Fifth Period



§ 45. The Four Epochs and their Two Characteristic Powers.

THIS period, which lasts nearly four hundred years, is divided into the following four epochs:—

First Epoch: From the contemporaneous reigns of Eehoboam and Jeroboam I. to the contemporaneous reigns of Asa and Ahab, that is, the four last years of Asa's reign and the three first of Ahab's (975915 B.c).

Second Epoch: From the contemporaneous reigns of Jehoshaphat and Ahab to those of Amaziah and Jeroboam Il, that is, the last fifteen years of Amaziah's reign and the first fifteen of Jeroboam's (914-811 B.c).

Third Epoch: From the contemporaneous reigns of Uzziah and Jeroboam n. to the fall of the kingdom of Israel, that is, until the sixth year of Hezekiah's reign (810-722 B.C.).

Fourth Epoch: From the seventh year of Hezekiah's


reign until the fall of the kingdom of Judah (721586 B.C.).

World-empire and prophetism are from this time forth the main factors in redemptive history. While God makes the world-empires the means of punishing and disciplining His people, prophecy raises itself at the same time announcing God's wrath, and in the midst of wrath comforting His people with His love. Henceforth these two factors give Israel's history its peculiarity and movement. The prophets represent the true spiritual character of the law. They represent that pragmatism of the history of Israel which is for ever established in Deut. xxxii., and xxviii.-xxx., Lev. xxvi. And in proportion as Israel's history becomes interwoven with the world's history, the prophet's horizon and mission are expanded.

Eemark 1.—World-empire is a political, and at the same time an ethical idea. As a political idea, it indicates a kingdom whose circuit is almost co-extensive with the entire ancient civilised world. The name is the translation of civitas mundi, monarchic/, mundi, for which Sleidan (b. 1506, d. 1556) uses imperium summum} and is certainly hyperbolic. The distinguishing characteristic of the world-empire is the lust for conquest, which seeks to subdue the entire world; and a means of subjugation which is peculiar to it is the expatriation of rebellious peoples from their native lands. As an ethical conception, world-empire

1 His work, De quatuor summis Imperm, first appeared in Strassburg, 1556.

is the world-power in which the worldly dominion and civilisation which are antagonistic to the kingdom of God culminate. We have already seen that the city of Cain was the beginning of this world-empire (civitas mundi); Eome is the last link in this chain.1

Eemark 2. — The Judsean succession of kings reckons ninety-five years from the division of the kingdom until Jehu and Athaliah contemporaneously assumed royal power, and the Israelitic ninety-eight years. Prom that point until the fall of Samaria, in the sixth year of Hezekiah, the succession of the kings of Judah embraces one hundred and sixty-five years; that of Israel, one hundred and forty-four. These differences admit of a reconciliation through the assumption of co-regencies (2 Kings xv. 5) and of interregnums. But the synchronism of the Judasan and of the Babylonio-Assyrian history lays before us hard riddles. The latter chronology is found in the canon of Ptolemseus, in the eponymous lists of Assyria, and in the annals of Sargon and Sennacherib. Here the relation between the two modes of chronology is still the subject of investigation, but the following dates can be considered as fixed almost beyond controversy:—722 or 721 B.C., the fall of Samaria; 625, accession of Nabopolassar to the throne; 604, accession

1 Compare Delitzsch's Messianic Prophecies, Edinburgh 1880, pp. 62-65, where it is affirmed that "the world-empire, beginning with Assyria, becomes the inheritance at one time of this, at another time of that dominant people, finally of the Romans," and it is implied that the Roman world-empire still exists in fact as the world-power, although no longer under this old name.—C.



of Nebuchadnezzar; 587 or 586, fall of Jerusalem; 5 3 7, release of the exiles by Cyrus.

§ 46. The Relation of the Prophets to the Political and Religious Division.

The division of the kingdom was foretold by Ahijah as a divine punishment. It took place, therefore, by divine right (Jure divino); hence Shemaiah, as Behoboam arms himself against Jeroboam, comes between them, and tbe reunion of the tribes is not demanded by any prophet of either kingdom as a duty, but is only considered a future work of God. Yet the case with the religious division which immediately followed the political, is entirely different; for out of dynastic considerations Jeroboam sought to perpetuate the independence of his dominion by destroying the religious unity of both kingdoms, and by introducing a new mode of worship, which, without cutting loose from Jehovah, met the heathen lusts and Egyptian propensities of the masses through the choice of a symbol derived from the Egyptian steer-god, and flattered the Ephraimitic national pride by the choice of ancient places celebrated through the great national reminiscences connected with them (1 Kings xii. 26 sqq.; Amos iv. 4, v. 5, viii. 14; Hos. iv. 15). This syncretistic state religion (Amos vii. 10, 13), with its selfcreated priesthood, and its servile, fawning prophets, is considered by the prophets of Jehovah in both kingdoms as an accursed apostasy; and so every fraternization of the kings of Judah with the kings of Israel excites the displeasure of the prophets, even when it is favourable to the interests of the kingdom of Judah. Hence in the kingdom of Israel one royal family after another is smitten by the punitive prediction of the prophets, and is removed. In the kingdom of Judah such a change of dynasties was impossible; for the Davidic dynasty rested on an unqualified promise, and the regulations rendered sacred by law and promise were there recognised as legally valid, so that the bad reality was deservedly self-condemned; this self-condemnation is mediated by the prophets. They are the conscience of the state, but how mightily this conscience had to beat in Judah begins to appear even in the portraiture of the morals of Eehoboam and his age in colours which are black as night (1 Kings xiv. 21-24).

§ 47. The Preforrnative Character of the First Epoch.

First in view of the destruction of the people's unity, the prophetic office, which had been dumb for forty years, reappeared. The Solomonic period moves on the level heights of prosperity and possession, but after the partition of the kingdom, Israel's way goes, although for a few centuries upwards and downwards, nevertheless steadily down into the depths of the Assyrian and Babylonian banishment, and in this way prophecy is given to accompany the people as a preacher of God's counsel, which, in spite of error and judgment, will nevertheless be actualized. The physiognomy of the


people's history remains essentially similar until the twofold catastrophe. Nothing occurs in the following epochs which had not been prepared and delineated even in the first. The prophets of both kingdoms in the first epochs are, in their doing and suffering, forerunners and prototypes of the latter, e.g. Hanani, 2 Chron. xvi. 7-10, compare Isa. vii.; and the man of God, 1 Kings xiii., compare Amos vii. 10 sqq. The prophetic preaching had not yet at that time the subsequent oratorical perfection, but even then the prophecy of the first period was busied with the recording of the history of the time, and this prophetic historiography is really the source from which the literature of the properly prophetic books has been gradually developed.

Eemark.—The same Pharaoh Sheshonk I. (P^T), the founder of the twenty-second dynasty, who was Jeroboam's patron, made war against Judah, and plundered the temple and palace. This event, which is a prelude to the Chaldsean catastrophe, is bewailed by Ethan the Ezrahite (1 Kings v. 11, compare 1 Chron. ii. 6) in Ps. lxxxix. Even yet the image of Eehoboam is to be seen on the walls of the old royal palace of Egyptian Thebes (now Karnak). The Jewish lineaments are not to be mistaken. He is here presented to posterity as conquered by Egypt.

§ 48. The Israelitish Prophets of the Second Epoch.

In the second epoch (914-811 B.c.) falls the activity of Elijah, under the kings Ahab and Ahaziah, and of Elisha, under Joram, and under Jehu and Joash, with whom, after the dynasty of Omri, the mightiest and most enduring dynasty of the northern kingdom begins. Along with the prophets of the Jeroboamic worship, and with those of the worship of Baal and Astarte, which the Phoenician Jezebel had introduced, there were at that time also in the northern kingdom prophets of Jehovah like Micaiah the son of Imlah (1 Kings xxii.). These prophets of Jehovah are all surpassed by Elijah the Tishbite, and by Elisha of Abel-meholah, through whom the power and glory of Jehovah was manifested in great miracles in opposition to the dominant half-heathenism founded by Jeroboam, and the entire heathenism introduced by Jezebel. The life of Elijah represents the struggle of prophetism, and that of Elisha its triumph. Elijah wrestles unto blood with the idolatrous house of Omri, and its prophets and priests. Elisha only executes the curse which Elijah had laid upon the house of Omri, and then stands by the house of Jehu in high honour. Elijah is like the embodiment of the divine anger, and Elisha is like the embodiment of the divine blessing; and since to be persecuted by the world unto blood is esteemed by God more highly than to be honoured by the world, Elijah, who consumed himself in fiery zeal (compare Sirach xlviii. 1), is caught up in fire to heaven, but Elisha goes the way of all flesh, although not without having the power of life still manifested on his bones.

Eemark.—The following four dynasties held the royal power in Israel during the second epoch :—

Judaean Prophets Of The Second Epoch. 109

(1) The dynasty of Jeroboam: he reigned twentytwo years, and his son Nadab two years. Nadab was murdered by Baasha.

(2) The dynasty of Baasha: he reigned twentyfour years, and his son Elah two years. Elah was assassinated by Zimri, who maintained his power only seven days, and was put out of the way by Omri, who was elected by the people as king.

(3) The dynasty of Omri: he reigned for twelve years, during a part of which time Tibni was a rival king. Omri's son Ahab reigned twenty-two years, and was succeeded by his son Ahaziah for two years, and then by his second son Joram for twelve years, who was slain by Jehu.

(4) The dynasty of Jehu: he reigned twentyeight years, his son Jehoahaz seventeen years, Jehoahaz's son Jehoash sixteen years, succeeded by his son Jeroboam n., who reigned forty-one years, followed by his son Zacariah, who was slain by Shallum, son of Jabesh, after a reign of six months. Shallum maintained the royal power only a month. The Joash mentioned above, the grandson of Jehu, is the one who wept over Elisha at his last illness.

§ 49. The Judcean Prophets of the Second Epoch.

The contemporaneous prophetical office of the kingdom of Judah did not accomplish any violent and mighty acts. Its activity consists in a fearless testimony against the fraternization of the two royal houses, and against idolatry.

Such testimonies were given against the alliance of the royal houses by Jehu, the son of Hanani, the seer, under Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and Ahab king of Israel (2 Chron. xix. 1-3), and by an anonymous prophet under Amaziah (2 Chron. xxv. 7-10); and against idolatry by Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada, under Joash (2 Chron. xxiv. 1722), and by an anonymous prophet in the time of Amaziah (2 Chron. xxv. 15 sq.). The prophets were also bearers of the promise of victory for the encouragement of the people, when they were in need of comfort and deserved it. Such was Jahaziel, the son of Zechariah, under Jehoshaphat (2 Chron. xx. 14-17). The completest unity of spirit existed between the prophets of both kingdoms (compare 2 Chron. xxii. 7).1 The letter of Elijah to Jehoram of Judah (2 Chron. xxi. 12-15) shows that a keen interest of the prophets of Israel in the destiny of the sister kingdom was presupposed; and what recognition the Israelitish prophets found in Judah appears from the religious significance which Elijah won in the consciousness of the Jewish people, for until the present day it is customary at the ceremony of circumcision to place a seat for him as an invisible guest. In Elijah the prophetic schools had gained a second Samuel as

1 The Book of Kings is a work of prophetical historiography, and the Judsean author considers the judgment which Jehu executed against the house of Omri, and which also befell Ahaziah the king of Judah, as a divine decree. Compare, on the other hand, how Hosea (i. 4) regards the bloody deed of Jehu after he had shown that he was an unworthy instrument of God.


their head. They now reappear in the foreground of history. Even that Jehu, son of Hanani, who prophesied to the house of Baasha its downfall (1 Kings xvi. 1-4), was, according to 2 Chron. xx. 34, author of a history of King Jehoshaphat.

Eemark.—Jehoshaphat, who reigned twenty-five years, was followed by his son Joram, who ruled eight years, and was perhaps a co-regent with his father (2 Kings viii. 16). Joram radically disappointed the wishes and expectations uttered in Ps. xlv., which seem to have been expressed on the day of his marriage.1 His wife was Athaliah, the daughter of Jezebel. He was succeeded by his son Ahaziah, who reigned one year, and who, together with the remaining members of the house of Jehu, was slain by Omri (2 Kings viii. 29, ix. 27). Then followed the dreadful rule of Athaliah for six years. All the members of the Davidic house were massacred, with the exception of Joash, who alone was rescued, and was secretly reared in the temple by Jehoiada the high priest; and when he was seven years of age he was presented to the people as the legitimate king, and Athaliah was slain. This Joash reigned fourteen years, and as a pious king so long as Jehoiada stood at his side as a mentor; after that he degenerated, until he became a murderer of the prophets. In the first half of Joash's reign the

1 See Delitzsch's Commentary on Psalms, Edinburgh 1871, in loco, where he maintains that this psalm is an epithalamium composed in honour of the marriage between Joram and Athaliah, and expresses the Messianic hopes which were connected with the £ of the son of Jehoshaphat.—C.

prophet Joel appeared; Joel is somewhat younger than Obadiah.

§ 50. Obadiah and Joel.

Under Joram, Jerusalem was given a second time into the hands of the heathen (2 Chron. xxi. 16 sq.; compare 1 Kings xiv. 25 sq.). The apostasy of Edom, and the plundering of Jerusalem at that time, which was a prelude to the Chaldsean catastrophe, in so far as a part of the Judsean people then became exiles, was the occasion of the literature of prophecy which began with Obadiah. Its first monument is a fugitive leaf against Edom, which, however, contains all the themes of prophecy in the time of the world-empires : Jehovah's judgment against the heathen; Israel's deliverance and the redemption of the world under the dominion of the victorious God of Israel.

Somewhat later, in one of the first thirty years of King Joash (about 860 B.C.), Joel appeared, who refers to Obadiah.1 He outdoes the two promises which concern the immediate future respecting the destruction of the locusts and the outpouring of the rain, by the eschatological promises of the outpouring of the Spirit upon all flesh, and the judgment upon the hostile nations in the valley of Jehoshaphat. The prophet

1 The passage which Professor Delitzsch thinks is directly referred to by Joel is verse 17 of Obadiah: "But upon Mount Zion shall be deliverance," etc. ; comp. Joel iii. 5: "For upon Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as Jehovah hath said [i.e. by Obadiah], and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call."—C.

himself is the teacher of righteousness (ii. 23).1 Obadiah prophesies, in ver. 21, the coming of saviours; but in Joel the final acts of salvation appear as Jehovah's own work, without thought of human intervention.2

Eemark.—In Obadiah, whose age is that of Lycurgus (ninth century B.C.) and of Joel, Greece already enters into the history of Israel, for Sepharad (T®9, ver. 2 0), where exiles from Jerusalem are placed, is probably Sparta, as city or country, perhaps as the home of the Dorians in Asia Minor. Joel says, in respect to the same event (iii. 6), that the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem were sold as slaves to the Grecians (\J3 D'?)'1!))- In the Persian cuneiform inscriptions of Behistun and Nakshi Eustem, Cparda and Juna stand together. The bringing down of Joel into the past exilic age8 by Duhm,4 Merx,6 Stade,6 and others, is one of the most rotten fruits of the modern criticism.

1 We translate: "For He has given you the instructor unto righteousness, and has caused to come down for you the rain, and the latter rain in the first month," that is, from this time forth. The English version is here objectionable, because it gives the rendering, "and He will cause," contrary to the traditional text, and is moreover tautological.

2 For the relation of Obadiah's prophecy to the Messianic idea, see Delitzsch's Messianic Prophecies, Edinburgh 1880, p. 57.—C.

* Comp. Delitzsch's Messianic Prophecies, Rem. 3, p. 110.—C.

4 Duhm, Die Theologie der Propheten, Bonn 1875.

5 Merx, Die Prophetic Joel und ihrer Ausleger, Halle 1879.

* Stade, Depopulo Javan, academical Programme with Latin title, but written in German, Giessen 1880. Compare the articles by Delitzsch in the Lutherische Zeitschri/t, Leipzig 1851; Wann weissagte Obadia ? p. 91; and Zwei sichere Ergebnisse im Betreff der Weissagungsschrift Joels, p. 306.

§ 51. The Doctrine and tlie Type of Jonah's History.

Obadiah and Joel are contemporaries of Elisha, nevertheless without having any relation to him; but Jonah, son of Amittai, may have proceeded from the school of Elisha, who, according to 2 Kings xiv. 25, had prophesied the restoration of the kingdom of Israel to its promised extent (Deut. iii. 17, iv. 49), a prophecy which was fulfilled by Jeroboam n.1 We see from this how very much the prophetism of the northern kingdom was at that time turned from the Messianic hope which had been connected, through the prediction in 2 Sam. vii., with the house of David. Nevertheless it becomes evident that all which was prophesied of the participation of other nations with Israel in the redemption, sprung from the depth of the divine decree, and not from the nature of the people. This clearly appears from the Book of Jonah. The commission to preach to the Ninevites, and to bring the heathen city to repentance through the preaching of judgment, and the thought of their finding pardon, are insupportable to the prophet. It requires divine interference to bring him to the accomplishment of the commission, and to make him ashamed of his narrow-minded sulkiness. But the conduct of the prophet is only the dark foil of this,wonderful

1 Some German commentators see in Isa. xv. xvi. this old prophecy of Jonah, which, according to Isa. xvi. 13, as they think, has been reproduced by Isaiah: But it is sufficient for the refutation of this hypothesis that Moab (Isa. xvi. 1) is summoned to send tribute to Jerusalem. Nowhere does a trace appear that the conquering people, which overcomes Moab, is the Israel of the northern kingdom.


book, which strengthens the universality of the redemption in the face of Jewish exclusiveness, not only with prophetic words, but through the facts of the prophet's history. We know, from Matt. xii. 39-41, and Luke xi. 30, what a far-reaching type Jonah's passage through a three days' sojourn in the belly of the fish is.1 Eemark.—The motive which drives Jonah to take a course diametrically opposed to God's commission is just that particularism which was active among the Jews of Pisidian Antioch (Acts xiii. 44 sq., compare 1 Thess. ii. 16), and from which even Peter, when he was to enter a heathen house with the preaching of redemption, had to be freed by a heavenly vision (Acts xi.). The Book of Jonah is an anticipation of this divine decision about seven centuries before, for the sending of Jonah to Nineveh probably falls in the time of the decline of the Assyrian empire under one of the kings, before his re-elevation under Tiglath-Pileser, who ascended the throne 745 B.c.2 The Book of Jonah is a foreign missionary book in the midst of the Old Testament. The predictions of the prophets against the nations otherwise go forth from the prophets' watchtower in Jerusalem; but Jonah, whose book follows Obadiah's in the canon, is himself sent as " an ambassador among the heathen" (Obad. ver. 1). Even the preaching of Jesus was directed to the circle of the

1 Compare Delitzsch's Messianic Prophecies, Edinburgh 1880, p. 59. —C.

2 See George Rawlinson, Five Great Monarchies, London 1871, vol. ii. p. 126.

people of Israel, and in this the apostles were also included before the ascension of the Lord. But here, even in midst of the Old Testament, the barriers to the announcement of salvation are broken down, and with them the barriers of the national exclusiveness.

§ 5 2. The Elevation of Prophecy in the Third Epoch.

After Tiglath-Pileser n. (Phul ?1), 745-728 B.C., Assyria became a colossus, through which the Israel of the northern kingdom was crushed. Judah likewise, brought to the brink of destruction, is yet rescued under Hezekiah; but it ripens for a like judgment, for the execution of which the Chaldseans are designated. The prophecy of this period, elevated through its allcomprehensive, far-reaching calling, and by the grandeur of its awe-inspiring and glorious character, unfolds the highest beauty of expression. The prophets are intent upon fixing the contents of their discourses in written form; for (1) their prophecies are of universal significance for all ages and nations; (2) the dispersion of Israel through Assyria and Chaldaja is impending; and (3) the time is no longer distant when prophecy itself will be silent. In this epoch, Messianic prophecy also breaks through the night and fire of judgment, more intensely and brightly than ever. Now for the

1 It is still a question whether Tiglath-Pileser and Phul are different names for one individual, or whether they indicate two different persons. Perhaps the former was the sovereign, and the latter his vassal king in Babylon.


first time the Messianic idea is decisively separated from the present. The image of the Messiah is painted in the pure ether of the future. It becomes the treasure of a faith which doubts the present, and therefore has become so much the more spiritual and heavenly.

§ 53. The Judcean Prophet of the Absolute One in the Kingdom of Israel.

In about the tenth year of Uzziah, that is, in the twenty-fifth of Jeroboam n., Amos appeared. His book is dark, but on the outmost edge (ix. 13—15) the light of promise rises. After he has promised that the sinful kingdom of Israel shall be sifted among the nations, but without a single noble grain being lost, he turns from Israel to Judah, and sees the house of David, now a falling hut (compare 2 Kings xiv. 13), rising from its ruins as a divine building, ruling, as in the former days, over distant nations in the midst of a richly prospered land, which he describes with the words of Joel. We have here the reanimation of the Messianic prophecy (compare Acts xv. 16, where the passage is cited according to the Septuagint) in the first stadium of its new progress. Elsewhere in the Book of Amos the progress of the New Testament in the Old is perceptible, especially in the depreciation of animal sacrifice (Amos v. 21 sqq., compare Acts vii. 42 sq.) and of the national preference of Israel (ix. 7, compare iii. 1 sq.).

§ 54. The Ephraimitie Prophet of Love.

At the end of Amos' activity the beginning of Hosea's is ushered in. The prophecy of Amos flows, as was first remarked by Magnus Friedrich Eoos (b. 1727, d. 1803), from the principle of the sovereignty of God the Judge, Hosea's from the principle of the love of God the Compassionate One. The Lamb is indeed still concealed in Jehovah, but in the third chapter the divine side of the promise finds its supplement through the human side. If we compare Hosea iii. 4 sqq. with Amos ix. 11, the restoration of the house of David, and in it of the unity and glory of Israel, is here already brought to a personal expression. Israel wins again what it has lost, and wins it through a second David.

Eemark.—Duhm says1 that in Amos the religious element is made subservient to the moral, while in Hosea the religious is almost absolutely dominant. The right view is, that Hosea makes love the centre of his idea of God, while Amos makes the power which serves justice the centre. Hosea is, as Ewald (b. 1803, d. 1875) has appropriately characterized him, the prophet of the highly tragical pain of love. It is characteristic that the symbolic representation of the future is mediated in Hosea by means of two marriages. The reason of this is, so to speak, in the erotic character of the prophet.

1 Theologie der Propheten, Bonn 1875, p. 127.


§ 5 5. Enrichment of the Knowledge of Eedemption under Ahaz.

The Messianic prophecy of this third epoch attains in Isaiah and his younger contemporary Micah its climax. The sixth year of Hezekiah, in which the northern kingdom was destroyed, is the terminus toward which Messianic prophecy constantly ascends, as represented by the two closely connected prophets. The Isaianic fundamental prophecy concerning ZemachJehovah (Isa. iv. 2, which is continued in Jer. xxiii. 5, xxxiii. 15; Zech. iii. 8, vi. 12) is still so held in clare-obscure, and is so enigmatical, that it is questionable whether the sprout of Jehovah is intended personally or as a thing. But after this prophecy, dating from the time of Jotham, there follows in the reign of Ahaz the trilogy of the Messianic prophecies in Isa. vii.-xii. The Son of the virgin whom Isaiah foresees in chapter vii. 14 as not yet born, already lies, according to chapter ix. 5 sq., in the cradle; and in chapter xii. the prophet beholds Him reigning, and describes the righteous, peaceful, and universal sway of this second David, who goes forth from the root of Jesse, that is, out of his stock, from the tree of the Davidic house, which has been deprived of its branches, but which is not without hope, after the forest of Lebanon, representing the world-power, has been cut down.

§ 56. The Fateful Turning-point of Old Testament History.

The time of Uzziah, fifty-two years, and of Jotham, sixteen years, was by far the longest period of peace and prosperity in the kingdom since its foundation. But self-confidence, luxury, devotion to heathen customs and modes of worship, were the principal evils of that period, in which Isaiah was called to proclaim the destruction of this false glory. Even towards the end of Jotham's reign, the fulfilment of what had been threatened was prepared. The hostilities of the Syrio-Ephraimitic league began (2 Kings xv. 37). Eezin, the king of Syria, whose capital was Damascus, took possession of the harbour Elath, which Uzziah had conquered from the Edomites (2 Kings xvi. 6; compare xiv. 22). The Judaeans who were dwelling there were carried to Damascus (2 Chron. xxviii. 5), and Ahaz was vanquished by Pekah, the king of Israel, in a terribly bloody battle, after which Oded rescued the numerous Judasan captives from the disgrace of slavery (2 Chron. xxviii. 6-15). Both of the armies of the allies, after they had been victorious separately, were now united together, and prepared the main attack against Jerusalem (Isa. vii. 2). In the midst of this danger, Isaiah appears with his son, Shear-jashub, before the king, promises him God's help, and professes his readiness to give every security by an earthly or heavenly sign; but Ahaz declines this, for he has already summoned


the help of Tiglath-Pileser, the king of Assyria. This is one of the most momentous turning-points in the history of both Israelitish kingdoms, for the complication with Assyria effected by Ahaz lays the foundation for the enslavement of Israel through the worldempire. It was the time at which Eome was already founded, the last link in the chain which was to fetter Israel.1 Here, on the threshold of the divine judgments, which are executed through the world-empire, Isaiah raises for the believers the banner of the Messiah. The picture which had previously remained in clare-obscure, growing dim and without any fixed outline, now becomes a richly coloured painting of a specific person with a divine essence.

§ 5 7. The Separation and Progress of the Image of the Messiah in Micah.

Micah in his book, which as it now lies before us was all written at one time, and was recited iu one of the first years of Hezekiah (Jer. xxv. 18 sq.), before the fall of Samaria (i. 6), first transposes the type of David, who attained from the herds (compare the allusion in iv. 8) and from lowly beginnings to the fulness of kingly power. He changes this image into a definite prophecy, and predicts that the Messiah will go forth from Bethlehem-Ephratah, at a time when the house of David will have sunk down to the

1 Compare Delitzsch'a Messianic Prophecies, Edinburgh 1880, p. 62, and supra, pp. 103, 104.—C.

lowliness of its origin (Micah v. 1). If we leave out of account the controverted prophecies of Isaiah, we shall find even in other respects that Micah in many ways transcends the measure of Isaiah's knowledge. For he not only predicts the Babylonian exile, but also the deliverance from it; and while Isaiah (vii.xii.) beholds the Messiah together with the Assyrian distresses, and the beginning of His kingdom with the downfall of Assyria, Micah, with far-reaching vision, sees the parousia of the Messiah after the Babylonian exile (Micah iv. v.; compare ii. 12 sq.). He indeed still calls the world-empire by its historical name Assyria (v. 4), or the kingdom of Nimrod (v. 5), yet not Zion and Assyria, but Zion and Babylon are for him opposite poles (vii. 8-10; compare iv. 10).

§ 58. The Prophecy ofthe Psalter and of the Book of Proverbs concerning the Son of God.

With the great prophecies of Isaiah and Micah is associated, as of equal importance, the prophecy of the author of the second psalm1 concerning God's Royal Son. Here the prophetic expressions concerning the divine personality of the future Christ, and concerning His origin, which extends back to hoary antiquity,2 are supplemented by the attestation of His Sonship, by Isaiah's Proclamation. 123

1 Compare Delitzsch's Messianic Prophecies, Edinburgh 1880, pp. 69, 70.—C.

s The Septuagint version of Micah v. 2, last clause, is: «*i i|»5»i m.vTou ir ifx'fis II ifufHt xiuief. "And his goings out are from the beginning, from days of the age."

which He has God as His Father, in an extraordinary way exceeding that of other Davidic kings (2 Sam. vii. 14). The Old Testament Scriptures contain also another reference to God's Son (Prov. xxx. 4), an enigmatic word of the chokma, which has a deeply significant relation to Psalm ii., when Proverbs viii. 22-31 is taken in connection with it. But this riddle of Agur' was but slightly regarded, while, on the contrary, the second psalm exercised the most important influence on the religious knowledge. The history of the knowledge of salvation is an essential part of the history of salvation; for what appears in the New Testament as a fact, prepared the way for itself in the consciousness of the Old Testament believers.

§ 59. Isaiah's Proclamation and his Activity under Hezekiah.

After Ahaz, who reigned sixteen years, hardened himself against the word of the prophet, a pause took place in the prophetic preaching. First in the year that Ahaz died, Isaiah began to prophesy again (Isa. xiv. 28); but the prophecies of Isaiah against the nations (xiii.-xxiii.) are probably transmitted only in their written form. The Messianic element consists solely in indefinite hints at the ideal King (xvi. 5, xiv. 29), but the prediction of the entrance of the nations rises all the higher (xviii. 7, xix. 24 sq.).1 A picture of Isaiah's public activity is given in his addresses (xxviii.—xxix., xxxii.), which are throughout contemporaneous with the first six years of Hezekiah, and in chapter xxxiii., from the midst of the Assyrian invasion.2 We here see that the time of Hezekiah will restore what Ahaz has destroyed. But even yet the politics are not theocratic. As Ahaz leaned in his conflict against Syria - Ephraim on Assyria, so now it was proposed to shake off the Assyrian yoke with the help of Egypt. This projected alliance of the court party was followed by the prophet through all the stages of its development with annihilating criticism. In Isa. xxviii. 16 he places another ground of confidence in opposition to that of the flesh.3 The precious corner-stone is the future Son of David, who even now, with invisible energy, is the unshaken bearer and Saviour of His people. The reason why the threatenings of Isaiah against Jerusalem (xxix. 1, xxxii. Ioj 13 sq.) were not fulfilled may be seen from Jer. xxvi. 17-19, where God is described as repenting of the evil, which he had determined against Judah, on account of Hezekiah's prayer.

1 See Ewald's Biblical Theology, entitled Die Lehre der Bibel, Gottingen, vol. iii. p. 82. Similar to Agur's enigmatic questions are the queries in the Big- Veda [compare Messianic Prophecies, p. 114]. The questions concern, as Levi Ben-Gerson (Ralbag) says, the causes of causes, hence the demiurgic powers of nature.

1 Compare Delitzsch's Messianic Prophecies, pp. 71, 72.—C.

* Sennacherib's invasion of Judah happened in one of the last years of Hezekiah; the four narratives, Isa. xxxvi.-xxxvii. andxxxviii.-xxxix., are transposed; the date in xxxvi. 1 belonged, as it seems, originally to the first pair.

3 Compare Delitzsch's Messianic Prophecies, pp. 72, 73.—C.


In chapter xxxiii. reproof and menace are directed against Assyria, because the best of the people, with the king at their head, have turned penitently to Jehovah. In the four narratives contained in Isa. xxxvi.-xxxix., the public activity of Isaiah in the Assyrian period comes to an end. The four narratives stand in unchronological order, for that which is narrated in Isa. xxxviiL-xxxix. precedes chapters xxxvi.-xxxvii. in order of time. The reason for the inversion is that Isaiah in xxxix. 5 sqq., as MerodachBaladan, the Assyrian vassal king of Babylon, sued for the favour of Hezekiah, foresaw the Babylonian worlddominion, and prophesied the Babylonian exile. The editor of Isaiah has made prediction Isa. xxxix. 6 sqq. the link which binds the two halves of the book together.

Eemark.—The apocalyptic finale (Isa. xxiv.-xxvii.) is a prophetic cycle of the greatest significance for the history of the progress of religious knowledge in the Old Testament The idea of salvation is here separated from its national externality, and is conceived as radically spiritual and human.

§ 60. Nahum and Hdbakkuk.

Nahum's appearance is connected with the end of Isaiah's and Micah's activity. He beholds in the fall of Assyria the fall of the world-empire in general, and thereafter the restoration of the unity and glory of entire Israel. His standpoint is subsequent to the Assyrian invasion, which ended with the defeat of Sennacherib, but before his assassination in the temple of Nisroch, at the time when Judah had to fear a terrible revenge from Assyria. At this time Nahum prophesied the final end of the Assyrian world-empire, without knowing that the world-empire would rise against Israel in a new form, but with an unchanged character. The prophets have the Spirit "by measure" (John iii 34). Nahum's range of vision is limited.

Habakkuk is one of the prophets under Manasseh (2 Kings xxi. 10-15).1 What the Old Testament testifies from the beginning in word and deed, that only njiBK, that is, the firm, abiding, clinging hold on God's promise and grace, is the only means and way of life in the midst of death, is pithily expressed by this prophet in the saying, "The just shall live by his faith" (Hab. ii. 4, compare Isa. vii. 9, xxviii. 16). It remains uncertain whether the anointed one (0,?'D, iii. 13) is Josiah or Christ, the ideal King of the final period. The ground of the prophet's hope is Jehovah the God of Salvation, the contents of the vision (Hab. ii. 2) and the object of faith (ii. 4) is, according to the Septuagint, the Saviour, the Coming One (Heb. x. 37); but according to its immediate meaning, the salvation of Jehovah, the vision is personified, and the thought of a person as its fulfilment lies near at hand.

1 Compare the lament in i. 2 with 2 Kings xxi. 16.


§ 61. T/ie Last Prophecy against Assyria.

Zephaniah also belongs to the prophets indicated in 2 Kings xxi. 10, who appeared later than Habakkuk, under Josiah, whose father Ammon, during the two years of his reign, and whose grandfather Manasseh, during the fifty years of his reign,1 had filled the kingdom with all the abominations of a strange idolatry. In the twelfth year (according to 2 Chron. xxxiv. 3) Josiah began to eradicate the idolatry and the local sanctuaries (bamoth). In the eighteenth year he completed the reforms in worship to which he was incited by the Tora found in the temple. In the intermediate time between the twelfth and eighteenth years of Josiah, Zephaniah prophesied. He does not name the people whom God uses as the instruments of his punishment; but since judgment falls upon Nineveh, it is the time of its execution by the Chaldsean nation, which he describes as "Dies irce, dies ilia."3

Even in chapter ii., where all the surrounding nations are judged, the promise presses in, which concerns the remnant and also includes the nations. In the third chapter reproof and threatening take a new start, but grace succeeds wrath, and iii. 9 forms the turning-point (which is marked with fK, "then ").

1 At the end of his reign Manasseh repented (2 Chron. xxxiii. 13-23), perhaps to his own salvation, but not to the rescue of his people.

2 This is the beginning of the celebrated judgment hymn of Thomas of Celano. It is taken from Zeph. i. 15.

It is a new pregnant expression which the hope of the future conversion of the heathen takes on: mutabo populis labium purum. And in Zeph. iii . 10 the briefest expression is given to that which is prophesied in Isa. lxvi. 18-20, with the combination of Isa. xviii. (compare Zeph. i. 7 with Hab. ii. 20; Joel i. 15; Isa. xxxiv. 6, xiii. 3). It is the prophecy of the Isaianic type, which is given once more by Zephaniah in a compendium and in a kind of mosaic.

Eemark.—The Assyrian kingdom went down under Asuriddili (Asurdanili), whose reign began in 625 B.C. The year of the catastrophe of Nineveh is at the latest 606 B.C., with which Eusebius nearly agrees, who fixes the fall of Nineveh according to Herodotus in the first year of the forty-third Olympiad, that is, 608 or 607 B.C. The battle of Carchemish occurred in the year 606 or 605 B.C., in which Pharaoh-Necho was defeated by Nebuchadnezzar, the son of Nabopolassar, who died at that time. Nebuchadnezzar therefore hastened from the battle-field to Babylon that he might succeed his father.

§ 62. Jeremiah's Call and his First Proclamation under Josiah.

The history of Jeremiah's call in the first chapter of his prophecy is, in all respects, a prognostic of his doing and suffering. He is the prophet to the Gentiles, and we find him in immediate communication with them. In him, as in no other prophet, tenderness and variety Jeremiah's Call. 129

of feeling are interpenetrated with great and enduring strength. His calling is directed rather to tearing down than to building up. In this sad office one suffering after another as a confessor befalls him. He represents the martyrdom of the prophets, and probably died as a martyr in Egypt. Kings, princes, priests, and people are constantly arrayed against him; but strong in God, he bids defiance to all their attacks. In the first address (Jer. ii—iii. 5), the expression "from this time" (pnV®, iii. 4 sq.) indicates the religious revolution which entered under Josiah, but which was only of a superficial character. The entire address is like a variation of the first three verses of Isaiah: "I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me." Deep pain on account of rejected love is its fundamental feature. In general, the keynote of Jeremiah corresponds to the ovie ^BeXtjaare, " Ye would not" (Luke xiii. 34), of the Lord, or His words in Luke xix. 42: "Now they [i.e. the things which belong to thy peace] are hid from thine eyes." The second address (Jer. iii. 6-vi.) dates from the days of Josiah, that is, from a year subsequent to the thirteenth of that king, in which the worship of Jehovah was again restored (Jer. vi. 20). But the prophet, in spite of the glittering restoration, sees to the very bottom of the corruption which is all the while dominant. The next prophecy in order of time (Jer. xxii. 10-12) threatens Shallum, who is also called Jehoahaz (2 Kings xxiii. 30), the son and successor of Josiah, with the fate which was fulfilled by Pharaoh-Necho in


sending him a3 a prisoner to Egypt,, where he died without seeing his native land again. Instead of Jehoahaz, Pharaoh-Necho made Eliakim king, whose name he changed to Jehoiakim (2 Kings xxiii. 34), a younger son of Josiah; and the Books of Kings and of Chronicles describe how he walked in the footsteps of his godless ancestors, and that in his time the judgment, which since Manasseh had become irreversible, began to be executed (2 Kings xxiii. 37, xxiv. 2-4). We see from Jer. xx. 23-26 that he, like Manasseh, was a murderer of the prophets.

§ 63. Jeremiah's Activity until the Catastrophe.

In the defeat of the Egyptians in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, Jeremiah recognised the true commencement of the Chaldsean judgment on the nations which is now beginning. Looking back upon the twentythree years of his fruitless activity, he announces (xxv.) a servitude of seventy years, which is to be followed by the fall of the Chaldsean empire (compare Dan. ix. 2). The " wine-cup of this fury" finally comes to the king Sheshach, which is an enigmatic name for Babylon (Jer. xxv. 26, li. 41), the instrument itself of punitive judgment. The book, in the form of a roll, containing the addresses of the prophet until the fourth year of Jehoiakim, which had been written down by Baruch after the dictation of the prophet, was brought at the command of the king, and was finally burned by him (Jer. xxxvi., xlv.). Jehoiakim was succeeded by his Jeremiah's Activity Until The Catastrophe. 131

son Jehoiachin when he was eighteen years of age (2 Kings xxiv. 8, compare 2 Chron. xxxvi. 9). Against him the prophecy (Jer. xxii. 20-30) was directed which deprived the Solomonic line of the throne for all the future. The Babylonian exile began with Jehoiachin. The carrying away to Babylon, after a reign of three months,in 596 B.C., is the era of Ezekiel. In contradiction to the false prophets of the exile, Jeremiah now prophesied in his letter to the captives (xxix. 1-23) that the Judsean state must be completely destroyed. Under Zedekiah, Josiah's youngest son, whom Nebuchadnezzar had put in Jehoiachin's place, and who, in the ninth year of his reign, revolted against Babylon, Jeremiah continued to demand submission to the Chaldsean power with terrible persistency, and to threaten destruction in case of continued opposition (Jer. xxvii., xxviii., xxi. 1-10, xxxiv.). Jerusalem was now besieged by the Chaldseans, but they were forced by Pharaoh-Hophra to raise the siege. Jeremiah, however, foretold their return, and continued to threaten the worst (Jer. xxxvii. 3-10). He was considered by those who had a controlling voice as a traitor to his fatherland. They let him down into a miry cistern, from which he was freed by Ebed-melech the Cushite, not without the approval of the unfortunate and not ignoble, though weak king. On the ninth of Tammuz (July) of the eleventh year of Zedekiah, Jerusalem became a prey to the Chaldseans after a siege of eighteen months. Jeremiah was compelled to wander in fetters with the other exiles to Kamah. There, by the command of Nebuchadnezzar, he was left free to choose whether he would remain in the laud or go to Babylon. He preferred the former, and betook himself to Gedaliah (xxxix., xL 1-6). This favourable treatment of Jeremiah was a reward which seemed to confirm the opinion of those who considered him an enemy of his fatherland; yet he was a patriot, who did not care for the favour or displeasure of men. He loved his people, but he did not flatter them; and he announced God's will, which was made known to him, although it was opposed to his own wishes and feelings. A glance at the conflict within him is afforded by vi. 11, xv. 17 sqq. Isaiah and Ezekiel, like Jeremiah, express their moral condemnation of the breach of the oath on the part of the Jewish vassal kings.1

§ 64. The Progress in the Eecognition of Eedemption by Jeremiah.

It is evident that the New Testament period is drawing ever nearer, from the fact that as in general Jeremiah makes the covenant, as a religious relation, the centre of his prophecy, so he comprehends the prophecy of a future renewal of it in the idea, and in

1 Isaiah reproaches Hezekiah for his revolt from Sennacherib, the great king of Assyria, in which he leans upon Egypt (compare Isa. xxviii. 15). In the same way Ezekiel reproaches Zedekiah for his revolt from the great king of Babylon, xvii. 15: "But he rebelled against him in sending his ambassadors into Egypt, that they might give him horses and much people. Shall he prosper? shall he escape that doeth such things? or shall he break the covenant and be delivered!"


the designation, of " a new covenant" (Jer. xxxi. 31). Another mark of progress is in this, that Jeremiah gives personality its rights, and places it beyond the consequences of family connection, in which the personality, according to the dominant doctrine of retribution, had disappeared (xxxi. 29 sq.). This is the same theme of which Ezekiel treats more particularly in a similar spirit (xviii., xxxiii.). Hence the old covenant is not only a relation of God to His people, but also to each individual as a person. From the time of the new covenant, the law of God becomes a living spirit, and is no longer a dead letter; it is henceforth an inward possession and inclination, and the recognition of God and His salvation is not confined to a body of teachers, but becomes the common possession of all (Jer. xxxi. 31-34). A third advance is the designation of the Messiah, the second David, as the "Eighteous Sprout" (Jer. xxiii. 5; after 2 Sam. xxiii. 4; Isa. iv. 2), and as "Jehovah our Eighteousness" (Jer. xxiii. 5), the One in whom Jehovah dwells as His people's righteousness, that is, as "the just and the justifier" (Rom. iii. 26), in the same way that He dwells in Jerusalem (xxxiii. 1416); the Messiah is therefore like the temple of God, who is at the same time gracious and just. The person of the Messiah is here understood ethically, and the redemption inwardly, and a "righteousness of God" (Eom. i. 17), mediated through the second David, as its chief fruit. The consolatory book of Jeremiah, comprising chapters xxx. and xxxi., which

should be held to have been revealed at Eamah, according to the transposed superscription1 (Jer. xl. 1), forms a companion-piece to Isa. xl.-lxvi. The tone of Jer. xxx. 8-10, compare xlvi. 27 sq., is entirely Deutero-Isaianic.

§ 6 5. The Progress in the Eecognition of Eedemption by Ezekiel.

Ezekiel worked in Babylon contemporaneously with Jeremiah, who remained in Judsea until after Gedaliah's assassination, when he was torn away by the emigrants into Egypt (Jer. xl. 7-xliii. 7). Jeremiah stood with the exiles of Babylon in hvely communication, but he himself never went thither. Ezekiel is one of the ten thousand who, in the third month of the reign of Jehoiachin, 596 B.C., were transplanted to the Chaldaean country, where for more than twenty years he dwelt in Tel-Abib, a place on the Chebar, one of the branches or canals of the Euphrates, among the exiles, whose elders assembled with him (Ezek. viii. 1, xiv. 1, xx. 3). He is the greatest beholder of visions among the prophets. His vision of the Mercaba, that is, of the divine chariot (Ezek. i.-iii., viii.—xi.), is the grandest of all Biblical visions. It is the throne of Jehovah above the cherubim of the earthly holy of holies, which here becomes a living antitype to the prophet. Upon the wonderful pedestal, in the shape Ezekiel's PORTRAIT OF THE MESSIAH. 135

1 Compare Delitzsch's Messianic Prophecies, Edinburgh 1880, § 50, p. 79.— C.

of a wagon formed of four living animals, which have a manifold but predominantly human form, and of the living wheels, which are covered over and over with eyes, he sees a throne of sapphire, and upon the throne a form "like the appearance of a man," clothed from his loins upward in the brightness of fire as of gleaming brass, and from his loins downward in the milder hues of the rainbow. Here Jehovah appears for the first time in an entirely human manner; the One who as lawgiver had forbidden that a human likeness should be made of Him (Ex. xx. 4; Deut. iv. 15-18), now represents Himself in human form; for the time of the incarnation is now drawing nearer, therefore Israel must be accustomed to think of God in a human way, after the better part of the nation has been weaned, by means of the exile, from thinking of him as human in a heathen manner. The driver of the chariot appears in human form, and causes the cherubim to destroy the temple at Jerusalem in order to build another, and to fill it with His presence.

§ 66. Ezekiel's Portrait of the Messiah.

The Book of Ezekiel contains relatively many prophecies concerning the Messiah, and everywhere the present is the dark foil of the Messiah's picture. It is formed according to the law of contrast. The second David is the counterpart of the wicked shepherds of Israel. He here appears in an ethical activity, like the good Shepherd who seeks that which was lost (Ezek. xxxiv. 16, 23 sq.; compare xxxvii. 24), and in such a unique pre-eminent relation to God, that it is impossible to identify with him the prince of the eschatological state of the twelve tribes (Ezek. xl.xlviii.). Even Jeremiah affords a prospect of holy, glorious princes who have a right to the priestly office (Jer. xxx. 21; compare xxxiii. 17 and 21); yet the second David is not one of them, but towers above them all (Jer. xxx. 9). He is, according to Ezek. xvii. 22, the tender twig of cedar which, planted upon a lofty mountain, becomes a tree giving shade to the world (compare Isa. xi. 1 and liii. 2). He is, according to Ezek. xxi. 32 1 (E.V. ver. 27), the One whose is the kingdom (^W, is cujiis est regnum), the Shelloh, at whom the benediction upon Judah (Gen. xlix. 10) is aimed.

§ 67. The Four Types among the Prophets.

The significance of the two great prophets for the redemptive history is not limited to their prophecies. It consists in their entire activity, which prepares the foundation for the coming of the second David; and since the Spirit of God is in them, their fortunes form the prelude of His. Isaiah, with his preaching, which decides the rejection of the mass of Israel (Matt. xiii. 13-15; John xii. 37-41; Acts xxviii. 25-27; Eom. xi. 7 sq.), and with the ecclesia in eccksia, that is, the little flock (Luke xii. 32), around him, is a type of . JEREMIAH AND EZEKIEL AS PROPHETS.. 137

1 Compare Delitzsch's Messianic Prophecies, pp. 34, 35.—C.


Jesus (Heb. ii. 13), who is set for the fall and rising again of many, and of the spiritual children who are gathered about Him, and to whom the kingdom is assigned. Jeremiah's typical character is of an entirely different kind. As Elijah represents the conflict and Elisha the triumph of prophetism, so Isaiah represents the power of the prophets in acting, and Jeremiah their strength in suffering. He is the afflicted priestly prophet, as David is the suffering king. Hence the passion psalms of David, and the lamentation of Job, and the Deutero-Isaianic passional, are re-echoed from his mouth. He is not the Servant of Jehovah described in Isa. liii., but he and David prefigure Him most strikingly.

§ 68. Jeremiah and Ezekiel as Prophets of the

It was the vocation of the priestly pair of prophets to accompany the kingdom of Judah on its final course to destruction with their announcement of wrath and comfort. Their vocation is similar to that of Hosea for the kingdom of Israel. Isaiah was able to deliver his people once more from destruction in the Assyrian troubles (Sirach xlviii. 20; compare 2 Chron. xxxii. 20). But the prayers of Jeremiah and Ezekiel rebound, and in a fearful gradation intercession is forbidden them, and its uselessness is ever clearer (Jer. vii. 16, xi. 14, xiv. 11 sq., xv. 1; Ezek. xii. 20). Ezekiel beholds how God's presence deserts the temple, andfire from between the cherubim is made ready to be scattered upon Jerusalem. Images of that which is most dreadful are set before him, and he becomes at the command of Jehovah the pliant model through which He represents the most terrible things in the future. Jeremiah contends against the disloyal Egyptian politics of the court party, and against the demagogic deceptions of the false prophets. He still seeks, even in the last days, to protect His people from the worst, by dissuasion from a desperate struggle. Yet he does not rescue Jerusalem, but only himself to see its ruins consume in smoke,—a sight which wastes his flesh and breaks his bones (Lam. iii. 4). The illness of the kingdom of Judah is unto death. Hence Aholibah behaved like Aholah, and comes to a like end (Ezek. xxiii.). This fifth period changes in this, that the beasts which had gone up from the sea of nations devour Judah as well as Israel. The entire people, which was divided since Eehoboam in their own land, is now gathered outside of their country in the heathen world; but prophecy, like the soul after it has fled from the body, hovers over the disjecta membra as a pledge of Israel's resurrection.