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who has not seen the rejoicing at the drawing of water at the Feast of Tabernacles does not know what rejoicing is. Perhaps viii. 12, “I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life," may refer to the illumination. It is quite intelligible that the Greeks

. (see Plutarch, Sympos. iv. 6. 2) should regard the Feast of Tabernacles, on account of its connection with the vintage, as a feast of Bacchus ; it is only unintelligible that many moderns should have laid any weight on such a circumstance.

(3) On the other hand, the expression subsequently acquired the further meaning of a solemn assembly, Joel i. 14. Compare the use of the word niyy, 2 Kings x. 20.

2 (4) So Philo, de septen. § 24, ed. Mang. ii. p. 298, already understood the matter.

(5) It was not till afterwards that the Feast of the Dedication in the ninth, and the Feast of Purim in the twelfth month, with which we are not at present concerned, were inserted. See Prophetism, and the article cited, p. 388 sq.









$ 157, Course of Events. Import of the Office of Judge. The history of the period of the judges, when viewed from the theocratic point of view in which it is contemplated in the Book of Judges, and especially in the second introduction to this book (ch. ii. 6-iii. 6) (1), presents a constant alternation between the apostasy of the people and their consequent cliastisement by the Divine Power, on the one hand, and the return of the people to their God and the Divine deliverances therewith connected, on the other. The course of events during the three centuries preceding the time when Samuel filled the post of judge, may be generally described as follows: -After Joshua, who had no immediate successor, and the other elders, who had known all the works of the Lord that He had done for Israel” (Josh. xxiv. 31), had passed from the scene, the nation was left to itself, that its life might now be freely developed under theocratic institutions. So long as the remembrance of the Divine manifestations endured, the people remained faithful to these institutions. Even the internal war against the tribe of Benjamin, related in the sequel of the Book of Judges (ch. xix.-xxi.), which, occurring during the high-priesthood of Phinehas, must have been waged shortly after the death of Joshua, is an indication that the theocratic zeal of the nation had as yet suffered no diminution. This is, however, the last occasion for many years on which we meet with the united action of the whole people. For Joshua having committed the further execution of the work of conquest to the individual tribes, it ceased to be the common concern of the nation, and opportunity was thus given for the promotion of private interests. The several states were not always entirely successful in the petty warfare which they carried on; a portion of the still remaining Canaanites were not subdued, against others the sentence of extermination was not strictly carried out. Those who were rendered merely tributary, and suffered to dwell among the Israelites, not only seduced the people to the service of Canaanitish gods, but also regained the mastery in isolated parts of the land. Irruptions of numerous nomadic hordes of Midianites and Amalekites from the east ensued, while the nation was repeatedly exposed to danger from the hostile attacks of the neighbouring Moabites and Ammonites. In the west, the power of the Philistine Pentapolis, situate on the low-lying plains near the Mediterranean, became increasingly formidable during the middle period of the judges. The oppressions which the Israelites suffered at the hand of these different nations usually extended only to certain tribes; but this very circumstance was the reason that not even these afflictions were capable of drawing the tribes out of their isolation, and uniting them in a common enterprise. Such slothful selfishness on the part of individual tribes, in withdrawing from the national cause, is sharply reproved in the Song of Deborah, Judg. v. 15–17 (2). In times of oppression like these (when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, ch. iii. 9, 15, iv. 3, etc.), individuals called judges arose, who, aroused by the Spirit of Jehovah, turned back the heart of the people to their God, revived in them the remembrance of God's dealings with them in past times, and then broke the hostile yoke under which they were suffering. The whole intention of the narrative of this book is not, however, fulfilled in the glorification of these men as the heroes of the nation,-its purport being rather to show that the help afforded was the result of an outpouring of the Divine Spirit; and that God, in effecting the deliverance of His people, made choice of the lowly and despised as His instruments. Compare what is already said of Shamgar, iï. 31. Very instructive in this respect is the history of Gideon, the most prominent among the earlier judges; see such passages as vi. 15, vii. 2 (3). It was on this account that these ministers of the theocracy were called, not kings or rulers, but Shophetim (judges). This name must not, moreover, be specially restricted to the exercise of the judicial office, though its performance is asserted in the cases of Deborah (iv. 5), Eli, and Samuel (4), and must be assumed in that of others in so far as they remained for any length of time at the head either of the whole nation or of single tribes. It bears a more general signification, and represents these men as advocates of those Divine claims which it was their part to maintain and restore. The office of judge was neither permanent nor hereditary, but purely personal. Called to a prominent position by the necessities of the times, they interposed with energy in the affairs of the individual tribes at the head of which they were placed, but exercised no abiding influence upon the nation, which, on the contrary, relapsed into its former course, when its burdens were lightened or when the judge was dead; comp. especially the passage ii. 16-19 (5).

(1) There is, at the commencement of the Book of Judges, a double introduction, ch. i.-iii. 6, whose purpose is to serve as

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