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xiv. 4, 5. 8. It is evident that Ezra, Nehemiah, Daniel, Zechariah, and the other prophets, who flourished during the captivity, carefully preserved the writings of their inspired predecessors; for they very frequently cited and appealed to them, and expected deliverance from their captivity by the accomplishment of their predictions.
Although some parts of the writings of the prophets are clearly in prose, instances of which occur in the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Jonah, and Daniel, yet the other books, constituting by far the larger portion of the prophetic writings, are classed by Bishop Lowth among the poetical productions of the Jews; and (with the exception of certain passages in Isaiah, Habakkuk and Ezekel, which appear to constitute complete poems of different kinds, odes as well as elegies) form a particular species of poesy, which he distinguishes by the appellation of prophetic. On the nature of which see Vol. II. pp. vol. 468, 469.
VI. The prophetical books are sixteen in number (the Lamentations of Jeremiah being usually considered as an appendix to his predictions); and in all modern editions of the Bible they are usually divided into two classes, viz. 1. The Greater Prophets, comprising the writings of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel; who were thus designated from the size of their books, not because they possessed greater authority than the others. 2. The Minor Prophets, comprising the writings of Hosea, Joel, Amos, Jonah, Obadiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zecharaiah, and Malachi. These books were antiently written in one volume by the Jews, lest any of them should be lost, some of their writings being very short. The order, in which the books of the minor prophets are placed, is not the same in the Alexandrian or Septuagint version as in the Hebrew. According to the latter, they stand as in our translation ; but in the Greek, the scries is altered to the following arrangement : Hosea, Amos, Micah, Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. But this change is of no consequence, since neither in the original, nor in the Septuagint, are they placed with exact regard to the time when their sacred authors respectively flourished.?
Much of the obscurity, however, which hangs over the prophetic writings, may be removed by perusing them in the order of time in which they were probably written; and, though the precise time in which some of the prophets delivered their predictions, cannot perhaps be traced in every instance, yet the following arrangement of the prophets in their supposed order of time (according to the tables of Blair, Archbishop Newcome, and other eminent critics, with a few variations), will, we think, be found sufficiently correct for the right understanding of their predictions.
1 Qui propterea dicuntur Minores, quia sermones corum sunt breves, in eorum comparatione qui Majores ideo vocantur, quia prolixa volumina condiderunt. Augustin. de Civ. Dei, lib. xvii. c. xxix.
2 Calmet. Preface Générale sur les Prophètes, in his comment. Littéral, tom. v. pp. 507–539. Carpzov. Introd. ad Libros Biblicos Vet. Test. pars iii. c. i. PP 87. Bauer, Herm. Sacr. pp. 397–404. Jahn, Introd. in Libros Sacros Vet. Fied. pp. 310---346. Dr. Gregory Sharpe's Argument in Defence of Christianity frog Prophecy, pp.
According to this table, the times when the prophets flourished may be referred to three periods, viz. 1. Before the Babylonian Captivity ; -2. Near to and during that event;- and, 3. After the return of the Jews from Babylon. And if, in these three periods, we parallel the prophetical writings with the historical books written during the same times, they will materially illustrate each other.
Jehu, and Jehoahaz, acBetween 856
cording to Bp. Lloyd ; but and 784.
Joash and Jeroboam the
second, according to Blair. Between 810
Jeroboam the Second, and 785. Uzziah, ch. i. 1.
ch. i. 1. Between 810 Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, the Jeroboam the Second, and 725. third year of Hezekiah.
ch. i. 1.
Hezekiah, chap. i. 1. and
OF THE PROPHETS WHO FLOURISHED BEFORE THE
ON THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET JONAH.
1. Title and author. — II. Occasion of the prophecy of Jonah.
III. Scope. - IV. Synopsis of its contents.
BEFORE CHRIST, 856-784.
1. THIS book is, by the Hebrews, called .797 m3D (sephen JoNah), or the Book of Jonah, from its author Jonah, the son of Amittai, who was a native of Gath-Hepher in Galilee. (Jon. i. 1. with Josh. xix. 13.) He is supposed to have prophesied to the ten tribes, according to Bishop Lloyd, towards the close of Jehu's reign, or in the beginning of Jehoahaz's reign : though Blair and other chronologers place him under Joash and Jeroboam II. about forty years later. With the exception of his sublime ode in the second chapter, the book of Jonah is a simple narrative.
II. It is very probable, that, when Jonah promised the restoring and enlarging of the coasts of Israel in the days of Jeroboam II., when both the king and people were exceedingly wicked, he also invited them to repentance and reformation. But the Israelites still continuing impenitent and obdurate, God took occasion to send him to Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian empire, to denounce the impending divine judgments against its abandoned inhabitants. Jonah, declining the commission, was cast into the sea from the vessel in which he was sailing to Tarshish, and was swallowed by a large fish; not, says Irenæus, that he might be swallowed up, but that, by his miraculous deliverance (preparing Jonah to preach more dutifully, and the Ninevites to hear more effectually), the people of Israel might be provoked to repent by the repentance of Nineveh. The time of Jonah's continuance in the belly of the fish was a type of our Lord's continuance in the grave. (Luke xi. 30.) The fame of the prophet's miraculous preservation was so widely propagated as to reach even Greece; whence, as Grotius, Huet, Bochart, and other learned men have remarked, the story was derived of Hercules having escaped alive out of the fish's belly."
1 Adversus Hæres. lib. ïïi. c. 22.
2 See Grotius de Veritate, lib. i. c. 16. in notis. Huet. Demonstr. Evangelica, prop. iv. vol. i. p. 433. 8vo. edit. Bocharti Opera, tom. iii. p. 742. et seq. Pfeiffer in Difficiliora Loca Scripturæ, Centuria 4. Locus lxxxvi. (Opp. tom. i. pp. 447,448.)
III. The scope of this book is to show, by the very striking example of the Ninevites, the divine forbearance and long-suffering towards sinners, wlio were spared on their sincere repentance. From the conduct of the Ninevites, Jesus Christ takes occasion to reprove the peridiousness of the Jews (Matt. xii. 41.) The evidence offered by Jonah was sufficient to convince and lead the former to repentance; while the Jews, who had the greater evidence of miracles, and the more convincing evidence of our Saviour's doctrine, continued obstinately impenitent. Some critics have imagined that the prophecy of Jonah is a parabolic history; but from the manner in which the sacred historians and Jesus Christ speak of him (2 Kings xiv. 25. Matt. xji. 39. 41. xvi. 4. and Luke xi. 29.), it is evident that this book is a true narrative of a real person, and that Jonah was a prophet of considerable eminence.
IV. The book of Jonah consists of two parts, viz. Part I. His first mission to Nineveh, and his attempt to flee to
Tarshish, and its frustration, together with his delivery from the
stomach of the great fish which had swallowed him. (ch. i. ii.) Part II. His second mission, and its happy result to the Ninevites,
who, in consequence of the prophet's preaching, repented in dust and ashes (iii.); and the discontent of Jonah, who, dreading to be thought a false prophet, repined at the divine mercy in sparing the Ninevites, whose destruction he seems to have expected. (iv.) No reproof can be more gentle than that given by God to the murmuring prophet (10, 11.), or present a more endearing picture of Him“ whose tender mercies are over all his works.”
SECTION II. ON THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET AMOS. I. Author. - II. Occasion of his prophecy. – III. Its scope. - IV. Syr
nopsis of its contents. –V. Observations on its style.
BEFORE CHRIST, 810-785.
Í. AMOS is the third of the minor prophets, according to the order adopted in cur modern Bibles : he is supposed to have been a native of Tekoah, a small town in the kingdom of Judah, situate about four leagues to the south of Jerusalem. There is however no proof of his being a native of this place, except his retiring thither when driven from Bethel by Amaziah, the high priest of Bethel. (Amos vii. 10. 13.) Calmet thinks he was born in the territories of Israel. We have more certain information of his rank and condition in life; for he himself tells us that he was “no prophet, neither a prophet's son ;" in other words, that he was not educated in the schools of the prophets, but was called to the prophetic office from being a herdsman and a gatherer (or cultivator) of sycamore fruit. That he prophesied during the reigns of Uzziah king of