Prolegomena to the History of Ancient Israel, by Julius Wellhausen, , at sacred-texts.com
Writers of the present day play with the expressions "theocracy," and "theocratic" without making it clear to themselves what these words mean and how far they are entitled to use them. But we know that the word θεοκρατία was only coined by Josephus; 1 and when this writer speaks of the Mosaic constitution, he has before his eyes, it is well known, the sacred community of his own day as it existed down to the year 70 A.D. In ancient Israel the theocracy never existed in fact as a form of constitution. The rule of Jehovah is here an ideal representation; only after the exile was it attempted to realise it in the shape of a Rule of the Holy with outward means. It is perhaps the principal merit of Vatke's Biblical Theology to have traced through the centuries the rise of the theocracy and the metamorphosis of the idea to an institution.
1. The upholders of the prevailing view do not assert that Moses wrote the Pentateuch, but they maintain all the more firmly that he organised the congregation of the tabernacle in the wilderness after the fashion described in the Priestly Code. They seem to think that Moses had no importance further than this; as if it were an act of no moment to cast
into the field of time a seed which the action and reaction thence arising bring an immeasurable time after to maturity (Mark iv. 26 seq.). In fact Moses is the originator of the Mosaic constitution in about the same way as Peter is the founder of the Roman hierarchy. Of the sacred organisation supposed to have existed from the earliest times, there is no trace in the time of the judges and the kings. It is thought to have been a sort of pedagogic strait-waistcoat, to subdue the ungovernable obstinacy of the Hebrews and to guard them from evil influences from without. But even should it be conceded that a constitution could come into existence in ancient times which was so utterly out of relation to the peculiar life and temper of the people, the history of the ancient Israelites shows us nothing so distinctly as the uncommon freshness and naturalness of their impulses. The persons who appear always act from the constraining impulse of their nature, the men of God not less than the murderers and adulterers: they are such figures as could only grow up in the open air. Judaism, which realised the Mosaic constitution and carried it out logically, left no free scope for the individual; but in ancient Israel the divine right did not attach to the institution but was in the Creator Spirit, in individuals. Not only did they speak like the prophets, they also acted like the judges and kings, from their own free impulse, not in accordance with an outward norm, and yet, or just because of this, in the Spirit of Jehovah. The different view of different times is seen very characteristically in the views taken of Saul by the two versions above sifted and compared (p. 250 seq.).
2. It is a simple and yet a very important remark of Vatke, that the sacred constitution of the congregation, so circumstantially described to us in the Priestly Code, is after all very defective, and presupposes the existence of that which it was the chief task of the age of Moses to bring about, namely the state, in the absence of which the church cannot have any subsistence either. To maintain an elaborate and expensive worship, and an immense swarm of clergy, must have required considerable rates and taxes: and to raise these, as well as to uphold the authority of the sacred persons and institutions, and most of all to enforce the strict centralization and uniformity of the legitimate worship, all this among a people not yet very civilised, must have required an executive power which embraced and was able to control, the whole people. But where
is this central authority in the period of the judges? Judicial competence resided at that time chiefly in the smallest circles, the families and houses. These were but little controlled, as it appears, by the superior power of the tribe, and the very notion of the state or of the kingdom did not as yet exist. Houses related to each other sometimes united for common undertakings, as no doubt also did neighbouring tribes; but this was not on the basis of any constitutional order, but from necessity, when it happened that a well-known man came forward to take the command and his summons to the levy was obeyed. These transient combinations under generals were the forerunners of a permanent union under a king: and even at the time of the Midianite war an attempt seems to have been made in this direction, which, however, was not quite successful. In the severe and protracted struggle with the Philistines the necessity for a solid union of the tribes was cryingly manifest, and the man came forward to meet the hour. Saul, a distinguished Benjamite of Gibeah, was overcome by anger at the scornful challenge which even the Ammonites ventured at such a time to cast in the teeth of his people: he called his fellow-countrymen to battle, not in virtue of any office he held, but on the strength of his own impulses; his enthusiasm proved contagious, none dared to say him nay. He began his career just like one of the earlier judges, but after he had led his people to victory they did not let him retire again. The person sought for, the king, was found.
Out of such natural beginnings did the state at that time arise: it owed nothing to the pattern of the "Mosaic theocracy," but bears all the marks of a new creation. Saul and David first made out of the Hebrew tribes a real people in the political sense (Deut. xxxiii. 5). David was in the eyes of later generations inseparable from the idea of Israel: he was the king par excellence: Saul was thrown into the shade, but both together are the founders of the kingdom, and have thus a much wider importance than any of their successors. It was they who drew the life of the people together at a centre, and gave it an aim; to them the nation is indebted for its historical self-consciousness. All the order of aftertimes is built up on the monarchy; it is the soil out of which all the other institutions of Israel grow up. In the time of the judges, we read, every man did that which was right in his own eyes, not because the Mosaic constitution was not in force, but because there was no king in those days. The consequences were very important in
the sphere of religion as well: since the political advance of the people brought the historic and national character of Jehovah to the front again. During the time of the judges the Canaanite festival cultus had gradually been coming to be embodied in the worship of Jehovah, a process which was certainly necessary; but in this process there was for some time a danger that Jehovah would become a God of husbandry and of cattle, like Baal-Dionysus. The festivals long continued to be a source of heathenism, but now they were gradually divested of their character as nature-festivals, and forced at length to have reference to the nation and to its history, if they were not to disappear completely. The relation of Jehovah to people and kingdom remained firm as a rock: even to the worst idolaters He was the God of Israel; in war no one thought of looking for victory and success to any other God. This was the result of Israel's becoming a kingdom: the kingship of Jehovah, in that precise sense which we associate with it, is the religious expression of the fact of the foundation of the kingdom by Saul and David. The theocracy was the state of itself; the ancient Israelites regarded the civil state as a miracle, or, in their own words, a help of God. When the later Jews thought or spoke of the theocracy, they took the state for granted as already there, and so they could build the theocracy on the top of it as a specially spiritual feature: just as we moderns sometimes see the divine element in settled ordinances, such as marriage, not in their own nature, but in the consecration added to them by the church.
3. The kingdom of Saul and David did not long remain at its height. Decay set in even at the separation, and when once the Assyrians were heard at the door, it advanced with steps not to be arrested. But the memory of the period of glory and power was all the greener, and the hope arose of its return. From the contrast between the sorrowful present and the brilliant past there arose the picture of the state as it should be; when ruin was seen without and anarchy within, the prophets set against this the pattern of the theocracy. The theocracy as the prophets represent it to themselves is not a thing essentially different from the political community, as a spiritual differs from a secular power; rather, it rests on the same foundations and is in fact the ideal of the state. Isaiah gave this ideal its classical form in those pictures of the future which we are accustomed to call Messianic prophecies. These passages
are not predictions of this or that occurrence, but announcements of the aims which, it is true, the prophet only expects the future to realise, but which are of force or ought to be of force in the present, and towards which the community, if true to its own nature, must strive.
The first feature of these Messianic descriptions is the expulsion of the Assyrians; but most emphasis is laid on the restoration of the inner bases of the state, the rottenness of which has brought about and rendered inevitable the present crisis. The collapse of the government, the paralysis fallen on the law, the spoliation of the weak by the strong, these are the evils that call for redress. "How is the honourable city become a harlot; it was full of judgment, righteousness lodged in it—but now murderers! Thy princes are rascals and companions of thieves, every one loveth gifts and followeth after bribes; they judge not the fatherless, neither cloth the cause of the widow come unto them. Therefore saith the Lord: Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies! And I will turn my hand against thee, Zion, and as with lye I will purge away thy dross, and I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning; afterwards thou shalt be called a righteous and honourable city. Zion shall be redeemed by judgment and her inhabitants by righteousness" (Isa. i. 21-27). The state the prophet has before his eye is always the natural state as it exists, never a community distinguished by a peculiar holiness in its organisation. The kingdom of Jehovah is with him entirely identical with the kingdom of David; the tasks he sets before it are political in their nature, similar, we might say, to the demands one would address to the Turkish Empire in our own days. He is unconscious of any difference between human and divine law: law in itself, jurist's law in the proper juristic sense of the word, is divine, and has behind it the authority of the Holy One of Israel. In that day shall Jehovah of hosts be for a crown of glory and a diadem of beauty unto the residue of His people, and for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and a spirit of strength to them that drive back the battle from the borders" (xxviii. 5, 6). Jehovah is a true and perfect King, hence justice is His principal attribute and His chief demand. And this justice is a purely forensic or social notion: the righteousness of the Sermon on the Mount can only come into consideration when civil justice and order have come to be a matter of course—which at that time they had not yet done.
The representative of Jehovah is the human king. The earthly ruler is not in the way of the heavenly: even the glorious kingdom of the future cannot dispense with him. "Then a king shall reign in righteousness and princes shall rule in judgment; each of them shall be as an hiding-place from the wind and as a covert from the tempest; as rivers of waters in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land" (xxxii. 1, 2). As the reigning king is in general unsatisfactory, Isaiah hopes for a new one who will answer the pattern of David of old, the Messiah. "There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots: and the spirit of Jehovah shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and of warlike might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; and His breath shall be drawn in the fear of Jehovah. And He shall not judge after the sight of His eyes, nor decide by hearsay: but with righteousness shall He judge the poor, and give sentence with equity for the meek of the earth; but He shall smite the scorners with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked, so that righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins. Then the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid: and the calf and the young lion together, and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed, their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox: and the sucking child shall stroke the head of the adder, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the eye-ball of the basilisk. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain" (xi. 1-9) This is generally considered to be a prediction of a universal golden age on earth; but Isaiah only speaks of the holy mountain as the scene, meaning by this the whole city of David as the centre of his kingdom. The just and strict government of the descendant of David is to bring it about that righteousness and truth kiss each other, and that the strong do not dare to injure the weak. Fear of the severity of the law engenders general confidence; the lamb is no longer afraid of the wolf. The opposite of this ideal is lawlessness and anarchy within, not war without; the hope is not that of international peace, as we see both from verse 1-5 and from verse 9. The Messiah is adorned just with the virtues which befit a ruler; and this shows sufficiently what is the nature of
the kingdom of which he is to be the head, i.e., what is the notion of the theocracy.
The other prophets of this period agree with Isaiah (Lam. iv. 20), only Hosea is peculiar in this as in other points. He appears to have regarded the kingdom as such as an evil; in more than one expression he makes it the antithesis of the rule of Jehovah. But we have to remember that this judgment of his is based entirely on his historical experience. In the kingdom of the ten tribes the supreme power was constantly being seized by usurpers, so that instead of being the pillar of order and law it was the plaything of parties and the occasion of incessant disturbances. It is this North-Israelite kingdom that Hosea has in view; and he reprobates it for no other reason than that, in the three hundred years of its existence, it has not approved itself, and does not approve itself in the present time of need. He does not proceed as on a priori theory, he does not apply as his rule a pattern of the theocratic constitution given antecedently to any historical development. There can be no doubt that it never entered his head that the form God desired the community to take was not a thing to be determined by circumstances, but had been revealed at Mount Sinai. 1
4. Nor did the theocracy exist from the time of Moses in the form of the covenant, though that was afterwards a favourite mode of regarding it. The relation of Jehovah to Israel was in its nature and origin a natural one; there was no interval between Him and His people to call for thought or question. Only when the existence of Israel had come to be threatened by the Syrians and Assyrians, did such prophets as Elijah and Amos raise the Deity high above the people, sever the natural bond between them, and put in its place a relation depending on conditions, conditions of a moral character. To them Jehovah was the God of righteousness in the first place, and the God of Israel in the second place, and even that only so far as Israel came up to the righteous demands which in His grace He had revealed to him. They inverted the order of these two fundamental articles of faith. "If your sins are as scarlet, how should they be reckoned white as snow? If they are red like crimson, how should they be as wool? If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land,
but if ye refuse and rebel, ye must eat the sword, for the mouth of Jehovah hath spoken it." Thus the nature of the conditions which Jehovah required of His people came to the very front in considering His relations with them: the Torah of Jehovah, which originally, like all His dealings, fell under the category of divine aid, especially in the doing of justice, of divine guidance in the solution of difficult questions, was now conceived of as incorporating the demands on the fulfilment of which His attitude towards Israel entirely depended. In this way arose, from ideas which easily suggested it, but yet as an entirely new thing, the substance of the notion of covenant or treaty. The name Berith, however, does not occur in the old prophets, not even in Hosea, who certainly presents us as clearly as possible with the thing, in his figure of the marriage of Jehovah and Israel (Isa. i. 21). That he was unacquainted with the technical usage of Berith is strikingly proved by ii. 20 and vi. 7; and these passages must decide the view we take of viii. 1, a passage which is probably interpolated.
The name Berith comes, it is likely, from quite a different quarter. The ancient Hebrews had no other conception of law nor any other designation for it than that of a treaty. A law only obtained force by the fact of those to whom it was given binding themselves to keep it. So it is in Exod. xxiv. 3-8, and in 2 Kings xxiii. 1-3; so also in Jeremiah xxxiv. 8 seq.—curiously enough just as with the people of Mecca at the time of Mohammed (Ibn Hishám, p. 230 seq.). Hence also the term Sepher Berith for the Deuteronomic as well as the Jehovistic Book of the Law.
This use of the phrase Berith (i.e., treaty) for law, fitted very well with the great idea of the prophets, and received from it in turn an interpretation, according to which the relation of Jehovah to Israel was conditioned by the demands of His righteousness, as set forth in His word and instruction. In this view of the matter Jehovah and Israel came to be regarded as the contracting parties of the covenant by which the various representatives of the people had originally pledged each other to keep, say, the Deuteronomic law. 1
After the solemn and far-reaching act
by which Josiah introduced this law, the notion of covenant-making between Jehovah and Israel appears to have occupied the central position in religious thought: it prevails in Deuteronomy, in Jeremiah, Ezekiel, in Isaiah xl.-lxvi., Lev. xvii.-xxvi., and most of all in the Book of the Four Covenants. The Babylonian exile no doubt helped, as the Assyrian exile had previously done, to familiarise the Jewish mind with the idea that the covenant depended on conditions, and might possibly be dissolved.
1. The tabernacle of David fell at last, and no king was born to set it up again. The state suffered not a crisis, but destruction. And the result was that such of the religious hopes of the people as they still held fast, were no longer limited to existing political conditions, but now took a freer flight, became tinged with enthusiasm, and cast off all restrictions. In former times there was always an enemy threatening in the background, a danger really approaching, to give rise to the expectation of a great conflagration, the materials for which had long been collected in the nation itself: but after the exile fancy dealt in general coalitions of God knows what peoples against the New Jerusalem, vaticinations for which there was no ground whatever in reality. 1 In earlier times the national state as it had existed under David was the goal of all wishes. Now a universal world empire was erected in imagination, which was to lift up its head at Jerusalem over the ruins of the heathen powers. Prophecy was no longer tied to history, nor supported by it.
But the extravagant hopes now built on Jehovah were balanced on the other side by sober and realisable aims which the course of history presented. Those who waited for the consolation of Israel were then confronted from the nature of their situation with practical tasks. The old prophets were satisfied with expressing their ideas, with criticising existing evils; as to practical points they had nothing to say, the leadership of the people was in other hands. But the old community being now gone and its heads having fallen with it, the godly both had the power and felt the obligation to place themselves at the head of the Israel now to be anew created, after which they had long been striving, and
their faith in which was still unshaken. In former times the nation had not been so seriously threatened as that its continued existence, notwithstanding the dangerous crises it might have to pass through, should ever cease to be regarded as natural, as a thing of course. But now this was by no means a thing of course, the danger was a pressing one that the Jewish exiles, like the Samaritan exiles before them, would be absorbed by the heathens among whom they dwelt. In that case the Messianic hopes also would have lost their point of application, for, however true it was that the realising of them was Jehovah's concern, the men must still be there to whom they were to be fulfilled. Thus everything depended on getting the sacred remnant safe across this danger, and giving it so solid an organisation that it might survive the storms and keep alive the expectation of the promise.
But in the eyes of those whose words had weight in the restoration the old community, as it had existed formerly, was not in good repute. They could not but allow Jehovah's sentence of condemnation to be just which He had spoken by the mouth of His servants and through the voice of history. The utterances of the prophets, that fortresses and horses and men of war, that kings and princes, cannot help, were called to mind and turned into practical principles: the sole rule of Jehovah was to be carried out in earnest. Circumstances favoured the design, and this was the great point. As matters then were, the reconstitution of an actual state was not to be thought of, the foreign rule would not admit of it (Ezra iv. 19 seq.). What plan was to be taken, what materials to be used for such a building as the times allowed? The prophetic ideas would not serve as building stones; they were not sufficiently practical. Then appeared the importance of institutions, of traditional forms, for the conservation even of the spiritual side of the religion.
The Jewish royal temple had early overshadowed the other sanctuaries, and in the course of the seventh century they were extinct or verging on extinction. Under the shelter of the monarchy the priests of Jerusalem had grown great and had at last attained, as against their professional brethren elsewhere, a position of exclusive legitimacy. The weaker the state grew, the deeper it sank from the fall of Josiah onwards, the higher became the prestige of the temple in the eyes of the people, and the greater and the more independent grew the power of its numerous priesthood; how much more do we feel it in Jeremiah's time than in that of Isaiah! This advance of the priesthood indicates
unmistakably the rise into prominence of the cultus in the seventh century, a rise rather helped than hindered by the long reign of Manasseh, evil as is the reputation of that reign. It shows itself not only in the introduction of more luxurious materials, incense, for example, but even more in the importance given to great and striking services, e.g., the sacrifice of children, and the expiatory offering. Even after the abolition of the horrid atrocities of Manasseh's time, the bloody earnestness remained behind with which the performance of divine service was gone about.
So closely was the cultus of Jerusalem interwoven with the consciousness of the Jewish people, and so strongly had the priesthood established their order, that after the collapse of the kingdom the elements still survived here for the new formation of a "congregation" answering to the circumstances and needs of the time. Around the ruined sanctuary the community once more lifted up its head (1 Kings viii.; Hagg. i. seq.; Zech. i. seq.). The usages and ordinances were, though everywhere changes in detail, yet not created afresh. Whatever creating there was lay in this, that these usages were bound together in a system and made the instruments of restoring an organisation of "the remnant."
Ezekiel first pointed out the way which was suited for the time. He is the connecting link between the prophets and the law. He claims to be a prophet, and starts from prophetic ideas: but they are not his own ideas, they are those of his predecessors which he turns into dogmas. He is by nature a priest, and his peculiar merit is that he enclosed the soul of prophecy in the body of a community which was not political, but founded on the temple and the cultus. The chapters xl.-xlviii. are the most important in his book, and have been called by J. Orth, not incorrectly, the key of the Old Testament.
Thus arose that artificial product, the sacred constitution of Judaism. In the Priestly Code we have the picture of it in detail. 1 The distinction, drawn with such pains between the Mosaic theocracy and the post-exilic hierocracy, is too fine. Theocracy as a constitution is hierocracy. If Moses founded such a constitution, he did it prophetically, with a view
to circumstances which only arose a thousand years after his day, (pp. 163, 270). Old Israel had not shrunk to a religious congregation, public life was not quite absorbed in the service of the sanctuary; the high priest and the dwelling of Jehovah were not the centre round which all revolved (pp. 170, 227). These great changes were wrought by the destruction of the political existence first of Samaria, then of Judah. In this way the people became "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation," as we read in a Deuteronomistic passage, Exod. xix. 6. If the divine rule was formerly a belief supporting the natural ordinances of human society, it was now set forth in visible form as a divine state, in an artificial sphere peculiar to itself and transcending the ordinary life of the people. The idea had formerly informed and possessed the natural body, but now, in order that it might be thoroughly realised, it was to have spiritual body of its own. There arose a material, external antithesis of a sacred and profane; men's minds came to be full of this, and it was their great endeavour to draw the line as sharply as possible and to repress the natural sphere more and more. Holiness is the ruling idea in Ezekiel, in Lev. xvii.-xxvi., and in the Priestly Code. The notion is a somewhat empty one, expressing rather what a thing is not than what it is; at first it meant the same as divine, but now it is used mainly in the sense of spiritual, priestly, as if the divine could be distinguished from the worldly, the natural, by outward visible marks of that kind.
The Mosaic theocracy, the residuum of a ruined state, is itself not a state at all, but an unpolitical artificial product created in spite of unfavourable circumstances by the impulse of an ever-memorable energy: and foreign rule is its necessary counterpart. In its nature it is intimately allied to the old Catholic church, which was in fact its child. As a matter of taste it may be objectionable to speak of the Jewish church, but as a matter of history it is not inaccurate, and the name is perhaps preferable to that of theocracy, which shelters such confusion of ideas.
2. The Mosaic theocracy appears to show an immense retrogression. The law of Jehovah should denote what is characteristic of His people over against the heathen. But this certainly did not consist in the cultus of Israel: it would be vain labour to seek in this and that slight variation between the Hebrew and the Greek ritual a difference of principle between them. The cultus is the heathen element in the Israelite religion—the word heathen not being understood, of course, in
an ignoble or unworthy sense. If the Priestly Code makes the cultus the principal thing, that appears to amount to a systematic decline into the heathenism which the prophets incessantly combated and yet were unable to eradicate. It will be readily acknowledged that at the constitution of the new Jerusalem the prophetic impulses were deflected by a previously existing natural tendency of the mass on which they had to operate. Yet in every part of the legal worship we see the most decided traces of their influence. We have seen to what a large extent that worship is everywhere marked by a centralising tendency. This tendency is not connected in the Priestly Code with opposition to improper or foreign worship; yet it must be interpreted as a polemical measure; and if it be regarded as an axiom necessary in the Priestly Code from the nature of the case, that is only saving that the demands of the prophets had prevailed most completely in a field where they had the greatest obstacles to contend with. Exclusive monolatry is by no means innate in the cultus; it can only be deduced from considerations which are foreign to the nature of the cultus: it is the antitype of strict monotheism. The prohibition of images, too, in the worship of the Deity, is not expressly insisted on, as in Deuteronomy, but is a provision which is taken for granted; so little is this position in danger of question that even doubtful and repugnant elements are embodied in the worship and assimilated by it without hesitation. The golden ephod, denounced by Isaiah, has become an insignificant decoration of the high-priest: talismans, forbidden even by Ezekiel, are allowed (Num. xv. 37-41), but the object of them is "that ye may look upon them and remember all the commandments of Jehovah, and do them, and that ye follow not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye used to go a whoring." The gross idolatry, with which the expression זנה is always connected in other passages, is by this time out of the question: the heart itself with its lawless motions is the strange God, whose service is forbidden.
We may go further and say that by the cultus-legislation the cultus is estranged from its own nature, and overthrown in its own sphere. That is most unmistakably the case with regard to the festivals. They have lost their reference to harvest and cattle, and have become historical commemorations: they deny their birth from nature, and celebrate the institution of supernatural religion and the gracious acts of Jehovah therewith connected. The broadly human, the indigenous element falls
away, they receive a statutory character and a significance limited to Israel. They no longer draw down the Deity into human life on all important occasions, to take part in its joys and its necessities: they are not human attempts with such naive means as are at command to please the Deity and render Him favourable. They are removed from the natural sphere, and made divine means of grace, which Jehovah has instituted in Israel as sacraments of the theocracy. The worshipper no longer thinks that in his gift he is doing God a pleasure, providing Him with an enjoyment: what pleases Him and is effectual is only the strict observance of the rite. The sacrifices must be offered exactly according to prescription: at the right place, at the right time, by the right individuals, in the right way. They are not based on the inner value of what is done, on the impulse arising out of fresh occasions, but on the positive command of a will outside the worshipper, which is not explained, and which prescribes every particular. The bond between cultus and sensuality is severed: no danger can arise of an admixture of impure immoral elements, a danger which was always present in Hebrew antiquity. Worship no longer springs from an inner impulse, it has come to be an exercise of religiosity. It has no natural significance; its significance is transcendental, incomparable, not to be defined; the chief effect of it, which is always produced with certainty, is atonement. For after the exile the consciousness of sin, called forth by the rejection of the people from the face of Jehovah, was to a certain extent permanent: even when the hard service of Israel was accomplished and the wrath really blown over, it would not disappear.
If then the value of the sacred offerings lay not in themselves but in obedience to the commandments of God, the centre of gravity of the cultus was removed from that exercise itself and transferred to another field, that of morality. The consequence was that sacrifices and gifts gave way to ascetic exercises, which were more strictly and more simply connected with morality. Precepts given originally in reference to the consecration of the priests for their religious functions were extended to the laity: the observance of these laws of physical cleanliness was of much more radical importance in Judaism than the great public cultus, and led by the straightest road towards the theocratic ideal of holiness and of universal priesthood. The whole of life was compressed into a certain holy path; there was always a divine command to be fulfilled, and by thinking of it a man kept himself from following after the desires
and lusts of his own heart. On the other hand this private cultus, which constantly required attention, kept alive and active the individual sense of sin.
The great pathologist of Judaism is quite right: in the Mosaic theocracy the cultus became a pedagogic instrument of discipline. It is estranged from the heart; its revival was due to old custom, it would never have blossomed again of itself. It no longer has its roots in childlike impulse, it is a dead work, in spite of all the importance attached to it, nay, just because of the anxious conscientiousness with which it was gone about. At the restoration of Judaism the old usages were patched together in a new system, which, however, only served as the form to preserve something that was nobler in its nature, but could not have been saved otherwise than in a narrow shell that stoutly resisted all foreign influences. That heathenism in Israel against which the prophets vainly protested was inwardly overcome by the law on its own ground; and the cultus, after nature had been killed in it, became the shield of supernaturalistic monotheism.
411:1 Οὐκοῦν ἄπειροι μὲν αἱ κατὰ μέρος τῶν ἐθῶν καὶ τῶν νόμων παρὰ τοῖς ἅπασιν ἀνθρώποις διαφοραί· οἱ μὲν γὰρ μοναρχίαις, οἱ δὲ ταῖς ὁλίγων δυναστείαις, ἄλλοι δὲ τοῖς πλήθεσιν ἐπέτρεψαν τὴν ἐξουσίαν τῶν πολιτευμάτων?=· Ὁ δ᾽ ἡμέτερος νομοθέτης εἰς μὲν τούτων οὐδ᾽ ὁτιοῦν ἀπεῖδεν, ὡς δ᾽ ἄν τις εἴποι βιασάμενος τὸν λόγον θεοκρατίαν ἀπέδειξε τὸ πολίτευμα, θεῷ τὴν ἀρχὴν καὶ τὸ κράτος ἀναθείς (contra Apion. ii. 17). ("There are innumerable differences in the particular customs and laws that are among mankind; some have intrusted the power of their states to monarchies, some to oligarchies, and some to democracies: but our legislator had no regard to any of these forms, but he ordered our government to be what I may call by a strained expression a theocracy, attributing the power and the authority to God." Compare also, on this whole chapter, Die Pharisäer und die Sadducäer, Greifswald, 1874.
417:1 He even speaks with favour of David and the kingdom of Judah, but I consider all such references in Hosea (as well as in Amos) to, be interpolations. In i. 7 there is a reference to the deliverance of Jerusalem under Hezekiah.
418:1 This variation gained entrance the more easily as Berith is used in various applications, e.g., of the capitulation, the terms of which are imposed by the stronger on the weaker party: that the contracting parties had equal rights was by no means involved in the notion of the Berith. See the wavering of the notion in Jer. xxxiv. 13-18.
419:1 Ezek. xxxviii. xxxix.; Isa. lxvi. 18-24; Joel iv.; Zech. xii. xiv. In Isa. v. 26, on the other hand, we must, of course, read גוי, for גוים, the singular instead of the plur.
421:1 It is not the case that the hierocracy is based on the Priestly Code: that code was only introduced after the hierocracy was already in existence, but helped, no doubt, to consolidate and legalise it. The written law afterwards undermined the rule of the priests; and the scriptures played into the hands of the scribes and Pharisees. (Compare the case of the Parsees and Sabians, and p. 157, note.)