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THE MARTYRDOM OF ISAIAH

THE Martyrdom of Isaiah is combined with the Vision of Isaiah and the Testament of Hezekiah to form the Ascension of Isaiah, which were the work of Christian writers. But the Martyrdom is by a Jew, who agrees in his account with the Talmud, which states that a document was found in Jerusalem describing Isaiah's death. Of this Jewish record the Martyrdom is probably a Greek translation; as it seems to be quoted in the Epistle to the Hebrews (xi. 37), it is probably a first-century document.

It tells how Hezekiah calls Manasseh, his son, and Isaiah, and gives them his last command (i. 1-2). The prophet foretells Manasseh's apostasy and his own martyrdom, which nothing that Hezekiah can do can prevent (i. 6-13). Hezekiah dies, and Manasseh gives himself up to all kinds of sin (ii. 1-7). Isaiah departs to Bethlehem, and then to the mountains, where he stays two years with the prophets fasting and lamenting (ii. 10-16). Belchira, a false prophet discovers him, and accuses him to Manasseh, on the grounds that he had professed to see God, and had called Jerusalem Sodom, and its princes and people Gomorrah (iii. 1-12). Isaiah is sawn asunder (v.

1-14)

The wooden saw of the Greek is a misunderstanding of the Hebrew original, which must have been

a saw for sawing wood.

Dr. Charles connects the story with a Persian legend of King Djemchid, for whom God caused a tree to open to conceal him from his rival; by the help of

)

a

Iblis he is discovered, and the tree is sawn asunder with Djemchid inside it.

The story has its basis no doubt in 2 Kings xxi. 16, and is an example of a Jewish Midrash.

An attempt has been made by M. Halévy (Etudes evangeliques, I. pp. 65 ff.) to find in it a source of the story of our Lord's Temptation. The idea is very properly dismissed by Canon Box in his edition in this series as far-fetched. The account of Isaiah's temptation is remote both in substance and in spirit from the sublime narrative in the Gospels. Canon Box finds interesting light on the Jewish demonology of the period in the book. Thus we have Beliar (= Belial) as a name of the Prince of evil spirits. He is “the Angel of lawlessness, who is the ruler of this world (cf. John xii. 31, xvi, II, 2 Cor. iv. 4, Eph. vi. 12). Sammael also appears, the “ Venom of God," here represented as chief of the Satans" (cf. Matt. ix. 34).

(cf. Matt. ix. 34). He is regarded by Canon Charles as the subordinate of Beliar, executing his orders. Belial also has the mysterious name of Matanbûchûs, which Halévy thinks expresses the power of the demon “to take possession” (Hebrew MITHDABEK).

The designation of the Messiah as "The Beloved” ' is also a characteristic of the book, though it remains undecided whether it was in the Jewish version before it was included in the Ascension of Isaiah.

Note.-S.P.C.K. edition. Translation, Charles; Introduction, Box.

THE ETHIOPIC BOOK OF ENOCH

The Book of Enoch is by far the most important of the apocalyptic works after Daniel. It is in reality a collection of writings of various dates during the first two centuries B.C. It reflects a great variety of religious ideas not always in harmony with one another, bound together by a unity of tone and outlook, while subject to the development of free intellectual movement. Its earliest portions come from the pious predecessors of the Pharisees, while throughout it is representative of the Pharisaic school. By the pious” Jews, or Chasidim, are meant the conservative minority of the pre-Maccabæan age, who refused in any way to absorb Hellenistic culture. In their simple faithfulness to the Law they were opposed to the governing classes. In postMaccabæan days they became the ancestors both of the Pharisees and of the apocalyptic writers. The Pharisees represented in an exaggerated form their strict adherence to the Law, the Apocalyptists stood for their simple and specifically Jewish faith.

Though almost unknown in the Western Church until recent times, no pseudepigraphic book had a higher place in the Jewish Church of our Lord's day, or a deeper or more extensive influence on the writers of the New Testament. Its return to recognition is due to the great traveller Bruce, who brought back from Abyssinia in 1773 the three MSS. in Ethiopic, from which Lawrence made the first modern translation.

Enoch contains fragments of an older work, the Book of Noah, of whose existence we have independent

· See Oesterley, The Books of the Apocrypha, p. 93 (quoting Friedländer, Die rel, Bewegungen, p. 22).

evidence in the Book of Jubilees. Canon Charles gives the Noah portions scattered through Enoch as chapters vi.-xi., liv.-lv. 2, 1x., lxv.-lxix. 25, and cvi. and cvii.

The book was arranged by its last editor in five sections, like the Psalms and other Jewish Books.

Section 1. (i.-xxxvi.). This mainly recounts Enoch's pronouncing of God's judgement on the Watchers, the angels who fell through their love for the daughters of men (Gen. vi. 1-4), and his intercession for them. It contains lurid and weird descriptions of the world of Hades.

Section II. (xxxvii.-.xxi.). This contains three “Parables," or apocalyptic revelations, and the account of Enoch's translation.

Section III. (lxxii.-lxxxii.). This is in reality in the main a treatise on astronomy, dealing with the unchanging order of the heavenly bodies.

Section IV. (lxxxiii.-xc.). Enoch recounts to Methuselah his Visions of the Deluge, the Fall of the Angels, and their punishment in the underworld, the deliverance of Noah, the Exodus, the giving of the Law, and the occupation of Palestine, the time of the Judges, the Kingship and the Building of the Temple, and the story of the two Kingdoms to the Fall of Jerusalem. Then come the four periods of angelic rule up to the Maccabæan Revolt, the last assault of the Gentiles, and the Judgement. And last, the foundation of the New Jerusalem, the Conversion of the Gentiles, the Resurrection of the Righteous, and the Advent of the Messiah “ the hornèd Lamb, over whom the Lord of the sheep rejoiced.”

Section V. (xci. civ.). This is a book of warning containing the denunciation of woes on sinners, and the promise of blessings on the righteous. It contains an older work, “The Apocalypse of Weeks (xciii. I-10, xci. 12-19). It concludes (cv.): "In those days the Lord bade to summon and testify to the children of earth concerning their wisdom: show (it) unto them; for ye are their guides, and a recompense over the whole earth. For I and My Son will be united with them for ever in the paths of uprightness in their lives; and ye shall have peace; rejoice, ye children of uprightness. Amen."

With regard to the dates of the various sections, Canon Charles gives

Book of Noah, not later than 161 B.C.
Section 1., not later than 170 B.C.
Section II., either 94-79 or 70-64 B.C.
Section III., not later than II0 B.C.
Section IV., not later than 161 B.C.

Section V., during oppression of Pharisees, either 95–79 or 70–64 B.C.

With regard to the relation of the Enoch literature to the New Testament, (i.) while in Section I. we have gross and materialistic ideas of the future life, in Section V. we find the spiritual ideas of our Lord expressed in Matt. xxii. 30.1

(ii.) While in chapter xc. a human Messiah is suggested as head of the Messianic nation, in Section II. we have a Messiah portrayed, who has the four titles of “ Christ," or the Anointed One, the Righteous One," the “ Elect One," and the “Son of Man,” which are reproduced in the New Testament. For the first time Christ” becomes the title of the future ideal Ruler, and the definite title Son of Man is found for the first time in Jewish literature, and is, historically, the source of the New Testament designation, and contributes to it some of its characteristic contents" (Charles).

(iii.) In Enoch we pass from the Old Testament doctrine of the world after death to something more in accord with the New. The Resurrection, says Canon Charles, " was made a commonplace of Jewish theology by 1 Enoch."

(iv.) The demonic background of the New Testament assumed in the reported teaching of Jesus is essentially the demonology of Enoch. The demons are disembodied spirits awaiting their final punishment, subject to Satan, who is head of a kingdom of

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