International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
See ASTROLOGY, sec. I, 6.
See ASTROLOGY, 6.
OLD PROPHET, THE
(nabhi' 'echadh zaqen, "an old prophet" (1 Kings 13:11), ha-nabhi' ha-zaqen, "the old prophet" (1 Kings 13:29)):
1. The Narrative:
The narrative of 1 Kings 13:11-32, in which the old prophet is mentioned, is part of a larger account telling of a visit paid to Bethel by "a man of God" from Judah. The Judean prophet uttered a curse upon the altar erected there by Jeroboam I. When the king attempted to use force against him, the prophet was saved by divine intervention; the king then invited him to receive royal hospitality, but he refused because of a command of God to him not to eat or drink there. The Judean then departed (13:1-10). An old prophet who lived in Bethel heard of the stranger's words, and went after him and offered him hospitality. This offer too was refused. But when the old prophet resorted to falsehood and pleaded a divine command on the subject, the Judean returned with him. While at table the old prophet is given a message to declare that death will follow the southerner's disobedience to the first command. A lion kills him on his way home. The old prophet hears of the death and explains it as due to disobedience to God; he then buries the dead body in his own grave and expresses a wish that he also at death should be buried in the same sepulcher.
There are several difficulties in the text. In 1 Kings 13:11, the King James Version reads "his sons came" instead of "one of his sons came," and translation 1 Kings 13:12 b: "And his sons shewed the way the man of God went." There is a gap in the Massoretic Text after the word "table" in 13:20; and 13:23 should be translated, "And it came to pass after he had eaten bread and drunk water, that he saddled for himself the ass, and departed again" (following Septuagint, B with W. B. Stevenson, HDB, III, 594a, note).
Benzinger ("Die Bucher der Konige," Kurz. Hand-Komm. zum Altes Testament, 91) holds that we have here an example of a midrash, i.e. according to LOT, 529, "an imaginative development of a thought or theme suggested by Scripture, especially a didactic or homiletic exposition or an edifying religious story." 2 Chronicles 24:27 refers to a "midhrash of the book of the kings," and 2 Chronicles 13:22 to a "midrash of the prophet Iddo." In 2 Chronicles 9:29 we have a reference to "the visions of Iddo the seer concerning Jeroboam the son of Nebat." Josephus names the Judean prophet Jadon (Ant., VIII, viii, 5), and so some would trace this narrative to the midrash of Iddo, which would be a late Jewish work. There is a trace of late Hebrew in 1 Kings 13:3, and evidence in several places of a later editing of the original narrative. Kittel and Benzinger think it possible that the section may be based on a historical incident. If the narrative is historical in the main, the mention of Josiah by name in 13:2 may be a later insertion; if not historical, the prophecy there is ex eventu, and the whole section a midrash on 2 Kings 23:15-20.
3. Central Truths:
(1) Several questions are suggested by the narrative, but in putting as well as in answering these questions, it must be remembered that the old prophet himself, as has been pointed out, is not the chief character of the piece. Hence, it is a little pointless to ask what became of the old prophet, or whether he was not punished for his falsehood. The passage should be studied, like the parables of Jesus, with an eye on the great central truth, which is, here, that God punishes disobedience even in "a man of God." It is not inconsistent with this to regard the old prophet as an example of "Satan fashioning himself into an angel of light" (2 Corinthians 11:14), or of the beast which "had two horns like unto a lamb" (Revelation 13:11).
(2) It must also be remembered that the false prophets of the Old Testament are called prophets in spite of their false prophecies. So here the old prophet in spite of his former lie is given a divine message to declare that death will follow the other's disobedience.
(3) One other question suggests itself, and demands an answer. Why did the old prophet make the request that at death he should be buried in the same grave as the Judean (1 Kings 13:31)? The answer is implied in 1 Kings 13:32, and is more fully given in 2 Kings 23:15-20, where King Josiah defiles the graves of the prophets at Bethel. On seeing a "monument" or grave-stone by one of the graves, he inquires what it is, and is told that it marks the grave of the prophet from Judah. Thereupon he orders that his bones be not disturbed. With these the bones of the old prophet escape. Perhaps no clearer instance of a certain kind of meanness exists in the Old Testament. The very man who has been the cause of another's downfall and ruin is base enough to plan his own escape under cover of the virtues of his victim. And the parallels in modern life are many.
David Francis Roberts
SACRIFICE, IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
I. TERMS AND DEFINITIONS
II. ORIGIN AND NATURE OF SACRIFICES
1. Theory of a Divine Revelation
2. Theories of a Human Origin
(1) The Gift-Theory
(2) The Magic Theory
(3) The Table-Bond Theory
(4) The Sacramental Communion Theory
(5) The Homage Theory
(6) The Piacular Theory
(7) Originating Religious Instincts
III. CLASSIFICATION OF SACRIFICES
2. W.R. Smith and Others
4. Paterson and Others
5. H.M. Wiener
IV. SACRIFICES IN THE PRE-MOSAIC AGE
1. In Egypt
2. In Babylonia
3. Nomads and Tribes of Arabia and Syria
4. The Offerings of Cain and Abel
5. Of Noah
6. Of Abraham
7. Of Job
8. Of Isaac
9. Of Jacob
10. Of Israel in Egypt
11. Of Jethro
12. Summary and Conclusions
V. THE MOSAIC SACRIFICIAL SYSTEM
1. The Covenant Sacrifice
2. The Common Altars
3. The Consecration of Aaron and His Sons
4. Sacrifices before the Golden Calf
5. The Law of the Burnt Offering (`Olah)
(1) Ritual for the Offerer (Leviticus 1:3-17)
(2) Ritual for the Priest (Leviticus 1:3-17)
(3) General Laws for the Priest
(4) Laws in Deuteronomy 12:6, 13, 14, 27; 27:6
6. The Law of the Meal Offering (Minchah)
(1) Ritual for the Offerer (Leviticus 2:1-16)
(2) Ritual for the Priest (Leviticus 2:1-16)
(3) General Laws for the Priest (Leviticus 6:14-18 (Hebrew 7-11), etc.)
7. The Law of the Peace Offering
(1) Ritual for the Offerer (Leviticus 3:1-17)
(2) Ritual for the Priest (Leviticus 3:1-17)
(3) General Laws for the Priest (Leviticus 6:12 (Hebrew 5); 7:1;)
8. The Law of the Sin Offering
(1) At the Consecration of Aaron and His Sons (Exodus 29:10;)
(2) The Law of the Sin Offering (Leviticus 4:1-35; 24-30, etc.)
(a) The Occasion and Meaning
(b) Ritual for the Offerer (Leviticus 4:1-5, 13, etc.)
(c) Ritual for the Priest (Leviticus 4:1-5, 13, etc.)
(d) General Laws for the Priest (Leviticus 6:24-30)
(e) Special Uses of the Sin Offering
(i) Consecration of Aaron and His Sons
(ii) Purifications from Uncleanness
(iii) On the Day of Atonement
(iv) Other Special Instances
9. The Guilt Offering
(1) The Ritual (Leviticus 5:14-6:7)
(2) Special Laws: Leper, Nazirite, etc.
10. The Wave Offering
11. The Heave Offering
12. Drink Offerings
13. Primitive Nature of the Cult
VI. SACRIFICES IN THE HISTORY OF ISRAEL
1. The Situation at Moses' Death
2. In the Time of Joshua
3. The Period of the Judges
4. Times of Samuel and Saul
5. Days of David and Solomon
6. In the Northern Kingdom
7. In the Southern Kingdom to the Exile
8. In the Exilic and Post-exilic Periods
9. A Temple and Sacrifices at Elephantine
10. Human Sacrifices in Israel's History
11. Certain Heathen Sacrifices
VII. THE PROPHETS AND SACRIFICES
VIII. SACRIFICE IN THE "WRITINGS"
2. The Psalms
IX. THE IDEA AND EFFICACY OF SACRIFICES
1. A Gift of Food to the Deity
2. Expression of Adoration and Devotion, etc.
3. Means of Purification from Uncleanness
4. Means of Consecration to Divine Service
5. Means of Establishing a Community of Life between Worshipper and God
6. View of Ritschl
7. The Sacramental View
8. Symbol or Expression of Prayer
9. View of Kautzsch
10. Vicarious Expiation Theory; Objections
11. Typology of Sacrifice
I. Terms and Definitions.
zebhach, "sacrifice"; `olah, "burnt offering"; chata'ah, chatta'th, "sin offering"; 'asham, "guilt" or "trespass offering": shelem, shelamim, "peace offerings"; minchah, "offering," "present"; zebhach shelamim, "sacrifice of peace offerings"; zebhach ha-todhah, "thank offerings"; zebhach nedhabhah, "free-will offerings"; zebhach nedher, "votive offerings"; tenuphah, "wave offering"; terumah, "heave offering"; qorban, "oblation," "gift"; 'ishsheh, "fire offering"; necekh, "drink offering"; kalil, "whole burnt offering"; chagh, "feast"; lebhonah, "frankincense"; qetorah, qetoreth, "odor," "incense"; melach, "salt"; shemen, "oil":
Zebhach: a "slaughtered animal," a "sacrifice," general term for animals used in sacrifice, including burnt offerings, peace offerings, thank offerings, and all sacrifices offered to the Deity and eaten at the festivals. More particularly it refers to the flesh eaten by the worshippers after the fat parts had been burned on the altar and the priest had received his portion.
`Olah: a "burnt offering," sometimes whole burnt offering. Derived from the verb `alah, "to go up." It may mean "that which goes up to the altar" (Knobel, Wellhausen, Nowack, etc.), or "that which goes up in smoke to the sky" (Bahr, Delitzsch, Dillmann, etc.); sometimes used synonymously with kalil (which see). The term applies to beast or fowl when entirely consumed upon the altar, the hide of the beast being taken by the priest. This was perhaps the most solemn of the sacrifices, and symbolized worship in the full sense, i.e. adoration, devotion, dedication, supplication, and at times expiation.
Chota'ah, chatta'th: a "sin offering," a special kind, first mentioned in the Mosaic legislation. It is essentially expiatory, intended to restore covenant relations with the Deity. The special features were:
(1) the blood must be sprinkled before the sanctuary, put upon the horns of the altar of incense and poured out at the base of the altar of burnt offering;
(2) the flesh was holy, not to be touched by worshipper, but eaten by the priest only. The special ritual of the Day of Atonement centers around the sin offering.
'Asham: "guilt offering," "trespass offering" (King James Version; in Isaiah 53:10, the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) "an offering for sin," the American Revised Version margin "trespass offering"). A special kind of sin offering introduced in the Mosaic Law and concerned with offenses against God and man that could be estimated by a money value and thus covered by compensation or restitution accompanying the offering. A ram of different degrees of value, and worth at least two shekels, was the usual victim, and it must be accompanied by full restitution with an additional fifth of the value of the damage. The leper and Nazirite could offer he-lambs. The guilt toward God was expiated by the blood poured out, and the guilt toward men by the restitution and fine. The calling of the Servant an 'asham (Isaiah 53:10) shows the value attached to this offering.
Shelem, shelamim: "peace offering," generally used the plural, shelamim, only once shelem (Amos 5:22). These were sacrifices of friendship expressing or promoting peaceful relations with the Deity, and almost invariably accompanied by a meal or feast, an occasion of great joy. They are sometimes called zebhachim, sometimes zebhach shelamim, and were of different kinds, such as zebhach ha-todhah, "thank offerings," which expressed the gratitude of the giver because of some blessings, zebhach nedhabhah, "free-will offerings," bestowed on the Deity out of a full heart, and zebhach nedher, "votive offerings," which were offered in fulfillment of a vow.
Minchah: "meal offering" (the Revised Version), "meat offering" (the King James Version), a gift or presentation, at first applied to both bloody and unbloody offerings (Genesis 4:5), but in Moses' time confined to cereals, whether raw or roast, ground to flour or baked and mixed with oil and frankincense. These cereals were the produce of man's labor with the soil, not fruits, etc., and thus represented the necessities and results of life, if not life itself. They were the invariable accompaniment of animal sacrifices, and in one instance could be substituted for them (see SIN OFFERING). The term minchah describes a gift or token of friendship (Isaiah 39:1), an act of homage (1 Samuel 10:27 1 Kings 10:25), tribute (Judges 3:15, 17 f), propitiation to a friend wronged (Genesis 32:13, 18; Hebrews 14:19)), to procure favor or assistance (Genesis 43:11 Hosea 10:6).
Tenuphah: "wave offering," usually the breast, the priest's share of the peace offerings, which was waved before the altar by both offerer and priest together (the exact motion is not certain), symbolic of its presentation to Deity and given back by Him to the offerer to be used in the priests' service.
Terumah: "heave offering," something lifted up, or, properly, separated from the rest and given to the service of the Deity. Usually the right shoulder or thigh was thus separated for the priest. The term is applied to products of the soil, or portion of land separated unto the divine service, etc.
Qorban: "an oblation," or "offering"; another generic term for all kinds of offerings, animal, vegetable, or even gold and silver. Derived from the verb qarabh, "to draw near," it signifies what is drawn or brought near and given to God.
'Ishsheh: "fire offering," applied to offerings made by fire and usually bloody offerings, but at times to the minchah, the sacred bread and frankincense placed on the tables as a memorial, part of which was burned with the frankincense, the bulk, however, going to the priest. The gift was thus presented through fire to the Deity as a sort of etherealized food.
Necekh: "drink offering," or "libation," a liquid offering of wine, rarely water, sometimes of oil, and usually accompanying the `olah, but often with the peace offerings.
Kalil: "whole burnt offering," the entire animal being burned upon the altar. Sometimes used synonymously with `olah. A technical term among the Carthaginians.
Chagh: a "feast," used metaphorically for a sacrificial feast because the meat of the sacrifices constituted the material of the feast.
Lebhonah: "frankincense," "incense," used in combination with the meal offerings and burnt offerings and burned also upon the altar in the holy place.
Qetorah, qetoreth: "smoke," "odor of sacrifice," or incense ascending as a sweet savor and supposed to be pleasing and acceptable to God.
Melach: "salt," used in all sacrifices because of its purifying and preserving qualities.
Shemen: "oil," generally olive oil, used with the meal offerings of cakes and wafers, etc.
Sacrifice is thus a complex and comprehensive term. In its simplest form it may be defined as "a gift to God." It is a presentation to Deity of some material object, the possession of the offerer, as an act of worship. It may be to attain, restore, maintain or to celebrate friendly relations with the Deity. It is religion in action-in early times, almost the whole of religion-an inseparable accompaniment to all religious exercises. Few or many motives may actuate it. It may be wholly piacular and expiatory, or an Offering of food as a gift to God; it may be practically a bribe, or a prayer, an expression of dependence, obligation and thanksgiving. It may express repentance, faith, adoration, or all of these combined. It was the one and only way of approach to God. Theophrastus defines it as expressing homage, gratitude and need. Hubert and Mauss define it as "a religious act which by the consecration of the victim modifies the moral state of the sacrificer, or of certain material objects which he has in view, i.e., either confers sanctity or removes it and its analogue, impiety."
II. Origin and Nature of Sacrifices.
The beginnings of sacrifice are hidden in the mysteries of prehistoric life. The earliest narrative in Genesis records the fact, but gives no account of the origin and primary idea. The custom is sanctioned by the sacred writings, and later on the long-established custom was adopted and systematized in the Mosaic Law. The practice was almost universal. The Vedas have their elaborate rituals. Some Semitic peoples, Greeks, Romans, Africans, and Indians of Mexico offered human sacrifices. It is unknown in Australia, but even there something akin to it exists, for some natives offer a portion of a kind of honey, others offer a pebble or a spear to their god. For this practically universal habit of the race, several solutions are offered.
1. Theory of a Divine Revelation:
One view maintains that God Himself initiated the rite by divine order at the beginnings of human history. Such a theory implies a monotheistic faith on the part of primitive man. This theory was strongly held by many of the Reformed theologians, and was based mainly on the narrative in Genesis 4:4 f. Abel offered an acceptable sacrifice, and, according to Hebrews 11:4, this was because of his faith. Faber makes a strong plea as follows: Since faith was what made the sacrifice acceptable to God, this faith must have been based upon a positive enactment of God in the past. Without this divine positive enactment to guarantee its truthfulness, faith, in Abel, would have been superstition. In other words, faith, in order to be truly based and properly directed, must have a revelation from God, a positive expression of the divine will. Fairbairn, in his Typology, goes further and holds that the skins wherewith Adam and Eve were clothed were from animals which had been slain in sacrifices. This is entirely without support in the narrative. The theory of a divine order cannot be maintained on the basis of the Biblical narrative. Moreover, it involves certain assumptions regarding the nature of faith and revelation which are not generally held in this age. A revelation is not necessarily a positive divine command, an external thing, and faith may be just as real and true without such a revelation as with it. That there may have been such a revelation cannot be denied, but it is not a necessary or probable explanation.
2. Theories of a Human Origin:
(1) The Gift-Theory.
By this it is held that sacrifices were originally presents to the deity which the offerer took for granted would be received with pleasure and even gratitude. Good relations would thus be established with the god and favors would be secured. Such motives, while certainly true among many heathen people, were obviously based upon low conceptions of the deity. They were either. Nature-spirits, ancestral ghosts or fetishes which needed what was given, and of course the god was placed under obligations and his favor obtained. Or, the god may have been conceived of as a ruler, a king or chief, as was the custom in the East.
Cicero vouches for such a view when he says: "Let not the impious dare to appease the gods with gifts. Let them hearken to Plato, who warns them that there can be no doubt what God's disposition to them will be, since even a good man will refuse to accept presents from the wicked" (HDB, IV, 331a). This view of sacrifice prevails in classical literature. Spencer therefore thinks it is self-evident that this was the idea of primitive man. Tylor and Herbert Spencer also find the origin of sacrifices in the idea of a gift, whether to the deity or to dead ancestors, food being placed for them, and this afterward comes to be regarded as a sacrifice. Such a view gives no account of the peculiar value attached to the blood, or to the burnt offerings. It may account for some heathen systems of sacrifice, but can help in no degree in understanding the Biblical sacrifices.
(2) The Magic Theory.
There are two slightly variant forms of this:
(a) that of R.C. Thompson (Semitic Magic, Its Origins and Developments, 175-218), who holds that a sacrificial animal serves as a substitute victim offered to a demon whose activity has brought the offerer into trouble; the aim of the priest is to entice or drive the malignant spirit out of the sick or sinful man into the sacrificial victim where it can be isolated or destroyed;
(b) that of L. Marillier, who holds that sacrifice in its origin is essentially a magical rite. The liberation of a magical force by the effusion of the victim's blood will bend the god to the will of the man. From this arose under the "cult of the dead" the gift-theory of sacrifice. Men sought to ally themselves with the god in particular by purifying a victim and effecting communion with the god by the application of the blood to the altar, or by the sacrifice of the animal and the contact of the sacrificer with its blood. Such theories give no account of the burnt offerings, meal offerings and sin offerings, disconnect them entirely from any sense of sin or estrangement from God, and divest them of all piacular value. They may account for certain depraved and heathen systems, but not for the Biblical.
(3) The Table-Bond Theory.
Ably advocated by Wellhausen and W.R. Smith, this view holds that sacrifices were meals which the worshippers and the god shared, partaking of the same food and thus establishing a firmer bond of fellowship between them. Sykes (Nature of Sacrifices, 75) first advocated this, holding that the efficacy of sacrifices "is the fact that eating and drinking were the known and ordinary symbols of friendship and were the usual rites in engaging in covenants and leagues." Thus sacrifices are more than gifts; they are deeds of hospitality which knit god and worshipper together. W.R. Smith has expounded the idea into the notion that the common meal unites physically those who partake of it. Though this view may contain an element of truth in regard to certain Arabian customs, it does not help much to account for Bible sacrifices. As A.B. Davidson says, "It fails utterly to account for the burnt offering, which was one of the earliest, most solemn and at times the most important of all the sacrifices."
(4) The Sacramental Communion Theory.
This is a modification of the table-bond theory. The basis of it is the totemistic idea of reverencing an animal which is believed to share with man the divine nature. On certain solemn occasions this animal would be sacrificed to furnish a feast. At this meal, according to men's savage notions, they literally "ate the god," and thus incorporated into themselves the physical, the intellectual and the moral qualities which characterized the animal. If the divine life dwelt in certain animals, then a part of that precious life would be distributed among all the people (RS2, 313). In some cases the blood is drunk by the worshippers, thus imbibing the life. Sometimes, as in the case of the sacred camel, they devoured the quivering flesh before the animal was really dead, and the entire carcass was eaten up before morning.
The brilliant work of W. R. Smith has not been universally accepted. L. Marillier has criticized it along several lines. It is by no means certain that totemism prevailed so largely among Semites and there is no evidence of its existence in Israel. Also, if an original bond of friendship existed between the god and the kin, there is no need to maintain it by such sacrificial rites. There is no clear instance of this having been done. If on the other hand there was no common bond between the god and the people but that of a common meal, it does not appear that the god is a totem god. There is no reason why the animal should have been a totem. In any case, this idea of sacrifice could hardly have been anything but a slow growth, and consequently not the origin of sacrifice. Hubert and Mauss also point out that W. R. Smith is far from having established the historical or the logical connection between the common meal and the other kinds of sacrifices. Under piacula he confuses purification, propitiation and expiations. His attempts to show that purifications of magical character are late and not sacrificial do not succeed. Smith's theory is mainly the sacramental, though he does recognize the honorific and piacular element. The theory may be applicable to some of the heathen or savage feasts of the Arabs, but not to the practices of the Hebrews (see Encyclopedia Brit, XXIII, 981).
(5) The Homage Theory.
This has been advocated by Warburton and F. D. Maurice. The idea is that sacrifices were originally an expression of homage and dependence. Man naturally felt impelled to seek closer communion with God, not so much from a sense of guilt as from a sense of dependence and a desire to show homage and obedience. In giving expression to this, primitive man had recourse to acts rather than words and thoughts. Thus sacrifice was an acted prayer, rather than a prayer in words. It was an expression of his longings and aspirations, his reverence and submission. There is much truth in this view; the elements of prayer-dependence and submission-enter into some sacrifices, the burnt offerings in particular; but it does not account for all kinds of offerings.
(6) The Piacular Theory.
This holds that sacrifices are fundamentally expiatory or atoning, and the death of the beast is a vicarious expiation of the sins of the offerer. Hubert and Mauss admit that in all sacrifices there are some ideas of purchase or substitution, though these may not have issued from some primitive form. The unifying principle in all sacrifices is that the divine is put in communication with the profane by the intermediary-the victim-which may be piacular or honorific. It is thus a messenger, a means of divination, a means of alimenting the eternal life of the species, a source of magical energy which the rite diffuses over objects in its neighborhood. Westermarck (Origin of Moral Ideas) makes the original idea in sacrifice a piaculum, a substitute for the offerer.
This view is the most simple, the most natural, and the only one that can explain certain sacrifices. Man felt himself under liability to punishment or death. The animal was his, it had life, it was of value, and perchance the god would accept that life in place of his. He felt that it would be accepted, and thus the animal was sacrificed. The offerer in a sense gives up part of himself. The beast must be his own; no sacrifice can be made of another person's property (2 Samuel 24:24 a). The true spirit of sacrifice appears in a willingness to acknowledge God's right to what is best and dearest (Genesis 12).
Objection is raised to this by A. B. Davidson (Old Testament Theology), Paterson (HDB, IV, 331) and others, on the ground that such an origin represents too advanced a stage of ethical thought and reflection for primitive man. We question seriously whether this be an advanced stage of moral reflection. On the contrary, it represents a very simple and primitive stage. The feeling that sin of some kind is never absent from human life, and that its true penalty is death, has been inseparable from the human heart's sense of sin. What could be more simple and natural than to take an innocent animal and offer it in place of himself, hoping that the Deity would accept it instead? Nor is there much force in Professor Paterson's objection that sacrifices were preponderantly joyous in character and therefore could not be offered as an expiation. This joyous character belongs to such sacrifices as peace offerings and thank offerings, but does not belong to the `olah and others. In most cases the joyous feast followed the killing of the animal by which the expiation was accomplished, and the feast was joyous because atonement had been made. In fact, many sacrifices were of the most solemn character and represented the deepest and most serious emotions of the heart.
(7) Originating in Religious Instincts.
Neither theory of an objective divine revelation, nor of a human origin will account for the universality and variety of sacrifices. The truth lies in a proper combination of the two. The notion of offering a gift to the Deity arose out of the religious instincts of the human heart, which in an early period had a consciousness of something wrong between itself and God, and that this something would mean death sooner or later. Added to these true instincts was the Omnipresent Spirit to guide men in giving expression. What could be more simple and primitive than to offer something possessing life? Of course the notion originated in simple and childlike ideas of God, and its real motive was not to gratify God by sharing a meal with Him, or to gain His favor by a bribe, but to present Him with something that represented a part of the offerer which might be accepted in his stead. Thus sacrifices became the leading features of the religious life of primitive man. Naturally other ideas would be added, such as a gift of food by fire to the Deity, the peace offerings, etc., to celebrate the friendly relations with God, the thank offerings, the sin offerings, etc., all of which naturally and logically developed from the primitive idea. It might be expected that there would be many corruptions and abuses, that the sense of sin would be obscured or lost among some peoples, and the idea of sacrifice correspondingly degraded. Such has been the case, and as well might we try to understand man at his best by studying the aboriginal tribes of Africa and Australia, or the inmates of asylums and penitentiaries, as to attempt to understand the Bible ideas in sacrifices by studying the cults of those heathen and savage tribes of Semites, etc.
III. Classification of Sacrifices.
Maimonides was among the first to classify them, and he divided them into two kinds:
(1) Those on behalf of the whole congregation, fixed by statute, time, number and ritual being specified. This would include burnt, meal and peace offerings with their accompaniments. (2) Those on behalf of the individual, whether by virtue of his connection with the community or as a private person. These would be burnt offerings, sin offerings, and guilt offerings with their accompaniments.
2. W. R. Smith and Others:
Others, such as W. R. Smith, classify them as: (1) honorific, or designed to render homage, devotion, or adoration, such as burnt, meal and peace offerings; (2) piacular, designed to expiate or make atonement for the errors of the people, i.e. burnt offerings, sin offerings, and guilt offerings; (3) communistic, intended to establish the bond between the god and the worshipper, such as peace offerings.
Oehler divides them into two classes, namely: (1) those which assume that the covenant relation is undisturbed, such as peace offerings; (2) those intended to do away with any disturbance in the relation and to set it right, such as burnt, sin and guilt offerings.
4. Paterson and Others:
Professor Paterson and others divide them into three: (1) animal sacrifices, burnt offerings, peace offerings, sin offerings, and guilt offerings; (2) vegetable sacrifices, meal offerings, shewbread, etc.; (3) liquid and incense offerings; wine, oil, water, etc.
5. H. M. Wiener:
H. M. Wiener offers a more suggestive and scientific division (Essays on Pentateuchal Criticism, 200):
(1) customary lay offerings, such as had from time immemorial been offered on rude altars of earth or stone, without priest, used and regulated by Moses and in more or less general use until the exile, namely, burnt offerings, meal offerings, and peace offerings;
(2) statutory individual offerings, introduced by Moses, offered by laymen with priestly assistance and at the religious capital, i.e. burnt offerings, peace offerings, meal offerings, sin offerings, and guilt offerings;
(3) statutory national offerings introduced by Moses and offered by the priest at the religious capital, namely, burnt, meal, peace and sin offerings.
IV. Sacrifices in the Pre-Mosaic Age.
Out of the obscure period of origins emerged the dimly lighted period of ancient history. Everywhere sacrifices existed and sometimes abounded as an essential part of religion. The spade of the archaeologist, and the researches of scholars help us understand the pre-Mosaic period.
1. In Egypt:
In Egypt-probably from the beginning of the 4th millennium B.C.-there were sacrifices and sacrificial systems. Temples at Abydos, Thebes, On, etc., were great priestly centers with high priests, lower priests, rituals and sacrifices in abundance. Burnt, meal and peace offerings predominated. Oxen, wild goats, pigs, geese were the chief animals offered. Besides these, wine, oil, beer, milk, cakes, grain, ointment, flowers, fruit, vegetables were offered, but not human beings. In these offerings there were many resemblances to the Hebrew gifts, and many significant exceptions. Moses would be somewhat familiar with these practices though not with the details of the ritual. He would appreciate the unifying power of a national religious center. It is inconceivable that in such an age a national leader and organizer like Moses would not take special care to institute such a system.
2. In Babylonia:
In Babylonia, from the year 3000 B.C. or thereabouts, according to E. Meyer (Geschichte des Alterthums), there were many centers of worship such as Eridu, Nippur, Agade, Erech, Ur, Nisin, Larsa, Sippar, etc. These and others continued for centuries with elaborate systems of worship, sacrifices, temples, priesthoods, etc. Considerably over 100 temples and sanctuaries are mentioned on inscriptions, and several hundreds in the literature and tablets, so that Babylonia was studded with temples and edifices for the gods. At all these, sacrifices were constantly offered-animal and vegetable. A long list of the offerings of King Gudea includes oxen, sheep, goats, lambs, fish, birds (i.e. eagles and doves), dates, milk, greens (Jastrow, in HDB, V, 580, under the word). The sacrifices provided an income for the priests, as did the Mosaic system at a later time. It had long passed the stage when it was supposed to furnish a meal for the god. A sacrifice always accompanied a consultation with a priest, and was really an assessment for the services rendered. It was not a voluntary offering or ritualistic observance. The priests on their own behalf offered a daily sacrifice, as in the Mosaic Law, and likewise on special occasions, to insure the good will of the gods they served. It seems certain that in some of the larger centers of worship animals were offered up twice a day, morning and evening. At these sacrifices certain portions were consumed on the altar, the rest belonging to the priest. The similarity of much of this to the Mosaic institutions is obvious. That the culture and civilization of Babylon was known to Egypt and Israel with other nations is shown clearly by the Tell el-Amarna Letters. Special sacrifices on special occasions were offered in Babylonia as in Israel. As Jastrow says, "In the Hebrew codes, both as regards the purely legal portions and those sections dealing with religious ritual, Babylonian methods of legal procedure and of ritual developed in Babylonian temples must be taken into consideration as determining factors."
Read Complete Article...
STRANGER AND SOJOURNER (IN THE OLD TESTAMENT)
I. THE GER
1. Legal provisions
2. Relation to Sacrifice and Ritual
3. Historical Circumstances
II. THE TOSHABH
III. THE NOKHRI OR BEN NEKHAR
2. Exclusion of Some Races from the Assembly
IV. THE ZAR
Four different Hebrew words must be considered separately:
(1) ger, the American Standard Revised Version "sojourner" or "stranger";
(2) toshabh, the American Standard Revised Version "sojourner";
(3) nokhri, ben nekhar, the American Standard Revised Version "foreigner";
(4) zar, the American Standard Revised Version "stranger."
I. The Ger.
This word with its kindred verb is applied with slightly varying meanings to anyone who resides in a country or a town of which he is not a full native land-owning citizen; e.g., the word is used of the patriarchs in Palestine, the Israelites in Egypt, the Levites dwelling among the Israelites (Deuteronomy 18:6 Judges 17:7, etc.), the Ephraimite in Gibeah (Judges 19:16). It is also particularly used of free aliens residing among the Israelites, and it is with the position of such that this article deals. This position is absolutely unparalleled in early legal systems (A. H. Post, Grundriss der ethnologischen Jurisprudenz, I, 448, note 3), which are usually far from favorable to strangers.
1. Legal Provisions:
The dominant principles of the legislation are most succinctly given in two passages: He "loveth the ger in giving him food and raiment" (Deuteronomy 10:18); "And if a ger sojourn with thee (variant "you") in your land, ye shall not do him wrong. The ger that sojourneth with you shall be unto you as the home-born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were gerim in the land of Egypt" (Leviticus 19:33 f). This treatment of the stranger is based partly on historic recollection, partly on the duty of the Israelite to his God. Because the ger would be at a natural disadvantage through his alienage, he becomes one of the favorites of a legislation that gives special protection to the weak and helpless.
In nationality the freeman followed his father, so that the son of a ger and an Israelitess was himself a ger (Leviticus 24:10-22). Special care was to be taken to do him no judicial wrong (Deuteronomy 1:16; Deuteronomy 27:19). In what may roughly be called criminal law it was enacted that the same rules should apply to gerim as to natives (Leviticus 18:26, which is due to the conception that certain abominations defile a land; Leviticus 20:2, where the motive is also religious; Leviticus 24:10-22; see SBL, 84;; Numbers 35:15). A free Israelite who became his slave was subject to redemption by a relative at any time on payment of the fair price (Leviticus 25:47). This passage and Deuteronomy 28:43 contemplate the possibility of a stranger's becoming wealthy, but by far the greater number of the legal provisions regard him as probably poor. Thus provision is made for him to participate in tithes (Deuteronomy 14:29; Deuteronomy 26:12), gleanings of various sorts and forgotten sheaves (Leviticus 19:10; Leviticus 23:22 Deuteronomy 24:19, 20, 21), and poor hired servants were not to be oppressed (Deuteronomy 24:14).
2. Relation to Sacrifice and Ritual:
Nearly all the main holy days apply to the ger. He was to rest on the Sabbath (Exodus 20:10; Exodus 23:12, etc.), to rejoice on Weeks and Tabernacles (Deuteronomy 16), to observe the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:29), to have no leaven on the Festival of Unleavened Bread (Exodus 12:19). But he could not keep the Passover unless he underwent circumcision (Exodus 12:48). He could not eat blood at any rate during the wilderness period (Leviticus 17:10-12), and for that period, but not thereafter, he was probihited from eating that which died of itself (Leviticus 17:15 Deuteronomy 14:21) under pain of being unclean until the even. He could offer sacrifices (Leviticus 17:8; Leviticus 22:18 Numbers 15:14 f), and was subject to the same rules as a native for unwitting sins (Numbers 15:22-31), and for purification for uncleanness by reason of contact with a dead body (Numbers 19:10-13).
3. Historical Circumstances:
The historical circumstances were such as to render the position of the resident alien important from the first. A "mixed multitude" went up with the Israelites from Egypt, and after the conquest we find Israelites and the races of Palestine living side by side throughout the country. We repeatedly read of resident aliens in the historical books, e.g. Uriah the Hittite. According to 2 Chronicles 2:17 (Hebrew 16) there was a very large number of such in the days of Solomon, but the figure may be excessive. These seem to have been the remnant of the conquered tribes (1 Kings 9:20 f). Ezekiel in his vision assigned to gerim landed inheritance among the Israelites (47:22). Hospitality to the ger was of course a religious duty and the host would go to any lengths to protect his guest (Genesis 19 Judges 19:24).
II. The Toshabh.
Of the toshabh we know very little. It is possible that the word is practically synonymous with ger, but perhaps it is used of less permanent sojourning. Thus in Leviticus 22:10 it appears to cover anybody residing with a priest. A toshabh could not eat the Passover or the "holy" things of a priest (Exodus 12:45 Leviticus 22:10). His children could be purchased as perpetual slaves, and the law of the Jubilee did not apply to them as to Israelites (Leviticus 25:45). He is expressly mentioned in the law of homicide (Numbers 35:15), but otherwise we have no information as to his legal position. Probably it was similar to that of the ger.
III. The Nokhri Ben Nekhar.
The nokhri or ben nekhar was a foreigner. The word is far wider than those considered above. It covers everything of alien or foreign character regardless of the place of residence. By circumcision a foreign slave could enter into the covenant with Abraham. Foreigners were of course excluded from the Passover (Exodus 12:43), but could offer sacrifices to Israel's God at the religious capital (Leviticus 22:25). The Israelite could exact interest of them (Deuteronomy 23:20) and the payment of debts in cases where an Israelite debtor was protected by the release of Deuteronomy 15:3. Moses forbade the appointment of a foreigner as a ruler (Deuteronomy 17:15, in a law which according to Massoretic Text relates to a "king," but in the preferable text of Septuagint to a ruler generally). Later the worship of God by foreigners from a distance was contemplated and encouraged (1 Kings 8:41-43 Isaiah 2:2; Isaiah 56:3, 6 f; etc.), while the case of Naaman shows that a foreigner might worship Him abroad (2 Kings 5:17). A resident foreigner was of course a ger. The distinction between these three words is perhaps best seen in Exodus 12:43, 45, 48 f. in the first of these verses we have ben nekhar, used to cover "alien" generally; in the last the ger is contemplated as likely to undergo a complete naturalization; while in 12:45 the toshabh is regarded as certain to be outside the religious society.
In the earlier period marriages with foreigners are common, though disliked (e.g. Genesis 24:3; Genesis 27:46;; Numbers 12:1 Judges 14:3, etc.). The Law provides for some unions of this kind (Deuteronomy 21:10; compare Numbers 31:18), but later Judaism became more stringent. Moses required the high priest to marry a virgin of his own people (Leviticus 21:14); Ezekiel limited all descendants of Zadok to wives of the house of Israel (44:22); Ezra and Nehemiah carried on a vigorous polemic against the intermarriage of any Jew with foreign women (Ezra 10 Nehemiah 13:23-31).
2. Exclusion of Some Races from Assembly:
Deuteronomy further takes up a hostile attitude to Ammonites and Moabites, excluding them from the assembly of the Lord even to the tenth generation, while the children of the third generation of Edomites and Egyptians could enter it (23:3-8 (Hebrew 4-9)). From 1 Kings 9:20, 21, 24 1 Chronicles 22:2 we learn of the existence of foreign quarters in Israel.
IV. The Zar.
The remaining word zar means "stranger" and takes its coloring from the context. It may mean "stranger in blood," e.g. non-Aaronite (Numbers 16:40 (Heb 17:5)), or non-Levite (e.g. Numbers 1:51), or a non-member of some other defined family (Deuteronomy 25:5). In opposition to priest it means "lay" (Leviticus 22:10-13), and when the contrast is with holy, it denotes "profane" (Exodus 30:9).
SeeFOREIGNER; GENTILES; PROSELYTE; CHERETHITES; PELETHITES; MARRIAGE; COMMERCE.
Harold M. Wiener
TEXT OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
" I. EARLIEST FORM OF WRITING IN ISRAEL
1. Invention of Alphabet
2. The Cuneiform
3. References to Writing in the Old Testament
4. Inscriptions after Settlement in Canaan
5. Orthography of the Period
II. THE TWO HEBREW SCRIPTS
1. The Old Hebrew Alphabet
2. Aramean Alphabets
3. The New Hebrew Script
4. New Hebrew Inscriptions
III. THE CHANGE OF SCRIPT
1. Various Theories
2. The Change in the Law
3. In the Other Books
4. Evidence of the Septuagint
5. Evidence of the Text Itself
IV. PRESERVATION OF THE TEXT
1. Internal Conditions
2. External Circumstances
3. The Septuagint Version
V. THE TEXT IN THE 1ST CENTURY A.D.
1. Word Separation
2. Other Breaks in the Text
3. Final Forms of Letters
4. Their Origin
6. The Vowel-Letters
7. Anomalous Forms
8. The Dotted Words
9. Their Antiquity
10. The Inverted Nuns ("n")
11. Large and Small Letters
12. Suspended Letters and Divided Waw ("w")
VI. ALTERATION OF PRINCIPAL DOCUMENTS
1. Yahweh and Baal
2. Euphemistic Expressions
3. "Tiqqun copherim"
VII. SCRIBAL ERRORS IN THE TEXT
2. Errors of the Eye
3. Errors of the Ear
4. Errors of Memory
5. Errors of Carelessness and Ignorance
VIII. HISTORY OF THE TEXT
1. Changes Made in Reading
2. Preservation of Text
3. Division into Verses
4. Sections of the Law
5. Sections of the Prophets
6. Poetical Passages
7. Division into Books
IX. VOCALIZATION OF THE TEXT
1. Antiquity of the Points
2. Probable Date of Invention
3. Various Systems and Recensions
X. THE PALESTINIAN SYSTEM
1. The Consonants
2. The Vowels
3. The Accents
4. Anomalous Pointings
XI. THE MASORAH
1. Meaning of the Term
2. The "Qere" and "Kethibh"
3. Other: Features
XII. MANUSCRIPTS AND PRINTED TEXTS
2. Early Printed Texts
3. Later Editions
4. Chapters and Verses
I. Earliest Form of Writing in Israel.
The art of writing is not referred to in the Book of Genesis, even where we might expect a reference to it, e.g. in Genesis 23, nor anywhere in the Old Testament before the time of Moses (compare however, Genesis 38:18, 25; Genesis 41:44, which speak of "sealing" devices).
See SEAL; WRITING.
1. Invention of Alphabet:
About the year 1500 B.C. alphabetic writing was practiced by the Phoenicians, but in Palestine the syllabic Babylonian cuneiform was in use (see ALPHABET). The Israelites probably did not employ any form of writing in their nomadic state, and when they entered Canaan the only script they seem ever to have used was the Phoenicia. This is not disproved by the discovery there of two cuneiform contracts of the 7th century, as these probably belonged to strangers. There is only one alphabet in the world, which has taken many forms to suit the languages for which it was employed. This original alphabet was the invention of the Semites, for it has letters peculiar to the Semitic languages, and probably of the Phoenicians (so Lucan, Pharsalia iii0.22; compare Herodotus v.58), who evolved it from the Egyptian hieroglyphics.
2. The Cuneiform:
Of the literature of Canaan before the Israelites entered it the remains consist of a number of cuneiform tablets found since 1892 at Lachish, Gezer, Taanach and Megiddo, but especially of the famous the Tell el-Amarna Letters, discovered in Egypt in 1887. Although this non-alphabetic script was in use in Canaan when the Israelites entered it, they do not seem to have adopted it.
3. References to Writing in the Old Testament:
The earliest reference to writing in the Old Testament is Exodus 17:14. The next is Exodus 24:7, mentioning the Book of the Covenant (Exodus 20-23). The Book of the Wars of Yahweh is named in Numbers 21:14. Other early references are Judges 5:14 margin; 8:14 margin. By the time of the monarchy the king and nobles could write (2 Samuel 11:14; 2 Samuel 8:17), but not the common people, until the time of Amos and Hosea, when writing seems to have been common.
4. Inscriptions after Settlement in Canaan:
The Phoenician script prevailed in Palestine after the conquest as well as in the countries bordering on it. This is shown by the inscriptions which have been discovered. The chief of these are: the Baal Lebanon inscription found in Cyprus (beginning of the 9th century); the manuscript of about the year 896 of the ordinary chronology; a Hebrew agricultural calendar of the 8th century; fifteen lion-weights from Nineveh of about the year 700; the Siloam Inscription of the time of Hezekiah; about a score of seals; and, in 1911, a large number of ostraca of the time of Ahab.
5. Orthography of the Period:
In this oldest writing the vowels are rarely expressed, not even final vowels being indicated. The only mark besides the letters is a point separating the words. There are no special forms for final letters. Words are often divided at the ends of lines. The writing is from right to left. The characters of the Siloam Inscription and the ostraca show some attempt at elegant writing.
II. The Two Hebrew Scripts.
1. The Old Hebrew Alphabet:
Two distinct scripts were used by the Hebrews, an earlier and a later. The Old Hebrew alphabet contained 22 letters, all consonants. The order of these letters is known from that of the Greek, taken in order of their numerical values, and later by the alphabetic psalms, etc., and by the figure called 'at-bash (see SHESHACH). In the acrostic passages, however, the order is not always the same; this may be due to corruption of the text. In the alphabet, letters standing together bear similar names. These are ancient, being the same in Greek as in Semitic. They were probably given from some fancied resemblance which the Phoenicians saw in the original Egyptian sign to some object.
2. Aramean Alphabets:
The development of the Phoenician alphabet called Aramaic begins about the 7th century B.C. It is found inscribed as dockets on the cuneiform clay tablets of Nineveh, as the Phoenician letters were upon the lion-weights; on coins of the Persian satraps to the time of Alexander; on Egyptian inscriptions and papyri; and on the Palmyrene inscriptions. The features of this script are the following: The loops of the Hebrew letters beth (b), daleth (d), Teth (T), qoph (q) and resh (r), which are closed in the Phoenician and Old Hebrew, are open, the bars of the Hebrew letters he (h), waw (w), zayin (z), cheth (ch) and taw (t) are lost, and the tails of kaph (k), lamedh (l), mem (m), pe (p) and tsadhe (ts), which are vertical in the old Aramaic, begin in the Egyptian Aramaic to curve toward the left; words are divided, except in Palmyrene, by a space instead of a point; vowel-letters are freely used; and the use of ligatures involves a distinction of initial, medial and final forms. There are of course no vowel-marks.
3. The New Hebrew Scripture:
After the Jews returned from the exile, the Aramaic language was the lingua franca of the Seleucid empire, displacing Assyrian, Old Hebrew and Phoenician. The Phoenician script also had given place to the Aramaic in Mesopotamia, Syria and Egypt. In Syria it divided into two branches, a northern which grew into Syriac, and a southern, or Jewish, from which the New Hebrew character was produced.
4. New Hebrew Inscriptions:
What is believed to be the oldest inscription in the modern Hebrew character is that in a cave at `Araq al-`Amir near Heshbon, which was used as a place of retreat in the year 176 B.C. (Ant., XII, iv, 11; CIH, number 1). Others are: four boundary stones found at Gezer; the inscriptions over the "Tomb of James" really of the Beni Hezir (1 Chronicles 24:15 Nehemiah 10:20); that of Kefr Birim, assigned to the year 300 A.D. (CIH, number 17), in which the transition to the New Hebrew script may be said to be accomplished; and others have been found all over the Roman empire and beyond.
The inscriptions show that the familiar Hebrew character is a branch of the Aramaic. In the 3rd century B.C. the latter script was in general use in those countries where Assyrio-Babylonian, Old Hebrew and Phoenician had been used before. The Jews, however, continued to employ the Old Hebrew for religious purposes especially, and the Samaritans still retain a form of it in their Bible (the Pentateuch).
III. The Change of Script.
It is now almost universally agreed that the script in which the Old Testament was written was at some time changed from the Phoenician to the Aramaic. But in the past many opinions have been held on the a subject.
1. Various Theories:
Rabbi Eleazar of Modin (died 135 A.D.), from the mention of the hooks (waws) in Exodus 27:10 and from Esther 8:9, denied any change at all. Rabbi Jehuda (died circa 210) maintained that the Law was given in the New Hebrew, which was later changed to the Old as a punishment, and then back to the New, on the people repenting in the time of Ezra. Texts bearing on the matter are 2 Kings 5:7; 2 Kings 18:26 Isaiah 8:1, from which various deductions have been drawn. There may have been two scripts in use at the same time, as in Egypt (Herod. ii.36).
2. The Change in the Law:
In regard to the change in the Law, the oldest authority, Eleazar ben Jacob (latter part of the 1st century A.D.), declared that a Prophet at the time of the Return commanded to write the Torah in the new or square character. Next Rabbi Jose (a century later) states (after Ezra 4:7) that Ezra introduced a new script and language. But the locus classicus is a passage in the Talmud (Sanhedhrin 21b): "Originally the Law was given to Israel in the Hebrew character and in the Holy Tongue; it was given again to them in the days of Ezra in the Assyrian characters and in the Aramaic tongue. Israel chose for herself the Assyrian character and the Holy Tongue, and left the Hebrew character and the Aramaic tongue to the hedhyoToth." Here Hebrew = Old Hebrew; Assyrian = the new square character, and hedhyoToth is the Greek idiotai = the Hebrew `am ha-'arets, the illiterate multitude. From the 2nd century on (but not before), the Talmudic tradition is unanimous in ascribing the change of script in the Law to Ezra. The testimony of Josephus points to the Law at least being in the square character in his day (Ant., XII, ii, 1, 4). The Samaritan Pentateuch was almost certainly drawn up in the time of Nehemiah (compare 13:28; also Ant, XI, vii, 2), and points to the Old Hebrew being then in use. So Rabbi Chasda (died 309) refers the word hedhyoToth above to the Samaritans. On the other hand, the Samaritan Pentateuch may have been the original Law, common to both Israel and Judah. In any case it is written in a form of the Old Hebrew character.
3. In the Other Books:
In regard to the other books, the old script was used after Ezra's time. Esther 8:9 and Daniel 5:8; must refer to the unfamiliar Old Hebrew. So the Massoretic Text of 5:18 implies the New Hebrew, but only in the Law.
4. Evidence of the Septuagint:
The Greek translation known as the Septuagint was made in Alexandria, and is hardly evidence for Palestine. The Law was probably translated under Ptolemy II (284-247 B.C.), and the other books by the end of the 2nd century B.C. (compare Ecclesiasticus, Prologue). The variations of the Septuagint from the Massoretic Text point to an early form of the square character as being in use; but the Jews of Egypt had used Aramaic for some centuries before that.
5. Evidence of the Text Itself:
The variations between parallel passages in the Massoretic Text itself, such as Joshua 21 and 1 Chronicles 6 2 Samuel 23 and 1 Chronicles 11, etc., show that the letters most frequently confused are "d" and "r", which are similar in both the Old and New Hebrew; "b" and "d", which are more alike in the Old Hebrew; "w" and "y" and several others, which are more alike in the New Hebrew. Such errors evidently arose from the use of the square character, and they arose subsequent to the Septuagint, for they are not, except rarely, found in it. The square character is, then, later than the Septuagint.
The square character was ascribed to Ezra as the last person who could have made so great a change, the text after his time being considered sacred. This is disproved by the fact of the coins of the Maccabees and of Bar Cochba being in the old character. The Talmud permits Jews resident outside Palestine to possess copies of the Law in Coptic, Median, Hebrew, etc. Here Hebrew can only mean the Old Hebrew script.
IV. Preservation of the Text.
1. Internal Conditions:
Judaism has always been a book religion: it stands or falls with the Old Testament, especially with the Pentateuch. Although no manuscript of the Hebrew Old Testament is older than the 10th century A.D., save for one minute papyrus, we know, from citations, translations, etc., that the consonantal text of the Old Testament was in the 1st century A.D. practically what it is today. The Jews transliterated as well as translated their Bible. All the most important translations-the Septuagint, Aquila, Theodotion, Symmachus-were made by Jews and aimed at a more literal rendering of the Hebrew-that of Aquila being hardly Greek. The Syriac (Peshitta) seems to be also by Jews or Jewish Christians. Great care was taken of the text itself, and the slightest variant readings of manuscripts were noted. One manuscript belonging to Rabbi Meir (2nd century) is said to have omitted the references to "Admah and Zeboiim" in Deuteronomy 29:23 and to Bethlehem in Genesis 48:7, and to have had other lesser variations, some of which were found also in the manuscript which, among other treasures, decked the triumph of Vespasian (BJ, VII, v, 7).
2. External Circumstances:
Religious persecution makes for the purity of the Scriptures by reducing the number of copies and increasing the care bestowed on those saved. The chief moments in which the existence of the Jewish Scriptures was threatened were the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple under Nebuchadnezzar in 587 B.C., in which the Book of Jashar and that of the Wars of the Lord may have been lost; the persecution under Antiochus Epiphanes, during which the possession of the sacred books was a capital offense (1 Maccabees 1:56, 57; Ant, XII, v), in which the sources used by the Chronicler may have perished; and the capture of Jerusalem by Titus in 70 A.D. By this time, however, the Law at least was known by heart. Josephus says Titus made him a gift of the sacred books (Vita, 75). It is also said that at one time only three copies of the Law were left, and that a text was obtained by taking the readings of two against one. However that may be, it is a fact that there are no variant readings in the Massoretic Text, such as there are in the New Testament.
3. The Septuagint Version: The only ancient version which can come into competition with the Massoretic Text is the Septuagint, and that on two grounds. First, the manuscripts of the Septuagint are of the 4th century A.D., those of the Massoretic Text of the 10th. Secondly, the Septuagint translation was made before a uniform Hebrew text, such as our Massoretic Text, existed. The quotations in the New Testament are mainly from the Septuagint. Only in the Book of Jeremiah, however, are the variations striking, and there they do not greatly affect the sense of individual passages. The Greek has also the Apocrypha. The Septuagint is an invaluable aid to restoring the Hebrew where the latter is corrupt.
V. The Text in the 1st Century A.D.
The Massoretic Text of the 1st Christian century consisted solely of consonants of an early form of the square character. There was no division into chapters or, probably, verses, but words were separated by an interstice, as well as indicated by the final letters. The four vowel-letters were used most freely in the later books. A few words were marked by the scribes with dots placed over them.
1. Word Separation:
The Samaritan Pentateuch still employs the point found on the Moabite Stone to separate words. This point was probably dropped when the books came to be written in the square character. Wrong division of words was not uncommon.
Tradition mentions 15 passages noted on the margin of the Hebrew Bible (Genesis 30:11, etc.) in which two words are written as one. One word is written as two in Judges 16:25 1 Samuel 9:1, etc. Other passages in which tradition and text differ as to the word-division are 2 Samuel 5:2 Ezekiel 42:9 Job 38:12 Ezra 4:12. The Septuagint frequently groups the letters differently from the Massoretic Text, e.g. (see the commentaries) Hosea 11:2 1 Chronicles 17:10; Psalm 73:4; Psalm 106:7.
2. Other Breaks in the Text:
The verse-division was not shown in the prose books. The present division is frequently wrong and the Septuagint different from the Hebrew: e.g. Genesis 49:19, 20 Psalm 42:6, 7 Jeremiah 9:5, 6 Psalm 90:2, 3. Neither was there any division into chapters, or even books. Hence, the number of the psalms is doubtful. The Greek counts Psalms 9 and 10 as one, and also Psalms 114 and 115, at the same time splitting Psalms 116 and 147 each into two. The Syriac follows the Greek with regard to Psalms 114 and 147. Some manuscripts make one psalm of 42 and 43. In Acts 13:33, Codex Bezae, Psalm 2 appears as Psalm 1.
3. Final Forms of Letters:
Final forms of letters are a result of the employment of ligatures. In the Old Hebrew they do not occur, nor apparently in the text used by the Septuagint. Ligatures begin to make their appearance in Egyptian, Aramaic, and Palmyrene. Final forms for the letters k, margin, n, p, ts, were accepted by the 1st century, and all other final forms were apparently rejected.
4. Their Origin:
The first rabbi to mention the final forms is Mathiah ben Harash (a pupil of Rabbi Eleazar who died in 117 A.D.), who refers them to Moses. They are often referred to in the Talmud and by Jerome. The Samaritan Chronicle (11th century) refers them to Ezra. In point of fact, they are not so old as the Septuagint translation, as is proved by its variations in such passages as 1 Samuel 1:1; 1 Samuel 20:40 Psalm 16:3; Psalm 44:5 Jeremiah 16:19; Jeremiah 23:14, 23, 33 Hosea 6:5 Nahum 1:12; Zechariah 11:11; Ecclesiasticus 3:7. From the fact that the final forms make up the Hebrew expression for "from thy watchers," their invention was referred in the 3rd century to the prophets (compare Isaiah 52:8 Habakkuk 2:1).
After the adoption of the square character, therefore, the only breaks in the text of prose books were the spaces left between the words. Before the 1st century there was much uncertainty as to the grouping of the letters into words. After that the word-division was retained in the copies, even when it was not read (as in 2 Samuel 5:2, etc.). At first the final form would occur at the end of the ligature, not necessarily at the end of the word. Remains of this will be found in 1 Chronicles 27:12 Isaiah 9:6 Nehemiah 2:13 Job 38:1; Job 40:6. When the ligatures were discarded, these forms were used to mark the ends of words. The wonder is that there are not more, or even an initial, medial and final form for every letter, as in Arabic and Syriac.
6. The Vowel-Letters:
The four letters, ', h, w, y, seem to have been used to represent vowel sounds from the first. They are found in the manuscripts, but naturally less freely on stone inscriptions than in books. The later the text the more freely they occur, though they are commoner in the Samaritan Pentateuch than in the Massoretic Text. The copies used by the Septuagint had fewer of them than the Textus Receptus, as is proved by their translations, of Amos 9:12 Ezekiel 32:29 Hosea 12:12, and other passages, The four letters occur on Jewish coins of the 2nd century B.C. and A.D.
7. Anomalous Forms:
In the 1st and 2nd centuries the vowel-letters were retained in the text, even when not read (Hosea 4:6 Micah 3:2, etc.). In the Pentateuch, Deuteronomy 32:13 seems to be the sole instance. The Pentateuch is peculiar also in that in it the 3rd person singular, masculine, of the personal pronoun is used for the feminine, which occurs only 11 times; Genesis 2:12; Genesis 14:2; compare Isaiah 30:33 1 Kings 17:15; Job 31:11. This phenomenon probably arises from the stage in the growth of the script when waw (w) and yodh (y) were identical in form; compare Psalm 73:16 Ecclesiastes 5:8. Frequently the 1st person singular perfect of the verb is written defectively (Psalm 140:13 2 Kings 18:20; compare Isaiah 36:5); similarly the "h" of na`arah (Deuteronomy 22). All this shows there was no attempt to correct the text. It was left as it was found.
8. The Dotted Words:
When a scribe had miscopied a word he sometimes placed dots over it, without striking it out. There are 15 passages so marked in the Old Testament, and the word naqudh, "pointed," is generally placed in the margin. The word may also be read naqodh, "speckled" (Genesis 30:32), or niqqudh, "punctuation." It is also possible that these points may denote that the word is doubtful. They occur in the following places: Genesis 16:5; Genesis 18:9; Genesis 19:33; Genesis 33:4; 37:12 Numbers 3:39; Numbers 9:10; Numbers 21:30; Numbers 29:15 Deuteronomy 29:28 (29); Psalm 27:13 2 Samuel 19:20; Isaiah 44:9 Ezekiel 41:20; Ezekiel 46:22. For conjectures as to the meanings of the points in each passage, the reader must be referred to the commentaries.
9. Their Antiquity:
These points are found even on synagogue rolls which have, with one exception, no other marks upon them, beyond the bare consonants and vowel-letters. Only those in the Pentateuch and Psalms are mentioned in the Talmud or Midrashim, and only one, Numbers 9:10, in the Mishna before the end of the 2nd century, by which time its meaning had been lost. The lower limit, therefore, for their origin is the end of the 1st century A.D. They have been, like most things not previously annexed by Moses, assigned to Ezra; but the Septuagint shows no sign of them. They, therefore, probably were inserted at the end of the 1st century B.C., or in the 1st century A.D. As four only occur in the Prophets and one in the Hagiographa, most care was evidently expended on the collation of the, Law. Blau thinks the reference originally extended to the whole verse or even farther, and became restricted to one or more letters.
10. The Inverted Nuns ("n"):
In Numbers 10:35 and 36 are enclosed within two inverted nuns as if with brackets. In Psalm 107 inverted nuns should stand before verses 23-28 and 40, with a note in the foot margin. These nuns were originally dots (Siphre' on Numbers) and stand for naqkudh, indicating that the verses so marked are in their wrong place (Septuagint Numbers 10:34-36).
11. Large and Small Letters:
Large letters were used as our capitals at the beginnings of books, etc. Thus there should be a capital nun at the beginning of the second part of Isaiah. But they serve other purposes also. The large waw (w) in Leviticus 11:42 is the middle letter of the Torah; so in the Israelites' Credo (Deuteronomy 6:4). Other places are Deuteronomy 32:4, 6 Exodus 34:7, 14 Leviticus 11:30; Leviticus 13:33 Isaiah 56:10, and often. Buxtorf's Tiberias gives 31 large and 32 small letters. Examples of the latter will be found in Genesis 2:4; Genesis 23:2 Leviticus 1:1 Job 7:5, etc. The explanations given are fanciful.
12. Suspended Letters and Divided Waw ("w"):
There are four letters suspended above the line in the Massoretic Text. They will be found in Judges 18:30 Job 38:13, 15 Psalm 80:14 (13). The last probably indicates the middle letter of the Psalter. The first points to Manasseh being put for Moses. The two in Job are doubtful. In Numbers 25:12 will be found a waw cut in two, perhaps to indicate that the covenant was in abeyance for a time.
Abbreviations are found on early Jewish inscriptions and on coins. Thus the letter shin stands for shanah = "year"; yodh sin = "Israel"; 'aleph = 1; beth = 2, etc. In the text used by the Septuagint the name Yahweh seem to have been indicated merely by a yodh, e.g. Psalm 31:7 (6), "I hate" = Septuagint 30:7, "Thou hatest" (compare 5:5), and the yodh of the Hebrew = "O Yahweh." In Judges 19:18 the Hebrew "house of Yahweh" = Septuagint "my house"; so Jeremiah 6:11; Jeremiah 25:37. A curious example will be found Jeremiah 3:19. The great corruption found in the numbers in the Old Testament is probably due to letters or ciphers being employed. For wrong numbers compare 2 Samuel 10:18; 2 Samuel 24:13 1 Kings 4:26 with parallel passages; also compare Ezra 2 with Nehemiah 7, etc. Possible examples of letters representing numbers are: Psalm 90:12, "so" = ken, and kaph plus nun = 20 plus 50 = 70; 1 Samuel 13:1, ben shanah is perhaps for ben n shanah, "fifty years old"; in 1 Samuel 14:14, an apparently redundant k is inserted after "twenty men"; k = 20.
Such was the Hebrew text in the 1st Christian century. It was a Received Text obtained by collating manuscripts and rejecting variant readings. Henceforward there are no variant readings. But before that date there were, for the Greek and Samaritan often differ from the Hebrew. The Book of Jubilees (middle of 1st century) also varies. The fidelity of the scribes who drew up this text is proved by the many palpable errors which it contains.
VI. Alteration of Principal Documents.
1. Yahweh and Baal:
For various reasons the original documents were altered by the scribes, chiefly from motives of taste and religion.
Read Complete Article...
BABYLON IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
See BABEL, BABYLON.
See MAN; OLD MAN.
MANUSCRIPTS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
See LANGUAGES OF THE OLD TESTAMENT.
See AGE, OLD.
See TEXT OF THE OLD TESTAMENT.
OLD TESTAMENT CANON
See CANON OF THE OLD TESTAMENT.