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SECTION II.

SECTION III.

THE BOOK OF JUDGES.

THE BOOK OF RUTH.

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THE TWO BOOKS OF SAMUEL.

1. This book derives its name from the account Tuis tract has generally been considered as it gives of the Israelites under the government of supplemental to the book of Judges, and as the Judges, from the death of Joshua to the time introductory to the books of Samuel. The general of Eli. From a comparison of chap. i. 21, with opinion assigns its authorship to Samuel ; and 2 Sam. v. 6, and chap. ix. 53, with 2 Sam. ix. 21, that it could not have been written before his time it will be seen that this book was written before is certain, from the genealogy recorded in chap. iv. that, and also before the capture of Jerusalem by 17—22. The history related in this book David. Its author is not known, but it is quoted tremely interesting, and is detailed with the most as canonical Scripture by several subsequent beautiful and affecting simplicity. It is a coninspired writers (see 1 Sam. xii. 9–11; 2 Sam. tinuous history, and needs no analysis. xi. 21 ; Ps. lxviii. 12; Isai. ix. 4, x. 26; Heb. xi. 32, &c.), and the origin of many mythological

SECTION IV. fables is to be found in the relations it gives.* It comprises the history of about 300 years—from A. M. 2579 to 2887, and is very properly inserted between Joshua and Samuel, as the judges were

1. These and the two following books were forgovernors intermediate between Joshua and the merly termed the first, second, third, and fourth kings.

books of Kings; as being the four books in which 2. In reading this book, it should be borne in the histories of the kings of Judah and Israel are mind that the judges frequently acted under a related. It is probable that the history in the divine impulse, and were endowed with preter- first book, down to the end of the twenty-fourth natural courage and strength; for if this be lost chapter, is from the pen of Samuel, and the resight of, it will be impossible to approve their maining part from the pens of Nathan and Gad; conduct on some occasions, when the sanction of See 1 Chron. xxix. 29, 1 Sam. xxii. 5. From a divine warrant superseded all general rules of the frequent mention of times and circumstances conduct.

posterior to those that are here historically detailed, 3. The latter part of the book is removed from some critics have been of opinion that the books its proper place, the chapters having been carried were written at a much later period than that forward, probably that the thread of the narrative above assigned to them. The probability seems might not be interrupted. In the following to be, that they were compiled out of the memoirs analysis they are inserted in the order of the of the persons above named, whose duty it was to history. Interregnum after the death of Joshua record the transactions of the kingdom ; and that (chap. i.-ii. 10); the introduction of idolatry the marks of posteriority to be found in them among the tribes (chap. xvii., xviii.); history of were explanatory additions made by the compiler, the Levite of Ephraim, and the war among the whom the Jews have generally conceived to be tribes (chap. xix.—xxi.); the intermixture of the the prophet Jeremiah. They contain intrinsic Israelites with the Canaanites (chap. ii. 11-iii. 7); proofs of their verity, by appealing to existing servitude and deliverances of the Israelites (chap. monuments. iii. 8-iv.); triumphant song of Deborah and 2. The history contained in the books of Samuel, Barak (chap. v.); the subjugation of the eastern embraces a period of about 120 years, from A. M. and northern Israelites by Midian, and their 2866 to A. M. 2986. The first book contains the deliverance by Gideon (chap. vi.—viii.); usur-political and ecclesiastical history of the Israelites, pation and death of Abimelech (chap. ix.); admi- from the birth of Samuel to the death of Saul, nistration of Tola and Jair (chap. x. 1-6); a period of about eighty years; and the second oppression of the Israelites by the Philistines and book carries on the history to within about two Ammonites, and their deliverance by Jephthah years of the death of David, a period of about (chap. x. 7-xii. 7); administration of Ibzan, forty years. In these interesting books, the Elon, and Abdon (chap. xii. 8–15); oppression sacred author illustrates the characters and deof the Israelites by the Philistines, and their deli- scribes the events of his history in the most verance by Samson (chap. xiii.-xvi.).

engaging manner, and furnishes the richest instruction. The inspired hymn of Ilannah (1 Sam.

ii. 1-10), and the thanksgiving song of David * See Allix's Reflections on the Old Test., Part III. chap. 2. | (2 Sam. xxii.), are sublime compositions, and

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contain some clear predictions of the Messiah's | They were doubtless, like those, compiled from coming and kingdom. The book of Psalms the authentic national records, which were kept should be read in connexion with them, as they by the prophets or priests who were contemporary mutually illustrate each other.

with the events. See 2 Chron. ix. 29, xv. 34, 3. The first book of Samuel contains an account xxvi. 22, xxxii. 32. There are several passages of the birth of Samuel (chap. i.); the song of which seem to point out Ezra as the compiler ; Hannah (chap. ii. 1-10); the mal-administration but their authenticity and inspiratiori are attested by of Eli's sons (chap. ii. 11–36); the call of the prophecies they contain, and which were afterSamuel, and the denunciations against Eli's house wards fulfilled: see 1 Kings vi. 12, xi. 11–13, (chap. iii.); the capture of the ark, and the death 30–39, xiii. 1–3; compare 2 Kings xxi. 15—20, of Fli, &c. (chap. iv.); the chastisement of the xiv. 10, 11, 14, xvi. 1–4, i. 16, iv. 16, v. 10, Philistines, &c., and the restoration of the ark vii. 1, viii. 10, 12, 19, xx. 6–20; by the cita(chap. v., vi.); the people repent, renounce their tions of our Saviour and his apostles, see Matt. idols

, and defeat the Philistines (chap. vii.); the xii. 42, Luke iv. 25—27, Acts vii. 47, and other people ask and obtain a king (chap. viii.—xi.); places; by the universal reception of them in the Samuel protests his integrity to the assembled Jewish and Christian churches; and by the people

, and exhorts them to obedience (chap. xii.); corresponding testimonies of ancient profane Saul's wars with the Philistines (chap. xiii., xiv.); writers.* his war with the Amalekites, and his rejection

2. The history related in these books embraces from the throne intimated (chap. xv.); the a period of about 426 years—A. M. 2989 to A. M. anointing of David, and his introduction to Saul 3416. The first book commences with the chap. xvi.); his victory over Goliath (chap. xvii

. anointing of Solomon, and carries the history 1-54); Saul notices David, and afterwards down to the death of Jehoshaphat, A. M. 3115 ; persecutes him (chap. xvii. 55—xxvii.), consults the most prosperous and glorious period of the the witch of Endor (chap. xxviii.); his defeat, Israelitish history. In this book is related the death, and burial (chap. xxix.—xxxi.).

separation of the ten tribes, which laid the foun4. The second book contains David's lamentation dation of the kingdom of Israel. The second book over Saul and Jonathan (chap. i.); his subjugation continues the contemporary history of the two of the house of Saul, and his own confirmation kingdoms, down to the destruction of the city in the kingdom (chap. i.-v. 4); his victories and temple by Nebuchadnezzar.

Nearly the over the Jebusites and Philistines (chap. v. 8 to whole period contained in this book seems to have end); he fetches the ark from Kirjath-jearim, been dark and guilty ; both the nations appear to and purposes to build the temple, but is not per- have departed with equal steps from the worship mitted (chap. vi., vii.); his victories over the of the true God; and idolatry and ambition were Philistines , Moabites, Ammonites

, &c. (chap. the ruling features in the characters of both kings Tii.--..); his sin with Bathsheba, and the birth and subjects. During this time many of the of Solomon (chap. xi.—xii. 25); he takes Rabbah prophets flourished. chap. xii. 26 to end); his domestic troubles and

3. The first book contains an account of the last flight from Jerusalem (chap. xiii.- xviii.); his days of David and the inauguration of Solomon return to the capital, and quelling of the insur- (chap. i.); David's charge to Solomon, and his rartion (chap. xix., xx.); the punishment of the death (chap. ii. 1—11); Solomon's reign to the sms of Saul, and war with the Philistines (chap. building of the temple and the king's house (chap. Iki.); David's psalm of thanksgiving, and last ii. 12-vii.); the dedication of the temple (chap. words (chap. xxii.—xxiii. 7); catalogue of his viii.); God's covenant with Solomon (chap. ix. mighty men (chap. xxiii

. 8, to end); his offence 1–9); transactions during the latter part of his in numbering the people, and his penitence and reign, and his death (chap. ix. 10—xi.); the stifice (chap. xxiv.). It should be noted, that accession of Rehoboam, and division of the kingthis book is imperfect

, and wants 1 Chron. xxii.- dom (chap. xii. 1—19); the contemporary reigns . to complete it.

of Rehoboam and Jeroboam (chap. xii. 20—xiv.); reigns of several contemporary kings (chap. xv.,

xvi.); part of the life of Elijah, with the calling SECTION V.

of Elisha (chap. xvii.—xix., xxi. 17–29); the remaining part of Ahab's reign (chap. xx.xxii.

THE TWO BOOKS OF KINGS.

1. Tue authors of these books cannot be ascertained with more certainty than those of the former.

* See Allix's Rellections on the Old Test., Part III. chap. 2.

1-40); the reign of Jehoshaphat (chap. xxii. attestatiofis of our Lord and his apostles. Com41, to end).

pare 1 Chron. xxiv. 10 with Lev. i. 5; 2 Chron. 4. The second book contains an account of the ix. 1 with Matt. xii. 42, Luke xi. 31 ; 2 Chron. contemporary reigns of Jehoshaphat and Jehoram, xxiv. 20, 21, with Matt. xxii. 35, Luke xi. 51; of Judah ; and of Ahaziah and Joram, of Israel ; 1 Chron. xvii. 13, xxii. 10, with Heb. i. 5. There the translation of Elijah and the ministry and are several manifest variations in names, facts, and miracles of Elisha (chap. i.-viii. 2); the con- dates, between the books of Kings and Chrotemporary reigns of Jehoram and Ahaziah, of nicles, and it is therefore necessary to bear in Judah, and Jehoram of Israel (chap. viii. 3—29); mind that the latter books are supplemental to the the appointment and reign of Jehu over Israel, former. It should also be borne in mind, that and the death of Jehoram ; the death of Ahaziah, the vernacular language had been slightly varied ; king of Judah, and the usurpation of Athaliah that several places had received new names, or had (chap. ix.-xi. 3); the contemporary reigns of undergone sundry vicissitudes; that certain things Jehoash, over Judah ; and of Jehoahaz and Je- were now better known to the returned Jews hoash, over Israel; the death of Elisha ; and under other appellations ; and that from the the miracle performed at his grave (chap. xi. materials before him, the author selected those 4-xiii.); the reigns of several contemporary passages which were best adapted to his purpose, kings (chap. xiv., xv. 35); the reign of Ahaz over and most suitable to the times in which he wrote. Judah, and of Hosea over Israel, in the ninth The variations in proper names of persons will year of whose reign Samaria, his capital, is taken generally be accounted for by attending to the by the king of Assyria, and the people sent into precise period of time spoken of, whence it will captivity (chap. xv. 36–xvii. 23); the Cuthites appear that frequently two different persons are corrupt the religion of Samaria (chap. xvii. 24, described. to end); the reign of Hezekiah; the destruction 2. The principal object of the author of these of Sennacherib's army; Hezekiah's miraculous books appears to have been, to point out, from recovery, and Isaian's prediction of the Baby- public records, the state of the different families lonian captivity (chap. xviii.—xx. 19); Heze before the captivity, with the distribution of the kiah's death; and the reigns of Manasseh, Amon, lands, so that each tribe might, as far as was posand Josiah, in whose reign the religion was re- sible, obtain the ancient inheritance of their formed, and the covenant renewed (chap. xx. fathers, at their return. The books

may

be 20-xxiii

. 25); death of Josiah, and reigns of considered as an epitome of all the Sacred Histhe subsequent kings, to the taking of the city tory, but more especially from the origin of the and temple, and the carrying away of the people Jewish nation to the return from the first captiinto Babylon (chap. xxiii. 26—xxv. 26); treat-vity. The period of time embraced in the history ment of Jehoiachin at the court of Evil-merodach, is about 3468 years. The first book traces the chap. xxv. 27, to end.

rise and propagation of the people of Israel from Adam, and afterwards gives a circumstantial ac

count of the reign and transactions of David. In SECTION VI.

the second book the narrative is continued, and relates the progress and dissolution of the king

dom of Judah, to the year of the return of the 1. The title of “ Chronicles” was given to these people from Babylon. As the books of Samuel, books by Jerome, because they contain an abstract, Kings, and Chronicles relate the same histories, in the order of time, of the whole of the sacred they should each be read and compared together, history, down to the period when they were not only for the purpose of obtaining a more comwritten. They appear to have been compiled out prehensive view of Jewish history, but also in of the national diaries or annals; and hence they order to illustrate and amend from one book what are called in the Hebrew Bibles, the words of days, is obscure or defective in either of the others. or the journals. They contain many things not 3. The first book contains the genealogies of extant elsewhere; and several relations in the those persons through whom the Messiah was to former books are here enlarged upon, and eluci-descend, from Adam to the captivity, and to the dated. Hence the Greek translators have called time of Ezra (chap. i.-viii.); first inhabithem “ Paraleipomena," things omilted. Although tants of Jerusalem after the captivity (chap. ix., we cannot decide upon their authors, their au- 2–34); the reign and death of Saul (chap. is. thenticity is placed beyond dispute, as well by 35—X.); and the transactions of the reign of David a great mass of external evidence as by the indirect | (chap si.--xxix.).

THE TWO BOOKS OF CHRONICLES.

4. The second book contains the history of the to return to Judea, and rebuild their city and kingdom of Israel under Solomon (chap. i.-ix.); temple (ch. i.); an account of the Jews who the accession of Rehoboam ; the division of the returned under Zerubbabel, with their offerings kingdom; and the plundering of Jerusalem by towards rebuilding the temple (chap. ii.); the altar Shishak (chap. X.—xii.); the reigns of Abijah of burnt offering set up, and the foundations of and Asa, kings of Judah (chap. xiii.—xvi.); the the temple laid (chap. iii.); the opposition of the reign of Jehoshaphat (chap. xvii.—xx.); the Samaritans, and the suspension of the building seigns of Jehoram and Ahaziah, and the usurpa- (chap. iv.); the decree of Darius Hystaspes in tion of Athaliah (chap. xxi.—xxiv.); the reigns favour of the Jews, and the completion of the of Amaziah, Uzziah, and Jotham (chap. xxv.- city and temple (chap. v., vi.); return of Ezra wrii.); the reign of Ahaz (chap. xxviii.); the from Babylon with a commission from Artaxerxes reign of Hezekiah (chap. xxix.—xxxii.); the Longimanus (chap. yii.); an account of those reigns of Panasseh and Amon (chap. xxxiii.); who accompanied him, and their arrival at Jeruthe reign of Josiah (chap. xxxiv., xxxv.); the salem (chap. viii.); Ezra's prayer on account of subsequent reigns to the destruction of the city the intermixture of the Jews with the idolatrous and temple (chap. xxxvi. 1—21); and the edict of people (chap. ix.); and the reformation effected Cyrus, ver. 22 to the end.

by him (chap. x.).

SECTION VIII.

SECTION VII.

THE BOOK OF NEHEMIAH.

THE BOOK OF EZRA.

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1. Tus and the book of Nehemiah were reckoned 1. Tuat Nehemiah was the author of this book as one by the ancient Jews, though they were there is no reason to doubt: it is written in his sometimes called the first and second books of name; and, differing from all the preceding books, Extras. The third book of Esdras, received as it is written in the first person. The register in canonical by the Greek church, is merely this chap. xii. has been added by some subsequent book interpolated; and the fourth book is a pal- hand; probably by the authority of the great pable forgery, undeserving of notice. That the synagogue. The history presents us with a faithlast four chapters of this book were written by the ful narrative of the commencement, progress, and person whose name it bears, has never been dis- completion of the noble and patriotic undertaking puted; but the first six have been ascribed to of Nehemiah, to restore Jerusalem from the ruin another, because it

appears from the commence in which it lay to a state of dignity, and his subment of the 7th chapter, that Ezra did not go up sequent return to Shushan. It comprises the to Jerusalem till the reign of Artaxerxes Longi- commission of Nehemiah and his arrival at Jerumanus, a period of sixty years from the com- salem (chap. i., ï. 12); the building and dedicamencement of this history, whereas the author of tion of the walls of the city (chap. ii. 13, vii. 4, the former part represents himself as present at xii. 27—44); a register of the persons who first Jerusalem in ch. v. 4. But the intimate con- returned from Babylon, and an account of the Dexion of all parts of the history, and the prevalence oblations at the temple (chap. vii. 5—73); the of the same method of narration, render it pro- reading of the law and celebration of the feast of bable that the whole history was written by one Tabernacles (chap. viii.); a solemn fast and the person. The apparent discrepancy may easily be renewal of the covenant (chap. ix., x.); the names remored, by supposing that Ezra literally copied and families of those who dwelt in Jerusalem,the original record which was written by a person of the priests, Levites, and singers (chap. xi., xii. contemporary with the transactions.

26); occurrences at Jerusalem during Nehemiah's 2. This book is a continuation of the Jewish his- absence (chap. xiii.); his return to Jerusalem, tory, from the period at which the Chronicles and the second reformation effected by him (chap. eluse, and it begins with a repetition of two verses xiii. 7–31.) of the latter of those two books. The period of

2. The administration of Nehemiah lasted about tine embraced in the history is about 79 years; 36 years, and the Old Testament history closes

, according to some chronologists, 100 years: with this book. A. M. 3468 to A. M. 3568. As the history harmonizes most strictly with the prophecies of

SECTION IX. Haggai and Zechariah, which it materially elucidates, they should be read in connexion. It contains the edict of Cyrus, permitting the Jews

1. This book derives its name from the person

THE BOOK OF ESTHER.

who principally appears in it; a virtuous Jewess. verse of the tenth chapter, but the Septuagint and who obtained the favour of Ahasuerus, the Persian Vulgate add ten more verses with six additional monarch, and by her influence delivered her people chapters; though they were never extant in the from a furious persecution which threatened their Hebrew, and are justly rejected as spurious by extinction. The author cannot now be ascertained, Jews and Protestants. The history contains the but the authenticity of the book is substantiated disgrace of Vashti (ch. i.); the elevation of by the most indisputable evidence. The feast of Esther to the throne, and the discovery of a plot Purim, the institution and origin of which are against the monarch, by the diligence of Mordecai here related, is still observed by the Jewish (chap. ii.); the promotion of Haman, and his people; and such is the estimation in which they plotting against the Jews (chap. iii.); the aflichold the book, that they believe, whatever may be tion of the Jewish people, and the measures the fate of other parts of Scripture, this will ever adopted by them (chap. iv. 1-14); Esther underbe preserved.

takes their cause, defeats Haman's plot, and causes 2. The history contained in this book em- him to be hanged (chap. iv. 15—vii.); the adbraces a period of about 20 years, or perhaps vancement of Mordecai, and the deliverance and something less, commencing about A. M. 3544. rejoicing of the Jews (chap. viii.); the destrucThe prince, here called Ahasuerus, is, no doubt, tion of the enemies of the Jews with Haman's the Artaxerxes Longimanus of profane history, sons (chap. ix. 1–19); the institution of the who, it will be remembered, granted the Jews feast of Purim (chap. ix. 20 to the end); a recital permission to rebuild the walls of the holy city of the power and glory of Ahasuerus, and of the In our Bibles this book concludes with the third dignity of Mordecai (ch. x.).

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