Ark of the Covenant - Bible History Online
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V. Period of the Separated Kingdoms.
1. Contrasts and Vicissitudes of the Kingdoms:
The two separated kingdoms differed materially. The kingdom of Ephraim was the more powerful of the two. It embraced, according to an inaccurate usage of situdes of the words, 10 tribes; and to this the kingdom the vassals, such as Moab, as a rule remained subject, until they emancipated themselves. But, on the other hand, this Northern Kingdom was less firm spiritually. Even the resident city of the king changed frequently, until Omri founded the city of Samaria, which was well adapted for this purpose. The dynasties, too, were only of short duration. It occurred but rarely that one family was able to maintain its supremacy on the throne through several generations. A revolutionary character remained fixed in this kingdom and became its permanent weakness. On the other hand, the smaller and often overpowered kingdom of Judah, which faithfully adhered to the royal line of David, passed through dangerous crises and had many unworthy rulers. But the legitimate royal house, which had been selected by Yahweh, constituted spiritually a firm bond, which kept the people united, as is seen, e.g., by a glance at the addresses of Isaiah, who is thoroughly filled with the conviction of the importance of the house of David, no matter how unworthy the king who happened to rule might appear to him. In a religious respect, also, the arbitrary break with Zion proved to be fatal for the Northern Kingdom.
2. The Successive Reigns:
It is true that faithful prophets of Yahweh, such as the Abijah of Shiloh mentioned above, and Shemaiah (1 Ki 12:22 ff), proclaimed that the fateful division of the kingdom was a Divinely intended judgment from Yahweh. But they soon were compelled to reach the conclusion that Jeroboam did not regard himself as a servant of Yahweh, but as a sovereign who, through his own power and through the favor of the people, had secured the rule, and hence, could arbitrarily decide all matters in reference to the cult and the sacred sanctuaries of the people. According to his own will, and for political reasons, he established the new national sanctuary at Bethel, and another at Dan. At both shrines he caused Yahweh to be worshipped under the image of a calf, which was to constitute a paganizing opposition to the Ark of the Covenant on Mt. Zion, even if it was the idea that Yahweh, the God of the Covenant, was to be worshipped in these new images. In doing this, the king followed ancient national customs, which had broken with the purity of the Mosaic religion (concerning imageworship in Dan we have beard before. See GOLDEN CALF). His sojourn in Egypt, too, where he had lived as a fugitive, had doubtless furnished the king incentives in this direction. He created a priesthood that was submissive to his wishes, and disregarded the opposition of the few prophets who protested against the policy of the king. His successors, too, walked "in the ways of Jeroboam." The independent prophets, however, did not die out, but, rather, prophecy developed its greatest activity in this very Northern Kingdom. As a rule, in its work it stood in opposition to the government, but at times it succeeded in gaining the recognition of the rulers.
The earliest times of the divided kingdoms are, from a political point of view, characterized by the fact that the kingdoms on the Euphrates and the Tigris, namely Assyria and Babylon, still had enough to do with themselves, and did not yet make any inroads into the Mediterranean lands; but, rather, it was the Syrians who first caused a good deal of trouble to the Northern Kingdom. Jeroboam did not succeed in rounding a dynasty. Already his son Nadab was eliminated by a usurper Baasha. The latter's son too, Elah, was murdered, after a reign of two years. It was not, however, his murderer Zimri, or Tibni, who strove to secure the kingdom. for himself, but Omri who became king (1 Ki 16), and who also attained to such prominence abroad that the cuneiform inscriptions for a long time after call Israel "the land of Omri." His ability as a ruler was seen in the fact that the establishment of Samaria as the capital city was his work. The inscription on the Mesha stone reports that he also established the sovereignty of Israel vigorously on the east side of the Jordan.
His son Ahab, too, was an energetic and brave ruler, who succeeded in gaining a number of victories over the Syrians, who were now beginning to assume the offensive in a determined manner. Then, too, he was politic enough to win over to his interests the kingdom of Judah, with which his predecessors had lived in almost constant warfare. In this policy he succeeded, because the noble and large-hearted king Jehoshaphat was more receptive to such fraternal relations than was good for him. An expedition jointly undertaken by these two kings against Syria brought Jehoshaphat into extreme danger and ended with the death of Ahab.
Ahab's fate was his wife Jezebel, the daughter of the Phoenician king Ethbaal (Ithobal, according to Josephus, Ant, VIII, xiii, 2 and Apion, I, 18), who had been a priest of Astarte. This intermarriage with a fanatical heathen family brought untold and endless misfortune over all Israel. This bold and scheming woman planned nothing less than the overthrow of the religion of Yahweh, and the substitution for it of the Baal and the Astarte cult. As a first step she succeeded in having the king tolerate this religion. The leading temple in the new resident city, Samaria, was dedicated to the Baal cult. Already this introduction of a strange and lascivious ethnic religion was a great danger to the religion and the morals of the people. Hosts of Baal priests, ecstatic dervishes, traversed the country. Soon the queen undertook to persecute the faithful worshippers of Yahweh. The fact that these men protested against the tolerance of this foreign false religion was interpreted as disobedience on their part to the king. Many faithful prophets were put to death. At this critical period, when the existence of the religion of Yahweh was at stake, the prophet Elijah, the Tishbite, appeared on the stage, and through a bitter struggle reestablished the worship of Yahweh. However, the fateful influence that this woman exerted was thereby not yet destroyed. It extended to Judah also.
In the kingdom of Judah, apart from the apostasy of different tribes, which left him only the vigorous tribe of Judah and portions of Benjamin, Dan, Simeon, and Levi, Rehoboam experienced also other calamities, namely, a destructive invasion and tribute imposition by King Shishak of Egypt (Egyptian Sheshonk, founder of the XXIId Dynasty; 1 Ki 14:25 f; compare 2 Ch 12:2 ff). While under Solomon the relations of Israel to the Egyptian court had in the beginning been very friendly, this was changed when a new dynasty came to the throne. After Jeroboam had failed in his first revolutionary project, he had found refuge at the court of Shishak (1 Ki 11:40). It is possible that Jeroboam made the Egyptian king lustful for the treasures of Jerusalem. The Egyptians did not, as a matter of fact, stop at the Ephraimitic boundaries, but in part also invaded the territory of Jeroboam; but their chief objective was Jerusalem, from which they carried away the treasures that had been gathered by Solomon. On the temple wall of Karnak this Pharaoh has inscribed the story of this victory and booty. From the names of the cities found in this inscription, we learn that this expedition extended as far as Megiddo and Taanach.
Rehoboam was succeeded by his son Abijah, or Abijahu, according to Chronicles (the Abijam of Kings is hardly correct). He ruled only 3 years. But even during this short reign he was compelled to engage in a severe struggle with Jeroboam (1 Ki 15:6; see details in 2 Ch 13).
In every respect the reign of the God-fearing Asa, who sought to destroy the heathenism that had found its way into the cult, was more fortunate. He also experienced Yahweh's wonderful help when the Cushite Zerah made an incursion into his land (2 Ch 14:8 ff), i.e. probably Osorkon I, who, however, did not belong to an Ethiopian dynasty. Possibly he is called an Ethiopian because he came into the country with Nubian troops. Less honorable was his conduct in the conflict with Baasha. When he was sorely pressed by the latter he bought, through the payment of a large tribute, the assistance of the Syrian king, Ben-hadad I, who up to this time had been an ally of Baasha. This bribing of foreigners to fight against their own covenant people, which was afterward often repeated, was rebuked by a bold prophet in the presence of the pious king, but the prophet was compelled to suffer abuse for his open testimony (2 Ch 16:7 ff).
A much more noble conduct characterized the dealings of Jehoshaphat in relation to the Northern Kingdom. His fault was that he entered too fully into the selfish offers of friendship made by Ahab. The worst step was that, in order to confirm his covenant, he took for his son Jehoram as wife, Athaliah, the daughter of Jezebel. Jehoshaphat was a chivalrous ally, who also joined Ahab's son, Jehoram, in a dangerous war against the Moabites; as this people under their king Mesha had made themselves free from Israel and had taken the offensive against them. For the inner affairs of the kingdom his reign was more fortunate. He was a Godfearing and an energetic prince, who did much to elevate the people in a material and a religious way and perfected its political organization. Nor did he fail to secure some noteworthy successes. However, the fact that the warning words of the prophets who rebuked him because of his alliance with the half-heathenish house of Omri were not the fanatical exaggerations of pessimistic seers, appears at once after his death.
His son Jehoram, after the manner of oriental despots, at once caused his brothers to be put to death, of which doubtless his wife Athaliah was the cause. This woman transplanted the policy of Jezebel to Judah, and was scheming for the downfall of the house of David and its sanctuary. Under Jehoram the power of Judah accordingly began to sink rapidly. Edom became independent. The Philistines and the Arabians sacked Jerusalem. Even the royal princes, with the exception of Ahaziah, the youngest son of Athaliah, were expelled. When the latter ascended the throne she had the absolute power in her hands.
During this time the judgment over the house of Omri was fast approaching. The avenger came in the person of the impetuous Jehu, who had been anointed king by one of the disciples of Elisha in the camp of Ramoth in Gilead. According to 1 Ki 19:16, the order had already been given to Elijah to raise this man to the throne; but the compliance with this command appears to have been delayed. As soon as Jehu became aware that he was entrusted with this mission, he hastened to Jezreel, where Ahaziah, king of Judah, was just paying a visit to Jehoram, and slew them both. With heartless severity he extended this slaughter, not only to all the members of the house of Omri, together with Jezebel, but also to those numerous members of the Davidic royal house who fell into his hands. He likewise destroyed the adherents of Baal, whom he had invited to their death in their sanctuary at Samaria. Deserved as this judgment upon the house of Jeroboam was (2 Ki 10:30), which Jehu, according to higher command, carried out, he did this in an unholy mind and with hardness and ambitious purpose. The puritanical Rechabites had sanctioned his action; but as more and more the true character of Jehu began to reveal itself, he lost the sympathies of the pious, and Hosea announced to his house the vengeance for his bloody crimes at Jezreel (Hos 1:4).
The Assyrians.
In Jehu's reign occurred the inroads toward the West on the part of the Assyrians. This people already in the time of Ahab, under their king, Shalmaneser II, had forced their way as far as Karkar on the Orontes, and had there fought a battle in 854 with the Syrians and their allies, among whom Ahab is also mentioned, with 2,000 chariots and 10,000 soldiers. If this is really Ahab, the king of Israel, which is denied by some, then he, at that time, fought against Assyria in conjunction with the Syrians, who otherwise had been so bitterly attacked by him. The Assyrians boast of this victory, but seem to have won it at a heavy price, as they did not press on farther westward. When in 842 Shalmaneser came a second time, Jehu was certainly not among the allies of the Syrians. The Assyrians do not seem, on this occasion, to have been opposed by so powerful a league, and were able to attack the Syrians whom they conquered at Saniru (Hermon, Anti-Lebanon) in a much more determined manner. They laid siege to Damascus and laid waste the surrounding country. The Hauran and Bashan were made a desert. In their march of victory they pressed forward as far as the Mediterranean. Phoenicia and other countries brought tribute. Among these nations Shalmaneser expressly mentions Jahua ("Jehu, the son of Omri" (!)), who was compelled to deliver up gold and silver bars and other valuable possessions. But this expensive homage on the part of Jehu did not help much. Shalmaneser came only once more (839) into this neighborhood. After this the Assyrians did not appear again for a period of 35 years. All the more vigorously did the Syrians and other neighboring people make onslaughts on Israel. How fearfully they devasted Israel appears from Am 1.
Under his son Jehoahaz the weakness of Israel became still greater. In his helplessness, the Lord finally sent him a deliverer (2 Ki 13:3 ff). This deliverer was none other than the Assyrian king, Adad-nirari III (812-783), who, through a military incursion, had secured anew his supremacy over Western Asia, and had besieged the king of Damascus and had forced him to pay an immense tribute. In this way Israel, which had voluntarily rendered submission to him, was relieved of its embarrassment by the weakening of Syria.
Jehoash, the son of Jehoahaz, experienced more favorable conditions. He also conquered Amaziah, the king of Judah; and his son, Jeroboam II, even succeeded in restoring the old boundaries of the kingdom, as the prophet Jonah had predicted (2 Ki 14:24 ff). His reign was the last flourishing period of the kingdom of Ephraim.
See, further, ISRAEL, KINGDOM OF.
The kingdom of Judah, in the meanwhile, had passed through severe crises. The most severe was caused by that Athaliah, who, after the murder of her son Ahaziah by Jehu, had secured absolute control in Jerusalem, and had abused this power in order to root out the family of David. Only one son of the king, Joash, escaped with his life. He, a boy of one year, was hidden in the temple by a relative, where the high priest Jehoiada, who belonged to the party opposed to the heathen-minded queen, concealed him for a period of 6 years. When the boy was 7 years old Jehoiada, at a well-timed moment, proclaimed him king. His elevation to the throne, in connection with which event the terrible Athaliah was put to death, introduced at the same time an energetic reaction against the heathendom that had found its way even into Judah, and which the queen had in every way favored. Joash was predestined to be a theocratic king. And, in reality, in the beginning of his reign of 40 years, he went hand in hand with the priests and the prophets of Yahweh. After Jehoiada's death, however, he tolerated idolatrous worship among the princes (2 Ch 24:17 ff), and by doing so came into conflict with the faithful prophet Zechariah, the son of his benefactor Jehoiada, who rebuked him for his wrong, and was even stoned. A just punishment for this guilt was recognized in the misfortune which overtook the king and his country. The Syrian king, Hazael, when he was engaged in an expedition against Gath, also took possession of Jerusalem and made it pay tribute, after having apparently inflicted a severe defeat on the people of Judah, on which occasion many princes fell in the battle and Joash himself was severely wounded. Toward the end of his reign there was also much dissatisfaction among his subjects, and some of his courtiers finally murdered him (2 Ki 12:20 f).
However, his son Amaziah, who now ascended the throne, punished the murderers. The king was successful in war against the Edomites. This made him bold. He ventured to meet Joash, the king of Israel, in battle and was defeated and captured. The people of Judah suffered the deepest humiliation. A large portion of the walls of Jerusalem was torn down (2 Ki 14:11 ff). Amaziah did not feel himself safe even in his own capital city, because of the dissatisfaction of his own subjects, and he fled to Lachish. Here he was murdered. So deep had Judah fallen, while Jeroboam II succeeded in raising his kingdom to an unthought-of power.
But for Judah a turn for the better soon set in under Uzziah, the same as Azariah in Kings, the son of Amaziah, who enjoyed a long and prosperous reign.
3. The Literary Prophets:
Prosperous as Israel outwardly appeared to be during the reigns of these two kings, Jeroboam II and Uzziah, the religious and moral conditions of the people were just as little satisfactory. This is the testimony Prophets of the prophets Amos and Hosea, as also of Isaiah and Micah, who not much later began their active ministry in Judah. It is indeed true that these were not the first prophets to put into written form some of their prophetic utterances. The prophecies of Obadiah and Joel are by many put at an earlier date, namely Obadiah under Jehoram in Judah, and Joel under Joash in Judah. At any rate, the discourses of the prophets from this time on constitute an important contemporaneous historical source. They illustrate especially the spiritual condition of the nation. Throughout these writings complaints are made concerning the heathen superstitions and the godless cult of the people, and especially the corruption in the administration of the laws, oppression of the poor and the helpless by the rich and the powerful, and pride and luxury of all kinds. In all these things the prophets see a terrible apostasy on Israel's part. But also the foreign policy of the different kings, who sought help, now of the one and then of the other of the world-powers (Egypt, Assyria), and tried to buy the favor of these nations, the prophets regarded as adultery with foreign nations and as infidelity toward Yahweh. As a punishment they announced, since all other misfortunes sent upon them had been of no avail, an invasion through a conqueror, whom Amos and Hosea always indicate shall be Assyria, and also deportations of the people into a heathen land, and an end of the Jewish state. Improbable as these threats may have seemed to the self-satisfied inhabitants of Samaria, they were speedily realized.
Successors of Jeroboam II
After the death of Jeroboam, the strength of the Northern Kingdom collapsed. His son Zechariah was able to maintain the throne for only 6 months, and his murderer Shallum only one month. The general Menahem, who put him out of the way, maintained himself as king for 10 years, but only by paying a heavy tribute to the Assyrian ruler Pul, i.e. Tiglath-pileser III, who ruled from 745-727 (compare 2 Ki 15:19 f).
His son Pekahiah, on the other hand, soon fell by the hands of the murderer Pekah (2 Ki 15:25), who allied himself with Syria against Judah. The latter, however, invited the Assyrians to come into the country; and these, entering in the year 734 BC, put an end to the reign of this usurper, although he was actually put to death as late as 730 BC.
The last king of the Northern Kingdom, Hoshea (730-722 BC), had the Assyrians to thank for his throne; but he did not keep his fidelity as a vassal very long. As soon as Tiglath-pileser was dead, he tried to throw off the Assyrian yoke. But his successor Shalmaneser IV (727-723 BC), who already in the first year of his reign had again subdued the rebellious king Elulaios of Syria, soon compelled Hoshea also to submit to his authority. Two years later Hoshea again joined a conspiracy with the Phoenicians against Assyria, in which they even counted on the help of the Egyptian king, who in the Bible is called So or Seve (Egyptian name is Shabaka). Now the Assyrians lost all patience. They at once came with their armies. Hoshea seems to have voluntarily submitted to the power of the Great King, who then made him a captive. The people, however, continued the struggle. Samaria, the capital city, was besieged, but did not fall until the 3rd year (722 BC) into the hands of the enemy. Shalmaneser, in the meanwhile, had died and Sargon II had become his successor. The city was indeed not destroyed, but a large portion of the inhabitants, especially the leaders, were deported and transplanted to Northern Mesopotamia and to Media. Sargon states that the number of deported Israelites was 27,290. Prominent persons from other cities were also doubtless to be included in those deported. On the other hand, the Assyrian king settled Babylonian and Syrian prisoners of war in Samaria (721 BC), and in the year 715 BC, Arabs also. But the country, to a great extent, continued in a state of desolation, so that Esar-haddon (680-668 BC) and Ashurbanipal (667-626 BC) sent new colonists there, the last-mentioned sending them from Babylonia, Persia and Media (compare 2 Ki 17:24 ff). In these verses the Babylonian city of Cuthah is several times mentioned, on account of which city the Jews afterward called the Samaritans Cuthites. This report also makes mention of the religious syncretism, which of necessity resulted from the mixture of the people. But we must be careful not to place at too small figures the number of Israelites who remained in the country. It is a great exaggeration when it is claimed, as it is by Friedrich Delitzsch, that the great bulk of the inhabitants of the country of Samaria, or even of Galilee, was from this time on Babylonian.
Uzziah and Jotham.
The kingdom of Judah, however, outlived the danger from Assyria. As King Uzziah later in his life suffered from leprosy, he had Jotham as a co-regent during this period. The earliest discourses of Isaiah, which belong to this period (Isa 2 through 4; 5), show that in Jerusalem the people were at that time still enjoying the fruits and prosperity of a long period of peace. But immediately after the death of Jotham, when the youthful Ahaz began to rule, the onslaught of the allied Syrians and Ephraimites took place under Rezin, or better Rezon, and Pekah. This alliance purposed to put an end to the Davidic reign in Jerusalem, probably for the purpose of making this people, too, a member of the league against the dangerous Assyrians. The good-sized army of Judah seems to have fallen a victim to the superior power of the allies before the situation described in Isa 7 could be realized, in which the siege of the city is described as already imminent. The Edomites also at that time advanced against Judah. Elath, the harbor city on the Red Sea, from which Uzziah, too, as had been done by Solomon long before, sent out trading vessels, at that time came into their power. For 2 Ki 16:6 probably speaks of Edom and not of Aram (compare 2 Ch 28:17). In his anxiety, Ahaz, notwithstanding the advice of Isaiah to the contrary, then appealed to the king of Assyria, and the latter actually put in his appearance in 734 BC and overcame the power of Syria and Ephraim, as we have seen above. However, the intervention of this world-power brought no benefit to Judah. Without this disgraceful appeal to a heathen ruler, Yahweh, according to the promise of Isaiah, would have protected Jerusalem, if Ahaz had only believed. And the Assyrians did not prevent the Philistines and the Edomites from falling upon Judah. The Assyrians themselves soon came to be the greatest danger threatening Judah. Ahaz, however, was an unstable character in religious affairs, and he copied heathen forms of worship, and even sacrificed his son to the angry sun-god, in order to gain his favor. The tribute that the people had to pay to Assyria was already a heavy burden on this little kingdom.
His noble and God-fearing son, Hezekiah (724-696 BC), was also compelled to suffer from the consequences of this misgovernment. The temptation was great to enter into an alliance with his neighbors and the Egyptians, so strong in cavalry, for the purpose of ridding Judah of the burdensome yoke of the Assyrians. In vain did Isaiah warn against such unworthy self-help. At the advice of the ministers of Hezekiah, and because of the trust put in Egypt, the tribute was finally refused to the Assyrians. Hezekiah also sought to establish closer connections with Merodachbaladan, the king of Babylon and the enemy of the Assyrians, when the latter, after a dangerous sickness of the king, had sent messengers to Jerusalem in order to congratulate him on the restoration of his health. This story, found in 2 Ki 20, belongs chronologically before 2 Ki 18:13 ff, and, more accurately, in the 14th year of Hezekiah mentioned in 18:13. However, the expedition of Sennacherib which is mistakenly placed in that year, took place several years later: according to the Assyrian monuments, in the year 701 BC.
In the year 702 BC Sennacherib, with a powerful army, marched over the Lebanon and subdued the rebellious Phoenicians, and marched along the seacoast to Philistia. The inhabitants of Ekron had sent their king, Padi, who sympathized with the Assyrians, to Hezekiah. Sennacherib came to punish Ekron and Ascalon. But he was particularly anxious to overpower Judah, which country his troops devastated and depopulated. Now Hezekiah recognized his danger, and offered to submit to Sennacherib. The latter accepted his submission conditionally on the payment of a burdensome tribute, which Hezekiah delivered faithfully (2 Ki 18:14-16). Then Sennacherib was no longer satisfied with the tribute alone, but sent troops who were to despoil Jerusalem. Isaiah, who surely had not sanctioned the falling away from the Assyrian supremacy and had prophesied that the inhabitants of Jerusalem would suffer a severe punishment, from that moment, when the conqueror had maliciously broken his word, spoke words of comfort and advised against giving up the city, no matter how desperate the situation seemed to be (Isa 37:1 ff). The city was then not given up, and Sennacherib, on account of a number of things that occurred, and finally because of a pestilence which broke out in his army, was compelled to retreat. He did not return to Jerusalem, and later met his death by violent hands. This deliverance of Jerusalem through the miraculous providence of God was the greatest triumph of the prophet Isaiah. Within his kingdom Hezekiah ruled successfully. He also purified the cult from the heathen influences that had forced their way into it, and was a predecessor of Josiah in the abolition of the sacrifices on the high places, which had been corrupted by these influences.
Unfortunately, his son Manasseh was little worthy of succeeding him. He, in every way, favored the idolatry which all along had been growing secretly. He inaugurated bloody persecutions of the faithful prophets of Yahweh. According to a tradition, which it must be confessed is not supported by undoubted testimony, Isaiah also, now an old man, became a victim of these persecutions. Images and altars were openly erected to Baal and Astarte. Even in the temple-house on Mt. Zion, an image of Astarte was standing. As a result of this ethnic cult, immorality and sensuality found their way among the people. At the same time the terrible service of Moloch, in the valley of Hinnom, demanded the sacrifice of children, and even a son of the king was given over to this worship. The Book of Chronicles, indeed, tells the story of a terrible affliction that Manasseh suffered, namely that an Assyrian general dragged him in chains to Babylon for having violated his promises to them, but that he was soon released. This is not at all incredible. He seems to have taken part in a rebellion, which the brother of the Assyrian king, who was also vice-king in Babylon, had inaugurated. This sad experience may have forced Manasseh to a certain kind of repentance, at least, so that he desisted from his worst sacrileges. But his son Amon continued the old ways of his father, until after a brief reign he was put to death.
Much more promising was his young son Josiah, who now, only 8 years old, came to the throne. It is quite possible that, in view of such frequent changes in the disposition of the successors to the throne, his mother may have had great influence on his character. Concerning Josiah, see 2 Ki 22:1 ff. With increasing clearness and consistency, he proceeded to the work of religious reformation. A special impetus to this was given by the finding of an old law book in the temple, the publication of which for the first time revealed the fearful apostasy of the times. The finding of this book in the temple, as narrated in 2 Ki 22:3 ff, took place in connection with the restoration of that building on a larger scale, which at that time had been undertaken. And very probably Edouard Naville is right in believing, on the basis of Egyptian analogies, that this document had been imbedded in the foundation walls of the building. Whether this had been done already in the days of Solomon is not determined by this fact. From the orders of Josiah we can conclude that the book which was found was Deuteronomy, which lays special stress on the fact that there shall be a central place for the cult, and also contains such threats as those must have been which frightened Josiah. But under no circumstances was Deuteronomy a lawbook that had first been written at this time, or a fabrication of the priest Hilkiah and his helpers. It would rather have been possible that the discovered old law was rewritten in changed form after its discovery and had been adapted to the language of the times. The people were obliged to obey the newly-discovered law and were instructed in it.
The prophet Jeremiah also, who a few years before this had been called to the prophetic office, according to certain data in the text, participated in this proclamation of the law of the covenant throughout the land. This change for the better did not change the tendency of his prophetic discourses, from what these had been from the beginning. He continued to be the accuser and the prophet of judgment, who declared that the destruction of the city and of the temple was near at hand. He looked too deeply into the inner corruption of his people to be misled by the external transformation that was the result of a command of the ruler. And only too soon did the course of events justify his prediction. With the person of the God-fearing Josiah, the devotion of the people to the law was also buried and the old curse everywhere broke out again.
The Chaldeans.
In a formal way Jeremiah was probably influenced by the incursions of the Scythians, which occurred during his youth, and who about this time marched from the plain of Jezreel toward Egypt (compare Herodotus i.103 ff); which event also made a gloomy impression on his contemporary Ezekiel, as appears from his vision of Gog in the land of Magog. However, we are not to suppose that Jeremiah, when describing the enemy coming from the north, whom he saw from the time of his call to the prophetic office, meant merely this band of freebooters. The prophet had in mind a world-power after the type of the Assyrians, who always came from the north into Canaan. The Assyrians indeed were in process of disintegration, and Nineveh fell under the attacks of the Medes and the Persians in the year 607-606 BC. The heir of the Assyrian power was not Egypt, which was also striving for universal supremacy, but was the Babylonian, or rather, more accurately, the Chaldean dynasty of Nabopolassar, whose son Nebuchadnezzar had overpowered the Egyptians at Carchemish in 605 BC. From this time on Jeremiah had pointed out the Chaldeans and Nebuchadnezzar, who soon afterward became their king, as the agents to carry out the judgment on Jerusalem.
Already a few years before this Judah's good star had gone down on the horizon. When Pharaoh-necho II came to Israel by the sea route, in order to march northeast through the plain of Jezreel, to give the final and fatal blow to the sinking kingdom of the Assyrians, King Josiah opposed him on the plain of Megiddo, probably because of his obligations as a vassal to the king of Assyria. In the battle of Megiddo (609 BC), Josiah was mortally wounded. No greater calamity could have befallen Judah than the death of this king, who was deeply mourned by all well-meaning people, and who was the last of the house of David that was a credit to it.
The Successors of Josiah.
By popular election the choice now fell on Jehoahaz, a younger son of Josiah, called by Jeremiah (22:11) Shallum. But he found no favor with Necho, who took him prisoner in his camp at Riblah and carried him to Egypt (2 Ki 23:30 ff). The Egyptian king himself selected Jehoiakim, hitherto called Eliakim, an older son of Josiah, who had been ignored by the people, to be king in Jerusalem, a prince untrue to Yahweh, conceited, luxury-loving and hard-hearted, who, in addition, through his perfidious policy, brought calamity upon the land. He formed a conspiracy against Nebuchadnezzar, to whom he had begun to pay tribute in the 5th year of his reign, and in this way brought it about that the Syrians, the Moabites and the Ammonites, who had taken sides with the Assyrians, devastated the land of Judah, and that finally the king of Babylon himself came to Jerusalem to take revenge. It is not clear what was the end of this king. According to 2 Ch 36:6, compared with 2 Ki 24:6, he seems to have died while yet in Jerusalem, and after he had already fallen into the hands of his enemies. His son Jehoiachin did not experience a much better fate. After ruling three months he was taken to Babylon, where he was a prisoner for 37 years, until he was pardoned (2 Ki 24:8 ff; 25:27 ff). Together with Jehoiachin, the best portion of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, about 10,000 men, especially the smiths and the builders, were deported.
Zedekiah, the Last King of Judah.
Once more the Babylonians set up a king in Jerusalem in the person of Zedekiah, an uncle of Jehoiachin, and accordingly a son of Josiah, called Mattaniah, who afterward was called Zedekiah. He governed for twelve years (597-586 BC), and by his life, morally and religiously corrupt, sealed the fate of the house and of the kingdom of David. The better class among the leading and prominent people had been banished. As a result, the courtiers of the king urged him to try once again some treacherous schemes against the Babylonian rulers and to join Egypt in a conspiracy against them. However earnestly Jeremiah and Ezekiel warned against this policy, Zedekiah nevertheless constantly yielded to his evil advisers and to the warlike patriotic party, who were determined to win back in battle the independence of the country. While he at first, through an embassy, had assured the Great King of his loyalty (Jer 29:3), and still in the 4th year of his reign had personally visited in Babylon as a mark of his fidelity (Jer 51:59), he was induced in the 9th year of his reign to make an alliance with the Egyptians against the Babylonians and to refuse to render obedience to the latter. Nebuchadnezzar soon came and surrounded the city. At the announcement that an Egyptian army was approaching, the siege was again raised for a short time. But the hope placed by Zedekiah on his ally failed him. The Babylonians began again to starve out the city. After a siege of 18 months, resistance proved futile. The king tried secretly to break through the circle of besiegers, but in doing so was taken prisoner, was blinded by the Babylonian king and taken to Babylon. The majority of the prominent men and state officials, who were taken to the encampment of the conqueror in Riblah, were put to death. The conquered city of Jerusalem, especially its walls and towers, together with the temple, were totally destroyed. Nearly all the inhabitants who could be captured after the slaughter were dragged into captivity, and only people of the lower classes were left behind in order to cultivate the land (2 Ki 25:11). Gedaliah, a noble-minded aristocrat, was appointed governor of the city, and took up his residence in Mizpah. At this place it seemed that a new kernel of the people was being gathered. Jeremiah also went there. However, after two months this good beginning came to an end. Gedaliah was slain by Ishmael, the son of Nethaniah, an anti-Chaldaean, a fanatical and revengeful descendant of the house of David. The murderer acted in cooperation with certain Ammonitish associates and fled to the king of Ammon. The Jews in later times considered the murder of Gedaliah as an especially great national calamity, and fasted on the anniversary of this crime. And as the people also feared the revenge of the Babylonians, many migrated to Egypt, compelling Jeremiah, now an old man, to accompany them, although he prophesied to them that no good would come of this scheme. They first stayed at the border city Tahpanhes, near Pelusium, and then scattered over Upper and Lower Egypt.
VI. Time of the Babylonian Exile.
1. Influence of the Exile:
The inhabitants of Judah, who had been deported by Nebuchadnezzar at different times, were settled by him in Babylonia, e.g. at the river Chebar (Ezek 1:1), near the city of Nippur. From Hilprecht's excavations of this city, it has been learned that this river, or branch of the Euphrates Influence river, is to be found at this place, and of the is not to be confounded with the river Chaboras. In the same way, the many contract-tablets with Jewish names which have been found at Nippur, show that a large Jewish colony lived at that place. Of the fate of these banished Jews for a period of 50 years, we hear almost nothing. But it is possible to learn what their condition was in exile from the Book of Ezekiel and the 2nd part of Isaiah. Land was assigned to them here, and they were permitted to build houses for themselves (Jer 29:5 ff), and could travel around this district without restraint. They were not prisoners in the narrow sense of the word. They soon, through diligence and skill in trade, attained to considerable wealth, so that most of them, after the lapse of half a century, were perfectly satisfied and felt no desire to return home. For the spiritual development of the people the exile proved to be a period of great importance. In the first place, they were separated from their native soil, and in this way from many temptations of heathenism and idolatry, and the like. The terrible judgment that had come over Jerusalem had proved that the prophets had been right, who had for a long time, but in vain, preached genuine repentance. This did not prove to be without fruit (of Zec 1:6). While living in the heathen land, they naturally became acquainted with heathendom in a more crass form. But even if many of the Jews were defiled by it, in general the relations of the Israelites toward the idol-worshipping Babylonians were antagonistic, and they became all the more zealous in the observance of those religious rites which could be practiced in a foreign land, such as rest on the Sabbath day, the use of meats, circumcision, and others. But with marked zeal the people turned to the spiritual storehouse of their traditions, namely their sacred literature. They collected the laws, the history, the hymns, and treasured them. It was also a noteworthy progress that such prophets as Ezekiel, Jeremiah and Daniel received prophetic visions while on heathen soil. The people also learned that the heathen, in the midst of whom they lived, became receptive of the higher truths of Israel's religion. Especially does the 2nd part of Isaiah, chapters 40 through 66, show that they began to understand the missionary calling of Israel among the nations of the world.
2. Daniel:
The Book of Dan reports how a God-fearing and law-abiding Jew, through his prophecies, attained to prominent positions of influence at the courts of different rulers. From the Book of Ezekiel we learn that the prophets and the elders cared for the spiritual wants of the people, and that they held meetings, at which indeed it was not permitted to offer sacrifices, but at which the word of Yahweh was proclaimed. Here we find the beginnings of what afterward was the synagogue-system.
3. Elephantine Papyri:
A remarkable picture of the Jewish diaspora in Upper Egypt is furnished by recently discovered papyri at Elephantine. From these it appears that in the 6th century BC, not only a large and flourishing Jewish colony was to be found at this place, but also that they had erected here a fine temple to Yahweh where they brought their sacrifices to which they had been accustomed at home. In an Aramaic letter, still preserved and dating from the year 411 BC, and which is addressed to the governor Bagohi, in Judea, these Jews complain that their temple in Yeb (Elephantine, near Syene) had been destroyed in the same year. It also states that this temple had been spared on one occasion by Cambyses, who was in Egypt from 525 to 521 BC. The answer of Bagohi also has been preserved, and he directs that the temple is to be built again and that meal offerings and incense are again to be introduced. Probably intentionally, mention in this letter is made only of the unbloody sacrifices, while in the first letter burnt sacrifices also are named. The sacrifices of animals by the Jews would probably have aroused too much the anger of the devotees of the divine ram, which was worshipped at Syene. Up to the present time we knew only of the much later temple of the high priest Onias IV at Leontopolis (160 BC). Compare Josephus, Ant, XII, iii, 1-3; BJ, VII, x, 2, 3.
VII. Return from the Exile and the Restoration.
1. Career of Cyrus:
In the meanwhile there was a new re-adjustment of political supremacy among the world-powers. The Persian king, Koresh (Cyrus), first made himself free from the supremacy of Media which, after the capture of the city Ecbatana, became a part of his own kingdom (549 BC). At that time Nabonidus was the king in Babylon (555-538 BC), who was not displeased at the collapse of the kingdom of the Medes, but soon learned that the new ruler turned out to be a greater danger to himself, as Cyrus subjugated, one after the other, the smaller kingdoms in the north. But Nabonidus was too unwarlike to meet Cyrus. He confined himself to sending his son with an army to the northern boundaries of his kingdom. On the other hand, the king of the Lydians, Croesus, who was related by marriage to King Astyages, who had been subdued by Cyrus, began a war with Cyrus, after he had formed an alliance with Egypt and Sparta. In the year 546 BC, he crossed the river Halys. Cyrus approached from the Tigris, and in doing so already entered Babylonian territory, conquered Croesus, took his capital city Sardis, and put an end to the kingdom of Lydia. The pious Israelites in captivity, under the tutelage of Deutero-Isaiah, watched these events with the greatest of interest. For the prophet taught them from the beginning to see in this king "the deliverer," who was the instrument of Yahweh for the return of the Israelites out of captivity, and of whom the prophets had predicted. And this expectation was fulfilled with remarkable rapidity. The victorious and aggressive king of Persia could now no longer be permanently checked, even by the Babylonians. It was in vain that King Nabonidus had caused the images of the gods from many of his cities to be taken to Babylon, in order to make the capital city invincible. This city opened its doors to the Persian commander Ugbaru (Gobryas) in 538 BC, and a few months later Cyrus himself entered the city. This king, however, was mild and conciliatory in his treatment of the people and the city. He did not destroy the city, but commanded only that a portion of the walls should be razed. However, the city gradually, in the course of time, became ruins.
Cyrus also won the good will and favor of the subjugated nations by respecting their religions. He returned to their shrines the idols of Nabonidus, that had been taken away. But he was particularly considerate of the Jews, who doubtless had complained to him of their fate and had made known to him their prophecies regarding him as the coming deliverer.
2. First Return under Zerubbable:
In the very first year of his reign over Babylon he issued an edict (2 Ch 36:22 f; Ezr 1:1 ff) that permitted the Jews to return home, with the command that they should again erect their temple. For this purpose he directed that the temple-vessels, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken away with him, should be returned to them, and commanded that those Israelites who voluntarily remained in Babylon should contribute money for the restoration of the temple. At the head of those to be returned stood Sheshbazzar, who is probably identical with Zerubbabel, although this is denied by some scholars; and also the high priest, Joshua, a grandson of the high priest, Seraiah, who had been put to death by Nebuchadnezzar. They were accompanied by only a small part of those in exile, that is by 42,360 men and women and children, male and female servants, especially from the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi, but of the last-mentioned tribes more priests than other Levites. After several months they safely arrived in Israel, probably 537 BC. Some of them settled down in Jerusalem, and others in surrounding cities and villages. They erected the altar for burnt sacrifices, so that they were again able in the 7th month to sacrifice on it.
(1) Building the temple.
The cornerstone of the temple was also solemnly laid at that time in the 2nd year of the Return (Ezr 3:8 ff).
(2) Haggai and Zechariah.
But the erection of the temple must have been interrupted in a short time, since it was not until the 2nd year of Darius (520 BC), at the urgent appeal of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, that the work of building was energetically prosecuted. For this reason many scholars deny this cornerstone-laying in the year 536 BC. However, it still remains thinkable that several attempts were made at this work, since the young colony had many difficulties to contend with. Then, too, the memoirs of Ezra and Nehemiah, which have been worked over by the author of Chronicles, report the history of these times only in parts. The historical value of these literary sources has been confirmed by those Aramaic papyri found in Upper Egypt.
3. Ezra and Nehemiah:
In the year 516 BC, after 4 years of building, the temple was completed and dedicated. After this we have no information for a period of 58 years. Then we learn that Ezra, the scribe, in the 7th year of Artaxerxes I (458 BC), came with a new caravan of about 1,500 men with women and children from Babylon to the Holy Land. He had secured from the king the command to establish again in the land of the Jews the law, in which he was a prominent expert, and he tried to do this by earnest admonitions and instructive discourses addressed to the people. The acme of the activity of Ezra was the meeting of the people described in Neh 8 through 10 on the Feast of the Tabernacles, on which occasion the entire nation solemnly came under obligation to observe the law. According to the present position of these chapters this act took place in 444 BC; but it is probable that it happened before the arrival of Nehemiah, whose name would accordingly have to be eliminated in 8:9. This pericope would then belong to the memoirs of Ezra and not to those of Nehemiah. After some years there came to help Ezra in his work, Nehemiah, a pious Jew, who was a cupbearer to the king, and at his own request was granted leave of absence in order to help the city of Jerusalem, which he had heard was in dire straits. Its walls were in ruins, as the neighboring nations had been able to hinder their rebuilding, and even those walls of the city that had been hastily restored, had again been pulled down. Nehemiah came in the year 445-444 BC from Shushan to Jerusalem and at once went energetically to work at rebuilding the walls. Notwithstanding all oppositions and intrigues of malicious neighbors, the work was successfully brought to a close.
The hostile agitations, in so far as they were not caused by widespread envy and hatred of the Jews among the neighboring peoples, had a religious ground. Those who returned, as the people of Yahweh, held themselves aloof from the peoples living round about them, especially from the mixed peoples of Samaria. Samaria was the breeding-place for this hostility against Jerusalem. The governor at that place, Sanballat, was the head of this hostile league. The Jews had declined to permit the Samaritans to cooperate in the erection of the temple and would have no religious communion with them. The Samaritans had taken serious offense at this, and they accordingly did all they could to prevent the building of the walls in Jerusalem, which would be a hindrance to their having access to the temple. But Nehemiah's trust in God and his energy overcame this obstacle. The policy of exclusiveness, which Ezra and Nehemiah on this occasion and at other times followed out, evinces a more narrow mind than the preexilic prophets had shown. In the refusal of intermarriage with the people living around them they went beyond the Mosaic law, for they even demanded that those marriages, which the Israelites had already contracted with foreign women, should be dissolved. But this exclusiveness was the outcome of legal conscientiousness, and at this period it was probably necessary for the selfpreservation of the people of Yahweh.
From the prophecies of Malachi, who was almost a contemporary of the two mentioned, it can be seen that the marriages with the foreign women had also brought with them a loosening of even the most sacred family ties (Mal 2:14 f). After an absence of 12 years, Nehemiah again returned to Shushan to the court; and when he later returned to Jerusalem he was compelled once more to inaugurate a stringent policy against the lawlessness which was violating the sanctity of the temple and of the Sabbath commandment. He also expelled a certain Manasseh, a grandson of the high priest, who had married a daughter of Sanballat. This Manasseh, according to Josephus (Ant., XI, viii, 2), erected the sanctuary on Mt. Gerizim, and established the priesthood at that place. This is no doubt correct. These accounts of Josephus are often combined without cause with the times of Alexander the Great, although they transpired about 110 years earlier.
The history of the Jews in the last decades of the Persian rule is little known. Under Artaxerxes III (Ochus), they were compelled to suffer much, when they took part in a rebellion of the Phoenicians and Cyprians. Many Jews were at that time banished to Hyrcania on the southern coast of the Caspian Sea. The Persian general, Bagoses, came to Jerusalem and forced his way even into the temple (Josephus, Ant, XI, vii, 1). He undertook to install as high priest, in the place of John (Jochanan), his brother Joshua (Jesus). The latter, however, was slain by the former in the temple. For the first time the office of the high priest appears as more of a political position, something that it never was in the preexilic times, and according to the law was not to be.
VIII. The Jews under Alexander and His Successors.
1. Spread of Hellenism:
As the Jews were then tired of the rule of the priests, they were not dissatisfied with the victorious career of Alexander the Great. He appears to have assumed a friendly attitude toward them, even if the story reported by Josephus (Ant., XI, viii, 4) is scarcely historical. The successors of Alexander were also, as a rule, tolerant in religious matters. But for political and geographical reasons, Israel suffered severely in these times, as it lay between Syria and Egypt, and was an object of attack on the part of both the leading ruling families in this period, the Ptolemies in Egypt and the Seleucids in Syria. At the same time Hellenism, which had been so powerfully advanced by Alexander as a factor of civilization and culture, penetrated the land of Israel also. Greek culture and language spread soon in Israel and in many places was supreme. The more strict adherents of Judaism recognized in this a danger to the Mosaic order of life and religion, and all the more zealously they now adhered to the traditional ordinances. These were called the chacidhim, or the Pious (Hasidaioi, 1 Macc 2:42; 7:13; 2 Macc 14:6). The world-transforming Hellenistic type of thought spread especially among the aristocrats and the politically prominent, and even found adherents among the priests, while the chacidhim belonged to the less conspicuous ranks of the people.
2. The Hasmoneans:
A struggle for life and death was caused between these two tendencies by the Syrian king, Antiochus IV (Epiphanes), into whose hands the sovereignty of Israel had fallen. He undertook nothing less than to root out the hated Jewish religion. In the year 168 BC he commanded that the temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem should be dedicated to the Olympian Jupiter and forbade most stringently the observance of the Sabbath and circumcision. A large portion of the people did not resist his oppression, but adapted themselves to this tyrannical heathendom. Others suffered and died as martyrs. Finally in the year 167 BC a priest, Mattathias, gave the signal for a determined resistance, at the head of which stood his brave sons, the Hasmoneans, or Maccabees. First his son Judas undertook the leadership of the faithful. He succeeded in freeing Jerusalem from the SyriansĂș He restored the temple on Mt. Zion. The temple was dedicated anew and was given over to the old cult. After a number of victorious campaigns, Judas Maccabeus died the death of a hero in 161 BC. His brother, Jonathan, who took his place at the head of the movement, tried to secure the independence of the land rather through deliberate planning than through military power. He assumed, in addition to his secular power, also the high-priestly dignity. After his death by violence in 143 BC, he was succeeded by his brother Simon as the bearer of this double honor. The Hasmoneans, however, rapidly became worldly minded and lost the sympathies of the chasidhim. The son of Simon, John Hyrcanus (135-106 BC), broke entirely with the Pious, and his family, after his death, came to an end in disgraceful struggles for power. The rule of the land fell into the hands of Herod, a tyrant of Idumean origin, who was supported by the Romans. From 37 BC he was the recognized king of Judah.
IX. The Romans.
1. Division of Territory:
After the death of Herod (4 BC), the kingdom, according to his last will, was to be divided among his three sons. Archelaus received Judea; Antipas, Galilee and Peraea; Philip, the border lands in the north. However, Archelaus was soon deposed by the Romans (6 AD), and Judea was made a part of the province of Syria, but was put under a special Roman procurator, who resided in Caesarea. These procurators (of whom the best known was Pontius Pilate, 26-36 AD), had no other object than to plunder the land and the people.
2. Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans:
In this way a conflict was gradually generated between the people and their oppressors, which ended with the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD. As early as 40 AD this rupture almost took place, when the Syrian legate Petronius, at the command of Caligula, undertook to place a statue of the emperor in the temple of Jerusalem. On this occasion King Agrippa I, who was again ruling the whole territory of Herod, succeeded in adjusting the conflict. His son Agrippa II was given a much smaller kingdom (40-100 AD). He, too, sought to prevent the people from undertaking a struggle with the Romans, but in vain. By his unscrupulous treatment of the people, the procurator Gessius Florus drove the Jews into an insurrection. The party of the Zealots gained the upper hand. Florus was compelled to leave Jerusalem (66 AD). Even the good-sized army which Cestius Gallus commanded could not get control of the city, but was completely overpowered by the Jews on its retreat at Bethhoron. Now the entire country rose in rebellion. The Romans, under the leadership of Vespasian, advanced with considerable power and first conquered Galilee, then under Josephus (67 AD). In Jerusalem, in the meanwhile, different parties of the Jews were still fighting each other. Titus, the son of Vespasian, took the chief command after Vespasian had already conquered the East Jordan country and the western coast, but had hastened to Rome in order to become emperor. Titus completely surrounded the city a few days before the Passover festival in the year 70. On the northern side the Romans first broke through the first and newest city wall, and after that the second. The third offered a longer resistance, and at the same time famine wrought havoc in Jerusalem. At last the battle raged about the temple, during which this structure went up in flames. According to the full description by Josephus (BJ, VI, iv, 3 ff), Titus tried to prevent the destruction of the temple; according to Sulpicius Severus (Chron. II, 20), however, this destruction was just what he wanted. A few fortified places yet maintained themselves after the fall of Jerusalem, e.g. Macherus in the East Jordan country, but they could not hold out very long.
Later Insurrection of Bar-Cochba.
Once again the natural ambition for independence burst out in the insurrection of Bar-Cochba (132-35 AD). Pious teachers of the law, especially Rabbi Akiba, had enkindled this fire, in order to rid the country of the rule of the Gentiles. However, notwithstanding some temporary successes, this insurrection was hopeless. Both the city and the country were desolated by the enraged Romans still more fearfully, and were depopulated still more than in 70. From that time Jerusalem was lost to the Jews. They lived on without a country of their own, without any political organization, without a sanctuary, in the Diaspora among the nations.
3. Spiritual Life of the Period:
The spiritual and religious life of the Jews during the period preceding the dissolution of the state was determined particularly by the legalistic character of their ideals and their opposition to Hellenism. Their religion had become formalistic to a great extent since their return from the exile. The greatest emphasis was laid on obedience to the traditional ordinances, and these latter were chiefly expositions of ceremonial usurpers.
Appearance of Jesus Christ.
The crown of the history of Israel-Judah was the appearance of Jesus Christ. Looked at superficially, it may indeed appear as though His person and His life had but little affected the development of the national history of Israel. However, more closely viewed, we shall see that this entire history has its goal in Him and finds its realization in Him. After full fruit had developed out of this stock, the latter withered and died. He was to be the bearer of salvation for all mankind.

The earliest historian of Israel was the Jew, Flavius Josephus, in the 1st Christian century. His example found few followers in the early church, and we mention only the Chronicle of Sulpicius Severus. The subject is handled theologically by Augustine in his De Civitate Dei. It was only in the 17th century that a keen interest was awakened in this subject. Compare especially James Usher, Annales Veteris et Novi Testamenti, London, 1605; J.B. Bousset, Discours sur l'histoire universelie, Paris, 1681; Humphrey Prideaux, The Old and the New Testament Connected in the History of the Jews and Neighboring Nations, 2 volumes, London, 1716; S. Shukford, The Sacred and Profane History of the World Connected, London, 1727, this work treating the subject apologetically against the Deists. Compare also J. Saurin, Discours historiques, Amsterdam, 1720. Cocceius and his school systematized this history on the basis of their theological tenets, e.g. Gurtler, Systema theol. prophetica, Frankfurt, 1724. More systematic is the work of Vitringa, Hypothesis historiae et chronologiae sacrae, Frankfurt, 1708. The Lutheran church furnished the excellent work of Franz Budde, Historia Eccles. Veteris Testamenti, Jena, 1715. In the 18th century, Bengel's school furnished some good histories of Israel, such as M.F. Roos's Einleitung in die bibl. Geschichte, 1700. More popular is the work of J.J. Hess. The best Catholic work from this time is J. Jahn's Archaeologie, 1802; while the Rationalistic period furnished Lorenz Bauer's Geschichte der hebr. Nation, 1800. In the 19th century the rationalistic and the conservative tendencies run parallel, and a new impulse was given to the study of this history by the phenomenal archaeological finds in Egypt and in Assyria and Babylon. Critical reconstruction of Israel's history characterizes the works of Reuss, Graf, Kuenen, Wellhausen. Other works of prominence are the Geschichte des Volkes Gottes, by Ewald; Kurtz, Geschichte des alten Bundes (these are translated); Hitzig, Geschichte des Volkes Israel, with critical tendency. The work of August Koehler, Lehrbuch der biblischen Geschichte, Altes Testament, is positive, while Wellhausen's Geschichte Israels is a classic of the advanced school. Other works mostly critical are the histories of Renan, Kuenen, Stade, Winckler, Piepenbring, Cornill, Guthe, Cheyne, and others. Kittel's Geschichte der Hebreier (translated) is more moderate in tone. For the New Testament the richest storehouse is Schurer's Geschichte des judischen Volkes im Zeitalter Jesu Christi (translated); Hausrath's Neutestamentliche Zeitgeschichte is also good. From the Jewish standpoint this history has been treated by S. Friediander, Geschichte des Israel-Volkes; and J.M. Jost, Geschichte der Israelitch; Moritz Raphall, Post-biblical History of the Jews from the Close of the Old Testament till the Destruction of the Second Temple, in the Year 70.
Among English works may be especially mentioned Milman's History of the Jews and Stanley's Lectures on the History of the Jewish Church, with smaller works by Ottley and others.
American works on the subject from the critical point of view are a History of the Hebrew People, by Kent, and a History of the Jewish People by Kent and Riggs in the "Historical Series for Bible Students," published by Messrs. Scribner. Compare also McCurdy, History, Prophecy and the Monuments; Toy, Judaism and Christianity; H.P. Smith, Old Testament History.
C. von Orelli
Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Definition for 'israel, history of, 3'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". - ISBE; 1915.

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