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Tbe Student's Old Testament

THE SONGS, HYMNS, AND PRAYERS

OF THE OLD TESTAMENT

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I. Narratives of the Beginnings of Hebrew History. (Nou Ready.)

Introduction. The Beginnings of Human History. Traditional
Ancestors of the Hebrews. Deliverance of the Hebrews from Egypt.
Life of the Hebrews in the Wilderness and East of the Jordan. Con-

quest and Settlement of Canaan.
II. Historical and Biographical Narratives. (Now Ready.)

Introduction. The United Monarchy: History of Northern Israel.
History of Judah. Re-establishment of the Jewish Community in
Palestine. The Maccabean Struggle. Life of the Jews of the Dis-

persion.
111. Sermons, Epistles, and Apocalypses of Israel's Prophets.

(Now Ready.) Introduction. The Prophets of the Assyrian Period. Prophets of Judah's Decline. Prophets of the Babylonian Exile. Prophets of the

Persian Period. Prophets of the Greek and Maccabean Periods. IV. Israel's Laws and Legal Precedents. (Now Ready.)

Introduction. Constitutional Laws. Criminal Laws. Private

Laws. Humanitarian Laws. Religious Laws. Ceremonial Laws.
V. The Songs, Hymns, and Prayers of the Old Testament.

(Now Ready.)
Introduction. Tribal and National Songs. Songs of Lamentation.
Songs of Love and Marriage. The Kingly and Messianic Psalms.
Hymns of Praise and Thanksgiving. Hymns of Adoration and Trust.

Prayers. Reflective and Didactic Psalms.
VI. Proverbs and Didactic Poems.

Introduction. Practical and Ethical Observations and Precepts.
Religious Proverbs. Gnomic Essays. Numerical Enigmas. Dis-
cussions of the Problem of Evil. Discussions Regarding the Value of
Life and Its Wise Enjoyment. Poems Describing Wisdom.

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CHARLES FOSTER KENT, Ph.D., Litt.D.

Woolsey Professor of Biblical Literature in Yale University

NEW YORK

CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS

Copyright, 1914, by

CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS

Published November, 1914

PREFACE

DURING the critical period of Bible study that is just passing, the Hebrew lyrics, and especially the great psalms of the Old Testament Psalter, have been to a certain extent neglected. The present generation, however, is beginning to experience the joy of rediscovering them. Like the Gospels in the New Testament, they are the real heart of the Old Testament. In them the innermost soul of the Jewish race is laid bare. In such psalms as the eighth, the twenty-third, the fifty-first, the ninetieth, the ninetyfirst, the one hundred and third, and the one hundred and thirty-ninth Israel's faith finds its noblest expression. These immortal hymns of praise and adoration are also the link that binds the Old to the New Testament. In their atmosphere Jesus was born, bred, and lived, Faith, hope, joy, love, loyalty, and service are the six virtues pre-eminently emphasized. A dauntless faith in God and in man; an invincible hope that the future holds in store only what is essentially good; a serene joy even in the presence of disaster and distress; a passionate love of nature, of nature's God, and of all his creatures; a devoted loyalty to the law, to the institutions and ideals of the race, and to the divine Father who inspired them; and, to crown all, a burning zeal to help the needy, the ignorant and erring, and to carry the knowledge of God and the blessings of true religion to the ends of the earth —these are the supreme contributions of the psalms to the present age. Here Israel's greatest prophets, priests, and sages speak out of the depths and richness of their own personal experience directly to the heart of modern

man.

The past century of biblical discovery and research has added much to our appreciation and interpretation of the Old Testament lyrics. The recovery of the ancient Egyptian, Sumerian, and Babylonian hymns has broadened our horizon by at least two millenniums. The discovery of Hebrew, Greek, and other texts, far older than those followed by the translators of the classic Authorized Version of the Bible, has made it possible to substitute in most cases original readings for uncertain conjectures. The rediscovery of the genius of Hebrew rhythm has placed in the hands of the modern translator a most valuable aid in recovering the original text. That the canons of textual revision must be faithfully applied to the Hebrew lyrics is strikingly illustrated by Psalm 18, which is quoted in toto in II Samuel 22. Out of the thirty or more variations between these two versions of the

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