nabuchodonosor is meant, while in Arphaxad he sees Phraortes whose name, as Vigoroux (Les Livres Saints et La Critique Rationaliste 4:4th ed). shows, could easily have been thus perverted.

Vigoroux, however, in accordance with recent Assyrian discoveries, identifies Nabuchodonosor with Assur-bani-pal, the contemporary of Phraortes. This enables him to refer the events to the time of the captivity of Manasses under Assur-bani-pal (II Par. 33:11; cf. Sayce, "Higher Criticism and the Verdict of the Monuments," 4th ed., p. 458). It is further maintained that the campaign conducted by Holofernes is well illustrated in the records of Assur-bani-pal, which have come down to us. And these facts will undoubtedly afford an explanation of the apparent allusion to the captivity; it was indeed a Restoration, but that of Manasses, not that under Esdras. The reference, too, to the Sanhedrin is doubtful; the term gerousia is used of the "ancients" in Lev. 9:3, etc.

Lastly, Conder's identification of Bethulia with Mithilia (loc. cit. supra) is highly probable. Moreover, the writer who described the strategical position in 4:1-6, knew the geography of Palestine thoroughly. And we are given details about the death of Judith's husband which (8:2-4) can hardly be attributed to art, but are rather indications that Judith represents a really existing heroine. With regard to the state of the text it should be noted that the extraordinary variants presented in the various versions are themselves a proof that the versions were derived from a copy dating from a period long antecedent to the time of its translators (cf. Calmet, "Introd. in Lib. Judith").

(b) Some few scholarly writers are not satisfied with Calmet's solution of the difficulties of the Book of Judith; they deem the errors of translators and of scribes to be no sufficient explanation in this matter. These few scholars, together with the non-Orthodox that do not care to throw the book over entirely into the realm of fiction, assure us that the Book of Judith has a solid historical foundation. Judith is no mythical personage, she and her heroic deed lived in the memory of the people; but the difficulties enumerated above seem to show that the story as we now have it was committed to writing at a period long subsequent to the facts. The history, so it is maintained, is vague; the style of composition, the speeches, etc., remind us of the Books of Machabees.

A remarkable knowledge of the Psalter is evinced (cf. 7:19 and Ps. 105:6; 7:21, and Ps. 78:10, 93:2; 9:6, 9, and Ps. 19:8; 9:16, and Ps. 146:10; 13:21, and Ps. 105:1). Some of these psalms must almost certainly be referred to the period of the Second Temple. Again, the High Priest Joachim must presumably be identified with the father of Eliashib, and must therefore have lived in the time of Artaxerxes the Great (464-424 B.C. Cf. Josephus, "Antiquities," XI, vi-vii). We referred above to a shorter Hebrew version of the book; Dr. Gaster, its discoverer, assigns this manuscript to the tenth or eleventh century A.D. (Proceedings of Soc. of Bibl. Archaeol., XVI, pp. 156 sqq.). It is exceedingly brief; some forty lines, and gives us only the gist of the story. Yet it seems to offer a solution to many of the difficulties suggested above. Thus Holofernes, Bethulia, and Achior, all disappear; there is a very natural explanation of the purification in 7:7; and, most noticeable of all, the enemy is no longer an Assyrian, but Seleucus, and his attack is on Jerusalem, not on Bethulia.

If it could be maintained that we have in this manuscript the story in its original form, and that our canonical book is an amplification of it, we should then be in a position to explain the existence of the numerous divergent versions. The mention of Seleucus brings us down to Machabean times, the title of Judith, now no longer the "widow" but the "virgin," may explain the mysterious city; the Machabean coloring of the story becomes intelligible, and the theme is the efficacy of prayer (cf. 8:14-21; 7:4; II Mach. 15:12-16).


The Book of Judith does not exist in the Hebrew Bible, and is consequently excluded from the Protestant Canon of Holy Scripture. But the Church has always maintained its canonicity.

Blessed Jerome, while rejecting in theory those books that he did not find in his Hebrew manuscript, yet consented to translate Judith because "the Synod of Nicaea is said to have accounted it as Sacred Scripture" (Praef. in Lib.). It is true that no such declaration is to be found in the Canons of Nicaea, and it is uncertain whether Blessed Jerome is referring to the use made of the book in the discussions of the council, or whether he was misled by some spurious canons attributed to that council. But it is certain that the Fathers of the earliest times have reckoned Judith among the canonical books; thus St. Paul seems to quote the Greek text of Judith 8:14, in I Cor. 2:10 (cf. also I Cor. 10:10, with Judith 8:25). In the early Christian Church, we find it quoted as part of Scripture in the writing of St. Clement of Rome (First Epistle to the Corinthians 15:), Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Tertullian.




Some History and Geography.

Biblical Chronology.

Biblical chronology deals with the dates of the various events recorded in the Bible. It has to consider how far the Bible contains a chronology at all; to what extent the Sacred Writers aimed at exactness, or were satisfied with round numbers; whether, and to what extent, textual errors and other sources of corruption have crept into the numbers of the Bible; and finally, what relation exists between the chronologies that have been handed down by neighboring nations and that which exists in the Bible. "There is no Chronology of the Bible," wrote Silvester de Sacy; and, though this saying is too sweeping, it may be said with truth that for large parts of the Bible there is little to guide us to an exact determination as to when the events related happened.

It is not merely that in the matter of numbers the Hebrew text has not always reached us incorrupt (cf. the differences between the Hebrew, Septuagint, and Samaritan Pentateuchs), but the Books of Scripture, moreover, are not a mere history. Some of them, as the Psalms, are in no sense such. And even those that are so are not written primarily from the point of view of history. Else, e.g., why two parallel histories of the kingdom — Kings and Chronicles? It is because, as the Roman Catholic scholar Fr. Cornely says of the Book of Kings ("Introductio," Vol. II 1:p. 284), it had a higher end than the historical. That end is, to show the peoples of Israel and of Juda that it was their wickedness that brought destruction on them and, by setting before them the proofs of God's mercy, to lead them back to the observance of the Law. On the other hand, the Book of Chronicles (D. V. Paralipomenon) written after the Exile, by setting forth the splendors of ancient ritual, sought to move them to the worthy celebration of Divine worship (op. cit., p. 324).

What complicates the earlier periods of Bible history is the fact that there was no recognized era (such as the Dionysian Era of our own times) from which to reckon events. However, for the Roman world the founding of Rome in the eighth century B.C. gradually began to be recognized as such, and, in later times, among the Jews, the date of the defeat of Nicanor by Seleucus Nicator, and the establishment of the Seleucid domination in Syria (312 B.C.) came to be looked upon as a fixed era.

In this article the data that exist for the formation of a chronology of the Bible will be briefly discussed under the following heads: (1) Creation of the World; (2) Creation of Man; (3) Creation of Man to the Flood; (4) Flood to the Birth of Abraham; (5) Birth of Abraham to the Exodus; (6) Exodus to the building of Solomon's Temple; (7) Building of the Temple to Fall of Jerusalem; (8) Destruction of Jerusalem to Jesus Christ; (9) Date of the Nativity; (10) Beginning of the Ministry; (11) Duration of the Ministry; (12) Date of the Crucifixion; (13) The Acts of the Apostles.

Creation of the World.

In an article on Biblical chronology, it is hardly necessary in these days to discuss the date of the Creation. At least 200 dates have been suggested, varying from 3483 to 6934 years B.C., all based on the supposition that the Bible enables us to settle the point. However, it does nothing of the sort. It was natural that in the early days of the Church, the Fathers, writing with little scientific knowledge, should have had a tendency to explain the days of Genesis 1: as natural days of twenty-four hours. Still, they by no means all did so. Thus, the Alexandrian Fathers (St. Clement, Origen, St. Athanasius, and St. Cyril) interpreted the days of Creation ideally, and held that God created all things simultaneously. So some hesitate between idealism and literalism. Perhaps the words of Genesis (1:2): "The earth was void and empty, and darkness was on the face of the deep," refer to the first phase of the Creation, the astronomical, before the geological period began. On such questions, we have no Biblical evidence, and the Christian is quite free to follow the teaching of science.

Creation of Man.

The question which this subject suggests is: Can we confine the time that man has existed on earth within the limits usually assigned, i.e. within about 4000 years of the birth of Christ? — The Church does not interfere with the freedom of scientists to examine into this subject and form the best judgment they can with the aid of science. She evidently does not attach decisive influence to the chronology of the Vulgate, the official version of the Western Church, since in the Martyrology for Christmas Day, the creation of Adam is put down in the year 5199 B.C., which is the reading of the Septuagint. It is, however, certain that we cannot confine the years of man's sojourn on earth to that usually set down.

Creation to the Flood.

The period from the Creation to the Flood is measured by the genealogical table of the ten patriarchs in Genesis 5: and Genesis 7:6. However, the exact meaning of chapter 5: has not been clearly defined. Critical writers point out that the number ten is a common one amongst ancient peoples in the list of their prehistoric heroes, and that they attribute fabulous lengths to the lives of these men; thus, the Chaldeans reckon for their first ten heroes, who lived in the period from the Creation to the Flood, a space of 432,000 years. This seems to point to some common nucleus of truth or primitive tradition that became distorted and exaggerated in the course of ages. Various explanations have been given of chapter 5: to explain the short time it seems to allow between the Creation and the Flood. One is that there are lacunæ (gaps) in it, and, though it is not easy to see how that can be, still it has to be remembered that they exist in St. Matthew (1:8) in precisely similar circumstances. That there are difficulties about the genealogical table in chapter 5:, we know; for, as may be seen from the accompanying table, the total number of years in the Hebrew, Samaritan, and Septuagint differs, in the Hebrew, it being 1656, in the Samaritan, 1307, and in the Septuagint, 2242.

Names of the Patriarchs

Age at birth of son: —

Hebrew Samaritan Sept.











From Noe to Flood


































Creation to Flood




From an inspection of the above table it is obvious that the diversity is due to systematic change — whether to increase the total length of the period or to reduce the age at which the patriarchs had children or for some other reason, we know not.

The Flood to the Birth of Abraham.

The years between the Flood and Abraham are computed in the Book of Genesis by the genealogy of chapter 11 (10-26).

Names of the Patriarchs

Age at birth of son: —

Hebrew Samaritan Sept.

Sem (father of Arphaxad)

Arphaxad (father of Cainan)

Cainan (father of Sale)

Sale (father of Heber)

Heber (father of Phaleg)

Phaleg (father of Reu)

Reu (father of Sarug)

Sarug (father of Nachor)

Nachor (father of Thare)

Thare (father of Abraham)





























Years from birth of Sem

to birth of Abraham

Deduct years of Sem's

age at time of flood

Add for age of Abraham

at time of his call

Hence, number of years

from Flood to Call of




















Again, however, the numbers in the table above differ in the Hebrew, Samaritan, and Septuagint, being respectively 367, 1017, and 1147; and it will be observed that, as a rule, the Greek and Samaritan agree against the Hebrew. Indeed, they are identical, except that the name of Cainan, whose age at the birth of Sale is given as 130 years, is to be found in the Greek only. Whether or not the original table contained the name Cainan, we cannot tell. Some hold that it was introduced into the Septuagint to increase the length of time between the Flood and Abraham, or again to make the number of the patriarchs between the Flood and Abraham equal to that of those between Adam and the Flood. At any rate this genealogy gives rise to many questions, thus: Is the name Cainan a later insertion, or has it dropped out from the Hebrew? It is given by St. Luke (3:36). Again, are there any lacunæ? For, according to science, the length of this period was much greater than appears from the genealogical table. There is no difficulty in admitting such lacunæ, for we know that St. Matthew (1:8) says: — Jorum begot Ozias," though between the two intervened Ochozias, Joab, and Amasias. For, as Professor Sayce says (Early History of the Hebrews, 144), "son in Semitic idiom was frequently equivalent to descendant." We have also instances of similar omissions in I Chron. 6:1, and in I Esdr. 7:1-5. With critical scholars, the Flood was a very partial affair. It is not, however, the business of the chronologist to enter into a discussion of that matter. In any case, whether we follow the traditional or critical view, the numbers obtained from the genealogy of the Patriarchs in chapter 11 must be greatly augmented, in order to allow time for such a development of civilization, language, and race type as had been reached by the time of Abraham.

Birth of Abraham to the Exodus.

At the birth of Isaac, Abraham is said to have been 100 years old (Gen. 21:5); Isaac was sixty at the birth of Jacob (Gen. 25:26); Jacob arrived in Egypt, at the age of 130 (47: 9). These figures, added, give 290; add to this 430 (the number of years spent by Israel in Egypt) and we get 720 years, which would be the length of time between the birth of Abraham and the Exodus. A difficulty arises, since the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Septuagint read in Exodus 12:40: "The abode of the Children of Israel that they made in Egypt and the land of Canaan was 430 years." If this be correct, then only 215 years are left for the sojourn in Egypt, 215 years being required for the sojourn in Canaan, as we have to subtract 75, the age of Abraham when he came to Canaan, from 290 (see above). Still, not all the MSS. of the Septuagint adopt this reading; and, in any case, we are only face to face with another such diversity between the Greek and Hebrew as is to be found in the genealogies of the Patriarchs.

Let us now bring these facts into relation with the Christian Era. For (per III Kings 6:1) the fourth year of King Solomon is said to have fallen in the 480th year after the Exodus; and Ussher dates the reign of King Solomon from 1014-975 B.C. But as the Temple was begun in the fourth year of that king, or in 1010, the Exodus took place in the year 1490 B.C. How do these results square with the teaching of science? Professor Sayce, from the connection of Abraham with Amdahl in the episode related in Genesis 14: says that "we can approximately fix the period when the family of Terah migrated from Ur of the Chaldees. It was about 2300 B.C., if the chronology of the native Babylonian historians is correct" (Early History of the Hebrews, 12). Then again, he tells us that "Chanaan could not have been invaded by the Israelites until after the fall of the eighteenth dynasty. When Khu-n-aten died it was still an Egyptian province, garrisoned by Egyptian troops" (Higher Criticism and the Monuments, 241). This we learn from the Tel-el-amarna tablets. So we are taken to a period after the death of Ramses II in 1281 B.C. for the date of the Exodus, which most likely took place in the reign of Meneptah, son and successor of Ramses, earlier than the year 1200 B.C. This is not the traditional date of the Exodus, but as Father Hummelauer (Genesis, p. 29) says, it is the conclusion of most men in these days. Nor is there anything to prevent the student of the Old Testament from endeavoring to throw all the light he can upon the vexed question of Biblical chronology, considering how involved it often is in obscurity.

The Exodus to the Building of Solomon's Temple.

The Third Book of Kings (vi, 1) states that Solomon began to build the Temple in the 480th year (the Septuagint gives 440 years) after the Exodus. For the scholars, that passage seems to settle the question. However, a difficulty arises from the fact that there is almost a consensus of scientific opinion that the Exodus from Egypt took place in the reign of Meneptah, or, possibly, that of his successor, Seti II. Moreover, we are driven to a date later than the years 1400 for the Exodus, since up to that date, Assyriologists and Egyptologists agree, Palestine was an Egyptian province, with an Egyptian governor (Driver, "Genesis," p. xxix).

Ramses II, the builder of Pithom and Raamses, was the Pharaoh of the oppression, and as he reigned from 1348-1281 (Sayce) we have to descend to one of his successors to find the Pharaoh of the Exodus. Hence we are driven to his immediate successor, Meneptah, at earliest, and to about the year 1277 (Early History of the Hebrews, 150) for the date of the Exodus.

On the other hand, the date of the building of the Temple cannot be put later than the middle of the tenth century B.C. But if we take the time between these two dates, we are left with only about 327 years, as against 480 required by III Kings 6:1. Wellhausen does not treat the chronology seriously (Prolegomena, 229), but, in company with many other critics, pronounces it merely artificial. They say that the number 480 is made up of twelve times 40; forty being taken as a generation; and so the number 40 predominates amongst chronological numbers in this part of Scripture. Thus, the time in the desert was 40 years; Othoniel, Debora, Geneon, each ruled for 40 years. Aod ruled for twice 40, or 80 years; the land was under the Philistines 40 years, and David reigned for the same period. But the following facts must be taken into consideration. Professor Sayce points out that "40 years in Hebrew idiom merely signified an indeterminate and unknown period of time, and the Moabite Stone shows that the same idiom existed also in the Moabite language" (Early History of the Hebrews, 146). Chronology in those days was in its infancy; and that the dates were only roughly given is obvious from the recurrence of round numbers. If we were to write down all the numbers that occur during this period, as Father Hummelauer does in his commentary on Judges (p. 12), we should find that the number 40 recurs by no means as often as we are led to suppose.

The difficulty remains that III Kings 6:1, gives for the length of this period 480 years; science seems to say "not more than 327." However, we have to notice the uncertainties that surround the chronology of this period. We have also to point out that Wellhausen and Stade regard chapter 6:1, as a late insertion (Burney, "Hebrew Text of Kings," 58). If this were the case it would meet the difficulty; and perhaps it is rendered more likely by the fact that in the Greek this verse is inserted before 31 and 32 of chapter v, and also that it reads 440 instead of 480. We conclude, therefore, that the date of the Exodus was about 1277, the monarchy was founded by Saul, 1020; David mounted the throne, 1002; Solomon in 962, and the Temple was begun, 958 B.C.

Building of the Temple to its Destruction.

"On le voit," says Mangenot (in Vig., Dict. de la Bible, s. v. "Chronologie," 732), "la chronologie de l'époque des rois d'Israël et de Juda n'est pas aussi ferme et aussi assurée qu'on le croit communément. Elle aurrait besoin d'être raccordée avec la chronologie assyrienne" ("It is plain that the chronology of the period of the kings of Israel and Juda is not so settled and ascertained as is commonly supposed. It must be made to accord with the Assyrian chronology.") There are certainly textual errors among the numbers. Comparing IV Kings 8:26, with II Chron. (D. V. Paral.) 22:2, we find that in the former, Ocozias is said to have been twenty-two years old when he began to reign, in the latter, forty-two. Nor can a critical writer say that the chronicler was ill-informed; one of the principles of Wellhausen and all his school is that Kings was the principal source of Chronicles. Is not this an obvious case of text-corruption? How else, too, can we account for the fact that the Book of Kings gives the sum of the reigns of the kings who reigned from Roboam to the death of Ochozias as 95, whereas it gives the sum of the years from Jeroboam to the death of Joram as ninety-eight, though Jeroboam came to the throne the same year as Roboam, and Ochozias died the same day as Joram? For if the writer of Kings made use of all the clever artificial devices, with which he is credited by critical writers, it is incredible that such an obvious error should have been committed by him. And so it may be said of his giving as the sum of the years from the accession of Jehu of Israel to the fall of Samaria as 143 years, whilst he gives the interval between the accession of Athalia of Juda (who began her reign in the same year as Jehu) and the same event as 165 years.

A development in the method of recording dates seems to have taken place among the Jews during this period. Events were dated in Babylonia by the reign of the kings; in Assyria, regular officials were appointed every year, calleed limmi, by whose name the year was known, just as the consuls in Rome and the eponymous archons in Athens. Lists of the limmi for the years 909-666 B.C. have been discovered (Sayce, "Early History of the Hebrews," 147). This chronological system affected the Jews; records for chronicles were thus kept among them, and are frequently referred to in the Book of Kings. So, too, we read, among the lists of royal officials, of a recorder or chronicler.

It is true that some object (cr. Hastings, Dict., I, 400), that the references are not to the Chronicles themselves, but to works based in some way upon them. This, however, seems a purely gratuitous assertion. That the references are to the Book of Chronicles, and not simply to the chronicles, would seem to imply no more than that the chronicles of the different kings were in some way united so as to form a single volume, of which it is quite possible that copies were made. Nor is it extravagant to suppose that great efforts would have been made to save the royal records at the destruction of Samaria, especially as there was a royal official, called the chronicler, who would have had care of them.

If we come now to the actual figures themselves, there is not a serious divergency between them and the results of profane history; in many cases, they correspond exactly. What we should naturally expect is, that the farther back we go, the more general would be the knowledge of chronology shown, and so we find it is in regard to the history of the kings. That for the most part fractions of a year are neglected, makes it clear that the writer dealt in round numbers. And yet we find that from the death of Solomon to the accession of Athalia and Jehu, who began to reign in the same year, there is only a divergency of three years in 90 between the Kingdoms of Juda and Israel; whilst from that date to the destruction of Samaria the difference is only 21 years on the other side. So that the total difference, in a period of about 255 years, is one of only 19 years.

But then it cannot be admitted that this is a pure error. Many writers say that the deficiency in the length of the years of the kings of Israel is to be supplied by the introduction of two interregnums in the list of the kings of Israel, perhaps one after Jeroboam II, the other after Phacee; or again, that two of the kings of Juda reigned contemporaneously with their fathers. It cannot be pretended that the true explanation has been found. The practical point is that the student is at liberty to throw what light he can on the problem from external sources; and that the chronology of the Book of Kings, as it now stands, is quite adequate for the purposes for which it was supplied. One thing is certain, that the equation of Cheyne's "Encyclopædia Biblica" (I, 770) is a mere caricature. He writes, "This table shows that at the end of the 258th year after the division of the kingdom, there had elapsed 258 synchronistic years, 2417/12 years of reign in Israel, and 260 such years in Juda; and we have thus the singular equation 258 = 2417/12 = 260."

No doubt, this is very clever; whether it is equally instructive, from the point of view of serious history, is another matter. Let one illustration show: in III Kings 15:1, we are told that Abiam reigned over Juda in the eighteenth year of Jeroboam, King of Israel. In verse 9 we are told that, after his death, recorded in verse 8, Asa his son became king, in the twentieth year of Jeroboam. In the second verse, we read of Abiam that "he reigned three years in Jerusalem." Now what does Cheyne's "Encyclopædia" do in the "singular equation"? Computing the years from the eighteenth to the twentieth year of Jeroboam, according to the modern fashion, it puts them down under one heading of the equation as two years. Then under another heading it gives the same period, computed, as is known perfectly well, according to the old Jewish fashion, as three years. And, having finally drawn up in this way three different lists of figures, it works out "a singular equation." No wonder; yet the writer, apart from the passage in question, must have known that from the fourth to the sixth year of Ezechias was counted as three years by the Jews (IV Kings 18:9, 10), and that from Friday to Sunday was likewise reckoned as three days (Luke 24:7).

In places, the chronology of the kings is far from clear. What light does the chronology of the surrounding nations throw upon this? Egypt may be left out, because little help can be got from it. Sayce says of its chronology that "it is more disputable even than that of Israel" ("Hebrews," 453). But bringing to our help the fragment of the Tyrian annals quoted by Josephus, the foundation of the Temple may be fixed, according to Sayce, for about the year 969, which would be very near the date given above. Having fixed the year when the Temple was begun, we know that Solomon reigned from 973 to 936, and David from 1013 to 973. So, to speak roughly, the revolt of the Ten Tribes must have taken place somewhere about the year 936.

Blessed Jerome says, in writing to the priest Vitalis, that to dwell on such matters is rather for a man of leisure than for a studious person. Still, we must confess it would be satisfactory to know how the general discrepancy arose between the Biblical dates and the corresponding Assyrian dates — from the accession of Roboam to the taking of Samaria. We have fixed roughly the date of the revolt of the Ten Tribes for the year 936 B.C. However, the traditional date is 975, and if we follow the dates for the kings down to the taking of Samaria, it will be found that the usual interpretation of the Biblical chronology makes those dates about 40 years earlier than is possible according to the Assyrian chronological canon. Thus, King Achab of Israel reigned from 918 to 896; but in the Assyrian inscriptions he is said to have been present at the Battle of Karkar in 854. Ozias was King of Juda from 810 to 758, but, according to the inscriptions, he was at war with Tiglath-pileser about the year 741. Again, Manahen's reign over Israel extended from 770 to 759, but on the monuments he is inscribed as a tributary of Tiglath-pileser in 738. These examples seem to show that according to the traditional interpretation, the dates of the kings are about 40 years too high.

On the other hand, it has to be remembered that there is no fixed Bible chronology, though there are synchronisms and lengths of reigns given in the Books of Kings. There are, moreover, textual errors, uncertainty concerning pre-dating and post-dating, unreliability as to the accuracy and interpretation of names on the Assyrian tablets. So that, as we should expect, "few tables of dates furnished by Old Testament chronologists exactly agree" (Hastings, "Bibl. Dict.," I, 403). Another point has to be remembered. Elaborate artificial explanations of the chronology of the Bible from the building of the Temple to the fall of Jerusalem are given. These explanations embrace not only the period from Solomon to Achaz (741 B.C.), but down from that time to the fall of Jerusalem (586 B.C.). But it is certain that the chronology of the Books of Kings from Achaz to the destruction of Jerusalem, a period of 155 years, is not artificial (cf. Hastings, 401); it is in agreement with the Assyrian chronology. And does not this fact throw considerable doubt upon the whole theory of artificiality?

Finally, the Moabite Stone, referred to above, states that Israel dwelt in Medeba during the days of Omri and half the days of his son — altogether 40 years. Of this Professor Sayce says: "The real length of time was not more than 15 years" (Early History of the Hebrews, 146). Now, if this be so, may we not at least argue that either the Moabite Stone is accurate or not? If it is accurate, then the number 40 was used in a most loose fashion as a round number in those days; if inaccurate, then it is clear that even the contemporary stone records of the age of the kings cannot be always trusted. How does this affect the Babylonian tablets and their evidence?

We conclude then that the Temple was built about 969. The secession of the Ten Tribes took place about 937. The fall of Samaria was in 722 or 721, and the destruction of Jerusalem 536 B.C.

From the Destruction of Jerusalem to the Birth of Jesus Christ.

The two great authorities for Jewish chronology after the destruction of Jerusalem are the Books of Esdras and the First Book of Machabees. There are other books also, but their evidence is so uncertain, and in certain cases so much disputed, that we do not propose to make use of them. Such are, for instance, the prophecy of Daniel and the prophecies of Aggeus and Zacharias.

In the First Book of Machabees and the Books of Esdras, we have generally admitted first-rate authorities. Thus Cheyne's "Encyclopædia" (III, 2865) writes of Machabees I, "The book has proved itself worthy to hold the highest rank as trustworthy chronology," and again, "The accuracy of the dates given being in the main beyond all question." The book embraces the years 175-135 B.C., and the chief events are dated according to the Seleucid Era, 312 B.C. Of the Books of Esdras, Batten says, in Hastings, "The historical value of these books is very great."

Difficulties exist in regard to the names of Darius and Artaxerxes. Is the Darius referred to Darius I or Darius II? — Without much doubt, Darius I. — Van Hoonacker is inclined to identify the Artaxerxes of chapter vi with the second of that name, and so would place the return of Esdras to Jerusalem under Artaxerxes II, in 404, contrary to the view of most commentators. Nehemias, he says, returned under Artaxerxes I in 444. However, it is commonly held that Esdras returned in 457 and Nehemias in 444 B.C. The first band of captives returned to Jerusalem under Zorobabel in the first year of Cyrus, i. e. 536 B.C. They laid the foundation of the Temple, which was finished in 516.

We know nothing of the chronology of the Jews after this until the time of the Machabees. But the First Book of Machabees gives information about the period 174-135; it opens with a description of the position of the Jews under Antiochus Epiphanes. Then comes an account of the rising under Mathathias, in 167, and his death. Next followed his son Judas who continued the struggle till he died in 161. Jonathan, Judas's brother, was the next leader till independence under Simon. Simon was made ruler in 141, was murdered in 135, and was succeeded by his son John Hyrcanus in the same year.

Date of the Nativity of Jesus Christ.

At first sight, it seems a simple thing to fix the date of the birth of Jesus Christ. Was it not in the beginning of the first year of the Christian Era? It was a monk of the sixth century, named Dionysius Exiguus (the Little) who fixed our present Christian Era, laying down that Jesus Christ was born on the 25th of December, A. U. C. 753, and commencing the new era from the following year, 754. That date, as we shall see, cannot be correct and, instead of being an improvement on, is further from the truth than the dates assigned by the early Fathers, St. Irenæus and Tertullian, who fixed the date of the Nativity in the 41st year of Augustus, that is to say, 3 years B.C., or A. U. C. 751.

We must note first that St. Matthew says (2:1) that Our Savior was born "in the days of King Herod." Josephus tells us (Antiquities, XVII 8:1), that Herod died "having reigned 34 years de facto since the death of Antigonus, and 37 years de jure since the Roman decree declaring him king." We know also that he began to reign in the consulship of Domitius Calvinus and Asinius Pollio, 40 B.C., in the 184th Olympiad (Ant. 14:5); and that he became king de facto in the consulship of Marcus Agrippa and Canidius Ballus, in the 185th Olympiad (Ant., XIV 16:4). These calculations do not make it sure whether Herod died in the year 3, 4, or 5 B.C., but it is most probable that it was in the year 4 B.C. That date is corroborated by an eclipse of the moon that occurred (Ant., XVII 6:4) on the very night that Herod burnt Matthias alive, a few days before his own death; for there was an eclipse of the moon from 12 March to 13 March, 4 B.C. All this points to the fact that Herod died in the year 4 B.C., and that so Our Savior must have been born before that date.

In May, October, and December of the year 7 B.C., a conjunction of the planets Jupiter and Saturn took place. Kepler, the astronomer, suggested that perhaps this phenomenon was connected with the star seen by the Magi (Matt. 2:2). But this idea is altogether too uncertain to be entertained seriously, or to form a basis for any reliable chronology. Nor can we come to any more definite conclusion from what St. Matthew says of the sojourn of the child Jesus in Egypt (2:14, 19, 22), where he remained till the death of Herod.

Herod ordered a massacre of the children up to two years old according to the information about the date of the Nativity that he had received from the Magi. In itself, there is nothing unlikely in that, for we know that Herod was a most cruel and whimsical man. For instance, he summoned to his bedside all the principal men of the Jewish nation with a view to having them shot with darts at the moment of his death, so that there might be universal lamentation when he left this life. We do not, however, know what information Herod possessed as to the date of the Nativity, whether the Magi gave him accurate information, or whether they possessed it themselves; what the incident would seem to show was that Our Savior was born some time before Herod's death, probably two years or more. So that, if Herod died in the year 4 B.C., we should be taken to 6 or 7 B.C. as the year of the Nativity.

However, a difficulty is raised as to the date of the Nativity in connection with the Roman census mentioned in the second chapter of St. Luke. The Nativity took place after a decree had gone forth from Cæsar Augustus that the whole Roman Empire should be enrolled. The words "This enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria" (verse 2), or, more correctly, "This first census was taken whilst Quirinius was governor of Syria," are the source of the difficulty. For we know that Publius Sulpicius Quirinius was governor of Syria, and that a census was made in A.D. 7, about eleven years after Herod's death, and it is not denied that Cyrinus was Quirinius. Schürer, in "The Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ" (Div. I, Vol. II, 105-143), endeavours to prove that the statement is an inaccuracy on the part of St. Luke, and, with more or less emphasis, practically all the critical school takes up the same attitude. However, prima facie we are not disposed to accept the contention that St. Luke was in ignorance on such a very elementary subject. C. H. Turner, in Hastings' "Dictionary of the Bible," thinks he may have been misinformed, since "his acquaintance with Palestine was perhaps limited to the two years' imprisonment of St. Paul in Cæsarea." Such an idea seems most unlikely. St. Luke had made careful inquiry about the facts he relates in his Gospel; he had "diligently attained to all things from the beginning," and that too from those who "were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word" (1:2, 3). For such a man it seems incredible that he should not have taken the trouble to inquire, not as to some petty Jewish custom, but as to such a public and important event as a Roman census, and to have made himself acquainted with the name of the Roman governor at the time.

At the same time, it is not clear what the explanation of the note about Quirinius is. Some suggest that próte has, as it undoubtedly has sometimes in classical Greek, the force of prótera, so that the sense of the passage would be: "This census was held before that which took place when Quirinius was governor of Syria." However, there is another explanation. It is true, as the writer of the article on Chronology in Cheyne's "Encyclopædia" says, with characteristic positiveness, that "any census in Judea before the well-known one in the year A.D. 7 is impossible." On the other hand, however, Turner, in Hastings' "Dictionary," thinks that there is no inherent improbability in the hypothesis of a census in Judea somewhere within the years 8-5 B.C. There is very little doubt, from an inscription found at Tivoli in 1764, that Quirinius was twice governor of Syria; once, as is well known, from A.D. 6-11, but also once at an earlier period. Not at the time of Herod's death, for Quinctilius Varus was then governor; and before him came Sentius Saturninus from 9-6 B.C., before him Titius. Nevertheless, there is no reason why Quirinius should not be placed after Varus. In that case, Saturninus would have been the one to begin the census. It would have been suspended for a time, on account of the death of Herod, and then continued and completed under Quirinius, so that his name would have been associated with it. Perhaps this may explain why Tertullian speaks of a census made by Sentius Saturninus under Augustus (Adv. Marcionem 4:19); but it is hardly likely, if he had found another and, apparently, a wrong name in St. Luke, that he would not have taken any notice, or explained it at all.

From the evidence it seems that the date of the Nativity given by Dionysius Exiguus is not the right one, for it is after Herod's death. Tertullian and Irenæus are nearer to the truth with the years 2 or 3 B.C.; but it must be placed still further back, and probably the year 7 B.C. will not be found to be much astray.

Date of the Beginning of the Ministry.

There is reason to suppose that the early Fathers (such as St. Clement of Alexandria and Tertullian) and later writers (as Dionysius Exiguus), in trying to fix a date for the Nativity, argued back from the synchronisms connected with the beginning of Our Savior’s public life, joined with St. Luke's statement, "And Jesus himself was beginning about the age of thirty years" (3:23;–a’utòs ên ’Iesoûs ’archómenos ‘oseì ’etôn triákonta); for they took that passage to mean that Jesus Christ had not completed thirty years, but was in the beginning of his thirtieth year (cf. Epiphanius, "Hær.," ii, 16). But ’archómenos does not bear such a meaning here; it is not immediately connected with the phrase ‘oseì ’etôn triákonta, which means "about thirty years," and might without any straining of its sense be used for a year or two more or less than thirty. So that, to determine the date of Our Lord's baptism from this passage, we should have to add on about thirty years to the date of the Nativity (about 7 years B.C.), which would leave us with the indefinite result that it might have taken place anywhere between A.D. 23 and 27. But in the Gospel of St. John (ii, 20), shortly before the Pasch, and after the miracle of Cana, Jesus cast the buyers and sellers out of the Temple. The Jews in upbraiding Him used the words, tesserákonta kaí ‘èks ’étesin ’okodométhe ‘o naòs oûtos (Six and forty years has this temple been a-building), meaning, that at that time the Jews had been forty-six years at work building the Temple. In that passage is contained a clear mark of time. For though Josephus tells us in one place (Bell. Jud., I 21:1), that the Temple was begun in the fifteenth year of Herod, and in another (Ant., XV 2:1) in the eighteenth, still in all probability, as Turner says in Hastings (p. 405), the former is a correction of the latter date, and the fact is that the Temple was begun in the eighteenth year of Herod's de facto reign (which began in 37 B.C.), or in other words, that it was begun in 19 B.C. We should thus arrive at the year A.D. 27, for the date of the Pasch following Our Savior’s baptism.

Again, St. Luke (3:1), assigning a date to the beginning of St. John the Baptist's mission, says it was "in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Cæsar." The fifteenth year of Tiberius Cæsar would be A.D. 28, and would make it necessary for us, if correct, to alter the date fixed for Our Savior’s baptism. But Professor Ramsay (St. Paul the Traveller, p. 387) thinks the fifteenth year of Tiberius is reckoned from A.D. 12, when he was associated with Augustus in the government of the empire. That would take us to A.D. 6 for the beginning of St. John's ministry, and would allow enough time for the baptism of Our Lord in A.D. 27.

Duration of the Ministry.

Various periods have been defended for the length of Christ's ministry. St. Irenæus (Hær., II 22:3-6) goes so far as to suggest a period of fifteen years. On the other hand, many of the early Fathers, as well as many writers of our own time, confine the public life of Jesus to one year. Thus von Soden, in Cheyne's "Encyclopædia," says, "The evidence here points on the whole to one year." The difference of opinion is based, for the most part, upon the different accounts given by St. John and the Synoptists of Christ's public life. Whilst the Fourth Gospel indicates three or even more paschs, it is not so easy to deduce even two from the Synoptist narrative. It would be possible to interpret St. John's Gospel so as to fit in with the theory of there being only one year's ministry, provided we could omit, with Westcott and Hart, the words tò páscha from the passage (6:4), ên dè ’eggùs tò páscha ‘e ‘eortè tôn ’Ioudaíon (Now the pasch, the festival day of the Jews, was near at hand). However, even the great names of these two textual critics cannot outweigh the fact that all the MSS. and versions, and nearly all the Fathers, contain tò páscha.

Accordingly, St. John mentions at least three paschs in the course of the ministry. One (2:13) falls shortly after the baptism, another of which we have just been speaking (6:4), and the third, at the time of the Passion (11:55). So that the simplest explanation of the length of the ministry would be to say it extended over two years. But how does that conclusion fit in with the narrative of the Synoptists? The difficulty is that St. Mark, the most complete witness of what is called the "synoptic tradition," does not take much account of time. As Papias said, "he wrote accurately, if not orderly" (’akribôs ’égraphen, o’u méntoi táksei. — Eus., 3:40). Still, even if St. Mark does not make mention of paschs, it does not follow that there were none. Thus, we know that there was a pasch shortly after our Savior’s baptism (John 2:13), and yet St. Mark does not mention it. He does, however, mention one in 14:1, the Pasch of the Passion.

And if St. John does not mention another Pasch, he makes remarks from which we can infer the existence of one. Thus in 2:23, he speaks of the plucking of the ears of corn and evidently refers to the early summer, whilst 6:39, with its allusion to the green grass, seems to take us to the spring-time. From the events related between these two points it seems clear that a year intervened, and so, as in St. John, we have to find room for another pasch. Our conclusion is that the most natural explanation of St. Mark would lead us to a duration of two years for the ministry.

Date of the Crucifixion.

It is clear that the Crucifixion took place under Pontius Pilate, and hence Our Savior must have died between A.D. 26 and 36 (Ant., XVIII 4:2). The Gospels also clearly lay down that the Crucifixion took place on a Friday. For we are told that the Resurrection took place on Sunday, and also that it occurred three days after the Crucifixion, but according to the Greek and Jewish mode of reckoning, the third day is what we should call the second day. A difficulty is, however, raised as to whether Our Savior died on the 14th or 15th of Nisan.

Some are of opinion that, whilst St. John held the Crucifixion to have been on the 14th (19:31), the Synoptists were in favor of the 15th (Mark 15:42). But it does not seem possible that either St. John or St. Matthew, who were so intimately connected with the facts related, should have been mistaken in this matter, or that, in the same way, either the Synoptists or the Fourth Gospel erred. Nor are we without explanations to reconcile the apparent differences between the Gospels. St. John, we know, favors the 14th of Nisan. But St. Mark, too, tells us how Simon of Cyrene helped Christ to carry the Cross (15:21), and how Joseph of Arimathea buried the Body — facts which seem to tell against the Festival Day (15:43 sqq.). Besides, the weight of Christian antiquity is in favor of the 14th of Nisan, as are such competent modern scholars as Professor Sanday and the late Bishop Westcott.

If we could make up our mind fully that the Crucifixion took place on the 14th of Nisan, it would help us to determine in what year it happened. For though we cannot always be certain whether a Friday fell on the 14th or 15th of Nisan, still we can be fairly satisfied that the years 29, 30, and 33 fulfilled the necessary conditions, though von Soden, in Cheyne's "Encyclopædia," is of opinion that the year 29 does not do so. It has already been seen that the Crucifixion must have happened somewhere between 26 and 36. It may also be taken that it did not occur after 33, because in the next year Vitellius deposed Caiphas from the high priesthood. We are left, then, with the years 29, 30, and 33 to choose between for the death of Jesus Christ. We cannot be certain in our choice. But naturally, we should expect the date of such an important event to be handed down by tradition; and we find a very ancient tradition, going back to A.D. 150, for the date A.D. 29, in the consulship of the Gemini. In favor of it are St. Clement of Alexandria, Origen, the Apocryphal Acts of Pilate, Hippolytus, and the Pseudo-Tertullian.

The Apostles.

Frederick Blass (Acta Apostolorum, p. 21) tells us of the chronology of the Acts of the Apostles that we cannot be certain of our dates within a less period than about ten years. That is a strong statement, but nothing will bring home to us better how ambiguous the chronology is than the large number of different systems that y interpreters of this book have adopted.

Taking the year 29 as that of the Crucifixion, three other dates are at once fixed. For the Resurrection took place three days after the Crucifixion; the Ascension 40 days after that, and ten days later the Holy Ghost descended on the Apostles. Other dates are not so simple. In Acts 12:1-25, is given an account of Herod's persecution, the martyrdom of St. James, St. Peter's miraculous liberation from prison, on the death of Herod, and the return of Sts. Paul and Barnabas from Jerusalem, whither they had traveled to convey the alms of the Church in Antioch (11:30).

All these events seem closely connected with the death of Herod (12:23). From what Josephus says, and the evidence of the coinage, we cannot be far wrong in placing that event in the year 44. From the date of the recall of Felix, governor of Judea, and the arrival of his successor, Festus, we ought to be able to decide the year of the end of St. Paul's career, as sketched in the Acts. For shortly after the arrival of Festus, St. Paul was sent a prisoner to Rome. Harnack places this event in 57, Lightfoot in 61, Ramsay in 60. Perhaps we may say 62, for Festus sent him to Rome shortly after his arrival in Judea. But this was not long before the death of Pallas in A.D. 62 (Tac., Znn., XIV, lxv). In Rome St. Paul remained two years, hence till 64 (Acts 28:30). The Acts end here, but tradition says that St. Paul was released at the end of two years' captivity in Rome, and paid his long-contemplated visit to Spain (St. Clement, Muratorian Fragment, etc.). He also visited Southern Gaul and, as we learn from the Epistles to Timothy and Titus, among other places, Crete, Macedonia, and Miletus. This expedition would have taken about three years.

St. Paul's recorded missionary journeys, which began when he and Barnabas were sent forth by the Holy Spirit to preach (13:4), ended with his arrest in Jerusalem in the year 59 (22) before his imprisonment at Cæsarea and Rome. The third missionary journey (18:23-21:15) must have occupied quite four years, for he spent over two years at Ephesus (19:10), besides passing through Macedonia and Greece, going slowly through Macedonia and spending three months in Corinth. This journey would have begun, as far as we can see, in the summer of 55. The second journey (15:36-18:22), a work mostly of revisiting churches (15:36), ended not very long before the third missionary expedition began, probably in 54, and began about three years previously, in 51.

The first 29 verses of chapter xv are taken up with the Council of Jerusalem. There is much difference of opinion as to what date to assign to it. Thus, Harnack places it in 47, Lightfoot in 51, Ramsay in 50. It would seem most likely to have occurred in 51, the year of the beginning of the second missionary journey, for it was concluded only "some days" (15:36) before that expedition was begun.

Having fixed the date of the Council of Jerusalem, we are in a position to settle the date of St. Paul's first visit to Jerusalem after his conversion. For (Gal. 2:1) it was 14 years before the council, or in the year 37. From the same Epistle (1:18) we know that St. Paul's conversion took place three years previously, in 34. We may place the martyrdom of St. Stephen a year earlier (i.e. in 33) not more; for Saul was still "breathing out threatenings and slaughter" (Acts 9:1) at the date of his conversion. This leaves thee date of the first missionary journey (13:1; 14:26) to deal with.

Herod Agrippa died in 44, as St. Paul's first journey did not begin until after that event. Moreover, it was finished before the Council of Jerusalem (51). There is no indication in the Acts sufficiently definite to settle the question. It can, however, be safely stated that the journey must have been finished some time before the council; because between the two events Paul and Barnabas "abode no small time with the disciples" (14:27).

It may be well to explain here that the uncertainties that surround its chronology in no way detract from the trustworthiness of the Bible as an historical document, or from its authority as an inspired record. The further back we go, the more general and in outline are our ideas of history; and so, in Genesis, the whole history of the world to the Flood is contained in a few brief chapters. As it is with the narrative of events, so it is with chronology. Coming farther down in Jewish history, it is obvious that where numbers are concerned the text is often at fault, equally obvious that the inspired writer often only wishes to place before us round numbers. Of the latest period, the evidence we possess for fixing the chronology of the Bible is often inconclusive.

It may be safely affirmed that the time has not yet come to fix an authoritative chronology of the Bible. A good deal of obscurity and uncertainty remains to be removed. But when the time does come, it may be confidently asserted that the ultimate result will contain nothing derogatory to the authority of the Bible.



The word designates the descendants of the Patriarch Jacob, or Israel. It corresponds to the Hebrew appellation "children of Israel," a name by which — together with the simple form "Israel" — the chosen people usually called themselves in Old-Testament times. Foreigners and Israelites speaking of themselves to foreigners used the term "Hebrews," commonly explained as denoting those who have come from "the other side" of the river (the Euphrates). Another synonym for Israelites is the term Jews (Ioudaioi), especially used by classical authors, but also often found in Josephus and in the New-Testament writings. The object of the present article is distinctly geographical and ethnographical.

Semitic Relationship.

The Israelites belong to the group of ancient peoples who are designated under the general name of Semites, and whose countries extended from the Mediterranean Sea to the other side of the Euphrates and Tigris, and from the mountains of Armenia to the southern coast of Arabia. According to the Biblical classification of the descendants of Noe (Gen., 10:), it is clear that the Semitic group included the Arabs, Babylonians, Assyrians, Arameans, and Hebrews, to which peoples modern ethnographers add, chiefly on linguistic grounds, the Phoenicians and Chanaaneans. It thus appears that the Israelites of old claimed actual kinship with some of the most powerful nations of the East, although the nearness or remoteness of this kinship cannot be determined at the present day. As might be expected, their ethnic relation to the Semitic tribes who, together with the Israelites, make up the sub-group of the Terabites, is more definitely known. The following table illustrates the closeness of this relationship, the data of which are supplied by the earliest source embodied in the Book of Genesis:




| __Ismael ___Esau (Edom).

Thare____|____Abraham_____| |

| |__Isaac_____________|

| | |___Jacob (Israel).

| |__Madian et al.


This table plainly shows that the Moabites, the Ammonites, the Edomites, and the Israelites were tribes of kindred origin, a fact which contemporary scholars readily acknowledge. It shows no less plainly that the children of Israel were also conscious of a close relationship with both the Arameans (Syrians) to the northeast and the Sinaitic nomads to the south of Palestine. There is no doubt that, despite the rejection of Israel's kinship with Aram by some recent critics, both the Aramean and the Arabian relationships of Israel should be admitted. In the abstract, these relationships are not exclusive of each other, for there is no reason to suppose that ancient Israel was more homogeneous than any other migratory and conquering people; and in the concrete, both the relationships in question are equally borne witness to in the earliest historical records (cf. Gen. 24:4, 10; 27:43; 29:4, etc., in favor of Israel's relationship with Aram).

Early Migration.

The history of the Israelites begins with the migration of the kindred tribes mentioned in the above table, in the person of their ancestor, Thare, from Babylonia. The starting-point of this memorable migration was, according to Gen. 11:28, 31, "Ur of the Chaldees," which has recently been identified with Mugheir (Muqayyar; Accadian Uriwa, an important city in ancient days, some six miles (distant from the right bank of the Euphrates, and about 125 miles north-west of the Persian Gulf. Its actual goal, according to Gen. 11:31, was "the land of Chanaan." The movement thus generally described is in distinct harmony with the well-ascertained fact that at an early date Babylonian enterprise had penetrated to Palestine and thereby opened up to the Semitic element of Chaldea a track towards the region which at the present day is often regarded as the original center of the dispersion of the Semites, viz. Northern Arabia.

The course taken was by way of Haran (in Aram), a city some 600 miles northwest of Ur, and its rival in the worship of the Moon-god, Sin. Not in worship alone, but also in culture, laws, and customs, Haran closely resembled Ur, and the call of Abraham — God's command bidding him to seek a new country (Gen. 12:1) — was doubtless welcome to one whose purer conception of the Deity made him dissatisfied with his heathen surroundings (cf. Jos. 24:2 sq.). There is also reason to think that at this time Northern Babylonia was greatly disturbed by invading Kassites, a mountain race related to the Elamites. While, then, Thare's second son, Nachor, remained in Haran, where he originated the Aramaic settlement, Abraham and Lot went forth, passed Damascus, and reached the goal of their journey.

The settlements that Holy Writ connects with Abraham and Lot need only to be mentioned here. The tribes directly related to Lot were those of Moab and Ammon, of which the former established itself east of the Dead Sea, and the latter settled on the eastern side of the Amorrhite kingdom that extended between the Arnom and the Jeboc. Of the tribes more immediately related to Abraham, the Ismaelites and the Madianites seem to have lived in the Peninsula of Sinai. The Edornites took possession of Mount Seir, the hilly tract of land lying south of the Dead Sea and east of the Arabah. And the Israelites settled in the country west of the Jordan, the districts with which they are more particularly connected in the Book of Genesis being those of Sichem, Bethel, Hebron, and Bersabee. The history of the Israelites in these early times is chiefly associated with the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel), all of whom kept a distinct remembrance of their close kinship with the Semitic settlement in Aram (cf. Gen., 24; 28). The first of these appears to have reached Chanaan about 2300 B.C., when he came into passing contact with Egypt (Gen., 12) and Elam (Gen., 14).

Sojourn In Egypt.

The intercourse of Abraham with Egypt just referred to gave place, eventually, to one of much longer duration on the part of his descendants, when the Israelites went down to Egypt under the pressure of famine, and settled peaceably in the district of Gessen, east of the Delta. The fact of this later migration of Israel fits in well with the general data afforded by Egyptian history. About 2100 B.C. Lower Egypt had been invaded and conquered by a body of Asiatics, probably of Semitic origin, called the Hyksos, who established themselves at Zoan (Tanis), a city in the Delta, about 35 miles north of Gessen. Their rule, to which the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth dynasties are assigned, lasted 511 years, according to Manetho (cf. Josephus, "Contra Ap.," I, xiv). It was, of course, repulsive to the native princes, whose authority was restricted to Thebes, while it proved attractive to other invading bodies, Asiatic like the Hyksos themselves. Among these later arrivals are naturally reckoned the Israelites, who probably entered Egypt sometime before 1600 B.C., the date assigned for the eventual expulsion of the Hyksos by the Egyptian native kings. The position of Gessen has been fixed by excavations, and, as the Israelites were left to pursue without molestation their pastoral life in that region, they rapidly increased in numbers and wealth. The history of Israel's settlement in Egypt is connected particularly with Joseph, Jacob's beloved son by Rachel.

The Exodus and the Wanderings.

The final expulsion of the Hyksos by the native princes deprived the Israelites of their natural protectors; "nevertheless, the kings of the eighteenth dynasty, who came upon the scene about this time, did not interfere with them. On the contrary, these kings were themselves Asiatic in tone, marrying Syrian wives and introducing foreign customs. One of them, Amenhotep III, married Tyi, a Syrian princess and sun-worshipper, and their son, Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV), abandoned the national religion for the worship of the solar disc; and when this led to friction with the priesthood of Thebes, he changed his capital to Tell el-Amarna, and surrounded himself both in his temples and in the government of the country with foreigners. After his death, there was a reaction, the foreigners were ejected, and the national religion and party triumphed The next kings, therefore, those of the nineteenth dynasty, gave no quarter to foreigners, and these were the kings who knew not Joseph, but made the lives of the Hebrews 'bitter with hard bondage, in mortar and in all manner of service in the field.' There was good reason why tyrannical kings like those who now arose should view with alarm the rapid increase of the Hebrews, seeing that they were aliens, and lived in a quarter where, if inclined to be disloyal, they could lend invaluable aid to Asiatic invaders" (Souttar "A Short History of Ancient Peoples," New York, 1903, 200 sq.).

The particular Pharaoh of the nineteenth dynasty who treated the Israelites with special rigor was Rameses II, who became king at about the age of eighteen and reigned upwards of sixty years (about 1300-1234 B.C.). He employed them on field labor (Ex. 1:14); engaged them upon the store cities of Phithom (the ruins of which, eleven or twelve miles from Ismailia, show that it was built for that monarch) and Ramesse, thus called after his name; and finally made a desperate attempt to reduce their numbers by organized infanticide. Had not God watched over His people, Israel's ruin would have been simply a question of time. But He raised up Moses and commissioned him to free them from this harsh and cruel oppression. This Divine call reached Moses while he was living in the Peninsula of Sinai; whither he had fled from Pharaoh's wrath, residing among the Madianites or Kenites, who, like himself, traced their descent from Abraham.

With the help of his brother, Aaron, and by means of the various scourges known as the plagues of Egypt, Yahweh's envoy finally prevailed upon Rameses' son and successor, Merneptah I (1234-14 B.C.; cf. Ex. 2:23), to let Israel go free. In haste and by night, the Israelites left the land of bondage, turned eastward, and directed their course towards the Isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea, thus avoiding contact with the Egyptian troops which then occupied, at least in part, the Mediterranean coast, and making from the first for the encampments of their kindred, the Madianites, near Sinai.

While this general direction can hardly be doubted, the localities through which Israel passed cannot now be identified with certainty. The first movement of the Israelites was from "Ramesse to Socoth (Ex. 12:37). Some consider the former of these two places to be the same as Zoan (Tanis) that is called in many papyri Pa-Ramessu Meriamum (the Place of Rameses II). However, it is more probably to be located at Tell er-Retabeh, "in the middle of the length of the Wady Tumilat, about twenty miles from Ismailia on the East (Flinders Petrie), and only eight miles distant from Phithom. The name of the second place, Socoth, is probably a Semitic adaptation of the Egyptian word thku[t] which designated the district where the city of Phithom was situated. Proceeding thence, Israel encamped in Etham (Ex. 13:20; Num. 33:6), a term which is supposed to refer to the southern fortress (Egypt. Htem) of Thku (Socoth), on the eastern frontier of Egypt, upon the edge of the Wilderness of Etham, or Sur (cf. Ex. 15:22; Num. 33:8). At this point, the children of Israel changed their easterly direction, and journeying southward reached Phihahiroth, which is described in Exodus, 14:2, as "between Magdal and the sea over against Beelsephon."

None of the places just spoken of has been identified; indeed, even the portion of the Red Sea which the Hebrews crossed miraculously, is a matter of controversy. Various writers maintain that at the time of Exodus the western arm of the Red Sea, now called the Gulf of Suez, from the modem town near its northern extremity, extended some thirty or forty miles farther north, and they admit for the actual place of crossing some point of this extension of the Red Sea. Others, on the contrary, apparently with greater probability, think that in the time of Moses the northern limit of the Gulf of Suez did not vary much, if at all, from what it is at the present day. They maintain that the crossing took place at some point of the present head of the gulf, not far north of the present Suez, the ancient Greek name of which (Clysma) appears to embody a tradition of the Egyptian disaster.

It is often and ably argued that after the Red Sea, the Israelites, resuming their journey in an easterly direction, took the haj route now followed by pilgrims going from Cairo to Mecca. This route runs eastward across the Peninsula of Sinai to Elath at the northern point of the eastern arm of the Red Sea — the Gulf of Akabah, as it is called. To most writers, however, there does not seem to be sufficient reason for giving up the time-honored view which holds that the Hebrews proceeded southward until they reached the traditional Mount Sinai.

On the basis of this latter view, Israel's intervening stations between the place of crossing and Mount Sinai have been identified as follows. After three days' march through the Wilderness of Sur, on the narrow and comparatively level coast-track of the Gulf of Suez, the Israelites came to a spring named Mara (Exod. 15:22 sq.), probably the 'Ain Hawara, with its bitter waters. They next reached the oasis of Elim, usually identified with Wady Gharandel, where there are, even at the present time, wells and palms (Exod. 15:27). Proceeding southward, they followed the road, which winds by the Wady Tayibeh until it strikes the seashore, at which point the encampment by the sea (Numb. 33:10) is naturally placed. Before turning inland, the coast-track expands into a plain four or five miles broad, called el-Markha, and probably to be identified with the Wilderness of Sin (Exod. 15:1), wherein the stations of Daphea and Alus (Numb. 33:12, 13) were presumably situated. Thence Moses led his people in the direction of the sacred mount of Sinai, the next station being at Raphidim (Exod. 17:1), which is commonly regarded as identical with Wady Feiran, a long and fertile plain overhung by the granite rocks of Mount Sherbal, probably the Horem of Holy Writ. From Feiran the road winds through the long Wady es-Scheykh and leads to the extensive plain er-Rahah, which is directly in front of Mount Sinai, and which offered more than sufficient standing ground for all the children of Israel.

It is true that none of the foregoing identifications enjoys more than a certain amount of probability and that, consequently, their aggregate cannot be considered as an unquestionable proof that the traditional road along the Gulf of Suez is the one actually followed by the Hebrews. Yet it is a fact of no small importance in favor of the route described that its distance of some 150 miles between the place of crossing and Mount Sinai admits of a natural division into stages which on the whole correspond well to the principal marches of the Hebrews. For nothing of the kind can be put forth in support of their position by the contemporary scholars who prefer to the traditional road an eastward one running across the Peninsula of Sinai to the northern shore of the Gulf of Akabah.

On leaving Sinai under the guidance of Moses' brother-in-law, the Israelites proceeded in a northerly direction towards the Wilderness of Pharan, the barren region of et-Tih which lies south of Chanaan and west of Edom. They seem to have approached it the shore of the eastern arm of the Red Sea, now called the Gulf of Akabah. Of the various places mentioned as being on their route only two have been identified with some degree of probability. These are Kibroth Hattawah (graves of lust), regarded as identical with Erweis el-Ebeirig, and Hazeroth, apparently identical with the modern 'Ain Hudherah (cf. Numb. 11:34; 33:16, 17). On entering the Desert of Pharan, the people established themselves at Cades, also Cadesbarne (the holy place), which has been identified with great probability with 'Ain Kedis, some fifty miles south of Bersabee (Numb. 33:36). Proceeding northward, after the return of the spies whom they had sent to explore Southern Palestine, they made a mad attempt to force their way into Chanaan. They were repulsed by the Chanaanites and the Amalecites at Sephaath, a place subsequently named Horma (cf. Judges 1:17; now Sebaita) and some thirty-five miles north of Cades (cf Numb. 12:14). Then began a most obscure period in Israel's life.

During thirty-eight years they wandered in the Badiet et Tih (Wilderness of the Wanderings) on the southern confines of Chanaan, apparently making Cades the center around which their movements turned. It is possible that while here they came, for the first time since the Exodus, into contact with the Egyptians. An inscription of the Pharaoh Mernptah found at Thebes in 1896 relates at close the conquest by the Egyptians of the land of Chanaan and of Ashkelon, and then adds: 'The Israelites are spoiled so that they have no seed; the land of Khar [perhaps, the land of the Horites, i.e. Edom] is become like the windows of Egypt. Of the circumstances alluded to nothing positive is known; but the situation of the Israelites implied in the inscription is in or near Southern Palestine, and, as the fuller records of later date show no trace of any relations between Israel and Egypt until the time of Solomon, the sojourn at Cades seems to be the only occasion that will suit the conditions. On the assumption that the Exodus took place in the reign of Mernptah, the only alternative to the view just set forth is to regard the inscription as a boastful account of the Exodus itself, considered as an expulsion of the Israelites" (Wade, "Old Test-Hist.").

In the beginning of the fortieth year of Israel's wanderings, the march towards Chanaan was resumed from Cades. In approaching Palestine this second time, it was determined to avoid the southern frontier, and to enter the Land of Promise by crossing the Jordan at the northern end of the Dead Sea. The shortest road for this purpose was through the territories of Edom and Moab, and Moses asked permission from the King of Edom to take this route, reminding him of the relationship between his people and Israel. His refusal compelled the Israelites to journey southward towards the Gulf of Akabah, and there to skirt the southern possessions of Edom, whence they marched northward, skirting the eastern frontier first of Edom and next of Moab, and finally encamping over against the River Arnon (the modern Wady Mojib). Such is the general line of March commonly admitted by scholars between Cades and the Arnon. Owing, however, to the fact that the several lists of Israel's stations in Numb. 20:22-21: 11; 33; Deut. 10:6, 7, contain differences as to the encampments which they mention, and as to the time which they assign to Aaron's death, some uncertainty remains as to which side of Edom — east or west — the Hebrews actually skirted on their way to the Arnon.

With regard to the various stations named in those lists, a still greater uncertainty prevails. In point of fact, only a few of them can be identified. These include the place of Aaron's death, Mount Hor, which is probably the modem Jebel Madurah on the western border of Edom, some thirty or forty miles north-east of Cades; and next the encampment at Asiongaber, a place which may be identical with 'Ain el Gudyan which lies about fifteen miles north of the Gulf of Akabah.

Resuming their march towards the Jordan, the Children of Israel crossed the Amon, and encountered the hostility of the Amorrhite chief, Sehon, who had taken from Moab the territory between the Arnon and the Jeboc (Wadv Zerkah). They defeated him at Jasa (not now identified), captured his capital Hesebon (the modem Resban), Jazer (Beith Zerah, three miles north of Hesebon), and the other cities of his dominions. They were thus brought into contact, and apparently, also, into conflict, with the northernmost kingdom of Basan, which lay between the Jeboc and the foot of Mount Hermon. They gave battle to its king, Og, defeated him at Edrei (now Edr'a), and took possession of his territory.

Their victories and, still more, their occupation of the land north of Moab by Ruben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasses aroused the enmity of the Moabites who, at this juncture, summoned Balaam to curse the Israelites, and who succeeded but too well in their efforts to betray them into idolatry at Settim (Accacids), in the plains of Moab, over against Jericho (Eri'ka). The crowning events of the Wanderings were the induction of Josue into office as Moses' successor in command, and the death of Moses himself on one of the heights of the Abarim (Numb. 27: 12), which is variously called Nebo (Jebel Neba; Deut. 32:49) or Phasga (Ras Siaghah; Deut. 3:27), the western projection of Mount Nebo.

The Conquest of Chanaan.

Soon after the death of Moses, Josue resolved to attempt the invasion and conquest of Chanaan proper, or the country west of the Jordan, which Israel's great lawgiver had indeed contemplated, but had not been allowed to effect. In some respects, this was at the time a hard task. The crossing of the Jordan was in itself a difficult undertaking. The heights on the other side of the river were crowned with numerous cities, strongly walled, and therefore able to offer a stout resistance. Even the population in the lowlands was much superior to the Israelites in the art and appliances of war, in touch, as they had long been, with the advanced civilization of Babylonia and Egypt. In some other respects, the work of conquest was then comparatively easy. The various peoples (Chanaanites, Hethites, Amorrhites, Pherezites, etc.) who made up the population of Western Palestine, constituted a number of mostly independent cities, distracted by those mutual jealousies which have been revealed by the Tell el-Amarna tablets, and hence not likely to combine their forces against Israel's invasion. "Moreover there was no possibility of outside alliances against the intruders. Tyre and Sidon, and other cities of the coast, were going their way, increasing their wealth and commercial connections by peaceful means, and were averse to entangling foreign complications. The Amorrhites east of the Jordan were the most formidable remnant of their decaying race, and they had been rendered powerless; while the Philistines, themselves a strange people, had not yet grown into power" (Mc Curdy).

Circumstances such as these naturally called for Josue's prompt and vigorous action. With God's special help he crossed the Jordan at the head of all the tribes encamped at Galgal, identified with the modern Tell Jiljulieh, four miles from the river, and thence advanced upon Jericho. This city was one of the keys to the trans-Jordanic region, and it soon fell into his power. He next proceeded by the pass of Machmas (the Wady Suweinit) against Hai, a town two miles east of Bethel, and captured it by strategem. After this rapid conquest of Central Chanaan, Josue made alliance with he Gabaonites, who had outwitted him, and won the memorable battle of Bethoron over the five kings of the nearest Amorrhite peoples. This victory was followed up by the subjugation of other districts of Southern Palestine, a work that seems to have been accomplished mainly by the tribes of Simeon and Juda, assisted by the Cinites and the Calebites.

Meantime, the kings of the north had rallied around Jabin, King of Azor in Galilee, and mustered their hosts near the Waters of Merom (Lake Huleh). At the head of the House of Joseph, the Jewish leader took them by surprise, defeated them, and subdued numerous northern towns. Josue's glorious achievements secured for the tribes of Israel a firm foothold in Chanaan, by means of which they settled in their allotted territories. Great, however, as were these victories, they failed, even in conjunction with the efforts of the individual tribes (an account of which is supplied in the scattered notices in the Book of Josue and by the opening chapter of that of Judges), to complete the subjugation of Palestine. Many of the larger cities, together with the cultivated valleys and the coastland, were still, and remained for a long time, in the possession of Chanaan's earlier inhabitants.

The Period of the Judges.

As long as Josue lived, his personality and his generalship succeeded in keeping up among the Israelites some manner of central authority, despite the tribal rivalries which manifested themselves even during the conquest of Western Palestine. When he died, with a previously appointed successor, all central authority actually ceased, and the bonds of union between the different tribes were quickly dissolved. The tribes were dispersed in different districts, and the Semitic love of tribal independence strongly reasserted itself among them. They no longer felt the immediate pressure of the war of conquest, and in many cases, the distinct Hebrew communities were either unwilling or unable to exterminate the older population which survived in the land.

Intermarriage between the Israelites and the Chanaanites likewise considerably relaxed the bond of union that naturally arises from close kinship. Even the bond created by the community of religion was time and again seriously impaired in Israel by the corruption of the ancestral worship of Yahweh with the attractive cult of the Baalim of Chanaan. This deep disunion of the tribes accounts naturally for the fact that, during a long period after the death of Moses' successor, each section of Israel's possessions was in its turn harassed and humiliated by a powerful foreign foe. And each time Israel was delivered from his oppression by a military leader, a "judge" as he is called, whose authority never extended over the whole land.

In the course of time, the Israelites felt the drawbacks of such disunion, and in order to withstand their enemies more effectively by concerted action, they wished for a king. Their first attempts in this direction were indeed unsuccessful: Gedeon refused the crown which they offered him, and Abimilech, his son, who accepted it, proved an unworthy ruler. Yet, the longing of the Hebrew tribes for a monarchy could not be suppressed. During Israel's fierce conflict with the Philistines, Samuel, the last judge, wielded the universal and absolute power of a monarch with the title and the insignia of royalty. When to the hostility of Western enemies was joined that of Eastern foes, like the Ammonites, the Israelites strenuously asked for a king and finally obtained one in the person of the Benjamite Saul.

The Undivided Kingdom.

Israel's first monarch resembled in many respects the judges who had preceded him, for the simple reason that, under his rule, the Hebrew tribes did not really coalesce into a nation. He was indeed the King of All Israel; his royal title and authority were to be hereditary, and at his summons, all the tribes rallied around him. With their common help, he rescued the men of Jabes Galaad from impending destruction at the hands of the Ammonites, fought for a time successfully against the Philistines, and overcame the Amalecites. All the while, however, his kingship was little more than a judgeship. His court and ways of life were simple in the extreme. He had no standing army, no governors over subordinate districts. The war against the Philistines, the great enemies of Israel in his day, he waged like the judges of old, by hasty and temporary levies. And when he died at Gelboe, the profound and inveterate disunion of the tribes, which had been momentarily checked, immediately reappeared. Most of the tribes declared themselves in favor of Saul’s son, Isboseth, but Juda gathered around David and made him king in Hebron. In the civil war which ensued, "David grew always stronger and stronger," with the final result that the elders of all the tribes formally and voluntarily acknowledged his sovereignty.

The new king was the real founder of the Hebrew monarchy. One of his first cares was to secure for Israel a political and religious capital in Jerusalem, a city of considerable size and of considerable natural strength. His military genius enabled him gradually to overcome the various nations who had cruelly oppressed the chosen people in the days of the judges. On the southwest, he fought against the Philistines, and took from them the town of Geth (Tell es-Safi), and a great part of their dominions. On the southeast, he conquered and established garrisons in the territory of Edom. To the east of the Jordan he attacked and well nigh exterminated the Moabites, while on the northeast he overthrew the Syrians of Soba as well as those of Damascus who had marched to the defense of their kindred. Finally, he waged a protracted war against the Ammonites, who had entered into a defensive alliance with several of the Syrian princes, and wreaked upon them a frightful vengeance.

The possessions secured by these various wars formed a vast empire whose boundaries remained forever after the ideal extent of the Realm of Israel, and whose wise internal organization, on regular monarchical lines, greatly promoted the agricultural and industrial interests of the Hebrew tribes. Under such circumstances, one might have supposed that the old tribal jealousies were at an end forever. And yet, on the occasion of the king's domestic broils, a rebellion broke out which for a while threatened to rend the nation asunder on the old, deep lines of cleavage. Happily, however, this disaster was averted, and at his death, David left to his son Solomon an undivided kingdom.

David's reign had been pre-eminently a period of war and of territorial acquisition; Solomon's rule was, in the main, an era of peace and commercial achievement. Of special value to the new monarch were the friendly relations between Phœnicia and Israel, continued from David's time. Through the help of Tyre, he erected the Temple and other beautiful edifices in Jerusalem; the help of Tyre also enabled him to maintain for a time something of a foreign commerce by the Red Sea. His relations with Egypt were likewise peaceful and profitable. He received in marriage the daughter of Psibkhenao II, the last Pharaoh of the twenty-first dynasty, and kept up with Egypt a brisk overland commerce. He carried on a friendly intercourse and lively trade with the Hittites of Cilicia and of Cappadocia.

Unfortunately, his love of splendor and luxury and his unfaithfulness to Yahweh's law and worship gradually betrayed him into oppressive measures which especially alienated the northern tribes. In vain did he strive to overrule this dissatisfaction by doing away with the ancient territorial divisions of the tribes, and by appointing the Ephraimite Jeroboam as collector of taxes of the house of Joseph. His tampering with the old tribal principle did but increase the general discontent, and the great authority with which he invested the son of Nabat simply afforded the latter better opportunity to realize the extent of the disaffection of the northern tribes and to avail himself of it to rebel against the king. About this same time, Edom and Moab revolted against Solomon's suzerainty. And so, towards the end of his reign, everything threatened the continuity of the empire of Israel, which had always contained the hidden germs of disruption, and which, to a large extent, owed its very existence to the extreme temporary weakness of the great neighboring nations of Egypt and Assyria.

The Kingdom of Israel.

Roboam's insulting reply to the northern tribes, when, gathered at Sichem, after Solomon's demise, they asked for some relief from the heavy yoke put upon them by the late monarch, was the immediate occasion of their permanent rupture with the line of David and the southern tribes. Under Jerboam's headship, they formed (c. 937 B.C.) a separate kingdom which is known as the Kingdom of Israel, in contradistinction to that of Juda, and which greatly surpassed the latter in extent and population. The area of the Northern Kingdom is estimated at about 9000 square miles, with a population of about four or five millions. It included eight tribes, viz., on the west of the Jordan, Ephraim, one-half of Manasses, Issachar, Zabulon, Aser, Nephtali with the coastline between Acre and Joppe; on the east of the Jordan, Ruben, Gad, and one-half of Manasses. Its vassal-states were Moab and so much of Syria as had remained subject to Solomon (III Kings 11:24; IV Kings 3:4).

The Kingdom of Juda included that tribe itself together with that of Benjamin, and — at least eventually — a part, if not the whole, of Simeon and Dan. Its area is estimated at 3400 miles, with a population of about one million and three quarters. Besides this, Edom continued faithful to Juda for a time. But while the Northern Kingdom was larger and more populous than the Southern, it decidedly lacked the unity and the seclusion of its rival, and was therefore the first to succumb, a comparatively easy prey to the eastern conquerors, when their victorious march brought them to the western lands. The history of the newly formed kingdom may be conveniently divided into three great periods, during which various dynasties ruled in Israel, while the line of David continued in sole possession of the throne of Juda. The first period extends from Jeroboam to Achab (937-875 B.C.). The kings of this opening period were as follows:


Jeroboam I — 937-915 B.C.

Nadab — 915-913 B.C.

Baasa — 913-889 B.C

Ela — 889-887 B.C.

Zambri — a few days

Amri — 887-875 B.C.


Roboam — 937-920 B.C.

Abiam — 920-917 B.C.

Asa — 917-876 B.C.

Josaphat — 876-

Of the twenty-two years of Jeroboam's reign, few details have come down to us. At first, the founder of the Northern Kingdom took for his capital the city of Sichem, in which Abimelech had once set up kingdom, and in which the actual outbreak of the revolt against Juda had just occurred; he exchanged it for the beautiful Thersa, eleven miles to the north-east. To offset the attractiveness of Jerusalem and the influence of its Temple, he extended his royal patronage to two ancient sanctuaries, Dan and Bethel, the one at the northern, and the other at the southern, extremity of his realm. To guard against Juda's invasion of his territory, he built strong fortresses on both sides of the Jordan.

With regard to Jeroboam's early military expeditions, Biblical narrative imparts no distinct information. It simply represents as practically continual the war which soon broke out between him and Roboam (cf. III Kings 14:30; 15:6). From the Egyptian inscriptions at Karnak, it appears that the Northern Kingdom suffered much in connection with the invasion of Juda by Sesac, the first king of the twenty-second dynasty, so that it is not likely that this invasion was the result of Jeroboam's appeal Egypt for help in his conflict with the King of Juda.

The hostilities between the sister kingdoms continued under Abiam, Roboam's son and successor, and in their pursuit, Jeroboam was, according to the chronicler's account, badly worsted (II Paralip. 3). Jeroboam's own line lasted only through his own son Nadab, who, after reigning two years, was slain by a usurper, Baasa of Issachar (913 B.C.), while Israel besieged the Philistine fortress of Gebbethon (probably Kibbiah, six or seven miles north-east of Lydda). After his accession, Baasa pushed the war so vigorously against Asa, King of Juda, that, to save Jerusalem from an impending siege, the latter purchased the help of Benadad I, of Damascus, against Israel. In the conflict with Syria which ensued, Baasa lost much of the territory on the west of the Upper Jordan and the Sea of Galilee, with the fateful result that the controlling power in the west was now no longer Hebrew, but Aramean.

Baasa was succeeded by his son Ela, whose reign lasted only a part of two years (889-87 B.C.). His murderer, Zambri, got himself proclaimed king, but perished after a few days giving place to his military competitor, Amri (887-75 B.C.), the skillful head of a new dynasty in Israel. Under Amri, Samaria, admirably and strongly situated in Central Palestine, some twelve miles to the west of Thersa, became, and remained to the end, the capital of the Northern Kingdom. Under him, too, the policy of hostility which had hitherto prevailed between Juda and Israel was exchanged for one of general friendship based on common interests against Syria.

In some directions, indeed, Amri suffered considerable losses, as, east of the Jordan, Ramoth and other cities of Galaad fell into the power of the King of Damascus, while on the west of the same river, he was forced to grant to that monarch trading privileges (cf. III Kings 20:34). But in other directions, he succeeded in extending his authority. The inscription of Mesa proves that he brought Moab under tribute. He cemented Israel's alliance with Tyre by the marriage of his son Achab with Jezabel, the daughter of the Tyrian priest and king, Ethbaal. His territories, now apparently limited to the tribes of Ephraim, Manasses, and Issachar, with a portion of Zabulon, were consolidated under his firm rule, so much so that the Assyrians, who henceforth carefully watched over the affairs of Palestine, designated Israel under the name of "the House of Amri," even after his dynasty had been overthrown

The second period comprises the kings from Achab to Jeroboam II (875-781 B.C.). These kings were as follows:


Achab — 875-853 B.C.

Ochozias — 853-851 B.C.

Joram — 851-842 B.C.

Jehu — 842-814 B.C.

Joachaz — 814-797 B.C.

Joas — 797-781 B.C.


Josaphat — 876-851 B.C.

Joram — 851-843 B.C.

Ochozias — 843-842 B.C.

Athalia — 842-836 B.C.

Joas — 836-796 B.C.

Amasias — 796-782 B.C.

Azarias (Ozias) — 782-

The reign of Achab, Amri's son and successor, was a memorable one in the history of the chosen people. It was marked at home by a considerable progress of Israel in the arts of peace (cf. III Kings 22:39); by the public adoption of the Phoenician worship of Baal and Astarthe (D.V. Ashtaroth, Ashtoreth), and also by a strenuous opposition to it on the part of the Prophets in the person of Elias, the leading religious figure of the time. Abroad, Israel's friendly relations with Juda assumed to permanent character by the marriage of Athalia, the daughter of Achab and Jezabel, with Joram the son of Josaphat. In point of fact, Israel was at peace with Juda throughout the twenty-two years of Achab's reign. Israel's chief neighboring foe was Syria over whose ruler, Benadad II, Achab won two important victories (875 B.C.). Yet, upon the westward advance of their common enemies, the Assyrians, under Salmanasar II, the kings of Israel and Syria united with other princes of Western Asia against the Assyrian hosts, and checked their onward march at Karkhar on the Orontes in 854 B.C. Next year, Achab resumed hostilities against Syria and fell mortally wounded in battle before Ramoth Galaad.

Achab's Son, Ochozias, died after a short reign (853-51 B.C), and was succeeded by his brother Joram (851-42 B.C.). The two wars of Joram's reign were unsuccessful, although, in both, Israel had the help of the Southern Kingdom. The first was directed against Mesa, King of Moab, who, as related in Holy Writ and in his own inscription (known as "the Moabitic Stone"), had thrown off the yoke of Israel, and who did not hesitate, when very hard pressed, to offer his oldest son as a burnt-offering to Chamos (A.V. Chemosh). The second was waged against Damascus and proved exceedingly disastrous: Samaria nearly fell into the hands of the Syrians; Joram himself was seriously wounded before Ramoth Galaad, and next slain, at Jezrael, by one of his officers, Jehu, who assumed the crown and began a new dynasty in Israel.

Jehu's long reign of twenty-eight years (842-14 B.C.) was most inglorious. Israel's deadly foe was the Syrian king Hazael, who had also reached the throne by the murder of his master, Benadad II. Instead of helping him to withstand the attacks of Salmanasar II, Jehu secured peace with Assyria by the payment of a tribute (842 B.C.), and let Hazael face single-handed the repeated invasions of the Assyrian king. Apparently, he had hoped thereby to weaken the Aramean power, and perhaps even to get rid of it altogether. It so happened, however, that after a while Salmanasar desisted from his attacks upon Hazael, and thus left the latter free to turn his arms against Israel and against Juda, its ally.

The Syrian king secured for Damascus not only Basan and Galaad, and the whole of the country east of the Jordan, but also Western Palestine, destroyed the Philistine city of Geth, and was bought off by Joas of Juda with the richest spoil of his palace and temple. Joachaz (814-797 B.C.), the son and successor of Jehu, was compelled during the greater part of his reign to accept from Hazael and his son, Bernadad III, the most humiliating conditions yet imposed upon a King of Israel (cf. IV Kings 13:7). Relief, however, came to him when the resources of Damascus were effectively crippled by Assyria during the closing years of the ninth century B.C. Israel's condition was further improved under Joas (797-81 B.C.), who actually defeated Syria three several (sic) times, and reconquered much of the territory — probably west of the Jordan — which had been lost by Joachaz, his father (cf. IV Kings 13:25).

The third period in the history of the Northern Kingdom extends from Jeroboam II to the fall of Samaria (781-22 B.C.). Based on the Assyrian inscriptions combined with the data of Holy Writ, the chronology of the last period may be given approximately as follows:


Jeroboam II — 781-740 B.C.

Zacharias — 6 months

Sellum — 1 month

Manahem — 740-737 B.C.

Phaceia — 737-735 B.C.

Phacee — 735-733 B.C.

Osee — 733-722 B.C.


Azarias (Ozias) — 782-737 B.C.

Joatham — 737-735 B.C.

Achaz — 735-725 B.C.

Ezechias — 725-696 B.C.

During the long reign of Jeroboam II, the Northern Kingdom enjoyed an unprecedented prosperity. Owing chiefly to the fact that Israel's enemies had grown weaker on every side, the new king was able to eclipse the victories achieved by his father, Joas, and to maintain for a while the old ideal boundaries both east and west of the Jordan (IV Kings 14:28). Peace and security followed on this wonderful territorial extension, and together with them, a great artistic and commercial development set in. Unfortunately, there set in also the moral laxity and the religious unfaithfulness which were in vain rebuked by the Prophets Amos and Osee, and which surely presaged the utter ruin of the Northern Kingdom.

Jeroboam's son, Zacharias (740 B.C.) was the last monarch of Jehu's's dynasty. He had scarcely reigned six months when a usurper, Sellum, put him to death. Sellum, in his turn, was even more summarily dispatched by the truculent Manahem. The last-named ruler had soon to face the Assyrian power directly, and, as he felt unable to withstand it, hastened to proffer tribute to Theglathphalasar III and thereby save his crown (738 B.C.). His son Phaceia reigned about two years (737- B.C.) and was slain by his captain, Phacee, who combined with Syria against Achaz of Juda. In his sore distress, Achaz appealed for Assyrian help, with the result that Theglathphalasar again (734 B.C.) invaded Israel, annexed Galilee and Damascus, and carried many Israelites into captivity.

Phacee's murderer, Osee, was Assyria's faithful vassal as long as Theglathphalasar lived. Shortly afterwards, at the instigation of Egypt, he revolted against Salmanasar IV, Assyria's new ruler, whereupon Assyrian troops overran Israel and laid siege to Samaria, which, after a long resistance, fell, near the close of the year 722 B.C., under Sargon II, who had meantime succeeded Salmanasar IV. With this ended the Northern Kingdom, after an existence of a little more than two hundred years.

The Kingdom of Juda.

Of the two kingdoms formed upon the disruption of Solomon's empire, the Southern Kingdom, or Kingdom of Juda, was in several respects the weaker, and yet was the better fitted to withstand the assaults of foreign enemies. Its general relations with Israel, Egypt, and Assyria, during the existence of the Northern Kingdom, have been briefly mentioned in connection with the history of that kingdom, and need not be more fully set forth here. Hence, the following sketch of the Kingdom of Juda deals exclusively with the period of its existence subsequent to the overthrow of the Kingdom of Israel by the Assyrians.

At the time of the fall of Samaria, Ezechias was King of Juda (725-696 B.C.). He long persevered in the allegiance which his father, Achaz, had pledged to Assyria. Sargon's death, however, in 705 B.C., appeared to him and other Western princes a favorable opportunity to throw off the Assyrian yoke. He therefore formed with them a powerful league against Sennacherib, Sargon's successor. In due time (701 B.C.), the Assyrian forces invaded Western Asia, captured several Judean cities, and compelled Ezechias to renounce the league and pay an enormous fine. Not long afterwards, Sennacherib ravaged Juda again, and haughtily threatened Jerusalem with destruction. In accordance with Isaias's prophecy, however, his threats came to naught: " the Angel of the Lord decimated his army, and disturbances in the East recalled him to Nineveh (IV Kings 18:13; 19:).

It was under Ezechias that Juda came in contact for the first time with Babylonia (IV Kings, 20:). The long reign of his son, Manasses (696-41 B.C.), was, almost throughout, marked by religious degeneracy and faithful vassalage to Assyria. In the latter part of it, Juda rebelled against Asarhaddon, Sennacherib's son and successor, but the insurrection was speedily crushed, and misfortune brought Manasses back to the worship of the true God.

The brief reign of Amon (641-39 B.C.) was an imitation of the first and the worst practices of his father. In 608 B.C. Palestine was traversed by an Egyptian army under Nechao II, a prince of the twenty-sixth dynasty, ambitious to restore to his country an Asiatic empire. As a faithful vassal of Assyria, the pious King Josias (639-08 B.C.) marched out to arrest Pharaoh's progress. He was defeated and slain at Mageddo, and his kingdom became an Egyptian dependency. This vassalage was indeed short-lived. The Chaldean Nabuchodonosor, on his victorious March to Egypt, invaded Juda for the first time, and Joakim (608-597 B.C.), the eldest son and second successor of Josias, became a vassal of Babylon in 604 B.C. Despite the advice of the Prophet Jeremias, the Jewish king rebelled in 598. Next year, the newly enthroned king, Joachin (A.V. Jehoiakin), was taken, with Jerusalem, and was carried captive to Babylon together with many of his subjects, among whom was the Prophet Ezechiel. In 588 B.C., Juda rebelled again under Sedecias (597-86 B.C.), the third son of Josias. In July, 586 B.C., the Holy City surrendered, and its blinded king and most of his people were deported to Babylon. Thus began the Babylonian exile.

After the Babylonian Exile.

"Politically and nationally the Babylonian captivity put an end for ever to the people of Israel. Even when, 350 years later, there was once more a Jewish state, those who formed it were not the people of Israel, not even the Jewish nation, but that portion which remained in the mother country of a great religious organization scattered over all Asia and Egypt" (Cornill). The exiles who, in 538 B.C., availed themselves of Cyrus's permission to return to Palestine, were mostly Judeans, whose varied fortunes after their settlement in and around Jerusalem belong in a very particular manner to the history of Judaism and consequently need be set forth only in the briefest manner in the present article. Prompted by the religious impulse which had led them to come back to the land of their fathers, their first concern in reaching it was to resume God's holy worship.

Their perseverance in rearing the second Temple was finally crowned with success in 516 B.C., despite the bitter and prolonged opposition of the Samaritans. Their great leaders — not only the Prophets of the time (Zachary and Malachy), but also their local secular heads (Nehemias and Esdras) — were religious reformers, whose one purpose was to secure the people's fidelity to God's law and worship. They made no attempt to set up a monarchy of their own, and as long as the Persian Empire lasted, they and their descendants gloried in their loyalty to its rulers. Within the Persian period falls the formation of the Jewish military colony at Elephantine, the existence and religious worship of which have been disclosed by Judeo-Aramean papyri discovered quite recently. The conqueror of Persia, Alexander the Great, seems to have bestowed special privileges upon the Jewish community of Palestine, and to have granted to the Jews who settled in Alexandria — a city which he founded and called after his name — equal civil rights with the Macedonians (331 B.C.).

Alexander died before consolidating his empire. During the period of bloodshed which followed his death, Palestine was the bone of contention between the Syrian and Egyptian kings, often changed masters, and suffered oppression and misery at each change. As time went on, the welfare, moral and religious, of the Palestinian Jews was more and more seriously threatened by the influence of Hellenism, at first chiefly exercised by the Ptolemies from Alexandria as the center (323-202 B.C.), and later by Antiochus III, the Great, of Syria, and his two successors Seleucus IV and Antiochus Epiphanes, reigning at Antioch (202-165 B.C.). Under this last named Syrian prince, Hellenism appeared to be on the point of stamping Judaism out of Palestine. The high priests of the time, who were the local rulers of Jerusalem, adopted Greek names, and courted the king's favor by introducing or encouraging Hellenic practices among the inhabitants of the Holy City. At length Antiochus himself resolved to transform Jerusalem into a Greek city, and to destroy Judaism from the towns of Palestine and, indeed, from all his dominions. A most cruel and systematic persecution ensued, in the course of which the Machabees rebelled against their oppressors. The final result of the Machabean revolt was the overthrow of the Syrian power and the rise of an independent Jewish kingdom.

Under the Asmonean dynasty (135-63 B.C.) the Palestinian Jewish community gradually spread, by conquest and forcible conversion, from its narrow limits in Nehemias's time, to practically the extent of the territory of ancient Israel. Internally, it was divided between the two rival sects of the Pharisees and the Sadducees, themselves the slow outcome of the twofold movement at work during the Syrian suzerainty, the one against, and the other in favor of, Hellenism.

The war which broke out between the last two Asmonean kings, John Hyrcanus II and Aristobulus II, who were supported by the Pharisees and the Sadducees respectively, gave to the Romans the opportunity they had long sought for intervening in Judean affairs. In 63 B.C. Pompey invested and took Jerusalem, and put an end to the last Jewish dynasty. Up to 37 B.C., the year of the accession of the Idumean Herod to the throne of Judea, the history of the Palestinian Jews reflects, for the most part, the vicissitudes of the tangled politics of the Roman imperatores. Herod's despotic reign (37 B.C. to A.D. 4) was marked by a rapid growth of Hellenism in nearly every city of Palestine, and also by a consolidation of Pharisaism in the celebrated schools of Hillel and Shammai.

Upon the death of Herod, the Emperor Augustus divided his kingdom and placed Judea under procurators as a part of the Roman Province of Syria. The last political struggles to be mentioned are (1) the Jewish revolt against Rome in A.D. 66, which ended in the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70; (2) the rebellion of Bar Cochba in A.D. 132 under the Emperor Adrian, who finally transformed Jerusalem into the Roman colony of Ælia Capitolina from which all Jews were banished. Ever since then, the Jews were scattered in many countries, often persecuted, yet surviving, always hoping in some manner for a future Messias, and generally influenced by the customs, and morals, religious beliefs of the nations among whom they live.



According to Jewish tradition (Josephus, "Antiq. Jud.," I 10:1; Targum Onkelos, Gen. 14:18), Jerusalem was originally called Salem (Peace), and was the capital of King Melchisedech (Gen. 14:18). This tradition is confirmed by the cuneiform tablets discovered in 1888 at Tell Amarna, in Egypt (see below, under III. History). Five of these letters, written at Jerusalem about the year 1400 B.C., inform us that the city was then called U-ru-sa-lim. It figures in Assyrian inscriptions under the name of Ur-sa-li-im-mu. According to the Assyrian syllabaries, uru and ur signify "city" (Hebrew ir). In several of the Tell Armana Tablets the word salim is used in the sense of "peace." Ursalim, therefore, means "City of Peace." The Psalmist, too, connects Salem with Sion: "He hath his tabernacle in Salem, and his abode upon the mountain of Sion" [Ps. 75 (76:3)]. When the Israelites came into the Land of Promise, Jerusalem was in the power of the Jebusites, and bore the name of Jebus. The Hebrews, however, were not ignorant of its ancient name; they often called it Jerusalem (Jos. 10:1; Judges 19:10; II Kings 5:6, etc.). In other passages of the Bible, it is called Jerusalem (I Par. 3:5; Jer. 26: 18; Esther 2:6, etc.). The Septuagint. writes its name Ierousalem. Under the hellenizing influences which invaded Palestine, Salem became Solyma (Antiq. Jud., I 10:2), and Jerusalem ta Ierosolyma (The Holy Solyma) (I Mach. 1:14, 20; II Mach. 1:10; Bell. Jud., VI 10:etc.). The New Testament employs sometimes the Septuagint form and sometimes that of Machabees, which the Vulgate renders by Jerusalem and Jerosolyma. The Syriac Version gives Uris lem, a form more nearly approaching the Assyrian. When the Emperor Hadrian rebuilt the city, A.D. 136, he gave it the name of AElia Capitolina. From the Mohammedan conquest of Palestine, in the seventh century, until our own times, the Arabs have called it El Quds, "The Holy" --the ir haq qodes, or "Holy City," of II Esd. 11:18 (cf. Matt. 4:5, etc). Among all other people the name Jerusalem has continued in use until now.


Geographical Position.

Jerusalem is situated in latitude 31° 46' 45" N. and longitude 35° 13' 25" E. of Greenwich, about 32 English miles in a straight line from the Mediterranean on the west, and 13 from the Dead Sea on the east. It stands on the crest of a chain of mountains which traverses Palestine from north to south, and the highest point of which, at the northwest corner of the city, is 2577 feet above the level of the Mediterranean, and 3865 above that of the Dead Sea. Owing to this difference of level the western slope of these mountains, towards the Plain of Sephela, which extends to the Mediterranean, is gentle, while that to the east is very steep. A girdle of high hills surrounds the city, forming a sort of natural rampart. On the north is Mt. Scopus (2705 feet), next to it, on the east, the Mount of Olives (2665 feet), beyond which again is the Mount of Offence (2410 feet) (III Kings 11:7; IV Kings 23:13). To the south is the Mount of Evil Counsel (2549 feet), which forms the eastern boundary of the Plain of Raphaim, and next, on the southwest, comes a hill (2557 feet) to which no name has been given. Towards the northwest, the city is more exposed; at some distance in that direction, it is dominated by the Nebi Samwil, the ancient Maspha, which has an altitude of 2935 feet. Notwithstanding the difficulty of access in its natural situation, Jerusalem is the center of a network of ancient roads which connect it, on the east, with Jericho and the Jordan; on the south, with Hebron and Gaza; on the west, with Jaffa and Caesarea; on the north, with Samaria and Galilee. It was, however, situated beyond the great military and commercial highways between Egypt and Assyria.

Site; Hills and Valleys.

The ancient city occupied the same position as the present, except that its southern extremity has remained outside of the walls since the reign of Hadrian (A.D. 136). Thanks, however, to systematic operations undertaken by English, American, and German engineers, much of the old southern wall has been brought to light. While, in many places, masses of ruins have changed the appearance of the ground, excavations and vertical borings, made in the previous century, have, nevertheless, enabled the explorers to construct sufficiently exact maps of the primitive configuration.

The ground on which Jerusalem stands, within this ring of surrounding mountains, is by no means uniform in character: on three sides-the east, south, and west-it stands upon terraced heights bordered by deep valleys which give it the appearance of a promontory jutting out to the south. The city itself is furrowed with ravines which cut it up into a number of little hills. The longest of these valleys measures scarcely two miles and a half; they have all been formed by erosion, due to torrential rainfall, in the quaternary period. To the north of the city they take the shape of mere depressions in the soil, then, as they descend, sinking rapidly in the calcareous rock of which the mountains are formed, they soon become deep gorges, all coming together at the southeast angle of the city, at a depth of about 600 feet below their starting-point. The two principal hills rise on the southwest and the east respectively. The former of these hills is called Mount Sion because, according to Josephus (Antiq. Jud., XVI 7:1), Eusebius, and all the authors, Jewish and Christian, who have followed them, the city of Jebus, or Sion-the City of David-stood there. This view, however, is contested by certain Palestinologists, who would locate Sion upon the northern declivity of the second of these hills, Mount Moria (II Par. 3:1), where stood the Temple of Jehovah.

(a) Mount Sion is bounded on the west by a valley which begins near the old pool called Birket Mamilla (see below, under D), about 1000 feet to the northwest of the hill itself. This valley, following a southeasterly direction as far as the Jaffa Gate, the ancient gate of the gardens (Gennath) (Bell. Jud., V 4:2), then turns to the south and forms a great reservoir of water called the Birket es Sultan, by means of a massive dam, which was rebuilt in the twelfth and the sixteenth centuries. This is the Fountain of the Dragon (tannin) which Nehemias came to when he went out of the city by the western gate (D.V., "dragon fountain," II Esd. 2:13). Josephus calls it the Pool of the Serpent (Bell. Jud., V 3:2); the Hebrew word tannin simplifies both "dragon" and "serpent." This valley is called by the natives Wadi Rababi; in the Bible it goes by the name of Ge Hinnom, or Ge Ben Hinnom, "Valley of Ennom" (in A.V., Hinnom) or "of the son of Ennom"-an unknown personage (Jos. 15:8; 18:16; II Esd. 11:30; Jer. 19:2). Below the Birket es Sultan, it turns to the east, passes below Halcedama (q.v.), and connects with the Valley of Cedron. At the junction of the two valleys are the rich plantation forming "the king's garden" (or, in D.V., "the king's guard") mentioned in IV Kings 25:4; Jer. 39:4; II Esd. 3:15.

Also at the mouth of the Valley of Hinnom is situated Topheth, the high place where Achaz and Manasses set up the worship of Baal-Moloch (II Par. 28:3; 33:6). The good King Josias defiled this execrable place, scattering human bones over it (II Par. 34:3-5), in spite of which Joakim restored there the infamous worship of Moloch. From the unholy fires which were kept burning there for nearly a century and a half-those fires through which the apostate Jews caused their children to pass, in order to consecrate, or immolate, them to Moloch-Ge Hinnom (in Aramaic, Gehenanm) received the name of Geenna tou pyros, "Gehenna of the Fire," and became the emblem of hell (in Greek text, Matt. 5:22, 29, 30; Mark 9:43, 45). The Valley of Cedron, from Hinnom as far as the Dead Sea, is still called Wadi en Nar, "Valley of Fire."

On the north, Mount Sion is bounded by a valley, now largely filled in, which goes down in a straight line from the Jaffa Gate eastward to the foot of Mount Moria. On the slope of this valley is a large reservoir called in Arabic Birket Hammam el Batrak, "Pool of the Baths of the Patriarch," and in the itineraries of the pilgrims "Pool of Ezechias." Josephus calls it Amygdalon, a name which, according, to Conder, may with good reason be derived from ham migdalon, "facing the great tower," since the pool faces the Tower of Phasael. This valley, like all those which pass through the city, has no proper name in the Bible; neither has it in Arabic; it is conventionally known as the Transverse Valley. A third valley begins outside the Damascus Gate (Bab el Amoud) and descends southward, with a slight deflection to the east, dividing the city in two; until it joins the Valley of Hinnom. After passing the opening of the Transverse Valley, it forms a gorge of some depth separating Mount Sion from Mount Moria. Its rocky bed has found by the English engineers 69 feet below the actual surface of the ground near the Wailing Place, and 85 feet from the southwest angle of the Temple. It encloses, towards its extremity, the Pool of Siloe, which receives through a subterranean channel the waters of the Virgin's Fountain that flow through the hollow of Cedron. A little farther on, the valley has been dammed with a wall 233 feet in length, which, retaining the whole rainfall of the valley, formed the reservoir called by Nehemias "the king's pool" (in D.V., "the king's aqueduct," II Esd. 2:14). In Scripture, this valley figures under the name of Nahal, "ravine," or "torrent of winter" (II Esd. 2:15). Josephus in one place designates it "the wide valley" (Bell. Jud., V 4:1), and the Arabs call it simply El Wad, "the valley." In works on the Holy Land, it also bears the designation of "the central valley."

Surrounded on all sides by these deep ravines, Mount Sion presents a quadrilateral surface measuring about 2600 feet from north to south and 2000 feet from east to west. It is the largest of the hills of Jerusalem, the highest, and the only one completely isolated. Its highest point reaches an altitude of 2558 feet, and rises 531 feet above its base at the southeastern angle. Its surface is considerably varied, being, indeed, divided by a small depression which branches off from the middle of the Transverse Valley and descends obliquely to the Pool of Siloe. Mount Sion thus consists of two lofty connected plateaux, one (the lower) stretching westward, the other (the shorter) to the northwest. The former is fairly uniform and measures 2300 feet in length from north to south, and 920 feet in breadth. After sinking about 100 feet towards the northwest, the ground rises about 20 feet and forms a rounded eminence opposite to the Temple, terminating in a precipice 195 feet above the former bed of El Wad.

(b) Mount Moria, or the Eastern Hill, is a narrow promontory connected with Mount Bezetha, the highest point of which is the Hill of Jeremias, with an altitude of 2556 feet. This tongue of land terminates on the south in a point near the Pool of Siloe; El Wad encloses it on its western side, and the Valley of Cedron on its eastern. Upon its highest crest (2443 feet) was the domain of Ornan (Areuna), the Jebusite, where Solomon built the Temple and his palaces. This is the summit called Moria; south of the royal quarter, the hill (2300 to 2050 feet) bears the name of Ophel (II Par. 27:3). Cedron, which, since the third century after Christ, has also been called the Valley of Josaphat begins near the so-called Tombs of the Judges, and descends, under the name of Wadi ed Djoz (Valley of Walnuts), southeast to the foot of Scopus, thence south, becoming a deep gorge separating Mount Moria from the Mount of Olives and the Mount of Offence. At a point 1300 feet beyond the northeast angle of the city, it is crossed by a bridge which has replaced one of the Jewish period. This older Jewish bridge gave access, on the right, to a staircase cut in the rock and leading up to the north side of the Temple, and, on the left, to a similar staircase leading up to the Mount of Olives. To the left of the bridge is the Garden of Gethsemani, with the Tomb of the Blessed Virgin, from which the Arabs call this part of Cedron Wadi sitti Mariam, or "Valley of the Lady Mary." Next come, on the same side, two fine monuments of the Graeco-Roman-Judaic style (second to first century B.C.) excavated in the rock. The first of these has been called, since the fourth century after Christ, the Tomb of Absalom; the second, the Tomb of the Prophet Zacharias. Between the two is a grandiose Jewish tomb of the same period, belonging to the family of Beni Hezir. A little farther on, upon the side of the Mount of Offence, is to be seen a rock-hewn tomb of Egyptian architecture. Upon the same slope is perched the village of Silwan, the houses built against long rows of sepulchers, most of them cut in a vast bank of calcareous rock, popularly known as Ez Zehwele. Opposite, at the foot of Ophel, a flight of thirty-two steps descends to a grotto, in which is a spring of slightly brackish water. This spring presents the phenomenon of a natural (subterranean) syphon producing an intermittent flow; only at intervals-from three to six times a day-does the water rush down, with a strange humming noise, from a cleft in the rock. The water of this spring is conveyed to the Pool of Siloe by a winding tunnel. The Arabs call the fountain Ain Sitti Mariam, in honor of the Blessed Virgin, and also Ain Oumm Daradj, "Fountain of the Mother of the Stairs"; its Biblical name is, according to some, En Rogel; according to others, the Upper Gihon (see below, under D). Cedron now begins to widen, and is covered with rich gardens, the "king's gardens" mentioned in the Bible. It receives the Hinnom, together with El Wad and the little valley which descends obliquely from Mount Sion. Its descent in a course of about two and a half miles is 550 feet, but in the latter half of this distance it is encumbered with fifteen to fifty feet of rubbish.

To the north of Mount Moria one more valley begins outside the Gate of Herod (Bab Zahira), passes to the south-southeast, under the northeastern angle of the platform of the Temple, and ends at the bridge of Cedron. The numerous pools in this depression, near St. Ann's church, the traditional birthplace of the Blessed Virgin, have been excavated. Here should be located the Probatic Pool, or Pool of Bethsaida (A.V. Bethesda), with the five porches (John 5:2). The locality of the Birket Israil, a reservoir 359 feet long by 126 feet wide, has also been determined, to the north, against the outer wall of the Temple.

(c) Mount Gareb (in D.V. "the hill Gareb", Jer. 31:39) stretches between the Transverse Valley, on the south, and the upper course of El Wad, on the east. It rises somewhat abruptly towards the northwest but offers no particularly prominent height except the rock of Calvary (2518 feet). In A.D. 70, Gareb was still covered, outside the walls, with gardens watered by springs (Bell. Jud., V 2:2).

There is still discussion as to whether Sion, the City of David, occupied the traditional Mount Sion or Ophel; but all admit that before the reign of Ezechias (727 B.C.) the city of Jerusalem extended over both hills, within the limits of "the first walls."


The history of Jerusalem is to a certain degree indistinguishable from that of Israel. It will suffice here to call attention to the most memorable occurrences in the city.

From its Origin to its Conquest by David.

As seen above, Jerusalem is the ancient Salem, the capital of Melchisedech, king and priest of the Most High. Learning of the return of Abraham (then called Abram), who had been victorious over Chodorlahomor and his allies, Melchisedech came before the patriarch (Heb. 7:1) "in the vale of Save, which is the king's vale" (Gen. 14:17). The king's vale is the Valley of Cedron, which begins to the north of the city (II Kings 18:18; Antiq. Jud., I 10:2. Cf. IV Kings 25:4; Jer. 39:4). Like all the land of Chanaan, Jerusalem had been for many centuries in subjection to Chaldea; after Abraham's time it passed under the domination of Egypt. About the year 1400, while Israel was dreaming of liberation from the Egyptian yoke, certain Cossean peoples, called Khabiri, invaded Palestine, probably at the instigation of the Chaldeans or the Hethites, and took possession of the strongholds. Abd Hiba, king of U-ru-sa-lim, seeing his capital menaced, dispatched six letters in succession to his suzerain, Amenophis III, imploring succor. But in vain; Egypt herself was then undergoing a crisis. It was probably at this period that Jerusalem fell into the power of the Jebusites, who called it Jebus.

When the Hebrews came into the Land of Promise, the King of Jebus was Adonisedec (Lord of Justice)--a name which, both in form and in sense, recalls Melchisedech (King of Justice). Although Adonisedec perished in the coalition of the five kings of Chanaan against Israel (Jos. 10:26; 12:10), Jerusalem, thanks to its strong position, long maintained its independence. In the distribution of the land among the children of Israel, it was assigned to the descendents of Benjamin. The boundary between this tribe and that of Juda run from En Schems, on the Jericho road, to En Rogel, in the Valley of Cedron, then, following "the valley of the son of Ennom" (Jos. 15:7, 8) or "of the children of Ennom" (Jos. 18:15, 16) of the Judges, Juda and Benjamin had tried to gain possession of it, but in vain, although they put its inhabitants to the sword and gave the city to the flames (Judges 1:8). The city here spoken of is, as Josephus remarks (Antiq. Jud., v 2:2), only the lower city or suburbs. Jerusalem remained (Judges 19:l2) independent of Israel until the reign of David.

From David to the Babylonian Captivity.

Having become king over the Twelve Tribes of Israel, David contemplated making Jerusalem the political and religious center of God's people. He assembled all the forces of the nation at Hebron, and advanced against Jebus. After long and painful efforts, "David took the castle of Sion" and "dwelt in the castle, and called it, the city of David: and built round about from Mello and inwards" (II Kings 5:7, 9). This was about the year 1058 B.C. The king then caused cedar wood to be brought from Lebanon, and workmen from Tyre, to build him a palace. Soon after, the Ark of the Covenant was solemnly brought into the city of David and placed in a tabernacle. The king one day beheld the destroying angel soaring above Mount Moria, ready to strike the Holy City. The Lord stayed his arm, and David, in thanksgiving, bought the threshing-floor which was upon the summit of the hill, the property of Areuna (A.V. Araunah), or Ornan, the Jebusite, and there built an altar, upon which he offered holocausts (II Kings, 24; I Par., 21:). Thenceforward Mount Moria was destined to receive the temple of the Most High. David prepared the material and left the execution of the project to his son.

In the fourth year of his reign, Solomon began the building of the Temple, under the direction of artificers sent by Hiram, King of Tyre. Hiram also supplied cedar wood and cypress wood; 70,000 men were employed in transporting wood from Joppe (Jaffa) to Jerusalem and 80,000 more in quarrying stone in the neighborhood and shaping it. The splendid monument was completed, as to its essential details, in seven years and a half, and with great pomp, the Ark of the Covenant was brought from the City of David to the new sanctuary (II Kings, 6:). The buildings were erected upon a great platform, constructed by means of immense containing walls. To the west rose the Holy of Holies, surrounded by a series of chambers in several tiers, in front of which, to the east, was a monumental facade, or pylon, formed by two lofty connected towers. Opposite to this entrance rose two great columns of bronze, like obelisks. Towards the east was the great court of the priests, square, surrounded with porches, and enclosing the altar of holocausts, the "sea of brass," and other utensils for sacrifices. This court was surrounded by others which were also enriched with galleries and superb buildings. Solomon next devoted thirteen years to erecting, south of the Temple, "the house of the Forest of Lebanon," his royal palace, with that of his queen, Pharaoh's daughter, as well as the buildings destined for his numerous family, for his guard, and for his slaves. He then connected the Temple and the new royal quarter with the City of David by a wall of enclosure, fortified the Millo (in D.V., Mello-III Kings 9:15), and "filled up the gulf of the City of David" (III Kings 11:27). The people began to murmur under taxation and forced labor.

Insurrection broke out when the proud Roboam, son of Solomon, began his reign (981-65). Ten tribes revolted from him to form the Kingdom of the North, or of Israel, and Jerusalem ceased to be anything more than the capital of the tribes of Benjamin and Juda. At the invitation of Jeroboam, who was elected sovereign of the new kingdom, Sesac (Seshonq, in Juda (976), took Jerusalem, and plundered the immense treasures of the Temple and the royal palace (III Kings 14:25, 26). Asa (961-21) and Josaphat (920-894) enriched the Temple after their numerous victories over the neighboring peoples. Under Joram (893-888) the Philistines, in alliance with the Arabs of the South, in their turn pillaged the Temple and slew or carried off all the sons of the king except the youngest, Ochozias, or Joachaz, the child of Athalia (II Par. 21:16, 17). On his murder, Athalia had her grandsons put to death, and seized the power.

Joas alone, a child of one year, was saved from the massacre by the High-Priest Joiada and was secretly reared in the Temple. At the age of six, he was proclaimed king by the people, and Athalia was stoned to death. Joas (886-41) restored the Temple and abolished the worship of Baal; but later on, he allowed himself to be perverted, and caused the Prophet Zacharias, the son of Joiada, his preserver, to be put to death. He himself perished by the hands of his servants (IV Kings, 12; II Par., 22:). Under Amasias the Israelites of the North vanquished those of the South, attacked Jerusalem, and "broke down the wall of Jerusalem from the gate of Ephraim to the gate of the corner, four hundred cubits." The treasures of the Temple and of the royal palace were carried away to Samaria (IV Kings 14:13, 14). Ozias, or Azarias (811-760), repaired the breech and fortified the wall with strong towers (II Par. 26:9). His son Joatham (759-44), a wise and good king, strengthened the city by building "the high gate of the house of the Lord, and on the wall of Ophel he worked much" — south of the royal quarter (II Par. 27:3; IV Kings 15:35).

While the Kings of Syria and Israel were marching against Jerusalem, God sent the Prophet Isaias to King Achaz (743-27), who was at "the conduit of the upper pool." There the Prophet foretold to him the repulse of the enemy and at the same time announced to him that the Messias, Emmanuel, should be born of a virgin (Is. 7:3-14). Achaz used the wealth of the Temple to pay tribute to Theglathphalasar, King of Assyria, whose protection he had sought against the Kings of Israel and Syria; he was impious enough to substitute the worship of Baal-Moloch for that of Jehovah.

Ezechias (727-696) hastened to abolish the worship of idols. Alarmed by the fall of the Kingdom of Israel (721), he erected a second wall to protect the suburbs which had come into existence to the north of Mount Sion and the Temple. He made an alliance with Egypt and with Merodach Baladan, King of Babylon, and refused to pay tribute to Assyria. Upon this, Sennacherib, King of Nineve, who was at war with Egypt, invaded Palestine from the south, and sent his chief officers from Lachis to Jerusalem, with a numerous army, to summon the king to surrender at discretion. However, upon the advice of Isaias, the king refused to surrender. To cut off the enemy's water, he dammed the spring of the Upper Gihon and brought the stream to the west of the City of David (II Par. 32:3, 4, and 30). An Assyrian tablet (Taylor's Prism, col. 3) reports that Sennacherib, after vanquishing the Egyptians at Altaka and taking forty-six cities of Judea, shut up Ezechias in Jerusalem "like a bird in a cage" (Cuneiform Inscriptions of W. Asia, I, PI. 39). This agrees with the Bible narrative; just as he was about to assault Jerusalem, Sennacherib was informed that Tharaca, King of Ethiopia, was advancing against him, and forthwith, leaving the Holy City, he set out for Egypt; but his army was miraculously destroyed by pestilence (IV Kings 18:13; 19:35-37; II Par., 32: 9-22; Is., 36 and 37). Sennacherib organized another army at Nineve and vanquished Merodach Baladan of Babylon, Ezechias's suzerain.

Thus it was that, according to the Assyrian inscriptions, Manasses, son of Ezechias (695-45) found himself a tributary of Assaradon and of Assurbanipal, Kings of Ninive (Prism of Assaradon, op. cit., III, p. 16; G. Smith, "History of Assurbanipal," p. 30). Manasses afterwards tried to shake off the Ninivite yoke. In 666, Assurbanipal's generals came to Jerusalem, put the king in chains, and carried him to Babylon, which was in vassalage to Ninive (II Par. 33:9-11). Manasses, however, soon obtained his liberty and returned to Jerusalem, where he repaired the evils he had caused. He also restored the city walls built by his father (II Par. 33:12-16).

Amon, one of the worst kings of Juda, was assassinated after a reign of two years. Josias, his son (641-08), guided by the Prophet Jeremias, destroyed the idolatrous altars and restored the Temple (621). Upon this occasion, the High Priest Helcias found in a hall of the sanctuary an old copy of the Law of Jehovah given by Moses (IV Kings 22:8-14; II Par. 34:14-21). In 608 the Pharaoh, Nechao II, marched against Assyria. Actuated by a scruple of conscience, the good king attempted to bar the way against his suzerain's adversary, and met his death at the battle of Mageddo (IV Kings 23:29, 30). Joachas, or Sellum, his successor, after reigning three months, was deposed by Nechao, and sent as a captive to Egypt, while Eliacim, to whom the conqueror gave the name of Jehoiakim (D.V. Joakim), was put in his place (607-600).

In 601 Nabuchodonosor (Nebuchadnezzar) entered Judea to consolidate his father's power. He carried away as captives to Babylon certain notables of Jerusalem, together with the young Prophet Daniel. Joakim revolted against the Babylonian yoke, but his son Joachin (Jehoiachin), surrendered to Nabuchodonosor. The city was given over to pillage and 10,000 inhabitants, including the king, were carried off to Babylon (IV Kings 27:1-16; cf. also II Par. 36:1-10). Sedecias, third son of Josias, succeeded his nephew (596-587). Urged by the Egyptian party, he, too, rebelled against his suzerain. Nabuchodonosor returned to Syria and sent his general, Nabuzardan, against Jerusalem with a formidable army.

The city surrendered after a siege of more than eighteen months. The Temple, the royal palaces, and other principal buildings were given to the flames, and the city was dismantled. The sacred vessels, with everything else of value, were carried away to Babylon; the Ark of the Covenant alone could be hidden by the Jews. Sedecias, who, at the last moment, had fled with his army by the southern gate, was overtaken in the plain of Jordan, and his eyes were put out. The high priest, the chief military officers, and the notables of the land were massacred, and the remainder of the inhabitants were transported to Babylon with their blind king. Only husbandmen and the poor were left in the country, with a Jewish governor named Godolias (Gedaliah), who took up his residence at Maspha (IV Kings 24:18-20; 25; II Par. 36:11-21).

From the Return out of Captivity to the Roman Domination

In 536 B.C. Cyrus, King of Persia, authorized the Jews to return to Palestine and rebuild the Temple of the Lord (I Esd. 1:1-4). The first convoy, consisting of 42,000 Jews, was dispatched under the leadership of Zorobabel, a prince of Juda. They hastened to restore the altar of holocausts, and in the second year the foundations were laid for another temple, which, however, owing to the difficulties raised by the Samaritans and other neighboring peoples, was not completed until the sixth year of the reign of Darius (514). The old men could not restrain their tears when they saw the unpretentious character of the new building. In 458, under Artaxerxes I, Esdras came to Jerusalem with 1500 Jews as governor of Judea and completed the political and religious restoration of Israel. Thirteen years later Nehemias, with the authorization of Artaxerxes, completely restored the Holy City.

By the victory of Issus and the capture of Tyre, Alexander the Great, King of Macedon, became master of Western Asia. In 332, he marched against Jerusalem, which had remained faithful to Darius III. The High-Priest Jaddus, believing that resistance would be useless, went out to meet the great conqueror, and induced him to spare the Jews (Antiq. Jud., XI 8:3-6). After Alexander, Jerusalem suffered much from the long struggle between the Seleucids of Syria and the Ptolemies of Egypt. Palestine fell to Seleucus Nicanor; but in 305 Ptolemy Soter gained entrance into Jerusalem on a Sabbath Day by stratagem, and carried away a number of Jews to Egypt (Antiq. Jud. XII 1:1). A century later (203) Antiochus the Great again tore the Holy City from the grasp of Egypt. When, in 199, it fell once more into the power of Scopas, a general of Ptolemy Epiphanes, the Jews helped the troops of Antiochus, who had just defeated Scopas's army, to definitively drive the Egyptian garrison out of the citadel of Jerusalem (Antiq. Jud. XII 3:3).

The Seleucids conceived the unfortunate idea of introducing Hellenistic -- that is, pagan --notions and manners among the Jewish people, especially the sacerdotal and civil aristocracy. The high priesthood had become a venal office; Jason was supplanted by Menelaus, and Menelaus by Lysimachus. These unworthy priests at last took up arms against each other, and blood flowed freely on several occasions in the streets of Jerusalem (II Mach., 4:). Under pretence of stifling these turmoils, Antiochus Epiphanes in 170 entered the Holy City, stormed the fortifications of the Temple, plundered it of its most sacred vessels, massacred 40,000 persons, and carried off as many more into bondage (I Mach. 1:17-25; II Mach. 5:11-23). Two years later, he sent his general Apollonius to suppress the Jewish religion by force and replace it at Jerusalem with Greek paganism. The city was dismantled, and the Acra, the citadel which commanded the Temple and served as a garrison for the Syrians and an asylum for renegade Jews, was reinforced. The statue of the Olympian Jupiter was set up in the Temple of the Most High, while a cruel and bloody persecution everywhere broke out against those Jews who were faithful to their traditions (I Mach. 1:30-64; II Mach. 5:25, 26; 6:1-11).

The priest Mathathias of Hasmon and his five sons known as the Machabees organized an heroic resistance. Judas, succeeding on the death of his father (166), gained four victories over the Syrian armies, occupied Jerusalem (164), purified the Temple, strengthened the fortifications, and erected a new altar of holocausts. He also repaired the walls of the city, but could not gain possession of the citadel (Acra), which was held by a Syrian garrison. After various repulses and victories, he made an alliance with the Roman Empire (I Mach. 8:).

Jonathas succeeded and maintained the struggle with no less heroism and success. He built a wall between the upper city and the Acra, as a barrier against the Syrians. Simon took the place of his brother when Jonathas fell by treachery (142). Three years later, he drove out the Syrian garrison of Acra, razed the fortress, and even levelled the hill on which it had stood-a gigantic undertaking which occupied the entire population for three years (Antiq. Jud., XVIII 6:6; Bell. Jud., V 4:1). Demetrius II and after him Antiochus Sidetes finally recognized the independence of the Jewish people. Simon, with two of his sons, was assassinated by his son-in-law, and his third son, John Hyrcanus I (135-06), succeeded him on the throne.

Antiochus Sidetes, with a formidable army, came to besiege Jerusalem, but consented to withdraw for a ransom of 500 talents, and Hyrcanus took that sum from the treasures of the royal sepulcher (Antiq. Jud. XIII 8:24; Bell. Jud., I 2:5). Hyrcanus I was succeeded by his son Aristobulus I, who combined the title of pontiff with that of king, reigning, however only one year. His brother and successor, Alexander Jannaeus (105-78), considerably enlarged the boundaries of the kingdom by his many brilliant victories. Upon his death Alexandra, his widow, took the reins of government into her hands for nine years, after which she entrusted the high priesthood and the kingship to her son Hyrcanus II (69), but his brother Aristobulus took up arms to dispute the possession of the throne.

By virtue of the alliance with Rome, which Simon had entered into, Pompey, the Roman general, came from Damascus to Jerusalem, in 65 B.C., to put an end to the civil war. The partisans of Hyrcanus opened the gates of the city to the Romans, but those of Aristobulus entrenched themselves within the fortifications of the Temple, and could not be dislodged until after a siege of three months. Their resistance was at last overcome on a Sabbath Day; as many as 12,000 Jews were massacred, and Aristobulus was driven into exile. Pompey restored Hyrcanus to the high-priesthood, with the title of ethnarch, and declared Jerusalem a tributary of Rome (Antiq. Jud., XIV 4:1-4; Bell. Jud. I 7:1).

Under the Roman Domination; until A.D. 70.

Caesar authorized Hyrcanus to rebuild the walls that had been demolished by Pompey; but in 48 B.C. he appointed Antipater, the Idumean, governor of Palestine, and the latter, four years afterwards, obtained the appointment of his eldest son, Phasael, as prefect of Jerusalem, and of his youngest son, Herod, as governor of Galilee. When Antipater died (43), Antigonus, the son of Aristobulus II, seized the throne, sent Hyrcanus II into exile among his allies, the Parthians and imprisoned Phasael, who killed himself in despair (Antiq. Jud., XIV 13:5-10; Bell. Jud., I 13:1-10). Herod fled to Rome, where the Senate proclaimed him King of the Jews (40). But it was three years before he wrested Jerusalem from Antigonus, and only after bringing conflagration and bloodshed upon the city. Antigonus, the last of the Hasmonean dynasty, was condemned to death (Antiq. Jud., XIV 14:4; 16:1; Bell. Jud., I 14:4; XVIII).

In 24 B.C., Herod the Great built himself a splendid castle upon the site of the Tower of Baris, or of Birah (II Esd. 2:8), named it Antonia, in honor of Mark Antony, and took up his residence there (Bell. Jud. v, 5:8; Antiq. Jud., XV 11:5). He also built a theatre and an amphitheatre for gladiatorial combats. In 19 B.C. the king, whose origin as well as his cruelty rendered him odious to the Jews, thought to win their goodwill by reconstructing the Temple of Zorobabel, little by little, until it should be as splendid as that of Solomon. He also enlarged the sanctuary by extending the galleries to the fortress of Antonia, on the north, and connecting it, on the south, with the site of Solomon's palace, so as to erect there a superb stoa, or basilica.

The opening of the new Temple took place in the year 10 B.C. (Antiq. Jud., XV 11:3-6), but thousands of workmen labored at it until A.D. 64 (Antiq. Jud., XX 9:7). He built a second strong castle at the northwest angle of Mount Sion, and flanked it with three superb towers--Hippicus, Phasael, and Mariamne. He also opened the tomb of the kings of Juda, in quest of treasure, after which, to allay the popular indignation aroused by his sacrilege, he erected a monument of white marble at the entrance of the tomb (Anti. Jud., VII. 15:3; XVI 7:1) Herod was nearing the end of his reign of nearly forty-one years when Jesus, the Divine Savior, was born at Bethlehem. A few months after the visit of the three Wise Men of the East, and the massacre of the Innocents he died of a hideous malady, hated by all his people (4 B.C.).

Archelaus, his son, took the title of king, but in the course of the same year, Rome left him with only the title of Ethnarch of Judea, Samaria, and Idumea. Ten years later, he was deposed, and Judea was reduced to the status of a Roman province. Coponius, Marcus Ambivius, Annius Rufus, Valerius Gratus (A.D. 14) and Pontius Pilate (26) were successively appointed procurators of the country. Pilate occasioned several seditions, which he stifled with extreme brutality. Under the administration of Pontius Pilate, Jesus Christ was arrested and put to death. The Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension of the Divine Savior have rendered Jerusalem --which was already glorious -- the most celebrated city in all the world. The enthusiasm with which, after the Day of Pentecost, thousands of Jews declared themselves disciples of Jesus Christ provoked a violent persecution of Christians, in which the deacon Stephen was the first martyr (Acts 6:8-15). Pontius Pilate having one day seized the funds of the Corban to pay for the construction of an aqueduct, a violent uprising of the Jews was thus occasioned (35). Summoned to Rome to give an account of his conduct, he was banished by Caligula (Antiq. Jud., XVIII 3:2).

Two years later, the emperor made Herod Agrippa I, grandson of Herod, tetrarch of the countries beyond Jordan; in 41 Claudius made him king of Judea. Agrippa undertook the construction of the third wall, to the north of the city (Antiq. Jud., XIX 7:2; Bell. Jud., V 4:2). To please the Jews, he caused St. James the Greater to be beheaded, and intended the same lot for St. Peter, when an angel came and delivered the saint from his chains (Acts 12:1-19). Soon afterwards, early in 44, the king died miserably at Caesarea (Acts 12:23; Antiq. Jud., XIX 8:2).

At this epoch there came to Jerusalem Saddan, who was called among the Greeks Helen, Queen of Adiabene, a country situated on the Adiabas, which is an eastern tributary of the Tigris. Converted to Judaism, together with her numerous family, she comforted the poor with her bounty during a terrible famine (cf. Acts 11:28). It was she who caused to be excavated, for herself and her family, to the north of the city, the imposing sepulcher known as the Tomb of the Kings (Antiq. Jud., XX 2:6; 4:3). At this time the Blessed Virgin died, and was buried at Gethsemane. St. Peter returned from Antioch to preside at the First Ecumenical Council (Acts 15:1-3).

The King of Judea was replaced by a procurator, and Agrippa II, son of the preceding Agrippa, was made Prince of Chalcis and Perea, and charged with the care of the Temple of Jerusalem (Antiq. Jud. XX 9:7). He finished the third wall, which had been commenced by his father, and brought the work upon the sanctuary to a termination in A.D. 64. Cuspius Fadus, Tiberius Alexander, and Cumanus were successively procurators, from 44 to 52. Then came Felix, Festus, and Albinus, from 52 to 66.

With the last four, disorders and massacres occurred incessantly. Gessius Florus (66) surpassed the wickedness of his predecessors, and drove the people to revolt against the Roman domination. Agrippa and his party advocated patience, and appealed to Rome against the procurator; but after several days of civil war, the insurgent party triumphed over the pacific, massacred the Roman garrison, and set fire to the palaces. Cestius Gallus, President of Syria, arrived on 30 October, 66, with the Twelfth Legion, but only met with repulses, and had to retire (Antiq. Jud., XX, xxi; Bell. Jud., II 17:6; 19:1-9). The Christians, recalling Christ's prophecies (Luke 19:43, 44), withdrew beyond the Jordan into Agrippa's territory, led by their bishop, St. Simeon (St. Epiphanius, "De mensuris," xiv, xv). Nero commanded his general, Vespasian, to suppress the insurrection, and Vespasian, accompanied by his son Titus, invaded Galilee, in A.D. 67, with an army of 60,000 men. Most of the strong places had been captured, when the death of the emperor occasioned a suspension of hostilities. After the ephemeral reigns of three emperors, aggregating eighteen months, Vespasian was raised to the throne in November, 69.

Titus received from his father the command of the Army of the East, and in the following year, at the season when the Holy City was crowded with those who had come to the Feast of the Passover, he began to lay siege to it. On the 14th day of Xanthic (Bell. Jud., V 13:7), or of the Hebrew month Abib — the day of the Passover, corresponding to 31 March-Titus took up his position on Mount Scopus with the Fifth, Seventh, and Fifteenth Legions, while the Tenth Legion occupied the Mount of Olives. On the other side, John of Giscala held the Temple, the Antonia, and the new town at Bezetha, with 11,000 men, and Simon, the son of Giora, held the upper and lower city, on the southwestern hill, with 10,000 men. Attacking the third wall, on 9 April, the legions captured that line of defenses after fifteen days' fighting.

Once master of the new town, Titus took up a position to the west, on the ground known as "the Camp of the Assyrians" (Bell. Jud., V 7:2). An attack upon the second wall immediately followed. Five days later, the Romans gained entrance by a breach, but were repulsed, and mastered it only after five days of fierce and incessant fighting. Titus could then approach the Antonia, which offered the only way of access to the Temple, and the citadel of Herod, which covered the first wall to the north of Mount Sion. After three days given to repose, the causeways and movable towers were made ready against the Hippicus tower and the Antonia. However, on 17 May, the works raised against the Antonia were ruined and destroyed by the soldiers of John of Giscala, and two days later Simon’s men set the movable towers which threatened the Hippicus on fire, while a heroic struggle was being maintained on both sides. The Roman general then employed his whole army for three days in surrounding the city with an earthwork of circumvallation, designed to cut off all communication with the city and so to reduce the place by famine. This soon produced terrible results (Bell. Jud., XII 5:2).

After three weeks of fresh preparations, the battering-rams effected a breach in the wall connecting the Antonia with the Temple, near the Pool of Struthius, but in vain. Two days later, the wall crumbled to pieces above a mine prepared by John of Giscala, and a handful of Roman soldiers gained entrance to the Antonia by surprise, at three o'clock in the morning of 20 June (Bell. Jud., VI 1:1-7). Titus at once had the fortress demolished, in order to use the materials in constructing mounds against the Temple.

For three weeks, the Jews desperately defended first the outer porticoes and then the inner, which the Romans entered only at the cost of enormous sacrifices. At last, on 23 July, a Roman soldier flung a blazing torch into one of the halls adjoining the Holy of Holies. In the midst of frightful carnage the fire spread to the neighboring buildings, and soon the whole platform was one horrible mass of corpses and ruins (Bell. Jud., VI 2:1-9; 3:1, 2; iv, 1-5). The Romans then set fire to the palace in the hollow of El Wad, and to the Ophel; next day they drove the Jews out of the Acra and burned the lower city as far as the Pool of Siloe (Bell. Jud., VI 6:3-4).

There still remained the third rampart, the formidable stronghold of the upper city, where the defenders of the Acra, laden with booty, had joined Simon's men. Eighteen days were devoted to the preparation of the aggeres (mounds) to the northwest and northeast of the fortress, but scarcely had the battering rams breached the walls when John and Simon fled secretly with their troops. On the eighth day of Elul (1 August) the city was definitively in the power of the Romans, after a siege of 143 days. To those who congratulated him Titus replied: "It is not I who have conquered. God, in His wrath against the Jews, has made use of my arm" (Bell. Jud., VIII 5:2).

The walls of the Temple and those of the city were demolished. But Titus wished to preserve the fortress of the upper city, with the three magnificent towers of Herod's palace. Besides, the upper city was needed as a fortified station for the Tenth Legion, which was left to garrison Jerusalem. During this siege -- one of the most sanguinary recorded in history -- 600,000 Jews, according to Tacitus (Hist. 5:xiii), or, according to Josephus, more than a million, perished by the sword, disease, or famine. The survivors died in gladiatorial combats or were sold into slavery.

Development of the City and its Chief Monuments.

Sion, or the City of David, according to Tradition.

"David took the castle of Sion" and "dwelt in the castle, and called it, the city of David: and built round about from Mello and inwards" (II Kings 5:7-9). When Solomon had completed the Temple and the House of the Forest of Lebanon, 100 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high, with a porch 30 cubits by 50, he erected the palaces and other buildings. Lower down, towards the south, in the locality which figures in the post-Exilic texts as the Ophel, we find the Gabaonites (Jos. 9:22) and other Nathinites — foreign races placed at the service of the Levites to furnish wood and water for the sacrifices (I Esd. 2:58; 7:2f; 8: 20; II Esd. 3:26; 11:21).

Did Sion, the City of David, occupy the eastern hill or that situated to the southwest? Before the exile, the Jews could not have been ignorant of the location, for the boundary wall of Sion enclosed the sepulchers of the prophet-king and fourteen of his successors; the last two Books of Kings repeat this thirteen times (III Kings 2:10; 11:43; 14:9, 24, etc.; IV Kings 8:24, etc.), and Paralipomenon bears similar witness. On their return from exile, the old men (I Esd. 3:12) must have remembered in what quarter of the city the burial-places of David and his descendants were situated. In point of fact, Nehemias does not hesitate to use them as a landmark (II Esd. 3:16). Hyrcanus I and Herod the Great even opened these tombs of the kings to find treasure in them (Antiq. Jud., VII 15:3; XIII 7:4; Bell. Jud., 1 2:5). The white marble monument erected by the latter seems to have remained standing until A.D. 133 (Dion Cassius, "Hist. of Rome," LXIX, iv). At any rate, the tomb of David was well known among the Jews and the disciples of Christ in the time of St. Peter (Acts 2:29).

Now Josephus, an eyewitness, says that the Jebusite city, which became the City of David, occupied the high western plateau of the southwestern hill, which is now known as Mount Sion. In his time it was called "the upper city" (Antiq. Jud., XVI 7:1, etc.), and again the upper agora, or market (Bell. Jud., V 4:1. Cf. I Mach. 12:36; 14:36). The word Millo (in D.V. Mello) is always translated Acra in the Septuagint and Josephus, and, according to the latter, the Millo, or Mello, occupied the high plateau on the northeast side of the same hill, and was in his time called Acra, "lower city" and "lower market" (Antiq. Jud., XVI 7:1; Bell. Jud., V 4:1; I Mach. 1:38). It was this hill, commanding the Temple, that was levelled by the Hasmoneans (Antiq. Jud., XIII 6:6; Bell. Jud., I 2:2). The Talmudists agree with the Jewish historian as to the position of the two markets (Neubauer, "La Geographie du Talmud," p. 138). Eusebius of Caesarea (Onomasticon, s. v. "Golgotha"), Blessed Jerome (Ep. cviii, "Ad Eustoch."), St. Epiphanius ("De mens.," xiv), and all later writers, Jewish and Christian, locate Sion, the City of David, upon the southwestern hill, which has never borne any other name than that of Mount Sion.

Sion on Ophel.

Over the past two centuries, many writers have rejected tradition and sought information from the Bible alone, giving some twenty different topographical theories. The theory, which places Sion upon Ophel, is the only one which (apart from certain discrepancies as to the sites of the Mello, the Acra, the palaces of Solomon, etc.) is worth a moment's consideration. The partisans of this theory, base it upon the following passage: "This same Ezechias was he that stopped the source of waters of Gihon, and tied them away underneath toward the west of the city of David " (II Par. 32:30). They maintain that Sion was at Ophel for the following reasons:

(a) En Rogel - "the fountain Rogel" - a spring of the Valley of Cedron (Jos. 15:7; 18:16) is the Bir Eyub, or "Well of Job," situated 2300 feet to the south of the Ain Sitti Mariam, or Fountain of the Virgin.

(b) In former times, as now, the Fountain of the Virgin was the only spring which flowed in the vicinity of Jerusalem.

(c) The Fountain of the Virgin is, therefore, the Upper Gihon of the Bible.

(d) Now it was Ezechias who made the tunnel of Siloe.

(e) By this passage the king brought the waters of the Fountain of the Virgin to the west of Ophel, that is, of the City of David.

(f) The Books of Machabees explicitly state that Sion was on the mountain of the Temple or Moria.

The following objections are made:

(a) The Bir Eyub, that is to say, the Well of Job, is neither a spring nor a fountain (en or ain), but a well (bir), 125 feet deep, in its present condition, and is supplied only by rain-drainage and infiltration. In the sixth century, Cyril of Scythopolis (Vita S. Sabae, lxii), and then Eutychius of Alexandria (Annals), and Moudjir ed Din ("Hist. de Jerus.," ed. Sauvaire, p. 188) tell us that, after a great drought which lasted five years (509-14), in the twenty-third year of Anastasius, John, Patriarch of Jerusalem, caused a well to be dug to a depth, according to Cyril, of about 255 feet, or according to the Arab historian, of 10 cubits (about 82 feet), but without finding any water. The Bir Eyub, therefore, is no Chanaanean fountain, and the En Rogel must necessarily be the Fountain of the Virgin, the natural peculiarities of which must have made it famous in the country and fitted it to serve as a boundary mark between the tribes of Benjamin and Juda. The grotto of this spring, too, would have afforded a good place of concealment to David's two spies, who hid at En Rogel (II Kings 17:17).

(b) In the time of Ezechias there were many springs of running water in the neighborhood of Jerusalem, and the king stopped them all (II Par. 32:2-5). Josephus relates that when Titus was besieging Jerusalem many springs flowed so abundantly that they sufficed, not only to give drinking water to the Romans but also to irrigate the gardens (Bell. Jud., V 4:2). West of the city the ground was covered with gardens (Bell. Jud., VI 2:2; 7:2) and this is why the western gate bore the name of Gennath, "Gate of the Gardens." Here Titus pitched his camp and here the officers of Sennacherib halted (IV Kings 18:17. Cf, Is. 7:3). Among the living waters of Jerusalem the Babylonian Talmud commemorates the "Beth Mamila" (Neubauer, op. cit., p. 146), that is, the Birket Mamilla. Cyril of Scythopolis (loc. cit.) relates that in the great five-years' drought "the waters of Siloe and of the Lucillians ceased to flow." Lastly Josephus says that a conduit under the Gate of Gennath brought water to the Tower of Hippicus (Bell. Jud., V 7:3). Several fragments of ancient aqueducts have been discovered under the Jaffa Gate and about the Hammana el Batrak, commonly called the Pool of Ezechias.

(c) Adonias, the first-born son of David the king, secretly assembled his numerous partisans upon "the stone of Zoheleth, which was near the fountain Rogel," where he offered rams and bulls, and was to have been proclaimed king at the end of the banquet. But David, apprised of the plot by the Prophet Nathan, sent Solomon, with the Prophet and the royal guard to Gihon, there to receive the sacred unction without Adonias's knowledge, and to be proclaimed king to the sound of trumpets (III Kings 1:5-9, 33-45). On the Bank of the Mount of Offence opposite to the Fountain of the Virgin, is an immense rocky ledge called Ez Zahweile. This has been identified by Clermont-Ganneau with the stone of Zoheleth ("Quart. Stat." 1810, p. 251). Wilson and Warren are of the same opinion (The Recovery of Jerus., p. 305). Conder supports the identification upheld "by the common opinion of the learned" ("Quart. 5tat.," 1884, p. 242, n. 1).

If the City of David had been on Ophel, would Adonias have held his treasonable banquet under the windows of the royal palace? Would David have been ignorant of this large and noisy gathering until Nathan's arrival? Would he have sent Solomon into the Valley of Cedron, at the foot of Zoheleth? Would not the partisans of Adonias have heard the sound of trumpets and the shouts of the people before the royal procession had returned to Sion (III Kings 1:41)? The fact appears to be that, while Adonias had withdrawn to a spot in the Valley of Cedron near En Rogel, Solomon was sent from the opposite side, where was the source of Gihon.

(d) There is no document which in any way attributes the construction of the tunnel of Siloe to Ezechias. On the other hand, Isaias, in the reign of Achaz, the father of Ezechias, speaks (viii, 6) of "the waters of Siloe" (a word which means "sent." -John 9:7) "that go with silence." The Hebrew inscription found in 1881 on the wall of the tunnel is, according to Sayce ("Fresh Light," London, 1883, p. 116), earlier than Ezechias, and may even date from the time of Solomon. Conder, Maspero, Stade, Renan, and others hold that it antedates the time of Ezechias.

(e) There is now no question of the fact that the pool of Siloe was always without the walls of the city (Bell. Jud., V 4:2; 9:4). Now Ezechias brought the waters of Gihon to a cistern within the city (IV Kings 20:20; Ecclus., 48:19, fragment of the Hebrew text). Isaias (22:11) says, "You made a ditch between the two walls"-i.e., between the old wall and that of Ezechias, northwest of Mount Sion. The Hebrews never divided the cardinal points of the compass.

(f) In the historical books, Sion is applied to the city of Jebus, which, with the Mello, became the City of David. But in the poetic books, Sion becomes, by metaphor, a synonym for the Temple (Ps. 77:68), or for Jerusalem (Ps. 132:3; 86:5). Sion sometimes designates the people of Israel (Is. 10:32; Soph. 3:14), or Judea (Lam. 4:22), and even the Jewish community in the dispersion (Jer. 31:12; Zach. 2:7). In the days of the Machabees, the City of David, to the west of the Temple, has become the resort of infidels (I Mach. 1:35 sqq.). Symbolically, the name of Sion was transferred to the Temple and its fortress, which had become the only remaining stronghold of Israel's faith. But Ophel was always excluded from this symbolical Sion (Mach. 12:36, 37). The text of the Bible, studied and interpreted on the spot, indicates the same hill for the locality of the holy Sion, the City of David, as does tradition. Archaeology, too, positively confirms tradition.

Sion the Upper City.

The sides of the traditional Mount Sion contain a great many dwelling-places wholly or partly excavated in the rock. These were, according to the common opinion, the houses of the aboriginal inhabitants. While constructing the Gobat School and the Protestant cemetery, in 1874-75, to the south of the western plateau of Sion, Maudslay discovered the line of an ancient fortress. Its base is a scarp cut vertically in the rock, about 600 feet in length, and 40-50 feet in height. To the west and east of this colossal scarp are salients hewn out of the rock, their sides measuring 40-50 feet. These are the rock bases of flanking towers. The first is 20 feet in height, and rests upon a plateau of rock rudely shaped into a talus. Along the scarp runs a ditch, which is also dug out of the living rock, having a depth of from 5 to 10 feet and an average width of 18 feet (Conder, "The Rock Scarp of Zion" in "Quart. Stat." 1875, pp. 81 sq). In 1894 Bliss took up and continued the work of exploration. From the eastern tower the scarp turns toward the northeast, following the outlines of the high plateau, and the ditch follows uninterruptedly in the same direction. Because of some houses which are grouped about the Holy Cenacle, the exploration has only been carried on to a length of 185 feet.

The scarp was once crowned by a wall (some of the stones of which, cut and beveled, were found in situ), rises to a height of 240 feet above the bed of the Ennom (Hinnom) (see Bliss). This fortress, which was originally isolated, and was constructed with marvelous art, and which was so solid as to defy every attack, occupied the high city indicated by Josephus, "upon much the highest hill, straight along its length, which, by reason of its strong position, had been named by David the citadel" (Bell. Jud., V 4:1). It was about 2300 feet in length and 800 in breadth. To the north, where it was protected by valley of no great depth, Herod caused a strong castle to be built, which made the position almost impregnable, even against the Roman legions.

Thanks to the dimensions and other indications supplied by Josephus, it is thought that the Tower of Phasael may be recognized in the first courses of masonry of the actual Tower of David, and that of Hippicus in the tower to the northwest of the city citadel; that of Mariamne ought to flank the western wall. On the same side the Gate of the Valley formerly opened (II Par. 26: 9; II Esd. 2:13, 15; 3:13), and at the northwest angle rose the Tower of the Furnaces (II Esd. 3:11; 12:37), which defended the Gate of the Corner before the Herodian structure existed (IV Kings 14:13; II Par. 25:23). The high city, which, according to Josephus, was the aristocratic quarter, contained the Cenacle, according to tradition, on the south, next, the palace of Caiaphas, farther on, that of Annas, and, at the southeast angle of Herod's palace, the prison where St. James the Greater was beheaded.

From the Tower of Phasael, the wall descended, from west to east, upon the southern slope of Mount Sion, and ended at the enclosure of the Temple. An important fragment of this rampart has been discovered to the east of the Tower of David, and, farther on, another piece, 290 feet long, flanked by two towers, the stone facing of which, on the side towards the valley, remains intact to a height of 39 feet (Warren, "Quart. Stat.," 1884, pl. III). This wall was pierced by the ancient Gate of Ephraim (IV Kings 15:13; II Par. 25:23). According to tradition, St. Peter was cast into prison in the suburb of Ezechias; after being delivered by the Angel, he made his way to the city proper, where he found the iron gate open (Acts, 12; 3-11). As early as the sixth century a church marked the site of the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark, fifty paces south of this wall (Acts 12:12-17). The southern wall of Mount Sion probably formed part of the wall by which David joined the City of Jebus and the Mello (the Acra of the Septuagint). This hill, according to Josephus, is the lower city, the Akron of the Syrians, which was leveled by the Hasmoneans (Antiq. Jud., XIII 6:6). It contained the palace of the Hasmoneans and that of Helen of Adiabene (Bell. Jud., VI 6:3).

To return to the south of the primitive fortress, a wall of later construction descends from the outer angle, southeast of the eastern tower, towards the pool of Siloe. It is a work of the kings of Juda, if not of Solomon, but, as Bliss has remarked, it has been restored repeatedly--on the last occasion, by the Empress Eudocia (A.D. 450-60). At a point 130 feet from the beginning of the wall, exploration has brought to light the remains of a gate with three superimposed floorings of successive periods. It opens upon a street under which passes a drain leading to Ennom. This is the Dung Gate (II Esd. 2:13), which Jeremias (xix, 2) calls the Earthen Gate; Josephus calls it the Gate of Essenians, and indicates its position in the quarter of Bethso (from the Hebrew Bethzoa, "a dunghill") (Bell. Jud., V 4:2). Here Mount Sion is crossed by two ancient aqueducts of different heights, which bring water from south of Bethlehem (Bliss, op. cit., pp. 17-82).

About 2000 feet from this gate, Guthe, in 1881, and, later, Bliss, have proved the existence of another gate, also containing three floors and protected by a tower. This is the Gate of the Fountain (II Esd. 2:14; 3:15; "water gate," 12:36) and, probably, also "the gate that is between two walls, and leadeth to the king's garden" by which Sedecias escaped (Jer., 52:7; IV Kings 25:4). Starting from the tower, the wall takes a northwesterly direction and then turns abruptly to the north, leaving the Pool of Siloe outside the city, in accordance with what we are told by Josephus (Bell. Jud., V 4:2; 9:4). To the south of the Pool of Siloe the valley is crossed by a great dam, 233 feet long, a vast rain-water reservoir. The dam is 20 feet thick and is finished off, at about half its height, by a wall 10 feet thick, flanked by seven buttresses of equal strength. In spite, however, of successive reinforcements, it was unequal to resisting the pressure of the water. The Empress Eudocia had a second dam built, fifty feet to the north of the former one. This is "the king's aqueduct" (or pool) of II Esd. ii, 14.

Bliss followed the eastern wall of Mount Sion for only 650 feet, that is, as far as 150 feet north of the Pool of Siloe. According to Nehemias (II Esd. 3:16-19), the wall passed in front of the street of stairs which went down to the sepulcher of David, then by the reservoir which Josephus calls the Pool of Solomon (Bell. Jud., V 4:2), and, lastly, by the House of the Heroes--all places as yet unidentified. The wall then formed an angle and then a re-entrant angle (II Esd. 3:24) but we are ignorant as to the point where it crossed the valley to ascend Ophel. On the eastern flank of Ophel it has ascertained that a small fragment of a wall exists, running from southwest to northeast and, 100 feet farther on, a remarkable hydraulic structure anterior in date to the tunnel of Siloe. The latter is a gallery, hewn in the rock, leading to a wall which goes down to the surface level of the Fountain of the Virgin, whence water could be drawn by means of buckets and ropes (Wilson and Warren, op. cit., pp. 248 sq.). Beyond doubt, "the water gate" and "the tower that stood out" (II Esd. 3:26; 12:36) must be located hereabouts.

The wall has been found again at a distance of 700 feet in the same direction; it then turns to the north for a length of 70 feet and runs into the southeast angle of the Temple enclosure. At the elbow formed by this wall, there rose a tower, the "great tower that standeth out" (II Esd., 3: 27), intended as a defense for the royal palace. In course of time, the kings of Juda prolonged the wall of Ophel to protect the eastern enclosure of the Temple. This line was pierced by numerous gates: "the horse gate" (II Par. 23:15; IV Kings 11:16; II Esd. 3:28), discovered in 1902, by the English engineers, facing the southeast angle of the Haram, which is called "Solomon's Stables"; the eastern gate (of the Temple), corresponding to "the Golden Gate"; the Mephkad, or "judgment gate" (II Esd. 3:30) opposite to the Golden Gate; the Prison Gate (D.V. "watch gate," II Esd. 12:38); the Gate of Sur (IV Kings 11:6); "the gate of the shieldbearers" (D.V.), or "of the guard" (A.V). (IV Kings 11:19); the Gate of Benjamin (Jer., 37:l2; 38:7) are names of different gates which existed previously or protected suburbs that stretched north of the Temple from the time of Ezechias to Herod. Lastly, there is the Sheep Gate (D. V. "flock gate," II Esd. 3:1; 12:38) near the Probatic Pool.

Of the ancient Temple, nothing is now to be seen but the holy rock and a number of cisterns. The Harami esh Sherif is four-sided, and has right angles on the southwest and northeast. The southern wall measures 922 feet and is pierced by three entrances: the Double Gate, the Triple Gate, and the Single Gate--remarkable works of the type of the Golden Gate and, like it restored in the sixth century of our era. The eastern and the northern walls are each 1042 feet in length; the western l601. The stones are carefully shaped and beveled, three and a half feet in height, the longest of them 20 to 39 feet long, while on the south there is one course, 600 feet long, in which the stones are 7 feet high. At the southwest angle, this colossal wall goes down to a depth of 85 feet below the present surface of the soil. Forty feet to the north of this angle may be seen three rows of stones, forming a vault 51 feet in width, called "Robinson's Arch," after the explorer who first recognized in these remains the fragments of a viaduct. The English engineers have as a matter of fact discovered, 54 feet to the west of this fragment of vaulting, and 55 feet below the actual level of the soil, three courses of the corresponding upright supporting wall.

At the foot of Mount Sion, 246 feet from Robinson's Arch, more remains have been found of the same viaduct, of which, indeed, Josephus clearly makes mention (Antiq. Jud. XIV 4:2; Bell. Jud., I 7:2; VI 6:2). The supporting wall rests upon a paved foundation, which in its turn is supported by a bed of earth 23 feed in thickness. In this mass of earth, in which no traces of masonry are found, there lie vaulting-stones of from 3 to 3 1/2 feet in height and width, and 7 feet in length--the remains of a much older bridge. Authorities have attributed the first viaduct to Herod and the second to the Kings of Juda, or even to Solomon. At the very bottom of the valley there is a channel cut into the rock and vaulted in the Phoenician manner; this is an aqueduct which was later used as a drain (Wilson and Warren, op. cit., pp. 76-111; Perrot and Chipiez, "Hist. de l'art," II, 168. Cf. III Kings 11:27).

The second entrance to the Temple, called "Barclay's Gate," opens 180 feet farther north; then, beyond the Wailing Place, comes a third gate called "Wilson's Arch." This is a viaduct arch 42 feet along the axis and 39 feet in span, built of blocks from 6 to 12 feet in length. In the bottom of the valley, round about the viaduct. Wilson has discovered some very ancient habitations and pieces of handiwork which seem to be of Phoenician origin. The viaduct, which is supposed to date from the time of Herod, was reconstructed in the Byzantine period. It both connected the Temple with Mount Sion and served as an aqueduct for the canal that runs from Bethlehem. Near Wilson's Arch, there is an ancient vaulted pool, Birket el Bouraq, to which an aqueduct leads down from the citadel. Josephus places the Xystus, the gymnasium constructed by the High Priest Jason, between the two viaducts. Beyond Wilson's Arch the first city wall joined the Temple enclosure (Wilson and Warren, op. cit., pp. 76 sq.).

The Second Wall.

"The second wall," says Josephus, "began at the gate that is called Gennath, which belongs to the first city wall. Enclosing only the southern district, it continued as far as the Antonia" (Bell. Jud., V 4:2). It is the work of Ezechias and of Manasses. In 1881, in the course of excavations for the foundations of a house, 20 feet to the north of the ditch of the citadel, a wall was brought to light, constructed of large stones, extending east and west to a distance of about 100 feet. At its western extremity, it forms a somewhat obtuse angle with a stronger and still better constructed wall which runs north (Selah Merill, "Quart. Stat.," 1886, pp. 21 sq.; 1887, p. 217; 1888, p. 21). In 1900, a Greek high school was built 180 feet farther on, and it was found that the rock is almost on a level with the ground to the west, while it forms a counterscarp to the east. In the accumulated fillings of the hollow remains of medieval structures were discovered; but the explorations on this spot were not followed up. Many Palestinologists, however, see here marked indications of a ditch.

At the northeast angle of the Greek school, C. Schick ("Quart. Stat.," 1897, p. 219; 1883, p. 19) had already ascertained that the wall turns once more at an angle eastwards. Up to this point the city wall skirts the Pool of Ezechias at a distance of 180 feet to the west and 65 feet to the north. In building the great Greek bazaars south of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher, the workmen came upon a scarp which had once been crowned with a thick wall, some fine blocks of which were found still in situ; the wall sloped back from the face of the rock (Schick, "Quart. Stat.," 1888, p. 571; 1894, p. 146). Next, in 1893, while building the German Protestant church which took the place of the church of St. Mary the Latin, the engineers found that the latter edifice had stood upon filled ground. Digging down 30 feet below the actual level of the ground, they came to the rock, and then, under the great nave of the old church, they found a strong wall to the east and the west, though in bad preservation. It keeps, however, some of its facing in the shape of carefully dressed slabs. Guthe (in "Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palaestinavereins," XVII, p. 128) and Schick (in "Quart. Stat.," 1894, p. 146), with many others, regard this as a part of the second wall.

In the time of Christ, Calvary was thus shut out from the perimeter of the second city enclosure. Indeed, the existence of the Jewish hypogea-the Holy Sepulcher, another one 30 feet to the west, and a third to the northeast-leaves no room for doubt on this point; for only the kings enjoyed the privilege of sepulture within the city. Some thirty years ago English engineers asserted that the wall of Ezechias must necessarily enclose Golgotha, because this zigzag city wall would, otherwise, have been built contrary to all the rules of military art. However, since then the exploration of ancient Jewish and Chanaanitish cities has revealed irregularities of the same kind. While, upon the line indicated, the haphazard diggings made on various structures have all brought to light fragments of braces of a homogeneous wall, the religious communities in the Christian quarter to the northwest of Golgotha have executed important building operations without finding any traces of ditch or of rampart.

At the angle where the wall turned northwards should be found the new Gate of Ephraim (II Esd. 12:38). But the course of the wall from this point is less easy to follow. It was, very probably, replaced in the time of Hadrian by the colonnaded street which led, almost in a straight line, from Mount Sion to the Gate of Damascus, and which was founded upon rock throughout. Following this street, we pass, on the left, the first courses of the facade of Constantine's Basilica, which was completely discovered in 1907 and, on the right, 230 feet from this structure, the Khan ez Zeit, which is built in a Jewish cistern partly hewn out of the rock. To the east of this cistern, on the slope of El Wad, the rock appears, cut obliquely.

Farther on, the Old Gate (II Esd. 3:6; 12:38) may be placed. Where the Street of the Columns was crossed by another, coming from the west a tetrapylon marked the intersection; one superb marble column of it still remains in situ, 23 feet high, leaning against a fine wall of Roman construction. Investigation has demonstrated the existence, at a point 200 feet west of this column, of a counterscarp and a deep ditch, running from south to north (Schick, "Quart. Stat.," 1887, p. 154). It was by this gate that, according to tradition, Jesus went out from the city to the place of His crucifixion.

North of the column and slightly to the east, at a distance of 100 feet, is to be seen a rocky scarp which extends about 250 feet towards the north. Near here, the wall descended toward into El Wad, where it came to the Fish Gate (II Par. 33:14; II Esd. 3:3; 12:38). This gate opened on the road by which the Tyrian fishermen came from Jaffa (cf. II Esd. 13:16). The wall then crossed Mount Bezetha, and the Tower of Hananeel (Jer. 31:38; II Esd. 3:1; 12:38) must be located on the ridge which descended from the Hill of Jeremias to Mount Moria, and which was the vulnerable point of the Holy City. On this same ridge there was another tower, or stronghold, as early as the period of the kings of Juda; Nehemias, who restored it, named it Birah, an Aramaic word derived from the Assyrian biratu, "palace," or "fortress of the temple" (in D.V., "tower of the house"; II Esd. 2:8). This tower (see I Mach. 13:53; etc.) bore, in the time of Josephus, the hellenized name of Baris. Under the Hasmonean dynasty, the whole rock on which this tower stood was removed on all sides, to a depth of 30 feet on the south, and of 15 feet on the north, the length of the excavation being 350 feet from east to west.

On the north, where there is a deep cistern, the mountain was leveled away to a distance of 160 feet (cf. I Mach. 13:53). Herod caused the reservoir to be vaulted over, and built the fortress of Antonia on the rock of Baris and on the southern esplanade (Bell. Jud.. V 5:8). It was in this building that Pontius Pilate had his praetorium, where Jesus was condemned to death. In saying that the second wall "went up to the Antonia," Josephus does not indicate where it ended, but only its direction. He himself does not place the Antonia at the end of the wall of Ezechias; on the contrary, he says that the Romans could approach it only after they had become masters of the city as far as the first wall (Bell. Jud. 5:9). From the Tower of Hananeel the wall was prolonged to the Sheep (or Flock) Gate (II Esd. 3:1, 31; 12:38), near the Probatic Pool, with the five porches, and the other great reservoirs, necessarily, within the walls.

The Third Wall.

From A.D. 41 to 44 Herod Agrippa I undertook to build the third wall, which also began at the Tower of Hippicus and crossed the Camp of the Assyrians to the north, as far as the octagonal Tower of Psephinus (Antiq. Jud., XIX 7:2; Bell. Jud., V 4:3). Traces of this tower were found at the northwest corner of the city, at the place where the Qasr Djaloud, or Tower of Goliath, was erected in the twelfth century. Thence Agrippa's wall took an easterly direction, towards the Towers of the Women, opposite the sepulcher of Helen of Adiabene, which is situated 2000 feet to the north.

The Towers of the Women, some traces of which have been found, protected the gate which corresponded to the Fish Gate. It still stands, as to a considerable part of its height, though sunken into the ground, below the actual Gate of Damascus, or Bab el Amoud. Thence the wall passed over the royal grottoes (Bell. Jud., V 4:3) to cross the ridge of Bezetha. The stone of this lofty hill is of excellent quality, and could be transported in immense blocks as far as the Temple by means of inclined planes. This is why, as early as the time of Solomon, the hill was used as a quarry, as is shown by the figure of a Phoenician cherub cut in the wall of one of the royal grottoes. Already perforated with numerous caverns, the hill was cut in two under Agrippa I and the cut served as a ditch for the new city wall. Thus it was that the summit became a separate hill, called, since the sixteenth century, the Hill of Jeremias. It again served as a quarry in the period of the Crusades and its present aspect has been taken on since the time of Christ. From the royal grottoes, the wall continued eastwards as far as the height above Cedron, and then turned south to rejoin the second city wall. The line of the third wall has with slight modifications been kept in that of the actual city.

Temple of Jerusalem.

The word "temple" is derived from the Latin templum, signifying an uncovered place affording a view of the surrounding region; in a narrower sense it signifies a place sacred to the Divinity, a sanctuary. In the Bible, the sanctuary of Jerusalem bears the Hebrew name of Bet Yehovah (house of Jehovah). The sacred edifice consisted of two chief halls, one called hekal (house or temple), or qodes (the Holy), and the other debir (that which is the oracle), or godesh haggodashim (the Holy of Holies). The New Testament speaks of it as oikos, "the house," ouaos, Latin cella, "the most holy place of the temple" and hieron, "the whole of the sacred enclosure." The temple which Solomon erected to the Lord about 966 B.C. was destroyed by Nabuchodonozor in 586 B.C. After the return from captivity Zorobabel raised it again from its ruins (537 B.C.), but in such modest conditions that the ancients who had seen the former Temple wept. In the eighteenth year of his reign, which corresponds to 19 B.C., King Herod destroyed the Temple of Zorobabel to replace it by another which would equal, if not surpass in splendor, that of Solomon.

Many writers admit three temples materially different. Now as the Prophet Aggeus (Vulg. 2:10) says of that of Zorobabel: "Great shall be the glory of this last house more that of the first," because of the coming of the Messias (5:8-9), they claim that this prophecy was not fulfilled because Christ never entered the second Temple. Others assert that Zorobabel's work was not completely destroyed but gradually replaced by a larger and much richer temple (Josephus, "Ant. Jud.," ed. Dindorf, XV 11:2), and they consequently admit only two materially different temples. The whole difficulty disappears if we choose the Septuagint in preference to the Vulgate. The Prophet has already asked: "Who is left among you, that saw this house in its first glory? (2:4). According to Septuagint he afterwards says: "The last glory of this house shall be greater than its first glory." To the Prophet, therefore, there was but one and the same house of Jehovah from Solomon to the time of Messias, built always in the same place and according to the same plan, that of the Tabernacle. We may therefore admit three different temples, and this article will describe: I. That of Solomon; II. That of Zorobabel; III. That of Herod.

Temple of Solomon.


Through a motive of pride, David had commanded the numbering of his people, in punishment of which God decimated the Israelites by a pestilence. One day the king saw near the threshing-floor of Onan (Areuna) the Jebusite an angel about to strike the people of the city, whereupon David humbled himself before the Lord, Who forgave him and stayed the plaguer. The king hastened to purchase the property of the Jebusite for fifty sicles of silver and built an altar on the threshing-floor, upon which he offered holocausts and peace-offerings (II Kings, 24:). This hill, which is the Mount Moria (II Par. 3:I) of Genesis (22:2), was thenceforth destined to be the site of the Temple of Jehovah, for which David had already amassed great treasures, but the building of which was reserved to Solomon. As hitherto the Hebrews had not cultivated the arts, Solomon addressed himself to Hiram, King of Tyre in Phoenicia, to obtain builders and skilful workers in stone, brass, and the cedar and cypress wood of Lebanon. After seven and a half years of toil, the king was able to dedicate solemnly the Temple of the true God. Near the sacred precincts he afterwards built large buildings, among which the Bible makes special mention of the palace of the king, that of the queen, Pharao's daughter, the house of the forest, the porch of the throne, and that of pillars.


Mount Moria, which stretches from north to south, is a long spur, or promontory, connected at the north with Mount Bezetha and bounded on the east and west by two deep valleys which join at their southern extremity (see JERUSALEM, VIII, 345 d). Between its two steep declivities, the crest of the hill afforded but narrow space for buildings, and to secure an adequate site for the Temple, the courts, and royal palaces a platform was formed by raising sustaining walls of carefully hewn beautiful stones measuring eight or ten cubits (III Kings 5:17; 7:9-10). According to Jewish tradition the Temple stood on the highest point of Mount Moria, while the royal quarters were built south of its enclosure and on a lower level.

It is generally admitted that the "sacred rock" in the center of the Mosque of Omar formed the foundation of the altar of holocausts in the Temple of Jerusalem. On this hill, according to an ancient tradition, Abraham made ready to sacrifice his son Isaac; here, near the threshing-floor of Ornan, the exterminating angel restored his sword to its scabbard; and on this threshing-floor, which according to custom was situated at the highest point, David erected an altar to the Lord. If this prominent rock was constantly spared at the various rebuildings of the platform, it must have been because of its associations. Moreover, it corresponds to all the requirements of Exodus (20:24 sq.) for the altar of holocausts. It is a limestone rock, unhewn and irregular, fifty-eight feet long, by forty-five wide, and standing three or four feet above the ground. Furthermore, in its upper almost level surface there is a hole whereby it is believed the blood and the water of the ablutions flowed into the cavity beneath to be carried off by a subterranean conduit to the valley of Cedron. The Mishna (Yoma, II, i) asserts that under the altar of holocausts there was a canal of this kind. This point admitted, the "sacred rock" will serve as a mark to discover the exact site of the house of Jehovah, because the latter opened to the east opposite the altar of holocausts and consequently west of the court of the priests which contained the altar.


The chief sources of information concerning the plan, construction, and adornment of the Temple are, first III Kings 6:-7:; then the parallel account in II Par. 3:-4:, which tends to magnify the dimensions immeasurably. The Prophet Ezechiel described the Temple in the light of a heavenly vision, and though his description is symbolic, it agrees in its essential features with that of the Book of Kings; to all appearances, he describes the Lord's house as he saw it while he performed his priestly duties. The information supplied by Josephus and the Middoth treatise of the Mishna inspires less confidence; it seems based rather on the Temple of Herod than on that of Solomon. Indeed we possess but a brief description of the first Temple and technical terms used by the Bible are not always readily intelligible in modern times; hence there is great diversity of opinion among writers who have attempted to reconstruct the Temple of Solomon in its architectural details.

Architecture and Measurement.

Solomon reproduced in solid materials and double proportions the Tabernacle which Moses had built in the desert (Wisdom 9:8), the entire plan of which is therefore outlined (Ex. 26: 36). With regard to the style adopted by the Phoenician architects we know simply that at that period the architecture of all Semitic peoples was very similar to that of the Egyptians. In cubit formed of the breadth of six hands or twenty-four fingers and equal to 1 ft. 5 3/4 inches; the large or royal cubit, which was a handbreadth (three inches) longer. The lesser cubit of six hands, or twenty-four fingers, existed in the eastern empire, but it was somewhat longer, being equal to 1 ft. 7 1/3 inches. The large or royal cubit was likewise longer, being equal to 1 ft. 9 1/6 inches.

Now judging from the excavations made at Taanath and Megiddo in Palestine the royal Babylonian cubit, introduced by the long Chaldean domination, was the one in use at that time (Benzinger, "Hebr. Archaologie," 190). It is probable that only the small cubit was in use at the time of the Babylonian Captivity. Hence, the sacred writer (II Par. 3: 3) gives the dimensions of the Temple by the "first measure," or ancient cubit, and Ezechiel (40:5; 43:13) adds to each cubit a handbreadth (the ancient palmus minor, one sixth of the small cubit) in order to obtain the length given in the Book of Kings. The royal Babylonian cubit therefore was the mesura verissima (Ezech., 43:13) used in the construction of the Temple of Solomon.

The Holy Place; the Holy of Holies.

The house of God was of rectangular shape, sixty cubits long from east to west by twenty cubits wide and thirty high (III Kings 6:2; II Par. 3:3). These were the interior dimensions which did not include the thickness of the walls, as is shown by numerous texts. This space was divided into two chambers of unequal size. The first, the hekal, or Holy Place (see plan, fig. I), was forty cubits long by twenty wide. It was entered at the eastern end by a square gate (III Kings 6:33), ten cubits in breadth (Ezech., 41:2). The framework was of wild-olive wood, furnished with two doors of cypress wood. Each door was subdivided vertically into two leaves which folded by means of hinges (III Kings 6:33, 34). On the other side of the compartment was a pentagonal-shaped gate (III Kings 6:31) with an opening of six cubits through a partition wall two cubits in thickness (Ezech., 41: 3-4). It opened into the debir, or Holy of Holies (2), a chamber measuring twenty cubits every way.

The two doors of wild-olive wood in the gate opened towards the east and stood always open to allow the passage of fresh air and the smoke of incense to enter the interior, but a veil of byssus in violet, purple, and scarlet, embroidered with cherubim, always concealed flowers carved and overlaid with gold (III Kings 6:32, 35). The walls of debir and hekal were lined with boards of cedar adorned with colocinths and flowers carved in relief and profusely overlaid with gold. Within the debir, even the fir-wood floor was covered with chains of the same metal (III Kings 6:15).

Secondary Chambers.

The whole building, including the Holy of Holies which formed the chief part, was thirty cubits high. Now as the interior of the debir was only twenty cubits high there must have been above it a space of ten cubits. The Bible does not indicate the height of the Holy Place, but there is mention of "cenacles," or upper chambers (II Par. 3:9). Hence, the Holy Place must have been of the same height as the hekal was the vestibule or porch (3) ulam, Greek pronaos, of the same length as the Temple but only ten cubits deep (III Kings 6:3). It was a kind of stately tower, recalling the pylons of the Egyptian temples and like them having a large gateway without doors. II Paralipomenon (3:4) states that its height was one hundred and twenty cubits. But a porch six times higher than it was long would be so out of proportion that many exegetes are inclined to reduce this figure to sixty cubits, the height of the porch of the Temple of Zorobabel. According to Ezechiel, the walls were six cubits thick.

Along the other three sides of the sanctuary rose a building divided into three stories (III Kings 6:5-6), each story having thirty chambers [Ez., 41:6; Ant. Jud., VIII, 3:2]. (4) The house of Jehovah was so sacred that the beams of cedar which supported the ceilings of the side chambers were not suffered to be fastened to the walls of the Temple; hence in the walls of the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies there were three recesses in which rested the ends of the joists. Thus the under chambers were five cubits in breadth, those of the first floor six cubits, and those of the second seven. Each story was five cubits high. The entrance was by a door (5) which opened to the south (III Kings 6:6-8); Ez. (41) mentions another (6) on the north, which would be very natural. Ascent from one floor to another was made by means of a winding-stair (7), and it is very probable that the upper chambers, or cenacles, were reached by way of one of the stories of the porch. In these low-ceiled and narrow cells were preserved the archives, the public treasure, the accessories of worship, and the sacred vestments (III Kings 8:4; II Par. 5:5). In this manner, the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies were completely surrounded by imposing structures.

Roofs and Windows.

The Temple was covered with roofing formed of beams and planks of cedar (III Kings 6:9). Any broad surface which rests on a framework instead of on arches of mason-work is unstable and cannot prevent the rain leaking through; hence, it is our opinion that the roofs of Solomon's temple were sloping, and the planks covered with large slabs. On the other hand, several writers consider that they were flat. The upper story of the Holy of Holies, the numerous small chambers of the adjacent building, as also the porch, were furnished with windows having fixed gratings of wood, of which mention is made in the text (III Kings, 6:4). The walls of the hekal had similar openings at the north and south, at least in the lower portion; but the position of these windows scarcely allowed the admission of light into the large chamber, which, furthermore, was lighted night and day by numerous lamps. The windows were intended rather to permit the circulation of fresh air and the escape of incense-smoke through the side chambers. The Holy of Holies seems to have had no windows and was always enveloped in darkness (III Kings 8:12).

Bronze Pillars.

It should be borne in mind that the entire building was constructed of the beautiful red and white limestone of the country, which could be polished like marble. We cannot believe that such a sumptuous monument was built on the earth without any foundations. Moreover, Ezechiel tells us (41:8) that it rested on a foundation six cubits high, which formed all about it a border five cubits broad (8). One reached the porch by a stairway of ten steps [Ezech, 40:49, (9)], which in ancient times were always rather high. At the top of the stairway on the foundation stood two pillars of molten brass each eighteen cubits high and twelve cubits in circumference (III Kings 7:15). The pillars were hollow, but the metal was four fingers in thickness (Jer., 52:21). The capitals which surmounted them were five cubits high, and their tops were fashioned in the shape of lilies. They were richly adorned with network, garlands, pomegranates, foliage, etc., but despite the details furnished by the Bible (III Kings 7:16-19; II Par. 3:13-17), it is very difficult to reconstruct them in their true form. The pillar which stood at the right of the porch door (10) was called Jachin, "He will establish," and that on the left Booz, "in strength." There is no mention in the text of base or pedestal, but some sort of a base would not have been out of place. Despite their squat shape, these magnificent pillars recall the obelisks before the pylons of the Egyptian temples.


In the hekal before the gate of the debir stood the altar of incense, a rectangular square chest of cedar wood, each side measuring a cubit wide and two cubits high. Plates of gold completely covered the wood (III Kings 6:20, 22; 7:48; I Par. 18:18; II Par. 4:19). At the north side stood the table of gold on which the loaves of proposition were set every Sabbath. III Kings 7:48, speaks of only one golden table for these sacred loaves, while I Par. 28:16, and II Par. 4:19, mention several but the text has been mutilated by the copyist, for elsewhere (II Par. 13:II, and 29:18) there is likewise mention of only one. The ten tables of II Par. 4:8, were those which held the candlesticks. On each side of the south and north courts stood five candlesticks of pure gold adorned with flowers which held gold oil-lamps, probably seven in number. The snuffers, bowls, knives mortars, cups, censers, and other vessels were likewise all of pure gold (III Kings 7:48-50; II Par. 4:8-9; 21-22). The Ark of the covenant made by Moses in the Desert, with its staves, stood in the debir (III Kings 8:6). It contained a golden vessel holding manna, the rod of Aaron, and the two tables of the Law (Heb. 9:4). At the ends of the Ark with wings outspread stood two cherubim ten cubits high carved from wild-olive wood and covered with gold. The inner wings met above the mercy seat or cover of the Ark and the outer wings touched the walls (see ARK).

Court of the Priests.

On the north, south, and west sides of the building was a court about twenty cubits wide which extended in front of the house a distance of one hundred cubits each way (Ez., 40:47). This was the "inner court" (III Kings, 6:36), called also the "court of the priests" (II Par. 4:9), because they alone entered it, laymen being admitted only in exceptional circumstances (cf. IV Kings 12:12; Jer. 35, 1 sq., and 36) (10). It was surrounded by a wall of three rows of polished stones and one row of beams of cedar (III Kings, 6:36), probably placed edgewise in the form of a railing. The court was paved with stone slabs (II Par., 7:3) and was entered by three doorways on the north, south, and east sides (Jer. 38:14; 52: 24; Ez., 40:28, 32, 35), the last-named was called the "king's gate" (I Par. 9:18). In this court opposite the porch gate and at a distance of twenty-two cubits stood the brazen altar of holocausts (III Kings 8:64), which was twenty cubits in length and breadth and ten cubits high (II Par., 4:1). The ascent to it was made by an incline facing the east. According to Ez., 42:13 sq., the altar consisted of a square base measuring twenty cubits on the sides and one cubit high, with a trench around the border; on the base stood a large section eighteen cubits sideways and two high, above which was a second section sixteen cubits sideways and four high. Lastly came the harel, "mountain of God," measuring fourteen cubits on the sides and two high. The top of the altar consisted of the ariel, "hearth of God," having at each corner a horn one cubit high, and of a section one cubit high surmounted by a crown.

Between the Temple and the altar, but somewhat towards the south, was the famous "sea of molten brass," a vessel "round all about," the height of it five cubits and the diameter ten cubits. The outer brim which was a handbreadth (four fingers) in thickness was adorned with colocynths. It contained 2000 bates (III Kings 7:23-26). (The capacity must have been doubled by a copyist, for a bate equals 36.4 litres; but the interior diameter of the vessel instead of allowing a capacity of 72,800 liters allows barely 36,000). The brazen sea rested upon twelve oxen, likewise of brass, which stood in four groups facing the four cardinal points. This magnificent vessel was used by the priests for washing their hands and feet at the hours of sacrifice. Along each of the right and left wings of the Temple were arranged five movable brazen vessels. On four wheels a cubit and a half in diameter stood a base four cubits in width and length and three high; the ledges were decorated with figures of oxen, lions and cherubim. On this vehicle was fixed a cylinder a cubit and a half in diameter and a cubit high, on which was placed a laver four cubits in diameter and shaped like an elongated dish. Four shoulders fastened at the four corners of the base supported the laver (III Kings 7:27-39). These movable lavers each having a capacity of forty bates, were chiefly used for washing the flesh of the victims. There has recently been discovered at Larnaca in Cyprus a Phoenician vessel in brass which corresponds in the smallest details to that described in the Bible (Benzinger, op. cit., 218, 221).

Outer Court.

The inner court (III Kings 6:36), also called the "upper court" (Jer., xxxvi, 10), implies the existence of an outer and lower court, and the court of the priests (II Par. 4:49) supposes another for laymen. There is mention of still another in the time of Josaphat (II Par. 20:5), but we have very little interesting information concerning there courts, which must have been completed and adorned by the successors of Solomon. It is stated, for instance, that Joatham "built the highest gate of the house of the Lord" (IV Kings 15:35), which refers to a new gate, probably north of a court. On the other hand, Achaz replaced the altar of holocaust by another, the model of which he had seen at Damascus. He also removed the twelve brazen oxen and the graven bases of the ten movable lavers and changed the gate of the Sabbath and the outer entrance for the king (IV Kings 16:10-18). Ezechias emptied the treasury of the Temple and took away the plates of gold and silver with which he himself had covered the doors and the lintels, and gave them to purchase peace from Sennacherib (IV Kings 18:15-16). Manasses profaned the Temple of Jehovah by the worship of idols (IV Kings 21:4). At last the monument of Solomon, in ancient times more celebrated for its splendor than its size, was reduced to ashes by Nabuchodonosor in 586.

Temple of Zorobabel.

In 537 Sassabasar, appointed Governor of Jerusalem by Cyrus, King of Persia, and Zorobabel, a descendant of King Joachim, returned from captivity with a vast number of Jews and armed with authority to rebuild the Temple of Jerusalem. In the seventh month after their return, the altar of holocausts of unhewn stones was set up on the foundations of the former one. In the second month of the second year, they laid the first stone of the new Temple. However, the work was impeded and even suspended through the hostility and plots of the Samaritans, and the Temple was not finished until 516 (I Esd. 3:6). The temple of Zorobabel was sixty cubits broad and the same in height (I Esd. 6:3), these being the interior dimensions. Josephus tells us (Ant. Jud., XV 11:1) that this was really its height, for Herod reminded the people that the height of the second Temple was sixty cubits less than that of the first, making the Temple of Solomon one hundred and twenty cubits high, according to II Par. 3:1. It is difficult to say whether the breadth of sixty cubits ascribed by the decree of Cyrus to the Temple was in round numbers, or whether the figures indicate the smaller cubit then in use, but it matters little. If the breadth were really sixty royal cubits it would mean only that the side chambers had been enlarged five cubits on each side. The Holy Place and the Holy of Holies in Zorobabel's Temple retained the dimensions they had in Solomon's, and they remained the same in the third Temple.

We know from Esdras (3:12) and from Aggeus (2:3) that the Temple of Zorobabel was much inferior to that of Solomon. The poverty of the new Temple consisted chiefly in the scarcity of its furnishing. The Ark of the Covenant had not been recovered and the debir was empty, but as it was the dwelling-place of God on earth, the entrance was once more screened with a costly veil. In the Holy Place stood a new altar of incense and a table for the loaves of proposition, but there was only one seven-branch candlestick. Treasures once more accumulated, and the entire furnishing was again in gold or covered with plates of gold, including the walls.

In 168 B.C., the precious metals adorning the Temple aroused the covetousness of Antiochus Epiphanes. He "took away the golden altar, and the candlestick of light, and all the vessels thereof, and the table of proposition, and the pouring vessels, and the vials, and the little mortars of gold, and the veil, and the crowns, and the golden ornament that was before the temple, and he broke them all in pieces" (I Mach., 1:23). Judas Machabeus hastened to provide the house of God with new furnishings. The table of proposition escaped the destruction of the Temple by Titus and with other sacred utensils figures in the conqueror's triumphal procession at Rome (Bell. Jud., VII 5:4-6). The inner court had the same circumference as that in the first Temple (I Esd. 6:4), and according to Hecataeus, as quoted by Josephus, the altar of holocausts had the same dimensions as that of Solomon. The Mishna (Middoth, III, vi,) mentions a movable vessel on wheels. Josephus (Ant. Jud., XI 4:7) relates that Zorobabel had erected several porches with vestibules within the inner precincts of the temple and in I Mach. 4:38, 57, there is mention of chambers built in the inner court.

During the heroic wars of the Machabees with the Syrians, the Temple had to undergo many vicissitudes. The walls with their large towers built by Judas Machabeus for the protection of the Temple (I Mach. 4:60) were destroyed by Antiochus Eupator (I Mach. 6:62), but Jonathan and Simon soon rebuilt them (Ant. Jud., XIII 5:11). In 63 B.C. Pompey, after taking the city, laid siege to the Temple, in order to break the last resistance of the Jews (Ant. Jud., XIV 4:4), and nine years later the procurator Crassus despoiled it of its riches (Ant. Jud., XIV 7:1). Finally Herod, made King of the Jews by the Senate, was obliged to take the city by storm and to besiege the fortress of the Temple (Ant. Jud., XVI 16:2 sq.).

Temple of Herod.


Herod undertook the restoration of the Temple in its original splendor and traditional arrangements. The buildings were demolished one after another according as the materials for the new structures were available. A host of priests became masons and carpenters and themselves took charge of tearing down and rebuilding the sanctuary, which task was accomplished in eighteen months. Nearly 10,000 workmen were employed on the other buildings. After eight years' labor (10 B.C.), the new edifice was opened for service. But this monument, which in its vast proportions and magnificence rivaled the most beautiful buildings of antiquity and far surpassed even that of Solomon, was completed only in A.D. 62 or 64 (Cf. John 2:20). At that time 18,000 workmen were still employed (Ant. Jud., XX 9:7), for Herod doubled the artificial platform which held the Temple of Zorobabel, enlarging the sacred precincts to the south and especially to the north where the galleries reached as far as the rock of Baris and the Antonia (Ant. Jud., XV 11:3; Bell. Jud., I 21:1; V 5:2).

The Temple with its courts, galleries and porches occupied the whole of the present site of the haram esh sherif, which measures 1070 feet on the north, 1540 on the east, 920 on the south, and 1630 on the west. The Temple of Herod consisted of two courts, an inner and an outer one. The former included all the buildings of the Temple properly so called and was divided into: (1) The Court of the Priests, which contained the house of God and the altar of holocausts; (2) the Court of Israel; and (3) the Court of the Women. All the space between the inner court and the outer wall of the platform was called the Court of the Gentiles, because non-Jews were permitted to enter it. The following are the arrangements of the Temple according to Josephus (Ant. Jud., XV, xi; Bell. Jud. 5:v), other sources being indicated in the course of the descriptions.

Priests' Court and House of God.

The Court of the Priests formed a rectangle of one hundred and eighty-seven cubits from east to west and one hundred and thirty-seven cubits from north to south [Middoth, II, 6 (fig. 3)]. To the west stood the house of Jehovah and to the east the altar of holocausts. One reached the sanctuary by a stairway of twelve steps (2), which terminated in a majestic porch one hundred cubits high and the same in breadth (3). A door without leaves twenty cubits wide and forth high led into a vestibule eleven cubits wide. According to the Mishna, this doorway was flanked by two square-shaped pillars each formed of ten cubes measuring four cubits on the sides. On these two pillars rested a sort of entablature formed of five oaken beams, separated from each other by square stones set on a line with the pillars. It was a reproduction of the triumphal arches then so common in the east.

Upon the immense trellis, or grille, stretched a golden vine, of which the grapes, according to Josephus, were of the height of a man. He adds that it extended twenty-five cubits from north to south and that its top was seventy cubits from the ground. Tacitus (Ann. 5:v) also speaks of this vine. Above it Herod placed a colossal golden eagle, the Roman eagle, which greatly displeased the Jews (Ant. Jud., XVII 6:2-4). The hekal (4) and the debir retained their ancient dimensions in length and breadth, but their height was increased to sixty cubits.

A doorway ten cubits wide and twenty high gave access to the Holy Place. The door leaves were of carved wood covered with leaves of gold, and the door was further embellished with a magnificent curtain of Babylonian-dyed linen. The richly-decorated chamber contained the altar of perfumes before the entrance to the debir, north of the table of proposition and south of the seven-branch candlestick. It was not as well lighted or aired as that of Solomon. The priests alone entered this court to offer incense every night and morning, to trim the lamps, and change the loaves of proposition on the Sabbath-day. It was near the altar of incense that the angel appeared to Zacharias (Luke, 1:11).

The entrance to the debir had no doors, but, as formerly, a costly curtain shielded it. According to the Mishna (Yoma 5:I), no partition wall separated the hekal from the debir, the latter being formed by two veils hung the distance of a cubit from each other; but Josephus distinguished between the two chambers giving the dimensions of each. Furthermore, he speaks only of one veil "at the entrance" of the debir, which must signify a doorway. Moreover, the absence of a partition would have necessitated a curtain sixty cubits long by twenty broad, which would never have sealed hermetically the Holy of Holies. The statement of the rabbis on this point is open to suspicion. They could not have been ignorant that according to the Gospel (Matt. 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45), when Christ died on the cross the veil of the temple was rent in two from top to bottom. The debir was empty. Only the high priest entered it once a year.

Above the debir and the hekal was a story forty cubits high, so the entire building was the same height as the porch. On the north, south, and west sides was a building divided into three stories each twenty cubits high. The ground floor and the first floor each had thirteen chambers six cubits wide (6) and the top floor twelve. A doorway (7) opened northward from the vestibule on a winding-stair three cubits in diameter and located in the corner formed by the wall of the house and the projection of the porch. The two walls which formed the cage of the stairway were five cubits thick. In the opposite corner to the south was a similar cage intended to facilitate the outflow of water. The total width of the house, including the side chambers, was fifty-four cubits and near the porch seventy cubits, and its total length, including the porch, was one hundred and six cubits, allowing six cubits thickness for the walls. The base was ten cubits larger than the dimensions given above.

Twenty-two cubits east of the house stood the altar of holocausts, constructed of unhewn stone (8). The rabbis speak of a three-tiered altar, ten cubits high and thirty-two cubits along the sides of the base, and twenty-four in the center (Maimonides, "Beth Haberasch," II, 16). The figures of Josephus, fifty cubits on the sides by fifteen high, are obviously incorrect. North of the altar (9), were four rows of rings, fastened in the ground, which one used while slaying the animals. Next came eight marble tables for cutting up and washing the flesh of the victims, and cutting up and washing the flesh of the victims, and higher up were eight pillars with hooks for suspending and flaying the animals (Middoth III, 5-V, ii; Talmud, Shek, VI, 4). Laymen were admitted to this court only when they offered sacrifice, for they had to place their hands on the head of the victims. The four sides of the court were surrounded by a parapet of stones a foot and a half high.

Court of Israel.

Five steps led down from the court of the priests to the court of Israel, which surrounded the former on three sides (10). At the north and south, it was forty cubits wide and on the east only eleven cubits. A gallery ten cubits wide (11), supported by splendid marble columns, went round this court, probably on the west side also, and afforded a shelter from the sum and rain. Men only were admitted here and only the king was permitted to be seated.

East of this court opposite the house of God (12) rose a superb gateway, the most beautiful of all, which according to Josephus and the Mishna (Middoth, I, 4) was the gift of Nicanor, a wealthy Alexandrian Jew. This was the Thoura oraia, the porta speciosa (Acts 3:2), where St. Peter healed the man crippled from birth. It was fifty cubits high and forty wide, and its gates of Corinthian brass, carved and covered with plates of gold and silver, were so heavy that twenty men were required to move it. Josephus adds that among the signs premonitory of the destruction of the Temple this gate opened of itself at midnight about the year 30 B.C. (Bell. Jud., VI 5:3).

Court of the Women.

From the Gate of Nicanor a semicircular stairway (13) of fifteen steps led down to the women's court (14), surrounded by a gallery on the north, east, and south. Here the women were admitted and places were reserved for them on the north and south, but the men also frequented this court and usually crossed it when they went to the Temple. There were benches there, for it was permitted to sit (cf. Mark 12:41). Along the sides probably near the Gate of Nicanor, were thirteen boxes, an inscription indicating the special purpose of each: oil, wood, priestly vestments, doves, etc. There Christ saw the rich men and the poor widow deposit their offering (Luke 21:1). At the four corners were four hypethral chambers, forty cubits square (15). According to the Talmud, the northwest chamber was where the unclean and lepers, who had been healed, bathed and were declared clean by the priests. In the northeast chamber, the priests sorted the wood; in the southwest oil and wine were preserved in vaults; in the southeast those who had fulfilled the vow of Nazarites shaved their heads (cf. Num. 6:13 sqq; Acts 18:18). In these chambers it was also permitted to wash, cook, etc. According to Middoth, II, 5, there were also in this court four chambers in which certain women were lodged.

Gates and Chambers.

Three sides of the inner court were surrounded by buildings forty cubits broad, separated by nine gates in the shape of towers (16), four on the north and four on the south, of which only two opened into the women's court, with the eastern gate. These gateways, or rather, sumptuous porches were 40 cubits in height, breadth, and length. A large bar divided the entrance into two bays each ten cubits broad and twenty high with wooden leaves covered with plates of gold and silver. The vestibule was thirty cubits square and its six arches were supported by two pillars twelve cubits in circumference. At the sides of the court of Israel, five steps led to the gateway whose vestibule was likewise provided with ten steps or an incline. There are still three gates within the haram esh sherif, the Golden Gate, the double gate, and the triple gate, constructed according to the same plan. Between these gates was a series of chambers devoted to various uses (17). West of the second southern gate was the lishkat gazit, hall of the Sanhedrin (Middoth, II, 5), with a chamber, for the instruction of the people, and in the court of the women was the gazophylakion, hall of the treasury (Ant. Jud., XIX 6:1). This vast edifice rested on a foundation with a projection of ten cubits forming a deambulatory (18), which was reached by a stairway of twelve or fourteen steps. This was the hel; it was surrounded by a stone parapet called soreg and in front of the nine gates stood pillars with inscriptions in Greek and Latin notifying visitors that every non-Jew was forbidden under pain of death to approach nearer the Temple. In the last century, one of the pillars with a Greek inscription was found in the vicinity of the haram esh sherif.

Outer Court.

The remainder of the vast platform formed the outer court of the gentiles. It was paved with large slabs and surrounded on all sides by a double gallery formed of two rows of columns twenty-five cubits high. That overlooking the valley of Cedron was called "Gate of Solomon" (cf. I Par. 9:18). It was certainly prior to Herod, and Josephus dates its origin from Solomon, himself. He relates that in A.D. 62 or 64 the 18,000 workmen still employed on the adornment of the Temple began to lack work and requested that they might demolish the Gate of Solomon. But this, although ancient, was so beautiful and the cost of replacing it would have been so great that King Agrippa II decided to preserve it and to employ the workmen in paving the city streets (And. Jud., XX 9:7). Whether it dates from the kings of Juda or only from Zorobabel, it is sufficient to afford an idea of the magnificence of the first two temples of Jerusalem.

At the corners of these galleries were chambers (pastophoria) for the guards. From the side towards the city the entrance to the sanctuary was made through several gates of surpassing beauty, four on the west of the esplanade, two on the south, one on the east, and one on the north. On a lower terrace in the center, Herod erected a royal basilica, a sumptuous building divided into three naves by four rows of forty-one Corinthian columns. Each column was more than five feet in diameter. At the north of the esplanade, he built two vast courts surrounded by gates which extended to the scarp of the rock of Baris. These courts communicated with the Antonia only by two stairways (cf. Acts 21:35).


A titular see, suffragan of Cæsarea in Palestine Prima. In the sixth year of his reign (about 900 B. C), Amri, King of Israel, laid the foundations of the city to which he gave the name of Samaria, "after the name of Semer the owner of the hill" (II Kings 16:24). This detached hill was 1454 feet above sea level, and more than 328 feet above the surrounding hills. His son, Achab, married to Jezabel, a Sidonian princess, introduced the worship of Baal (III Kings 16:32). Shortly after, the Prophet Elias announced the famine which for three years and more devastated the city and surrounding country (III Kings 17:18:). Samaria suffered her first siege from Benadad, King of Damascus (III Kings 20:1- 21); after the disaster which this same king suffered at Aphec, he concluded a treaty with Achab (III Kings 20:34-43). The body of Achab was carried there from Ramoth Galaad, and the dogs licked his blood in the gutters, according to the prediction of the Prophet (III Kings 22:1-39).

Elias prophesied that King Ochonias, who fell from the window of his palace, would die of this fall, which prophecy was very shortly fulfilled (IV Kings, 1:). His brother and successor, Joram, threw down the statue of Baal, erected by Achab (IV Kings 3:2). The history of Samaria is connected with various episodes in the life of the Prophet Elias, notably on account of the siege of the city by Benadad (IV Kings 2:25; 6: 8 sq.). Jehu, founder of a new dynasty, exterminated the last descendants of Achab, and destroyed the temple of Baal in Samaria; then he was interred in the city as his predecessors had been (IV Kings, 10:). Nevertheless, the worship of Astarte still continued in the city (IV Kings 13:6).

Joas, who had transported the treasures of the temple of Jerusalem, pillaged by him, to Samaria, was buried in the tomb of the kings of Israel (IV Kings 14:14-16; II Par. 25:24) as also was his son Jeroboam II (IV Kings 14:16, 24, 29). Then followed a series of regicides and changing of ruling families. Zachary, after reigning six months, was assassinated (IV Kings 15:10) by Sellum, who reigned one month, and was in turn killed by Manahem, who ruled ten years (IV Kings 15:14-17). His son, Phaceia, after a reign of two years, was put to death by the chief of his army, Phacee (IV Kings 15:25), who met a like fate at the end of twenty years (IV Kings 15:30). Osee, son of Ella, seems to have been crowned or placed upon the throne by Teglathphalasar III, King of Assyria. Finally Salmanasar IV and his general, Sargon, took possession of Samaria (721 B.C.) after a siege lasting not less than three years (IV Kings 17:4-6; 18:9 sq.). The inhabitants who survived the siege were transported into Assyria to the number of 27,290, according to an inscription. Thus were realized the threats of the Prophets against haughty Samaria (Is. 9:9-11; 28:1-8; Ezech. 23:4-9; Osee 7:-8:10:, 14; Amos 3:9-15; 4:1 sq.; 6: 1; 7:2-17; 8: 14; Mich. 1:5-7; 2:; 3:; 6:; Ps. 8:4 etc.).

The first historical period, and not the least glorious, since it was for nearly two hundred years the capital of the kingdom of Israel, thus ended. There remained only the temple of Baal, which had preceded the temple of Augustus, erected by King Herod, repaired by the American mission of Harvard University, also the palace of Amri, discovered by this same mission. Instead of the Israelites transported into Assyria, colonies were sent over, formed of various nations, Chaldeans, Cutheans, Syrians, Arabs, and others (IV Kings 17:24); these mingled with the native population, forming an amalgamation of religion and superstition; thus the Israelites with their own national worship gave birth to the people and the religion of the Samaritans. The latter became furious enemies of the Jews, but Sichem or Neapolia, and not Samaria, became their principal religious and political center.

From 721-355 B.C., Samaria was a Babylonian and Persian city. Finally it fell into the power of Alexander who, to avenge the murder of his governor, partly exterminated the inhabitants, replacing them by a Græco-Syrian colony (Quintus Curtius, IV, 321). Having thus become Græco-Samaritan, the city continued its hostilities against the Jews, and following an attack upon Marissa; it was taken after a memorable siege and utterly destroyed by John Hyrcanus about 110 B.C. The proconsul of Syria, Gabinus, rebuilt it between 57 and 55 B.C. (Josephus, "Bell. Jud.," I 7:7; I 8:4; "Ant.," XIII 10:2, 3; XIV 5:3). The city was then returned to the Samaritans.

Herod the Great eventually received it from Octavius (31 B.C.) after the death of Cleopatra, the previous ruler. He enlarged and embellished it. In the center he built a magnificent temple to Augustus (of which the monumental staircase may still be seen), and called it Sebaste (about 25 B.C.) in honor of the sovereign (Josephus, "Bell. Jud.," I 20:3; I 21:2; "Ant.," XV 7:3; XV 8:5). Herod made it one of his favorite residences, although it was maritime Cæsarea which obtained his political preponderance. After Herod came his son Archelaus, who ruled the city ("Ant.," XVII 11:4; "Bell. Jud.," II 6:3); at the death of the latter the province was annexed to Syria as a gift to Herod Agrippa I, A.D. 41 ("Ant.," XIX 5:1; XIX 9:1-2).

Always hostile to the Jews, the inhabitants of Samaria saw their city burned by the latter, A.D. 65 ("Bell. Jud.," II 18:1). According to Ulpianus, "Digest," L, tit. 15, and the coinage of the city, Septimus Severus established there a colony about A.D. 200 (Eckhel, "Doctrina numm.," III, 44). Very likely, a Roman garrison was then placed there.

It is possible that there may have been some question of Samaria in Acts 8:5, on the subject of the sermon of the deacon Philip; in this case, Christianity is traced to its very origins. According to Le Quien (Oriens christ., III, 649-54), Marinus, Bishop of Sebaste, represented the diocese at the Council of Nicæa (325); Eusebius at Seleucia (359); Priscianus at Constantinople (381); Eleutherius at Lydda (Lydia), (415); Constantine at the Robber Synod of Ephesus (449); Marcianus, at the end of the fifth century; Pelagius (535). During the French occupation, Samaria was a Latin bishopric, and several titulary bishops are mentioned. The Greeks also made it a titular see. It must be remembered that Sebaste and not Samaria was always the correct name of this diocese.

From the fourth century we meet with the cultus of St. Paul and Blessed Jerome at Samaria; it possessed also the tombs of Eliseus and Abdias, and that of St. John the Baptist, whose magnificent church is to-day a mosque (see text in Thomson, "Sacred Places," I, 102). From 985, El- Muqadassi does not mention Samaria, now nothing more than a humble district of Nablusi; in 1283, we find nothing but one inhabited house with the exception of a little Greek monastery (Burchard, "Descriptio Terræ Sanctæ," Leipzig, 1873, 53). Today the village of Sebastyeh, amid orchards and kitchen gardens, comprises three hundred inhabitants, all Mussulmans.


Ancient Egyptian History.

Chronology. The ancient Egyptians practically had only one kind of year: a vague year consisting of twelve months, each of thirty days, and five supplementary days which were intercalated between the thirtieth day of the last month of the year just elapsed and the first day of the first month of the following year. Technically, those five days did not belong to the year; the Egyptians always said the "year and the five days to be found thereon." The five extra days were sacred to Osiris, Horus, Set, Isis, and Nephthys. They were days of bad omen.

The year was divided into three periods, or seasons, of four months each: the inundation (Egyptian Echut, or Echet), the sowing-time (Proyet), and the harvest (Somu). In ancient times, months had no special names, they were simply designated by ordinal numbers in each season, as "the first month of the inundation" and so on. Each month (as also the decades and hours), however, had as a patron one of the divinities, whose feast occurred during that month. The patrons, it seems, varied according to time and locality. At a rather later period the names of those patrons passed over to the months themselves, hence the names transmitted to us by the classic writers (see table below).

Each month was divided into three decades (the Egyptians do not seem to have ever used, or even known, the week of seven days); each day into 24 hours, 12 hours of actual daytime and 12 hours of actual night time. The hours of day and night, consequently, were not always of the same length. The sixth hour of night corresponded to midnight, and the sixth hour of day to noon. There were further subdivisions of time, but their relation to the hour is unknown. The day most likely began with the first daytime hour; some, however, think it began with the first hour of night.

The year began with the first day of Thoth (Inundation I), which, of course, was supposed to coincide with the first rise of the river. The first of Thoth was also supposed to coincide with the day of the heliacal rising of Sirius, which was called New Year's Day and celebrated as such each year with a great festival. Isis, typified by Sirius, her star, was believed to bring with the inundation a promise of plenty for the new year; this takes us back to the first centuries of the fifth millennium, when the summer solstice, which precedes by a few days only the inundation, actually coincided with the heliacal rising of Sirius. We know, besides, from the classical writers that the latter phenomenon occurred on the 19th or 20th of July (according to the Julian calendar), which points to Memphis as the home of the Egyptian Calendar.

The Egyptians, however, must have perceived in the course of time (if they had not foreseen it) that their calendar of 365 days would not, as they evidently believed at first, bring back the seasons every years at their respective natural times. Their year being about one-fourth of a day shorter than the Sirius year, on the fourth anniversary of its adoption, it had retroceded a whole day on the heliacal rising of Sirius. Some 486 years later, the retrocession was of about 120 days, so that the calendar indicated the opening of the inundation time when in fact the harvest was only beginning; and so on until, after 1461 revolutions of the civil year and 1460 only of Sirius, the first of Thoth fell again on the heliacal rising of that star. This period of 1460 Sirius years (1461 Egyptian years) received later the name Sothic period from Sothis, a Greek form of Sopdet, the Egyptian name of Sirius.

Long before the end of the first Sothic period it was found necessary to consider the first of Thoth as a New Year's Day also, the civil New Year's Day. As early as the Fourth Dynasty, we find the two Near Year's Days recorded side by side in the tombs.

To the common people who, as usual, were guided by the appearances, the calendar was steady while Sirius and the natural seasons were moving around it. Consequently Sirius's New Year's Day — which seems to be all they knew or ever cared to know of the Sirius year — was a movable feast, the date of which was to be announced every year. The fact that they estimated its precession on the calendar at six hours exactly, which was not correct except in 3231 B.C. (see E. Meyer, "Aegyptische Chronologie," p. 14) tends to show that the date was not obtained from astronomical observation. They obtained it, rather, in a mechanical way on the supposition that every four years it would fall one day later, this rule having been ascertained astronomically once for all, and considered as correct (E. Meyer, op. cit., p. 19).

The cycle of the Sothic periods has been established in different ways by various scholars, with slight variations in the years of beginning of the several periods (see Ginzel, "Handbuch der mathematischen und technischen Chronologie," 187 sqq.). According to F. Meyer (op. cit., 28), a new period began:

19 July, A.D. 140-141

19 July, 1321-20 B.C.

19 July, 2781-80 B.C.

19 July, 4241-40 B.C.

Breasted has adopted these dates in his chronology (Ancient Records of Egypt, I, sec. 44), which we shall follow in the chronological arrangement of the Egyptian dynasties (see below).

We have no evidence of the Egyptians ever having become aware of the difference between the Sirius year and the solar year, which accounts for the shifting of the summer solstice and, consequently, of the beginning of the inundation from 25 July, in 4236 B.C., to 21 June, in 139 A.D. (see Ginzel, op. cit., 190). This divergence, however, was too slow, and amounted to so little, even in the course of several centuries, that the Egyptian astronomers might well have overlooked, or at least ignored, it with regard to the calendar. It is still more remarkable that, after noting the retrocession of their vague year, they should not have tried to even it up with the Sirius year. But the astronomers were also priests and, as such, custodians of the religious side of the calendar, which in their eyes could not have been less important.

The simple insertion of an intercalary day would have been sufficient when two years agreed, but that happened rarely; and the need of a reform was not felt by the contemporary generation. When that need was most acute, as in the middle of a Sothic period, the intercalation was not enough. The reform, to be satisfactory, would have demanded the bringing back of the seasons to their right times (at least in the measure allowed by the shifting of the summer solstice), which could not have been done without passing over several months and days (cf. the Gregorian Reform) and consequently almost as many feasts and popular festivals.

Indeed, in Ptolemaic times, when, prompted by pressing politico-religious reasons, the priests finally undertook a reform, they were satisfied with the insertion of a sixth epagomene day every four years. This fixed year, known as the Canopic or Tanitic year, began on 22 October 238 B.C. (Julian), the first day of Thoth happening then to coincide with that date. It met with but scant favor and was abandoned under Ptolemy IV (Philopator), in honor of whose predecessor, Ptolemy III, the decree had been issued.

A second attempt on the same limited scale, and probably in the same spirit of flattery, was made in the early years of August, in connection with the establishment of the era of Alexandria. The Egyptian years was then brought into harmony with the fixed Julian year, inasmuch as it received every four years an intercalary day. That day was inserted after the fifth epagomene, preceding the Julian intercalary year. The first of Thoth, however, remained where it was when the reform overtook it, viz., on 29 August, except after an intercalary year, when it fell on 30 August. The first year with an intercalary day, it seems, was 23 B.C. (see Ginzel, op. cit., I, 224-228). This fixed year, which is still in use in the Coptic church, was first adopted by the Greek and Roman portions of the population, while the Egyptians proper for several centuries clung still to the old vague year.

As we have seen in the beginning of this section, the whole arrangement of the Egyptian year and its relation to the astronomical and climatic phenomena of chief importance to the ancient Egyptians indicate that it must have been established at a time when one of the heliacal risings of Sirius coincided with the beginning of the inundation. This inundation takes place shortly (according to the Coptic Calendar three days) after the summer solstice. This points clearly to the beginning of the Sothic period the first year of which fell on 19 July, 4241 B.C., when the summer solstice was on 25 July, and the inundation on 28 July.

At the beginning of the preceding period, 19 July, 2781 B.C., the summer solstice had already retroceded to 13 July, so that the inundation (16 July) preceded the heliacal rising of Sirius. However, at the beginning of the following period, 19 July 5701 B.C., the summer solstice was due only on 6 August, and the inundation on 9 August, or 21 days after the heliacal rising of Sirius (cf. Ginzel, op. cit., 190; E. Meyer, op. cit., 144 sqq.). The date 2781, as a possible date for the inauguration of the Egyptian calendar, is also excluded by the fact that the intercalary days (proving the use of the shifting year of 360 plus 5 days) are mentioned in the so-called Pyramid Texts. These texts are far older than the Fifth and Sixth Dynasties, although they occur for the first time on the monuments of these dynasties (E. Meyer, op. cit., 40; Breasted, "Ancient Records of Egypt," I, 30).

The date of the heliacal rising of Sirius varies according to the latitude from which it is observed. The fact that most of the classical writers and Egyptian documents fix that date at 19 July shows that the Egyptians observed it from the 30th degree of N. latitude. This latitude points to one of the ancient cities of the Southern Delta as the home of the Egyptian year, probably Memphis or Heliopolis (E. Meyer, op. cit., 41; Ginzel, op. cit., I, 186; Breasted, op. cit., I, sec. 45).

The following table exhibits the seasons and the 12 months of the Egyptian year and their Greek names (still in use with slight changes of orthography in the Coptic Calendar) and their respective dates of beginning according to the Julian Calendar, when I Thoth fell on the heliacal rising of Sirius, i.e., at the opening of the Sothic periods:

Inundation I: Thoth . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 July

Inundation II: Phaôphi. . . . . . . . . . 18 August

Inundation III: Athyr. . . . . . . . . . . 17 September

Inundation IV: Choiac. . . . . . . . . . 17 October

Sowing I: Tybi. . . . . . . . . . . . . . ….16 November

Sowing II: Mechir. . . . . . . . . . . . …16 December

Sowing III: Phamenoth. . . . . . . . …15 January

Sowing IV: Pharmouthi. . . . . . . . …14 February

Harvest I: Pachon. . . . . . . . . . . . ….16 March

Harvest II: Payni. . . . . . . . . . . . . …15 April

Harvest III: Epiphi. . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 May

Harvest IV: Mesôri. . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 June

The Five Epagomene days: 14 July

The following table shows the correspondence of the present Egyptian (and Coptic) calendar, as reformed under Augustus, with our own calendar, both before and after intercalation:

Thoth I: 29 Aug. (After Intercalation: 30 Aug).

Phaôphi: 28 Sept. (After Intercalation: 29 Sept).

Athyr: 28 Oct. (After Intercalation: 29 Oct).

Choiac: 27 Nov. (After Intercalation: 28 Nov).

Tybi: 28 Dec. (After Intercalation: 29 Dec).

Mechir: 26 Jan. (After Intercalation: 29 Jan).

Phamenoth: 25 Feb. (After Intercalation: 26 Feb).

Pharmouthi: 27 Mar. (After Intercalation: 28 Mar).

Pachon: 26 Apr. (After Intercalation: 27 Apr).

Payni: 26 May (After Intercalation: 27 May)

Epiphi: 25 June (After Intercalation: 26 June)

Mesôri: 25 July (After Intercalation: 26 July)

Epagomene day: 24 Aug. (After Intercalation: 25 Aug.).

Although the Egyptians kept track of the Sirius year, in so far as its beginning was the official New Year's Day, they do not seem to have made use of it for chronological purposes. The same may be said of the other methods of reckoning the year which may have been in use among some classes of the population, as, for instance, the natural year based on the recurrence of the natural seasons. It is not uncommonly taken for granted or advanced that the Egyptian vague year of 365 days was preceded by a round year of 360 days, and that the former was obtained by adding 5 days to the latter. Arguments in favour of that view are few and not convincing. A year of 360 days neither lunar nor solar is hardly imaginable (cf. Ginzel, op. cit. 69; E. Meyer op. cit., 10). It is even more likely that, even before the arrangement of 360 plus 5 days, the Egyptian year (originally a lunar year) had become luni-solar, and increased to 365 days, either as a fixed number for every year by intercalary days distributed over the whole year (as in the Julian year), or as an average number in a series of years by a process of embolism (as for instance in the Hebrew year). Finally, it was decided to adopt the far simpler and rational arrangement of 12 even months followed by five intercalary days; the distribution of the days was changed, not their number. This recast of the calendar found expression at a very early period, if not at the time when it took place, in the following fable by preserved by Plutarch (De Iside et Osiride, xii), but undoubtedly very ancient, as judged from the fact that the divinities mentioned in it belonged to the earliest stages of the Egyptian pantheon. Rhea (Egyptian Nût) having had secret intercourse with Kronos (Geb), Hêlos (Re) cast a spell on her to prevent her from bringing forth during any month of any year. But Hermes (Thoth) who loved her played dice with the Moon and won from her the 73rd part (not 60th as Maspéro, "Histoire ancienne," p. 87; nor 70th as E. Meyer, op. cit., p. 9; nor 72nd, as Ginzel, op. cit. p. 171) of her courses (literally lights, photon), which he added to the (remaining) 360 days. During these five days, Nût brought forth her children (Osiris, Horus, Set, Isis, and Nephthys).

The ancient Egyptians never had eras in the usual sense of the word, i.e., epochs from which all successive years are counted regardless of political or other changes in the life of the nation. Instead of eras, in the first five dynasties, they used to name each civil year for some great political or religious event (a usage which had its parallel in Babylonia). This covers such years as "the Year of the Smiting of the Troglodytes," "the Year of the Conquest of Nubia," "the Year of the defeat of Lower Egypt," "the Year of the Worship of Horus". Others they named from some fiscal process recurring periodically, as "the Year of [or after] the Second Occurrence of the Census of all Cattle, Gold," etc. which was often abbreviated to "the Year of the Second Occurrence of the Census," or, still more briefly, "the Year of the Second Occurrence." The census having become annual, each year of any given reign came to be identified as the year of the first (or whatever might be the proper ordinal) census of that reign, a new series beginning with each reign.

From the Eleventh Dynasty on, the years were always numbered from the first of the current reign, and the second year of the reign was supposed to begin with the first day of Thoth next following the date of the kings' accession, no matter how recent that date might be. The absence of eras in ancient Egypt is all the more remarkable as there were several periods which could easily have been utilized for that purpose, the Sothic period especially. (On other periods — Phoenix, Apis, etc. — mentioned by the classical writers but not yet found on Egyptian monuments, as also on the so-called Great and Small years, and the supposed Nubti Era, see Ginzel, op. cit., I, sec. 38 and 45.).

In later times several eras were created or adopted in Egypt, the principal of which was the Era of Alexandria. Its epoch, or starting-point, has conventionally been fixed at 30 (or 31) August of the first year of Augustus (Julian, 30 B.C.), although, as we have seen, it did not acquire its intercalary character until 26, or even 23, B.C., so that its first years were ordinary Egyptian vague years (for further details see Ginzel, op. cit., I, pp. 224-28). The Philippic, or Macedonian Era (more generally known as the Era of Alexander) was introduced into Egypt in the third century B.C., after the death of Alexander the Great (323 B.C.). Up to Ptolemy Philadelphus (285-47 B.C.), Egyptian monuments were dated according to the old Egyptian system, but after that time the Macedonian dates are generally found together with the Egyptian. Macedonian dating was gradually superseded by the use of the fixed eras, yet it is found, sporadically at least, as late as the second century after Christ (Ginzel, op. cit., I, p. 232).

The Philippic Era begins on I Thoth, 425 (12 November., 324 B.C., Julian style) of the era of Nabonassar; like the latter it is based on a vague year on the same pattern, months' names included, as the old Egyptian year. The Era of Nabonassar begins as noon, 26 February, 747 B.C. (Julian style). It is the basis of the famous Canon of Ptolemy. It was used in Egypt especially for astronomical purposes, and it met with great favor with chronographers, on account of the certainty of its starting-point and its well-established accuracy. The reduction of Nabonassar's years into the corresponding usual Christian reckoning is rather complicated and requires the use of special tables (see Ginzel, op. cit., I, p. 143 sqq.).

Only a very small portion of the colossal mass of inscriptions, papyri, etc. so far discovered in Egypt has any bearing on, or can be any assistance in, chronological questions. The astronomical knowledge of the ancient Egyptians does not seem to have gone very far, and, accurate astronomical observations rightly recorded in connection with historical events are the basis of any true chronology of ancient times. It is remarkable that the Egyptian Claudius Ptolemy (second century after Christ) took from the Babylonians and the Greeks all the observations of eclipses he ever used and started his canon (see above) with Babylonian, not with Egyptian kings. Evidently, he held no records of sun observations made in Egypt.

Yet, for religious reasons, the Egyptians noted the Heliacal risings of Sirius on the various dates of their movable calendar. A few have reached us, and have been of no small assistance in astronomically determining, within four years at least, some of the most important epochs of Egyptian history. The Egyptians also recorded the coincidence of new moons with the days of their calendar. Such data in themselves have no chronological value, as the phases of the moon return to the same positions on the calendar every nineteen years; taken, however, in conjunction with other data, they can help us to determine more precisely the chronology of some events (Breasted, op. cit., I, sec. 46).

Moreover, ancient Egypt has bequeathed to us a number of monuments of a more or less chronological character. (1) The calendars of religious feasts [Calendars of Dendera (Tentyris), Edfu, Esneh, all three of which belong to the late period, Calendar of Papyrus Sallier IV] are especially interesting because they illustrate the nature of the Egyptian year (see Ginzel, op. cit., p. 200 sqq). (2) The lists of selected royal names comprise: the so-called Tablets of Sakkâra, Nineteenth Dynasty, forty-seven names beginning with the sixth of the First Dynasty; Karnak (part of Thebæ), Eighteenth Dynasty, sixty-one names, unfortunately not chronologically arranged; Abados, Nineteenth Dynasty, seventy-six names beginning with Menes. (3) Two chronological compilations known as the Turin Papyrus, Nineteenth Dynasty, and the Palermo Stone, Fifth Dynasty, from the places where they are now preserved. Unfortunately, the first of these last two monuments is broken into many fragments and otherwise mutilated, while the second is but a fragment of a much larger stone.

These two documents (cf. E. Meyer, op. cit., pp. 105-205, and Breasted, op. cit., I., pp. 51 sqq.) are, though fragmentary, of the greatest importance, in particular for the early dynasties and the predynastic times. The Turin papyrus contains, besides the name of the kings chronologically arranged in groups or dynasties, the durations both of the individual reigns and of the various dynasties or groups of dynasties, in years, months, and days. On the Palermo Stone, each year of a reign is entered separately and is often accompanied with short historical notices. — All these documents combined furnish the chronological frame for the vast amount of historical matter contained in thousands of mural inscriptions and stelæ collected and worked out with almost incredible patience by several generations of Egyptologists during the last hundred years.

Of secondary importance are the data furnished by the Greek and Latin writers. Still we must mention here the Aigyptiaka Hypomnemata of the Egyptian priest Manetho of Sebennytus, third century B.C. Of this work we have: (a) Some fragments which, preserved by Josephus (Contra Apion, I 14:xv, xx), were used by Eusebius in his "Præparatio Evangelica" and the first book of his "Chronicon"; (b) by an epitome which has reached us in two recensions. One of these recensions (the better of the two) was used by Julius Africanus, and the other by Eusebius in their respective chronicles; both have been preserved by Georgius Syncellus (eighth-ninth century) in his Egloge Chronographias. We also have a Latin translation by Blessed Jerome and an Armenian version of the Eusebian recension, while fragments of the recension of Julius Africanus are to be found in the so-called "Excerpta Barbara." Judging from that epitome, the work of Manetho was divided into three parts, the first of which contained the reigns of the gods and demi-gods (omitted in the African recension) and eleven dynasties of human kings; the second, eight dynasties of such kings; the third, twelve (the last one added after Manetho's death). Besides a few short notices, the epitome contains nothing but names and figures showing the duration of each reign and dynasty. Those figures are summed up at the end of each book. In the shape it has reached us Manetho's work is of comparatively little assistance, on account of its chronology, which seems to be hopelessly mixed up, besides being grossly exaggerated; and it must be used with the greatest caution. (For further details on Manetho and his work, see the preface of C. Müller in the Didot edition of the second volume of "Fragmenta Historicorum Græcorum," and E. Meyer, op. cit., pp. 69-99).

In the next place should be mentioned a list of so-called Theban kings handed down by Erotosthenes of Cyrene (third century B.C.) and preserved by Syncellus. It seems to be a translation of some Egyptian royal list similar to the Table of Karnak [see C. Müller in the Didot edition of Heroditus (Fragmenta chronographica, p. 182) and E. Meyer, op. cit., pp. 99-103]. Lastly, Heroditus's Historiai (fifth century B.C) and Diodorus Siculus's Bibliotheke (first century B.C) deserve at least a passing mention. Although their interest lies chiefly in another direction, yet we may glean from them occasional chronological data for the times during which these two writers lived.

We cannot enter here upon even a cursory analysis, much less a discussion, of the various systems of Egyptian chronology. The older systems of Champollion, Lepsius, Lesueur, Brugsch, Mariette were, to a considerable extent, based on theories which have since been proved false, or on an imperfect study and an erroneous interpretation of the chronological material. These scholars, however, paved the way for the present generation of Egyptologists, of the German school especially, who have at last succeeded in placing the chronology of ancient Egypt on a firm basis. The following chronological table up to the Twenty-sixth Dynasty is condensed from the excellent work of Professor J. H. Breasted, "Ancient Records of Egypt," I, pp. 40-47. The other dynasties up to the Thirtieth are taken from Professor G. Steindorff's "Outline of the History of Egypt" in Baedeker's "Egypt" (6th ed., 1908), with the exception of the year 408, the last of the Twenty-seventh Dynasty and first of the Twenty-eighth, which we copy from Maspéro, "Guide to the Cairo Museum" (Cairo, 1903, p. 3):

4241 B.C. — Introduction of the Calendar

3400 B.C. — Accession of Menes and beginning of the dynasties

3400-2980 B.C. — First and Second Dynasties

2980-2900 B.C. — Third Dynasty

2900-2750 B.C. — Fourth Dynasty

¹2750-2625 B.C. — Fifth Dynasty

¹2625-2475 B.C. — Sixth Dynasty

2475-2445 B.C. — Seventh and Eighth Dynasties

2445-2160 B.C. — Ninth and Tenth Dynasty

2160-2000 B.C. — Eleventh Dynasty

2000-1788 B.C. — Twelfth Dynasty

²1788-1580 B.C. — Thirteenth to Seventeenth Dynasties (including Hyksos times)

¹1580-1350 B.C. — Eighteenth Dynasty

¹1350-1205 B.C. — Nineteenth Dynasty

¹1205-1200 B.C. — Interim

¹1200-1090 B.C. — Twentieth Dynasty

¹1090-945 B.C. — Twenty-first Dynasty

¹945-745 B.C. — Twenty-second Dynasty

¹745-718 B.C. — Twenty-third Dynasty

¹718-712 B.C. — Twenty-fourth Dynasty

¹712-663 B.C. — Twenty-fifth Dynasty

663-525 B.C. — Twenty-sixth Dynasty

525-408 B.C. — Twenty-seventh Dynasty

408-398 B.C. — Twenty-eighth Dynasty

398-378 B.C. — Twenty-ninth Dynasty

378-341 B.C. — Thirtieth Dynasty

Dates marked with an asterisk in the above table are astronomically computed and correct within three years, while the date 525 is attested by the Canon of Ptolemy. Several dates besides, within the period of the Eighteenth Dynasty and the initial date of Shebataka, second king of the twenty-fifth Dynasty, are also astronomically determined. The superscript "1" (¹) indicates that the numerical difference between the two following dates is the minimum duration allowed by the monuments for the corresponding dynasties. The superscript "2" (²) on the contrary, indicates the maximum of duration. This is the case only for the period from the Thirteenth to the Seventeenth dynasties. What this period may lose some day will be the gain of the nine following dynasties, but the extreme dates, 1788 and 662, will not be affected. The duration of 285 years for the Ninth and Tenth Dynasties, indicated by the two extreme dates 2445-2160, is an estimate, in round numbers, based on an average of 16 years for each of their 18 kings. The uncertainty which attaches to that period affects the dates of all the preceding dynasties, which, consequently, may some day have to be shifted as much as a century either way.



In treating of the history, character, and influence of this ancient empire, it is difficult not to speak at the same time of its sister, or rather daughter, country, Assyria. This northern neighbor and colony of Babylon remained to the last of the same race and language and of almost the same religion and civilization as that of the country from which it emigrated. The political fortunes of both countries for more than a thousand years were closely interwoven with one another; in fact, for many centuries they formed one political unit. The reader is therefore referred to the article ASSYRIA for the sources of Assyro-Babylonian history; for the story of exploration, language, and writing; for its value in Old Testament exegesis, and for much of Babylonian history during the period of Assyrian supremacy.


The country lies diagonally from northwest to southeast, between 30° and 33° N. lat., and 44° and 48° E. long. This stretches from the present city of Baghdad to the Persian Gulf, from the slopes of Khuzistan on the east to the Arabian Desert on the west, and is substantially contained between the Rivers Euphrates and Tigris, though, to the west a narrow strip of cultivation on the right bank of the Euphrates must be added. Its total length is some 300 miles, its greatest width about 125 miles; about 23,000 square miles in all, or the size of Holland and Belgium together.

Like those two countries, its soil is largely formed by the alluvial deposits of two great rivers. A most remarkable feature of Babylonian geography is that the land to the south encroaches on the sea and that the Persian Gulf recedes at present at the rate of a mile in seventy years, while in the past, though still in historic times, it receded as much as a mile in thirty years. In the early period of Babylonian history, the gulf must have extended some hundred and twenty miles further inland. According to historical records both the towns Ur and Eridu were once close to the gulf, from which they are now about a hundred miles distant. From the reports of Sennacherib's campaign against Bît Yakin we gather that as late as 695 B.C., the four rivers Kerkha, Karun, Euphrates, and Tigris entered the gulf by separate mouths, which proves that the sea even then extended a considerable distance north of where the Euphrates and Tigris now join to form the Shat-el-arab.

Geological observations show that a secondary formation of limestone abruptly begins at a line drawn from Hit on the Euphrates to Samarra on the Tigris, i.e. some four hundred miles from their present mouth. This must once have formed the coastline, and all the country south was only gradually gained from the sea by river deposit. In how far man was witness of this gradual formation of the Babylonian soil we cannot determine at present; as far south as Larsa and Lagash man had built cities 4,000 years before Christ. It has been suggested that the story of the Flood may be connected with man's recollection of the waters extending far north of Babylon, or of some great natural event relating to the formation of the soil; but with our present imperfect knowledge, it can only be the merest suggestion. It may, however, well be observed that the astounding system of canals which existed in ancient Babylonia even from the remotest historical times, though largely due to man's careful industry and patient toil, was not entirely the work of the spade, but of nature once leading the waters of Euphrates and Tigris in a hundred rivulets to the sea, forming a delta like that of the Nile.

The fertility of this rich alluvial plain was in ancient times proverbial; it produced a wealth of wheat, barley, sesame, dates, and other fruits and cereals. The cornfields of Babylonia were mostly in the south, where Larsa, Lagash, Erech, and Calneh were the centers of an opulent agricultural population. The palm tree was cultivated with assiduous care and besides furnishing all sorts of food and beverage, was used for a thousand domestic needs. Birds and waterfowls, herds and flocks, and rivers teeming with fish supplied the inhabitants with a rural plenty which surprises the modern reader of the cadastral surveys and tithe-accounts of the ancient temples. The country is completely destitute of mineral wealth, and possesses no stone or metal, although stone was already being imported from the Lebanon and the Ammanus as early as 3000 B.C. Much earlier, about 4500 B.C., Ur-Nina, King of Shirpurla sent to Magan, i.e. the Sinaitic Peninsula, for hard stone and hard wood; while the copper mines of Sinai were probably being worked by Babylonians shortly after 3750, when Snefru, first king of the Fourth Egyptian dynasty, drove them away. It is remarkable that Babylonia possesses no bronze period, but passed from copper to iron; though in later ages it learnt the use of bronze from Assyria.

The towns of ancient Babylonia were the following: southernmost, Eridu, Semitic corruption of the old name of Eri-dugga, "good city," at present the mounds of Abu-Sharain; and Ur, Abraham's birthplace, about twenty-five miles northeast of Eridu, at present Mughair. Both of the above towns lay west of the Euphrates. East of the Euphrates, the southernmost town was Larsa, the Biblical Ellasar (Gen., xiv; in Vulg. and D.V. unfortunately rendered Pontus), at present Senkere; Erech, the Biblical Arach (Gen. 10:10), fifteen miles northwest of Larsa, is at present Warka; eight miles northeast from the modern Shatra was Shirpurla, or Lagash, now Tello. Shirpurla was one of Babylon's most ancient cities, though not mentioned in the Bible; probably "Raventown" (shirpur-raven), from the sacred emblem of its goddess and sanctuary, Nin-Girsu, or Nin-Sungir, which for a score of centuries was an important political center, and probably gave its name to Southern Babylonia — Sungir, Shumer, or, in Gen. 10:10, Sennaar. Gishban (read also Gish-ukh), a small city a little north of Shirpurla, at present the mounds of Iskha, is of importance only in the very earliest history of Babylonia.

The site of the important city of Isin (read also Nisin) has not yet been determined, but it was probably situated a little north of Erech. Calneh, or Nippur (in D.V., Gen. 10:10, Calanne), at present Nuffar, was a great religious center, with its Bel Temple, unrivaled in antiquity and sanctity, a sort of Mecca for the Semitic Babylonians. In their time, American excavations made its name as famous as French excavations made that of Tello or Shirpurla.

In North Babylonia we have again, southernmost, the city of Kish, probably the Biblical Cush (Gen. 10:8); its ruins are under the present mound El-Ohemir, eight miles east of Hilla. A little distance to the northwest lay Kutha, the present Telli Ibrahim, the city whence the Babylonian colonists of Samaria were taken (IV Kings 17:30), and which played a great role in Northern Babylonia before the Amorite dynasty.

The site of Agade, i.e. Akkad (Gen. 10:10), the name of whose kings was dreaded in Cyprus and in Sinai in 3800 B.C., is unfortunately unknown, but it must have been not far from

Sippara; it has even been suggested that this was one of the quarters of that city, which was scarcely thirty miles north of Babylon and which, as early as 1881, was identified, through British excavations, with the present Abu-Habba.

Lastly, Babylon, with its twin-city Borsippa, though probably founded as early as 3800 B.C., played an insignificant role in the country's history until, under Hammurabi, about 2300 B.C., it entered on that career of empire which it maintained for almost 2000 years. Its name now stands for a country and a civilization which was of hoary antiquity before Babylon rose to power and even before a brick of Babylon was laid.

Early History.

At the dawn of history in the middle of the fifth millennium before Christ, we find in the Euphrates Valley a number of city-states, or rather city-monarchies, in rivalry with one another and in such a condition of culture and progress. These lead the valley to be called the cradle of civilization, not only of the Semitic world, but most likely also of Egypt. The people dwelling in this valley were certainly not all of one race; they differed in type and language. The primitive inhabitants were probably of Mongolian ancestry. They are styled Sumerians, or inhabitants of Sumer, Sungir, and Sennaar. They invented the cuneiform script, built the oldest cities, and brought the country to a great height of peaceful prosperity.

They were gradually overcome, dispossessed, and absorbed by a new race that entered the plain between the two rivers, the Semites, who pressed on them from the north from the kingdom of Akkad. The Semitic invaders, however, eagerly adopted, improved, and widely spread the civilization of the race they had conquered. Although a number of arguments converge into an irrefragable proof that the Sumerians were the aboriginal inhabitants of Babylonia, we have no historical records of the time when they were the sole occupants of the Euphrates Valley. At the dawn of history, we find both races in possession of the land and to a certain extent mixed, though the Semite was predominant in the North while the Sumerian maintained himself for centuries in the South.

Whence these Sumerians came, cannot be decided, and probably all that will ever be known is that, after a nomadic existence in mountainous districts in the East, they found a plain in the lands of Sennaar and dwelt in it (Gen. 11:2). Their first settlement was Eridu, then a seaport on the Persian Gulf, where their earliest myths represent the first man, Adapu, or Adamu (Adam?), spending his time in fishing, and where the sea-god taught them the elements of civilization. It is certain, however, that they possessed a considerable amount of culture even before entering the Babylonian plain; for, coeval with the first foundations of their oldest temples, they possessed the cuneiform script, which can be described as a cursive hand developed out of picture-signs by centuries of primeval culture. From whence the Semitic race invaded Babylonia, and what was its origin, we know not. But it must be noted that the language they spoke, though clearly and thoroughly Semitic, is yet so strikingly different from all other Semitic languages that it stands in a category apart, and the time when it formed one speech with the other Semitic tongues lies immeasurably far back beyond our calculations.

The earliest records, then, show us a state of things not unlike that of our Saxon heptarchy: petty princes, or city-monarchies successfully endeavoring to obtain lordship over a neighboring town or a group of towns, and in turn being overcome by others. And, considering that most of these towns were but a score of miles distant from one another and changed rulers frequently, the history is somewhat confusing.

The most ancient ruler at present known to us is Enshagkushanna, who is styled King of Kengi. Owing to the broken state of the sherd on which the inscription occurs, and which possibly dates soon after 5000 B.C., the name of his capital is unknown. It probably was Shirpurla, and he ruled over Southern Babylonia. He claims to have won a great victory over the City of Kish, and he dedicated the spoil, including a statue of bright silver, to Mullil, the god of Calanne (Nippur). It seems like that Kish was the most southern city captured by Semites; of one of its kings, Manishtusu, we possess a mace-head, as a sign of his royalty, and a stele, or obelisk, in archaic cuneiforms and Semitic Babylonian. Somewhat later Mesilim, the King of Kish, retrieved the defeat of his predecessor and acted as suzerain of Shirpurla. Another probable name of a King of Kish is Urumush, or Alusharshid, though some make him King of Akkad.

Whereas our information concerning the dynasty of Kish is exceedingly fragmentary, we are somewhat better informed about the rulers of Shirpurla. About 4500 B.C. we find Urkagina reigning there and, somewhat later, Lugal (lugal, "great man," i.e. " prince," or "king") Shuggur. Then, after an interval, we are acquainted with a succession of no fewer than seven Kings of Shirpurla: Gursar, Gunidu, Ur-Ninâ, Akur-Gal, Eannatum I, Entemena and Eannatum II. This last king must have reigned about 4000 B.C. De Sarszec found at Tello a temple-wall some of the bricks of which bore the clear legend of Ur-Nina, thus leaving on record this king's building activity. Thanks to the famous stele of the vultures, now in the Louvre, to some clay steles in the British Museum, and a cone found at Shirpurla, we have an idea of the warlike propensities of Eannatum I. He subdued the people of Gishban by a crushing defeat, made them pay an almost incredible war-indemnity of corn, and appointed over that city his own viceroy, "who placed his yoke on the land of Elam," "and of Gisgal," and who is represented as braining with his club foes whose heads are protruding out of the opening of a bag in which they are bound.

That, notwithstanding these scenes of bloodshed, it was an age of art and culture can be evidently shown by such finds as that of a superb silver vase of Entemena, Eannatum's son and successor, and, as crown-prince, general of his army. After Eannatum II the history of Shirpurla is a blank, until we find the name of Lugal Ushumgal, when, however, the city has for a time lost its independence, for this ruler was the vassal of Shargon I of Akkad, about 3800 B.C. Yet, some six centuries afterwards, when the dynasty of Akkad had ceased to be, the patesis, or high priests, of Shirpurla were still men of renown. A long inscription on the back of a statue tells us of the vast building achievements of Ur-Bau about the year 3200; and the name of his son and successor, Nammaghani.

About two centuries later we find Gudea, one of the most famous rulers the city every possessed. Excavations at Tello have laid bare the colossal walls of his great palace and have shown us how, both by land and by sea, he brought his materials from vast distances, while his architecture and sculpture show perfect art and refinement, and we incidentally learn that he conquered the district of Anshan in Elam. After Gudea, we are acquainted with the names of four more rulers of Shirpurla, but in these subsequent reigns, the city seems to have quickly sunk into political insignificance. Another Sumerian dynasty was that of Erech, or Gishban. About 4000 B.C. a certain Lugal Zaggisi, son of the Patesi of Gishban, who became King of Erech, proudly styled himself King of the World, as Enshagkushanna and Alusharshid had done. He claimed to rule from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean, and praises the supreme god Enlil, or Bel, of Nippur, who "granted him the dominion of all from the rising of the sun to the setting thereof and caused the countries to dwell in peace." Yet, to us it seems but a rushlight of glory; for after his son Lugal-Kisalsi the Kingdom of Erech disappears in the night of the past. The same may be said of the dynasty of Agade. Ittibel's son,

Sargon I suddenly stands before us as a giant figure in history about 3800 B.C. He was a monarch proud of his race and language, for his inscriptions were in his Semitic mother tongue, not in the Sumerian, like those of previous kings. He is rightly called the first founder of a Semitic empire. Under him flourished Semitic language, literature, and art, especially architecture. He established his dominion in Susa, the capital of Elam, subdued Syria and Palestine in three campaigns, set up an image of himself on the Syrian coast, as a monument of his triumphs, and welded his conquests into one empire. Naram-Sin, his son, even extended his gather's conquests, invading the Sinai Peninsula and, apparently, Cyprus, where a seal cylinder was found on which he receives homage as a god. On inscriptions of that date first occurs mention of the city of God's Gate, or Babylon (Bâb-ilu sometimes Bâb-ilani, whence the Greek Babulon, then written ideographically Kâ-Dungir.

After Bingani, Naram-Sin's son, Semitic successes were temporarily eclipsed; Egypt occupied Sinai, Elam became again independent, and in Babylonia, itself the Sumerian element reasserted itself. We find a dynasty of Ur already in prominence. This city seems at two different periods to have exercised the hegemony over the Euphrates Valley or part of it. First under Urgur and Dungi I, about 3400 B.C. This Urgur assumed the title of King of Sumer and Akkad, thus making the first attempt to unite North and South Babylonia into a political unit, and inaugurating a royal style which was borne perhaps longer than the title of any other dignity since the world was made. Ur predominates, for the second time, about 2800 B.C., under Dungi II, Gungunu, Bur-Sin, Gimil-Sin and Ine Sin, whose buildings and fortifications are found in many cities of Babylonia.

The history of Ur is as yet so obscure that some scholars (Thureau-Dangin, Hilprecht, Bezold) accept but two dynasties, other (Rogers) three, others (Hugo, Radau) four. The supremacy of Ur is followed, about 2500 B.C., by that of (N) Isin, apparently an unimportant city, as its rulers style themselves Shepherds, or Gracious Lords, of Isin, and place this title after that of King of Ur, Eridu, Erech, and Nippur. Six rulers of Isin are known: Ishbigarra, Libit-Ishtar, Bur-Sin II, Ur-Ninib, Ishme-Dagan, and Enannatum. The last of the city-kingdoms was that of Larsa, about 2300 B.C., with its sovereigns Siniddinam Nur-Adad, Chedornanchundi, Chedorlaomer, Chedormabug, and Eri-Aku. The composition of these royal names with Chedor, the Elamite Kudor, sufficiently shows that they did not belong to a native dynasty, whether Sumerian or Semitic.

One of the earliest Elamite invaders of Babylonia was Rim-Amun, who obtained such a foothold on Babylonian soil that the year of his reign was used to date contract tablets, a sure sign that he was at least king de facto. Chedornanchundi invaded Babylonia about the year 2285, reached Erech, plundered its temples, and captured the city-goddess; but whether he established a permanent rule, remains doubtful.

Somewhat later Chedorlaomer (Kudur-Laghamar, "Servant of Laghamar," an Elamite deity), known to us from the Bible, seems to have been more successful. Not only does he appear as overlord of Babylonia, but he carried his conquest as far west as Palestine. Chedormabug was originally Prince of Emutbal, or western Elam, but obtained dominion over Babylonia and rebuilt the temple at Ur. His son, Rim-Sin, or Eri-Aku, considered himself so well established on Babylonian territory that he affected the ancient titles, Exalter of Ur, King of Larsa, King of Sumer and Akkad. Yet he was the least of the city-kings, and a new order of things began with the rise of Babylon.

The First Empire.

The dynasty which laid the foundation of Babylon's greatness is sometimes called the Arabian. It certainly was West-Semitic and almost certainly Amorite. The Babylonians called it the dynasty of Babylon, for, though foreign in origin, it may have had its actual home in that city, which it gratefully and proudly remembered. It lasted for 296 years and saw the greatest glory of the old empire and perhaps the Golden Age of the Semitic race in the ancient world. The names of its monarchs are: Sumu-abi (15 years), Sumu-la-ilu (35), Zabin (14), Apil-Sin (18), Sin-muballit (30); Hammurabi (35), Samsu-iluna (35), Abishua (25), Ammi-titana (25), Ammizaduga (22), Samsu-titana (31). Under the first five kings, Babylon was still only the mightiest amongst several rival cities, but the sixth king, Hammurabi, who succeeded in beating down all opposition, obtained absolute rule of Northern and Southern Babylonia and drove out the Elamite invaders. Babylonia henceforward formed but one state, and was welded into one empire.

They were apparently stormy days before the final triumph of Hammurabi. The second ruler strengthened his capital with large fortifications; the third ruler was apparently in danger of a native pretender or foreign rival called Immeru; only the fourth ruler was definitely styled King; while Hammurabi himself in the beginning of his reign acknowledged the suzerainty of Elam.

This Hammurabi is one of the most gigantic figures of the world's history, to be named with Alexander, Caesar, or Napoleon, but best compared to a Charlemagne, a conqueror and a lawgiver, whose powerful genius formed a lasting empire out of chaos, and whose beneficent influence continued for ages throughout an area almost as large as Europe. Doubtless a dozen centuries later Assyrian kings were to make greater conquests than he, but whereas they were giant destroyers, he was a giant builder. His large public and private correspondence gives us an insight into his multitudinous cares, his minute attention to details, and his constitutional methods. (See "The Letters and Inscriptions of Hammurabi," by L. W. King; London, 1898, 3 vols). His famous code of civil and criminal law throws light on his genius as legislator and judge. The stele on which these laws are inscribed was found at Susa by M. de Morgan and the Dominican friar Scheil, and first published and translated by the latter in 1902. This astounding find, giving us, in 3638 short lines, 282 laws and regulations affecting the whole range of public and private life, is unequalled even in the marvelous history of Babylonian research. From no other document can a more swift and accurate estimate of Babylonian civilization be formed than from this code. (For a complete English translation, see T.G. Pinches, op. cit. infra, pp. 487-519.).

Whereas the Assyrian kings loved to fill the boastful records of their reigns with ghastly descriptions of battle and war, so that we possess the minutest details of their military campaigns, the genius of Babylon, on the contrary, was one of peace, and culture, and progress. The building of temples, the adorning of cities, the digging of canals, the making of roads, the framing of laws was their pride. Their records breathe, or affect to breathe, all serene tranquility; warlike exploits are but mentioned by the way, hence we have, even in the case of the two greatest Babylonian conquerors, Hammurabi and Nabuchodonosor II, but scanty information of their deeds of arms. "I dug the canal Hammurabi, the blessing of men, which bringeth the water of the overflow unto the land of Sumer and Akkad. Its banks on both sides I made arable land; much seed I scattered upon it. Lasting water I provided for the land of Sumer and Akkad. The land of Sumer and Akkad, its separated peoples I united, with blessings and abundance I endowed them, in peaceful dwellings I made them to live" — such is the style of Hammurabi.

In what seems an ode on the king, engraved on his statue we find the words: "Hammurabi, the strong warrior, the destroyer of his foes, he is the hurricane of battle, sweeping the land of his foes, he brings opposition to naught, he puts an end to insurrection, he breaks the warrior as an image of clay." But chronological details are still in confusion. In a very fragmentary list of dates the 31st year of his reign is given as that of the land Emutbalu, which is usually taken as that of his victory over western Elam, and considered by many as that of his conquest of Larsa and its king, Rim-Sin, or Eri-Aku. If the Biblical Amraphel be Hammurabi we have in Gen. 14: the record of an expedition of his to the Westland previous to the 31st year of his reign. Of Hammurabi's immediate successors, we know nothing except that they reigned in peaceful prosperity. That trade prospered, and temples were built, is all we can say.

The Amorite dynasty was succeeded by a series of eleven kings which may well be designated as the Unknown Dynasty, which has received a number of names: Ura-Azag, Uru-ku, Shish-ku. Whether it was Semite or not is not certain; the years of reign are given in the "King-List," but they are surprisingly long (60-50-55-50-28, etc), so that not only great doubt is cast on the correctness of these dates, but also the very existence of this dynasty is doubted or rejected by some scholars (as Hommel). It is indeed remarkable that the kings should be eleven in number, like those of the Amorite dynasty, and that we should nowhere find a distinct evidence of their existence. Yet these premises hardly suffice to prove that so early a document as the "King-List" made the unpardonable mistake of ascribing nearly four centuries of rule to a dynasty which in reality was contemporaneous, nay identical, with the Amorite monarchs. Their names are certainly very puzzling, but it has been suggested that these were not personal names, but names of the city-quarters from which they originated. Should this dynasty have a separate existence, it is safe to say that they were native rulers, and succeeded the Amorites without any break of national and political life. Owing to the questionable reality of this dynasty, the chronology of the previous one varies greatly; hence it arises, for instance, that Hammurabi's date is given as 1772-17 in Hasting's "Dictionary of the Bible," while the majority of scholars would place him about 2100 B.C., or a little earlier; nor are indications wanting to show that, whether the "Unknown Dynasty" be fictitious or not, the latter date is approximately right.

In the third place comes the Kassite dynasty, thirty-six kings, for 576 years. The tablet with this list is unfortunately mutilated, but almost all the nineteen missing names can with some exactness be supplied from other sources, such as the Assyrian-synchronistic history and the correspondence with Egypt. This dynasty was a foreign one, but its place of origin is not easy to ascertain. In their own official designation, they style themselves kings of Kardunyash and the King of Egypt addresses Kadashman Bel as King of Kardunyash. This Kardunyash has been tentatively identified with South Elam.

Information about the Kassite period is obtained but sparsely. We possess an Assyrian copy of an inscription of Agum-Kakrime, perhaps the seventh King of this dynasty. He styles himself: "King of Kasshu and Akkad, King of the broad land of Babylon, who caused much people to settle in the land of Ashmumak, King of Padan and Alvan, King of the land of Guti, wide extended peoples, a king who rules the four quarters of the world." The extent of territory thus under dominion of the Babylonian monarch is wider than even that under the Amorite dynasty; but in the royal title, which is altogether unusual in its form, Babylon takes but the third place. Only a few generations later, however, the old style and title is resumed, and Babylon again stands first; the foreign conquerors were evidently conquered by the peaceful conquest of superior Babylonian civilization. This Agum-Kakrime with all his wide dominions had yet to send an embassy to the land of Khani to obtain the gods Marduk and Zarpanit, the most sacred national idols, which had evidently been captured by the enemy.

The next king of whom we have any knowledge is Karaindash (1450 B.C), who settled the boundary lines of his kingdom with his contemporary Asshur-bel-nisheshu of Assyria. From the Tell-el-et-marna tablets we conclude that in 1400 B.C., Babylon was no longer the one great power of Western Asia; the kingdom of Assyria and the Kingdom of Mitanni were its rivals and well nigh equals. Yet, in the letters which passed between Kadashman-Bel and Amenophis III, King of Egypt, it is evident that the King of Babylon could assume a more independent tone of fair equality with the great Pharaoh than the kings of Assyria or Mitanni. When Amenophis asks for Kadashman-Bel's sister in marriage, Kadashman-Bel promptly asks for Amenophis' sister in return; and when Amenophis demurs, Kadashman-Bel promptly answers that, unless some fair Egyptian of princely rank be sent, Amenophis shall not have his sister. When Assyria has sought Egyptian help against Babylon, Kadashman-Bel diplomatically reminds Pharaoh that Babylon has in times past given no assistance to Syrian vassal princes against their Egyptian suzerain, and expects Egypt now to act in the same way in not granting help to Assyria. And when the people of Akko in Canaan have robbed a Babylonian caravan, the Egyptian Government receives a preemptory letter from Babylon for amende honorable and restitution. Amenophis is held responsible, "for Canaan is thy country, and thou art its King." Kadashman-Bel was succeeded by Burnaburiash I, Kurigalzu I, Burnaburiash II. Six letters of the last-named to Amenhotep IV of Egypt suggest a period of perfect tranquility and prosperity.

How the long Kassite dynasty came to an end we know not, but it was succeeded by the dynasty of Pashi (some read Isin), eleven kings in 132 years (about 1200-1064 B.C.). The greatest monarch of this house was Nabuchodonosor I (about 1135-25 B.C.); though twice defeated by Assyria, he was successful against the Lulubi, punished Elam, and invaded Syria, and by his brilliant achievements stayed the inevitable decline of Babylon. The next two dynasties are known as those of the Sealand, and of Bazi, of three kings each, and these were followed by one Elamite king (c. 1064-900 B.C.). Upon these obscure dynasties follows the long series of Babylonian kings, who reigned mostly as vassals, sometimes quasi-independent, sometimes as rebel-kings in the period of Assyrian supremacy.

The Second, or Chaldean, Empire.

With the death, in 626 B.C., of Kandalanu (the Babylonian name of Assurbanipal), King of Assyria, Assyrian power in Babylon practically ceased. Nabopolassar, a Chaldean who had risen from the position of general in the Assyrian army, ruled Babylon as Shakkanak for some years in nominal dependence on Ninive. Then, as King of Babylon, he invaded and annexed the Mesopotamian provinces of Assyria, and when Sinsharishkun, the last King of Assyria, tried to cut off his return and threatened Babylon, Nabopolassar called in the aid of the Manda, nomadic tribes of Kurdistan, somewhat incorrectly identified with the Medes. Though Nabopolassar no doubt contributed his share to the events which led to the complete destruction of Ninive (606 B.C.) by these Manda barbarians, he apparently did not in person co-operate in the taking of the city, nor share the booty, but used the opportunity to firmly establish his throne in Babylon.

Though Semites, the Chaldeans belonged to a race perfectly distinct from the Babylonians proper, and were foreigners in the Euphrates Valley. They were settlers from Arabia, who had invaded Babylonia from the South. Their stronghold was the district known as the Sealands. During the Assyrian supremacy, the combined forces of Babylon and Assyria had kept them in check. However, owing probably to the fearful Assyrian atrocities in Babylon, the citizens had begun to look towards their former enemies for help. The Chaldean power grew apace in Babylon until, in Nabopolassar, it assumed the reins of government, and thus imperceptibly a foreign race superseded the ancient inhabitants. The city remained the same, but its nationality changed.

Nabopolassar must have been a strong, beneficient ruler, engaged in rebuilding temples and digging canals, like his predecessors, and yet maintaining his hold over the conquered provinces. The Egyptians, who had learnt of the weakness of Assyria, had already, three years before the fall of Ninive, crossed the frontiers with a mighty army under Necho II, in the hope of sharing in the dismemberment of the Assyrian Empire. How Josias of Juda, trying to bar his way, was slain at Megiddo is known from IV Kings 23:29.

Meanwhile Ninive was taken, and Necho, resting satisfied with the conquest of the Syrian provinces, proceeded no further. A few years later, however, he marched a colossal army from Egypt to the Euphrates in hopes of annexing part of Mesopotamia. The Babylonian army met him at Carchemish, the ancient Hittite capital, where he wished to cross the Euphrates. Nabopolassar, being prevented by ill health and advancing age, had sent his son Nabuchodonosor, and put him in command. The Egyptians were utterly routed in this great encounter, one of the most important in history (604 B.C.).

Nabuchodonosor pursued the enemy to the borders of Egypt, where he received the news of his father's death. He hastened back to Babylon, was received without opposition, and began, in 604 B.C., the forty-two years of his most glorious reign. His first difficulties arose in Juda. Against the solemn warning of Jeremias the Prophet, Jehoiakim refused tribute, i.e. rebelled against Babylon. At first Nabuchodonosor II began a small guerilla warfare against Jerusalem; then, in 607 B.C., he dispatched a considerable army, and after a while began the siege in person. Jechonias, however, son of Jehoiakim, who as a lad of eighteen had succeeded his father, surrendered; 7000 men capable of bearing arms and 1000 workers in iron were carried away and made to form a colony on a canal near Nippur (the River Chobar mentioned in Ezechiel 1:1), and Zedekias was substituted for Jechonias as vassal King of Juda.

Some ten years later Nabuchodonosor once more found himself in Palestine. Hophra, King of Egypt, who had succeeded Necho II in 589 B.C., had tried by means of secret agents to combine all the Syrian States in a conspiracy against Babylon. Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon had entered into the coalition, and at last even Juda had joined, and Zedekias against the advice of Jeremias, broke his oath of allegiance to the Chaldeans. A Babylonian army began to surround Jerusalem in 587 B.C. They were unable to take the city by storm and intended to subdue it by starvation. However, Pharao Hophra entered Palestine to help the besieged. The Babylonians raised the siege to drive the Egyptians back; they then returned to Jerusalem and continued the siege in grim earnest.

On July the 9th, 586 B.C., the Babylonians poured in through a breach in the wall of Ezekias and took the city by storm. They captured the flying Zedekias and brought him before Nabuchodonosor at Riblah, where his children were slain before him and his eyes blinded. The city was destroyed, and the temple treasures carried to Babylon. A vast number of the population was deported to some districts in Babylonia; a miserable remnant only was allowed to remain under a Jewish governor, Godolias. When this governor was slain by a Jewish faction under Ishmael, a fraction of this remnant, fearing Nabuchodonosor's wrath, emigrated to Egypt, forcibly taking Jeremias the Prophet with them.

Babylon's expedition to Juda thus ended in leaving it a devastated, depopulated, ruined district. Nabuchodonosor now turned his arms against Tyre. After Egypt, this city had probably been the mainspring of the coalition against Babylon. The punishment intended for Tyre was the same as that of Jerusalem, but Nabuchodonosor did not succeed as he did with the capital of Juda. The position of Tyre was immeasurably superior to that of Jerusalem. The Babylonians had no fleet; therefore, as long as the sea remained open, Tyre was impregnable. The Chaldeans lay before Tyre thirteen years (585-572), but did not succeed in taking it. Ethobaal II, its king, seems to have come to terms with the King of Babylon, fearing, no doubt, the slow but sure destruction of Tyrian inland trade; at least we have evidence, from a contract-tablet dated in Tyre, that Nabuchodonosor at the end of his reign was recognized as suzerain of the city.

Notwithstanding the little success against Tyre, Nabuchodonosor attacked Egypt in 567. He entered the very heart of the country, ravaged and pillaged as he chose, apparently without opposition, and returned laden with booty through the Syrian Provinces. But no permanent Egyptian occupation by Babylon was the result.

Thus, Nabuchodonosor the Chaldean showed himself a capable military ruler. Yet as a Babylonian monarch, following the custom of his predecessors, he gloried not in the arts of war, but of peace. His boast was the vast building operations which made Babylon a city (for those days) impregnable, which adorned the capital with palaces, and the famous "procession road," and Gate of Ishtar, and which restored and beautifies a great number of temples in different towns of Babylonia. Of Nabuchodonosor's madness (Daniel 4:26-34) no Babylonian record has as yet been found. A number of ingenious suggestions have been made on this subject, one of the best of which Professor Hommel's substitution of Nabu-na'id for Nabu-chodonosor, but the matter had better stand over till we possess more information on the period.

Of the prophet Daniel we find no certain mention in contemporary documents; the prophet's Babylonian name, Baltassar (Balatsu-usur), is unfortunately a very common one. We know of at least fourteen persons of that time called Balatu and seven called Balatsu, both of which names may be abbreviations of Baltassar, or "Protect His life." The etymology of Sidrach and Misach is unknown, but Abednego and Arioch (Abdnebo and Eriaku) are well known. Professor J. Oppert found the base of a great statue near a mound called Duair, east of Babylon, and this may have belonged to the golden image erected "in the plain of Dura of the province of Babylon" (Dan. 3:1).

In 561 B.C., Nabuchodonosor was succeeded by Evil-Merodach (IV Kings 25:27), who released Joachim of Juda and raised him above the other vassal kings at Babylon, but his mild rule evidently displeased the priestly caste, and they accused him of reigning lawlessly and extravagantly. After less than three years, he was assassinated by Neriglissar (Nergal-sar-usur), his brother-in-law, who is possibly the Nergalsharezer present at the taking of Jerusalem (Jer. xxxix, 3-13). Neriglissar was after four years succeeded by his son Labasi-Marduk, no more than a child, who reigned nine months and was assassinated.

The conspirators elected Nabonidus (Nabu-na'id) to the throne. He was the last King of Babylon (555-539 B.C.). He was a royal antiquarian rather than a ruling king. From their foundations, he rebuilt the great Shamash temple in Sippar and the Sin temple in Harran, and in his reign the city walls of Babylon "were curiously built with burnt brick and bitumen." However, he resided in Tema, shunned the capital, offended the provincial towns by transporting their gods to Shu-anna, and alienated the priesthood of Babylon by what they would call misdirected piety. To us his antiquarian research after first foundation stones of the temples he rebuilt is of the greatest importance. He tells us that the foundation-stone of the Shamash temple laid by Naram Sin had not been seen for 3200 years, which, roughly speaking, gives us 3800 B.C., for Sargon of Akkad, Naram Sin's father; upon this date most of our early Babylonian chronology is based. The actual duties of government seem to have been largely in the hands of the Crown Prince Baltassar (Bel-shar-usur), who resided in Babylon as regent.

Meanwhile Cyrus, the petty King of Anshan, had begun his career of conquest. He overthrew Astyages, King of the Medes, for which victory Nabonaid praised him as the young servant of Merodach; he overthrew Croesus of Lydia and his coalition; he assumed the title of King of the Parsu, and had begun a new Indo-Germanic world power which replaced the decrepit Semitic civilization. At last Nabonaid, realizing the situation, met the Persians at Opis. Owing to internal strife amongst the Babylonians, many of whom were dissatisfied with Nabonaid, the Persians had an easy victory, taking the city of Sippar without fighting. Nabonaid fled to Babylon. Cyrus's soldiers, under the generalship of Ugbaru (Gobryas), Governor of Gutium, entered the capital without striking a blow and captured Nabonaid. This happened in June; in October, Cyrus in person entered the city, paid homage at E-sagila to Marduk. A week later the Persians entered, at night, that quarter of the city where Baltassar occupied a fortified position in apparent security, where the sacred vessels of Jehovah's temple were profaned, where the hand appeared on the wall writing Mane, Tekel Phares, and where Daniel was offered the third place in the kingdom (i.e. after Nabonaid and Baltassar). That same night Baltassar was slain and the Semitic Empire of Babylon came to an end, for the ex-King Nabonaid spent the rest of his life in Carmania.

In one sense, Babylonian history ends here, and Persian history begins; yet a few words are needed on the return of the Jewish captives after their seventy years of exile. It has long been supposed that Cyrus, professing the Mazdean religion, was a strict monotheist and released the Jews out of sympathy for their faith. But this king was, apparently, only unconsciously an instrument in God's hands, and gave the permission for the Jews to return merely out of political sagacity and a wish for popularity in his new domains. At least we possess inscriptions of him in which he is most profuse in his homage to the Babylonian Pantheon. As Nabonaid had outraged the religious sentiments of his subjects by collecting all their dogs in Shu-anna, Cyrus pursued an opposite policy and returned all these gods to their own worshippers; and, the Jews having no idols, he returned their sacred vessels, which Baltassar had profaned, and gave a grant for the rebuilding of their Temple. The very phraseology of the decree given in I Esdras, i,2 sqq., referring to "the Lord God of Heaven" shows his respectful attitude, if not inclination, towards monotheism, which was professed by so many of his Indo-Germanic subjects. Darius Hystaspes, who in 521 B.C., after defeating Pseudo-Smerdis, succeeded Cambyses (King of Babylon since 530 B.C.) was a convinced monotheist and adorer of Ahuramazda. If it was he who ordered and aided the completion of the temple at Jerusalem, after the interruption caused by Samaritan intervention, it was no doubt out of sympathy with the Jewish religion (I Esdr. 6:1 sqq). It is not quite certain, however, that the Darius referred to is this king; it has been suggested that Darius Nothus is meant, who mounted the throne almost a hundred years later. Zerubabel is a thoroughly Babylonian name and occurs frequently on documents of that time; but we cannot as yet trace any connection between the Zerubabel of Scripture and any name mentioned in these documents.

Some Special Bible References.

(1) The first passage referring to Babylonia is Gen. 10:8-10: "Chus begat Nemrod, and the beginning of his kingdom was Babylon and Arach and Achad and Chalanne in the land of Sennaar." Scholars of all schools have acknowledged the great historical value of these genealogies in Genesis. These genealogies are, however, not of persons, but of tribes, which is obvious from such a bold metaphor as: "Chanaan begat Sidon, his first born" (5:15). But in many instances, the names are those of actual persons whose personal names became designations of the tribes, just as in known instances of Scottish and Irish clans or Arab tribes.

Chus begat Nemrod. Chus was not a Semite, according to the Biblical account, and it is remarkable that recent discoveries all seem to point to the fact that the original civilization of Babylonia was non-Semitic and the Semitic element only gradually displaced the aborigines and adopted their culture. It must be noted, also, that in v. 22 Assur is described as a son of Sem, though in v. 11 Assur comes out of the land of Sennaar. This exactly represents the fact that Assyria was purely Semitic where Babylonia was not.

Some see in Chus a designation of the city of Kish, mentioned above amongst the cities of early Babylonia, and certainly one of its most ancient towns. Nemrod, on this supposition, would be none else than Nin-marad, or Lord of Marad, which was a daughter-city of Kish. Gilgamesh, whom mythology transformed into a Babylonian Hercules, whose fortunes are described in the Gilgamesh-epos, would then be the person designated by the Biblical Nemrod. Others again see in Nemrod an intentional corruption of Amarudu, the Akkadian for Marduk, whom the Babylonians worshiped as the great God, and who, perhaps, was the deified ancestor of their city. This corruption would be parallel to Nisroch (IV Kings 19:37) for Assuraku, and Nibhaz (IV Kings 17:31) for Abahazu, or Abed Nego for Abdnebo. The description of "stout hunter" or hero-entrapper would fit in well with the role ascribed to the god Marduk, who entrapped the monster Tiamtu in his net. Both Biblical instances, IV Kings 17:31, and 19:37, however, are very doubtful, and Nisroch has recently found a more probable explanation.

(2) "The beginning of his kingdom was Babylon and Arach and Achad and Calanne." These cities of Northern Babylonia are probably enumerated inversely to the order of their antiquity; so that Nippur (Calanne) is the most ancient, and Babylon the most modern. Excavations have shown that Nippur dates far back beyond the Sargonid age (3800 B.C.) and Nippur is mentioned on the fifth tablet of the Babylonian Creation-story.

(3) The next Biblical passage which requires mention is that dealing with the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:1-9). This narrative, though couched in the terms of Oriental folklore, yet expresses not merely a moral lesson, but refers to some historical fact in the dim past. There was perhaps in the ancient world no spot on all the earth where such a variety of tongues and dialects was heard as in Babylonia. There Akkadians, Sumerians, and Amorites, Elamites, Kassites, Sutites, Qutites, and perhaps Hittites met and left their mark on the language. There Assyrian or Semitic Babylonian itself only very gradually displaced the older non-Semitic tongue, and for many centuries the people were at least bilingual. It was the spot where Turanian, Semitic, and Indo-Germanic met. Yet, there remained in the national consciousness the memory that the first settlers in the Babylonian plain spoke one language.

"They removed from the East," as the Bible says and all research suggests. When we read, "The earth was of one tongue," we need not take this word in its widest sense, for the same word is often translated "the land." Philology may or may not prove the unity of all human speech, and man's descent from a single set of parents seems to postulate original unity of language; but in any case the Bible does not here seem to refer to this. The Bible account itself suggests that a vast variety of tongues existed previous to the foundations of Babylon. We need but refer to Gen. 10:5-31: "In their kindreds and tongues and countries and nations"; and Gen. 10:10, where Babylon is represented as almost coeval with Arach, Achad, and Calanne, and posterior to Gomer, Magog, Elam, Arphaxad, so that the original division of languages cannot first have taken place at Babel. What historical fact lies behind the account of the building of the Tower of Babel is difficult to ascertain.

Of course, any real attempt to reach heaven by a tower is out of the question. The mountains of Elam were too close by, to tell them that a few yards more or less were of no importance to get in touch with the sky. But the wish to have a rallying-point in the plain is only too natural. It is a striking fact that most Babylonian cities possessed a ziggurrat (a stage, or temple-tower), and these bore very significant Sumerian names. For instance, at Nippur, we find Dur-anki, "Link of heaven and earth" — "the summit of which reaches unto heaven, and the foundation of which is laid in the bright deep". At Babylon is Esagila, "House of the High Head," the more ancient designation of which was Etemenanki, "House of the Foundation of Heaven and Earth". And Ezida, at Borsippa, is by its more ancient designation Euriminianki, or "House of the Seven Spheres of Heaven and Earth."

The remains of Ezida, at present Birs Nimrud, are traditionally pointed out as the Tower of Babel; whether rightly, is impossible to say; Esagila, in Babylon itself, has as good, if not a better, claim. We have no record of the building of the city and tower being interrupted by any such catastrophe as a confusion of languages; but that such an interruption because of diversity of speech of the townspeople took place, is not impossible. In any case, it can only have been an interruption, though perhaps of many centuries, for Babylon increased and prospered for many centuries after the period referred to in Genesis.

The history of the city of Babylon before the Amorite dynasty is an absolute blank, and we have no facts to fill up the fifteen centuries of its existence previous to that date. The etymology given for the name Babel in Gen. 11:9 is not the historic meaning of the word, which, as given above is Kadungir, Bab-Ilu, or "God's Gate." The derivation in Genesis rests upon the similarity of sound with a word formed from the root balal, "to stammer," or "be confused."

(4) Next to be mentioned is the account of the battle of the four kings against five near the Dead Sea (Gen., 14:). Sennaar mentioned in v. 1 is the Sumer of the Babylonian inscriptions, and Amraphel is identified by most scholars with the great Hammurabi, the sixth King of Babylon. The initial guttural of the king's name being a soft one, and the Babylonians being given to dropping their H's, the name actually occurs in cuneiform inscriptions as Ammurapi. The absence of the final l arises from the fact that the sign pi was misread bil or perhaps ilu, the sign of deification, or complement of the name, being omitted. There is no philological difficulty in this identification, but the chronological difficulty (viz., of Hammurabi being vassal of Chedorlaomer) has led others to identify Amraphel with Hammurabi's father Sin-muballit, whose name is ideographically written Amar-Pal. Arioch, King of Pontus (Pontus is Blessed Jerome's unfortunate guess to identify Ellazar) is none else but Rim-Sin, King of Larsa (Ellazar of A. V.), whose name was Eri-Aku, and who was defeated and dethroned by the King of Babylon, whether Hammurabi or Sin-muballit; and if the former, then this occurred in the thirty-first year of his reign, the year of the land of Emutbalu, Eri-Aku bearing the title of King of Larsa and Father of Emutbalu. The name Chedorlahomer has apparently, though not quite certainly, been found on two tablets together with the names Eriaku and Tudhula, which latter king is evidently "Thadal, king of the Nations." The Hebrew word goyim, "nations," is a clerical error for Gutium or Guti, a neighboring state which plays an important role throughout Babylonian history. Of Kudur-lahgumal, King of the Land of Elam, it is said that he "descended on," and "exercised sovereignty in Babylon the city of Kar-Duniash." We have documentary evidence that Eriaku's father Kudurmabug, King of Elam, and after him Hammurabi of Babylon, claimed authority over Palestine the land of Martu. This Biblical passage, therefore, which was once described as bristling with impossibilities, has so far only received confirmation from Babylonian documents.

(5) According to Gen. 11:28-31, Abraham was a Babylonian from the city of Ur. It is remarkable that the name Abu ramu (Honored Father) occurs in the eponym lists for 677 B.C., and Abe ramu, a similar name, on a contract-tablet in the reign of Apil-Sin, thus showing that Abram was a Babylonian name in use long before and after the date of the Patriarch. His father removed from Ur to Harran, from the old center of the Moon-cult to the new. Talmudic tradition makes Terah an idolater, and his religion may have had to do with his emigration. No excavations have as yet taken place at Harran, and Abraham's ancestry remains obscure. Aberamu of Apil-Sin's reign had a son Sha-Amurri, which fact shows the early intercourse between Babylonia and the Amorite land, or Palestine. In Chanaan Abraham remained within the sphere of Babylonian language and influence, or perhaps even authority. Several centuries later, when Palestine was no longer part of the Babylonian Empire, Abd-Hiba, the King of Jerusalem, in his intercourse with his over-lord of Egypt, wrote neither his own language nor that of Pharao, but Babylonian, the universal language of the day. Even when passing into Egypt, Abraham remained under Semitic rule, for the Hyksos reigned there.

(6) Considering that the progenitor of the Hebrew race was a Babylonian, and that Babylonian culture remained paramount in Western Asia for more than 1000 years, the most astounding feature of the Hebrew Scriptures is the almost complete absence of Babylonian religious ideas. This is yet more so as Babylonian religion, though Oriental polytheism, possessed a refinement, a nobility of thought, and a piety, which are often admirable. The Babylonian account of creation, though often compared with the Biblical one. It differs from it on main and essential points for it contains no direct statement of the Creation of the world: Tiamtu and Apsu, the watery waste and the abyss wedded together, beget the universe; Marduk, the conqueror of chaos, shapes and orders all things; but this is the mythological garb of evolution as opposed to creation.

It does not make the Deity the first and only cause of the existence of all things; the gods themselves are but the outcome of pre-existent, apparently eternal, forces; they are not cause, but effect. It makes the present world the outcome of a great war; it is the story of Resistance and Struggle, which is the exact opposite of the Biblical account.

It does not arrange the things created into groups or classes, which is one of the main features of the story in Genesis. The work of creation is not divided into a number of days — the principal literary characteristic of the Biblical account.

The Babylonian mythology possesses something analogous to the biblical Garden of Eden. But though they apparently possessed the word Edina, not only as meaning "the Plain," but also as a geographical name, their garden of delight is placed in Eridu, where "a dark vine grew; it was made a glorious place, planted beside the abyss. In the glorious house, which is like a forest, its shadow extends; no man enters its midst. In its interior is the Sun-god Tammuz. Between the mouths of the rivers, which are on both sides." This passage bears a striking analogy to Gen. 2:8-17. The Babylonians, however, seem to have possessed no account of the Fall. It seems likely that the name of Ea, or Ya, or Aa, the oldest god of the Babylonian Pantheon, is connected with the name Jahve, Jahu, or Ja, of the Old Testament. Professor Delitzsch recently claimed to have found the name Jahve-ilu on a Babylonian tablet, but other scholars strongly dispute this reading.

The greatest similarity between Hebrew and Babylonian records is in their accounts of the Flood. Pir-napistum, the Babylonian Noe, commanded by Ea, builds a ship and transfers hither his family, the beasts of the field, and the sons of the artificers, and he shuts the door. Six days and nights the wind blew, the flood overwhelmed the land. The seventh day the storm ceased; quieted, the sea shrank back; all mankind had turned to corruption. The ship stopped at the land of Nisir. Pir-napistum sends out first a dove, which returns; then a swallow, and it returns, then a raven, and it does not return. He leaves the ship, pours out a libation, makes an offering on the peak of the mountain. "The gods smelled a savour, the gods smelled a sweet savour, the gods gathered like flies over the sacrificer." No one reading the Babylonian account of the Flood can deny its intimate connection with the narrative in Genesis, yet the former is so intimately bound up with Babylonian mythology, that the inspired character of the Hebrew account is the better appreciated by the contrast.


The Babylonian Pantheon arose out of a gradual amalgamation of the local deities of the early city-states of Sumer and Akkad. Babylonian mythology is mainly the projection into the heavenly sphere of the earthly fortunes of the early centers of civilization in the Euphrates valley. Babylonian religion, therefore, is largely a Sumerian, i.e. Mongolian product, no doubt modified by Semitic influence, yet to the last bearing the mark of its Mongolian origin in the very names of its gods and in the sacred dead languages in which they were addressed. The tutelary spirit of a locality extended his power with the political power of his adherents; when the citizens of one city entered into political relations with the citizens of another, popular imagination soon created the relation of father and son, brother and sister, or man and wife, between their respective gods.

The Babylonian Trinity of Anu, Bel, and Ea is the result of later speculation, dividing the divine power into that which rules in heaven, that which rules the earth, and that which rules under the earth. Ea was originally the god of Eridu on the Persian Gulf and therefore the god of the ocean and the waters below. Bel was originally the chief spirit (in Sumerian En-lil, the older designation of Bel, which is Semitic for "chief" or "lord") of Nippur, one of the oldest, possibly the oldest, center of civilization after Eridu. Anu's local cult is as yet uncertain; Erech has been suggested; we know that Gudea erected a temple to him; he always remained a shadowy personality. Although nominal head of the Pantheon, he had in later days no temple dedicated to him except one, and that he shared with Hadad.

Sin, the moon, was the god of Ur; Shamash, the sun, was the god of Larsa and Sippar; when the two towns of Girsu and Uruazaga were united into the one city of Lagash, the two respective local deities, Nin-Girsu and Bau, became man and wife, to whom Gudea brought wedding presents. With the rise of Babylon and the political unification of the whole country under this metropolis, the city-god Marduk, whose name does not occur on any inscription before Hammurabi, leaps to the foreground. The Babylonian theologians not only gave him a place in the Pantheon, but in the Epos "Enuma Elish" it is related how as reward for overcoming the Dragon of Chaos, the great gods, his fathers, bestowed upon Marduk their own names and titles. Marduk gradually so outshone the other deities that these were looked upon as mere manifestations of Marduk, whose name became almost a synonym for God. And though Babylonians never quite reached monotheism, their ideas sometimes seem to come near it.

Unlike the Assyrians, the Babylonians never possessed a female deity of such standing in the Pantheon as Ishtar of Ninive or Arbela. In the Second Empire, Nebo, the city-god of Borsippa, over against Babylon, rises into prominence and wins honors almost equal to those of Marduk, and the twin cities have two almost inseparable gods. Judging from the continual invocation of the gods in every conceivable detail of life, and the continual acknowledgment of dependence on them, and the anxious humble prayers that are still extant, the Babylonians were as a nation pre-eminent in piety.


It is impossible in this article to give an idea of the astounding culture which had developed in the Euphrates Valley, the cradle of civilization, even as early as 2300 B.C. A perusal of the article Hammurabi, and a careful reading of his code of laws will give us a clear insight in the Babylonian world of four thousand years ago. The ethical litany of the Shurpu tablets contains an examination of conscience more detailed than the so-called "Negative" confessions in the Egyptian Book of the Dead and fills us with admiration for the moral level of the Babylonian world.

Though polygamists, the Babylonians raised but one woman to the legal status of wife, and women possessed considerable rights and freedom of action. Marriage settlements protected the married, and the unmarried managed their own estates. On the other hand, they possessed an institution analogous to vestal virgins at Rome. These female votaries had a privileged position in Babylonian society; we know, however, of no such dire penalty for their unfaithfulness as the Roman law inflicted. A votary could even enter into nominal marriage, if she gave her husband a maid as Sarah gave Abraham. According to Law 110 of Hammurabi, however, "if a votary who dwells not in a cloister open a wine-house or enter a wine-house for drink, that female they shall burn." On the other hand (Law 127), "if a man has caused the finger to be pointed against a votary and has not justified it, they shall set that man before the judges and mark his forehead."

The dark side of Babylonian society is seen in the strange enactment: "If the child of a courtesan or of a public woman come to know his father's house and despise his foster-parents and go to his father's house, they shall tear out his eyes." The repeated coupling of the words "votary or public woman" and the minute and indulgent legislation of which they are the objects make us fear that the virtue of chastity was not prized in Babylon.

Although originally only a provident, prosperous agricultural people, the Babylonians seem to have developed a great commercial talent; and well might some Assyrian Napoleon have referred to his Southern neighbors as "that nation of shopkeepers." In 1893, Dr. Hilprecht found 730 tablets twenty feet underground in a ruined building at Nippur, which proved to be the banking archives of the firm Nurashu and Sons, signed, sealed, and dated about 400 B.C. We also possess a deed of purchase by Manishtusu, King of Kish, some 4000 B.C., in archaic Babylonian, which in accuracy and minuteness of detail in moneys and values would compare well with a modern balance sheet that has passed the chartered accountants. Proofs are not lacking of the commercial talents of the Babylonians during the thirty-five centuries between these dates.


Vast as is the material of Babylonian inscriptions, equally varied are their contents. The great majority no doubt of the 300,000 tablets hitherto unearthed deal with business matters rather than with matters literary; contracts, marriage settlements, cadastral surveys, commercial letters, orders for goods or acknowledgments of their receipt, official communications between magistrates and civil or military governors, names, titles, and dates on foundation stones, private correspondence, and so on. Still a fair percentage has a right to be strictly classed as "literature" or "belles-lettres." We must moreover constantly keep in mind that only about one-fifth of the total number of these tablets have been published and that any description of their literature must as yet be fragmentary and tentative. It is convenient to classify as follows: (1) the Epos; (2) the Psalm; (3) the Historical Narrative.

The Epos.

(a) "Seven Tablets of Creation," so called because written on a series of seven very mutilated tablets in the Kouyunshik Library. Happily the lacunae can here and there be filled up by fragments of duplicates found elsewhere. Borrowing an expression from the early Teuton literature, this might be called the "saga of the primeval chaos." Assyrian scribes called it by its first words "Enuma Elish" (When on high) as the Jews called Genesis "Bereshith" (in the beginning). Although it contains an account of the world's origin, as above contrasted with the account given in the Bible, it is not so much a cosmogony as the story of the heroic deeds of the god Marduk, in his struggle with the Dragon of Chaos.

Though the youngest of the gods, Marduk is charged by them to fight Tiamtu and the gods on her side. He wins a glorious victory; he takes the tablets of fate from Kimgu, her husband; he splits open her skull, hews asunder the channels of her blood and makes the north wind carry it away to hidden places. He divides the corpse of the great Dragon, and with one half makes a covering for the heavens and thus fixes the waters above the firmament. He then sets about fashioning the universe, and the stars, and the moon; he forms man. "Let me gather my blood and let me set up a man, let me make then men dwelling on the earth." When Marduk has finished his work, he is acclaimed by all the gods with joy and given fifty names. The gods are apparently eager to bestow their own titles upon him. The aim of the poem clearly is to explain how Marduk, the local god of as modern a city as Babylon, had displaced the deities of the older Babylonian cities, "the gods his fathers."

(b) The great national epos of Gilgamesh, which in Babylonian probably had literature some such place as the Odyssey or the Aeneid amongst the Greeks and Romans. It consists of twelve chapters or cantos. It opens with the words Sha nagbo imuru (He who saw everything). The number of extant tablets is considerable, but unfortunately they are all very fragmentary and with exception of the eleventh chapter, the text is very imperfect and shows huge lacunae. Gilgamesh was King of Erech the Walled. When the story begins, the city and the temples are in a ruinous state. Some great calamity has fallen upon them. Erech has been besieged for three years, until Bel and Ishtar interest themselves in its behalf. Gilgamesh has yearned for a companion, and the goddess Arurn makes Ea-bani, the warrior; "covered with hair was all his body and he had tresses like a woman, his hair grew thick as corn; though a man, he lives amongst the beasts of the field." They entice him into the city of Erech by the charms of a woman called Samuhat; he lives there and becomes a fast friend of Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh and Ea-bani set out in quest of adventure, travel through forests, and arrive at the palace of a great queen. Gilgamesh cuts off the head of Humbabe, the Elamite king. Ishtar the goddess falls in love with him and asks him in marriage. But Gilgamesh scornfully reminds her of her treatment of former lovers.

Ishtar in anger returns to heaven and revenges herself by sending a divine bull against Gilgamesh and Ea-bani. This animal is overcome and slain, to the great joy of the city of Erech. Warning dreams are sent to Gilgamesh and his friend Ea-bani dies, and Gilgamesh sets out on a far journey, to bring his friend back from the underworld. After endless adventures our hero reaches in a ship the waters of death and converses with Pir-napistum, the Babylonian Noe, who tells him the story of the flood, which fills up the eleventh chapter of some 330 lines, referred to above. Pir-napistum gives to Gilgamesh the plant of rejuvenescence but he loses it again on his way back to Erech.

In the last chapter Gilgamesh succeeds in calling up the spirit of Ea-bani, who gives a vivid portrayal of life after death "where the worm devoureth those who had sinned in their heart, but where the blessed lying upon a couch, drink pure water." Though weird in the extreme and to our eyes a mixture of the grotesque with the sublime, this epos contains descriptive passages of unmistakable power. A few lines as example: "At the break of dawn in the morning there arose from the foundation of heaven a dark cloud. The Storm god thundered within it and Nebo and Marduk went before it. Then went the heralds over mountain and plain. Uragala dragged the anchors loose, the Annunak raised their torches, with their flashing they lighted the earth. The roar of the Storm god reached to the heavens and everything bright turned into darkness."

(c) The Adapa-Legend, a sort of "Paradise Lost," probably a standard work of Babylonian literature, as it is found not only in the Ninive library, but even among the Amarna tablets in Egypt. It relates how Adapa, the wise man or Atrachasis, the purveyor to the sanctuary of Ea, is deceived, through the envy of Ea. Anu, the Supreme God, invites him to Paradise, offers him the food and drink of immortality, but Adapa, mistakenly thinking it poison, refuses, and loses life everlasting. Anu scornfully says: "Take him and bring him back to his earth."

(d) Ishtar's descent into Hades, here and there bearing a surprising resemblance to well-known lines of Dante's Inferno. The goddess of Erech goes:

To the land whence no one ever returneth,

To the house of gloom where dwelleth Irkalla,

To the house which one enters but nevermore leaveth,

On the way where there is no retracing of footsteps,

To the house which one enters, and daylight all ceases.

On an Amarna tablet, we find a description ghostly and graphic of a feast, a fight, and a wedding in hell.

(e) Likewise fragments of legendary stories about the earliest Babylonian kings have come down to us. One of the most remarkable is that in which Sargon of Akkad, born of a vestal maiden of high degree, is exposed by his mother in a basket of bulrushes and pitch floating on the waters of the Euphrates; he is found by a water carrier and brought up as a gardener. This story cannot but remind us of Moses' birth.

The Psalm.

This species of literature, which formerly seemed almost limited to the Hebrew race, had a luxurious growth on Babylonian soil. These songs to the gods or to some one god are indeed often either weird incantations or dreary litanies; and when after perusal of a good number of them one turns to the Hebrew Psalter, no fair-minded person will deny the almost immeasurable superiority of the latter. On the other hand, naught but unreasoning prejudice would trouble to deny the often touching beauty and nobility of thought in some of these productions of the instinctive piety of a noble race. It is natural moreover, that the tone of some Babylonian psalms should strongly remind us of some songs of Israel, where every psalmist boasted that he had as forefather a Babylonian: Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees.

Some of these psalms are written in Sumerian with Semitic Babylonian interlinear translations; others in Semitic Babylonian only. They show all sorts of technicalities in versification, parallelism, alliteration, and rhythm. There are acrostics and even double acrostics, the initial and final syllable of each line being the same. These psalms contain praise and supplication of the great gods, but, what is most remarkable, some of them are penitential psalms, the sinner mourning his sin and begging restoration to favor. Moreover, there are a great number of "lamentations" not over personal but over national calamities; and a Babylonian "prophet" wept over the fall of Nippur many centuries before Jeremias wrote his inspired songs of sorrow over the destruction of Jerusalem. Besides these, there are numberless omen tablets, magical recipes for all sorts of ills, and rituals of temple service, but they belong to the history of religion and astrology rather than to that of literature.

The Historical Narrative.

The Babylonians seemed to have possessed no ex professo historians, who, like a Herodotus, endeavored to give a connected narrative of the past. We have to gather their history from the royal inscriptions on monuments and palace walls and state-cylinders, in which each sovereign records his great deeds in perpetuam rei memoriam. Whereas we fortunately possess an abundance of historical texts of the Assyrian kings, thanks to the discovery of Assurbanipal's library, we are as yet not so fortunate in the case of Babylonian kings. Of the early Babylonian city-kings we have a number of shorter inscriptions on steles and boundary stones in true lapidary style and longer historical records in the great cylinder inscriptions of Gudea of Lagash. Whereas we possess considerable historical texts of Hammurabi, we possess but very little of his many successors on the Babylonian throne until the Second Babylonian Empire, when long historical texts tell us the doings of Nabopolassar, Nabuchodonosor, and Nabonidus.

These narratives are all of a pompous grandeur that palls a little on a Western mind, and their self-adulation comes strange to us. They are in the style which popular imagination is wont to attribute to the utterances of His Celestial Majesty, the Emperor of China. They invariably begin with a long homage to the gods, giving lengthy lists of deities, protectors of the sovereign and state, and end with imprecations on those who destroy, mutilate, or disregard the inscription. The Babylonian royal inscriptions, as far as at present known, are almost without exception peaceful in tone and matter. Their ever-recurring themes are the erection, restoration, or adornment of temples and palaces, and the digging of canals. Even when at war, the Babylonian king thought it bad taste to refer to it in his monumental proclamations. No doubt the Babylonians must have despised Assyrian inscriptions as bloodthirsty screeds. Because the genius of Babylon was one of culture and peace; therefore, though a world-center a thousand years before Ninive, it lasted more than a thousand years after Ninive was destroyed.


The Babylonian form of the name is Nabu-kudurri-usur, the second part of which is variously interpreted ("O Nebo, defend my crown," or "tiara," "empire," "landmark," "work"). The original has been more or less defaced in the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin transliterations, from which are derived the modern English forms, Nabuchodonosor, Nebuchadnezzar, and Nebuchadrezzar. On the whole, Nabuchodonosor appears to be nearer to the original Babylonian pronunciation than Nebuchadrezzar and especially Nebuchadnezzar (A.V., Ezra 2:1) taken from the Massoretic transliteration, and would be still nearer if the "r" were restored to the second element where "n" has crept in. Two kings of this name are known to have ruled over Babylon.

Nabuchodonosor I (c. 1152-1124).

The most famous monarch of the dynasty of Pashi or Isin. A prince of untiring energy, he led to victory the Chaldean armies east and west, against the Lulubi, Elam, and Syria, and although twice defeated by the Assyrian king, Ashshur-resh-ishi, succeeded in arresting for a time the decay of the first Babylonian Empire (see BABYLONIA, II, 183).

Nabuchodonosor II (c. 1152-1124).

He is often mentioned in various parts of Holy Writ, and will claim our especial attention here. He was the oldest son of Nabopolassar, the Chaldean restorer of Babylonian independence. His long reign of forty-three years (c. 605-562 B.C.) marks the zenith of the grandeur reached by the short-lived second Babylonian Empire (625-538). Although we possess long inscriptions of Nabuchodonosor, yet as these deal chiefly with the account of his architectural undertakings, our knowledge of his history is incomplete, and we have to rely for information mostly on the Bible, Berosus, and Greek historians. Of the wars he waged either before or after coming to his father's throne, nothing need be said here: their recital can be read in this Encyclopedia, II, 183-84. Only let it be remarked that after the Cimmerians and Scythians were definitively crushed, all his expeditions were directed westwards, although a powerful neighbor lay to the North; the cause of this was that a wise political marriage with Amuhia, the daughter of the Median king, had insured a lasting peace between the two empires.

Nabuchodonosor seems to have prided himself on his constructions more than on his victories. During the last century of Ninive's existence, Babylon had been greatly devastated, not only at the hands of Sennacherib and Assurbanipal, but also as a result of her ever renewed rebellions. Nabuchodonor, continuing his father's work of reconstruction, aimed at making his capital one of the world's wonders. Old temples were restored; new edifices of incredible magnificence (Diodor. of Sicily, II, 95; Herodot., I, 183) were erected to the many gods of the Babylonian pantheon; to complete the royal palace begun by Nabopolassar. Nothing was spared, neither "cedar-wood, nor bronze, gold, silver, rare and precious stones." An underground passage and a stone bridge connected the two parts of the city separated by the Euphrates; the city itself was rendered impregnable by the construction of a triple line of walls.

Nor was Nabuchodonosor's activity confined to the capital. He is credited with the restoration of the Lake of Sippar, the opening of a port on the Persian Gulf, and the building of the famous Median wall between the Tigris and the Euphrates to protect the country against incursions from the North. In fact, there is scarcely a place around Babylon where his name does not appear and where traces of his activity are not found. These gigantic undertakings required an innumerable host of workmen: from the inscription of the great temple of Marduk (Meissner, "Assyr. Studien," II, in "Mitteil. der Vorderas. Ges.," 1904, III), we may infer that most probably captives brought from various parts of Western Asia made up a large part of the laboring force used in all his public works.

From Nabuchodonosor's inscriptions and from the number of temples erected or restored by this prince we gather that he was a very devout man. What we know of his history shows him to have been of a humane disposition, in striking contrast with the wanton cruelty of most of the iron-souled Assyrian rulers. It was owing to this moderation that Jerusalem was spared repeatedly, and finally destroyed only when its destruction became a political necessity. He easily pardoned rebel princes, and would have treated with greater indulgence Sedecias himself, whose ungratefulness to the Babylonian king was particularly odious, had Sedecias manifested less stubbornness (Jer. 38:17, 18).

Nabuchodonosor showed much consideration to Jeremias, leaving him free to accompany the exiles to Babylon or to remain in Jerusalem, and appointing one of the Prophet's friends, Godolias, to the governorship of Jerusalem. He granted likewise such a share of freedom to the exiled Jews that some rose to a position of prominence at Court and Baruch thought it a duty to exhort his fellow-countrymen to have the welfare of Babylon at heart and to pray for her king. Babylonian tradition has it that towards the end of his life, Nabuchodonosor, inspired from on high, prophesied the impending ruin to the Chaldean Empire (Berosus and Abydenus in Eusebius, "Praep. Evang.," IX, xli). The Book of Daniel (4:) records how God punished the pride of the great monarch. On this mysterious chastisement, which some think consisted in an attack of the madness called lycanthropy, as well as on the interregnum which it must have caused, Babylonian annals are silent: clever hypotheses have been devised either to explain this silence, or in scanning documents in order to find in them traces of the wanted interregnum. Nabuchodonosor died in Babylon between the second and sixth months of the forty-third year of his reign.


The history, religion, and civilization of Persia are offshoots from those of Media. Both Medes and Persians are Aryans; the Aryans who settled in the southern part of the Iranian plateau became known as Persians, while those of the mountain regions of the northwest were called Medes. The Medes were at first the leading nation, but towards the middle of the sixth century, B.C. the Persians became the dominant power, not only in Iran, but also in Western Asia.

Persia (in the Sept. persis, in the Achæmenian inscriptions Parsa, in Elamitic Parsin, in modern Persian Fars, and in Arabic Fars, or Fâris) was originally the name of a province in Media, but afterwards — i.e., towards the beginning of the fifth century B.C. — it became the general name of the whole country formerly comprising Media, Susiana, Elam, and even Mesopotamia. What we now call Persia is not identical with the ancient empire designated by that name. That empire covered, from the sixth century B.C. to the seventh of our era, such vast regions as Persia proper, Media, Elam, Chaldea, Babylonia, Assyria, the highlands of Armenia and Bactriana, North-Eastern Arabia, and even Egypt.

Persia proper is bounded on the north by Transcaucasia, the Caspian Sea, and Russian Turkestan; on the south by the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf; it is over one-fifth as large as the United States (excluding Alaska) and twice as large as Germany, having an area of about 642,000 square miles. The whole country occupies a plateau varying in height from 3000 to 5000 feet, and subject to wide extremes of climate, its northern edge bordering on the Caspian Sea and the plain of Turkestan, its southern and southwestern on the Persian Gulf and the plains of Mesopotamia. The ancient Persians were vigorous and hardy, simple in manners, occupied in raising cattle and horses in the mountainous regions, and agriculture in the valleys and plains. The four great cities were Ecbatana, in the north, Persepolis in the east, Susa in the west, and Seleucia-Ctesiphon in the south-west. The provinces and towns of modern Persia will be given below.


Historians generally assign the beginnings of Persian history to the reign of Cyrus the Great (550-529 B.C.), although, strictly speaking, it should begin with Darius (521-485 B.C.). Cyrus was certainly of Persian extraction, but when he founded his empire he was Prince of Elam (Anzan), and he merely added Media and Persia to his dominion. He was neither by birth nor by religion a true Persian, for both he and Cambyses worshipped the Babylonian gods. Darius, on the other hand, was both by birth and by religion a Persian, descended, like Cyrus, from the royal Achæmenian house of Persia, and a follower of the Zoroastrian faith. The ancestors of Darius had remained in Persia, whilst the branch of the family of which Cyrus was a member had settled in Elam.

The history of Persia may be divided into five great periods, each represented by a dynasty:

A. The Achæmenian Dynasty, beginning with the kingdom of Cyrus the Great and ending with the Macedonian conquest (550-331 B.C.);

B. The Greek, or Seleucian, Dynasty (331-250 B.C.);

C. The Parthian Dynasty (250 B.C. A.D. 227);

D. The Sassanian Dynasty (A.D. 227-651);

E. The Mohammedan period (A.D. 651 to the present).

The Achæmenian Dynasty (550-331 B.C.).

Towards the middle of the sixth century B.C., and a few years after the death of Nebuchadnezzar (Nabuchodonosor) the Great, King of Babylon (605-562 B.C.), Western Asia was divided into three kingdoms: the Babylonian Empire, Media, and Lydia; and it was only a question of time which of the three would annihilate the other two. Astyages (585-557 B.C.), the successor of Cyaxares (625-585 B.C.), being engaged in an expedition against Babylonia and Mesopotamia, Cyrus, Prince of Anzan, in Elam, profiting by his absence, fomented a rebellion in Media. Astyages, hearing of the revolt, immediately returned, but was defeated and overthrown by Cyrus, who was proclaimed King of Media. Thus, with the overthrow of Astyages and the accession of Cyrus to the throne, the Median Empire passed into the hands of the Persians (550 B.C.). In 549, Cyrus invaded Assyria and Babylonia; in 546 he attacked Croesus of Lydia, defeated him, and annexed Asia Minor to his realm; he then conquered Bactriana and, in 539, marched against Babylon. In 538 Babylon surrendered, Nabonidus fled, the Syro-Phoenician provinces submitted, and Cyrus allowed the Hebrews to return to Palestine. But in 529, he was killed in battle, and was succeeded by Cambyses, the heir apparent, who put his brother Smerdis to death. In 525 Cambyses, aided by a Phoenician fleet, conquered Egypt and advanced against the Sudan, but was compelled to return to Egypt. On his way home, and while in Syria, being informed that Gaumata, a Magian, pretending to be the murdered Smerdis, had seized the throne, Cambyses committed suicide (522) and was succeeded, in 531, by Darius Hystaspes, who, with six other princes, succeeded in overthrowing the usurper Gaumata.

With the accession of Darius, the throne passed to the second line of descendants of Teispes II, and thus the Elamite dynasty came to an end. A general revolt soon followed in all the provinces, including Babylon, where a son of Nabonidus was proclaimed king. Susiana also rose up in arms, and Darius was confronted with the task of reconquering the empire founded by Cyrus. In 519 Babylon was conquered, all the other provinces, including Egypt, were pacified, and the whole empire reorganized and divided into satrapies with fixed administration and taxes. In 515 the Asiatic Greeks began to rebel, but were crushed by Darius. Thence he marched to the Indus and subjugated the country along its banks. In 499 the Ionians revolted, but were defeated and the city of Miletus destroyed (494 B.C.). In 492 Mardonius, one of Darius's generals, set out to reconquer Greece, concentrating all his forces in Cilicia; but the Persians were defeated at Marathon (490 B.C.).

In 485 Darius was succeeded by his son, Xerxes I, who immediately set out to reconquer Egypt and Babylon, and renewed the war against Greece. After the indecisive battles of Thermopylæ and Artemisium, he was defeated by Themistocles at Salamis near Athens (480). During the years 479-465, Xerxes met with constant reverses; he gradually lost Attica, Ionia, the Archipelago, and Thrace, and at last was assassinated by Artabanus and Artaxerxes. The latter, becoming king as Artaxerxes I, in 464 quelled revolts in Bactria and Egypt in the year 454. In 449, the Persian fleet and army having been again defeated near Salamis, in Cyrus, Persia and Athens made a treaty of peace. Artaxerxes died in 424 and was succeeded by his eldest son, Xerxes II, who reigned but forty-five days and was murdered by his half-brother Sogdianus. Sogdianus reigned six months and was murdered by Nothus, who ascended the throne in 423 as Darius II Nothus (the Bastard).

In 412, Darius II compelled Sparta to recognize Persian suzerainty over the Greek cities of Asia Minor, and reconquered the cities of Ionia and Caria. On his death, in 404, Arsaces, his eldest son, ascended the throne as Artaxerxes II, and quelled revolts in Cyrus, Asia Minor, and Egypt. But in the last seven years of his reign, Egypt and Asia Minor became once more independent. He died in 359 and was succeeded by his son Ochus, known as Artaxerxes III. In this same year, the Persians were defeated in Egypt and lost Phoenicia and Cyprus (352); but in 345-340, Artaxerxes succeeded in conquering and crushing Sidon, Cyprus, and Egypt. In 338 he was murdered and was succeeded by his youngest son, Arses, who was in his turn put to death by the eunuch Bagoas (335), and was succeeded by Codomannus, great-grandson of Darius I, who assumed the name of Darius III.

In 334 Alexander, the son of Philip of Macedon, began his career of conquest by subduing all Asia Minor and Northern Syria. After conquering Tyre, Phoenicia, Judea, and Egypt in 332, he invaded Assyria, and at Arbela, in 331, defeated Darius and his vast army, thus putting an end to the Achæmenian dynasty. Darius III fled to Media, where he was seized and murdered by Bessus, Satrap of Bactria (330), while Alexander entered Babylon and Susa, and subdued the provinces of Elam, Persia, and Media. Bessus, the murderer of Darius, who had proclaimed himself King of Persia under the name of Artaxerxes IV, fell into Alexander's hands and was put to death (330 B.C.).

The Greek, or Seleucian, Dynasty (331-250 B.C.).

With Alexander's signal victory over Darius III at Arbela (Guagamela), in 331, the Achæmenian Kingdom of Persia came to an end. Alexander founded more than seventy cities in which he planted Greek and Macedonian colonies. But the great conqueror, greedy for sensual pleasures, plunged into a course of dissipation which ended in his death, 13 June, 323. Dissension and civil wars broke out at once in every quarter of the vast empire, from India to the Nile, and lasted for nearly forty-two years. Perdiccas, the regent of Babylon during the minority of Alexander's son, was soon assassinated, and his power claimed by Pitho, Satrap of Media; but Pitho was displaced by a conspiracy of the other satraps, who, in 316, chose Eumenes to occupy the throne of Alexander. Eumenes was betrayed into the hands of Antigonus, another great Macedonian general, who again was obliged, in 312, to yield to Seleucus, one of the Alexandrian generals, founder of the Seleucid dynasty. He built the city of Seleucia, on the Tigris, making it the capital of the Persian, or rather Græco-Persian, Empire.

The great disturbing element during the Seleucian period was the rivalry between Greeks and Macedonians, as well as between cavalry and infantry. The Greek colonists in Bactria revolted against Macedonian arrogance and were with difficulty pacified by Seleucus Nicator. But the dissatisfaction continued, and, in the reign of Antiochus II, about 240 B.C., Diodotus, Satrap of Bactria, revolted and founded a separate Greek state in the heart of Central Asia. This Kingdom of Bactria presents one of the most singular episodes in history. A small colony of foreigners, many hundred miles from the sea, entirely isolated, and numbering probably not over thirty-five thousand, not only maintained their independence for about one hundred years in a strange land, but extended their conquests to the Ganges, and included several hundred populous cities in their dominions.

The reign of Seleucus Nicator lasted from 312 to 280 B.C. His first care was to reorganize his empire and satrapies (seventy-two in number), which yielded him an annual revenue equivalent to about twenty million dollars. In 289, he removed the seat of government from Seleucia to Antioch, in Syria. But, as it was impossible to govern properly so extensive an empire from so distant a capital, he found it advisable to make over the upper satrapies to Antiochus, his son, giving him Seleucia as his capital (293 B.C.). In 280, however, Seleucus was assassinated and was succeeded by his son, Antiochus I (called Soter), whose reign of twenty-one years was devoid of interest. His second son, Antiochus II (called Theos), succeeded him in 261, a drunken and dissolute prince, who neglected his realm for the society of unworthy favorites. During his reign, northeastern Persia was lost to the empire, and some Bactrians, emboldened by the weakness and effeminacy of Antiochus, and led by the brothers, Arsaces and Tiridates, moved west into Seleucid territory, near Parthia. Pherecles, the Seleucid satrap, having insulted Tiridates, was slain, and Parthia freed from the Macedonians. Arsaces, the brother of Tiridates, was proclaimed first King of Parthia in 250 B.C., and the Seleucid dynasty fell into decay.

The Arsacid, or Parthian Dynasty (250 B.C. A.D. 216).

The founding of the Parthian monarchy marks the opening of a glorious era in the history of Persia. The Parthians, though inferior in refinement, habits, and civilization to the Persians proper, form, nevertheless, a branch of the same stock. They were originally a nomadic tribe and, like the Persians, followers of Zoroaster. They had their own customs, and were famous for their horsemanship, their armies being entirely clad in chain armor and riding without saddles. They left few records; indeed, we really know very little of the internal history of the Parthians, and would have known still less but for the frequent wars between them and the Greeks and Romans. Numbers of Parthian coins are still found in northern Persia and have been of great value to the historian who, thousands of years later, has tried to put together the disjointed history of this dynasty. Amid the faint and confused outlines which alone remain to record the career of the mighty Parthian race, which for over four hundred years ruled in Persia with a rod of iron, and which repeatedly hurled back the veteran legions of Rome, we are able to discern two or three grand figures and some events that will be remembered while the world lasts.

Of these heroes of Parthia the most important was Mithridates the Great, who not only repaired the losses the empire had sustained in its conflicts with the Seleucids, but carried the conquests of Parthia as far as India in one direction, and the banks of the Euphrates in the other. Parthians and Romans met for the first time, not for war, but to arrange a treaty of peace between the two great powers of that age. Soon after his event Demetrius III, head of the Seleucian dynasty, was forced to surrender, with is entire army, to Mithridates, and ended his days in captivity. Armenia also fell under the Parthian domination during the reign of Mithridates. The coins of Mithridates are very numerous and clearly cut; the design shows the portrait of that monarch, with a full beard and strongly marked, but pleasing, features. His immediate successors were men of an entirely different stamp, and Tigranes, King of Armenia, was able, not only to revolt, but to rob Parthia of some of her western provinces.

In time Phraates succeeded to the throne of the Arsacids and, by calling for aid from the Romans, caused the overthrow of Tigranes; but the haughty republic of the West granted its assistance with such ill grace that years of warfare resulted. Phraates was murdered by his two sons. Orodes, as the Latins called him (Huraodha, in the Perso-Parthian tongue) ascended the throne; but to avoid dissension it was agreed that his brother, Mithridates, should rule over Media as an independent king. It was not long before civil war broke out between the two, and in the end Mithridates was taken and put to death in the presence of his brother.

In 54 B.C., the civil wars of Rome having ceased for a while, Crassus, who with Cæsar and Pompey shared the authority in the republic, took command of the Roman armies in Asia. He needed but the merest pretext to invade and attack Parthia. The easy victories of Pompey in Armenia led him to imagine that he had but to reach the borders of the Persian Empire and it would fall helpless into his grasp. He was a brave man, and led sixty thousand of the best troops in the world, but his contempt of the enemy, and the greed of gold for which he was notorious, brought him into a terrible catastrophe.

The chief general of Orodes was Surenas, the first nobleman of the empire. On 16 June, 54 B.C., the Romans and the Parthians met at Carræ, near the sources of the Euphrates. Surenas concealed the mass of his army behind the hills, allowing the Romans to see at first only his heavy cavalry. Little suspecting the actual force of the enemy, Publius Crassus, son of the general, charged with the cavalry. The Parthians, following their usual tactics, broke and fled as if in dismay. When they had drawn the Romans far enough from the main body, the entire army of Surenas re-formed, surrounded them, and cut them to pieces.

After this success, the Parthians hovered on the flanks of the Roman infantry, annoying them with missiles. Of the great army which Crassus had led into Asia not twenty thousand survived, and of these ten thousand were taken captive and settled by Orodes in Margiana. Orodes himself, after a long reign, during which Parthia attained the climax of her power, was strangled in his eightieth year by his son Phraates. He was the first Parthian king to assume the title of "King of Kings."

Phraates, his successor, removed the seat of government from the north of the empire to Taisefoon, or, as the Greeks called it, Ctesiphon, a suburb of Seleucia, which continued to be the capital until the Mohammedan conquest, more than six hundred years later. Hatra, in that vicinity, also acquired importance under the Parthian kings, who caused a splendid palace to be erected there. Phraates was eminently successful in his military operations, although steeped in crime. Besides murdering his father, he had caused all his near relations to be put to death, to ensure his own position on the throne. Phraates soon had another Roman war on his hands. Before the death of Orodes, that monarch had associated with him his son Pacorus, a soldier and statesman, who conquered Syria and ruled both there an in Palestine with a mildness which contrasted favorably with the severity of the Roman governors expelled by him. But Pacorus was finally defeated and killed by the Roman consul, Ventidius, and the territories he had captured on the coast of the Mediterranean were lost to Parthia.

In the year 33 B.C. Mark Antony began a campaign against the Parthians, whom the Romans never forgave for the crushing defeat at Carræ. His army numbered one hundred thousand men, including no less than forty thousand cavalry intended to cope with the terrible horsemen on Parthia. To oppose this immense force, Phraates could collect only forty thousand cavalry; but he immediately began operations by surprising the baggage trains of the enemy, and cutting to pieces the escort of seven thousand five hundred men. Antony was at the time engaged in besieging Phraaspa. He was obliged to abandon the siege, but the pursuit of the Parthians was so vigorous that the Roman general was hardly able to reach the frontier of Armenia after losing thirty thousand of his best troops. For one hundred years after this, Rome dared not again attack Parthia; and when, in later ages, her legions repeated the attempts to penetrate into the heart of Persia, they invariably failed.

Phraates was dethroned by a conspiracy of his brother Tiridates. He fled to Tourân, or Scythia, of which we hear so often in the legendary history of Persia. There he succeeded in raising an immense army of Tatars, and, hurling the usurper from power, forced him to seek an asylum at Rome, where he endeavored to obtain assistance from the Romans, promising important concessions in return. But his offers were declined. A century later, Trajan invaded Parthia, but, in spite of some early successes, was forced to retire to Syria. Vologeses II is memorable for his death, A.D. 148, at the age of ninety-six, after a reign of seventy-one years. During the reign of Vologeses III Western Persia was invaded by Cassius, the Roman consul. Vologeses was defeated in a great battle, and Cassius penetrated as far as Babylonia, the capital of which was Seleucia, a most flourishing city, with a population of over four hundred thousand. Cassius sacked and burned Seleucia, completely wiping it out of existence.

Parthia never recovered from the effects of this last was with Rome. The dynasty which had founded the greatness of the Parthian empire had become enervated by its successes. In 216, the war with Rome was renewed. King Artabanus had put down several rivals and reduced the grater part of the Parthians under his power. Macrinus, the Roman Emperor, suffered two crushing defeats from Artabanus, and was obliged to purchase peace by paying an indemnity of 50,000,000 denarii (about $9,000,000) at the very time when the doom of Parthia was impending. With the death of Artabanus, A.D. 216, the Parthian dynasty came to an end.

The Sassanian Dynasty (A.D. 227-651).

The immediate causes which brought about the overthrow of the Parthian kingdom and the establishment of the dynasty of Sassan in its stead are not known. The new dynasty of the Sassanids was a more genuine representative of the civilized Iranian race than the Parthian Arsacidæ, especially as far as religion was concerned. The founder of the Sassanian dynasty, Ardashir Papakan (Artaxerxes, son of Papak), was born at Persis, in central Iran; his family claimed descent from a mythical ancestor, Sassan, and he was therefore of the priestly caste. Babek, the father of Ardashir, seems to have founded a small kingdom at Persis, and to have annexed the territories of other lesser princes, thus gradually encroaching on various Parthian provinces. Vologeses V, the last king of the Arsacid dynasty of Parthia, declared war against the rising chief, but was defeated and put to death by Ardashir A.D. 227. Thus the Parthian Empire passed into the hands of the Sassanian dynasty. The surviving Arsacids fled to India, and all the provinces accepted Ardashir's rule without resistance. It was in fact the beginning of a new and religious movement, the new dynasty being looked upon as the true and genuine successor of the old and noble Achæmenian dynasty, and of the Zoroastrian religion.

One of the first acts of Ardashir was to send an embassy to Rome demanding that the whole of Western Asia should be ceded to him. Soon afterwards, in 230, he sought to regain the lost provinces of Mesopotamia by force of arms. The emperor, Alexander Severus, opposed the advance of Ardashir's army, but was only partly successful. Ardashir devoted the remaining years of his reign to founding new towns, schools, and temples and to reorganizing the judicial system of the courts and the army. Everywhere were evidences of a new development of the true Iranian spirit; and it was not long before the Persian nation deemed itself sufficiently strong once more to enforce its old claims to the sovereignty of Western Asia.

Sapor I, the son of Ardashir, who reigned from 240 to 273, renewed the war with Rome, first against Gordian, then against Valerian. The latter emperor was treacherously seized at a conference in 260, and spent the rest of his life in a Persian prison subject to most barbarous ill-usage. Sapor then conquered Syria and destroyed Antioch, but was finally driven back by Odenathus, King of Palmyra. After the death of Odenathus the war was continued by his widow, Zenobia, who was so elated by her success that she attempted to found an independent Syrian empire under the leadership of Palmyra, but was defeated and taken prisoner by the Romans under Aurelian.

The Third Sassanid king, Hormuz, reigned only one year; his successor, Bahram I (274-77), continued the war with Zenobia and afterwards with Aurelian. But this war terminated, without any result, at the death of Aurelian, in 275. During this period, the revival of the Zoroastrian religion became a movement of great importance. Having attained ascendancy in Persia under the early Sassanid kings, it grew very intolerant, persecuting alike heathen and Christian. It first turned against Mani, the founder of Manichæism, and his followers, under Bahram I. Mani himself, at first in favor at the Persian Court, was crucified about the year 275.

Under the next king, Bahram II (277-94), Persia suffered severe reverses from the Roman Emperor Carus, the capital city, Ctesiphon, even falling into the hands of the Romans. Bahram III, son of Bahram II, reigned only eight months, and was succeeded by his younger brother, Narsi I, who renewed the war with Rome with Disastrous results. He was succeeded by his son, Hormuz II (303-10), and he, again, by Sapor II (310-81). It was in the latter reign that the Christians in Persia suffered serious persecution.

During the early years of Sapor II the Christian religion received formal recognition from Constantine and there is no doubt that this identification of the Church with the Roman Empire was the chief cause of its disfavour in Persia. Moreover, there is evidence that Christianity had spread widely in the Persian dominions, and every Christian was suspected of disaffection towards the Persian king and secret attachment to the Roman Empire, the more so because even the Persian-speaking Christians employed the Syriac language in their worship. Probably this feeling of suspicion was increased by the letter which Constantine wrote to Sapor (Theod., "H.E.," I, xxv), asking protection for the Christians resident in Persia. (See III, below). To this period belongs Aphraates, a converted Persian noble, a writer of homilies. When Constantine was dead, and the Magi had attained complete ascendancy over the Persian king, a persecution ensued which was far more severe than any of those of the Roman Emperors.

This attack upon the Christians was but part of Sapor's anti-Western policy. In 350, he openly declared war against Rome, and marched on Syria. The first important action was the siege of Nisibis, where the famous Jacob, founder of the school of Nisibis, was then bishop. The siege lasted seventy days, and then the Persians having built a dam across the River Mygdonius, the waters broke down the wall. The siege was unsuccessful, however, and the campaign ended in a truce.

Julian, who became emperor in 362, determined to invade the dominions of Sapor. In March, 363, he set out from Antioch to march towards Carræ. From the latter point two roads led to Persia: one through Nisibis to the Tigris, the other turning south along the Euphrates and then crossing the lower Tigris. Julian chose the second of these and, passing through Callinicum, Carchemish, and Zaitham, reached the Persian capital, Ctesiphon, where he was met with proposals of peace from Sapor, but refused them. After crossing the Tigris, he burned his ships to prevent their falling into the hands of the enemy; but the result was something like a panic amongst his followers. Supplies ran short, and the army entered the desert, where it seems to have lost its way. There had been no battle as yet, but almost daily skirmishes with the light-armed Persian cavalry. In one of these skirmishes Julian was slain by a javelin, whether thrown by one of the enemy or by one of his own followers has never been known. The soldiers at once elected Jovian, one of Julian's generals, and he began his reign by making a thirty years' truce with Persia. The Persians were to supply guides and food for the retreat, while the Romans promised to surrender Nisibis and give up their protectorate over Armenia and Iberia, which became Persian provinces. The surrender of Nisibis put an end to the school established there by Jacob, but his disciple Ephraim removed to Edessa, and there reestablished the school, so that Edessa became one more the centre of Syriac intellectual life. With this school must be connected the older Syriac martyrologies, and many of the Syriac translations and editions of Greek Church manuals, canons, and theological writers. Thus were preserved Syriac versions of many important works, the original Greek of which is lost.

In spite of this thirty years' truce, the Persians for a time kept up a petty warfare, the Romans acting on the defensive. But as age rendered Sapor helpless, this warfare died out. Sapor died in 380, at the age of seventy; being a posthumous son, he had spent his whole life on the throne. During the reigns of Sapor III and Bahram IV Persia remained at peace. In 379, the Emperor Theodosius the Great received an embassy from Persia proposing friendly relations. This was mainly due to the fact that the Persians had difficulties on their northern and eastern frontiers, and wished to have their hands free in the west. Incidentally, it may be noted that the flourishing period of the "middle school," under the leadership of Dorotheus, and the spread of monasticism through Persia and Mesopotamia were contemporary with the disastrous expedition and peace of Jovian. The great bishop, Jacob of Nisibis, forms a connecting ling with Sapor II; he encouraged Nisibis in its first resistance to the army of Sapor; his school at Nisibis was modelled on that of Diodorus at Antioch, and he was the patron and benefactor of the monastery founded by Awgin on Mont Izla.

In 399 Bahram IV was succeeded by his younger brother Yezdegerd (399-420). Early in this reign Maruthas, Bishop of Maiperkat, in Mesopotamia, was employed by the Roman emperor as envoy to the Persian Court. Maruthas quickly gained great influence over the Persian king, to the annoyance of the Zoroastrian magi, and Yezdegerd allowed the free spread of Christianity in Persia and the building of churches. Nisibis once more became a Christian city. The Persian Church at this period seems to have received, under Maruthas (q.v.), the more developed organization under which it lived until the time of the Mohammedan conquest. (See III, below). Later in the reign of Yezdegerd, the Persian bishop, Abdas of Susa, was associated with Maruthas, and, by his impetuosity, put an end to the good relations between the Persian king and the Christians. Abdas destroyed one of the fire temples of the Zoroastrians; complaint was made to the king, and the bishop was ordered to restore the building and make good all damage that he had committed. Abdas refused to rebuild a heathen temple at his own expense. The result was that orders were issued for the destruction of all churches, and Zoroastrians, who had regarded with great envy the royal favour extended to Maruthas and his co-religionists, carried these out. Before long the destruction of churches developed into a general persecution, in which Abdas was one of the first martyrs.

When Yezdegerd died in 420, and was succeeded by his son Bahram V, the persecution continued, and large numbers of Christians fled across the frontier into Roman territory. A bitter feeling between Persia and Rome grew out of Bahram's demand for the surrender of the Christian fugitives, and war was declared in 422. The conflict commenced with Roman success in Armenia and the capture of a large number of Persian prisoners; the Romans then advanced into Persia and ravaged the border province of Azarena, but the seat of war was soon transferred to Mesopotamia, where the Romans besieged Nisibis. The Persians, hard pressed in this siege, called in the Turks to their assistance, and the united armies marched to the relief of the city.

The Romans were alarmed at the news of the large numbers of the Persian forces and raised the siege, but soon afterwards, when the Turks had retired, there was a general engagement in which the Romans inflicted a crushing defeat upon their adversaries, and compelled them to sue for peace. Although the latter half of the fourth and the beginning of the fifth century was a period of so much distress in the Eastern provinces, which were exposed to the growing ambition of Persia, it was a time of extension of the Christian Church and of literary activity. This literary and ecclesiastical development led to the formation of a Syriac literature in Persia (Syriac being the liturgical language of the Persian Church), and ultimately of a Christian Persian literature.

Towards the middle of the fifth century, the Persian Emperor Yezdegerd (442-59) was compelled to turn his attention to the passes of the Caucasus; troops of Huns and Scythians had already broken through into Iran. Peroses (Firuz), his successor, made war on the nomads of the Caspian regions, and in 484 lost his life in battle with them. Four years later Qubad I, who reigned from 488 to 531, occupied the throne of Persia. During this reign there developed in Persia a new sect of the Fire-worshippers (the Mazdakeans), who were at first favored by the king, but who subsequently involved the empire in serious complications. The last decade of Qubad's reign was chiefly occupied by wars with the Romans, in which he found a good means for diverting the attention of his people from domestic affairs. During the very last days of his life Qubad was compelled once more to lead an army to the West to maintain Persia's influence over Lasistan in southern Caucasia, the prince of which country had become a convert to Christianity, and consequently an ally of the Byzantine Empire.

It was during the same reign that the Nestorians began to enter more fully into Persian life, and under him that they began their missionary expansion eastwards. About the year 496, the patriarchal See of Seleucia-Ctesiphon fell into the hands of the Nestorians. After the death of Qubad the usual quarrels as to the succession arose, and finally ended, in 531, with the accession of Chosroes I Anushirwân whom Qubad had looked upon as the most capable of his sons. Chosroes was a champion of the ancient Iranian spirit, a friend of the priest class, and an irreconcilable enemy of the Mazdakites, who had chosen one of his numerous brothers as their candidate for the throne. During his reign, the Persian Empire attained the height of its splendor; indeed, the government of Chosroes I, "the Just," was both equitable and vigorous. One of his first acts was to make peace with Byzantium, the latter agreeing pay a large contribution towards the fortification of the Caucasian passes. In addition to strengthening the Caucasus, Chosroes also sought to fortify the northeastern frontier of his empire by constructing a great wall, and he asserted his claims to a portion of northwestern India by force of arms, but son turned his attention once more to the West. In 531, he proclaimed a general toleration, in which not only Christians, but also Manichæans and Mazdakites, were included.

The period 532-39 was spent in the extension and strengthening of the eastern frontiers of Persia. In 539 Chosroes returned to Ctesiphon, and was persuaded by the Bedouin Al Mondar to renew Qubad's attempted conquest of Syria. The pretext was that Justinian was aiming at universal dominion, but there is no doubt that the real reason was that Al Mondar remembered the ease with which he had once plundered Syrian territory. In 540 the Persians invaded Syria and captured the city of Shurab. The prisoners taken from this city were released at the request of Candidus, bishop of the neighboring town of Sergiopolis, who undertook to pay a ransom of 200 pounds of gold. Then Chosroes took Mabbogh, which paid a ransom, then Beroea, and finally proceeded against Antioch itself, which was captured after a short resistance. From Antioch Chosroes carried off many works of art and a vast number of captives. On his way homewards he made an attack upon Edessa, a city generally regarded as impregnable, but was taken ill during the siege.

During Chosroes's illness trouble occurred in Persia. He had married a Christian wife, and his son Nushizad was also a Christian. When the king was taken ill at Edessa a report reached Persia that he was dead, and at once Nushizad seized the crown. Very soon, the rumor was proven false, but Nushizad was persuaded by persons who appear to have been in the pay of Justinian to endeavor to maintain his position. The action of his son was deeply distressing to Chosroes; but it was necessary to take prompt measures, and the commander, Ram Berzin, was sent against the rebels. In the battle which followed Nushizad was mortally wounded and carried off the field. In his tent a Christian bishop, probably Mar Aba, attended him, and to this bishop he confessed his sincere repentance for having taken up arms against his father, an act which, he was convinced, could never win the approval of Heaven. Having professed himself a Christian, he died, and the rebellion was quickly put down.

Mar Aba was probably the Nestorian Catholicos from 536 to 552. He was a convert from Zoroastrianism, and had studied Greek at Nisibis and Edessa, making use of his knowledge to prepare and publish a new version of the Old Testament. This appears to have been a total failure, for the Nestorians, unlike the Jacobites, steadily adhered to the Peshito. On being appointed catholicos, he established a school at Seleucia, which soon became a great center of Nestorian scholarship. He wrote commentaries, homilies, and letters, the two former classes of work representing, no doubt, the substance of his teaching in the school which he founded. Hymns are extant which are ascribed to him. Chosroes, after his return from Syria, taunted Mar Aba with professing a type of Christianity unknown to the rest of the world. But Mar Aba did much to remove the more marked peculiarities of the Nestorian schism, especially again enforcing celibacy amongst the bishops. From time to time, he held discussions with Chosroes, until on one occasion, being tactless enough not to be convinced by the arguments of the sovereign, he was sentenced to banishment. As he disobeyed the decree, he was cast into prison, where he died in 552. In 542 Chosroes claimed from Bishop Candidus the payment of the sum to which he had pledged himself as ransom for the captives taken at Shurab; but the bishop was unable to raise the money; in fact he confessed that he had only made the promise in the expectation that the Government would find part of the sum required, and this had not been done. Therefore, Candidus was put to death. In the course of the same year, Chosroes advanced south and attacked Jerusalem, but was repulsed by Belisarius.

Mar Aba's foundation of a school at Seleucia seems to have suggested to Chosroes the idea of founding a Zoroastrian school similar to it and to the Christian instructions at Edessa and Nisibis. In pursuance of this plan, the king opened a college at Djundi Shapur, and here many Greek, Syrian, and Indian works were translated into Persian, and the ancient laws of Persia were rendered into the vernacular dialect (Pahlavi). Meanwhile the school at Seleucia became a center of Nestorian life. It was a period during which the Nestorians were returning to a greater conformity to the usages of the rest of Christendom. We have already mentioned Mar Aba's restoration of celibacy, at least as far as the bishops were concerned. About the same time two distinguished monks, both bearing the name of Abraham of Kashkar, introduced reforms into monastic life which also tended towards conformity with the practices of the Church within the Roman Empire. Probably this tendency to conformity was due to increase of Greek influence observable during the reign of Chosroes, and the contact with the empire due to the invasion of Syria; nevertheless, the Nestorians remained a distinct body.

Meanwhile the Catholicos Mar Aba had died, and Chosroes appointed his favorite physician, Joseph, as Bishop of Seleucia (552). Many strange stories are related of his cruelty as bishop; after three years, he was deposed on a petition of the Christians of Seleucia. He lived twelve years after his deposition, and during that period, no catholicos was appointed. About the same time the indefatigable Jacob Burdeana consecrated Achudemma as Jacobite bishop in Persia, and made a proselyte of a member of the royal family. Amongst the Persians it was never permitted to make converts from the state religion. The Jacobites however were of little importance so far east, where Nestorianism was the prevailing type of Christianity. After the death of Joseph in 567. Ezechiel, a disciple of Mar Aba, was appointed Catholicos of Seleucia, under whom lived the periodeutes Bodh, the translator into Syriac of the Indian tales known as "Kalilah and Dimnah." It is noteworthy that the Nestorians were beginning to take an interest in Indian literature, an interest probably to be referred to the influence of the Djundi Shapur school.

Chosroes was succeeded by his son Hormuz (579-90). For the first three years of his reign, Hormuz was guided by the statesman-philosopher Buzurg, but after his retirement Hormuz gave himself up to every form of self-indulgence and tyranny. Under these conditions, the power of Persia declined, and the land suffered invasion on the north, east, and west. To check the Byzantines, Bahram, a general who had distinguished himself under Chosroes, was sent to invade Colehis, but he was defeated and recalled in disgrace. Knowing that this was equivalent to sentence of death, Bahram revolted, and succeeded in capturing Hormuz, whom he put to death. Chosroes, the king's son, fled and was well received by Probus, Governor of Circesium, and afterwards by the Emperor Mauritius.

With the help of the Romans, this younger Chosroes defeated Bahram, and became king as Chosroes II. As he owed his kingdom and his wife to the Emperor Mauritius, Chosroes was devoted to the dynasty then reigning at Constantinople. Although not himself a Christian, he paid honor to the Blessed Virgin and to the martyrs Sergius and Bacchus, two saints popular among the Syrians, while his wife as an ardent Jacobite.

In 604 the Roman Emperor Mauritius was assassinated, and the Persian king resolved to attack the empire in order to avenge his benefactor. In 604 the Persians again invaded the eastern provinces and took the city of Daras. The invasion of Chosroes II was the severest blow that the Byzantine power in Asia had to endure, previous to the rise of Islam. After five years of war Chosroes II reached Constantinople. It was not a mere plundering expedition, but a serious invasion whose success clearly proved the growing weakness of the Byzantine Empire. Next year (606) the invaders reached Amida; in 607 they were at Edessa; in 608 at Aleppo; and by 611 they had conquered all northern Syria, and established themselves at Antioch. They then turned south and conquered Palestine. In 615 Jerusalem revolted, but was cruelly punished, some 17,000 persons being put to death, and about 35,000 led away captive. The fragment of the True Cross, the most precious relic of the city, was carried off. Next year (616) the Persians took Alexandria, and in 617 besieged Constantinople. Although the imperial city was not taken, Asia Minor remained in the hands of the Persians until 624.

Chosroes II was repelled, not by the Romans, but by a people who were yearly growing more powerful, and were destined ultimately to displace both Rome and Persian in Asia — the Arabs. Chosroes II had a harem of 3,000 wives, as well as 12,000 female slaves, but he now demanded as wife Hadiqah, the daughter of the Christian Arab Na'aman, himself the son of Al Mondir. Na'aman refused to permit his Christian daughter to enter the harem of a Zoroastrian, and for this refusal he was trampled to death by an elephant, whilst Hadiqah took refuge in a convent. The news of this outrage upon an Arab provoked all the Bedouin tribes, and the Arabs revolted. Chosroes II was totally defeated, and fled to the Emperor Heraclius. This victory made a great impression upon the Arab mind, and probably led to the Mohammedan conquests.


In treating of Assyria it is extremely difficult not to speak at the same time of its sister, or rather mother country, Babylonia, as the peoples of these two countries, the Semitic Babylonians and Assyrians, are both ethnographically and linguistically the same race, with identical religion, language, literature, and civilization. Hence Assyro-Babylonian religion, mythology, and religious literature especially in their relation to the Old Testament will be treated in the chapter on Babylonia, while the history of the explorations and discoveries in these two countries will be given in the present article.


Geographically, Assyria occupies the northern and middle part of Mesopotamia, situated between the rivers Euphrates and Tigris; while the southern half, extending as far south as the Persian Gulf, constitutes the countries of Babylonia and Chaldea. Assyria originally occupied but a scant geographical area, comprising the small triangular shaped land lying between the Tigris and Zab Rivers. But in later times, owing to its wonderful conquests, its boundaries extended as far north as Armenia to Media on the east; to northern Syria, and to the country of the Hittites, on the west and to Babylonia and Elam on the south and southeast, occupying almost the entire Mesopotamian valley.

By the Hebrews it was known under the name of Aram-Naharaim, i.e. "Aram [or Syria] of the two rivers" to distinguish it from Syria proper, although it is doubtful whether the Hebrew name should be read as dual, or rather as a plural, i.e. Aram-Naharîm (Aram of the many rivers or "Of the great river" — Euphrates. In later Old Testament times, it was known under the name of Asshur. By the Greeks and Romans it was called Mesopotamia, and Assyria; by the Aramaeans, Beth-naharim, "the country of the rivers"; by the Egyptians Nahrina; by the Arabs, Athûr, or Al-Gezirah, "the island," or Bain-al-nahrain, "the country between the two rivers" — Mesopotamia. Whether the name Assyria is derived from that of the god Asshur, or vice versa, or whether Asshur was originally the name of a particular city and afterwards applied to the whole country cannot be determined.

The area of Assyria is about fifty thousand square miles. In physical character, it is mountainous and well watered, especially in the northern part. Limestone and, in some places, volcanic rock form the basis of its fertile soil. Its southern part is more level, alluvial, and fertile. Its principal rivers are the Tigris and the Euphrates, which have their source in the Armenian mountains and run almost parallel as far south as Babylonia and Chaldea, flowing into the Persian Gulf. There are other minor rivers and tributaries, such as the Khabur; the Balikh, the Upper and Lower Zab, the Khoser the Turnat, the Radanu, and the Subnat. Assyria owes to these rivers, and especially to the Tigris and Euphrates, somewhat as Egypt owes to Nile, its existence, life, and prosperity.

The principal cities of Assyria are:

Asshur whose site is now marked by the mound of Kalah-Shergat, on the right bank of the Tigris.

Calah, the eastern bank of the Tigris and at its junction with the Upper Zab, a city built (c.1280 B.C.) by Shalmaneser I, who made it the capital of Assyria in place of Asshur. Its site is nowadays marked by the ruins of Nimroud.

Nineveh (in the Douay Version, Ninive), represented by the villages and ruins of the modern Kujunjik and Nebi-Yunus, on the eastern bank of the Tigris, opposite Mosul. Nineveh was undoubtedly one of the most ancient cities of Assyria, and in the time of Sennacherib (7th cent. B.C.) it became the capital of the empire, and the center of the worship of Ishtar, the Assyro-Babylonian Venus, who was called Ishtar of Nineveh, to distinguish her from Ishtar of Arbela. In the Old Testament, the city of Nineveh is well known in connection with the prophets, and especially as the theatre of Jonah's mission.

Dur-Sharrukin, or Dur-Sargon (i.e. Sargonsburg) built by Sargon II (8th cent. B.C.), the founder of the famous Sargonid dynasty. It was made first the royal residence of Sargon, and afterwards became the rival of Nineveh. Its site is represented by the modern Khorsabad.

Arhailu, or Arbela, famous in Greek and Persian annals for the decisive victory won by Alexander the Great over the formidable army of Darius, King of Persia and Babylon (331 B.C.).

Nasibina, or Nisibis, famous in the annals of Nestorian Christianity.

Harran, well known for the worship of Sin, the moon-god.

Ingur-Bel, corresponding to the modern Tell-Balawât.

Tarbis, corresponding to the modern Sherif-Khan. The sites and ruins of all these cities have been explored.

Sources of Assyro-Babylonian History.

These may be grouped as: (1) the Old Testament; (2) the Greek, Latin, and Oriental writers, and (3) the monumental records and remains of the Assyrians and Babylonians themselves.

In the first division belong the Fourth (in Authorized Version, Second) Book of Kings, Paralipomenon (Chronicles), the writings of the prophets Isaias, Nahum, Jeremias, Jonas, Ezechiel, and Daniel, as well as the Iaconic but extremely valuable fragments of information contained in Genesis, x 11:and xiv. To the second group of sources belong the Chaldeo-Babylonian priest and historian Berosus, who lived in the days of Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.) and continued to live at least as late as Antiochus I, Soter (280-261 B.C.). He wrote in Greek a great work on Babylonian history, under the title of "Babyloniaca," or "Chaldaica." This valuable work, which was based on contemporary Babylonian monuments and inscriptions has unfortunately perished, and only a few excerpts from it have been preserved in later Greek and Latin writers. Then we have the writings of Polyhistor, Ctesias, Herodotus, Abydenus, Apollodorus, Alexander of Miletus, Josephus, Georgius Syncellus, Diodorus Siculus, Eusebius, and others. With the exception of Berosus, the information derived from all the above-mentioned historians is mostly legendary and unreliable, and even their quotations from Berosus are to be used with caution. This is especially true in the case of Ctesias, who lived at the Persian court in Babylonia. To the third category belong the numerous contemporary monuments and inscriptions discovered during the last fifty years in Babylonia, Assyria, Elam, and Egypt, which form an excellent and a most authoritative collection of historical documents.

For the chronology of Assyria, we have some very valuable means information. These are The "Eponym List" which covers the entire period from the reign of Ramman-nirari II (911-890 B.C). down to that of Asshurbanipal (669-625 B.C.). The eponyms, or limmu, were like the eponymous archons at Athens and the consuls at Rome. They were officers, or governors, whose term of office lasted but one year, to which year they gave their name. If any event was to be recorded, or a contract drawn in the year e.g., 763 B.C., the number of the year would not be mentioned, but instead we are told that such and such an event took place in the year of Pur-Shagli, who was the limmu, or governor, in that year.

Another source is found in the chronological notices scattered throughout the historical inscriptions. Such an example is Sennacherib's inscription engraved on the rock at Bavian, in which he tells us that one of his predecessors, Tiglath-pileser (Douay Version, Theglathphalasar) reigned about 418 years before him, i.e. about 1107 B.C. Another is or that of Tiglath-pileser himself, who tells us that he rebuilt the temple of Anu and Ramman, which sixty years previously had been pulled down by King Asshurdan because it had fallen into decay in the course of the 641 years since its foundation by King Shamshi-Ramman. This notice, therefore, proves that Asshur-dan must have reigned about the years 1170 or 1180 B.C. So also Sennacherib tells us that a seal of King Tukulti-Ninib I had been brought from Assyria to Babylon, where after 600 years he found it on his conquest of that city. As Sennacherib conquered Babylon twice, once in 702 and again in 689 B.C., it follows that Tukulti-Ninib I must have reigned over Assyria in any case before 1289 B.C., and possibly a few years before 1302 B.C.

Another chronological source is to be found in the genealogies of the kings, which they give of themselves and of their ancestors and predecessors.

Further valuable help may be obtained from the so-called "Synchronous History" of Babylonia and Assyria, which consists of a brief summary of the relations between the two countries from the earliest times in regard to their respective boundary lines. The usefulness of this document consists mainly in the fact that it gives the list of many Babylonian and Assyrian kings who ruled over their respective countries contemporaneously.

Assyro-Babylonian Exploration.

As late as 1849, Sir Henry Layard, the foremost pioneer of Assyro-Babylonian explorations, in the preface to his classical work entitled "Nineveh and Its Remains" remarked how, previously, with the exception of a few cylinders and gems preserved elsewhere, a case, hardly three feet square, in the British Museum, enclosed all that remained not only of the great city, Nineveh, but of Babylon itself. At that time few indeed would have had the presumption even to imagine that within fifty years the exploration of Assyria and Babylonia would have given us the most primitive literature of the ancient world. What at the earlier time belonged to the world of dreams is at the present time a striking reality. For we now in possession of the priceless libraries of the ancient Assyrians and Babylonians, of their historical annals, civil and military records, State archives, diplomatic correspondences, textbooks and school exercises, grammars and dictionaries, hymns, bank accounts and business transactions, laws and contracts; and extensive collection of geographical, astronomical, mythological, magical, and astrological texts and inscriptions. These precious monuments are actually scattered in all the public and private museums and art collections of Europe, America, and Turkey. The total number of tablets, cylinders, and cuneiform inscriptions so far discovered is approximately estimated at more than three hundred thousand, which, if published, would easily cover 400 octavo volumes of 400 pages each.

Unfortunately, only about one-fifth of all the inscriptions discovered have been published so far; but even this contains more than eight times as much literature as is contained in the Old Testament. The British Museum alone has published 440 folio, and over 700 quarto, pages, about one-half as much more has appeared in various archaeological publications. The British Museum has more than 40,000 cuneiform tablets, the Louvre more than 10,000, the Imperial Museum of Berlin more than 7,000, that of the University of Pennsylvania more than 20,000, and that of Constantinople many thousands more, awaiting the patient toil of our Assyriologists.

The period of time covered by these documents is more surprising than their number. They occur from prehistoric times, or about 5000 B.C., down to the first century before the Christian Era. But this is not all, for, according to the unanimous opinion of all Assyriologists, by far the largest part of the Assyro-Babylonian literature and inscriptions are still buried under the fertile soil of these wonderful regions, which have ever been the land of surprises, awaiting further explorers and decipherers.

As has already been remarked, the meager and often unreliable information concerning Assyria and Babylonia which has come down to us through the Persian, Greek, Latin, and Arabic writers — historians and geographers — has contributed little or nothing to the advancement of our knowledge of these wonderful countries. The early European travelers in the region of the Tigris and Euphrates valley such as Benjamin of Tudela (1160), John Eldred (1583), Anthony Shirley (1599), Pietro della Valle (1614-26), John Cartwright (1610), Gasparo Balbi (1590), John Otter (1734), Niebuhr (1765), Beauchamp, Olivier, Hagers, and others at the end of the eighteenth century, have left us a rather vague and superficial account of their personal visits and impressions. Later travellers, however, such as Claudius James Rich (1811, 1821-22), J.S. Buckingham (1816), Sir Robert Ker Porter (1817-20), Captain Robert Mignan (1826-28), G. Baillie-Fraser (1834-35), the Euphrates Expedition under Colonel Chesney (1835-47), James Felix Jones, Lynch, Selby, Collingwood, Bewsher, and others of the first half of the nineteenth century made a far more searching and scientific study of the Mesopotamian region. But the real founders and pioneers of Assyro-Babylonian explorations are Emile Rotta (1842-45), Sir Henry Austen Layard (1840-52), Victor Place (1851-55), H. Rassam (1850, 1878-82), Loftus (1850), Jules Oppert, Fresnel and Thomas (1851-52), Taylor (1851), Sir Henry Rawlinson, G. Smith, and others who have not only opened, but paved, the way for future researches and explorations.

The first methodical and scientific explorations in Babylonia, however, were inaugurated and most successfully carried out by the intrepid French consul at Bassora and Bagdad, M. de Sarzec, who, from about 1877 with 1899, discovered at Tello some of the earliest and most precious remains and inscriptions of the pre-Semitic and Semitic dynasties of Southern Babylonia. Contemporaneously with de Sarzec there came other explorers, such as Rassam, already mentioned above, who was to continue George Smith's excavations; the American Wolf expedition, under the direction of Dr. Ward, of New York (1884-85); and above all, the various expeditions to Nippur, under Peters, Hayes, and Hilprecht, respectively, sent by the University of Pennsylvania (1888-1900). The Turkish Government itself did not stand aloof from this praiseworthy emulation, sending an expedition to Abu Habba, or Sippar, under the direction of the well-known Dominican scholar, Father F. Scheil of Paris, in 1894 and the following years. Several German, French, and American expeditions later were engaged in excavating important mounds and ruins in Babylonia. One of these is the German expedition under Moritz and Koldewey, with the assistance of Dr. Meissner, Delitzsch, and others, at Shurgul, El-Hibba, Al-Kasr, Tell-ibrahim, etc. The expedition of the University of Chicago, under the direction of Dr. Banks, at Bismaya, in South Babylonia, came unfortunately to an early termination.

The Language and Cuneiform Writing.

All these wonderful archaeological researches and discoveries would have been useless and destitute of interest, had not the language of Assyro-Babylonian inscriptions been deciphered and studied. These inscriptions were all written in a language, and by means of characters, which seemed for a while to defy all human skill and ingenuity. The very existence of such a language had been forgotten, and its writing seemed so capricious and bewildering that the earlier European travelers mistook the characters for fantastic and bizarre ornamental decorations; their dagger- or arrow-headed shape (from which their name of cuneiform) presenting a difficult puzzle. However, the discovery, and tentative decipherment, of the old Persian inscriptions (especially those of Persepolis and of the Behistun rock, not far from Hamadan, in Persia), by Grotefend, Heeren, the Abbe Saint Martin, Rask, Bournouf, Lassen, Westergaard, de Saulcy, and Rawlinson, all taking place at about the end of the first half of the nineteenth century, opened the way for the decipherment of the Assyro-Babylonian inscriptions. The principal credit unquestionably belongs to Rawlinson, Norris, J. Oppert, Fox Talbot, and especially to Dr. Hinks of Dublin. The acute and original researches of these scholars were successfully carried out by other Semitic scholars and linguists no less competent, such as E. Schrader and Fred. Delitzsch, in Germany; Ménant, Halévy, and Lenormant, in France; Sayce and G. Smith, in England.

The Assyro-Babylonian language belongs to the so-called Semitic family of languages, and in respect to grammar and lexicography offers no more difficulty to the interpreter than either Hebrew or Aramaic, or Arabic. It is more closely allied to Hebrew and Aramaic than to Arabic and the other dialects of the South-Semitic group. The principal difficulty of Assyrian consists in its extremely complicated system of writing. For, unlike all other Semitic dialects, Assyrian is written not alphabetically, but either syllabically or ideographically, which means that Assyrian characters represent not consonants, but syllables, open or closed, simple or compound, and ideas or words, such as ka, bar, ilu, zikara, etc. These same characters may also have both a syllabic and an ideographic value, nearly always more than one syllabic value and as many as five or six. So a sign like the following (=|) may be read syllabically as ud, ut, u, tu, tam, bir, par, pir, lah, lih, hish, and his; ideographically as umu, "day"; pisu "white"; Shamash, the Sungod; etc.

The shape of these signs is that of a wedge, hence the name cuneiform (from the Latin cuneus, "a wedge"). The wedges, arranged singly or in groups, either are called "ideograms" and stand for complete ideas, or then stand for syllables. In course of time the same ideographic signs came to have also the phonetic value of syllables, without losing however, their primitive ideographic value, as can be seen from the example quoted above. This naturally caused a great difficulty and embarrassment even to the Assyro-Babylonians themselves and is still the principal obstacle to the correct and final reading of many cuneiform words and inscriptions. To remedy this great inconvenience, the Assyro-Babylonians themselves placed other characters (called determinatives) before many of these signs in order to determine their use and value in certain particular cases and sentences. Before all names of gods, for example, either a sign meaning "divine being" was prefixed, or a syllabic character (phonetic complement), which indicated the proper phonetic value with which the word in question should end, was added after it.

In spite of these and other devices, many signs and collocations of signs have so many possible syllabic values as to render exactness in the reading very difficult. There are about five hundred of these different signs used to represent words or syllables. Their origin is still a subject of discussion among scholars. The prevailing theory is that they were originally picture-signs, representing the ideas to be conveyed; but at present only about sixty of these 500 signs can be with certainty traced back to their original picture-meanings.

According to the majority of Assyriologists, the cuneiform system of writing originated with the Sumerians, the primitive non-Semitic inhabitants of Babylonia, from whom it was borrowed by the Semitic Babylonians and Assyrians, and applied to their own language. In the same way the Greeks adopted the Semetic Phoenician alphabet, and the Germans adopted the Latin. The Semitic language of Babylonia and Assyria was, therefore, written in Sumerian characters, just as Hebrew can be written in English letters, or Turkish in Armenian, or Arabic in Syriac (Karshuni). This same cuneiform system of writing was afterwards adopted by the Medians, Persians, Mitannians, Cappadocians, ancient Armenians, and others. Hence, five or six different styles of cuneiform writings may be distinguished. The "Persian" style, which is a direct, but simplified, derivative of the Babylonian, was introduced in the times of the Achaemenians. "Instead of a combination of as many as ten and fifteen wedges to make one sign, we have in the Persian style never more than five, and frequently only three; and instead of writing words by syllables, sounds alone were employed, and the syllabary of several hundred signs reduced to forty-two, while the ideographic style was fractionally abolished." The second style of cuneiform generally known as "Median," or "Susian," is, again, a slight modification of the "Persian."

Besides these two, there is a third language (spoken in the northwestern district of Mesopotamia between the Euphrates and the Orontes), known as 'Mitanni', the exact status of which has not been clearly ascertained, but which has been adapted to cuneiform characters. A fourth variety, found on tablets from Cappadocia, represents again modification of the ordinary writing met with in Babylonia. In the inscriptions of Mitanni, the writing is a mixture of ideographs and syllables, just as in Mesopotamia, while the so-called 'Cappadocian' tablets are written in a corrupt Babylonian, corresponding in degree to the 'corrupt' forms that the signs take on. In Mesopotamia itself quite a number of signs exist, some due to local influences, others the result of changes that took place in the course of time.

In the oldest period known, that is, from 4000 to 3000 B.C., the writing is linear rather than wedge-shaped. The linear writing is the modification that the original pictures underwent in being adapted for engraving on stone. The wedges are the modification natural to the use of clay, though when once the wedges became the standard method, the greater frequency with which clay, as against stone came to be used led to an imitation of the wedges by those who cut out the characters on stone. In consequence, there developed two varieties of wedge-writing: the one that may be termed lapidary, used for the stone inscriptions, the official historical records, and such legal documents as were prepared with especial care; the other cursive, occurring only on legal and commercial clay tablets. The clay form became more frequent as we approach the latest period of Babylonian writing, which extends to within a few decades of our era. In Assyria, finally, a special variety of cuneiform developed that is easily distinguished from the Babylonian by its greater neatness and the more vertical position of its wedges.

The material on which the Assyro-Babylonians wrote their inscriptions was sometimes stone or metal, but usually clay of a fine quality most abundant in Babylonia, whence the use spread all over Western Asia. The clay was very carefully prepared, sometimes ground to an exceeding fineness, moistened, and molded into various forms, ordinarily into a tablet whose average size is about six by two and one-half inches in superficial area by one inch in thickness, its sides curving slightly outwards. On the surface thus prepared, and while still soft, the characters were impressed with a stylus, the writing often standing in columns, and carried over upon the back and sides of the tablet. The clay was quite frequently molded also into cones and barrel-shaped cylinders, having from six to ten sides on which writing could be inscribed. These tablets were then dried in the sun, or baked in a furnace — a process which rendered the writing practically indestructible, unless the tablet itself was shattered.

Unlike all other Semitic systems of writing (except the Ethiopic, which is an adaptation of the Greek), that of the Assyro-Babylonians generally runs from left to right in horizontal lines, although in some very early inscriptions the lines run vertically from top to bottom like the Chinese. These two facts evidence the non-Semitic origin of the cuneiform system of writing.

Value of Assyriology for Study of the Old Testament.

The part played by these Assyro-Babylonian discoveries in the exegesis and interpretation of the Old Testament has been important in direct proportion to the immense and hitherto unsuspected influence exercised by the Assyro-Babylonian religion, civilization, and literature upon the origin and gradual development of the literature and the religious and social institutions of the ancient Hebrews. This Babylonian influence, indeed, can be equally traced in its different forms and manifestations through all western Asia, many centuries before that conquest of Palestine by the twelve Israelitish tribes which put an end to the Canaanitish dominion and supremacy. The triumph of Assyriology, consequently, must be regarded as a triumph for Biblical exegesis and criticism. This is not in the sense that it has strikingly confirmed the strict veracity of the Biblical narratives, or that it has demonstrated the fallacies of the "higher criticism," as Sayce, Hommel, and others have contended, but in the sense that it has opened a new and certain path whereby we can study the writings of the Old Testament with their correct historical background, and trace them through their successive evolutions and transformations.

Assyriology, in fact, has given us such excellent and unexpected results as to revolutionize completely our former exegetical methods and conclusions. The study, it is true, has been often abused by ultra-radical and enthusiastic Assyriologists and critics. These have sought to build up groundless theories and illogical conclusions. They have forced the texts to say what they do not say, and to support conclusions which they do not support. But such an abuse, which is due to a perfectly natural enthusiasm and scientific ardor, can never vitiate the permanent value of sober Assyriological researches, which have demonstrably provided sources of the first importance for the study of the Old Testament. These few abuses can be discerned and in due time corrected by a more temperate and judicious criticism.

If the value of Assyriology in its bearing upon the Old Testament too often has been exaggerated, the exaggeration is at least partly excusable, considering the comparatively recent date of these researches and their startling results in the way of discovery. On the other hand, that school of critics and theologians which disregards the genuine merits and the great value of Assyriological researches for the interpretation of the 0ld Testament is open to the double charge of unfairness and ignorance.

History of Assyria to the Fall of Nineveh (c. 2000-606 B.C.).

The origin of the Assyrian nation is involved in great obscurity. According to the author of the tenth chapter of Genesis, the Assyrians are the descendants of Assur (Asshur) one of the sons of Sem (Shem — Gen. 10:22). According to Gen. 10:11, "Out of that land [Sennaar] came forth Assur, and built Ninive, and the streets of the city, and Chale. Resen also between Ninive and Chale," where the Authorized Version reads: "builded Nineveh, and the city of Rehoboth, and Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah." Till quite recently the most commonly accepted interpretation of this passage was that Assur left Babylonia, where Nemrod (Nimrod) the terrible was reigning, and settled in Assyria, where he built the cities of Nineveh, Rehoboth, Chale (Calah), and Resen. Nowadays, however, this interpretation, which is mainly based on the Vulgate version, is abandoned in favor of the more probable one. According to this, Nemrod himself, the beginning of whose kingdom was Babylon (Babel), Arach (Erech), Achad (Accad), and Chalanne (Calneh), in Southern Babylonia (Gen. 10:10), went up to Assyria. (Assur in this case being a geographical name, i.e., Assyria, and not ethnographical or personal.), There he built the four above-mentioned cities and founded the Assyrian colony.

Whichever of these two interpretations be held as correct, one thing is certain: that the Assyrians are not only Semites, but in all probability an offshoot of the Semitic Babylonians, or a Babylonian colony. However, because of their apparently purer Semitic blood, some scholars have looked upon them as an independent Semitic offshoot, which at the time of the great Semitic migration from Arabia (c. 3000-2500 B.C.), migrated and settled in Assyria. Assyrian rulers known to us bore the title of Ishshaku (probably "priest-prince," or "governor") and were certainly subject to some outside power, presumably that of Babylonia.

Some of the earliest of these Ishshaki known to us are Ishmi-Dagan and his son Shamshi-Adad I (or Shamshi-Ramman). The exact date of these two princes is uncertain, although we may with reasonable certainty place them about 1840-1800 B.C. Other Ishshaki are Igur-Kapkapu, Shamshi-Adad II, Khallu, and Irishum. The two cities of Nineveh and Assur were certainly in existence at the time of Hammurabi (c. 2250 B.C.) for in one of his letters he makes mention of them. It is significant, however, that in the long inscription (300 lines) of Agumkakrime, one of the Kassic rulers of Babylonia (c. 1650 B.C.), in which he enumerates the various countries over which his rule extended, no mention is made of Assyria. Hence, it is probable that the beginning of an independent Assyrian kingdom may be placed towards the seventeenth century B.C. According to an inscription of King Esarhaddon (681-668 B.C.), the first Assyrian Ishshaku to assume the title of King was a certain Bel-bani, an inscription of whom, written in archaic Babylonian, was found by Father Scheil. His date, however, cannot be determined.

Towards the fifteenth century B.C., we find Egytian supremacy extended over Syria and the Mesopotamian valley, and in one of the royal inscriptions of Thothmes III of Egypt (1480-1427 B.C.), we find Assyria among his tributary nations. From the Tel-el-Amarna letters also we know that diplomatic negotiations and correspondences were frequent among the rulers of Assyria, Babylonia, Syria, Mitanni, and the Egyptian Pharaohs, especially Amenhotep IV. Towards this same period, we find also the Kings of Assyria standing on an equal footing with those of Babylonia, and successfully contesting with the latter for the boundary-lines of their Kingdom.

About 1450 B.C. Asshr-bel-nisheshu was King of Assyria. He settled the boundary-lines of his kingdom with his contemporary Karaindash, King of Babylonia. The same treaty was concluded again between his successor, Puzur-Asshur, and Burnaburiash I, King of Babylon. Puzur-Asshur was succeeded by Asshur-nadin-Ahhe, his successor, Asshur-uballit, mentions in one of his letters to Amenhotep IV, King of Egypt, as his father and predecessor.

During most of the long reign of Asshur-uballit, the relations between Assyria and Babylonia continued friendly, but towards the end of that reign the first open conflict between the two sister-countries broke out. The cause of the conflict was as follows: Asshur-uballit, in sign of friendship, had given his daughter, Muballitat-sherua, for wife to the King of Babylonia. The son born of this royal union, Kadashman-Charbe by name, succeeded his father on the throne, but was soon slain by a certaln Nazi-bugash (or Suzigash), the head of the discontented Kassite party, who ascended the throne in his stead. To avenge the death of his grandson the aged and valiant monarch, Asshur-uballit, invaded Babylonia, slew Nazi-bugash, and set the son of Kadashman-Charbe, who was still very young on the throne of Babylonia, as Kurigalzu II. However, towards the later part of his reign (c. 1380 B.C.), Kerizalu II became hostile to Assyria; in consequence of which, Belnirari, Assyhur-uballit's successor on the throne of Assyria, made war against him and defeated him at the city of Sugagu, annexing the northern part of Babylonia to Assyria.

Belnirari was succeeded by his son, Pudi-ilu (c. 1360 B.C.), who undertook several successful military expeditions to the east and southeast of Assyria and built various temples, and of whom we possess few, but important, inscriptions. His successor was Ramman-nirari, who not only strengthened the newly-conquered territories of his two predecessors, but also made war and defeated Nazi-Maruttash, King of Babylonia, the successor of Kurigalzu II, adding a considerable Babylonian territory to the newly arisen, but powerful, Assyrian Empire.

Towards the end of the fourteenth century B.C. (about 1330-1320 B.C.,) Ramman-nirari was succeeded by his son Shalmaneser I. During, or about the time of this ruler, the once powerful Egyptian supremacy over Syria and Mesopotamia, thanks to the brilliant military raids and resistance of the Hittites, a powerful horde of tribes in Northern Syria and Asia Minor, was successfully withstood and confined to the Nile Valley. With the Egyptian pressure thus removed from Mesopotamia, and the accession of Shalmaneser I, an ambitious and energetic monarch, to the throne of Assyria, the Assyrian empire began to extend its power westwards. Following the course of the Tigris, Shalmaneser I marched northwards and subjugated many northern tribes; then, turning westwards, invaded part of northeastern Syria and conquered the Arami, or Aramaeans, of Western Mesopotamia. From there, he marched against the land of Musri, in Northern Arabia, adding a considerable territory to his empire. For strategic reasons he transferred the seat of his kingdom from the city of Asshur to that of Kalkhi (the Chale, or Calah, of Genesis) forty miles to the north, on the eastern bank of the Tigris, and eighteen miles south of Nineveh.

Shalmaneser I was succeeded by his son Tukulti-Ninib (c. 1290 B.C.) whose records and inscriptions L.W. King of the British Museum collected and edited. Shalmanester was a valiant warrior and conqueror, for he not only preserved the integrity of the empire but also extended it towards the north and northwest. He invaded and conquered Babylonia, where he established the seat of his government for fully seven years, during which he became obnoxious to the Babylonians, who plotted and rebelled against him, proclaiming a certain Ramman shur-usur king in his stead. The Assyrians themselves also became dissatisfied because of his long absence from Assyria, and he was slain by his own nobles, who proclaimed his son, Asshur-nasir-pal, king in his stead. After the death of this prince, two kings, Asshur-narrara and Nabudayan by name, reigned over Assyria, of whom, however, we know nothing.

Towards 1210-1200 B.C. we find Bel-Kudur-usur and his successor, Ninib-pal-Eshara, reigning over Assyria. These, however, the Babylonians attacked and defeated, and thus regained possession of a considerable part of their former territory. The next Assyrian monarch was Asshur-dan, Ninib-pal-Eshara's son. He avenged his father's defeat by invading Babylonia and capturing the cities of Zaban, lrria, and Akarsallu. In 1150 B.C., Asshur-dan was succeeded by his son, Mutakkil-Nusku; in 1140 B.C., by the latter's son Asshur-resb-ishi, who subjugated the peoples of Ahlami, Lullumi, Kuti (or Guti) and other countries, and administered a crushing defeat to his rival and contemporary, Nabuchodonosor (Nebuchadnezzar) I, King of Babylonia.

About 1120-1110 B.C. Asshur-resh-ishi was succeeded by his son, Tiglath-pileser I, one of the greatest Assyrian monarchs, under whose reign of only ten years duration Assyria rose to the apex of its military success and glory. He has left us a very detailed and circumstantial account of his military achievements, written on four octagonal cylinders which he placed at the four corners of the temple built by him to the god Ramman. According to these, he undertook, in the first five years of his reign, several successful military expeditions against Mushku, against the Shubari, against the Hittites, and into the mountains, of Zagros, against the people of Nairi and twenty-three kings, who were chased by him as far north as Lake Van in Armenia; against the people of Musri in Northern Arabia, and against the Aramaens, or Syrians. "In all," he tells us, forty-two countries and their kings, from beyond the Lower Zab, from the border of the distant mountains as far as the farther side of the Euphrates, up to the land of Hatti [Hittites] and as far as the upper sea of the setting sun [i.e. Lake Van], from the beginning of my sovereignty until my fifth year, has my hand conquered. I carried away their possessions, burned their cities with fire, demanded from their hostages tribute and contributions, and laid on them the heavy yoke of my rule."

He crossed the Euprates several times, and even reached the Mediterranean, upon the waters of which he embarked. He also invaded Babylonia, inflicting a heavy blow on the Babylonian king, Marduk-nadin-ahhe and his army, and capturing several important cities, such as Dur-Kurigalzu, Sippar, Babylon, and Opis. He pushed his triumphal march even as far as Elam. Tiglath-pileser I was also a daring hunter, for in one of his campaigns, he tells us, he killed no fewer than one hundred and twenty lions on foot, and eight hundred with spears while in his chariot, caught elephants alive, and killed ten in his chariot. He kept at the city of Asshur a park of animals suitable for the chase. At Nineveh, he had a botanical garden, in which he planted specimens of foreign trees gathered during his campaigns. He built also many temples, palaces, and canals. It may be of interest to add that his reign coincides with that of Heli (Eli), one of the ten judges who ruled over Israel prior to the establishment of the monarchy. At the time of Tiglath-pileser's death, Assyria was enjoying a period of tranquility, which did not last, however, very long; for we find his two sons and successors, Asshur-bel-Kala and Shamshi-Ramman, seeking offensive and defensive alliances with the Kings of Babylonia.

From about 1070 to 950 B.C., a gap of more than one hundred years presents itself in the history of Assyria. But from 950 B.C. down to the fall of Nineveh and the overthrow of the Assyrian Empire (606 B.C.) the history of Assyria is very completely represented in documents. Towards 950 B.C., Tiglath-pileser II was king over Assyria. In 930 B.C. he was succeeded by his son, Assuhr-dan II, and about 910 B.C. by the latter's son, Ramman-nirari II, who, in 890, was succeeded by his son, Tukulti-Ninib II, kings of Babylonia.

The last two monarchs appear to have undertaken several successful expeditions against Babylonia and the regions north of Assyria. Tukulti-Ninib's successor was his son Asshur-nasir-pal (885-860 B.C.), with whose accession to the throne began a long career of victory that placed Assyria at the head of the great powers of that age. He was a great conqueror, soldier, organizer, hunter, and builder, but fierce and cruel. In his eleven military campaigns he invaded, subdued, and conquered, after a series of devastations and raids, all the regions north, south, east, and west of Assyria, from the mountains of Armenia down to Babylon, and from the mountains of Kurdistan and Lake Urmi (Urum-yah) to the Mediterranean. He crossed the Euphrates and the Orontes, penetrated into the Lebanon region, attacked Karkemish, the capital of the Hittites, invaded Syria, and compelled the cities of the Mediterranean coast (such as Tyre, Sidon, Bylos, and Armad) to pay tribute.

But the chief interest in the history of Asshur-nasir-pal lies in the fact that it was in his reign that Assyria first came into touch with Israel. In his expedition against Karkemish and Syria, which took place in 878 B.C., he undoubtedly exacted tribute from Amri (Omri), King of Israel; although the latter's name is not explicitly mentioned in this sense, either in Asshur-nasir-pal's inscriptions, or in the Old Testament. The fact, however, seems certain, for in the Assyrian inscriptions from about this time down to the time of Sargon — nearly 150 years — land of Israel is frequently mentioned as the "land of Omri," and Jehu, a later King of Israel, but not of the dynasty of Amri, is also called the "son of Omri." This seems to show that the Assyrians knew the land of Israel as the land of that king who happened to be reigning when they were first brought into political relations with it. We know that this king was Amri, for in 878, the year of Asshur-nasir-pal's expedition to Syria, he had been king over Israel for some nine years.

Asshur-nasir-pal was succeeded by his son, Shalmaneser II, who in the sixth year of his reign (854 B.C.) made an expedition to the West with the object of subduing Damascus. In this memorable campaign, he came into direct touch with Israel and their king Achab (Ahab), who happened to be one of the allies of Benhadad, King of Damascus. In describing this expedition, the Assyrian monarch goes on to say that he approached Karkar, a town to the southwest of Karkemish, and the royal residence of Irhulini.

"I desolated and destroyed, I burnt it: 1200 chariots, 1200 horsemen, 20,000 men of Biridri of Damascus; 700 chariots, 700 horsemen, 10, 000 men of Irhulini of Hamath; 2,000 chariots, 10,000 men of Ahab of Israel . . . these twelve kings he [i.e. Irhulini] took to his assistance. To offer battle they marched against me. With the noble might which Asshur, the Lord, granted, with the powerful weapons which Nergal, who walks before me, gave, I fought with them, from Karkar into Gilzan I smote them. Of their soldiers I slew 14,000."

The Old Testament is silent on the presence of Achab in the battle of Karkar, which took place in the same year in which Achab died fighting in the battle of Ramoth Galaad (III Kings, xxii).

Eleven years after this event Jehu was proclaimed king over Israel, and one of his first acts was to pay tribute to Shalmaneser II. This incident is commemorated in the latter's well-known "black obelisk," in the British Museum, in which Jehu himself, "the son of Omri," is sculptured as paying tribute to the king. In another inscription the same king records the same fact, saying: At that time I received the tribute of the Tyrians, Sidonians, and Jehu the son of Omri." This act of homage took place in 842 B.C., in the eighteenth year of Shalmaneser's reign.

After Shalmneser II came his son Shamshi-Ramman II (824 B.C.), who, in order to quell the rebellion caused by his elder son, Asshur-danin-pal, undertook four campaigns. He also fought and defeated the Babylonian King, Marduk-balatsuiqbi, and his powerful army. Shamshi-Ramman II was succeeded by his son, Ramman-nirari III (812 B.C.). This king undertook several expeditions against Media, Armenia, the land of Nairi, and the region around Lake Urmi, and subjugated all the coastlands of the West, including Tyre, Sidon, Edom, Philistia, and the "land of Omri," i.e. Israel. The chief object of this expedition was again to subdue Damascus which he did by compelling Mari', its king, to pay a heavy tribute in silver, gold, copper, and iron, besides quantities of cloth and furniture. Joachaz (Jehoahaz) was then king over Israel, and he welcomed with open arms Ramman-nirari's advance, in as much as this monarch's conquest of Damascus relieved Israel from the heavy yoke of the Syrians. Ramman-nirari III also claimed sovereignty over Babylonia. His name is often given as that of Adad-nirari, and he reigned from 812 to 783 B.C. In one of his inscriptions, which are unfortunately scarce and laconic, he mentions the name of his wife, Sammuramat, which is the only Assyrian or Babylonian name discovered so far having any phonetic resemblance to that of the famous legendary queen, Semiramis. The personal identity of the two queens, however, is not admissible. Ramman-ni-rari III was succeeded by Shalmaneser III (783-773 B.C.), and the latter by Asshurdan III (773-755 B.C.). Of these three kings, we know little, as no adequate inscriptions of their reigns have come down to us.

In the year 745 B.C., Tiglath-pileser III (in the Douay Version, Theglathphalasar) seized the throne of Assyria, at Nineveh. He is said to have begun life as gardener, to have distinguished himself as a soldier, and to have been elevated to the throne by the army. He was a most capable monarch, enterprising, energetic, wise, and daring. His military ability saved the Assyrian Empire from the utter ruin and decay that had begun to threaten its existence, and for this fitly is he spoken of as the founder of the Second Assyrian Empire.

Tiglath-pileser's methods differed from those of his predecessors, who had been mere raiders and plunderers. He organized the empire and divided it into provinces, each of which had to pay a fixed tribute to the exchequer. He was thus able to extend Assyrian supremacy over almost all of Western Asia, from Armenia to Egypt, and from Persia to the Mediterranean. During his reign Assyria came into close contact with the Hebrews, as is shown by his own inscriptions, as well as by the Old Testament records, where he is mentioned under the name of Phul (Pul). In the Assyrian inscriptions, his name occurs only as that of Tiglath-pileser, but in the "List of Babylonian Kings" he is also called Pul, which settles his identity with the Phul, or Pul, of the Bible.

He reigned for eighteen years (745-727 B.C.). In his annals he mentions the payment of tribute by several kings, among whom is "Menahem of Samaria," a fact confirmed by IV Kings 15:19, 20. During his reign, Achaz was king of Juda. This prince, having been hard pressed and harassed by Rasin (Rezin) of Damascus, and Phacee (Pekah) of Israel, entreated protection from (Tiglath-pileser) Theglath-phalasar, who, nothing loath, marched westward and attacked Rasin, whom he overthrew and shut up in Damascus. Two years later, the city surrendered. Rasin was slain, and the inhabitants were carried away captives (IV Kings 16:7, 8, 9).

Meanwhile Assyrian monarch overran Israel, reduced the country to the condition of a desert, and carried the trans-Jordanic tribes into captivity. At the same time the Philistines, the Edomites, the Arabians, and many other tribes were subdued; and after the fall of Damascus, Tiglath-pileser held a durbar, which was attended by many princes, amongst whom was Achaz himself. His next expedition to Palestine was in 734, the objective this time being Gaza, an important town on the seacoast. Achaz hastened to make, or, rather, to renew his submission to the Assyrian monarch; as we find his name mentioned again with several other tributary kings on one of Tiglath-pileser's inscriptions. In 733 the Assyrian monarch carried off the population from large portions of the Kingdom of Israel, sparing, however the capital, Samaria. Tiglath-pileser was the first Assyrian king to come into contact with the Kingdom of Juda, and also the first Assyrian monarch to begin on a large scale the system of transplanting peoples from one country to another, with the object of breaking down their national spirit, unity, and independence. According to many scholars, it was during Tiglath-pilesar's reign that Jonas (Jonah) preached in Nineveh, although others prefer to locate the date of this Hebrew prophet a century later, i.e. in the reign of Asshurbanipal (see below).

Tiglath-pileser III was succeeded by his son (?), Shalmaneser IV, who reigned but five years (727-722 B.C.). No historical inscriptions relating to this king have as yet been found. Nevertheless, the "Babylonian Chronicle" (which gives a list of the principal events occurring in Babylonia and Assyria between 744 and 688 B.C) offers the following statement: on the 25th of Thebet [December-January] Shalmaneser [in D.V. Salmanasar] ascended the throne of Assyria, and the city of Shamara'in [Samaria was destroyed. In the fifth year of his reign he died in the month of Thebet." The Assyrian "Eponym Canon" (see above) also informs us that the first two years of Shalmaneser's reign passed without an expedition, but in the remaining three, his armies were engaged. In what direction the armies of Shalmaneser (Salmanasar) were engaged, the "Canon" does not say, but the "Babylonian Chronicle" (quoted above) and the Old Testament (IV Kings, xviii) explicitly point to Palestine, and particularly to Samaria, the capital of the Israelitish Kingdom.

In the second or third year of Shalmaneser's reign, Osee (Hoshea) King of Israel, together with the King of Tyre, rebelled against Assyria; and in order to crush the rebellion the Assyrian monarch marched against both kings and laid siege to their capitals. The Biblical account (Douay Version IV Kings 17:3 sqq.) of this expedition is as follows:

Against him came up Salmanasar king of the Assyrians, and Osee became his servant, and paid him tribute. And when the king of the Assyrians found that Osee endeavouring to rebel had sent messengers to Sua the king of Egypt, that he might not pay tribute to the king of the Assyrians, as he had done every year, he besieged him, bound him and cast him into prison. And he went through all the land: and going up to Samaria, he besieged it three years. And in the ninth year of Osee, the king of the Assyrians took Samaria, and carried Israel away to Assyria; and he placed them in Hala and Habor by the river of Gozan, in the cities of the Medes.

See also the parallel account in IV Kings 18:9-11, which is one and the same as that here given. The two Biblical accounts, however, leave undecided the question, whether Shalmaneser himself or his successor conquered Samaria; while, from the Assyrian inscriptions it appears that Shalmaneser died, or was murdered, before he could personally carry his victory to an end. Sargon II succeeded him.

Sargon, a man of commanding ability, was, notwithstanding his claim to royal ancestry, in all probability a usurper. He is one of the greatest figures in Assyrian history, and the founder of the famous Sargonid dynasty, which held sway in Assyria for more than a century, i.e. until the fall of Nineveh and the overthrow of the Assyrian Empire. He himself reigned for seventeen years (722-705 B.C.) and proved a most successful warrior and organizer. In every battle he was victor, and in every difficulty a man of resource. He was also a great builder and patron of the arts. His greatest work was the building of Dur-Sharrukin, or the Castle of Sargon, the modern Khorsabad, which was thoroughly explored in 1844-55 by Botta, Flandin, and Place. It was a large city, situated about ten miles from Nineveh, and capable of accommodating 80,000 in habitants. His palace there was a wonder of architecture, panelled in alabaster, adorned with sculpture, and inscribed with the records of his exploits.

In the same year in which he ascended the throne, Samaria fell (722 B.C.), and the Kingdom of Israel was brought to an end. "In the beginning of my reign," he tells us in his annals, "and in the first year of my reign . . . Samaria I besieged and conquered . . . 27,290 inhabitants I carried off . . . I restored it again and made it as before. People from all lands, my prisoners, I settled there. My officials I set over them as governors. Tribute and tax I laid on them, as on the Assyrians."

Sargon's second campaign was against the Elamites, whom he subdued. From Elam, he marched westward, laid Hamath in ruins, and afterwards utterly defeated the combined forces of the Philistines and the Egyptians, at Raphia. He made Hanum, King of Gaza, prisoner, and carried several thousand captives, with very rich booty, into Assyria. Two years later, he attacked Karkemish, the capital of the Hittites, and conquered it, capturing its king, officers, and treasures, and deporting them into Assyria. He then for fully six years harassed, and finally subdued, all the northern and northwestern tribes of Kurdistan of Armenia (Urartu, or Ararat), and of Cilicia: the Mannai, the Mushki, the Kummukhi, the Milidi, the Kammani, the Gamgumi, the Samali, and many others who lived in those wild and inaccessible regions. Soon after this, he subdued several Arabian tribes and, afterwards, the Medians, with their forty-two chiefs, or princes.

During the first eleven years of Sargon's reign, the Kingdom of Juda remained peacefully subject to Assyria, paying the stipulated annual tribute. In 711 B.C., however, Ezechias (Hezekiah), King of Juda, partly influenced by Merodach-baladan, of Babylonia, and partly by promises of help from Egypt, rebelled against the Assyrian monarch, and in this revolt he was heartly joined by the Phoenicians, the Philistines, the Moabites, and tbe Ammonites. Sargon was ever quick to act; he collected a powerful army, marched against the rebels, and dealt them a crushing blow. The fact is recorded in Isaias 20:1, where the name of Sargon is expressly mentioned as that of the invader and conqueror.

With Palestine and the West pacified and subdued Sargon, ever energetic and prompt, turned his attention to Babylonia, where Merodach-baladan ruling. The Babylonian army was easily routed and Merodach-balaclan himself abandoned Babylon and fled in terror to Beth-Yakin, his ancestral stronghold. Sargon entered Babylonia in triumph, and in the following year he pursued the fleeing king, stormed the city of Beth-Yakin, deported its people, and compelled all the Babylonias and Elamites, to pay him tribute, homage and obedience.

In 705, in the flower of his age and at the zenith of his glory, Sargon was assassinated. He was succeeded by his son, Sennacherib (705 to 681 B.C.), whose name is so well known to Bible students. He was an exceptionally cruel, arrogant, revengeful, and despotic ruler, but, at the same time, a monarch of wonderful power and ability. His first military expedition was directed against Merodach-baladan, of Babylonia, who, at the news of Sargon's death, had returned to Babylonia, assuming the title of kings and murdering Merodach-zakir-shumi, the viceroy appointed by Sargon. Merodach-baladan was, however, easily routed by Sennacherib; fleeing again to Elam and hiding himself in the marshes, but always ready to take advantage of Sennacherib's absence to return to Babylon.

In 701, Sennacherib marched eastward over the Zagros mountains and towards the Caspian Sea. There he attacked, defeated, and subdued the Medians and all the neighbouring tribes. In the same year he marched on the Mediterranean coast and received the submission of the Phoenicians, the Ammonites, the Moabites, and the Edomites. He conquered Sidon, but was unable to lay hands on Tyre, on account of its impregnable position. Thence he hurried down the coast road, captured Askalon and its king, Sidqa; turning to the north he struck Ekron and Lachish, and dispersed the Ethiopian-Egyptian forces, which had assembled to oppose his march. Ezechias (Hezekiah), King of Juda, who together with the above-mentioned kings had rebelled against Sennacherib, was thus completely isolated, and Sennacherib, finding his way clear, marched against Juda, dealing a terrific blow at the little kingdom. Here is Sennacherib's own amount of the event:

But as for Hezekiah of Judah, who had not subsmitted to my yoke, forty-six of his strong walled cities and the smaller cities round about them without number, by the battering of rams, and the attack of war-engines [?], by making breaches, by cutting through, the use of axes, I besieged and captured. Two hundred thousand one hundred and fifty people, small and great, male and female, horses, mules, asses, camels, and sheep without number I brought forth from their midst and reckoned as spoil. Himself [Hezekiah] I shut up like a caged bird in Jerusalem, his royal city. I threw up fortifications against him, and whosoever came out of the gates of his city I punished. His cities, which I had plundered, I cut off from his land and gave to Mitinti, King of Ashdod, to Padi, King of Ekron, and to Cil-Bel, King of Gaza, and [thus] made his territory smaller. To the former taxes, paid yearly, tribute, a present for my lordship, I added and imposed on him. Hezekiah himself was overwhelmed by the fear of the brilliancy of my lordship, and the Arabians and faithful soldiers whom he had brought in to strengthen Jerusalem, his royal city, deserted him. Thirty talents of gold, eight hundred tatents of silver, precious stones, guhli daggassi, large lapis lazuli, couches of ivory, thrones of elephant skin and ivory, ivory, ushu and urkarinu woods of every kind, a heavy treasure, and his daughters, his palace women, male and female singers, to Nineveh, my lordship's city, I caused to be brought after me, and he sent his ambassador to give tribute and to pay homage.

The same event is also recorded in IV Kings, 18: and 19:, and in Isaias, 36: and 37:, but in somewhat different manner. According to the Biblical account, Sennacherib, not satisfied with the payment of tribute, demanded from Ezechias the unconditional surrender of Jerusalem, which the Judean king refused. Terrified and bewildered, Ezechias called the prophet Isaias and laid the matter before him, asking him for advice and counsel. The prophet strongly advised the vacillating king to oppose the outrageous demands of the Assyrian, promising him Yahweh's help and protection.

Accordingly, Ezechias refused to surrender, and Sennacherib, enraged and revengeful, resolved to storm and destroy the city. But in that same night the whole Assyrian army, gathered under the walls of Jerusalem, was stricken by the angel of the Lord, who slew one hundred and eighty-five thousand Assyrian soldiers. At the sight of this terrible calamity, Sennacherib in terror and confusion, departed and returned to Assyria.

The Assyrian and the Biblical accounts are prima facie conflicting, but many more or less plausible solutions have suggested. In the first place we must not expect to find in Sennacherib's own annals mention of, or allusion to, any reverse he may have suffered; such allusions would be clearly incompatible with the monarch's pride, as well as with the purpose of annals incribed only to glorify his exploits and victories. In the second place, it is not improbable that Sennacherib undertook two different campaigns against Juda. In the first, to which his annals refer, he contented himself with exacting and receiving submission and tribute from Ezechias (Hezekiah); but in a later expedition, which he does not mention, he insisted on the surrender of Jerusalem, and in this latter expedition he met with the awful disaster. It is to this expedition that the Biblical account refers. Hence, there is no real contradiction between the two narratives, as they speak of two different events.

Furthermore, the disaster which overtook the Assyrian army may have been, after all, quite a natural one. It may have been a sudden attack of the plague, a disease to which Oriental armies, from their utter neglect of sanitation, are extremely subject, and before which they quickly succumb. Josephus explicitly affirms that it was a flagellum prodigiosum (Antiq. Jud., X 1:n. 5); while according to an Egyptian tradition preserved to us by Herodotus (Lib. II, cxli), Sennacherib's army was attacked and destroyed by a kind of poisonous wild mice, which suddenly broke into the Assyrian camp, completely demoralizing the army. At any rate, Sennacherib's campaign came to an abrupt end, and he was forced to retreat to Nineveh. It is noteworthy, however, that for the rest of his life Sennacherib undertook no more military expeditions to the West, or to Palestine. This fact, interpreted in the light of the Assyrian monuments, would be the light of the complete submission of Syria and Palestine: while in the light of the Biblical narrative it would signify that Sennacherib, after his disastrous defeat, dared not attack Palestine again.

While laying siege to Jerusalem, Sennacherib received the disquieting news of Merodach-baladan's sudden appearance in Babylonia. A portion of the Assyrian army was detached and hurriedly sent to Babylonia against the restless and indomiable foe of Assyria. In a fierce battle Merodach-baladan was for the third time defeated and compelled to flee to Elam, where, worn and broken down by old age and misfortunes, he ended his troubled life, and Asshur-nadin-shum, the eldest son of Sennacherib, was appointed king over Babylonia. After his return from the West and after the final defeat of Merodach-baladan, Sennacherib began lengthy and active preparations for an effective expedition against Babylonia, which was ever rebellious and restless.

The expedition was as unique in its methods as it audacious in its conception. With a powerful army and navy, he moved southward and in a terrific battle near Khalulu, utterly routed the rebellious Chaldeans, Babylonians, and Elamites, and executed their two chiefs, Nergal-usezib and Musezib-Merodach. Elam was ravaged, "the smoke of burning towns obscuring the heavens." He next attacked Babylon, which he stormed, sacked burnt, flooded, and so mercilesslv punished that it was reduced to a mass of ruins, and almost obliterated. On his return to Assyria, Sennacherib appears to have spent the last years of his reign in building his magnificent palace at Nineveh, and in embellishing the city with temples, palaces, gardens, arsenals, and fortifications.

After a long, stormy, and glorious reign, he died by the hand of one of his own sons (681 B.C.). The Bible tells us that "as he [Sennacherib] was worshipping in the temple of Nesroch his god, Adramelech and Sarasar his sons slew him with the sword, and they fled into the land of the Armenians, and Asarhaddon [Esarhaddon] his son reigned in his stead" (IV Kings 19:37). The "Babylonian Chronicle," however, has "on 20 Thebet [December-January] Sennacherib, King of Assyria, was slain by his son in a rebellion . . . years reigned Sennacherib in Assyria. From 20 Thebet to 2 Adar [March-April] was the rebellion in Assyria maintained (in to Adar his son, Esarhaddon, ascended the throne of Assyria."

If the murderer of Sennacherib was, as the "Babylonian Chronicle" tells us, one of his own sons, no son of Sennacherib by the name of Adrammelech or Sharezer has as yet been found in the Assyrian monuments. And while the Biblical narrative seems to indicate that the murder took place in Nineveh, on the other hand an inscription of Asshur-banipal, Sennacherib's grandson, clearly affirms that the tragedy took place in Babylon, in the temple of Marduk (of which Nesroch, or Nisroch, is probably a corruption).

Sennacherib was succeeded by his younger son, Esarhaddon, who reigned from 681 to 668 B.C. At the time of his father's death, Esarhaddon was in Armenia with the Assyrian army, but on hearing the sad news, he promptly set out for Nineveh, first to avenge his father's death by punishing the perpetrators of the crime, and then to ascend the throne. On his way home he met the assassins and their army near Cappadocia, and in a decisive battle routed them with tremendous loss, thus becoming the sole and undisputed lord of Assyria.

Esarhaddon's first campaign was against Babylonia, where a fresh revolt, caused by the son of the late Merodach-baladan, had broken out. The pretender was easily defeated and compelled to flee to Elam. Esarhaddon, unlike his father, determined to build up Babylon and to restore its ruined temples, 2 palaces, and walls he gave back to the people their property, which had been taken away from them as spoils of war during Sennacherib's destructive campaign, and succeeded in restoring peace and harmony among the people. He determined, furthermore, to make Babylon his residence for part of the year, thus restoring its ardent splendor and religious supremacy.

Esarhaddon directed his second campaign against the West, i.e. Syria, where a fresh rebellion, having for its center the great maritime city of Sidon, had broken out. He captured the city and completely destroyed it, ordering a new city, with the name of Kar-Esarhaddon, to be built on its ruins. The king of Sidon was caught and beheaded, and the surrounding country devastated. Twenty-two Syrian princes, among them Manasses, King of Juda, surrendered and submitted to Esarhaddon. Scarcely, however, had he retired when these same princes, including Manasses, revolted. But the great Esarhaddon utterly crushed the rebellion, taking numerous cities, captives, and treasures, and ordering Manasses to be carried to Babylon, where the king was then residing. A few years later Esarhaddon had mercy on Manasses and allowed him to return to his own kingdom.

In a third campaign, Esarhaddon blockaded the impregnable Tyre, and set out to conquer Egypt, which he successfully accomplished by defeating its king, Tirhakah. In order to effectively establish Assyrian supremacy over Egypt, he divided the country into twenty provinces, and over each of these he appointed a governor; sometimes a native, sometimes an Assyrian.

He exacted heavy annual tribute from every one of these twenty provinces, and returned in triumph to Assyria. "As for Tarqu [Tirhakah], King of Egypt and Cush, who was under the curse of their great divinity, from Ishupri as far as Memphis, his royal city — a march of fifteen days — every day without exception I killed his warriors in great number, and as for him, five times with the point of the spear I struck him with a deadly stroke. Memphis, his royal city, in half a day, by cutting through and scaling, I besieged, I conquered, I tore down, I destroyed, I burned with fire, and the wife of his palace, his palace women, Ushanahuru, his own son, and the rest of his sons, his daughters, his property and possessions, his horses, his oxen, his sheep without number, I carried away as spoil to Assyria. I tore up the root of Cush from Egypt, a single one — even to the suppliant — I did not leave behind. Over all Egypt, I appointed kings, prefects, governors, grain-inspectors, mayors, and secretaries. I instituted regular offerings to Asshur and the great gods, my lords, for all time. I placed on them the tribute and taxes of my lordship, regularly and without fail."

Esarhaddon also invaded Arabia, penetrating to its very center, through hundreds of miles of sandy lands which no other Assyrian monarch had penetrated before. Another important campaign was that directed against Cimmerians, near the Caucasus, and against many other tribes, in Armenia, Cappadocia, Cilicia, Asia Minor, and Media. The monarch's last expedition was a second campaign against Egypt. Before leaving Assyria, however, i.e. in the month of Iyyar (April-May), 668 B.C., as if forecasting future events, he constituted his son Asshurbanipal co-regent and successor to the throne, leaving to his other son, Shamash-shum-ukin, Babylonia. However, while on his way to Egypt, he fell sick, and on the 10th of Marsheshwan (October), in the year 668, he died.

Esarhaddon was a truly remarkable ruler. Unlike his father, he was religious, generous, forgiving, less harsh and cruel, and very diplomatic. He ruled the various conquered countries with wisdom and toleration, while he established a rigorous system of administration. A great temple-builder and lover of art he has left us many records and inscriptions. At Nineveh, he rebuilt the temple of Ashur, and in Babylonia, the temples at Ukuk, Sippar, Dur-Ilu, Borsippa, and others, in all about thirty. In Nineveh, he erected for himself a magnificent palace and arsenal, and at Kalkhi (Calah; Douay, Chale) another of smaller dimensions, which was still unfinished at the time of his death.

Asshurbanipal, Esarhaddon's successor, was undoubtedly the greatest of all Assyrian monarchs. For generalship, military conquests, diplomacy, love of splendor and luxury, and passion for the arts and letters, he has neither superior nor equal in the annals of that empire. To him we owe the greatest part of our knowledge of Assyrian-Babylonian history, art, and civilization. Endowed with a rare taste for letters, he caused all the most important historical, religious, mythological, legal, astronomical, mathematical, grammatical, and lexicographical texts and inscriptions known to his day to be copied and placed in a magnificent library which he built in his own palace. "Tens of thousands of clay tablets systematically arranged on shelves for easy consultation contained, besides official dispatches and other archives the choicest religious, historical, and scientific literature of the Babylonian-Assyrian world. Under the inspiration of the king's literary zeal, scribes copied and translated the ancient sacred classics of primitive Babylonia for this library, so that, from its remains, can be reconstructed, not merely the details of the government and administration of the Assyria of his time, but the life and thought of the far distant Babylonian world" (G.H. Goodspeed, Hist. of the Babylonians and Assyrians, pp. 315, 316).

Of this library, which must have contained over forty thousand clay tablets, a part was discovered by G. Smith and H. Rassam, part has been destroyed, and part yet remains to be explored. Here G. Smith first discovered the famous Babylonian accounts of the Creation and of Deluge in which we find so many striking similarities with the parallel Biblical accounts. Asshur-banipal was also a great temple-builder — in Nineveh, Arbela, Tarbish, Babylon, Borsippa, Sippar, Nippur, and Uruk. He fortified Nineveh, repaired, enlarged, and embellished Sennacherib's palace, and built next to it another palace of remarkable beauty. This he adorned with numerous magnificent statues, sculptures, bas-reliefs, inscriptions, and treasures. Assyrian art, especially sculpture and architecture, reached during his reign its golden age and its classical perfection, while Assyrian power and supremacy touched the extreme zenith of its height; for with Asshurbanipal's death Assyrian power and glory sank into the deepest gloom, and perished presumably, to rise no more.

Asshurbanipal's military campaigns were numerous. He ascended the throne in 668 B.C. and his first move was against Egypt, which he subdued, penetrating as far as Memphis and Thebes. On his way back, he exacted tribute from the Syrian and Phoenician kings, among whom was Manasses of Juda, whom one of the king's inscriptions expressly mentioned. He forced Tyre to surrender, and subdued the Kings of Arvad, of Tabal, and of Cilicia. In 655, he marched against Babylonia and drove away from it a newly organized, but powerful coalition of Elamites, Chaldeans, and Arameans. He afterwards marched into the very heart of Elam, as far as Susa, and in a decisive battle he shattered the Elamite forces.

In 625, Shamash-shum-ukin, Asshurbanipal's brother, who had been appointed by his father King of Babylonia, and who had till then worked in complete harmony with his brother, rebelled against Asshurbanipal. To this many Babylonian, Elamite, and Arabian chiefs both openly and secretly incited him. Asshurbanipal, however, was quick to act. He marched against Babylonia, shut off all the rebels in their own fortresses, and forced them to a complete surrender. His brother set fire to his own palace and threw himself into the flames. The cities and fortresses were captured, the rebels slain, and Elam completely devastated. Temples, palaces, royal tombs, and shrines were destroyed. Treasures and booty were taken and carried away to Assyria, and several thousands of people, as well as all the princes of the royal family, were executed, so that, a few years later Elam disappeared for ever front history.

In another campaign, Asshurbanipal advanced against Arabia and subdued the Kedarenes, the Nabataeans, and a dozen other Arabian tribes, as far as Damascus. His attention was next attracted to Armenia, Cappadocia, Media, and the northwestern and northeastern regions. In all these he established his supremacy, so that from 640 till 626, the year of Asshurbanipal's death, Assyria was at peace. However, most scholars incline to believe that during the last years of the monarch's reign the Assyrian Empire began to decay.

Asshurbanipal is probably mentioned once in the Old Testament (I Esdras 4:10) under the name of Asenaphar, or, better, Ashenappar (Ashenappal), in connection with his deportation of many troublesome populations into Samaria. Second Isaias and Nahum probably allude to him, in connection with his campaigns against Egypt and Arabia. According to G. Brunengo, S.J. (Nabuchodnossor di Giuditta, Rome, 1886) and other scholars, Assuhrbanipal is the Nabuchodonosor (Nebuchadnezzar) of the Book of Judith; others identify him with the Sardanapalus of Greek historians. In view, however, of the conflicting characters of the legendary Sardanapalus and the Asshurbanipal of the cuneiform inscriptions, this last identification seems impossible. Besides, Asshurbanipal was not the last king of Assyria, as Sardanapalus is supposed to have been.

His two sons, Asshur-etil-elani and Sin-shar-ishkun, succeeded Asshurbanipal. Of their respective reigns and their exploits, we know nothing, except that in their days Assyria began rapidly to lose its prestige and power. All the foreign provinces — Egypt, Phoenicia, Chanaan, Syria, Arabia, Armenia, Media, Babylonia, and Elam — broke away from Assyria, when the degenerate and feeble successors of the valiant Asshurbanipal proved unable to cope with the situation. They had probably abandoned themselves to effeminate luxury and debaucheries, caring little or nothing for military glory. In the meanwhile Nabopolassar, King of Babylon, and Cyaxares, King of Media, formed a family and political alliance, the latter giving his daughter in marriage to the formers's son, Nabuchodonossor (Nebuchadnezzar). At the head of a powerful army, these two kings together marched against Nineveh and laid siege to it for fully two years, after which the city surrendered and was completely destroyed and demolished (606 B.C.), and Assyria became a province of Babylonia and Media.

Religion and Civilization.

The religion and civilization of Assyria were almost identical with those of Babylonia, as the former derived from the latter and developed along the same lines. For, although the Assyrians made notable contributions to architecture, art, science, and literature, these were with them essentially a Babylonian importation. Assyrian temples and palaces were modelled upon those of Babylonia, although in the building material stone was far more liberally employed. In sculptural decorations and in statuary more richness and originality were displayed by the Assyrians than by the Babylonians. It seems to have been a hobby of Assyrian monarchs to build colossal palaces, adorned with gigantic statues and an infinite variety of bas-reliefs and inscriptions showing their warlike exploits. Asshurbanipal's library shows that Assyrian religious literature was not only an imitation of that of Babylonia, but absolutely identical therewith.

An examination of the religions of the two countries proves that the Assyrians adopted Babylonian doctrines, cults, and rites, with such slight modifications as were called for by the conditions prevailing in the northern country. The chief difference in the Assyrian pantheon, compared with that of Babylonia, is that, while in Semitic times the principal god of the latter was Marduk, that of the former was Asshur. The principal deities of both countries are: the three chief deities, Anu, the god of the heavenly expanse; Bel, the earth god and creator of mankind; Ea, the god of humanity par excellence, and of the water. Next comes Ishtar, the mother of mankind and the consort of Bel; Sin, firstborn son of Bel, the father of wisdom personified in the moon; Shamash, the sun-god; Ninib, the hero of the heavenly and earthly spirits; Nergal, chief of the netherworld and of the subterranean demons, and god of pestilence and fevers; Marduk, originally a solar deity, conqueror of storrns, and afterwards creator of mankind and the supreme god of Semitic Babylonia; Adad, or Ramman, the god of storms, thunders, and lighting; Nebo, the god of wisdorn, to whom the art of writing and sciences are ascribed; Girru-Nusku, or, simply, Nusku, the god of fire, as driving away demons and evil spirits; Asshur, the consort of Belit, and the supreme god of Assyria. Besides these, there were other minor deities.



General History of the City.

Arms and implements of the Palæolithic Age, found in the near vicinity of Rome, testify to the presence of man here in those remote times. Excavations have established that as early as the eighth century B.C. or, according to some, several centuries earlier, there was a group of human habitations on the Palatine Hill, a tufaceous ledge rising in the midst of marshy ground near the Tiber. (It may be observed here that the primitive peoples knew that river by the name of Rumo, "the River.") Thus is the traditional account of the origin of Rome substantially verified. At the same time, or very little later, a colony of Sabines was formed on the Quirinal, and on the Esquiline an Etruscan colony. Between the Palatine and the Quirinal rose the Capitoline, once covered by two sacred groves, afterwards occupied by the temple of Jupiter and the Rock. Within a small space, therefore, were established the advance guards of three distinct peoples of different characters; the Latins, shepherds; the Sabines, tillers of the soil; the Etruscans, already far advanced in civilization, and therefore in commerce and the industries. How these three villages became a city, with, first, the Latin influence preponderating, then the Sabine, then the Etruscan (the two Tarquins), is all enveloped in the obscurity of the history of the seven kings (753-509 B.C.). The same uncertainty prevails as to the conquests made at the expense of the surrounding peoples. It is unquestionable that all those conquests had to be made afresh after the expulsion of the kings.

But the social organization of the new city during this period stands out clearly: There were three original tribes: the Ramnians (Latins), the Titians (Sabines), and the Luceres (Etruscans). Each tribe was divided into ten curiœ, each curia into ten gentes; each gens into ten (or thirty) families. Those who belonged to these, the most ancient, tribes were Patricians, and the chiefs of the three hundred gentes formed the Senate. In the course of time and the wars with surrounding peoples, new inhabitants occupied the remaining hills; thus, under Tullus Hostilius, the Cælian was assigned to the population of the razed Alba Longa (Albano); the Sabines, conquered by Ancus Martius, had the Aventine. Later on, the Viminal was occupied. The new inhabitants formed the Plebeians (Plebs), and their civil rights were less than those of the older citizens.

The internal history of Rome down to the Imperial Period is nothing but a struggle of plebeians against patricians for the acquisition of greater civil rights, and these struggles resulted in the civil, political, and juridical organization of Rome. The king was high priest, judge, leader in war and head of the Government. The Senate and the Comitia of the People were convoked by him at his pleasure, and debated the measures proposed by him. Moreover, the kingly dignity was hereditary. Among the important public works in this earliest period were the drains, or sewers (cloacœ), for draining the marshes around the Palatine, the work of the Etruscan Tarquinius Priscus. The city wall was built by Servius Tullius, who also organized the Plebeians, dividing them into thirty tribes. In addition, the Sublician Bridge was constructed to unite the Rome of that time with the Janiculan.

During the splendid reign of Tarquinius Superbus, Rome was the mistress of Latium as far as Circeii and Signia. However, returning victorious from Ardea, the king found the gates of the city closed against him. Rome took to itself a republican form of government, with two consuls, who held office for only one year; only in times of difficulty was a dictator elected, to wield unlimited power. In the expulsion of Tarquinius Superbus, some historians have seen a revolt of the Latin element against Etruscan domination. Besides wars and treaties with the Latins and other peoples, the principal events, down to the burning of Rome by the Gauls, were the institution of the tribunes of the people (tribuni plebis), the establishment of the laws of the Twelve Tables, and the destruction of Veii.

In 390, the Gauls defeated the Romans near the River Allia; a few days later the city was taken and set on fire, and after the Gauls had departed it was rebuilt without plan or rule. Cumillus, the dictator, reorganized the army and, after long resistance to the change, at last consented that one of the consuls should be a plebeian. Southern Etruria became subject to Rome, with the capture of Nepi and Sutri in 386. The Appian Way and Aqueduct were constructed at this period. Very soon, it was possible to think of conquering the whole peninsula. The principal stages of this conquest are formed by the three wars against the Samnites (victory of Suesaula 343); the victory of Bovianum, 304; those over the Etruscans and Umbrians, in 310 and 308; lastly the victory of Sentinum, in 295, over the combined Samnites, Etruscans, and Gauls. The Tarentine (282-272) and the First and Second Punic Wars (264-201) determined the conquest of the rest of Italy, with the adjacent islands, as well as the first invasion of Spain.

Soon after this, the Kingdom of Macedonia (Cynoscephalæ, 197; Pydna, 168) and Greece (capture of Corinth, 146) were subdued, while the war against Antiochus of Syria (192-89) and against the Galatians (189) brought Roman supremacy into Asia, In 146 Carthage was destroyed, and Africa reduced to subjection; between 149 and 133, the conquest of Spain was completed. Everywhere Roman colonies sprang up. With conquest, the luxurious vices of the conquered peoples also came to Rome, and thus the contrast between patricians and plebeians was accentuated. To champion the cause of the plebeians there arose the brothers Tiberius and Calus Gracchus.

The Servile Wars (132-171) and the Jugurthine War (111-105) revealed the utter corruption of Roman society. Marius and Sulla, both of whom had won glory in foreign wars, rallied to them the two opposing parties, Democratic and Aristocratic, respectively. Sulla firmly established his dictatorship with the victory of the Colline Gate (83), reorganized the administration, and enacted some good laws to arrest the moral decay of the city. But the times were ripe for the oligarchy, which was to lead in the natural course of events to the monarchy. In the year 60, Cæsar, Pompey, and Crassus formed the first Triumvirate. While Cæsar conquered Gaul (58-50), and Crassus waged an unsuccessful war against the Parthians (54-53), Pompey succeeded in gaining supreme control of the capital. The war between Pompey, to whom the nobles adhered, and Cæsar, who had the democracy with him, was inevitable. The battle of Pharsalia (48) decided the issue; in 45 Cæsar was already thinking of establishing monarchical government; his assassination (44) could do no more than delay the movement towards monarchy.

Antony, Lepidus, and Octavian soon formed another triumvirate; Antony and Octavian disagreed, and at Actium (32) the issue was decided in Octavian's favour. Roman power had meanwhile been consolidated and extended in Spain, in Gaul, and even as far as Pannonia, in Pontus, in Palestine, and in Egypt. Henceforward Roman history is no longer the history of the City of Rome, although it was only under Caracalla (A.D. 211) that Roman citizenship was accorded to all free subjects of the empire.

In the midst of these political vicissitudes the city was growing and being beautified with temples and other buildings, public and private. On the Campus Martius and beyond the Tiber, at the foot of the Janiculan, new and populous quarters sprang up with theatres (those of Pompey and of Marcellus) and circuses (the Maximus and the Flaminius, 221 B.C.). The center of political life was the Forum, which had been the market before the center of buying and selling was transferred, in 388, to the Campus Martius (Forum Holitorium), leaving the old Forum Romanum to the business of the State. Here were the temples of Concord (366), Saturn (497), the Dî Consentes, Castor and Pollux (484), the Basilica Æmilia (179), the Basilica Julia (45), the Curia Hostilia (S. Adriano), the Rostra, etc. Scarcely had the empire been consolidated when Augustus turned his attention to the embellishment of Rome, and succeeding emperors followed his example: brick-built Rome became marble Rome. After the sixth decade B.C. many Hebrews had settled at Rome, in the Trastevere quarter and that of the Porta Capena, and soon they became a financial power. They were incessantly making proselytes, especially among the women of the upper classes. The names of thirteen synagogues are known as existing (though not all at the same time) at Rome during the Imperial Period. Thus was the way prepared for the Gospel, and Rome, already centerof the world, was to be given a new sublimer and more lasting title — the center of the spread of Christianity.