Imágenes de páginas

earthly government, and not upon the return of the people to their God. Hence the Divine answer, viii. 7, “they have rejected me that I should not reign over them.” On the other hand, however, as the Divine providence does not exclude the employment of human agents as its instruments, so neither was an earthly kingdom of necessity opposed to the theocracy; nay, since the people had shown themselves incapable of uniting in an ideal union, the kingship might—if the king, in obedience to the theocratic principle, were regarded not as an autocrat but as the organ of Jehovah—even become the means of confirming the theocracy. It was on this principle that Samuel acted, after having obtained God's permission to grant the desire of the people. To make it evident that the Divine choice was entirely independent of earthly considerations, it was not a man of importance, but one as yet unknown, of the least family of the smallest of the tribes (ix. 21), who was raised to the throne (3). The consecration to the kingship was effected, according to ancient and already assumed (Judg. ix. 8, 15) usage, by anointing, a rite performed by Samuel on Saul, 1 Sam. x. 1, and subsequently on David, xvi. 3, and repeated in the case of the latter after his actual entrance upon the government, 2 Sam. ii. 4, v. 3, by the elders of the people. The

, royal anointing is also mentioned in the cases of Absalom, xix. 11; Solomon, 1 Kings i. 39 (by the high priest); Joash, 2 Kings ix. 12; Jehoahaz, xxiii. 80; and in the kingdom of the ten tribes, in that of Jehu, who was raised to the throne by the instrumentality of a prophet. The anointing of a king is nowhere else spoken of,—a circumstance which has given support to the rabbinic view, that this rite was only practised at the elevation of a new dynasty, or when an exceptional case of succession occurred, but omitted when the succession was regular (4). If this view is correct, anointing must be regarded as a rite whose efficacy continued as long as the regular succession to the throne was uninterrupted. And this is undoubtedly consistent with the Old Testament notion of the connection of the dynasty with its founder,-nin nung, the Lord's anointed, being the usual designation of the theocratic king (comp. such passages as Ps. xx. 7, xxviii. 10, lxxxix. 39, 52, etc.) (5). Anointing was a symbol of endowment with the Divine Spirit (comp. 1 Sam. x. 1 in connection with ver. 9 sq., xvi. 13), the gift which is the condition of a wise, just, and powerful government,--all ability to rule righteously being but an outflow of Divine wisdom (Prov. viii. 15 sq.) (6). Anointing made the king's person both sacred and inviolable (1 Sam. sxiv. 7, xxvi. 9, compared with 2 Sam. ix. 22) (7). In Saul's case, his institution in the regal functions, by his public presentation before the assembled people, 1 Sam. x. 20 sqq., on which occasion Samuel announced to them “ the manner of the kingdom," and wrote it in a book which was laid up before the Lord, i.e. deposited with the Thorah in the sanctuary, did not take place till after his consecration. What Samuel explained to the people as the manner of the king, viii. 11 sqq., is not intended here, as the passage has so frequently been misunderstood, for the latter would have been that of a king in the sense in which the people desired, “ like the kings of the heathen nations” (8). We afterwards find, 2 Kings xi. 12, that a copy of the law was, in accordance with the injunction Deut. xvii. 18 sq., presented to the king together with the crown. Saul having by a victorious war obtained the recognition of the people (ch. xi.), Samuel retired from the office of judge, to execute from henceforth only the duties of prophet, and of watchman of the theocracy.

(1) See my article Könige Königthum in Israel in Herzog's Realencyclop. viii. p. 10 sq.

(2) Judg. viii. 23: “I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you : the Lord shall rule over you.”

(3) A similar mode of proceeding was observed at the choice of David, 1 Sam. xvi. 7, comp. with 2 Sam. vii. 8, 18, Ps. Ixxvïïi. 70.

(4) Comp. the still very useful work of Schickard, jus regium

Hebræorum c. animadvers. J. B. Carpzovii, 1674, p. 77; J. G. Carpzov, app. hist. crit. ant. sacr. p. 56.

(5) On the question whether at a royal anointing ordinary oil or the priestly anointing oil was employed, a question to which the Old Testament offers no certain answer, see Carpzov, id. The former view is favoured by 1 Kings i. 39, Ps. Ixxxix. 21. It must also be remarked that pys, the standing expression for the anointing of the high priest (see § 96), is sometimes also used of the royal anointing, 1 Sam. x. 1; 2 Kings ix. 3.

(6) Compare the description of Messiah, the ideal of Israelite kingship, in Isa. xi. 1 sqq. .

(7) Other ceremonies seem to have been combined with anointing, especially that of placing on the king's head the crown-diadem, 7), 2 Kings xi. 12, as the token of royal dignity, 2 Sam. i. 10; Ps. Ixxxix. 40, cxxxii. 18. The king did not wear both diadem and crown; but the crown was probably not of the shape now used, but rather a diadem. nagy?, in Ezek. xxi. 31, as everywhere, is the head-gear, not, as Gesenius supposes, of the king, but of the high priest. See on this subject Hengstenberg, Christol. des A. T. ii. sec. 2, p. 566. The other royal insignia, the sceptre, instead of which Saul seems to have borne a lance (1 Sam. xviii. 10, xxii. 6), the throne, etc., need no further mention. (8) Neither, however, can a constitution in the modern

8 sense of the word, or a compact between ruler and people, be supposed.




1. SAUL.

§ 164.

The history of Israel during the time of the undivided kingdom is separated by the reigns of its three monarchs into three sections, essentially differing in character.

[ocr errors]

The reign of Saul at once displays the kingdom in conflict with the theocratic principle advocated by the prophets. Saul fell a victim to his efforts to render the kingdom independent, though at the commencement of his reign he seems undoubtedly to have supported the reforming zeal of Samuel, by his extermination of necromancy (1 Sam. xxviii. 9). He regarded his royal duties chiefly, however, on their warlike side, which the dangers constantly menacing him on the part of the Philistines never suffered him to lose sight of (1 Sam. xiii. 8–14) (1). That his submission to the prophet was not unlimited, was shown by even the first test imposed upon him by Samuel, viz. that of waiting seven days before the sacrifice (1 Sam. xiii. 8-14, compared with x. 8), on which account Samuel announced to him that his kingdom should not endure (2). Ignoring, nevertheless, the evident consistency with which the prophet treated him, and transgressing his command for the second time after his victorious contest with the Amalekites, ch. xv., against whom he failed to execute the Cherem, the Divine sentence of rejection was immediately pronounced against him. The answer then given by Samuel, ver. 22 sq., to the king, when he sought to palliate his disobedience, contains what may be called the programme of prophetship, which, as the office of the Spirit, was to censure all hypocrisy, and to advocate, in opposition to all self-righteousness, the sole supremacy of the Divine will (3). In the execution of his office, the prophet was not permitted to yield to that human sympathy with which Samuel personally felt for Saul (see xv. 11, xvi. 1). From this time forward Saul was gradually but certainly approaching the consummation of his tragic fate. Samuel anointed the shepherd David, the youngest son of Jesse, a descendant of Ruth the Moabitess,—who, as a convert from heathenism, had been incorporated into the covenant people (Ruth iv. 22),--king in his stead. Samuel seems after this to have retired into the seclusion of the association of prophets at Ramah. The prophets held no further intercourse with Saul: David was now in their eyes the lawful king, and with him, as appears from 1 Sam. xxii. 5, they associated as far as practicable (4). Saul, however, utterly consumed his strength in persecuting David and all whom he regarded as his adherents. His whole existence was embittered by suspicion of those about him, till at length the unhappy king, after seeking counsel from the shades of the dead, and receiving as a sentence from the mouth of the departed, that prophetic testimony which he had despised when announced by the living, perished by his own hand, after an unsuccessful battle against the Philistines (5).

(1) 1 Sam. xiv. 52:“When Saul saw any strong man, or any valiant man, he took him unto him."

(2) I cannot here enter into particulars ; comp. the elucidation of this point in Ewald's Geschichte Israels, i. sec. 2, p. 477 s99., iii. sec. 3, p. 41 sqq., and the whole of his excellent treatment of the reign of Saul, which is one of the best portions of this work.

(3) 1 Sam. xv. 22 sq.: “Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams: for rebellion is the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, He hath also rejected thee from being king."

(4) The prophet Gad, mentioned 1 Sam. xxii. 5, and subsequently reappearing in the history of David, was probably a member of the association of prophets at Ramah.

(5) The narrative in the First Book of Samuel, of Saul's gradual accomplishment of his tragic fate after being forsaken by God, and the Books of Samuel in general, are the most complete portion of Old Testament history; while the vivid and graphic descriptions, and the sharpness and delicacy with which the chief characters are portrayed, are excellent even in an artistic point of view. On the subject last mentioned, comp. especially the article Die Geschichte von der Zauberin in Endor in the Erlanger Zeitschrift für Protest. und Kirche, 1851, Sep

« AnteriorContinuar »