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promised to the Jews (x. 1–3.), and their victories over their enemies are again foretold. (4—12.) It is probable that this prophetic discourse remains to be fully accomplished in the final restoration of the Jews. DISCOURSE 3. predicts the rejection of the Jews for their rejection of Christ, and valuing bim and his labours at the base price of thirty pieces of silver. (xi.) This prediction was literally fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ. (Compare Matt. xxvi. 14, 15. and xxvii. 3 -10. with Zech. xi. 11–13.) DISCOURSE 4. comprises a series of prophecies, relating principally to the latter times of the Gospel. The former part of it (xii. 19.) announces the preservation of Jerusalem against an invasion in the last ages of the world, which most commentators think is that of Gog and Magog, more largely described in the thirty-eighth and thirty-ninth chapters of Ezekiel. The grief of the Jews, for their fathers having crucified the Messiah, on their conversion, is then foretold (10–14.), as also the crucifixion itself, and the general conversion of the Jews. (xiv.) The destruction of the enemies predicted at the beginning of this prophetic sermon, is again foretold (xiv. 1-15.); and the prophecy concludes with announcing the final conversion of all nations to the Gospel, and the prosperity of the church. (16—21.)

III. Zechariah is the longest and most obscure of the twelve minor prophets. His style, like that of Haggai, is for the most part prosaic, though more obscure towards the beginning on account of his types and visions. Towards the close he is more plain, as well as more elevated and poetical. This difference in style has induced Mr. Mede, Dr. Hammond, and some other modern critics, to suppose that chapters ix. x. and xi. of this prophet were written by Jeremiah; because in Matt. xxvii. 9, 10. we find his name quoted instead of Zechariah's. And, as these three chapters form, in their opinion, but one prophetic discourse, they have concluded that they belonged to Jeremiah. As, however, the language of Zechariah corresponds with that of the age in which he lived, and incidental expressions show that he flourished after the captivity, it is most probable that the name of Jeremiah has slipped into the text of Saint Matthew, through some mistake of the transcribers. The style, general structure of the poetry, external or historical testimony, and argument of the latter part of this prophet, all concur to prove that it was written by the author of the former part;' and consequently that it was not written by Jeremiah, as Mede and others have supposed, nor before the time of that prophet, as Archbishop Newcome conjectured, whose opinion was adopted by Archbishop Secker, and also by Doederlein.

1 The genuineness of the latter part of the prophecy of Zechariah is satisfactovily proved by a minute examination of its language, style, poetical structure, argument, and scope, by Dr. F. B. Koester, in his Mcletemata Critica in Zecharia Prophetæ Partem posteriorem, cap. ix.--xiv. pro tuenda ejus authentia. 8vo. Gottingæ, 1819. FOL. IV.

27

SECTION III.

ON THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET MALACHI.

I. Author and date. - II. Occasion and scope of his prophecy. - III.

Analysis of its contents. — iv. Style.

BEFORE CHRIST, 436—420.

1. CONCERNING Malachi, the last of the minor prophets (which name signifies my angel or my messenger), so little is known, that it has been doubted whether his name be a proper name, or only a generic name, signifying the angel of the Lord, a messenger, a prophet. From a comparison of Haggai (i. 13.) with Malachi (i. 1.), it appears, that in these times the appellation of Malach-Jehovah, or the messenger of the Lord, was given to the prophets. The Septuagint translators have rendered Malachi his angel instead of my angel, as the original imports; and several of the fathers have quoted Malachi under the name of the angel of the Lord. Origen entertained the extravagant notion, that Malachi was an angel incarnate sent from God. Calmet, after Jerome and some other ancient writers, thinks that Malachi was the same person as Ezra, who wrote the canonical book that passes under his name, and was governor of the Jews after their return from the captivity. As he revised the Holy Scriptures, and collected the canon of the Old Testament, and performed various other important services to the Jewish church, Ezra has been considered both by antient Jewish, and also by the early Christian writers, as a very extraordinary person sent from God, and therefore they thought him very appropriately denominated Malachi ; but for these opinions there is no foundation what

i ever.

It is certain that Malachi was a distinct person from Ezra, and (as Rosenmüller observes) the whole argument of his book proves that he flourished after the return from the captivity. He prophesied while Nehemiah was governor of Judæa, more particularly after his second coming from the Persian court ; and appears to have contributed the weight of his exhortations to the restoration of the Jewish polity, and the final reform established by that pious and excellent governor. Archbishop Newcome supposes Malachi to have flourished about the year 436 before the Christian æra : but Dr. Kennicott places him about the year 420 before Christ, which date is adopted by Dr. Hales, as sufficiently agreeing with the description of Josephus and the varying dates of chronologers.

II. The Jews having rebuilt the temple and re-established the worship of Jehovah, after the death of Zerubbabel and Joshua, relapsed into their former irreligion in consequence of the negligence of the priests. Although they were subsequently reformed during the

7 Archbishop Newcome's Minor Prophets, p. xliii. Kennicott, Dissertatio Generalis, $ 14. p. 6. Dr. Halesis Analysis of Chronology, vol. ü. p. 533.

governments of Ezra and Nehemiah, yet they fell into gross abuses after the death of Ezra, and during Nehemiah's absence at the court of Persia. The prophet. Malachi was therefore commissioned to reprove the priests and people, more particularly after Nehemiah's second return, for their irreligious practices, and to invite them to repentance and reformation of life by promises of the great blessings that should be bestowed at the advent of the Messiah.

III. The writings of Malachi, which consist of four chapters, comprise two distinct prophetic discourses, viz. DISCOURSE 1. reminds the Jews of the special favours, which God had bestowed upon them (i. 145.), and reproves them for not showing due reverence to God (6~-10.), for which their rejection is threatened, and the calling of the Gentiles is announced. (11.) The divine judgments are threatened both against the people and the priests for their disrespect to God in their sacrifices (12-14. ii. 1–10.), and also for their unlawful intermarriages with idolatresses, and divorcing even their legitimate wives. (11-17.) discourse 2. foretels the coming of Christ, and his harbinger John the Baptist, to purify the sons of Levi, the priests, and to smite the land with a curse, unless they all repented. Reproofs are interspersed for withholding their tithes and other oblations, and also for their blasphemy; and the reward of the good and the punishment of the wicked are predicted. (iii. iv. 1-3.) The prophecy concludes with enjoining the strict observance of the law, till the forerunner already promised should appear in the spirit and power of Elijah, to introduce the Messiah, and commence a new and everlasting dispensation. (4-6.) “The great and terrible day of the Lord,” in verse 5. denotes the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans a. D. 70; though this expression may also be applied to the general dissolution of all things, agreeably to the usual mode of speaking among the prophets. Compare Isa. xiii. 9, 10.

IV. Although the writings of this prophet are almost wholly in prose, yet they are by no means destitute of force and elegance. He reproves the wickedness of his countrymen with great vehemence; and Bishop Lowth observes that his book is written in a kind of middle style, which seems to indicate that the Hebrew poetry, from the time of the Babylonish captivity, was in a declining state, and, being past its prime and vigour, was then fast verging towards the debility of age.

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CHAPTER VIII.

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ON THE APOCRYPHA." 1. Account of the First Book of Esdras. — II. Of the Second Book

of Esdras. — Ul. Of the Book of Tobit. - IV. Of the Book
of Judith. - V. Of the rest of the chapters of Esther. - VI. Of
the Book of Wisdom. – VIL. Of the Book of Ecclesiasticus.
VIII. Of Baruch. — IX. Of the Song of the Three Children.
X. Of the History of Susanna. - XI. Of Bel and the Dragon.
XII. Of the Prayer of Manasses. - XIII. Of the First Book

of Maccabees. — XIV. Of the Second Book of Maccabees. 1. IT is not known at what time the FIRST BOOK OF Esdras was written : it is only extant in Greek, and in the Alexandrian manuscript it is placed before the canonical book of Ezra, and is there called the first book of Ezra, because the events related in it occurred prior to the return from the Babylonish captivity. In some editions of the Septuagint it is called the first book of the priest (meaning Ezra), the authentic book of Ezra being called the second book. In the additions of the Latin Vulgate, previous to the council of Trent, this and the following book are styled the third and fourth books of Esdras, those of Esdras and Nehemiah being entitled the first and second books. The author of this book is not known; it is compiled from the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, which however it contradicts in many instances. The first book of Esdras is chiefly historical, and gives an account of the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity, the building of the temple, and the re-establishment of divine worship. The style of this book is much purer than that of the greater part of the Septuagint version, and is said frequently to approach that of Symmachus, the most elegant of all the Greek translators of the Bible. Although this book is often cited by the fathers, it is rejected by Jerome as being spurious, and the church of Rome never recognised its canonical authority : it is not appointed to be read for lessons in the Anglican church. There is a Syriac version of this book extant.

II. The SECOND BOOK OF Esdras is supposed to have been originally written in Greek, though at present it is only extant in Latin, of which there is an Arabic version, differing very materially from it, and having many interpolations. The author of this book is unknown; although he personates Ezra, it is manifest from the style and contents of his book that he lived long after that celebrated Jewish reformer. He pretends to visions and revelations, but they are so fanciful, indigested, ridiculous, and absurd, that it is clear that the Holy Spirit

1 For a critical account of the reasons why the Apocryphal Books, which are usually printed between the Old and New Testaments, are justly rejected from the canon of Scripture, as uninspired writings, see Vol. I. Appendix, No. V. Section I. pp. 626–629.

could have no concern in dictating them. He believed that the day of judgment was at hand, and that the souls of good and wicked men would all be delivered out of hell after the day of judgment. Numerous rabbinical fables occur in this book, particularly the account of the six days' creation, and the story of Behemoth and Leviathan, two monstrous creatures that are designed as a feast for the elect after the day of resurrection, &c. He says that the ten tribes are gone away into a country which he calls Arsareth (xiii. 40–45.), and that Ezra restored the whole body of the Scriptures, which had been entirely lost. (xiv. 21.) And he speaks of Jesus Christ and his apostles in so clear a manner, that the Gospel itself is scarcely more explicit. On these accounts, and from the numerous vestiges of the language of the New Testament, and especially of the Revelation of Saint John, which are discoverable in this book, Moldenhawer and some other critics conclude that it was written by some converted Jew, in the close of the first century, who assumed the name of Esdras or Ezra.

III. Concerning the author of the book of TOBIT, or the tine when he fourished, we have no authentic information. It prosesses to relate the history of Tobit and his family, who were carried into captivity to Nineveh by Shalmanezer ; but it contains so many rabbinical fables, and allusions to the Babylonian demonology, that many learned men consider it as an ingenious and amusing fiction, calculated to form a pious temper, and to teach the most important duties. From some apparent coincidences between this book and some parts of the New Testament, Moldenhawer is disposed to refer it to the end of the first century: but Jahn and most other commentators and critics think it was written about 150 or 200 years before the birth of our Saviour. According to Jerome, who translated the book of Tobit into Latin, it was originally written in Chaldee by some Babylonian Jew. It was probably begun by Tobit, continued by his son Tobias, and finished by some other individual of the family, after which it was digested into the order in which we now have it. There is a Greek version of this book extant, much more antient than Jerome's Latin translation : for it is referred to by Polycarp, Clement of Alexandria, and other fathers, who lived long before the time of Jerome. From this Greek version the Syriac translation was made, and also that which is found among the apocryphal books in our English Bibles. Although the book of Tobit has always been rejected from the sacred canon, it was cited with respect by the early fathers of the Christian church; the simplicity of its narrative, and the pious and moral lessons it inculcates, have imparted to it an interest, which has rendered it one of the most popular of the apocryphal writings.

IV. The BOOK OF Judith professes to relate the defeat of the Assyrians by the Jews, through the instrumentality of their countrywoman Judith, whose genealogy is recorded in the eighth chapter ; but so many geographical, historical, and chronological difficulties attend this book that Luther, Grotius and other eminent crities, have

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