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cially when he has occasion to excite the softer passions of grief and pity, which is frequently the case in the earlier parts of his prophecies. These are chiefly poetical. The middle of his book is almost entirely historical, and is written in a plain prosaic style, suitable to historical narrative. On many occasions he is very elegant and sublime, especially in xlvi.li. 1–59. which are wholly poetical, and in which the prophet approaches very near the sublimity of Isaiah.
ON THE LAMENTATIONS OF JEREMIAH. 1. Author, date, and argument of the book. - II. Synopsis of its
contents. — III. Observations on its style and structure. I. THAT Jeremiah was the author of the Elegies or Lamentations which bear his name, is evident, not only from a very antient and almost uninterrupted tradition, but also from the argument and style of the book, which correspond exactly with those of his prophecies.
Josephus, Jerome, Junius, Archbishop Usher, and other eminent writers, are of opinion that the Lamentations of Jeremiah were the same which are mentioned in 2 Chron. xxxv. 25. as being composed by the prophet on the death of the pious king Josiah, and which are there said to have been perpetuated by "an ordinance in Israel.” But, whatever may have become of those Lamentations, it is evident that these cannot possibly be the same : for their whole tenor plainly shows, that they were not composed till after the subversion of the kingdom of Judah. The calamities which Jeremiah had foretold in his prophecies are here deplored as having actually taken place, viz. the impositions of the false prophets who had seduced the people by their lying declarations, the destruction of the holy city and temple, the overthrow of the state, and the extermination of the people. But though it be allowed that the Lamentations were primarily intended as a pathetic description of present calamities, yet it has with great probability been conjectured that, while Jeremiah mourns the desolation of Judah and Jerusalem, he may be considered as prophetically painting the still greater miseries they were to suffer at some future time; and this seems plainly indicated by his referring to the time when the punishment of their iniquity shall be accomplished, and they shall no more be carried into captivity. (iv. 22.)?
II. This book, which in our Bible is divided into five chapters, consists of five distinct elegies ; viz. Elegy 1. The prophet begins with lamenting the sad reverse of
See the whole of ch. ix. ch. xiv. 17, &c. and xx. 14—18. 2 Bishop Tomline's Elements of Christian Theology, vol. i. pp. 112, 113.
fortune which his country had experienced, confessing at the same time that all her miseries were the just consequences of the national wickedness and rebellion against God. In the midst of his discourse, Jerusalem herself is personified, and introduced to continue the complaint, and humbly to solicit the divine compassion. Jahn is of opinion, that, in this elegy, Jeremiah deplores the deportation of king Jehoiachin, and ten thousand of the principal Jews, to Babylon. Compare 2 Kings xxiv. 8-17. and 2 Chron. xxxvi. 9, 10. Elegy 2. Jeremiah portrays the dire effects of the divine anger
in the subversion of the civil and religious constitution of the Jews, and in that extreme misery in which every class of individuals was involved. He represents the wretchedness of his country as unparalleled ; and charges the false prophets with having betrayed her into ruin by their false and flattering suggestions. In this for. lorn and desolate condition, - the astonishment and by-word of all who see her, Jerusalem is directed earnestly to implore the removal of those heavy judgments, which God, in the height of his displeasure, had inflicted upon her. - Jahn thinks that this elegy was composed on the storming of Jerusalem by the Babylonian army. Elegy 3. The prophet, by describing his own severe afflictions, and showing his trust in the inexhaustible mercies of God, encourages his people to be patient and resigned under the divine chastisements, and to trust in the never-failing mercy of Jehovah. He asserts the divine supremacy in the dispensations of good and evil, and shows the unreasonableness of murmuring under them. He recommends self-examination and repentance ; and, from their past experience of former deliverances from God, he encourages them to look for pardon of their sins, and retribution to their enemies. Elegy 4. exhibits a striking contrast, in various affecting instances, between the present deplorable and wretched condition of his country and her former state of prosperity ; and ascribes the unhappy change chiefly to the profligacy of its priests and prophets. The national calamities are deeply and tenderly lamented, especially the captivity of their sovereign Zedekiah. This elegy concludes with predicting the judgments that were impending over the Edomites, who had insulted the Jews in their distress. ELEGY 5. is an epilogue or conclusion to the preceding chapters or elegies. In the Syriac, Arabic, and Vulgate versions, this chapter is entitled The PRAYER OF JEREMIAH; but no such title appears in the Hebrew copies, or in the Septuagint version. It is rather, as Dr. Blayney has remarked, a memorial representing, in the name of the whole body of Jewish exiles, the numerous calamities under which they groaned ; and humbly supplicating God to commiserate their wretchedness, and to restore them to his favour, and to their antient prosperity,
III. The Lamentations are evidently written in metre, and contain a number of plaintive effusions composed after the manner of funeral dirges. Bishop Lowth is of opinion that they were originally written by the prophet, as they arose in his mind, in a long course
of separate stanzas, and that they were subsequently collected into one poem. Each elegy consists of twenty-two periods, according to the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet ; although it is in the first four chapters only that the several periods begin (after the manner of an acrostic) with the different letters following each other in alphabetical order. By this contrivance, the metre is more precisely marked and ascertained, particulariy in the third chapter, where each period contains three verses, all having the same initial letter. The two first chapters, in like manner, co sist of triplets, excepting only the seventh period of the first and the nineteenth of the second, each of which has a supernumerary line. The fourth chapter resembles the three former in metre, but the periods are only couplets; and in the fifth chapter the periods are couplets, though of a considerably shorter measure.
Although there is no artificial or methodical arrangement of the subject in these incomparable elegies, yet they are totally free from wild incoherency or abrupt transition. Never, perhaps, was there a greater variety of beautiful, tender, and pathetic images, all expressive of the deepest distress and sorrow, more happily chosen and applied than in the lamentations of this prophet; nor can we too much admire the full and graceful flow of that pathetic eloquence, in which the author pours forth the effusions of a patriot heart, and piously weeps over the ruin of his venerable country.
ON THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET HABAKKUK. 1. Author and date. — II. Analysis of his prophecy. -- III. Obserra
tions on his style.
BEFORE CHRIST, 612_598.
I. WE have no certain information concerning the tribe or birthplace of Habakkuk. The Pseudo-Epiphanius affirms that he was of the tribe of Simeon, and was born at Bethcazar. Some commentators have supposed that he prophesied in Judæa in the reign of Manasseh, but Archbishop Usher places him, with greater probability, in the reign of Jehoiakim. Compare Hab. i. 5, 6. Consequently this prophet was contemporary with Jeremiah. Several apocryphal predictions and other writings are ascribed to Habakkuk, but without any foundation. His genuine writings are comprised in the three chapters which have been transmitted to us; and the subject of them is the same with that of Jeremiah, viz. the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem by the Chaldæans, for the heinous sins of the Jewish people, and the consolation of the faithful amid all their national calamities.
1 Dr. Blayney's Jeremiah, p. 455. et seq. Bishop Lowth's Lectures on Hebrew Poetry, lect. xxii. in fine. Jahn, Introd. at Vet. Fæd. pp. 415—417. Carpzov. Introd. ad Libros Biblicos, pars iii. cap. iv. pp. 177—197.
II. The prophecy of Habakkuk consists of two parts ; the first is in the form of a dialogue between God and the prophet, and the second is a sublime ode or hymn, which was probably intended be used in the public service.
Part I. The prophet complaining of the growth of iniquity among the Jews (i: 1-4.), God is introduced, announcing the Babylonish captivity as a punishment for their wickedness. (5—11.) The prophet then humbly expostulates with God for punishing the Jews by the instrumentality of the Chaldæans. (12—17. i. 1.) In answer to this complaint, God replies that he will, in due time, perform his promises to his people, of deliverance by the Messiah (implying also the nearer deliverance by Cyrus). (ii. 244.) The destruction of the Babylonish empire is then foretold, together with the judgment that would be inflicted upon the Chaldæans for their covetousness, cruelty, and idolatry. (5—20.)
Part II. contains the prayer or psalm of Habakkuk, in which he implores God to husten the deliverance of his people (iii. 1, 2.), and takes occasion to recount the wonderful works of the Almighty in conducting his people through the wilderness, and giving them possession of the promised land (3—16): whence he encourages bimself and other pious persons to rely upon God for making good his promises to their posterity in after ages.
III. Habakkuk holds a distinguished rank among the sacred poets; whoever reads his prophecy must be struck with the grandeur of his i'nagery and the sublimity of its style, especially of the hymn in the third chapter, which Bishop Lowth considers one of the most perfect specimens of the Hebrew ode. Michaelis, after a close examination, pronounces him to be a great imitator of former poets, but with some new additions of his own, which are characterised by brevity, and by no common degree of sublimity. Compare Hab. ii. 12. with Mic. iii. 10., and Hab. ii. 14. with Isa. xi. 9.
ON THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET DANIEL.
I. Author and date. - II. Analysis of its contents. - III. Obser
vations on its canonical authority and style. — IV. Account of the spurious additions inade to it.
BEFORE CHRIST, 606-534.
1. DANIEL, the fourth of the greater prophets, if not of royal birth, (as the Jews affirm), was of noble descent, and was carried captive to Babylon at an early age, in the fourth year of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the year 606 before the Christian æra, and seven years before the deportation of Ezekiel. Having been instructed in the language and literature of the Chaldæans, he afterwards held a very distinguished office in the Babylonian empire. (Dan. i. 1—4.) He was contemporary with Ezekiel, who mentions his extraordinary piety and wisdom (Ezek. xiv. 14. 20.), and the latter even at that time seems to have become proverbial. (Ezek. xxviii. 3.). Daniel lived in great credit with the Babylonian monarchs : and his uncommon merit procured him the same regard from Darius and Cyrus, the two first sovereigns of Persia. He lived throughout the captivity, but it does not appear that he returned to his own country when Cyrus permitted the Jews to revisit their native land. The PseudoEpiphanius, who wrote the lives of the prophets, says that he died at Babylon; and this assertion has been adopted by most succeeding writers; but as the last of his visions, of which we have any account, took place in the third year of Cyrus, about 534 years before the Christian æra, when he was about ninety-four years of age, and resided at Susa on the Tigris, it is not improbable that he died there.
Although the name of Daniel is not prefixed to his book, the many passages in which he speaks in the first person sufficiently prove that he was the author. He is not reckoned among the prophets by the Jews since the time of Jesus Christ, who say that he lived the life of a courtier in the court of the king of Babylon, rather than that of a prophet : and they further assert, that, though he received divine revelations, yet these were only by dreams and visions of the pight, which they consider as the most imperfect mode of revelation. But Josephus, one of the most antient profane writers of that nation, accounts Daniel one of the greatest of the prophets ; and says that he conversed familiarly with God, and not only predicted future events (as other prophets did) but also determined the time in which they should happen.
II. The book of Daniel may be divided into two parts. The first is historical, and contains a relation of various circumstances that happened to bimself and to the Jews, under several kings at Babylon; the second is strictly prophetical, and comprises the visions and prophecies with which he was favoured, and which enabled him to foretel numerous important events relative to the monarchies of the world, the time of the advent and death of the Messiah, the restoration of the Jews, and the conversion of the Gentiles. Part I. contains the historical part of the book of Daniel (ch.j.—vi.),
forming sir sections, viz. Sect. 1. The education of Daniel and his companions at Babylon,
on being carried thither from the land of Judah by order of Ne
buchadnezžar. (ch. i.) Sect. 2. Nebuchadnezzar's dream concerning an image composed
of different metals (ii. 1-13.); the interpretation thereof communicated to Daniel (14—23.), who reveals it to the monarch (24-35.), and interprets it of the four great monarcbies. The
Josephus, Ant. Jud. lib. X. c. 11. $ 7.