Chapter IV

CHAPTER IV.

THE MESSIANIC PROPHECIES OF THE TIME OF JOSHUA AND OF THE JUDGES.

§ 13. Yahweh and His Anointed in the Thanksgiving Song of Hannah.

TT\ HE great song of Moses really treats of the changing relation of Israel to his God, without there being an occasion to mention a divinely-anointed One; but the Mosaic law of the king (Deut. xvii. 14 ff.) shows how near the thought of a king was immediately before the conquest of Canaan. The peoples with whom Israel had to do were all under a monarchial form of government.1 The royal rule which the legislation had in view, and for which it had prudently given rules, became in the time of the Judges an object of longing and hope. The song, 1 Sam. ii. 1—10, in which Hannah in Shiloh, as a richly blessed mother, after long disgrace, praises the Lord, closes with words which show how the people, during the torn condition of the popular bond at that time and of heathen

1 See concerning the law of the king, Der Gesetzhodex des Deuteronomiums, Zeitschriftfiir Kirchliche Wissemchaft, u.s.w., Leipzig 1880, pp. 559-567.

degeneration, comforted themselves with the future prospect of a united royal government:

10 Yahweh, His adversaries shall be broken in pieces,
It thunders before Him in heaven—
Yahweh will judge the ends of the earth,
And will grant power to His king,
And will exalt the horn of His anointed.

We do not deny the possibility that the song, without being composed by Hannah, may only have been assigned to her by a historian; but we deny decidedly that it does not harmonize with her position and feelings, and that therefore it could not be composed by her. She sees in her elevation from disgrace to honour the wonderful power of God, which humbles the high and exalts the lowly; for that is the manner of the true poet, to idealize his experiences, that is, to place them under a universal point of view, and to behold the great in the small, the whole in the individual, the essential in the accidental. And why should not Hannah, who had borne Samuel under her heart, the founder of the school of the prophets, who anointed David the sweet singer of Israel, not have possessed the gift of poetry ?1 Or are we to think of

1 Klostermann calls this song merely one speaking out of the soul of Hannah, but not a psalm composed by her. A dictatorial assumption of that which cannot be proved! This song, like all old songs, is not strophical; but he forces upon it a form of composition in tetrastichs, and concludes from this arbitrary presupposition that the last two lines (ver. 106) must be a later addition, after the example of Ps. xxix. 11. Moreover, the song pleases us in the traditional text far better than in his wild corrected one, as, e.g., ver. 10: "It is Yahweh who frightens

David in the mention which is made of the divinelyanointed one, so that the close of the song expresses a hope out of David's age assigned to the time of the Judges, and which therefore excludes Hannah's authorship? But the true state of the case is this, that the anointed of God who is hoped for is neither David nor an ultimate Messiah after the conclusion of a long series of kings; rather there stands before the soul of the poetess an ideal king whom Yahweh has appointed, and through whom He brings His cause to victory. We have to do here with the casting down of the enemies of Yahweh from one end of the earth to another, and with the raising up of the Messianic kingdom, or, as we can say without introducing anything which does not belong there, with the raising up of the kingdom of God in His Christ, after the thunder and lightning of divine judgment have made way for this kingdom. The political use of power, which concerns the preservation and elevation of the nation, attain here to an ethical inwardness, which does not appear in Balaam's prophecy.

§ 14. The divinely-anointed One in the Threatening Prophecy concerning the House of Eli.

The prophecy in 1 Sam. ii. 27-36 shows how anxiously the period of the Judges looked after a

away His enemies, He who rides on high in heaven and thunders. Cf. on sbv in his commentary on Ps. xlii., and in mine. We cannot decide whether Dy'V i3 considered active: "He thunders," or impersonal: "it thunders."

future king of Israel, in which an unknown t^K D'n^N [man of God] announces to Eli and his house the loss of all previous high-priestly dignity and all sorts of punishment without absolutely denying to the members of this house entrance to the priestly service. This prophecy in connection with 1 Kings ii. 27, 35 and Ezek. xliv. is a main prop for the degradation of the Elohistic Torah, or the so-called Priests' Code, into the post-exilic period, since it is thought that this prophecy, which is assigned from the post-Deuteronomic standpoint to the time of the Judges, deprives the entire Aaronic original house of Eli of the priestly prerogatives, and prepares the transition to Zadok, an upstart from an unknown race. Indeed the prophecy sounds as if not only the house of Eli, which, as appears from 1 Chron. xxiv. 3, 5, was derived from Ithamar, the second son of Aaron, but as if his entire priestly patriarchal house, was to be destroyed. But [the assumption] that Zadok was not a Levite contradicts the sense of the Old Testament Scriptures in all their parts, hence it is emphasized as one of the illegal acts of Jeroboam (1 Kings xii. 31), that he even appointed priests who were not Levites ; and there is not adequate ground for holding that the genealogical tracing of Zadok back to Eleazar, the first-born of Aaron, by the chronicler (1 Chron. v. 30-34, vi. 35-38, xxiv. 3, cf. xxvii. 17; Ezra vii. i. f.), is designed to be a concealment of his obscure origin. The true state of the case is therefore this, that in ver. 27 the patriarchal house of Eli is regarded as the same with the priestly house of Levi, chosen since the exodus from Egypt in the person of Aaron, and those descendants of Aaron are excluded from the promise of a constant official service before God made to the entire priestly house of Levi, who do not honour the Lord through their walk, but who dishonour Him. This concerns, however, the present priestly house of the line of Ithamar. This line is threatened with deep degradation and with the transition of the highpriestly office, whose insignia is the wearing of the ephod, to a better priest than Eli. This better priest, according to ver. 34 f., seems to belong to the immediate future; but the prophecy was fulfilled only gradually, and not in its entire severity.

Abiathar, the son of Ahimelech, who, as Saul caused the priests in Nob to be assassinated, escaped with the ephod to David, and shared with him the troubles of the time of persecution (1 Sam. ii. 20 and further), is the last high priest of the line of Ithamar. He it was who, for the benefit of Adonijah, had entered into the conspiracy against Solomon, and was therefore deposed by Solomon and banished to Anathoth, which, according to 1 Kings ii. 27, was regarded as a fulfilment of the divine word which went forth against the house of Eli. But, according to 1 Sam. xiv. 3, Ahijah, a grandson of Eli, still wore the high-priestly ephod in Shiloh; later according to 1 Sam. xxi. 2, xxii. 9 ff., Ahijah's brother, Ahimelech, served in Nob and made known the divine will, and also that Abiathar, who escaped from the massacre by Saul, and who along with Zadok remained true to David in the persecution of Absalom (2 Sam. xv. 24, xvii. 15), is still named under Solomon as priest (1 Kings iv. 4) along with Zadok, although in the second place.

The threatening prediction, therefore, concerning the house of Eli, has not at all the appearance of a fiction; it also has in the two difficult passages with (I Sam. ii. 29a, 32a) the stamp of ancient tradition.1 According to this, we are not to think that it is Solomon who is intended, when it is said in ver. 35: "And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in my heart and in my mind; and I will build him a permanent house; and he shall walk before my anointed (wvfcr'xb) for ever." If this is really a divinely-granted glimpse into the future, we are obliged to recognise its ideal character without looking at the historical details. It pertains to a priest after God's heart, and to a king after God's heart, and to a lasting unbroken co-operation of both, and contains an actual proof that the hope of the believers toward the end of the period of the Judges was directed to a king, to be realized according to the theocratic idea, to a Messiah (Xpiar6s) of God.

1 It remains ever most probable that in 29a jiyD is the accusative of relation, and in 32a pjfo is signifies the "distress of the dwelling of God" (cf. imi fS, Job vii. 11. See Keil). The Septuagint reads in 29a, J^jq (dvaihi 6(p0uhftZ), which involves the transmutation of }t3J?3n into the contradictory I2JJ3n, and it leaves 32a entirely untranslated.