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Return. And we know from Mal. iii. 8 foll. that there was, in fact, reluctance and delay in collecting these dues (cf. Neh. xiii. 10-12). Haggai (i. 9., ii. 15) complains of remissness even in restoring the Temple fabric in which national aspirations centred; and there was in the background a further burden of tribute due to the Persian king (Ezra iv. 13; Neh. v. 4), from which the same privileged parties were by Artaxerxes' letter specially exempted (Ezra vii. 24). Now, putting all this together, it seems morally certain that self-interest would have been too strong for self-denying zeal, on which the whole system of Levitical alimentary ordinances depended; and would have aroused an insuperable resistance to these impositions, had not the foundation which underlay them been universally accepted as an unimpeachable point of the original charter of Israel. The sporadic way in which the ordinances on this subject lie here and there in the Pentateuch, and the grave and difficult questions which some of them raise-in short, the total absence of arrangement and digestion, is what no council of priests legislating virtually in their own interests would have admitted. This feature is by no means limited to these particular ordinances-of which more hereafterbut in them, if nowhere else, such a council would presumably be precise, lucid, and systematic. In point of fact, if we include the specially sacrificial dues of the ministrants, we must collect and harmonize all the statements scattered in various verses of Exod. xxix., Lev. ii., vii., Num. vi., xviii., Deut. xii., xiv., xviii., and xxvi. 12.

But, further yet, the first Return under Zerubbabel, “in the seventh month," it seems, of their first year, “ builded the altar

to offer burnt offerings as it is written in the law of Moses

and offered burnt-offerings . . morning and evening. And they kept the feast of tabernacles, as it is written, and the daily burnt-offerings by number

and afterward the continual burnt-offering and those of the new moons and all the set feasts" (Ezra iii. 2-6); besides “ free-will offerings," separately mentioned. Assuming Ezra to have either written this or to have incorporated, as some think, a fragment of Haggai, he ascribes a knowledge of the written “ law of Moses," in various points regulated by the “priestly code," over ninety years before its alleged first promulgation by himself. We have, further (in Ezra vi. 17, 18), a dedication festival some years later (sixth year of Darius, ver. 15); but still, in the Haggai Zechariah period (ver. 14), in which appears a "he-goat sin-offering " for each tribe, which recalls the ritual of Num. xxix. 5, &c.; and we also read, “they set the priests in their divisions and the Levites in their courses

as it is written in the book of Moses”—the Levitical reference being satisfied by Num. iii. 17 foll., where the Levites are grouped in families, to which the “courses " of 1 Chron, xxiii. 6 foll. correspond.

The letter of Artaxerxes is remarkable for the prominence which it gives to the law, being addressed, not to Nehemiah "the Tirshatha,” or laygovernor, but “to Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven.” Its entire object is religious, like the “Injunctions " of a Tudor

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sovereign, and breathes almost the spirit of a proselyte. Priests, Levites, &c., with their privileged exemptions, have a leading place. Ezra has "the law and the wisdom of his God in his hand,” to which the king gives earthly coercive force, and is charged to "appoint magistrates and judges which may judge all the people that are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of thy God : and teach ye him that knoweth them not " (Ezra vii. 11, 12, 13, 24, 25). In this dichotomy the whole area between the Euphrates and the Mediterranean, with all its races, would seem to be embraced, such as are partly enumerated in ix. 1. Ezra's first care, however, is to purify from their extern admixture the nucleus of returned Israel itself; and, what is remarkable on the theory of a late“ priestly code,” he receives the suggestion from “ the princes,” the lay heads of tribes and families, that the pollution of mixed marriages has been largely incurred even by “priests and Levites.” Ezra describes himself as overwhelmed with, not humiliation only, but astonishment at the report 1 (vers. 1-5). If we assume a sentiment nurtured in the traditional exclusiveness of a “priestly code,” the shock given to that sentiment by the facts described is explicable at once, but not easily so otherwise.

In short, unless we assume this scene to have been got up by a mere faction of purists in concert with Ezra, in order to launch his new Mosaic codicil with more effect, its entire spirit contradicts the theory. Similarly in Neh. viii. 1, the demand for the law comes from the people, and, in compliance with their demand, Ezra brings and reads "the book of the law of Moses which Jehovah commanded to Israel.” Then follows the well-known scene at the Water Gate and its consequences, including the expulsion from the restored community of all who refused separation from alien wives. Now, this series of facts is perfectly intelligible and consistent, if we assume that the same “ written law of Moses the man of God” which was in the hands of Zerubbabel (Ezra iii. 2) was read before the people and Nehemiah in 444 A.D. But, otherwise, we have difficulties at every step.

All these difficulties, however, fall short in gravity of the one which yet remains. That Ezra alone could have concocted and palmed off on his contemporaries a "code" (so-called) containing novel legislative matter of about twice the bulk of the original, hardly any, I think, has the hardihood

I to suggest. It is supposed evolved from remembered practice and tradition by some priestly conclave incubating during the Captivity, whose mouthpiece Ezra becomes. Therefore the priests of the Return, between 4,000 and 5,000 in number, must have all known the facts. Among them a powerful faction were in close union with the extern adversaries, and had contracted the affinities with their leaders, Tobiah (Neh. vi. 17-19) and Sanballat (xiii. 28; cf. Ezra x. 18 foll.). Those adversaries, from the first, professed to Zerubbabel their “seeking the God” of Israel, and their “ doing

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1 There is no precept of law precisely prohibiting a priest from marrying an alien. But the late Dean Plumtre, writing on “Priest” in the Dict. of Bible (ii., p. 919a), is no doubt correct in saying that it “was assumed” to be prohibited.

NO. III.-VOL. II.—THE THINKEK.

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sacrifices to Him " (Ezra iv. 2) from the days of Esarhaddon," and seem to have claimed of Nehemiah to be allowed " a portion and a right” in the reconstituted polity (Neh. ii. 20). Finding this disallowed, they had spared no effort of intrigue, menace, faction, treachery, and open violence (Neh. iv. passim, v. 9, vi. 5-14, 18, 19) to mar the restoration of Israel.

, Foremost among the half-hearted, or the renegades who joined them, was the grandson of Eliashib, the contemporary high priest with Nehemiah ; other priests who had taken foreign wives are named by Ezra x. 18 as afterwards renouncing them, together with certain Levites (vers. 19-23). The abjuration of affinity contracted would be a deadly outrage in the eyes of these powerful adversaries, and we cannot doubt that not a few of the priests who had taken the step shrank from thus defying them, and cast in their lot, as did Eliashib's grandson, with the hostile faction who were still seeking a quasi-Israelite status. Now, if Ezra and the patriotic priests had just at this time been promulgating a “law of Moses,” including a priests' code which had no existence before, the renegades would have been in a position to expose the forgery, as they might have without falsehood termed it. They were, naturally, the most influential of all possible advisers on such points with the hostile party, who, assuming them not to have known the Pentateuch at all previously, would be obliged to trust to them as to experts; but who, if they had known a Pentateuch minus the “priests code,” would never have been led to accept the latter addition at the hands of Ezra. The question is, whether on the former alternative the renegades would not have been led by the position of vantage which they had thus secured to enlighten that ignorance by the information, that the most stringent and minutely regulative portion of the “law” was really composed within the last century and a half, and had only a spurious relation to the really Mosaic institutions. Nor should we forget the charge of Artaxerxes, " teach ye him that knoweth them (the laws of thy God') not."

6 The king had shown so strong an interest in the question that an appeal to him, strongly backed by the mixed populations beyond the river," and urged presumably and plausibly in the interests of truth as against fabrication, could hardly have failed to secure attention from him. The renegades would thus have been able to monopolize for themselves the spring of royal liberality and patronage which had so beneficently fostered the restoration, and to reduce the patriotic party to a position of discredited impotence. We saw above reasons for thinking that even returned Israel would hardly have accepted the imposition of a novel “priests' code." But what can we say of its acceptance by an outside party whose bitter and unscrupulous enmity was now reinforced by a renegade section, whose political interests and whose virulent passions all united to suggest the opposite course of rejection and exposure ? In spite of all these powerful inducements, the Samaritans are supposed to accept the new code through the agency of the renegades, and build it into their rival system of temple and altar, priesthood and worship.

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That all the writings subsequently canonized were strenuously resisted by the Samaritans is of itself a presumption that they would have resisted any part of the Pentateuch itself which was not unquestionably archaic in its claims. The genuine antiquity of the document as a whole, reaching back to some period far earlier than the Captivity, was thus tested in the fiery furnace of religious animosity. Jew and Samaritan, who differed wherever they could, agreed in accepting it as a whole, under circumstances in which every human motive which we can trace would have led the latter to resist and reject, had not proof been overwhelming. When this crowning difficulty is added to those previously detailed, I think any candid critic will allow that we need far stronger and more direct evidence than has yet been adduced to accredit the theory of a Pentateuch so largely post-Exilic.

It was remarked above that the sporadic notices in which the “priests' code" deals with the highly important subject, the priestly share of material offerings and dues, is inconsistent with the supposed conditions of that code's origin. This remark, indeed, has a much wider application. It applies to the large majority of all the subjects dealt with. I will be content with a single instance, that of the “vows,” of which we have so many instances in sacred history from the time of Jacob downwards. Isolated mention of vows in relation to the law of sacrifice, &c., occurs in Lev. vii. 16, xxiii. 38, and Num. xxix. 39; but besides these we have sections devoted to the subject, but far apart, in Lev. xxii. 18-23, and the larger part of xxvii. Again, in Num. xv. 3, 8, and all xxx., the subject is rehandled, to say nothing of the specially important “ Nazarite" vow dealt with separately in vi. 2-21, and of the various sections of Deuteronomy which deal with or glance at the subject (Deut. xii. 6, 11, 17, 26, xxiii. 18, 21-23). Now, can any one believe that a conclave of experts, commanding ample leisure and having all materials of record or tradition in their own keeping, would have discharged their functions in this loose and scattered way? This subject would need a large amount of minute scrutiny to handle it exhaustively; but what is said above will be confirmed by the most cursory student of the sacred text. Viewed jurisprudentially, the law is in very large part a tangle of “retractations” in the strict sense of the word, and hardly anywhere carries a subject consistently and exhaustively through consecutive sections. This fact is a counter argument to the theory we have been discussing, the weight of which is sure to grow with a closer study of the Pentateuchal text itself.

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THE CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER OF THE ERLIER VISIONS

OF ISAIAH.
By Rev. F. TILNEY BASSETT, M.A., Prebendary of Wells and

Vicar of Dulverton. It is well known that many modern scholars consider the book that goes by the name of Isaiah to be the product of different pens. Some content themselves with dividing the work into two parts, making the point of separation at the fortieth chapter. Others distribute various portions to various authors. . The main reason that underlies this theory of dismemberment is based upon the foregone conclusion that prediction of minute particulars is impossible, and hence that the exact account given of the fall of Babylon and the restoration of the Jewish people under Cyrus must have been written after those facts had become history. The linguistic argument to confirm this theory was an afterthought, and is growing to be abandoned by the best scholars, as no valid results have been obtained. Internal evidence has been appealed to, but the estimate of individual minds depends so much upon the subjectivity of the critic, that unless positive facts are enunciated we are led into the dreamland of fancy, rather than inside the vestibule of certainty and truth. Some very strange and unworthy mistakes have been made also in this branch of the controversy, hence the arguments derived from this source are often nugatory and worthless.

But a “stone of stumbling" has been found in the path of progress -the thirteenth chapter, in the very centre of that portion of the work which is universally admitted to be from the pen of Isaiah, predicts the same impending ruin of Babylon. It is almost past credence that the modern critics, falling against this “rock of offence,” declare their conviction that this passage must have been detached from its proper connection, and been interpolated here at a later date. Such a mode of dealing with evidence is mere trifling.

To support the suggestion that the component parts of this book have been subject to dislocations, and that this transference of passages is of ordinary and frequent occurrence, it has been asserted that the whole of the introduction, chapters i.-v. inclusive, is a prophecy or cluster of prophecies which Isaiah received and delivered at some period or periods after his call to the prophetic office, which call took place, according to chap. vi., in the year that Uzziah died. The vision described in this chapter, it is urged, was the first that Isaiah experienced, and therefore the preceding portion, though standing first in place, must be posterior in chronological arrangement. All that can be said to this is that the case is possible, but not at all probable; and further, that there are grave critical reasons for doubting, and good grounds for rejecting, such a theory altogether.

The first chapter begins with the statement—"The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw iin," and the second chapter is introduced with“ The word or matter 7271 which Isaiah saw; the verb is the same. Attention does not seem to have been directed to the fact that when in the narration of prophetic visions this verb is used, it always signifies the beholding of a group of objects or combination of circumstances which forms a scene in which certain events are portrayed and printed on the mental eye of the beholder; but there is no instance in the prophetic writings in which this verb is used in connection with a sight of the Divine Being. When a manifestation of God Himself is granted to the seer, the verb 087 is found.

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