International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
MOSES, SONG OF
The name given to the song of triumph sung by Moses and the Israelites after the crossing of the Red Sea and the destruction of the hosts of Pharaoh (Exodus 15:1-18). The sublimity of this noble ode is universally admitted. In magnificent strains it celebrates the deliverance just experienced, extolling the attributes of Yahweh revealed in the triumph (Exodus 15:1-12), then anticipates the astonishing effects which would flow from this deliverance in the immediate future and later (Exodus 15:13-18). There seems no reason to doubt that at least the basis of the song-possibly the whole-is genuinely Mosaic. In the allusions to the guidance of the people to God's holy habitation, and to the terror of the surrounding peoples and of the Canaanites (Exodus 15:13-18), it is thought that traces are manifest of a later revision and expansion. This, however, is by no means a necessary conclusion.
Driver, who in LOT, 8th edition, 30, goes with the critics on this point, wrote more guardedly in the 1st edition (p. 27): "Probably, however, the greater part of the song is Mosaic, and the modification or expansion is limited to the closing verses; for the general style is antique. and the triumphant tone which pervades it is just such as might naturally have been inspired by the event which it celebrates."
The song of Moses is made the model in the Apocalypse of "the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb," which those standing by the sea of glass, who have "come off victorious from the beast, and from his image, and from the number of his name," sing to God's praise, "Great and marvelous are thy works, O Lord God, the Almighty," etc. (Revelation 15:2-4). The church having experienced a deliverance similar to that experienced by Israel at the Red Sea, but infinitely greater, the old song is recast, and its terms are readapted to express both victories, the lower and the higher, at once.
(shir, shirah): Besides the great collection of sacred songs contained in the Psalter, as well as the lyric outbursts, marked by strong religious feeling, on great national occasions, it is natural to believe, and we have evidence to show, that the Hebrews possessed a large number of popular songs of a secular kind. So of Songs (which see) of itself proves this. Probably the very oldest song or fragment of song in the Old Testament is that "To the well" (Numbers 21:17). W. R. Smith (Religions of the Semites, 167) regards this invocation of the waters to rise as in its origin hardly a mere poetic figure. He compares what Cazwini 1,189, records of the well of Ilabistan: "When the water failed, a feast was held at its source with music and dancing, to induce it to flow again." If, however, the song had its origin in an early form of religious belief, it must have been secularized later.
But it is in the headings of the Psalms that we find the most numerous traces of the popular songs of the Hebrews. Here there are a number of words and phrases which are now believed to be the names or initial words of such lyrics. In the King James Version they are prefaced with the prep. "on," in the Revised Version (British and American) with "set to," i.e. "to the tune of." We give a list:
(1) Aijeleth Shahar the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American) Aijeleth hash-shahar, 'ayyeleth ha-shachar. The title means (Revised Version, margin) "The hind of the morning," but whether the original song so named was a hunting song or a morning serenade it is useless to conjecture. See HIND OF THE MORNING.
(2) Al-taschith (the King James Version), Al-tashheth (Revised Version), 'al-tashcheth, i.e. "Destroy not," Psalms 57-59; 75, is apparently quoted in Isaiah 65:8, and in that case must refer to a vintage song.
(3) Jonah elem rehokim or Yonath'elem rechoqim (Psalm 56), the Revised Version margin "The silent dove of them that are afar off," or-with a slightly different reading-"The dove of the distant terebinths."
(4) Machalath (Psalm 53) and Machalath le`annoth (Psalm 88). Machalath may mean "sickness," and be the first word of a song. It might mean, on the other hand, a minor mode or rhythm. It has also been held to designate a musical instrument.
(5) Muthlabben (Psalm 9) has given rise to many conjectures. Literally, it may mean "Die for the son," or "Death of the son." An ancient tradition referred the words to Goliath (death at the hand of the son [?]), and they have been applied to the fate of Absalom. Such guesses need only be quoted to show their worthlessness.
(6) Lastly, we have Shoshannim = "Lilies" (Psalms 45; 69), Shushan `Edhuth = "The lily of testimony" (Psalm 60); and Shoshannim `Edhuth = "Lilies, a testimony" (Psalm 80), probably to be explained like the others.
The music to which these songs were sung is irretrievably lost, but it was, no doubt, very similar in character to that of the Arabs at the present day. While the music of the temple was probably much more elaborate, and of wider range, both in notes and expression of feeling, the popular song was almost certainly limited in compass to a very few notes repeated over and over in long recitations or ballads. This is characteristic of the performances of Arab minstrels of today. The melodies are plaintive, in spite of the majority of them being in major keys, owing to the 7th being flattened, as in genuine Scottish music. Arabic music, further, is marked by great variety and emphasis of rhythm, the various kinds of which have special names.
See SPIRITUAL SONGS.
SONG OF SONGS
(shir hashirim; Septuagint Asma; Codices Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Ephraemi, Asma asmaton; Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) Canticum Canticorum):
III. AUTHORSHIP AND DATE
IV. HISTORY OF INTERPRETATION
1. The Allegorical Interpretation
2. The Typical Interpretation
3. The Literal Interpretation
V. CLOSING HINTS AND SUGGESTIONS
The full title in Hebrew is "The So of Songs, which is Solomon's." The book is called by some Canticles, and by others Solomon's Song. The Hebrew title implies that it is the choicest of all songs, in keeping with the dictum of Rabbi `Aqiba (90-135 A.D.) that "the entire world, from the beginning until now, does not outweigh the day in which Canticles was given to Israel."
Early Jewish and Christian writers are silent as to the So of Songs. No use is made of it by Philo. There is no quotation from it in the New Testament, nor is there any clear allusion to it on the part of our Lord or the apostles. The earliest distinct references to the So of Songs are found in Jewish writings of the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D. (4 Esdras 5:24, 26; 7:26; Ta`anith 4:8). The question of the canonicity of the So was debated as late as the Synod of Jamnia (circa 90 A.D.), when it was decided that Canticles was rightly reckoned to "defile the hands," i.e. was an inspired book. It should be borne in mind that the So of Songs was already esteemed by the Jews as a sacred book, though prior to the Synod of Jamnia there was probably a goodly number of Jewish teachers who did not accept it as canonical. Selections from Canticles were sung at certain festivals in the temple at Jerusalem, prior to its destruction by Titus in 70 A.D. (Ta`anith 4:8). The Mishna pronounces an anathema on all who treat Canticles as a secular song (Sanhedhrin, 101a). The latest date for the composition of the So of Songs, according to critics of the advanced school, is toward the close of the 3rd century B.C. We may be sure that it was included in the Kethubhim before the ministry of our Lord, and so was for Him a part of the Scriptures.
Most scholars regard the text of Canticles as comparatively free from corruption. Gratz, Bickell, Budde and Cheyne have suggested a good many emendations of the traditional text, a few of which commend themselves as probable corrections of a faulty text, but most of which are mere guesses without sufficient confirmation from either external or internal evidence. For details see Budde's able commentary, and articles by Cheyne in JQR and Expository Times for 1898-99 and in the The Expositor, February, 1899.
III. Authorship and Date.
The title in the Hebrew text ascribes the poem to Solomon. That this superscription was prefixed by an editor of Canticles and not by the original writer is evident from the fact that the relative pronoun employed in the title is different from that employed throughout the poem. The beauty and power of the book seemed to later students and editors to make the writing worthy of the gifted king, whose fame as a composer of both proverbs and songs was handed on to later times (1 Kings 4:32). Moreover, the name of Solomon is prominent in the So of Songs itself (1:5; 3:7, 9, 11; 8:11). If the traditional view that Solomon wooed and won the Shulammite be true, the Solomonic authorship may even yet be defended, though the linguistic argument for a later date is quite strong.
The question in debate among recent critics is whether the So was composed in North Israel in preexilic days, or whether it is post-exilic. The author is at home in Hebrew. His vocabulary is extensive, and the movement of the poem is graceful. There is no suggestion of the use of lexicon and grammar by a writer living in the period of the decadence of the Hebrew language. The author is familiar with cities and mountains all over Palestine, especially in the northern section. He speaks of the beauty of Tirzah, the capital of North Israel in the 10th century B.C., along with the glory of Jerusalem, the capital of Judah (Songs 6:4). The recollection of Solomon's glory and pomp seems to be fresh in the mind of the writer and his contemporaries. W.R. Smith regarded Canticles as a protest against the luxury and the extensive harem of Solomon. True love could not exist in such an environment. The fidelity of the Shulammite to her shepherd lover, notwithstanding the blandishments of the wealthy and gifted king, stands as a rebuke to the notion that every woman has her price. Driver seems inclined to accept a preexilic date, though the arguments from vocabulary and philology cause him to waver in his opinion (LOT, 8th edition, 450). An increasing number of critics place the composition of Canticles in the post-exilic period, many bringing it down into the Greek period. Among scholars who date Canticles in the 3rd century B.C. we may name Gratz, Kuenen, Cornill, Budde, Kautzsch, Martineau and Cheyne. The chief argument for bringing the So into the time of the early Ptolemies is drawn from the language of the poem. There are many Hebrew words that are employed elsewhere only in later books of the Old Testament; the word pardec (Songs 4:13) is a Persian loan-word for "park"; the word for "palanquin" may be Indian, or possibly Greek. Moreover, the form of the relative pronoun is uniformly that which is found in some of the latest books of the Old Testament. The influence of Aramaic is apparent, both in the vocabulary and in a few constructions. This may be accounted for on theory of the northern origin of the Song, or on the hypothesis of a post-exilic date. The question of date is still open.
IV. History of Interpretation.
1. The Allegorical Interpretation:
All interpreters of all ages agree in saying that Canticles is a poem of love; but who the lovers are is a subject of keen debate, especially in modern times.
First in point of time and in the number of adherents it has had is theory that the So is a pure allegory of the love of Yahweh and His people. The Jewish rabbis, from the latter part of the 1st century A.D. down to our own day, taught that the poem celebrates a spiritual love, Yahweh being the bridegroom and Israel the bride. Canticles was supposed to be a vivid record of the loving intercourse between Israel and her Lord from the exodus on to the glad Messianic time. The So is read by the Jews at Passover, which celebrates Yahweh's choice of Israel to be His spouse. The Targum interprets Canticles as an allegory of the marital love of Yahweh and Israel. Origen made the allegorical theory popular in the early church. As a Christian he represented the bride as the church or the soul of the believer. In more recent centuries the Christian allegorical interpreters have favored the idea that the soul of the believer was the bride, though the other type of the allegorical view has all along had its advocates.
Bernard of Clairvaux wrote 86 sermons on the first two chapters of Canticles; and a host of writers in the Roman church and among Protestants have composed similar mystical treatises on the Song. Devout souls have expressed their fervent love to God in the sensuous imagery of Canticles. The imagery could not become too fervid or ecstatic for some of these devout men and women in their highest moments of beatific vision. Whatever may be the final verdict of sane criticism as to the original purpose of the author of the Song, it is a fact that must not be overlooked by the student of Canticles that some of the noblest religious souls, both Hebrew and Christian, have fed the flame of devotion by interpreting the So as an allegory.
What justification is there for theory that Canticles is an allegory of the love between Yahweh and His people, or of the love of Christ and the church, or of the love of the soul of the believer and Christ? It must be frankly confessed that there is not a hint in the So itself that it is an allegory. If the modern reader of Canticles had never heard of the allegorical interpretation, nothing in the beginning, middle or end of the poem would be likely to suggest to his mind such a conception of the poet's meaning. How, then, did the early Jewish interpreters come to make this the orthodox interpretation of the Song? The question is not easy to answer. In the forefront of our answer we must recall the fact that the great prophets frequently represent the mutual love of Yahweh and Israel under the symbolism of marriage (Hosea 1-3; Jeremiah 3; Ezekiel 16; 23; Isaiah 50:1; Isaiah 54:5, 6). The Hebrew interpreter might naturally expect to find some echo of this bold imagery in the poetry of the Kethubhim. In the Torah the frequent command to love Yahweh might suggest the marital relation as well as that of the father and son (Deuteronomy 6:5; Deuteronomy 7:7-9, 13; 10:12, 15; 30:16, 20), though it must be said that the language of Deuteronomy suggests the high ethical and religious teaching of Jesus in the matter of love to God, in which the sexual does not appear.
Cheyne suggests (EB, I, 683) that the So was too joyous to be used, in its natural sense, by the Jews after the destruction of Jerusalem, and hence, they consecrated it by allegorical interpretation. The suggestion may contain an element of truth.
It is an interesting fact that the Psalter has so few expressions in which love to Yahweh is expressed (Psalm 31:23; Psalm 97:10; Psalm 145:20; compare 18:1; 42:01:00; 63:1). In this manual of devotion one would not be suprised to find the expansion of the image of wedlock as expressive of the soul's relation to God; but we look in vain for such a poem, unless Psalm 45 be capable of allegorical interpretation. Even that beautiful song of love and marriage contains no such highly sensuous imagery as is found in Canticles.
Christian scholars found it easy to follow the Jewish allegorical interpreters; for the figure of wedlock is employed in the New Testament by both Paul and John to represent the intimate and vital union of Christ and His church (2 Corinthians 11:2 Ephesians 5:22-33 Revelation 19:7-9; Revelation 21:2, 9).
The entire body of true believers is conceived of as the bride of Christ. Naturally the purity of the church is sullied through the impure conduct of the individuals of whom it is composed. Hence, the appeal to individuals and to local churches to live pure lives (2 Corinthians 11:1). To the unmarried believer the Lord Jesus takes the place of the husband or wife as the person whom one is most eager to please (1 Corinthians 7:32 f). It is not difficult to understand how the fervid, sensuous imagery of Canticles would appeal to the mind of a man like Origen as a proper vehicle for the expression of his passionate love for Christ.
Sober inquiry discovers no sufficient justification of the allegorical interpretation of the So of Songs. The pages of the mystical commentators are filled with artificial interpretations and conceits. Many of them practice a familiarity with Christ that is without example in the Biblical devotional literature.
2. The Typical Interpretation:
The allegorical interpreters, for the most part, saw in the So of Songs no historic basis. Solomon and the Shulammite are introduced merely as figures through whom God and His people, or Christ and the soul, can express their mutual love. In modern times interpreters have arisen who regard the So as primarily the expression of strong and passionate human love between Solomon and a beautiful maiden, but by virtue of the typical relation of the old dispensation, secondarily, the fitting expression of the love of Christ and the church.
The way for this modern typical interpretation was prepared by Lowth (Sacred Poetry of the Hebrews, Lectionaries XXX, XXXI) in his modified allegorical view, which is thus described by Canon Driver: "Bishop Lowth, though not abandoning the allegorical view, sought to free it from its extravagances; and while refusing to press details, held that the poem, while describing the actual nuptials of Solomon with the daughter of Pharaoh, contained also an allegoric reference to Christ espousing a church chosen from among the Gentiles" (LOT, 451). Few interpreters have been found to follow Theodore of Mopsuestia and Lowth in their view that the So celebrates the marriage of Solomon and an Egyptian princess; and Lowth's notion of a reference to the espousal of a church chosen from among the Gentiles is one of the curiosities of criticism. Of the typical interpreters Delitzsch is perhaps the ablest (Commentary on Ecclesiastes and the So of Songs).
The typical commentators are superior to the allegorical in their recognition of Canticles as the expression of the mutual love of two human beings. The further application of the language to Yahweh and His people (Keil), or to Christ and the church (Delitzsch), or to God and the soul (M. Stuart) becomes largely a matter of individual taste, interpreters differing widely in details.
3. The Literal Interpretation:
Jewish interpreters were deterred from the literal interpretation of Canticles by the anathema in the Mishna upon all who should treat the poem as a secular song (Sanhedhrin, 101a). Cheyne says of Ibn Ezra, a great medieval Jewish scholar, he "is so thorough in his literal exegesis that it is doubtful whether he is serious when he proceeds to allegorize." Among Christian scholars Theodore of Mopsuestia interpreted Canticles as a song in celebration of the marriage of Solomon and Pharaoh's daughter. This strictly literal interpretation of the So was condemned at the second council of Constantinople (553 A.D.). For the next thousand years the allegorical theory reigned supreme among Christian interpreters. In 1544 Sebastian Castellio revived the literal theory of the Song, though the allegorical view remained dominant until the 19th century.
Herder in 1778 published a remarkable little treatise entitled Lieder der Liebe, die altesten und schonsten aus dem Morgenlande, in which he advanced theory that Canticles is a collection of independent erotic songs, about 21 in number, which have been so arranged by a collector as to trace "the gradual growth of true love in its various nuances and stages, till it finds its consummation in wedlock" (Cheyne). But the greatest and most influential advocate of the literal interpretation of Canticles was Heinrich Ewald, who published the 1st edition of his commentary in 1826. It was Ewald who first developed and made popular theory that two suitors compete for the hand of the Shulammite, the one a shepherd and poor, the other a wise and wealthy king. In the So he ascribes to Solomon 1:9-11, 15; 2:02; 4:1-7; 6:4-13 (quoting the dialogue between the Shulammite and the ladies of the court in 6:10-13); 7:1-9. To the shepherd lover he assigns few verses, and these are repeated by the Shulammite in her accounts of imaginary or real interviews with her lover. In the following passages the lover described is supposed to be the shepherd to whom the Shulammite had plighted her troth: 1:2-7, 9-14; 1:16-2:1; 2:3-7, 8-17; 3:1-5; 4:8-5:1; 5:2-8; 5:10-16; 6:2; 7:10-8:4; 8:5-14. The shepherd lover is thus supposed to be present in the Shulammite's dreams, and in her waking moments she is ever thinking of him and describing to herself and others his many charms. Not until the closing scene (Songs 8:5-14) does Ewald introduce the shepherd as an actor in the drama. Ewald had an imperial imagination and a certain strength of mind and innate dignity of character which prevented him from dragging into the mud any section of the Biblical literature. While rejecting entirely the allegorical theory of Canticles, he yet attributed to it an ethical quality which made the So worthy of a place in the Old Testament. A drama in praise of fidelity between human lovers may well hold a place beside Ecclesiastes and Proverbs in the Canon. Many of the ablest Old Testament critics have followed Ewald in his general theory that Canticles is a drama celebrating the loyalty of a lowly maiden to her shepherd lover. Not even Solomon in all his glory could persuade her to become his queen.
Within the past quarter of a century the unity of Canticles has been again sharply challenged. An account of the customs of the Syrian peasants in connection with weddings was given by the Prussian consul at Damascus, J. G. Wetzstein, in 1873, in an article in Bastian's Zeitschrift fur Ethnologie, 270;, on "Die syrische Dreschtafel," in which he illustrated the Old Testament from modern Syrian customs. Driver thus describes the customs that are supposed to throw light upon Canticles: "In modern Syria, the first seven days after a wedding are called the `king's week'; the young pair play during this time king and queen; the `threshing-board' is turned into a mock-throne, on which they are seated, while songs are sung before them by the villagers and others, celebrating them on their happiness, among which the watsf, or poetical `description' of the physical beauty of the bride and bridegroom, holds a prominent place. The first of these watsfs is sung on the evening of the wedding-day itself: brandishing a naked sword in her right hand, and with a handkerchief in her left, the bride dances in her wedding array, lighted by fires, and surrounded by a circle of guests, half men and half women, accompanying her dance with a watsf in praise of her charms" (LOT, 452). Wetzstein suggested the view that Canticles was composed of the wedding-songs sung during "the king's week." This theory has been most fully elaborated by Budde in an article in the New World, March, 1894, and in his commentary (1898). According to Budde, the bridegroom is called King Solomon, and the bride Shulammith. The companions of the bridegroom are the 60 valiant men who form his escort (Songs 3:7). As a bride, the maiden is called the most beautiful of women (Songs 1:8; Songs 5:9; Songs 6:1). The pictures of wedded bliss are sung by the men and women present, the words being attributed to the bride and the bridegroom. Thus the festivities continue throughout the week. Budde's theory has some decided advantages over Ewald's view that the poem is a drama; but the loss in moral quality is considerable; the book becomes a collection of wedding-songs in praise of the joys of wedlock.
V. Closing Hints and Suggestions.
Having given a good deal of attention to Canticles during the past 15 years, the author of this article wishes to record a few of his views and impressions.
(1) Canticles is lyric poetry touched with the dramatic spirit. It is not properly classed as drama, for the Hebrews had no stage, though much of the Old Testament is dramatic in spirit. The descriptions of the charms of the lovers were to be sung or chanted.
(2) The amount that has to be read between the lines by the advocates of the various dramatic theories is so great that, in the absence of any hints in the body of the book itself, reasonable certitude can never be attained. (3) The correct translation of the refrain in Songs 2:7 and 3:5 (compare 8:4) is important for an understanding of the purpose of Canticles. It should be rendered as follows:
`I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
By the gazelles, or by the hinds of the field,
That ye stir not up, nor awaken love,
Until it please.'
Love between man and woman should not be excited by unnatural stimulants, but should be free and spontaneous. In Songs 8:4 it seems to be implied that the women of the capital are guilty of employing artifices to awaken love:
`I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
Why do ye stir up, or awaken love,
Until it please?'
That this refrain is in keeping with the purpose of the writer is clear from the striking words toward the close of the book:
"Set me as a seal upon thy heart,
As a seal upon thine arm:
For love is strong as death;
Jealousy is cruel as Sheol;
The flashes thereof are flashes of fire,
A very flame of Yahweh.
Many waters cannot quench love,
Neither can floods drown it:
If a man would give all the substance of his house for love,
He would utterly be contemned" (Songs 8:6 f).
(4) Canticles discloses all the secret intimacies of wedded life without becoming obscene. The imagery is too sensuous for our taste in western lands, so that words of caution are often timely, lest the sensuous degenerate into the sensual; but I have been told by several Syrian and Palestinian students whom I have had the privilege of teaching, that Canticles is considered quite chaste among their people, the wedding-songs now in use among them being more minute in their description of the physical charms of the lovers.
(5) Canticles is by no means excluded from the Canon by the acceptance of the literal interpretation. Ewald's theory makes it an ethical treatise of great and permanent value. Even if Canticles is merely a collection of songs describing the bliss of true lovers in wedlock, it is not thereby rendered unworthy of a place in the Bible, unless marriage is to be regarded as a fall from a state of innocency. If Canticles should be rejected because of its sensuous imagery in describing the joys of passionate lovers, portions of Proverbs would also have to be excised (Proverbs 5:15-20). Perhaps most persons need to enlarge their conception of the Bible as a repository for all things that minister to the welfare of men. The entire range of man's legitimate joys finds sympathetic and appreciative description in the Bible. Two young lovers in Paradise need not fear to rise and meet their Creator, should He visit them in the cool of the day.
C. D. Ginsburg, The So of Songs, with a Commentary, Historical and Critical, 1857; H. Ewald, Dichter des Alten Bundes, III, 333-426, 1867; F. C. Cook, in Biblical Commentary, 1874; Franz Delitzsch, Hoheslied u. Koheleth, 1875 (also translation); O. Zockler, in Lange's Comm., 1875; S. Oettli, Kurzgefasster Kommentar, 1889; W. E. Griffis, The Lily among Thorns, 1890; J. W. Rothstein, Das Hohe Lied, 1893; K. Budde, article in New World, March, 1894. and Kommentar, 1898; C. Siegfried, Prediger u. Hoheslied, 1898; A. Harper, in Cambridge Bible, 1902; G. C. Martin, in Century Bible, 1908; article on "Canticles" by Cheyne in EB, 1899.
John Richard Sampey
SONG OF THE THREE CHILDREN
" 1. Name
4. Author and Date
5. Original Language
6. Text and Versions
For general remarks concerning the Additions to Daniel see BEL AND THE DRAGON.
This Addition has no separate title in any manuscript or version because in the Septuagint, Theod, Syriac and Latin (Old Latin and Vulgate) it follows Daniel 3:23 immediately, forming an integral portion of that chapter, namely, The So of the Three Children (Azariah) 1:24-90 in the Septuagint and Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) It is the only one of the three Additions which has an organic connection with Daniel; as regards the others see preliminary remarks to BEL AND THE DRAGON. The title in English Versions of the Bible is "The So of the Three Holy Children," a title describing its matter as formerly understood, though a more rigid analysis shows that in the 68 verses so designated, we have really two separate sections. See 3, below.
See introductory remarks to BEL AND THE DRAGON. The order in which the three "Additions to Daniel" are found in the (Separate Protestant) Apocrypha is decided by their sequence in the Vulgate, the So of the Three Children forming part of chapter 3, Susanna of chapter 13, and Bel and the Dragon of chapter 14 of Daniel.
Though the English and other Protestant versions treat the 68 verses as one piece under the name given above, there are really two quite distinct compositions. These appear separately in the collection of Odes appended to the Psalter in Cod. A under the headings, "The Prayer of Azarias" (Proseuche Azariou, Azariah, Daniel 1:6) and "The Hymn of Our Fathers" (Humnos ton pateron hemon); see Swete, The Old Testament in Greek, 3804;, and Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek, 253 f. Luther with his usual independence makes each of these into a separate book under the titles, "The Prayer of Azaria" (Das Gebet Asarjas) and "The So of the Three Men in the Fire" (Der Gesang der drei Manner im Feuerofen).
(1) The Prayer of Azarias (The So of the Three Children (Azariah) 1:1-22) (Daniel 3:24-48).
Azariah is the Hebrew name of Abed-nego (= Abednebo, "servant of Nebo"), the latter being the Babylonian name (see Daniel 1:7; Daniel 2:49, etc.). This prayer joins on to Daniel 3:23, where it is said that "Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego (Azariah) fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace." [?] (the version of Theodotion; see "Text and Versions" below) adds, "And they walked (Syr adds "in their chains") in the midst of the fire, praising God, and blessing the Lord." This addition forms a suitable connecting link, and it has been adopted by the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) and in modern versions which are made from [?] and not from the Septuagint, which last was lost for many centuries (see BEL AND THE DRAGON, III). In the Septuagint the words with which the Prayer was introduced are these: "Thus therefore prayed Hananias, and Azarias and Misael and sang praises (hymns) to the Lord when the king commanded that they should be cast into the furnace." The prayer (offered by Azarias) opens with words of adoration followed by an acknowledgment that the sufferings of the nation in Babylon were wholly deserved, and an earnest entreaty that God would intervene on behalf of His exiled and afflicted people. That this prayer was not composed for the occasion with which it is connected goes without saying. No one in a burning furnace could pray as Azarias does. There are no groans or sighs, nor prayer for help or deliverance of a personal nature. The deliverance sought is national.
(2) The So of the Three Holy Children (The So of the Three Children (Azariah) 1:28-68) (Da 3:51-90).
This is introduced by a brief connecting narrative (The So of the Three Children (Azariah) 1:23-27). The king's servants continued to heat the furnace, but an angel came down and isolated an inner zone of the furnace within which no flames could enter; in this the three found safety. Rothstein (Kautzsch, Die Apok., 175) is inclined to think that this narrative section (The So of the Three Children (Azariah) 1:23-27) stood between Daniel 3:23 and 3:24 in the original Hebrew text. The "Song" is really a psalm, probably a translation of a Hebrew original. It has nothing to do with the incident-the three young men in the furnace-except in The So of the Three Children (Azariah) 1:66 (EV) where the three martyrs call upon themselves by name to praise and bless the Lord for delivering them from the midst of the furnace. This verse is an interpolation, for the rest of the So is a long litany recalling Psalm 103 and especially Psalms 136; 148, and Sirach 43. The Song, in fact, has nothing to do with the sufferings of the three young men, but is an ordinary hymn of praise. It is well known from the fact that it forms a part of the Anglican Prayer-book, as it had formed part of many early Christian liturgies.
4. Author and Date:
We know nothing whatever of the author besides what may be gathered from this Addition. It is quite evident that none of the three Additions belong to the original text of Daniel, and that they were added because they contained legends in keeping with the spirit of that book, and a song in a slight degree (The So of the Three Children (Azariah) 1:66 English Version of the Bible) adapted to the situation of the three Hebrew youths in the furnace, though itself of an independent liturgical origin.
For a long time the three Additions must have circulated independently. Polychronius says that "The So of the Three Holy Children" was, even in the 5th century A.D., absent from the text of Daniel, both in the Peshitta and in the Septuagint proper. Rothstein (Kautzsch, Die Apok., 176) contends that the Additions formed a part of the Septuagint from the beginning, from which he infers that they were all composed before the Septuagint was made. What was the date of this version of Daniel? Since its use seems implied in 1 Maccabees 1:54 (compare Daniel 11:31; Daniel 12:11), it would be safe to conclude that it existed about 100 B.C.
(2) Date of the Prayer of Azarias.
In The So of the Three Children (Azariah) 1:15 (English Versions of the Bible) it is said that at the time the prayer was offered, there was no prince, prophet or leader, nor sacrifice of any kind. This may point to the time between 168 and 165 B.C., when Antiochus IV (Epiphanes) profaned the temple. If written in that interval, it must have been added to Daniel at a much later time. But on more occasions than one, in later times, the temple-services were suspended, as e.g. during the invasion of Jerusalem by the Egyptian king, Ptolemy IV (Philopater).
(3) Date of the Song.
We find references in the So (The So of the Three Children (Azariah) 1:62 English Versions of the Bible) to priests and temple-servants, and in The So of the Three Children (Azariah) 1:31 to the temple itself, suggesting that when the So was written the temple-services were carried on. This, in itself, would suit a time soon after the purification of the temple, about 164 B.C. But the terms of the So are, except in verse 66 (English Versions of the Bible), so general that it is impossible to fix the date definitely. On the date of the historical connecting narrative (The So of the Three Children (Azariah) 1:23-27) see 3, (2), above.
5. Original Language:
(1) Romanist scholars in general and several Protestants (Eichhorn, Einleit., in das Altes Testament, IV, 24 f; Einleit. in die apok. Schriften, 419; Vatke; Delitzsch, De Habacuci, 50; Zockler, Bissell, Ball, Rothstein, etc.) hold that the original language was Hebrew. The evidence, which is weak, is as follows: (a) The style is Hebraistic throughout (not more so than in writings known to have been composed in Alexandrian Gr; the idiom kataischunesthai + apo = bosh min (The So of the Three Children (Azariah) 1:44 English Versions of the Bible; the Septuagint 1:44), "to be ashamed of," occurs in parts of the Septuagint which are certainly not translations). (b) The three Hebrew martyrs bear Hebrew names (The So of the Three Children (Azariah) 1:66 English Versions). This only shows that the tale is of Hebrew origin. (2) Most modern non-Romanist scholars hold that the original language of the So (and Prayer) was Greek. So Keil, Fritzsche, De Wette, Schurer, Konig, Cornill, Strack, etc.
(1) The Hebraisms are comparatively few, and those which do exist can be paralleled in other writings composed in Hellenistic Greek
(2) It can be proved that in Daniel and also in Bel and the Dragon (see Introduction to Bel in the Oxford Apocrypha, edition R.H. Charles), Theodotion corrects the Septuagint from the Hebrew (lost in the case of Bel); but in Three, Theodotion corrects according to Greek idiom or grammar. It must be admitted, however, that the evidence is not very decisive either way.
6. Text and Versions:
As to the text and the various versions of the Song, see what is said in the article BEL AND THE DRAGON. It is important to note that the translations in English Versions of the Bible are made from Theodotion's Greek version, which occurs in ancient versions of the Septuagint (A B V Q dc) instead of the true Septuagint (Cod. 87).
See the article BEL AND THE DRAGON; Marshall (Hastings Dictionary of the Bible, IV, 754); W. H. Bennett (Oxford Apocrypha, edition R.H. Charles, 625;).
T. Witton Davies
SOLOMON, SONG OF
See SONG OF SONGS.
THREE CHILDREN, SONG OF THE
See SONG OF THE THREE CHILDREN.