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grandfather of the royal Psalmist, it is evident that the date of the history of Ruth cannot be so low as the time of Eli assigned by Josephus, nor so high as the time of Shamgar : the most probable period therefore is that stated by Bishop Patrick, viz. during the judicature of Gideon, or about the year of the world 2759, B. c. 1241.
III. Like the book of Judges, Ruth has been ascribed to Hezekiah, and also to Ezra : but the most probable, and indeed generally received opinion, is that of the Jews, who state it to have been written by the prophet Samuel. From the genealogy recorded in iv. 17– 22. it is evident that this history could not have been reduced into its present form before the time of Samuel.
IV. The scope of this book is, principally, to delineate part of Christ's genealogy in David's time. (Compare Ruth iv. 18–22. with Matt. i. 5, 6.) It had been foretold to the Jews that the Messiah should be of the tribe of Judah, and it was afterwards further revealed that he should be of the family of David : and therefore it was necessary, for the full understanding of these prophecies, that the history of the family, in that tribe, should be written before these prophecies were revealed, to prevent the least suspicion of fraud or design. And thus this book, these prophecies, and their accomplishment, serve to illustrate each other. The adoption of Ruth, a heathen converted to Judaism, into the line of Christ, has generally been considered as a pre-intimation of the admission of the Gentiles into the church. A further design of this book is to evidence the care of Divine Providence over those who sincerely fear God, in raising the pious Ruth from a state of the deepest adversity to that of the highest prosperity. The whole narrative is written with peculiar simplicity; and the interviews between Boaz and Ruth display the most unaffected piety, liberality, and modesty; and their reverent observance of the Mosaic
; law, as well as of antient customs, is portrayed in very lively and animated colours.
V. The book of Ruth, which consists of four chapters, may be conveniently divided into three sections ; containing, Sect. 1. An account of Naomi, from her departure from Canaan
into Moab, with her husband Elimelech, to her return thence into the land of Israel with her daughter-in-law Ruth. (ch. i.)
B. C. 1241–1231. SECT. 2. The interview of Boaz with Ruth, and their marriage.
(ii. iii. iv. 1-12.) Sect. 3. The birth of Obed, the son of Boaz by Ruth, from whom David was descended. (iv. 13—18.)
1 Bedford's Scripture Chronology, book v. c. 5,
ON THE TWO BOOKS OF SAMUEL.
1. Title. - II. - Authors. - III. Argument, scope, and analysis of
the first book of Samuel. - IV. Argument, scope, and analysis of the second book of Samuel. - V. General observations on these
two books. 1. IN the Jewish canon of Scripture these two books form but one, termed in Hebrew the Book of Samuel, probably because the greater part of the first book was written by that prophet, whose history and transactions it relates. The books of Samuel appear to have derived their appellation from 1 Chron. xxix. 29.: where the transactions of David's reign are said to be written in the book (Heb. words) of Samuel the seer. In the Septuagint version they are called the first and second Book of Kings, or of the Kingdoms ; in the Vulgate they are designated as the first and second Book of Kings, and, by Jerome, they are termed the Books of the Kingdoms; as being two of the four books in which the history of the kings of Israel and Judah is related.
II. Jahn is of opinion, that the books of Samuel and the two books of Kings were written by one and the same person, and published about the forty-fourth year of the Babylonish captivity: and he has endeavoured to support his conjecture with much ingenuity, though unsuccessfully, by the uniformity of plan and style which he thinks are discernible in these books. The more prevalent, as well as more probable opinion, is that of the Talmudists, which was adopted by the most learned fathers of the Christian church (who unquestionably had better means of ascertaining this point than we have): viz. that the first twenty-four chapters of the first book of Samuel were written by the prophet whose name they bear; and that the remainder of that book, together with the whole of the second book, was committed to writing by the prophets Gad and Nathan, agreeably to the practice of the prophets who wrote memoirs of the transactions of their respective times. That all these three persons were writers is evident from 1 Chron. xxix. 29. ; where it is said: Now the acts of David, first and last, behold they are written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book of Nathan the prophet, and of Gad the seer : the memoirs of these prophets are here referred to as distinct books : but it would be natural for Ezra, by whom the canon of Jewish Scripture was completed, to throw all their contents into the two books of Samuel. It is certain that the first book of Samuel was written before the first book of Kings ; a circumstance related in the former book being referred to in the latter. (1 Sam. ii. 31. with 1 Kings ii. 17.)
The first acts of David declared in i Chron. xxix. 29. to have been recorded by Samuel, were such as happened before the death of Samuel : and these end with the twenty-fourth chapter of the first book of Samuel. What parts of the remaining history of David were
written by Nathan, and what by Gad, it is at present very difficult to distinguish with exactness. Mr. Reeves has conjectured, with great probability, that as it appears from 1 Sam. xxii. 5. that Gad was then with David in the hold or place where he kept himself secret from Saul; and since it is thought that Gad, being bred under Samuel, was privy to his having anointed David king, and had therefore resolved to accompany him during his troubles; it has, from these circumstances, been supposed that the history of what happened to David, from the death of Samuel to his being made king at Hebron over all Israel, was penned by the prophet Gad. He seems the most proper person for that undertaking, having been an eyewitness to most of the transactions. This part of David's history takes up the seven last chapters of the first book of Samuel, and the four first chapters and the former part of the fifth chapter of the second book.
The first mention of the prophet Nathan occurs in 2 Sam. vii. 2. a short time after David was settled at Jerusalem. Nathan is frequently mentioned in the subsequent part of David's reign ; and he was one of those who were appointed by David to assist at the anointing of Solomon. (1 Kings i. 32.) As this event took place not long before David's death, it is probable Nathan might survive the royal psalmist : and, as he knew all the transactions of his reign from his settlement at Jerusalem to his death, it is most likely that he wrote the history of the latter part of David's reign; especially as there is no mention of Gad, after the pestilence sent for David's numbering the people, which was about two years before his death, during which interval Gad might have died. Gad must have been advanced in years, and might leave the continuation of the national memoirs to Nathan. For these reasons, it is probably thought that Nathan wrote all the remaining chapters of the second book of Samuel, after the five first.
III. The FIRST BOOK of Samuel contains the history of the Jewish church and polity, from the birth of Samuel, during the judicature of Eli, to the death of Saul the first king of Israel; a period of nearly eighty years, viz. from the year of the world 2869 to 2949. Its scope is more immediately to declare the religious and political state of the Israelites under their last judges Eli and Samuel, and their first monarch Saul, and the reason why their form of government was changed from an aristocracy to a monarchy; thus affording a strong confirmation of the authenticity of the Pentateuch, in which we find that this change had been foretold by Moses, in his prophetic declaration to the assembled nation, a short time before his death, and upwards of four hundred years before the actual institution of the regal government. This book also exhibits the preservation of the church of God amidst all the vicissitudes of the Israelitish polity, and its transmission to posterity ; together with signal instances of the divine mercy towards those who feared Jehovah, and of judgments inflicted upon his enemies. It consists of three parts or sections : viz.
1 Reeves, Preface to 1 Sam.
Part I. The transactions under the judicature of Eli. (ch. i.-iv.) Sect. 1. The birth of Samuel (ch. i.), with the thanksgiving and
prophetical hymn of his mother Hannah. (ii.) The tenth verse of this chapter is a prediction of the Messiah. “This admirable hymn excels in simplicity of composition, closeness of connexion, and uniformity of sentiment; breathing the pious effusions of a devout mind, deeply impressed with a conviction of God's mercies to herself in particular, and of his providential government of the world in general ; exalting the poor in spirit or the humble minded, and abasing the rich and arrogant ; re
warding the righteous, and punishing the wicked.”l Sect. 2. The call of Samuel, his denunciations against Eli by the
command of God, and his establishment in the prophetic office.
(iii.) SECT. 3. The death of Eli, and the capture of the ark of God by
the Philistines. (iv.) Part II. The history of the Israelites during the judicature of Samuel. Sect. 1. The destruction of the Philistines’ idol Dagon (v.); the
chastisement of the Philistines, their restoration of the ark, and the slaughter of the Bethshemites for profanely looking into the
ark. (vi.) Sect. 2. The reformation of divine worship, and repentance of the
Israelites at Mizpeh, the discomfiture of the Philistines, who were kept under during the remainder of Samuel's judicature.
(vii.) Sect. 3. The Israelites' request for a regal government; the des
tination of Saul to the kingly office (viii. ix.); his inauguration
(x.); and victory over the Ammonites. (xi.) Sect: 4. Samuel's resignation of the supreme judicial power (xii.) ;
though, in a civil and religious capacity, he “judged Israel all
the days of his life.” (1 Sam. vii. 15.) Part III. The history of Saul, and the transactions during his reign. Sect. 1. The prosperous part of Saul's reign comprising his war
with the Philistines, and offering of sacrifice (xiii.), with his
victory over them. (xiv.) Sect. 2. The rejection of Saul from the kingdom, in consequence
of his rebellion against the divine command in sparing the king
of Amalek, and the best part of the spoil. (xv.) Sect. 3. The inauguration of David, and the events that took
place before the death of Saul (xvi.—xxviii.), including, ģi. The anointing of David to be king over Israel (xvi.); his combat and victory
over Goliath. (xvii.) g ii. The persecutions of David by Saul; – his exile and covenant with Jonathan
(xviii.) ; his flight (xix.); friendship with Jonathan (xx.); his going to Nob, where he and his men ate of the showbread, and Goliath's sword was delivered to him ; his flight, first to the court of Achish king of Gath, and subsequently into the land of Moab (xxi. xxii. 146.); the slaughter of the priests at Nob, with the exception of Abiathar. (xxii. 7—23.) iii. The liberation of Keilah from the Philistines by David (xxiii. 146.); his flight into the wilderness of Ziph and Maon (xxii. 7-29.); Saul's life in David's power at Engedi, who spares it (xxiv.); the inhuman conduct of Nabal (xxv.); Saul's life spared a second time (xxvi.) ; – David's second flight to Achish king of Gath. (xxvii.)
| Dr. Hales's Analysis of Chronology, vol. ü. book i. p. 332.
Sect. 4. The last acts of Saul to his death, including i. Saul's consultation of thel witch of Endor. (xxviii.) ♡ ii. The encampment of the Philistines at Aphek, who send back David from
their army. (xxix.) 0 iii. David's pursuit and defeat of the Amalekites who had plundered Ziklag,
and from whom he recovers the spoil. (xxx.) $ iv. The suicide of Saul, and total discomfiture of the Israelites. (xxx.)
IV. The second Book of Samuel contains the history of David, the second king of Israel, during a period of nearly forty years, viz. from the year of the world 2948 to 2988; and, by recording the translation of the kingdom from the tribe of Benjamin to that of Judah, it relates the partial accomplishment of the prediction delivered in Gen. xlix. 10. The victories of David, his wise administration of civil government, his efforts to promote true religion, his grievous sins, and deep repentance, together with the various troubles and judgments inflicted upon him and his people by God, are all fully described. His heinous sins and sincere repentance, says Augustine, are both propounded, in order that, at the falls of such great men, others may tremble, and know what to avoid : and that, at their rising again, those who have fallen may know what to follow and imitate : though many will fall with David who will not rise with David. This book consists of three principal divisions, relating the triumphs and the troubles of David, and his transactions subsequent to his recovery of the throne, whence he was driven for a short time by the rebellion of his son Absalom. Part I. The triumphs of David. (ch. i.-X.) Sect. 1. His elegant, tender, and pathetic elegy over Saul, and
Jonathan. (i.) Sect. 2. His triumph over the house of Saul, and confirmation in
the kingdom. (ii.-iv.) Sect. 3. His victories over the Jebusites and Philistines (v.), the bringing up of the ark to Jerusalem. (vi.)
David's prayer to
1 Few passages of Scripture have been discussed with more warmth than the relation contained in this 20th chapter of the first book of Samuel : some commen. tators have conjectured that the whole was a juggle of the Pythoness whom Saul consulted; others, that it was a mere visionary scene ; Augustine and others, that it was Satan himself who assumed the appearance of Samuel; and others, that it was the ghost of Samuel, raised by infernal power, or by force of magical incantation. All these hypotheses however contradict the historical fact as related by the author of this book : for it is evident from the Hebrew original of 1 Sam. xxxviii. 14. more closely translated, and compared throughout with itself, that it was 'Samuel himself whom Saul beheld, and who (or his spirit) was actually raised immediately, and before the witch had any time to utter any incantations, by the power of God, in a glorified form, and wearing the appearance of the ominous mantle in which was the rent that signified the rending of the kingdom from Saul's family. The reality of Samuel's appearance on this occasion was a doctrine of the primitive Jewish church (compare Ecclus. xlvi. 20.), and was also thus understood by Josephus, who has not only translated the original passage correctly, but likewise expressly states that the soul of Samuel inquired why it was raised. Antiq. Jud. lib. vi. 14. 02. Dr. Hales's Analysis of Chronology, vol. ii. book. i. pp. 355—360. where the subject is fully discussed and proved. See also Calmets Dissertation sur l'Apparition de Samuel, Commentaire Litteral, tom. ii. pp. 331– 336. That it was Samuel himself is further evident from the clearness and truth of the prediction (which could only come from God); for,' on the morroir,' that is, very shortly after, Saul and his sons were slain.
2 Augustine, Enarrat. in Psalın 50. (5) of our version)