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Fourth Period

FOURTH PERIOD.

FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE KINGDOM UNTIL ITS DIVISION, THE PERIOD OF DAVID AND SOLOMON, OR THE RISING AND SETTING OF THE ROYAL GLORY.

§ 36. The Failure of the Benjaminitish Kingdom.

AS from the commencement to the end of the creation light was preceded by darkness, so in the history of redemption the real beginnings of new crises are mostly preceded by those which are abortive, and which finally appear as the dark foil of the real. Such an abortive beginning was Cain, the firstborn of the seed of the woman, and Ishmael, the firstborn of the seed of the patriarchs; such an one, too, was Saul, the first king of Israel. For, while he was indeed the chosen and anointed of Jehovah, yet he was the king, after the pattern of the heathen, whom the people had defiantly secured by the rejection of Jehovah's kingdom. He was not the man to blot out the stain of the new beginning. But, also aside from Saul's untheocratic disposition, the new beginning was imperfect. The office of judge (shophet), as represented by Samuel, still continued, and the kingdom was almost exclusively military. It was only a first step towards the right

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form of the kingdom. On account of his autocratic behaviour in the war with Amalek, Samuel declared that Saul had forfeited the dominion. And from that time forth his nobler self was completely bound, he was attacked by a spirit of envy and melancholy, as if he were an usurper.

Eemark.—Saul's kingdom was not a pure gift of God, but he was nevertheless free, and according to 1 Sam. xiii. 13 the kingdom would have remained in his house if he had kept a theocratic disposition. But he did not keep it, and so divine government and human freedom interpenetrated to bring the history to the goal which God had decreed. Through Saul's disobedience, and his tragic end after the battle of Gilboa, the fleshly expectations of the people were punished, and room was made for the tribe of Judah, to which, from the beginning, the sceptre was promised.

§ 37. David's Typical Way to the Throne.

The luminous point whence, in the midst of this decadence, the true royal glory of Israel dawned, was Eamah. Here, in the school of the prophets at Nayoth, flourished under Samuel's fostering care poetry, music, and all the spiritual powers which were to become the satellites of the kingdom of promise. Thence Samuel was sent with the anointing horn to the house of Jesse in Bethlehem, that he might anoint the future king who was after God's heart. But David, although secretly anointed, was not a pretender. Saul was not abandoned by God until he entirely abandons himself. When David, through his victory over Goliath, had decided the war with the Philistines, Saul's love towards him was turned into envy and hatred. The night of persecution now begins, in which Saul's star gradually wanes before David's rising sun. As the future Christ of God is to be persecuted by the magistrates of His people unto death, but is thus advanced in His ascent to glory, so it was with David the present christ (anointed) of God. All his psalms from the time of persecution under Saul are typical, and even where the spirit of prophecy typically elevates the expressions of David concerning himself to prophecy (especially Ps. xxii.), the Messiah has no objectivity apart from David or above him. These psalms are Messianic on account of David's Messianic view of himself. He regarded himself as the Messiah of God,1 although, through his experiences and words, he is only a means for representing the Future One before His coming.

Eemark.—After David's anointing there were two anointed ones of God; but all the hopes for redemption, cherished by believers, were directed towards the new kingdom which was in process of formation. David must have appeared to himself after his anointing in an entirely different light. He had now become the person to whom the longing expectation of the believers turned, and he must have appeared to himself of all the greater significance for the redemptive history, in proportion as he was joyfully conscious of 1 Compare Delitzsch, Messianic Prophecies, Edinburgh 1880, p. 47.

THE FOUNDER OF THE KINGDOM OF PROMISE. 87

the fullest devotion to the idea of his royal office. The danger which threatens his life now threatens the hope of Israel, and the light of Israel's future would be extinguished together with his light. On the contrary, the expectation of his rescue is lost in a most glorious perspective view of the future. His victory and triumph is that of all true Israel, and his entrance into glory furnishes the material of a proclamation which glorifies Jehovah among all nations. In all these Psalms of David the speaking subject is not represented as a suffering righteous man, but as the king of Israel who is passing1 through suffering (compare Ps. xxxi. 17, lxix. 18, cix. 28, xxxv. 27, with lxi. 7).

§ 3 8. The Elevation of David as Founder of the
Kingdom of Promise.

David was about eighteen years of age when he was anointed by Samuel. The time of persecution under Saul lasted nearly a decade, for David was thirty years old when he became king in Hebron over Judah (2 Sam. v. 4). Even his real kingdom has a typically ascending scale. Seven and a half years he ruled only over Judah, and first after Ishbosheth's murder, of which he was guiltless, he was anointed king in Hebron over all Israel. Throned in a newly built palace, on Mount Zion, which he had taken from the Jebusites, he was now planning, first of all, to prepare a suitable place for the presence of Jehovah in Israel. He brought the ark from Kirjath-Jearim to Zion into a tent-temple which had been erected there, and then busied himself with a plan for building Jehovah a fitting temple of cedar. He then received a decisive order from God through Nathan (2 Sam. vii.; 1 Chron. xvii.) declining his proposal, but requiting it with the promise of an everlasting hereditary possession of the throne under God's fatherly protection. The Messianic hope is henceforth linked with the house of David, but the loss of glory, which he brings upon himself through great sins, makes it evident to him and the people that the Messianic hope is not to be attached to his person. Eemark.—It follows from 2 Sam. vii., 1 Chron. xvii.—

1 Compare Hengstenberg's Commentar fiber die Psalmen, Berlin 1849-1852.

(1) That the king, who is to be the complete fulfilment of the hope of Israel, must be a son (descendant) of David.

(2) That he will build the true temple of Jehovah, a temple, as is clear at a later time, which is nobler than the stone temple of Solomon, and that of the post-exilic period, Zech. vi. 12.

(3) That the relation of the father to the son, in which God places Himself to the king of the house of David, will attain in the future ideal king its profoundest depth and intimacy (Ps. ii. 7, 12). The seed of David, which is the object of the promise, is not one ruler, but a chain of rulers. Yet this seed is to be understood like the collective "he" (MOT, Gen.

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iii. 15, compare p. 25), which includes the Son of man par excellence as its centre and climax. Likewise the collective "he" (2 Sam. vii. 13, 14) includes in itself the Son of David in the highest sense, and the Founder of the true temple of God, which is the' Church.

§ 39. The Fate of the Messianic Hope.

At the beginning of the very year in which David, by the victorious completion of the Syrio-Ammonitic war, attained the summit of external power, he plunged, through his adultery with Bathsheba, into the deepest misery. He is also, as betrayed by Ahithophel, still a type, but the persecution through Absalom belonged to the fourfold payment, which he had specified for himself (2 Sam. xii. 6); and the 110th Psalm, as well as his last words on his death-bed (2 Sam. xxiii. 1-7), show how, in consequence of his consciousness of his own guilt, the image of the Messiah was separated from his subjectivity, and came before him as a majestic form of the future. The prediction concerning the kingdom of the promise in Ps. lxxxix. 37 sq. is, that it shall continue as long as the sun and moon. But the sun of the house of David rises and sets, and the longing of the believers, so far as they expected a fulfilment in kings of the house of David, and especially in Solomon (1 Chron. xxii. 7-10, xxviii. 10, xxix. 1; 1 Kings v. 19, E. V. ver. 5, viii. 17-20), is disappointed again and again. The comfort of the believers in this interchange of light and darkness is Jehovah of Hosts, whose name is the characteristic of the history of the kings, the God of the heavenlyhosts, whose fervent love will nevertheless work out salvation, and will cause a sun to rise for the house of Israel and the people of David which will never go down again.

Eemark 1.—As David, betrayed by Ahithophel, leaves Jerusalem accompanied by those of his companions who had remained true to him; so Jesus, betrayed by Judas, leaves Jerusalem accompanied by those of His apostles who had remained faithful. David crosses the Kidron, and halts at one of his favourite places on the mount of Olives, where he was wont to pray1 (2 Sam. xv. 32). As the sons of Zeruiah begged for permission to take revenge on Shimei, and David forbade him; so Jesus forbade the sons of Salome, when they wished to take vengeance on the Samaritans (Luke ix. 52-56); and as Ahithophel, after the betrayal was accomplished, hanged himself; so did Judas, when he saw that the fate of Jesus took a different turn than he had anticipated. The Lord Himself explains (John xiii. 18) that Ps. xli. 10 is fulfilled in the act of Judas Iscariot; and in John xvii. 12, Acts i. 16, it is in general presupposed that the deed

1 [2 Sam. xv. 30, 32: "And David went up by the ascent of mount Olivet. . . . And it came to pass that when David was come to the top of the mount, where he was wont to pray to God," etc. The English version fails to express the idea of customary action which is indicated by the imperfect ninriB"—C.]

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and end of the traitor are predicted in the Old Testament Scriptures.

Eemark 2.—The 110th Psalm is characterized as prophetic through two oracular words of God, which elsewhere are unknown. There David calls the future Christ his Lord, and beholds in spirit the priestly and royal glory of the Conqueror of the world. The psalm rests on a typical foundation, but is prophetic, and hence directly Messianic. The last words of David (2 Sam. xxiii. 1-7) indicate that the expectation of the ideal Messiah will yet be realized within his house. He has the Future One before him as a righteous ruler among men, a ruler in the fear of God, whose dominion is like the rising of the sun, which fructifies the earth, on a cloudless morning.

Eemabk 3.—The Messianic hope now progresses all the while further in such a form that, so far as it is attached to a king of the present or of the immediate future, it proves in every case to be deceptive. Through the contrast of the Davidic rulers with the ideal of the kingdom of promise, the Messianic hope is transferred more and more to the final period, and hence becomes eschatological. As sacrifice awakens a longing for the removal of the barriers which hinder an intercourse with God, so the kingdom awakens a longing after the truly anointed of God. For Messianic prophecy always gains in intensity, when the present incumbent of the kingdom is a caricature of its ideal.

Eemark 4.—God is called Jehovah of Hosts, not

as commander of the armies of His people,1 but as commander of the heavenly armies;8 for of twentynine places which speak of the hosts of Israel, twenty belong to the Pentateuch, and yet this name of God is unknown in the Pentateuch, including the Books of Joshua and Judges. It first appears in 1 Sam. i. 3, hence on the threshold of the history of the kingdom. Thus interpreted, it signifies the God of omnipotent power in heaven, who victoriously accomplishes His work of salvation. The gloria of the heavenly hosts at the birth of Christ shows what meaning the name has, and to what goal it points.

*

§ 40. Retrospective View of David" s Personality.

The fundamental trait in David's character is a deep and tender susceptibility, which, although even for a time it may yield to lust or the pressure of the world, yet always quickly rises up again in repentance and faith, and the fundamental trait of his time is a rapid succession of tribulations and consolations, of exaltations and humiliations. David's poetry of the psalms has arisen from a disposition at one time elegiac, at another hymnic, which has been occasioned by these abrupt transitions. In his psalms, which are the fruits of his external and internal struggles, he is the immortal witness to the old as well as to the Christian world

1 See Schrader in the Jahrbiicher fur protestantische Theologie, Leipzig 1875.

8 Compare Delitzsch, Lutherische Ze.ilschrift, Leipzig 1874, pp. 217-222.

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(Isa. lv. 4). The poetical gifts of Asaph and the sons of Korah, although they are so peculiar, have been kindled by David. His psalms unite in themselves the prophetic stamp of the Asaphic and the priestly character of the Korahitic. In general, the offices of king, prophet, and priest are united in no Old Testament person to any such extent as in David. And yet the typical significance of the beginning of the kingdom of promise is not exhausted in him; David's typical character is supplemented by that of Solomon. Eemark 1.—The psalms are the fruit of the working of the Divine Spirit, under which David was placed after his anointing; but there are, besides, two other productions which indicate his noble and sanctified humanity,—

(1) The elegy over Saul and Jonathan (2 Sam. i. 19-27). As in view of the remains of a friend all the pain which he caused us while living is forgotten in the remembrance of his excellences, and the kindness which he showed us, so David no longer has a memory for the period of persecution now past. He is a man, and not the judge of the dead. Therefore Saul stands before him only in his virtues, and he celebrates not only Jonathan, but also Saul, as loved ones who can never be forgotten. We see in this case that anger belongs only to the accidental utterances of noble souls, whose constant motive is love. David's noble and sanctified humanity is also manifested—

(2) In his lament for Abner (2 Sam. iii. 33 sq.). It must have seemed to David, from a prudential point of view, that Abner's death was a piece of good fortune. But the strength of his moral indignation does not suffer itself to be assuaged by worldly consideration?. He openly and decidedly frees himself from all complicity with the villanous deed. He curses Joab, who assassinated Abner, follows Abner's bier, and lingers weeping and fasting at his grave until sunset.

Eemark 2.—It also appears elsewhere in the history of salvation that two persons or things form together a pair (syzygy), since they represent the two correlated sides of the future; as, for example, Elijah and Elisha are types of the suffering and the glory of the future Prophet; Joshua and Zerubbabel are types of the future priestly King; the goat designed for sacrifice on the altar (Lev. xvi. 15 sqq.), and the azazel goat (Lev. xvi. 26) of the day of atonement, are types of the future imputative and actual putting away of sin; such a pair of types are also David and Solomon.

§ 41. The Character of Solomon and of his Age.

David is the type of the course of Christ through

humiliation to glory, and Solomon (1 Kings i.-xi.;

2 Chron. i.-ix.) is the type of this glory itself. He is

the man of rest,1 as his name indicates. His time was

the most fortunate for Israel. Never did Israel take a

more respected position among the nations, never did

1 1 Chron. xxii. 9: "Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and rest unto Israel in his days."

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it stand to them in such a peaceful intercourse of material and intellectual interchange. Israel saw itself placed at that time in such a fulness of relations to the world, in riches and elements of culture, as it had never experienced before; and Solomon, with a high consciousness of his nationality, knew how to master these relations to the world without surrendering anything of Israel's honour. His sesthetic taste knew how to transform these riches into a beautiful adornment for his court, Jerusalem, and his empire. His wisdom (1 Kings iii. 7) knew how to unite these elements of culture into a whole which was permeated by the religion of Jehovah. Israel under Solomon was carried beyond itself to become a type of the Church, which is freed from its Old Testament barriers, and spiritually rules the world.

Eemark.—Phoenicia and Egypt, the abodes and the laboratories of inherited wisdom and art, were at that time kingdoms connected with Israel on close terms of friendship. Hiram was Solomon's friend, and a daughter of Pharaoh was his wife. The ships of Israel at that time went from the Eed Sea to Tarshish, that is, Tartessus in Hispania baetica, and to Ophir, which is (according to Lassen's probable conjecture) on the shore of Abhira, between the delta of the Indus and the gulf of Cambay, and brought from thence the products and learning of strange lands, which had been previously closed to Israel.

§ 42. Characteristics of the Chokma.

The tendency of the age of Solomon in relation to the tendency of that of David, may be compared to the tendency of Alexandrian Judaism in relation to that of the Palestinian. It is directed to the human, the ideal, and the universal elements in Israel's religion and history, and connects the essence of the Israelitish religion with the elements of truth in heathenism. As knowledge (gnosis) goes forth from faith (pistis), so the age of Solomon is the new age of wisdom (chokma), which has gone forth from the age of David. While prophecy serves the process of redemptive history, chokma hastens on before it, and anticipates the universal ideas, through which the adaptation of the religion of Jehovah to become the religion of the world is recognised. The Book of Proverbs, the Book of Job, and Solomon's Song are products of this intellectual, and, to a certain degree, philosophical tendency. In the Book of Proverbs the name of Israel nowhere occurs, but that of man (adam) is found all the more frequently. The hero of the Book of Job is a personal and actual proof of the grace which is also active outside of Israel, and the entire book is a protest against the legal pride of orthodox Phariseeism, which, having run fast into the dogma of retribution, is not able to keep sin and suffering apart. And Solomon's Song is a circle of dramatic pictures which place before our eyes the love of man and woman in its monogamous and divinely sanctified ideality. All these three books THE CHOKMA. 97

treat of the relation of man, as such, to God and man. From this we perceive how little there is that is specifically Israelitic in the Solomonic literature.

Eemark 1.—We see the preparation for this largeness of heart, and for the removal of the husk of nationality from humanity in the Psalms; for (1) in them the desire is expressed in many ways that the heathen may be drawn into the fellowship of salvation; and (2) in them the ceremonial of the Tora is already broken in pieces, so that the spirit does not recognise it at all except as symbolic. Samuel gave expression to a thought which in this respect can be considered as one of the productive germs of the poetry of the Psalms, 1 Sam. xv. 22, 23: "Hath Jehovah as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of Jehovah? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, to hearken than the fat of rams; for disobedience is the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is teraphim-wickedness."r

Eemark 2.—There are scarcely two books which furnish a greater contrast in their contents than Solomon's Song and the Book of Job; the former bounds like a gazelle in the spring-time and sunshine, the latter wades through the mire of deep suffering and enigma; and between them the Book of Proverbs moves with a cheerful earnestness through the "vanity fair" of life. But all three books are of one character. They are not specifically Israelitic, but place themselves upon

1 This translation rests upon an amended reading proposed by some critics which omits the connective before D^SID in ver. 23.—C.

the basis of pure humanity. The allegorical interpretation of Canticles makes Solomon a prophet or a mystic, but he was neither the one nor the other.

Eemark 3.—The epos and the drama are peculiar to the Indo-Germanic race. The peoples of Islam first received epics and dramas through the Persians, who were converted to Islam; but in the time of Solomon the Israelitish literature was removed only a step from the development of the drama. The Song of Solomon and the Book of Job are dramas: the one, even as the ancients called it, is a comedy, the other a tragedy. But the one stills lies in the swaddling-clothes of lyric poetry, and the other in the swaddling-clothes of historiography. The Book of Job also resembles the classic tragedy in other respects. Job is a tragic hero. He maintains an unshaken consciousness of his innocence before the decree which crushes him like fate. But the result of the drama is not here, as in the ancient tragedies, that the fate destroys him, but that Job's idea of the fate (decretum absolutum) itself, that is, his false conception of God, is annihilated as a phantom of temptation.

§ 43. The Building of the Temple.

The crowning point of Solomon's glory was the day when the temple was dedicated. Even in his dedicatory prayer, joy, freedom, and largeness of heart prevail in his view of divine and human things, which is peculiar to that time of peace (1 Kings viii. 22-53,

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especially vers. 37-40). Jehovah made Himself known in wonderful manifestations of His presence to this temple, which was founded with the intent that it should become a house of prayer for all nations (1 Kings viii. 10-12; 2 Chron. vii. 1-3). The wandering tent had now become a fixed palace. But Jehovah did not consent to this palatial building without reluctance; and although Solomon sees in it the fulfilment of the promise (1 Kings viii. 12-21), yet this magnificent building of hewn stone and cedars, in which Phoenician art had participated to as great a degree as Israelitish incitement and work, could not possibly be the house that the promise finally had in view; hence the history of Israel immediately takes a turn, which aims at destroying this glory, since it is still only cosmical, and is incongruous with the gracious thoughts of God.

Eemark. — In the prayer which Solomon utters before the altar, with hands raised toward heaven, he prays, among other things, if any kind of plague burdens the land, that then Jehovah, as knowing the hearts, may answer every suppliant as it seems good to Him, even those who are not Israelites, who come thither to pray, "that all peoples of the earth may know Thy name, may fear Thee like Thy people Israel" (vers. 37-40). Jehovah acknowledged even this temple. The cloud of His glory filled it, so that Solomon said, setting forth and praising the majestic mystery, "Jehovah hath determined to dwell in thick darkness" (1 Kings viii. 12). But all indications of God's gracious presence were only an accommodated condescension in accordance with the educational plan of the divine love. When the stone letter of the law shall once become spiritualized, then, too, this stone temple is to give way to a spiritual temple of living stones (1 Pet. ii. 4 sq.), and therefore the history of Israel immediately takes a turn in the direction of this goal.

§ 44. The Division of the Kingdom.

It is a law of every earthly thing, that when it has once attained the height of its completion, it disappears like a fleeting shadow of the Eternal. The Solomonic glory at its culmination carried in itself the germs of decay. The consequences which the Mosaic law was designed to preclude by shutting off Israel from the nations, and prohibiting the king from the luxury of Oriental rulers (Deut. xvii. 14 sqq.; compare 1 Sam. x. 25), were not prevented. Moreover, the old envy of the tribes of Joseph still smouldered beneath the ashes. Even under David it had found vent for itself in the hostile and repeated demonstrations of the tribe of Benjamin. But Solomon not only did nothing to hinder the danger of a division of the kingdom, he even brought it on, since he cultivated a feeling which was favourable to desires for a false freedom, and at the same time he increased to the utmost the dissatisfaction with the burden of work and taxation occasioned through boundless luxury in the mainten

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ance of his court. An inward voice did not leave him in uncertainty concerning what was impending (1 Kings xi. 9-13). Even while he yet lived there went forth from that very Shiloh, whence the blessing of Jacob had dated the world-empire of Judah, the prophet Ahijah, who tore the government of Judah in pieces, and took from him ten tribes of his own people.

Eemark.—The law of the king (Deut. xvii. 14 sq.) is now held to have been occasioned by the luxury of the Davidic court after Solomon, and that its form was determined by these circumstances. But after all, this can only be said of the prohibition, which forbids the king to multiply wives, horses, and treasures. Yet a motive is given for the warning against multiplying horses—that he may not lead the people back again to Egypt—which can scarcely be understood otherwise than as from the Mosaic age;1 and we may therefore believe that this law of the king is essentially Mosaic, and that perhaps even Samuel's law of the kingdom2 was based on Mosaic foundations.

1 Compare Delitzsch, Der GesetzJcodex des Deuteronomium, in Luthardfs Zeitsckri/t, Leipzig 1880, p. 564 sq.

2 1 Sam. ix. 25: "Then Samuel told the people the law of the kingdom, and wrote it in a book, and laid it up before Jehovah," etc.