8. The PURPOSE of the author I read thus. He wishes to supplement existing narratives, as has been said; and this he does by means of his fabulous genealogies (which, especially in the corrupt state in which we have them, arouse but a faint
interest) and also by his paraphrases 1 of Bible stories, (for example, those of Korah, Balaam, Jael, Micah) and by his fresh inventions, especially that of Kenaz, the first judge, which is on the whole his most successful effort. In this side of his work he seeks to interest rather than to instruct. On the religious side I detect a wish to infuse a more religious tone into certain episodes of the history, particularly into the period of the judges, and to emphasize certain great truths, foremost among which I should place the indestructibility of Israel, and the duty of faithfulness to the one God. Lapse into idolatry and union with Gentiles are the dangers he most dreads for his people. I have collected the passages in which his positive teaching, is most clear and prominent, and purpose in this place to digest them under several heads, usually in the order in which they occur in the text.
The Future State of Souls and the End of the World.
III. 10. When the years of the world (or age) are fulfilled, God will quicken the dead, and raise up from the earth them that sleep: Sheol will restore its debt, and Abaddon its deposit, and every man will be rewarded according to his works. There will be an end of death, Sheol will shut its mouth, the earth will be universally fertile. No one who is "justified in God" shall be defiled. There will be a new heaven and a new earth, an everlasting habitation.
XIX. 4. God will reveal the end of the world.
XIX. 7. Moses is not to enter into the promised land "in this age."
12. He is to be made to sleep with the fathers, and have rest, until God visits the earth, and raises him and the fathers from the earth in which they sleep, and they come together and dwell in an immortal habitation.
13. This heaven will pass away like a cloud, and the times and seasons be shortened when the end draws near, for God will hasten to raise up them that sleep, and all who are able to live will dwell in the holy place which he has shown to Moses.
XXI. 9. God told the fathers in the secret places of souls, how he had fulfilled his promises: cf. XXIV. 6; XXXII. 13.
XXIII. 6. He showed Abraham the place of fire in which evil deeds will be expiated, and the torches which will enlighten the righteous who have believed.
13. The lot of the righteous Israelites will be in eternal life: their souls will be taken and laid up in peace, until the time of the world is fulfilled, and God restores them, to the fathers, and the fathers to them.
XXVI. 12. The precious stones of the temple will be hidden away until God remembers the world, and then will be brought out with others from the place which eye hath not seen nor ear heard, etc. The righteous will not need the light of the sun or moon, for these stones will give them light.
XXVIII. 10. The rest (requies) of the righteous when they are dead.
XXXII. 17. The renewal of the creation (cf. XVI. 3).
XXXIII. 2-5. There is no room for repentance
after death, nor can the fathers after their death intercede for Israel.
XXXVIII. 4. Jair's victims are quickened with "living fire" and are delivered. (This, however, does not seem strictly to apply to the future state: see the passage.)
XLVIII. 1. When God remembers the world Phinehas will taste of death. Until then he will dwell with those who have been "taken up" before him.
LI. 5. God quickens the righteous, but shuts up the wicked in darkness. When the bad die they perish: when the righteous sleep they are delivered.
LXII. 9. Jonathan is sure that souls will recognize each other after death.
The Lot of the Wicked.
XVI. 3. Korah and his company: their dwelling will be in darkness and perdition, and they will pine away until God remembers the world, and then they will die and not live, and their remembrance will perish like that of the Egyptians in the Red Sea and the men who perished in the Flood. 6. Korah and his company, when they were swallowed up, "sighed until the firmament should be restored to the earth."
XVIII. 12. Balaam will gnash his teeth because of his sins.
XXXI. 7. Sisera is to go and tell his father in hell that he has fallen by the hand of a woman.
XXXVIII. 4. Jair will have his dwelling-place in fire: so also Doeg, LXIII. 4.
XLIV. 10. Micah and his mother will die in torments, punished by the idols he has made. And this will be the rule for all men, that they shall suffer in such fashion as they have sinned.
Punishment, long deferred, for past sins, is much in our author's mind.
VI. 11. Abram says "I may be burned to death on account of my (former) sins. God's will be done."
XXVII. 7. If Kenaz falls in battle it will be because of his sins.
15. Certain men were punished, not for their present offence, but for a former one.
XLII. 2. Manoah's wife is barren because of sins.
XLV. 3. The Levite's concubine had sinned years before and is now punished.
XLIX. 5. Elkanah says: If my sins have overtaken me, I had better kill myself.
The greatness of Israel and of the Law.
VII. 4. The Holy Land was not touched by the Flood.
IX. 3. The world will come to naught sooner than Israel can be destroyed.
4. When Israel was not yet in being, God spoke of it.
XII. 9. If God destroys Israel there will be none left to glorify him.
XVIII. 13. Israel can only be defeated if it sins.
XXXII. 9, 14. The heavenly bodies are ministers to Israel, and will intercede with God if Israel is in a strait.
15. Israel was born of the rib of Adam.
XXXIX. 7. The habitable places of the world were made for Israel.
IX. 8. God thought of the Law in ancient days.
XI. 1. It is a light to Israel but a punishment to the wicked.
2. It is an everlasting Law by which God will
judge the world. Men shall not be able to say "we have not heard."
5. It is an eternal commandment which shall not pass away.
XXXII. 7. It was prepared from the birth of the world.
Of Union with Gentiles.
IX. 1. The worst feature of the Egyptian oppression was the proposal that the Hebrew girls should marry Egyptians.
5. Tamar sinned with Judah rather than mingle with Gentiles, and was justified.
XVIII. 13. The union with the daughters of Moab and Midian would be fatal to Israel.
XLIII. 5. Samson mingled with Gentiles, and was therefore punished. He was unlike Joseph.
The service of angels is fairly prominent, and several are named.
XI. 12. "Bear not false witness, lest thy guardians do so of thee." This, I think, refers to angels.
XV. 5. The angels will not intercede for the people if they sin. The angel of God's wrath will smite the people.
"I put angels under their feet." (Also XXX. 5.)
XVIII. 5. "I said to the angels that work subtilly (?)."
6. Jacob wrestled with the angel that is over the praises.
XIX. 16. The angels lament for Moses.
XXVII. 10. Gethel or Ingethel is the angel of hidden things; Zeruel the angel of strength. (Also LXI. 5.)
XXXII. 1, 2. The angels were jealous of Abraham,
XXXIV. 3. Certain angels were judged: those who were condemned had powers which were not given to others after them. They still assist men in sorceries.
XXXVIII. Nathaniel the angel of fire.
XLII. 10. The angel Phadahel.
LXIV. 6. When Samuel is raised up by the witch, two angels appear leading him.
Demons and Idols.
Of evil spirits hardly anything is said, but some space is devoted to descriptions of idols.
XIII. 8. Adam's wife was deceived by the serpent.
XXV. 9. "The demons of the idols."
9 seq. The idols and precious stones of the Amorites are dwelt upon.
XLIV. 5 seq. Micah's idols are described in terms which remind one slightly of the images in a sanctuary of Mithras. (See the note.)
XLV. 6. "The Lord said to the Adversary" (anticiminus, ὁ ἀντικείμενοσ). He is quite suddenly introduced, and without any explanation.
LIII. 3, 4. Eli wonders if an unclean spirit has deceived Samuel. If one hears two calls at night, it will be an evil spirit that is calling: three will mean an angel.
LXI. An evil spirit oppresses Saul.
Evil spirits were created after heaven and earth (on the Second Day) and are a secondary creation. They sprang from an echo in chaos: their abode was in "Tartarus."
A holy spirit is mentioned occasionally, but in rather vague terms.
XVIII. 3. Balaam says that the spirit (of prophecy) is given "for a time."
11. "Little is left of that holy spirit which is in me."
XXVIII. 6. The holy spirit leapt upon Kenaz.
XXXII. 14. (Deborah addressing herself.) "Let the grace of the holy spirit in thee awake."
The character of God and His dealings with men are, naturally, illustrated in many passages, in some of which there is a strange lack of perception of what is worthy and befitting.
XII. 9. Moses says, "Thou art all light."
XXII. 3. "Light dwells with him."
XVI. 5. The sons of Korah say that God, not Korah, is their true father: if they walk in his ways, they will be his sons.
XVIII. 4. God knew what was in the world before he made it.
XXI. 2. He knows the mind of all generations before they are born (cf. L. 4).
XXVIII. 4. He willed that the world should be made and that they who should inhabit it should glorify him.
XXX. 6. God is life.
XXXV. 3. He will have mercy on Israel "not for your sakes, but because of them that sleep" (cf. XXXIX. 11 end).
5. Men look on glory and fame, God on uprightness of heart.
XXXVI. 4. God will not punish Gideon in this life, lest men should say "It is Baal who punishes him": he will chastise him after death.
XXXIX. 4. (LXII. 6.) If God forgives, why should not mortal man?
God, being God, has time to cast away his anger.
11. He is angry with Jephthah for his vow. "If a dog were the first to meet him, should a dog be offered to me? It shall fall upon his only child."
XLV. 6. Israel took no notice of Micah's idols;
but is horrified at the Benjamite outrage: therefore God will allow Benjamin to defeat them, and will deceive them (cf. LXIII. 3).
XLVI. He deceives Israel, telling them to attack Benjamin.
XLVII. 3. If God had not sworn an oath to Phinehas, he would not hear him now.
LII. 4. He will not allow Eli's sons to repent, because aforetime they had said "When we grow old we will repent."
LXIV. 1. Saul put away the wizards in order to gain renown: so he shall be driven to resort to them.
Man, especially in relation to sin.
XIII. 8. Man lost Paradise by sin.
XIX. 9. What man hath not sinned? Who will be born without sin? Thou wilt correct us for a time, and not in wrath.
XXXII. 5. Esau was hated because of his deeds.
XXXVI. 1. The Midianites say, "Our sins are fulfilled, as our gods told us, and we believed them not."
LII. 3. Eli says to his sons: "Those whom you have wronged will pray for you if you reform."
LXIV. 8. Saul thinks that perhaps his fall may be an atonement for his sins.
Dr. Cohn speaks of the Messianic hope of the writer, but I am myself unable to find any anticipation of a Messiah in our text. It is always God, and no subordinate agency, that is to "visit the world" and put all things right.
The word Christus occurs in two chapters: in LI. 6, and LIX. 1, 4, which refer to Saul or David.
There are two other puzzling passages, of which
one inclines at first to say that the meaning is Messianic.
XXI. 6. Joshua says: "O Lord, lo, the days shall come when the house of Israel shall be likened to a brooding dove which setteth her young in the nest, and will not leave them or forget her place, like as also these, turning (conuersi) from their acts, shall fight against (or overcome) the salvation which shall be born of them (or is born to them)."
LI. 5. Hannah says: "But so doth all judgement endure, until he be revealed who holdeth it (qui tenet)." As, a few lines later, she says: "And these things remain so until they give a horn to his (or their) Anointed," which certainly refers to Saul; it is probable that Saul or David is meant in the present passage also. Nevertheless the resemblance between qui tenet and ὁ κατέχων of St. Paul (2 Thess. ii. 6, 7) is noteworthy.
34:1 Which in some cases rather deserve the name of perversions. Great liberties are taken with them: a notable fact.