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ERA OF THE REIGN OF DAVID.
David; while those, on the contrary, which commence with Jeho, as Jehonathan, then first came into usel; 2ndly, that more ancient modes of speech, such as forms of swearing? and proverbial expressions, still retain in general the name Elohim”; and 3rdly, that in the so-called Psalms of Korah, Elohim is still almost exclusively used as the name of the Deity. Even those who are inclined, with Hartmann, to suppose that the name Jehovah was borrowed from the Phænicians (which appears, however, less probable), must still abide by the date he has assigned, because no reasons can be found for a higher. “This name," he observes, “ can only have been introduced into the religious phraseology of the Israelites, at the very earliest, in the reign of David 4.” From this time downwards, the character of the Deity of the nation, as represented by the national poets, rises perceptibly in grandeur; the lyric hymns and the writings of the prophets are all inspired with the wisdom, goodness and justice of Jehovah, and stand on other points in complete and happy contrast with the more Levitical Pentateuch: “they divest their Jehovah of the narrow nationality of his character, and at times extend his sway even to other nations5;" they desire to see him worshiped, not by outward sacrifice, but by inward purity of heart; they no longer represent him as crafty, deceitful, cruel and revengeful, whenever his rites and ceremonies were infringed or neglected, but they place before us such a picture of religion as it is reserved for the sages of all nations to draw, and such as, according to
1 Jehoshu'a is known to be another form of Hoshe'a.
Köster', may be traced even in Homer and the poets of Greece. This latter author, too, very justly observes, that if we knew more of the popular belief of the Hebrews, and if Homer, on the other hand, had expressly presented to us the religion of the sages of his day, the resemblance between them would have probably been much greater than it now appears. Thus the historical development of the religion of the Hebrews is found to be parallel in every point (or rather in some important points] with that of other nations,—to be, in short, that of human nature itself.
Erlaüterungen (Elucidation), p. 15.
POPULAR worshIP.—THE ARK.-HOLY PLACES AND
The voice of history is conclusive evidence to the fact that the religious progress of the Hebrews precisely resembled that of the other nations of antiquity, that their poets and sages had arrived at the most perfect conceptions of the Deity, while the mass of the people, from want of sufficient instruction, still clung to polytheism and idolatry, and were totally unable to rise to their purer and more elevated views. “ All the historical and prophetical writings," to quote the words of Hartmann,“prove that, from the migration into Palestine, down to the exile at the Babylonish captivity, the worship of one only God never penetrated the mass of the people, but was merely preached by a constant succession of prophets and priests,—and that, in its utmost purity, it was scarcely perhaps comprehended even by the few more spiritual and enlightened individuals."
The received opinion, derived wholly and solely from the Pentateuch, that the Israelites were continually falling back into idolatry, is utterly unfounded and erroneous. It would appear, on the contrary, that it was only by the exertions of a few pious princes that they were slowly weaned from the abominations, which they never entirely relinquished until after the Babylonish exile. A sceptical
spirit had already begun to make great progress among their sages, particularly towards the close of this period? ; the result of experience appeared to them at variance with the justice of the Deity, and no doctrine of immortality had as yet taught them to look for a compensation in the future. Hence the prophets so frequently complain, that even the most orthodox among their contemporaries had little genuine piety, and that they worshiped God more in sacrifices than in spirit?. From these complaints we must infer, that a ceremonial service was at this time everywhere prevalent, and that no pure conceptions of morality had yet found admittance among the people. And how, we may ask, could it be otherwise ? The people lived among kindred tribes addicted to the worship of nature in all its various gradations, and it was manifestly impossible that a single sanctuary could satisfy the religious wants of the whole Jewish nation, even supposing that the temple at Jerusalem had been dedicated to a purer worship. It is, however,openly confessed that its very founder, Solomon, erected private
i Compare Psalm lxxiii.
? Isaiah lviii. 2, &c., lxvi. 3, &c. Compare also the following passages :
“Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me.”—Jerem. vi. 20.
"Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh. [For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices; but this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people ; and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.]”—Jerem. vii. 21, 22, 23.
“For I desired mercy and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”-Hosea vi. 6.
See also Amos v. 21 &c. ; and Micah vi. 6, &c.
IDOLATRY OF SOLOMON.
altars [in his old-age] to the gods of the Sidonians, the Ammonites, and the Moabites?; and that sacred groves, with a simple but organized system of sacrificial worship (as is implied in the book of Genesis ?), were scattered over the land from the most ancient times until the reformation of Josiah4. It was only, we are told, the last-named king who finally abolished the whole of this system, nay who banished the vessels of Baal from the House of Jehovah himselfs, and brake down the tents of the prostitutes that were
1 « For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father. Then did Solomon build an high place for Che. mosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Moloch, the abomination of the children of Ammon.”—1 Kings xi. 5-7.
2 “And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land : and there builded he an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him.”—Gen. xii. 7.
"And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine : and he was the priest of the most high God.”—Gen. xiv. 18.
“And Abraham planted a grove in Beer-sheba, and called there on the name of the Lord, the everlasting God.”—-Gen. xxi. 33.
3“Only the people sacrificed in high places, because there was no house built unto the name of the Lord, until those days.”—1 Kings iii. 2.
“For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree.”—1 Kings xiv. 23.
4 [See also 2 Chron. xxxiv. 3. &c.] See De Wette, i. 250. Winer's Dictionary of the Bible, art. Höhen (high places).
5 “And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the Lord all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven : and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Beth-el......And he brought out the grove from the house of the Lord, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and stamped it small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people.”—2 Kings xxiii. 4,6. Here the words mibbeith and meheikal are used for Jehovah.