Gambar halaman

study of it," and traces the result in the Pauline teaching on idolatry, predestination, and eschatology.

A comparison of one or two typical similarities will be interesting.

Wisdom ii. 24. By the Rom. v. 12. ... Sin envy of the devil death entered into the world, entered into the world. and death through sin.

Wisdom iii. 8. The I Cor. vi. 2,3. Or know righteous shall judge na- ye not that the saints tions, and have dominion shall judge the worldover peoples.

etc. Wisdom v. 17-20. He Eph. vi. II-20. Put on shall take his jealousy as the whole armour of God complete armour [pano- [panoply)-etc. [Both ply). He shall put on passages are, of course, righteousness as a breast- founded on Isa. lix. 17.] plate, and shall take judgement as a helmet; He shall take holiness as an invincible shield, And shall sharpen stern wrath as a sword.

Wisdom ix. 5. For a 2 Cor. v. 1. For we corruptible body weigh- know that if the earthly eth down the soul, and house of our tabernacle the earthly frame lieth .; and v. 4. We that heavy on the mind that are in this tabernacle do is full of cares.

groan, being burdened. The number of such parallels, though no single one is conclusive by itself, seems to prove St. Paul's absorption of the ideas of Wisdom.

It will perhaps be asked, as the sublime figure of Wisdom, the agent of God in creation and the revealer of the mind of God, stands unveiled before us, what did the writer exactly intend her to be? Is she a

person”? Is she an attribute of God poetically personified? The answer with regard to this Jewish personification of Wisdom, which occurs also in


Prov. viii. and Sirach xxiv., is that the idea of personality was not at all clearly developed at that time, and that the Oriental mind was and is far more prone to vague and poetic imagination than ours. Thus the nation was to the prophet a bride, or a despoiled mother, and the stars and powers

of nature were confused with angelic personalities. There was far more of poetry in the personification of Wisdom than of philosophical exactness, But even we can feel something of the grandeur and beauty of the conception of a personal element entering in as the special inspiration of the ideals that uplift and inspire mankind.

Note.-Edited by Gregg, in the Cambridge Bible for Schools. (1909.) S.P.C.K. Text. Oesterley.


THE Book of Baruch of our official Apocrypha claims to have been written by Baruch, the secretary of the prophet Jeremiah, during the captivity in Babylon. After having been read there, the preface says it was sent to Jerusalem with a sum of money for the expenses of sacrifices, with a request that the Jews should pray for Nebuchadnezzar and his son Belshazzar.

This would have been, according to i. 2 (" the fifth year ”), either 592 B.C. or 582 B.C. But there is little doubt among scholars that it was really written quite six centuries and a half later, that is to say, near the time of the fall of Jerusalem, A.D. 70. In this case the events and characters of the time of the Babylonian exile are used to refer to the present. Rome is Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar is Vespasian, and the writer, continuing the blunder in the Book of Daniel, makes Belshazzar the son of Nebuchadnezzar, and so by him means Titus, son of Vespasian.

But as the Book of Baruch is really not a single book, but three books bound together, each requires separate treatment. Baruch consists ofm

The Book of Confessions (i.-iii. 8); (ii) A fragment of “ Wisdom

literature (iii. 9iv. 4); and (iii) A prophetic encouragement (iv. 5-v. 9). (i) The Confession acknowledges that the Exile is God's punishment of Israel's disobedience, and refusal to obey Jeremiah and serve Nebuchadnezzar. A promise of restoration and rule over Palestine is given. This is all in agreement with the Pharisaic attitude of complete submission to Rome (Jos. Bell Jud. vi. 3, 4, and ix. 2, 3), and we shall be right in referring this portion to A.D. 75. Dr. Oesterley 1 dwells on a striking similarity between this and passages of the Jewish Prayer Book, especially the identity of the order and phrasing of petitions in the “ Eighteen Benedictions” (Shemoneh Esreh). He would conclude that i. 15-iii. 8 is an expansion of some part of the Temple Liturgy of the first century A.D.

(ii) This section (written in verse) dwells on the common topic of the Wisdom Literature; God's

Lawis Wisdom: it is nowhere else but in Him. He has committed it to the Jews. The neglect of it is the cause of their downfall. Let them lay hold of it, and walk in its light. It is referred to the beginning of the second century, and was probably written in some Jewish college in Babylonia, where the faith of the chosen people was fed and nourished by study.

(iii) We pass to a prophetic passage, reminiscent of the second Isaiah. Jerusalem encourages her children in their affliction, and prophesies a new dawn. This is succeeded by a message of cheer from God to her, which is almost identical with the eleventh of the Psalms of Solomon, probably written about 50 B.C., i. e. about a hundred and fifty years before, since it seems to reflect a period of peace, for it runs

.. God hath appointed that every high mountain,

and the everlasting hills, should be made low, And the valleys filled up to make plain the road, That Israel may go safely in the glory of God. Moreover the woods and every sweet-smelling tree

have overshadowed Israel, For God shall lead Israel with joy in the light of

His glory, With the mercy and righteousness that cometh from Him.”

(V. 7-9.) 1 Oesterley, p. 500.

THE EPISTLE OF JEREMIAH The seventy-three verses of this Epistle are joined on to Baruch in the Vulgate, but the Septuagint places them after Lamentations, under a separate title.

It is directed against the danger of idolatry, and recalls such passages as Jer. x. 1-16 and Isa. xlix. 9-19.

It is not at all easy to date it. As unfaithfulness usually attacked Israel in days of peace and prosperity, there is a presumption against its having been written either during the Maccabæan struggle, or the war that ended in the fall of Jerusalem. Thus we may either place it in the time of John Hyrcanus (circa 110 B.C.), or a hundred years later.

In contrast to such conclusions we have the opinion of Prof. C. J. Ball that it is the translation of a Hebrew original, produced to counteract the actual danger of Jews in Babylon adopting idolatry about 306 B.C.

Note.-Edition in Temple Apocrypha (Dent).

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »