Part 2 out of 7
Palestine were the heathen and the hated Samaritans. He also pictures the
return of the exiles, not as that of a handful of courageous patriots, but
of a vast company laden with rich gifts and guarded by Persian soldiers.
A careful examination of Ezra 2, which purports to contain the list of
The 42,360 exiles who returned immediately after 538 B.C., quickly
demonstrates that, like its duplicate in Nehemiah 7:6-69, its historical
basis, if it has any outside the fertile imagination of the Chronicler, is
a census of the Judean community. This census was taken, not at the
beginning, but rather at the end of the Persian period. Thus in the list
of the leaders appear the names not only of Joshua and Zerubbabel, but
also of Nehemiah and Ezra (Azariah). Certain leaders, such as Mordecai
and Bigvai, bear Persian names which clearly imply that they lived far
down in the Persian period. The family of the high priest Joshua already
numbers nine hundred and ninety-three. In this census are also included
the inhabitants of many towns outside Jerusalem, as, for example, Jericho,
Gibeon, and Bethlehem. Moreover, certain towns are mentioned, such as Lud
and Ono, which were not added to the Judean community until the latter
part of the Persian period. In view of these facts and the unmistakable
implications in the sermons of Haggai and Zechariah that in their day
there had been no general return of their kinsmen from Babylon, the
prevailing popular interpretation of this period of Israel's history is
clearly untenable and misleading. If there was a general return of exiles
from Babylon, it certainly did not come until after the walls had been
rebuilt under the inspiring leadership of Nehemiah. The Jews to whom
Haggai and Zechariah preached, and who rebuilt the second temple, were the
people of the land who had survived the destruction of Jerusalem, or else
had returned from their temporary refuge on the borders of the land of
III. Convulsions in the Persian Empire. After a brilliant and successful
reign Cyrus died in 529 B.C., leaving his vast empire to his son Cambyses.
The new king lacked the wisdom and statesmanship of his father, but
inherited his love of conquest. Most of his short reign was devoted to the
conquest of Egypt. From their hill-tops the Jews doubtless witnessed the
march of the great armies of Persia, and were forced to contribute to
their support. It was a period of change and transition, when old empires
went down in ruin and new forces gained the ascendancy.
On his return from Egypt, Cambyses, finding a pretender contending for
the throne, committed suicide, thus leaving the empire without any
legitimate head. During this crisis, in the autumn of 521 B.C., a Persian
noble, Darius, was raised to the kingship by conspirators, who had slain
the pretender. Darius claimed relationship with the Persian royal family,
and strengthened his position by marrying Atossa, the daughter of Cyrus.
The beginning of his reign was signalized by a series of revolts
throughout the whole extent of the empire. In Susiana a certain Athrina
proclaimed himself king. In Babylonia a native prince rallied his
countrymen and assumed the title of Nebuchadrezzar III. The Median revolt
was led by a certain Pharaortes; while among the Persians themselves a
pretender, who claimed to be a son of Cyrus, gained a wide following.
Fortunately for Darius there was no concerted action among the leaders of
these different rebellions, so that he was able to subdue them in
succession; but to the ordinary on-looker the task seemed well-nigh
impossible. Not until the spring of 519 did Darius become fully master of
IV. Haggai's Effective Addresses. It was in the autumn of 520 B.C.,
when the rebellions in the Persian Empire were at their height, that
Haggai made his stirring appeal to the members of the Judean community.
From the references in his addresses and in those of his contemporary,
Zechariah, it is evident that he and his hearers were profoundly
influenced by these great world movements. The situation seemed to give
promise not only of deliverance from Persian rule, but an opportunity at
last to realize the national hopes of the Jewish race. Haggai's message
was simple, direct, and practical. According to the beliefs universally
accepted in his day his logic was unanswerable. On the one hand Jehovah,
through poor crops and hard times, had plainly showed his displeasure
with his people in Judah. The reason was obvious; although they had built
comfortable houses for themselves, Jehovah's temple still lay in ruins. If
they would win his favor, it was plainly their duty to arise and rebuild
his sanctuary. The upheavals in the Persian Empire also gave promise that,
if they were true to their divine King, he would at last fulfil the
predictions voiced by their earlier prophets.
The words of Haggai, uttered in September of 520, met with an immediate
response. Work was begun on the temple in October of the same year. When
the energy and enthusiasm of the builders began to wane, the prophet
appeared before them again in November of 520 with the declaration that
Jehovah was about to overthrow the great world powers and to destroy the
chariots, horses, and riders of their Persian masters, "each by the sword
of his brother." He also voiced the popular expectations that centred in
Zerubbabel, who had already been appointed governor of Judah. The prophet
declared boldly that this scion of the house of David would be Jehovah's
seal-ring, the earthly representative of that divine power which was about
to work great revolutions in the history of the world. During the same
period Zechariah also uttered his messages of encouragement and spurred
the people on to continued efforts (Section XCV).
V. The Attempt to Stop the Rebuilding of the Temple. The Aramaic
document preserved in Ezra 5 and 6 describes in detail an attempt of the
Persian governor, who ruled over the province west of the Euphrates, to
put a stop to the temple building. The narrative, the letter, and decrees
which it contains reveal at many points their Jewish origin. While the
tradition may be comparatively late, its circumstantial character favors
the conclusion that it preserves the memory of a definite historical
event. The action of the Jews in rebuilding their temple was in perfect
accord with the policy of Cyrus and also of Darius, as is shown by
contemporary inscriptions. The attempt, therefore, to stop the building of
the temple failed; and in 516 B.C., four years after the work was begun,
it was completed.
VI. The Significance of the Restoration of the Temple. The rebuilding of
the Jerusalem temple appears to have been of immediate significance
chiefly to the Jews of Palestine. The Jews of Egypt, or at least those of
Elephantine, had their own temple. From Zechariah 6:9-11 it is evident
that the Jewish exiles in Babylon sent certain gifts to the Jerusalem
temple; but the hundreds of miles of desert that intervened made
communication exceedingly difficult, so that except at rare intervals
there was apparently little interchange between Babylonia and Palestine.
For all Jews, however, the rebuilding of the temple meant that at last
they had a common rallying-place, and that Jehovah was again being
worshipped by his own people at his traditional place of abode. In a sense
it bridged the seventy years that had intervened since the destruction of
the pre-exilic Hebrew state, and made it possible to revive the ancient
religious customs. In time it attracted from the lands of the dispersion
patriotic Jews whose interest was fixed upon the ceremonial side of their
religious life. It also furnished a centre about which gradually grew up a
hierarchy with an increasingly elaborate ritual, and a body of laws which
ultimately became the characteristic features of Judaism.
Section XCV. ZECHARIAH'S VISIONS AND ENCOURAGING ADDRESSES
[Sidenote: Zech. 1:7-11]
In the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month [February], in the second
year of Darius [519 B.C.], this word of Jehovah came to the prophet
Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo: I saw in the night and
there was a man standing among the myrtle trees that were in the
valley-bottom, and behind him there were horses, red, sorrel, and white.
Then said I, O my Lord, what are these? And the angel who talked with me
said to me, I will show you what these are. And the man who was standing
among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are they whom Jehovah
hath sent to go to and fro through the earth. And they answered the angel
of Jehovah who was standing among the myrtle trees and said, We have gone
up and down through the earth and behold, all the earth is still and at
[Sidenote: Zech. 1:12-17]
Then the angel of Jehovah answered and said, O Jehovah of hosts, how long
hast thou no pity on Jerusalem and the cities of Judah with which thou
hast been wroth these seventy years? And Jehovah answered the angel who
was talking with me with good words, even comforting words. So the angel
who was talking with me said to me, Proclaim now, 'Thus saith Jehovah of
hosts: "I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. But
with great wrath am I wroth with the arrogant nations; for I was only
a little angry [with Israel], but they helped to make greater the
calamity." Therefore, thus saith Jehovah: "I am turning to show mercy to
Jerusalem; my temple shall be built in it," saith Jehovah of hosts, "and
a measuring line shall be stretched over Jerusalem. Proclaim again, Thus
saith Jehovah of hosts: My cities shall yet overflow with prosperity; and
Jehovah shall yet comfort Zion and choose Jerusalem."'
[Sidenote: Zech. 1:18, 19]
Now I lifted up mine eyes and looked, and there were four horns. And I
said to the angel who was talking with me, 'What are these?' And he
assured me, 'These are the horns with which he scattered Judah.'
[Sidenote: Zech. 1:20, 21]
Then Jehovah showed me four smiths. And I said, What are these coming to
do? And he said, These are the horns which scattered Judah, so that none
lifted up his head; but these are come to terrify them, to strike down the
horns of the nations, which lifted up their horn against the land of Judah
to scatter it.
[Sidenote: Zech. 2:2-5]
Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and there was a man with a
measuring line in his hand. Then I said, Where are you going? And he said
to me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its breadth and length.
Thereupon the angel who talked with me stood still, and another angel went
out to meet him, and said to him, Run, speak to this young man, saying,
'Jerusalem shall be inhabited as villages without walls, because of the
multitude of men and cattle in her midst. For I,' saith Jehovah, 'will be
a wall of fire round about her, and I will be the glory in the midst of
[Sidenote: Zech. 2:6-9]
Ho, ho, flee from the land of the north, is Jehovah's oracle.
For I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heavens, is
Ho, escape to Zion, ye who dwell in Babylon.
For thus saith Jehovah of hosts to the nations which plundered you:
He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of mine eye.
For, behold, I am about to shake my hand over them,
And they shall be a spoil to those who served them;
And ye shall know that Jehovah of hosts hath sent me.
[Sidenote: Zech. 2:10-13]
Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for, lo, I come,
And I will dwell in the midst of thee, is Jehovah's oracle.
And many nations shall join themselves to Jehovah in that among day,
And shall be his people, and he will dwell in the midst of thee,
And thou shalt know that Jehovah of hosts hath sent me to thee.
And Jehovah shall inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land,
And he shall yet comfort Zion and choose Jerusalem.
Be silent, all flesh, before Jehovah;
For he hath waked up out of his holy habitation.
[Sidenote: Zech. 3:1-3]
Then he showed me Joshua, the high priest, standing before the angel of
Jehovah and the adversary standing at his right hand to accuse him. And
the angel of Jehovah said to the adversary, Jehovah rebuke thee, O
adversary; yea, Jehovah, who hath chosen Jerusalem, rebuke thee. Is not
this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy
garments and was standing before the angel.
[Sidenote: Zech. 3:4-5]
And [the angel] answered and spoke to those who stood before him, saying,
Take the filthy garments from off him, clothe him with robes of state; set
a clean turban upon his head. So they set a clean turban upon his head,
and clothed him with garments; and the angel of Jehovah was standing by.
[Sidenote: Zech. 3:6-10]
And the angel of Jehovah testified to Joshua, saying, Thus saith Jehovah
of hosts: 'If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge,
then thou also shalt rule my house and shalt also keep my courts and I
will give thee a place of access among these who stand by. Hear now, O
Joshua the high priest, thou and thy associates who sit before me; for
they are men who are a sign; for behold, I am about to bring forth my
servant the Branch. For, behold, the stone that I have set before Joshua;
upon one stone are seven facets: behold, I will engrave it,' saith Jehovah
of hosts, 'and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. In that
day,' saith Jehovah of hosts, 'ye shall each invite his neighbor under the
vine and under the fig tree.'
[Sidenote: Zech. 4:1-6]
Then the angel who talked with me came again and waked me, as a man who
is wakened out of his sleep. And he said to me, What seest thou? And I
said, I see midst there a candlestick, all of gold, with a bowl upon the
top of it, and its seven lamps upon it; there are seven pipes to each of
the lamps, which are upon the top of it, and two olive trees by it, one on
the right side of the bowl, and the other on its left side. And I spoke
and said to the angel who talked with me, What are these, my lord? Then
the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, Knowest thou not
what these are? And I said, No, my lord. Then he answered and spoke to me,
saying, The eyes of Jehovah, which rove to and fro through the whole
[Sidenote: Zech. 4:11-14]
Then I answered, and said to him, What are these two olive trees upon the
right side of the candlestick and upon its left side? And he answered me
and said, Knowest thou not what these are? And I said, No, my lord. Then
said he, These are the two anointed ones, who stand by the Lord of the
[Sidenote: Zech. 4:6b-10]
This is the word of Jehovah regarding Zerubbabel, Not by might, nor by
power, but by my spirit, saith Jehovah of will I make the great mountain
before Zerubbabel a plain; and he shall bring forth the top stones with
shoutings of, 'Grace, grace, to it.' Moreover this word of Jehovah came to
me: The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundations of this temple; his
hands shall also finish it; and ye shall know that Jehovah of hosts hath
sent me to you. For who hath despised the day of small things? For they
shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel.
[Sidenote: Zech. 6:9-11].
Now this word of Jehovah came to me: Take of them of the captivity, even
of Heldai, of Tobijah, of Jedaiah and of Josiah the son of Zephaniah who
have come from Babylon, yea, take of them silver and gold in order to make
a crown and set it on the head of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel.
[Sidenote: Zech. 6:12-15]
Thou shalt also say to them: 'Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: "Behold, the
man whose name is the Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place; and
he shall build the temple of Jehovah; and he shall bear the glory and
shall sit and rule upon his throne; and Joshua the son of Jehozadak shall
be a priest upon his right, and the counsel of peace shall be between them
both. And the crown shall be to Heldai and Tobijah and Jedaiah, and Josiah
the son of Zephaniah, as a memorial in the temple of Jehovah. And they who
are far off shall come and build in the temple of Jehovah; and ye shall
know that Jehovah of hosts hath sent me to you. And this shall come to
pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of Jehovah your God."'
[Sidenote: Zech. 7:1-6]
In the fourth year of King Darius, on the fourth day of the ninth month,
the city of Bethel sent Sharezer and Regemmelech and their men, to entreat
the favor of Jehovah, and to speak to the priests of the house of Jehovah
of hosts, and to the prophets, saying, should I weep in the fifth month
[in memory of the destruction of the temple] separating myself, as I have
done these many years? Then this word of Jehovah of hosts came to me:
Speak to all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying, 'When ye
fasted and mourned in the fifth and in the seventh month [when Gedaliah
was murdered], even these seventy years, did ye at all fast to me, even to
me? And when ye eat and when ye drink, do ye not eat for yourselves, and
drink for yourselves?
[Sidenote: Zech. 7:7-14]
Should ye not hear these words which Jehovah cried by the former prophets,
when Jerusalem was inhabited and in prosperity, and her cities round about
her, and the South Country, and the lowland were inhabited? Execute true
judgment, and show kindness and pity each to his brother; and oppress not
the widow nor the fatherless, the resident alien nor the poor; and let
none of you devise evil against your brother in his heart. But they
refused to heed, and turned a stubborn shoulder, and stopped their ears,
that they might not hear. Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant lest
they should hear the teaching, and the words which Jehovah of hosts had
sent by his spirit through the former prophets. Therefore there came great
wrath from Jehovah of hosts. And even when I cried they would not hear, so
when they cried I did not hear, saith Jehovah of hosts. And I scattered
them by a whirlwind among the nations which they did not know. Thus the
land was left desolate behind them, so that no man passed to or fro; for
they made the pleasant land a desolation.
[Sidenote: Zech. 8:1-5]
Now this word of Jehovah of hosts came to me:
Thus saith Jehovah of hosts,
'I cherish for Zion a great jealousy,
And I am jealous for her with great indignation.'
Thus saith Jehovah, 'I have returned to Zion,
And will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem;
And Jerusalem shall be called, "The City of Truth;"
And the mountain of Jehovah of hosts, "The Holy Mountain."
Thus saith Jehovah of hosts:
'Old men and old women shall again sit in the broad places of Jerusalem,
Each man with his staff in his hand because of old age.
And the streets of the city shall be full of boys,
And of girls playing in its broad places.'
[Sidenote: Zech. 8:6-8]
Thus saith Jehovah of hosts:
Because it seemeth impossible to the remnant of this people,
Is it impossible for me? saith Jehovah of hosts.
Thus saith Jehovah of hosts:
I am about to rescue my people,
From the land of the east and the land of the west,
And I will bring them and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem.
And they shall be my people in truth and righteousness,
And in turn I will be their God.
I. Zechariah's Ancestry and Point of View. Haggai's contemporary, the
prophet Zechariah, was evidently a priest. In the genealogy of Nehemiah
12:4, it is stated that he belonged to the priestly family of Iddo. This
conclusion is confirmed by the character of his prophecies. Like the
priest-prophet Ezekiel he is exceedingly fond of apocalyptic symbolism. He
is also deeply interested in the priesthood and in its ceremonial purity.
Furthermore, it is exceedingly probable that he was a descendant of one of
the many priests carried as exiles to Babylon. This is shown by his keen
interest in and exact knowledge of the great political movements that were
then shaking the Persian Empire. His conception of Jehovah is also
strongly influenced by the analogies drawn from the Persian court. In his
thought Israel's God is a transcendental ruler, who communicates with his
subjects not directly, but through angelic messengers, and who, like the
Persian kings, is dependent for information regarding his great kingdom
upon the reports of the different members of his heavenly court. Thus
Zechariah marks a wide departure from the simple theology of the
pre-exilic prophets who thought of Jehovah as dwelling in the midst of his
people and communicating directly with all who turned to him in faith.
II. The Book of Zechariah. The book which records the prophet's sermons
contains four distinct divisions: (1) An exhortation addressed to the
people in December, 520, three months after Haggai first appealed to them
to rise and rebuild the temple, Zechariah 1:1-8; (2) symbolic visions
dealing with the problems in the Judean community, 1:7-6:8; (3) practical
counsel, exhortations, and promises, 6:9-8:23; (4) a later appendix coming
from a prophet who probably lived during the earlier part of the Maccabean
period, 9-14. All of Zechariah's recorded sermons probably date from the
three or four years between 520 and 516 B.C., during which the temple was
being rebuilt. They throw a remarkably clear light upon an exceedingly
critical and significant period in the life of the Jews of Palestine. They
are also in many ways the best Old Testament source for the study of the
unfolding of Israel's messianic hopes.
III. Problems and Hopes of the Judean Community. Four or five practical
problems confronted and disturbed the temple-builders. The first was:
Would Jerusalem and the temple, still without walls, be protected from the
attack of the hostile foes that encircled them. A second and larger
question was: What was to be the outcome of the great tempest through
which the Persian Empire was passing, and did it mean for the Jews
deliverance from the powerful conquerors who for centuries had oppressed
and crushed them? The third was: Would the necessarily modest service of
the restored temple, already sadly polluted by heathen hands, be
acceptable to Jehovah? Another problem was: What were the relations and
the respective duties of Zerubbabel and Joshua, the civil and religious
authorities in the community? It was also inevitable that at this time the
hope of securing their independence under the leadership of Zerubbabel
should come prominently to the front. To each of these problems Zechariah
addressed himself, and his book records his convictions and public
IV. Zechariah's Assurances of Jehovah's Care. In his initial vision
concerning the angelic horsemen he recognizes that the storms that have
swept over the Persian Empire are beginning to subside, but he tells his
fellow-laborers that, if they persist, Jehovah's temple shall be rebuilt
and that the lands about Jerusalem shall again be sold to eager buyers,
and the cities of Judah shall enjoy their former prosperity, for "Jehovah
will surely comfort Zion." In the vision of the four horns and of the four
smiths whose mission it is to smite the horns, he assures the people that
Jehovah in his good time and way will overthrow the nations that now wrong
and oppress them. Although there is no promise that Jerusalem will be
surrounded by walls, he declares that it shall enjoy a prosperity and a
growth which no walls can confine, and that Jehovah himself will be its
protection, as well as its glory, that he will gather the scattered
exiles, and that they, together with the nations which shall acknowledge
Jehovah's rule, shall yet come streaming back to Judah.
In his next vision the prophet graphically presents a scene in Jehovah's
court. Joshua the priest, representing the ceremonial service of the
polluted temple, is charged by the adversary with uncleanness. Here for
the first time in Hebrew literature we catch a glimpse of Satan, who is
regarded not as hostile to God but as the prosecuting attorney of heaven.
As in the prologue of the book of Job, he is an accredited member of the
divine hierarchy. His task is to search out and report to Jehovah the
misdeeds of men. In Zechariah's vision, however, the divine judge acquits
Joshua of the charge, and causes him to be clad with clean garments, thus
proclaiming the divine approval of the modest yet devoted service of the
V. Preparations for the Crowning of Zerubbabel. Regarding Zerubbabel,
Zechariah declares, in language highly figurative, that he shall yet be
crowned and rule over a happy and prosperous people. He is spoken of as
Jehovah's servant, the Branch. The term is probably original with
Zechariah, although again used in the supplementary passages in Jeremiah
23:5 and 33:15. The word is akin to the term "shoot of the house of Jesse"
used in Isaiah 11, to describe a certain scion of the house of David, who
in all probability was the young Zerubbabel. Zechariah's figure describes
the prince as an offshoot of the same royal tree. The obscure passage
seems to mean that upon the stone, with its seven facets, which was to be
set in the crown prepared for the head of Zerubbabel, Jehovah himself
would engrave a fitting title.
In Zechariah's fifth vision he defined the relations between the civil
and priestly authorities. The golden candlestick represented the temple
and its service. The two olive trees beside it stood for Zerubbabel, the
civil ruler, and for Joshua, the high priest. The duty of each was to
contribute his part toward the support of the temple service. They were
both Jehovah's Messiahs, that is, men anointed as a symbol of the task
which each was to perform.
In this connection Zechariah declared that Jehovah would remove all
obstacles from before Zerubbabel, and that he who had begun the work
should live to see its completion. In an address recorded in the latter
part of the sixth chapter of his prophecy (intentionally revised by a
later scribe), Zechariah threw aside all symbolism and gave directions
to make a crown for the head of Zerubbabel from the silver and gold
that had been brought as a gift by a deputation from the Jews of Babylon.
He also plainly predicted that this descendant of David should sit on the
throne of Judah and that Joshua the priest should be his minister like the
priests in the pre-exilic kingdom.
VI. Disappointment of These Patriotic Hopes. With Zechariah's prediction
that Zerubbabel should reign on the throne of Judah the descendants of the
house of David suddenly and forever disappear from Old Testament history.
Whether the Jews made the attempt to shake off the yoke of Persia
Or whether Zerubbabel was quietly set aside cannot be determined.
Contemporary history states that within at least six months after
Zechariah voiced the patriotic hopes of his people the authority of Darius
was fully established throughout the empire. He at once began thoroughly
to organize the vast realm. Post roads bound together the distant
provinces, and satraps, appointed largely from the ranks of the royal
family, unified the whole empire and held it under firm control. As a rule
Persian governors were substituted for the native princes. With the
institution of this policy Zerubbabel may well have been quietly set
aside. The event evidently made a profound impression upon the messianic
expectations of the Jews. Henceforth, for three or four centuries, the
temporal, kingly type of messianic hope, which had been inspired by the
glories of the reign of David, entirely disappeared. It was not revived
until the military victories of the Maccabean era had again brought
prominently to the front this phase of national glory (cf. Section CXVI).
As a result of these disappointments Israel's hopes were universalized and
spiritualized. Jehovah, instead of a scion of the house of David, was
henceforth regarded as the one supreme King of Israel.
VII. Zechariah's Later Exhortations and Predictions. In chapters 7 and
8, which conclude the original sermons of Zechariah, the apocalyptic
language with which he clothed his earlier predictions regarding the
future of the Judean community disappeared, and he spoke as did Amos and
Haggai, plainly and directly regarding the questions which were then
stirring the people. When a deputation came from the north to inquire
whether or not, now that the temple was being rebuilt, they should
continue to observe their fasts in memory of the destruction of Jerusalem
and the death of Gedaliah, the prophet raised the searching question of
whether their motive in these services was to please Jehovah or to please
themselves. He then went on to declare that the only effective way to
serve Jehovah was by deeds of justice and kindness, especially to the
dependent classes in the community, and that the horrors of the exile had
come because their fathers had failed to worship Jehovah by righteous
The prophet concludes with a brilliant picture of the coming restoration
of Jerusalem and of the peace and prosperity which should be the lot of
all, because Jehovah was about to gather his scattered people from the
east and the west and to establish them in the midst of his sacred city.
Other nations should eagerly come to Jerusalem to seek the favor of
Jehovah and to ally themselves with his faithful followers, the Jews. In a
prophecy, preserved in Micah 4:1-4 and Isaiah 2:1-4 (which probably comes
from this period) the same thought is nobly expressed:
It shall come to pass in the latter days,
That the mountain of Jehovah shall be established,
Even the house of our God on the top of the mountain,
And it shall be lifted above the hills.
All the nations shall flow to it,
And many peoples shall go and say,
Come, let us go up to Jehovah's mount,
To the house of the God of Jacob,
That he may instruct us in his ways,
And that we may walk in his paths.
For from Zion proceeds instruction,
And Jehovah's word from Jerusalem.
Section XCVI. ISRAEL'S TRAINING AND DESTINY
[Sidenote: Isa. 40:1, 2]
Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God,
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and declare to her,
That her hard service is accomplished, her guilt is expiated
That she hath received from Jehovah's hand double for all her sins.
[Sidenote: Isa. 40:3, 4]
A voice is proclaiming: In the wilderness prepare the way of Jehovah,
Make straight in the desert a highway for our God!
Let every mountain and hill sink down, and every valley be lifted up,
And the crooked be made straight and the rough ridges a plain.
[Sidenote: Isa. 40:6-8]
A voice is saying, Proclaim! and I said, What shall I proclaim?
All flesh is grass and all its beauty like a flower of the field.
Grass withers, flower fades, when Jehovah's breath blows eternal upon it,
Grass withers, flower fades, but the word of our God endureth forever.
[Sidenote: Isa. 40:9]
To a high mountain, get thee up, Zion's herald of good news;
Lift up mightily thy voice, Jerusalem's herald of good news.
Lift up fearlessly, say to the cities of Judah: Behold your God!
[Sidenote: Isa 40:10, 11]
Behold, Jehovah cometh in might, and his arm is maintaining his rule;
Behold, his reward is with him and his recompense is before him,
As a shepherd he will tend his flock, with his arm he will gather it,
The lambs in his bosom he will bear, the ewe-mothers he will lead.
[Sidenote: Isa. 40:12]
Who hath measured in the hollow of his hand the waters,
And ruled off the heavens with a span,
Or enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure,
And weighed the mountains in scales,
And the hills in a balance?
[Sidenote: Isa. 40:13, 14]
Who hath determined the spirit of Jehovah,
And as his counsellor advised him?
With whom hath he consulted for enlightenment,
And to be instructed in the right,
And to be shown the way of discernment?
[Sidenote: Isa. 40:16, 17]
Lo the nations! as a drop from a bucket,
And as dust on a balance are they reckoned.
Lo the isles! as a mote he uplifteth,
And Lebanon is not enough for fuel,
And its wild beasts for a burnt-offering.
All the nations are as nothing before him,
They are reckoned by him as void and nothingness.
[Sidenote: Isa. 40:18-20]
To whom then will ye liken God,
And what likeness place beside him?
An image! a craftsman cast it,
And a smelter o'erlays it with gold.
He who is too poor to do this
Chooses a tree that is not decayed,
Seeks for himself a skilled craftsman,
To set up an image that shall not totter.
[Sidenote: Isa. 40:21, 22]
Do ye not know? Do ye not hear?
Hath it not been told you from the beginning?
Have ye not been aware from the founding of the earth?
It is he who is enthroned above the vault of the earth,
And its inhabitants are as locusts;
Who stretcheth out the heavens as a thin veil,
And spreadeth them out like a habitable tent.
[Sidenote: Isa. 40:23, 24]
It is he who bringeth princes to naught,
The rulers of the earth he maketh as waste.
Scarcely have they been planted, scarcely have they been sown,
Scarcely hath the stock taken root in the earth,
But he bloweth upon them and they wither,
And a whirlwind carries them away like stubble.
[Sidenote: Isa. 40:25, 26]
To whom then will ye liken me
That I should equal him? saith the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high and see:
Who hath created these?
He who bringeth forth their host by number,
And calleth each by his name;
Of the many mighty and strong,
Not one is missing.
[Sidenote: Isa. 40:27-31]
Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel:
My way is hid from Jehovah
And my right is unnoticed by my God?
Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard?
An everlasting God is Jehovah.
The creator of the ends of the earth.
He fainteth not, neither is weary,
His wisdom cannot be fathomed,
He giveth vigor to the fainting,
And upon the powerless he lavisheth strength.
Young men may faint and grow weary,
And the strongest youths may stumble,
But they who trust in Jehovah renew their vigor,
They mount on pinions like eagles,
They run but are never weary,
They walk but never faint.
[Sidenote: Isa. 41:1-4]
Listen to me in silence, ye coastlands,
Let the peoples come near; then let them speak;
Together let us approach the tribunal.
Who raised up that one from the east
Whose steps victory ever attended,
Giving up peoples before him,
And letting him trample down kings?
His sword made them as dust,
And his bow like driven stubble;
He pursued them, passing on in safety,
Not treading the path with his feet.
Who hath wrought and accomplished this?
He who called the generations from the beginning,
I, Jehovah, who am the first,
And with those who come after I am the same.
[Sidenote: Isa. 41:8-10]
And thou, Israel, my servant
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
Offspring of Abraham, my friend,
Thou, whom I brought from the ends of the earth,
And called from its most distant parts;
To whom I said, Thou art my servant,
I have chosen and have not rejected thee.
Fear not, for I, indeed, am with thee,
Be not terrified, for I am thy God.
I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee;
Yea, I will uphold thee with my righteous hand.
[Sidenote: Isa. 42:1]
Behold, my servant whom I uphold,
My chosen, in whom I take delight;
I have put my spirit upon him,
That he may set forth law to the nations.
[Sidenote: Isa. 42:2-3b]
He will not cry aloud nor roar,
Nor let his voice be heard in the street.
A crushed reed he will not break,
And a dimly burning wick he will not quench.
[Sidenote: Isa. 42:3c-4]
Faithfully will he set forth law;
He will not lose vigor nor be crushed,
Until he establish law in the earth,
And for his teaching the coastlands are waiting.
[Sidenote: Isa. 42:5-7]
Thus saith the one God, Jehovah,
He who spread out the heavens and stretched them forth,
Who created the earth and its products,
Who giveth breath to the people upon it,
And spirit to those who walk upon it:
I, Jehovah, have called thee in righteousness,
I have taken thee by the hand and kept thee,
I have made thee a pledge to the people, a light to the nations,
To open eyes that are blind,
To bring captives out from confinement,
From the prison house dwellers in darkness.
[Sidenote: Isa. 42:13-50]
Ye who are deaf hear,
And ye blind look up that ye may see,
Who is blind but my servants,
deaf as their rulers?
Much have ye seen, without observing it,
Though your ears were open, ye did not hear.
[Sidenote: Isa. 42:21, 22]
Jehovah was pleased for his righteousness' sake
To make his teaching great and glorious,
Yet it is a people spoiled and plundered,
They are all snared in holes,
And hidden in prison houses,
They have become a spoil, with none to rescue,
An object of plunder, with none to say, Restore.
[Sidenote: Isa. 42:23-25]
Who among you will give ear to this,
Will attend and hear for time to come?
Who gave up Jacob to plunderers,
And Israel to those who spoiled him,
And poured out upon him the heat of his anger,
And his violence like a flame,
So that it scorched him round about, but he knew it not,
And it burned him, but he laid it not to heart?
[Sidenote: Isa. 43:1-2]
And now thus saith Jehovah,
He who created thee, O Jacob, and formed thee,
Fear not, O Israel, for I redeem thee,
I call thee by name, thou art mine.
When thou passeth through the waters, I will be with thee,
Through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee;
When thou goest through the fire, thou shalt not be scorched,
Neither shall the flame burn thee.
[Sidenote: Isa. 43:3, 4]
For I, Jehovah, am thy God.
I, Israel's Holy One, am thy deliverer;
I give Egypt as thy ransom,
Ethiopia and Seba for thee.
Because thou art precious in mine eyes,
Art honored and I love thee,
I will give lands in thy stead,
And peoples for the sake of thy life.
[Sidenote: Isa. 43:5-7]
Fear not for I am with thee,
From the east I will bring thine offspring,
And from the west I will gather thee;
I will say to the north, Give up!
And to the south, Withhold not!
Bring my sons from afar,
And my daughters from the ends of the earth,
Every one who is called by my name,
Whom for my glory I have created and formed.
[Sidenote: Isa. 43:10, 11]
Ye are my witnesses, is Jehovah's oracle,
And my servants whom I have chosen,
That ye may acknowledge and believe me,
And that ye may perceive that I am ever the same,
Before me no God was formed,
Nor shall there be after me,
I, even I, am Jehovah,
And beside me there is no deliverer.
[Sidenote: Isa. 43:12, 13]
It was I who announced and brought deliverance,
And I declared, and there was no strange god among you,
Ye are my witnesses, is Jehovah's oracle,
I am God, yea, from henceforth the same;
And there is none who can snatch from my hand,
When I work, who can reverse it?
[Sidenote: Isa. 43:14, 15]
Thus saith Jehovah,
Your redeemer, Israel's Holy One,
For your sake I have sent to Babylon,
And have brought them all down as fugitives.
Even the Chaldeans with their piercing cries of lamentation,
It is I, Jehovah, your Holy One,
The Creator of Israel, your King.
[Sidenote: Isa. 43:22-24]
But thou, O Jacob, hast not called upon me,
Nor hast thou wearied thyself about me, O Israel;
Thou hast not brought me the sheep of thy burnt-offerings,
Nor honored me with thy sacrifices.
With offerings I have not burdened thee,
Nor with incense wearied thee.
Thou broughtest me no sweet cane with thy money,
Nor with the fat of thy sacrifices sated me.
Rather thou hast only burdened me with thy sins,
And wearied me with thine iniquities.
[Sidenote: Isa. 43:25-28]
But it is I alone who blot out thy transgressions,
And I do not remember thy sins.
Remind me, let us plead together,
Do thou set forth the matter that thou mayest be justified:
Thy first father sinned,
And thy mediators rebelled against me.
Thy rulers profaned my sanctuary,
And I gave up Jacob to the ban,
And Israel to revilings!
[Sidenote: Isa. 44:1-3b]
But now hear, O Jacob, my servant,
Israel whom I have chosen;
Thus saith Jehovah, thy maker,
Even he who formed thee from the womb, who helpeth thee:
Fear not, my servant Jacob,
And thou, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen;
For I will pour water upon the thirsty land
And streams upon the dry ground.
[Sidenote: Isa. 44:3c-5]
I will pour out my spirit upon thy children,
And my blessing upon thy descendants,
So that they shall spring up as grass in the midst of waters,
As willows by water-courses.
One shall say, "I am Jehovah's,"
And another shall call himself, "Jacob,"
And another will inscribe on his hand, "Jehovah's,"
And receive the surname, "Israel."'
I. The Seventy Years Following the Rebuilding of the Temple. Regarding
the seventy years which intervened between the rebuilding of the temple in
516 B.C. and the appearance of Nehemiah in 445 the biblical historians are
silent. This silence is probably because there were no important political
events in the life of the Judean community to be recorded. During the
latter part of his reign Darius bridged the Hellespont and undertook the
conquest of the western world. Later, under the reign of his son Xerxes,
the mighty hordes of eastern warriors were turned back, and the growing
weakness of the great Persian Empire was revealed. In 486 Egypt rebelled,
and Persian armies marched along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean,
probably levying heavy taxes for their support upon the Jews as well as
upon the other peoples of Palestine. The suppression of the rebellion in
Egypt illustrated how impossible it was for any of the eastern peoples to
withstand even the decadent power of the Persian Empire.
In Palestine the Jews were still the prey of their hostile neighbors. No
walls protected the temple and city of Jerusalem. The Jews were probably
ground down under their greedy Persian governors. With the disappearance
of Zerubbabel the local control fell naturally into the hands of the high
priest and his followers, whose civil authority from this time on
constantly increased. The words of II Isaiah well describe the lot of the
Jews of Palestine during this period:
It is a people spoiled and plundered,
They are all snared in holes,
And hidden in prison houses.
They have become a spoil,
With none to rescue,
An object of plunder,
With none to say, Restore.
II. Spiritual Forces in Judaism. The political horizon furnished little
to inspire the disappointed and persecuted Jews. Their eyes were still
blinded by the brilliant hopes that had stirred them at the time when the
temple was rebuilt. The quenching of these hopes had left them in deeper
darkness than before. There seemed no rift in the clouds that overshadowed
them. Even their priestly rulers were selfish and inconsiderate. For the
faithful few who rose above the discouragements and obstacles that
confronted them, however, this period of deepest gloom was lighted by a
faith that shines through and glorifies most of the later books of the Old
Testament. From the psalms and prophecies of the period it is evident that
there were a few who in the midst of these discouraging circumstances
found peace and joy. As they meditated upon the experiences of their race,
and read and pondered the writings of the earlier prophets, they began to
appreciate not only the real significance of their past history but the
meaning of the present affliction. The chief spokesman of these immortal
heroes of the faith was the prophetic author of Isaiah 40-66.
III. Evidences That Isaiah 40-66 were Written in Palestine. Only
recently have careful students of Isaiah 40-66 begun to realize that the
point of view in all of these chapters is not distant Babylon but
Jerusalem. The repeated references in chapter 56 and following to
conditions in Jerusalem have led all to recognize their Palestinian
origin. The evidence, however, regarding chapters 40-55 is almost equally
convincing. The vocabulary and literary figures employed throughout are
those peculiar to the agricultural life of Palestine and not to the
commercial civilization of Babylon. The problems also are those of the
Judean community. The class to whom the prophet addresses his messages is
evidently the same as that to which Haggai and Zechariah speak. Jerusalem,
not a Jewish colony in Babylon, is the constant object of the prophet's
appeal. Babylon is only one of the distant lands of the dispersion. It is
from Jerusalem that the prophet ever views the world. Thus in 43:5,6 he
declares in the name of Jehovah:
Fear not, for I am with thee.
From the east I will bring thine offspring,
And from the west I will gather them;
I will say to the north, Give up!
And to the south, Withhold not!
Bring my sons from afar,
And my daughters from the ends of the earth.
Interpreted in the light of their true geographical setting, these
Prophecies gain at once a new and clearer meaning.
IV. Their Probable Date. The reference in 43:23, 24 to the offerings
brought by the people to Jehovah's temple clearly implies that it had
already been built. Furthermore, the charges preferred against the Judean
community are very similar to those in the book of Malachi, which is
generally assigned to the period immediately preceding the arrival of
Nehemiah in 445 B.C. (cf. Section XCVII). From the parallels in chapter 48
and elsewhere it is evident that Jehovah's Messiah in 45:1 is not Cyrus
but Israel, the messianic nation, to which Jehovah in earlier days under
David and his successors gave repeated victories and far-extended
authority. The presence of the name Cyrus seems without reasonable doubt
to be due to a later scribe, who thus incorrectly identified the allusion.
It is supported neither by the metrical structure nor the context of the
passages in which it is found. Furthermore, the ideas in Isaiah 40-55 are
almost without exception those which Zechariah had already voiced in
germinal form, especially in his latest prophecies preserved in chapters 7
and 8. They are here more fully and far more gloriously expanded,
indicating that their author lived perhaps a generation later than
Zechariah. The years between 500 and 450 furnish the most satisfactory
setting for these prophecies. In a very true sense, however, like many
of the psalms, they are timeless. The question of their exact date
is comparatively unimportant except as it throws light upon their
V. Their Literary Characteristics. The prophecies in Isaiah 40-66 are
psalms, sharing the characteristics of all lyric Hebrew poetry. Each is
complete in itself and yet closely related to the others both in content
and literary form. Their nobility of theme, their breadth of outlook,
their wealth of rich and glowing figures, and their finished literary
character give them an incontestable place among the greatest writings of
the Old Testament. While there is a powerful argument running through them
all, the logic is not cumulative but rather moves in a spiral, frequently
returning to the same subject but having a gradual onward movement. It is
the characteristic Oriental method of thinking, which is the opposite of
that of the Western world. These poems are grouped into three cycles which
apparently represent the prophet's thinking during succeeding periods. The
first cycle is included in 40-48. Chapter 48 is a recapitulation of the
thought of the preceding, and furnishes a natural conclusion to the first
collection. The second group is in 49-55. The note of suffering is here
more prominent, and the portrait of the ideal type of servant which
Jehovah desires in order to realize his purpose in human history is
developed in greater detail (cf. Section XCIX). The third group, in 56-66,
is by many assigned to another prophet and to a much later period. While
the general theme of the group is different and implies a somewhat changed
historical background, the characteristic ideas and literary forms of
40-55 also recur here. From the study of Israel's past and future the
prophet turns to the closer consideration of the problems in Palestine.
The historical allusions are for the most part in accord with the
conditions which Nehemiah found in Jerusalem in 445 B.C.
VI. Their Theme and Purpose. The poems deal with one theme, the destiny
of the chosen people. The prophet first reviews their past history to
illustrate Jehovah's purpose that was being realized through Israel. He
notes the different ways in which Jehovah had trained and prepared them
for their great task. In the light of the new situation and his enlarged
acquaintance with the world the prophet then proceeds to define the task
that awaits his people. While he does not break entirely away from the
popular expectation that the scattered exiles would yet be restored to
Jerusalem to participate in the universal kingdom that was there to be
established, he fully appreciates the larger significance of Israel's
mission. He recognizes that it is worldwide. He sees that the Jewish race
is called not merely to receive honors and material blessings but also to
serve suffering and needy mankind. The disappointments and afflictions
through which it is passing are but a part of the divine training for that
nobler spiritual service. The servant Israel is called to be a witness to
all the nations, faithfully to set forth Jehovah's teachings until his law
is established in all the earth. Thus the prophet interprets Israel's
past, present, and future in its vital relation to the universal life of
humanity, and declares that Israel is destined to be a prophet nation and
to reveal Jehovah's character to all mankind.
VII. Reasons Why Jehovah Will Restore His People. The prophet opens with
a declaration that Jerusalem's period of forced service is over, that she
has paid double for the sins of the past, and that Jehovah is about to
remove all obstacles and restore and exalt his oppressed people. He then
gives the reasons for his strong conviction: (1) Jehovah is incomparably
superior to the forces of nature, to the nations that hold Israel in
bondage, and to the heathen gods whose images are shaped by the hand of
man. All the powers of heaven and earth are under his control. He is the
creator and supreme ruler of the universe, able to remove all obstacles
and to give strength and might to those who put their trust in him.
(2) Through his leadership of his people in the past, through their
victories over their powerful foes, and in all the experiences of their
national life he has shown his power to guide and deliver. (3) Toward
Israel, his servant, he stands in a unique relation, for he has chosen and
trained his people for a great service in behalf of all the world.
Therefore he who is able and eager to deliver will not fail his people in
their hour of need. (4) Their present affliction is but a part of that
training which is essential before they can perform their task as
Jehovah's servant; that task is tenderly to espouse the cause of those who
are crushed, to open eyes that are blind, to bring captives out of their
confinement, and, as a faithful teacher, to inspire all mankind with love
for Israel's God.
The prophet's aim was clearly to encourage his despondent people, to show
them the deeper meaning of their present afflictions, to open their eyes
to Jehovah's gracious purpose, to give to the entire race a goal for which
to live and strive, and, above all, to arouse them to effective action.
Doubtless the prophet thought only of the problems of the men of his day,
but in his interpretation of Jehovah's worldwide purpose and in the faith
and devotion which his words inspire he gave to all mankind a universal,
Section XCVII. CONDITIONS AND PROBLEMS WITHIN THE JUDEAN COMMUNITY
[Sidenote: Mal. 1:6-9]
A son honoreth his father, and a servant feareth his master;
If then I am a father, where is mine honor?
And if I am a master, where is the one who fears me?
Saith Jehovah to you, O ye priests, who despise my name.
But ye say, 'Wherein have we despised thy name?'
Ye offer upon mine altar bread that is polluted
And ye say, 'Wherein have we polluted it?'
In that ye say, 'The table of Jehovah is contemptible.'
And that when ye offer the blind for sacrifice, 'It is no harm!'
And that when ye offer the lame and the sick, 'It is no harm!'
Present it now to thy governor; will he be pleased with it?
Or will he receive thee favorably? saith Jehovah of hosts.
And now entreat the favor of God with such an offering, that he may be
gracious to us,
Would I receive any of you favorably? saith Jehovah of hosts.
[Sidenote: Mal. 1:10, 11]
O that there were those among you who would shut the doors,
That ye might not kindle fire on mine altar in vain!
I have no pleasure in you, saith Jehovah of hosts,
Neither will I accept an offering at your hand.
For from the rising of the sun even to its setting my name is sacred among
And in every place they offer to my name a pure offering;
For my name is great among the nations, saith Jehovah of hosts.
[Sidenote: Mal. 1:12, 14]
'The table of Jehovah is polluted, and its food is contemptible.'
Ye say also, 'Behold what a weariness is it!' and ye have scorned me;
And ye have brought the blind, the lame and the sick.
Should I accept this at your hand? saith Jehovah of hosts.
But cursed be the deceiver, who has in his flock a male,
And vows, and sacrifices to the Lord a blemished thing;
For I am a great King, and my name is feared among the nations.
[Sidenote: Mal. 2:1-4]
And now, O ye priests, this command is for you.
If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart,
To give glory to my name, saith Jehovah of hosts,
Then I will send the curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings;
Behold, I will cut off your arm,
And will spread offal upon your faces, even the offal of your feasts,
And ye shall know that I have sent this command to you,
That my covenant with Levi may be preserved, saith Jehovah of hosts.
[Sidenote: Mal. 2:15-7]
My covenant with him was to give life and peace;
And I gave them to him that he might revere me;
And he revered me, and stood in awe of my name.
The true instruction was in his mouth,
And unrighteousness was not found in his lips;
He walked with me in peace and uprightness,
And turned many away from iniquity.
For the priest's lips should keep knowledge,
And men should seek the law at his mouth;
For he is the messenger of Jehovah of hosts.
[Sidenote: Mal. 2:8, 9]
But ye are turned aside out of the way;
Ye have caused many to stumble in the law;
Ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi,
Saith Jehovah of hosts.
Therefore have I also made you contemptible,
And base before all the people,
According as ye have not kept my ways,
And have had no respect for me in imparting the law.
[Sidenote: Mal. 2:10, 13, 14]
Have we not all one father?
Hath not one God created us?
Why do we deal faithlessly with one another,
Profaning the covenant of our fathers?
And this ye do also:
Ye cover the altar of Jehovah with tears,
So that he regardeth not the offering any more,
Neither receiveth it acceptably from your hand.
Yet ye say, Why?
Because Jehovah hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth,
Against whom thou hast dealt faithlessly,
Though she is thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.
[Sidenote: Mal. 2:15, 16]
Therefore give heed to your spirit,
And let none deal faithlessly with the wife of his youth,
For I hate putting away,
Saith Jehovah, the God of Israel,
And him who covers his garment with violence;
Therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not faithlessly.
[Sidenote: Mal. 2:17]
Ye have wearied Jehovah with your words.
Yet ye say, How have we wearied him?
In that ye say, Everyone that doeth evil
Is good in the sight of Jehovah,
And he delighteth in them;
Or where is the God of justice?
[Sidenote: Mal. 3:1-4]
Behold, I am about to send my messenger,
And he shall prepare the way before me;
And the Lord, whom ye seek,
Will suddenly come to his temple;
But who can endure the day of his coming?
And who shall stand when he appeareth?
For he is like a refiner's fire,
And like fullers' lyes;
And he will sit as a refiner and purifier,
And he will purify the sons of Levi,
And refine them as gold and silver;
And they shall offer offerings in righteousness.
Then shall the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant to Jehovah,
As in the days of old, and as in former years.
[Sidenote: Mal. 3:5, 6]
And I will come near to you to judgment;
And I will be a swift witness
Against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers,
And against those who sware to that which is false,
And against those who oppress the hireling, the widow, and the fatherless,
Who turn aside the resident alien from his right,
And fear not me, saith Jehovah of hosts.
For I, Jehovah, change not;
But ye have not ceased to be sons of Jacob.
[Sidenote: Mal. 3:7-9]
From the days of thy fathers ye have turned aside from my statutes, and ye
have not kept them.
Turn to me and I will turn to you, saith Jehovah.
But ye say, 'Wherein shall we turn?'
Will a man rob God? Yet ye robbed me.
But ye say, 'Wherein have we robbed thee?' In tithes and gifts.
Ye are cursed with a curse, for ye rob me.
[Sidenote: Mal. 3:10-12]
Bring ye the whole tithe into the store-house,
That there may be provision in mine house; and test me thereby,
If I will not open to you the windows of heaven,
And pour you out a blessing, until there is more than enough.
I will rebuke for your sakes the devourer that he destroy not the fruit of
Neither shall the vine fail to ripen its fruit in the field,
And all nations shall call you happy,
For ye shall be a delightsome land, saith Jehovah of hosts.
[Sidenote: Mal. 3:13-16]
Your words are hard upon me, saith Jehovah.
Ye say, 'What have we said against thee?'
Ye have said, 'It is useless to serve God,
And what gain is it to us to have kept his charge,
And that we have walked in funeral garb before him?
Even now we call the proud happy,
Yea, those who work iniquity thrive,
Yea, they tempt God and escape.'
[Sidenote Mal. 3:16-18]
Such things those who feared Jehovah spoke to one another,
And Jehovah gave heed, and heard,
And a book of remembrance was written before him,
Regarding those who feared Jehovah,
And those who keep in mind his name;
And they shall be mine, saith Jehovah of hosts,
In the day that I make up mine especial treasure.
And I will spare them,
As a man spares his son who serves him.
Then shall ye return and discern between the righteous and the wicked,
Between him who serves God and him who serves him not.
[Sidenote: Mal. 4:1-3]
For behold the day is coming that shall burn like a furnace,
And all the proud and those who work iniquity shall be stubble,
And the day that is coming shall burn them up, saith Jehovah of hosts,
So that there shall be left them neither root nor branch.
But to you who fear my name there shall arise
The sun of righteousness with healing on his wings,
And ye shall go forth and leap like calves out of the stall.
And ye shall tread down the wicked,
For they shall be as ashes under the soles of your feet,
In the day in which I begin to execute, saith Jehovah of hosts.
[Sidenote: Ps. 22:1-5]
My God, why dost thou forsake me,
Far from my salvation is my groaning
By day I call, but thou answerest not,
And by night there is no respite for me.
Yet thou, O my God, art the Holy One,
Enthroned on Israel's songs of praise.
In thee our fathers trusted,
They trusted, and thou didst deliver them;
To thee they cried, and were delivered,
In thee they trusted and were not ashamed.
[Sidenote: Ps. 22:6-8]
But I am a worm and no man,
Reproached by men and despised by the people.
Whoever sees me derideth me,
They sneer as they toss the head:
"He depended upon Jehovah, let him deliver him,
Let him save him, since he delighteth in him!"
[Sidenote: Ps. 22:9-11]
Yet it was thou who took me from the womb,
Who made me safe on my mother's breast;
On thee was I cast from birth,
Thou art my God from my mother's womb.
Be not far from me, for there is distress,
Draw nigh, for there is no helper.
[Sidenote: Ps. 22:12-18]
Many bulls encompass me,
Mighty ones of Bashan beset me round,
They open their mouths at me,
Like a ravening, roaring lion.
As water I am poured out,
Yea, all my bones are out of joint,
My heart hath become like wax,
It is melted within my body,
My palate is dried up like a potsherd,
And my tongue cleaveth to my jaws;
In the dust of death thou dost lay me,
For dogs circle me about,
The assembly of evil-doers enclose me;
They pierce my hands and my feet,
I can count all my bones;
They stare, they gloat over me.
They divide my garments among them,
And for my clothing they cast lots!
I. Date of the Book of Malachi. Malachi in the Hebrew means My
Messenger, and the word was apparently taken from the opening verse of the
third chapter. Like many of the writings of the post-exilic period, the
book, therefore, is anonymous. Its date, however, may be determined from
its contents. The reference to the desolation of the land of the Edomites
suggests that it was written late in the Persian period after the Edomites
had been driven out from Mount Seir by the Nabateans and had found a home
on the southern borders of Judah. The priests in the Judean community had
become corrupt and the temple service was neglected, indicating that they
had lost the early enthusiasm which followed the rebuilding of the
sanctuary. The Judean community was discouraged and a spirit of doubt and
questioning prevailed in the minds of those who were faithfully striving
to serve Jehovah. The prophecy is an exact picture of conditions as
Nehemiah found them, so that the book of Malachi may be dated not far from
II. Neglect of the Temple Service. The prophet's method is akin to that
of Zechariah. Evidently the early reverence for the word of the prophet
has disappeared. Instead of bare assertions, each conclusion is supported
by detailed arguments. The author of Malachi is also deeply interested in
the ritual and regards the preservation of its purity as essential to the
religious life of the Judean community. He charges the priests with
failure to observe the ceremonial laws, especially in allowing the people
to bring for sacrifice animals that are blind, lame, and sick. These acts
are evidence of the religious apathy that had seized even the religious
leaders of the people. The prophet declares boldly that under the guise of
religion the priests are robbing Jehovah. Above all they are faithless to
their responsibilities as the appointed teachers of the people. In 2:5-7
he presents the clearest picture extant of the task of the priest as
teacher. His duty was to instruct the people, to help them to overcome
temptation, and to make very clear to them the way of duty. This ideal,
the prophet declares, was realized by earlier priests, but now those who
are the appointed religious guides are misleading the people.
III. The Need of a Great Moral Awakening. The evils which the prophet
denounced were not confined to the priests. The old Semitic law regarding
divorce was exceedingly lax. A husband could lead his wife to the door of
his tent and tell her to be gone, thereby severing their marriage
relation. The Deuteronomic law sought to relieve this injustice by
providing that the husband must place in the hand of his wife, as she
departs, a document stating the grounds on which he had divorced her. By
the middle of the fifth century B.C. divorce had evidently become
exceedingly common in Palestine. The prophet denounced it on the basis of
its injustice and cruelty. He also maintained that marriage was a solemn
covenant before Jehovah between man and wife, and that he who disregarded
it dealt faithlessly and was the especial object of divine displeasure.
Traces of the old heathenism still remained in Judah, and the dependent,
oppressed classes received little pity from the selfish, heartless rulers.
In the face of these evils the prophet declared that Jehovah would
surely send a messenger to punish and to reform priest and people.
The prophecy was evidently based on a clear recognition that Jehovah
was ever working to train and uplift his people, and that a period of
degeneration must surely be followed by a period of reform. In the work
of Nehemiah the prophet's hopes were in part fulfilled, but the larger
fulfilment of the underlying principle was realized in the thorough-going
reformatory work of John the Baptist and in that of the Great Teacher. In
a later appendix to the prophecy of Malachi this theme is still further
developed. The promise is made that another prophet, with the zeal of the
great reformer Elijah, would come and prepare the way for a new and nobler
IV. The Lot of the Faithful. In the prophecy of Malachi is first voiced
the despairing cries and doubts of those of the faithful who failed to
rise above the effect of the existing social and religious evils. They are
the righteous or afflicted who also speak through certain of the earlier
psalms of the Psalter (e.g., 10-17, 22). It was a period when the man who
did right and was faithful to the demands of the law was thereby condemned
to poverty and persecution at the hands of the corrupt priests and rulers.
Worse than that, their poverty and wretchedness were interpreted,
According to the current belief of the day, as convincing evidence of
Jehovah's displeasure because of their sins. It was a time when wickedness
triumphed and innocence suffered, and when the question whether or not a
righteous God ruled the universe rose persistently in the minds of the
faithful. The author of Malachi recognizes and seeks to meet these doubts:
Ye have said, It is useless to serve God,
And what gain is it to us to have kept his charge,
And that we have walked in funeral garb before him?
Even now we call the proud happy,
Verily those who work iniquity thrive,
Yea, they tempt God and escape.
Here the problem is the same as that of the book of Job. To these doubts
the prophet could only reply that Jehovah will keep a record of the
faithful and in his good time will reward them.
V. The Problem of Suffering in the Literature of the Period. As was
natural, this problem of innocent suffering was prominent in the
literature of the period. It became especially insistent at this time,
because it had ceased to be the problem of the community, and had become
that of individuals or of a class. While the nation rested under the
shadow of misfortune, a solution of the problem was found in the
consciousness of national guilt and in the hope that the affliction would
be but temporary. The old dogma that virtue was always rewarded and
wickedness punished continued to satisfy Israel's leaders. When, however,
a considerable class in the community were conscious that they had
committed no crimes worthy of the bitter persecutions and calamities that
overtook them, and that it was often just because of their virtue and the
steadfastness with which they clung to the nobler ideals of their race
that they were thus assailed, the current interpretations of evil were no
longer satisfactory. When in time many of them went down to the grave
crushed by affliction and the objects of the taunts and revilings of their
wicked pursuers, the insufficiency of the current explanation of
misfortune was tragically demonstrated. To their minds Sheol or the grave
offered no solution, for, as among all early Aryan and Semitic peoples, it
was thought of as the dark, passionless, joyless abode of the shades.
In most of the psalms of this period the poets who speak in behalf of the
afflicted class, like the author of Malachi, expressed the hope that
Jehovah would speedily come to their deliverance and signally vindicate
and reward them. The heroism and fidelity that they represent can only be
fully appreciated in the light of this discouraging period when evil was
regnant. It was apparently at this time that the great poet, who speaks
through the book of Job, presented, with the spirit and method of a modern
philosopher, the lot of these innocent sufferers. He also proved for all
time that misfortune is not always the evidence of guilt, and that the
current doctrine of proportionate rewards and the explanations that were
adduced to support it were in certain cases absolutely untenable.
Section XCVIII. THE PROBLEM AND TEACHINGS OF THE BOOK OF JOB
[Sidenote: Job 1:1-5]
There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job. And that man was
blameless and upright; he feared God and turned away from evil. And seven
sons and three daughters were born to him. His possessions also included
seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen,
five hundred she asses, and an exceedingly large number of servants; so
that this man was the greatest of all the peoples of Palestine. And his
sons were accustomed to hold a feast in one another's house each on his
day. And they were wont to send and invite their three sisters to eat and
drink with them. And when the days of their feasting were over, Job used
to send and sanctify them, and he rose up early in the morning, and
offered burnt-offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said,
Perhaps my sons have sinned, and renounced God in their hearts. Thus Job
[Sidenote: Job 1:6-11]
Now on a certain day when the sons of God came to present themselves
before Jehovah, Satan also came among them. And Jehovah said to Satan,
Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered Jehovah, and said, From going to
and fro in the earth, and walking up and down on it. And Jehovah said to
Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job? for there is none like him on
the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God, and turns away from
evil. Then Satan answered Jehovah, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?
Hast thou not made a hedge about him, and about his household, and about
all that he hath, on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands,
and his possessions are increased in the land. But put forth thy hand now,
and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.
[Sidenote: Job 1:12]
Then Jehovah said to Satan, Behold all that he hath is in thy power; only
put not forth thy hand upon him. So Satan went forth from the presence of
[Sidenote: Job 1:13-19]
Now on a certain day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking
in their eldest brother's house, a messenger came to Job and said, The
oxen were plowing and the asses were feeding beside them, when the Sabeans
suddenly attacked and captured them, and they have slain the servants with
the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you. While that
one was yet speaking, another came and said, The fire of God has fallen
from heaven, and has burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed
them; and I alone have escaped to tell you. While that one was yet
speaking, another came and said, The Chaldeans made three bands, and
raided the camels and took them away, and they have slain the servants
with the edge of the sword; I alone have escaped to tell you. While that
one was yet speaking, another came and said, Your sons and your daughters
were eating and drinking in their eldest brother's house, when there came
a great wind from over the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the
house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead. I alone have
escaped to tell you.
[Sidenote: Job 1:20-22]
Then Job arose, and tore his robe, and shaved his head, and fell upon the
ground and worshipped; and he said:
Naked I came from my mother's womb,
And naked shall I return thither!
Jehovah gave and he hath taken away;
Blessed be the name of Jehovah!
In all this Job sinned not, nor reviled God.
[Sidenote: Job 2:1-6]
And on a certain day when the sons of God came to present themselves
before Jehovah, Satan came also to present himself before Jehovah. And
Jehovah said to Satan, Whence comest thou? And Satan answered Jehovah, and
said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down on
it. And Jehovah said to Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job? For
there is none like him in the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who
fears God, and turns away from evil; and he still remains steadfast in his
piety, although thou incitest me against him, to destroy him without
cause. And Satan answered Jehovah, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that
a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thy hand now, and
touch his bone and his flesh; surely he will curse thee to thy face. And
Jehovah said to Satan, Behold, he is in thy power: only spare his life.
[Sidenote: Job 2:7, 8]
So Satan went forth from the presence of Jehovah, and smote Job with a
malignant eruption from the sole of his foot to his crown. And he took a
potsherd with which to scrape himself; and he sat among the ashes.
[Sidenote: Job 2:9, 10]
Then said his wife to him, Do you still remain steadfast in your piety?
Curse God, and die. But he said to her, You speak like one of the foolish
women. We receive good at the hand of God, shall we not also receive evil?
In all this did not Job sin with his lips.
[Sidenote: Job 2:11-13]
Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon
him, they came each from his own place: Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad
the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite; and they made an appointment
together to come to show their sympathy for him and to comfort him. And
when they lifted up their eyes afar off and knew him not, they raised
their voice and wept; and all tore their robes, and sprinkled dust upon
their heads toward heaven. So they sat down with him on the ground seven
days and seven nights, without any one speaking a word to him, for they
saw that his pain was very great.
[Sidenote: Job 3:2, 11, 13-15, 17-19]
Then Job began to speak and said:
Why did I not die before birth?
Why did I not expire when my mother bore me?
For now would I have lain down and been quiet,
I would have slept, then had I been at rest,
With kings and counsellors of the earth,
Who built up ruins for themselves;
Or with princes who possessed gold,
Who filled their houses with silver.
There the wicked cease from raging,
And the weary are at rest.
There the prisoners have peace as well,
They hear not the voice of the taskmaster.
The small and the great are there,
And the servant is free from his master.
[Sidenote: Job 3:20-22, 25, 26]
Why is light given to the suffering,
And life to those in anguish,
Who long for death but it comes not,
And search for it more than treasures,
Who rejoice with great exultation,
And are glad when they can find the grave?
For the thing which I feared has come upon me,
And that of which I was afraid has overtaken me.
No peace nor quiet, have I,
No rest, but trembling seizes me.
[Sidenote: Job 4:1-7]
Then answered Eliphaz the Temanite, and said:
If one tries to speak with you, will you be impatient,
But who can restrain himself from speaking?
Behold, you have instructed many,
And have strengthened feeble hands.
Your words have upheld him who was falling,
And you have made tottering knees strong.
But now, that it is come to you, you are impatient,
It touches yourself and you lose courage.
Is not your piety, your trust,
Your hope the integrity of your ways?
Remember now who, being innocent, perished?
Or where have the upright been destroyed?
[Sidenote: Job 4:17-19]
Can mortal man be righteous before God?
Can a man be pure before his maker?
Behold, he trusteth not in his own servants,
And his angels he chargeth with error;
How much more the dwellers in clay houses,
Whose foundation is laid in the dust?
[Sidenote: Job 5:17-22, 26, 27]
Happy is the man whom God correcteth,
Therefore reject not the chastening of the Almighty.
For he causeth pain and bindeth up;
He woundeth and his hands heal.
He will deliver you out of six troubles,
Yea, in seven, no evil shall touch you,
In famine he will redeem you from death,
And in war from the power of the sword.
You shall be hid from the scourge of the tongue;
You shall not be afraid of destruction when it comes.
At destruction and want you shall laugh,
And you need not fear the beasts of the earth.
You shall come to your grave in a ripe old age,
As a sheaf garnered in its season.
Lo this, we have searched out, so it is;
Hear it and know it yourself.
[Sidenote: Job 6:1-4b]
Then Job answered and said:
Oh, that my bitterness were weighed,
All my calamity laid in the scales!
Then would it be heavier than the sand of the seas;
For this reason my words are rash.
For the arrows of the Almighty are within me,
Their poison my spirit drinks up.
[Sidenote: Job 6:8-10]
Oh that I might have my request,
And that God would grant that for which I long:
Even that it would please God to crush me,
And that he would let loose his hand and cut me off!
Then this would be my consolation,
I would exult in pain that spares not.
[Sidenote: Job 6:11-13]
What strength have I still to endure?
And what is mine end that I should be patient?
Is my strength the strength of stones?
Or is my body made of brass?
Behold there is no help in me,
And wisdom is driven quite from me.
[Sidenote: Job 6:14, 15, 20-23]
Kindness from his friend is due to one in despair,
Even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty.
My brothers have been as deceptive as a brook,
As the channel of brooks that disappear.
For now you are nothing,
You see a terror and are afraid.
Did I say, 'Give to me?'
Or, 'Offer a present to me of your wealth?'
Or, 'Deliver me from a foeman's hand?'
Or, 'Redeem me from the oppressor's power?'
[Sidenote: Job 6:24-39]
Teach me and I will hold my peace,
And make plain to me wherein I have erred.
How agreeable are upright words!
But what does a reproof from you reprove?
Do you think to reprove mere words,
When the speeches of the desperate are as wind?
You fall upon a blameless man,
And you make merchandise of your friend.
Now therefore be pleased to look upon me;
For surely I will not lie to you.
Turn ere you let injustice be done,
Yea, turn again, my cause is righteous.
Is there injustice on my tongue?
Can not my taste discern what is evil?
[Sidenote: Job 7:1-6]
Has not man a hard service on earth?
And are not his days like the days of a hireling?
As a slave who sighs for the shadows of the evening,
And as a hireling who looks for his wages,
So am I given months of misery,
And wearisome nights are appointed me.
When I lie down, I say:
'When shall I arise, and the night be gone?'
And I am full of unrest until the dawn.
My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust;
My skin hardens, then breaks out again.
My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle,
And are spent without hope.
[Sidenote: Job 7:9, 10]
As the cloud is consumed and vanishes away,
So he who goes down to Sheol shall come up no more,
He shall return no more to his house,
Nor shall his place know him any more.
[Sidenote: Job 7:11, 19]
Therefore I will not refrain my mouth;
I will speak in the bitterness of my spirit.
Am I a sea, or a sea-monster,
That thou shouldest set a watch over me?
When I say, "My bed shall comfort me,
My couch shall ease my complaint;"
Then thou frightest me with dreams,
And terrifiest me through visions:
So that I myself choose strangling,
And death rather than my pains.
I loath life, I would not live always,
Let me alone, for my days are as a breath,
What is man, that thou exaltest him,
That on him thou directest thy thought,
That thou visitest him each morning,
And testest him each moment?
[Sidenote: Job 7:20, 21]
If I have sinned, what have I done to thee, O watcher of men?
Why hast thou set me as thy target?
And why am I a burden to thee?
And why dost thou not pardon my transgression and take away mine iniquity?
For now I shall lie down in the dust,
When thou shalt seek me, I shall not be.
[Sidenote: Job 8:1-2]
Then answered Bildad the Shuhite and said,
How long will you speak these things?
And the words of your mouth be like a mighty wind?
Doth God pervert justice?
Or doth the Almighty pervert righteousness?
[Sidenote: Job 8:3-6]
If your children sinned against him,
And he delivered them to the consequences of their guilt;
You should earnestly seek God,
Let him take his rod away from me,
And let not his terror make me afraid,
Then would I speak and not fear him,
For in myself I am not thus fearful.
[Sidenote: Job 10:9-15]
Remember that as clay thou hast fashioned me,
And wilt thou again turn me into dust?
Hast thou not poured me out as milk?
And curdled me like a cheese?
Thou hast clothed me with a skin and with flesh,
And knit me together with bones and with sinews.
Thou hast granted me life and favor,
And thy care hath preserved my breath.
Yet these things thou didst hide in thy heart;
I know that this is thy plan:
If I sin, then thou watchest me,
And if I be just, yet I cannot lift up my head!
[Sidenote: Job 10:20-22]
Are not the days of my life few enough?
Let me alone, that I may have a little cheer,
Before I go whence I shall not return,
To the land of darkness and of gloom,
The land dark as blackness,
Gloom without a gleam or ray of light.
[Sidenote: Job 11:1, 7-9]
Then answered Zophar, the Naamathite, and said:
Shall the multitude of words be unanswered?
Can you find the depths of God?
Can you reach the perfection of the Almighty?
It is high as heaven; what canst thou do?
Deeper than Sheol; what can you know?
Its measure is longer than the earth,
And broader than the sea.
[Sidenote: Job 11:13-15]
If you set your heart aright,
And stretch out your hands toward him;
If iniquity be in thy hand, put it far away,
And let not unrighteousness dwell in your tent.
Then you shall lift up your face without spot;
And you shall be steadfast, and have no fear.
And make your supplication to the Almighty.
If you are pure and upright,
Then he will prosper your righteous habitation.
[Sidenote: Job 9:1-7]
Then Job answered and said:
Verily I know that it is so,
But how can a man be made just with God?
If he be pleased to contend with him,
He cannot answer him one of a thousand.
He is wise in mind and mighty in strength;
Who has defied him, and remained unharmed?
He who removeth mountains and they know it not,
And overturneth them in his anger,
Who shaketh the earth out of its place,
So that its pillars tremble,
Who commandeth the sun and it rises not,
And on the stars placeth his seal.
[Sidenote: Job 9:16-20, 24]
If I called and he answered me,
I would not believe that he had heard my voice.
He who crusheth me with a tempest,
prey of And multiplieth my wounds without cause.
He will not permit me to take my breath,
But filleth me with bitterness,
If we speak of the strength of the mighty, lo it is he!
And if of justice, Who will summon him?
Though I am righteous, my own mouth condemns me,
Though I am perfect, it would prove me to be perverse.
The earth is given into the hand of the wicked;
He covereth the faces of its judges;
If not he, then who is it?
[Sidenote: Job 9:31-35]
If I wash myself with snow,
And cleanse my hands with lye,
Yet thou plunge me into the filth,
prove And mine own friends will abhor me.
For he is not a man as I am, that I should answer him,
That we should come together in judgment,
There is no arbiter betwixt us,
To lay his hand upon us both.
[Sidenote: Job 12:1-3]
Then Job answered and said:
No doubt but you are the people,
And wisdom shall die with you!
But I have a mind as well as you,
And who does not know these things?
[Sidenote: Job 13:7-12]
Will you speak what is wrong for God?
And will you talk deceitfully for him?
Will you show favor to him?
Will you contend for God?
Would it be well, should he search you out?
Or as one deceives a man, will you deceive him?
He will surely reprove you,
If secretly you show favor.
Shall not his majesty overawe you,
And dread of him fall upon you?
Your memorable sayings are proverbs of ashes,
Your defences are defences of clay!
[Sidenote: Job 13:13-18]
Hold your peace that I may speak,
And let come to me what will.
I take my flesh in my teeth,
And put my life in my hand.
Behold he will slay me; I have no hope,
But I will defend my ways before him.
No godless man would come before him.
Give careful heed to my speech,
And let my declaration be in your ears.
Behold now, I have prepared my case,
I know that I shall be justified.
[Sidenote: Job 13:21-25]
Withdraw thy hand far from me;
And let not thy terror make me afraid.
Then call and I will answer,
Or let me speak, and answer thou me.
How many are my iniquities and sins?
Make me know my transgression and my sin.
Why dost thou hide thy face,
And regard me as thine enemy?
Wilt thou harass a wind blown leaf?
And wilt thou pursue the dry stubble?
For there is hope of a tree,
If it will be cut down, that it will sprout again,
And that its shoot will not cease.
Though its root grow old in the earth,
And its stock die in the ground;
By the scent of water it will bud,
And put forth its branches like a plant.
But man dies and is laid low:
Yea, a man expires, and where is he?
[Sidenote: Job 14:13-15, 18, 19]
Oh, that thou wouldst hide me in Sheol,
That thou wouldst keep me in secret, until thy wrath be past,
That thou wouldst appoint over me a time, and remember me!
If a man might die, shall he live again!
All the days of my hard service would I wait,
Until my release should come.
Thou wouldst call and I myself would answer thee;
Thou wouldst long for the work of thy hands.
But the mountain surely falls,
And the rock moves from its place,
The water wears away the stones,
Its floods wash away the dust of the earth.
[Sidenote: Job 15:4-6]
Then answered Eliphaz the Temanite and said:
Verily, you do away with the fear of God,
And hinder devotion before God.
For your wickedness inspires your speech,
And you choose the tongue of the crafty.
Your own mouth condemns you, and not I;
And your own lips testify against you.
[Sidenote: Job 16:1-3a, 4b]
Then answered Job and said:
I have heard many such things;
Troublesome comforters are you all.
Is there no end to vain words?
If you were only in my place,
I could join words together against you!
[Sidenote: Job 16:11-13a]
God delivereth me to the ungodly,
And casteth me into the hands of the wicked.
I was at ease, and he shattered me,
He seized me by the neck and dashed me to pieces,
He hath also set me up as his target,
His arrows encompass me round about.
[Sidenote Job 16:18-21]
O earth, cover not my blood,
And let my cry have no resting place.
Even now behold my witness is in the heaven,
And he who voucheth for me is on high.
He will be found to be my friend,
To God my eye pours out its tears.
And he will maintain the right of a man with God,
And between a man and his neighbor!
[Sidenote: Job 18:1, 5-7]
Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said:
The light of the wicked is put out,
And the flame of his fire does not shine,
The light is darkened in his tent,
And his light above him is put out.
The steps of his strength are shortened,
And his own counsel shall cast him down.
[Sidenote: Job 19:13-16]
Then Job answered and said:
My brothers keep far from me,
And my acquaintances are like strangers to me.
My kinsmen have ceased to know me,
Even the guests in my house have forgotten me.
My maids regard me as a stranger,
I am an alien in their sight.
[Sidenote: Job 19:23-27]
Oh, that my words were now written!
Oh, that they were inscribed in a book!
That with an iron pen and lead
They were engraved in a rock forever!
But I indeed know that my Vindicator liveth,
And at last he will stand upon the earth:
And after this, my skin, is destroyed,
Then I shall behold God,
Whom I myself shall see on my side,
Mine eyes shall behold, and not a stranger.
[Sidenote: Job 20:1-4]
Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said:
Not so do my thoughts give answer to me,
Because of this my haste is mine!
I have heard the reproof which puts me to shame;
But with wind void of understanding you answer me.
Have you not known this from of old,
Since man was placed upon the earth,
That the exulting of the wicked is short,
And the joy of the godless but for a moment?
[Sidenote: Job: 21:1, 7-8]
Then answered Job and said:
Why do the wicked live,
Grow old, and attain great power?
Their descendants are established in their sight,
And their offspring before their eyes.
Their households are secure from terror,
And the rod of God is not upon them.
[Sidenote: Job 22:1-6]
Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered, and said,
Is a man of any account to God?
Surely a wise man is of account to himself.
Is it any pleasure to the Almighty that you are righteous?
Or is it gain to him that you are upright?
Is it because of your fear of him that he reproveth you,
That he entereth into judgment with you?
Is not your wickedness great?
And there is no end to your iniquities.
[Sidenote: Job 22:26, 27, 28]
If you return to the Almighty and humble yourself,
If you remove unrighteousness far from your tents.
You shall make your prayer to him, and he will hear you,
And you shall pay your vows.
You shall also decree a thing, and it shall be established for you.
And light shall shine upon your ways.
[Sidenote: Job 23:1-6]
Then Job answered and said,
Even now my complaint is bitter,
My stroke is heavier than my groaning.
Oh, that I knew where I might find him!
That I might come even to his throne!
I would set forth my cause before him,
And fill my mouth with arguments.
I would know the words which he would answer me,
And understand what he would say to me.
Would he contend with me in the greatness of his power?
Verily he would give heed to me.
[Sidenote: Job 25:1-4]
Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said,
Dominion and terror are with him;
He maketh peace in his high places.
Is there any number to his armies?
And upon whom does not his light arise?
How then can man be just with God?
Or how can he be clean who is born of woman?
[Sidenote: Job 26:1, 27:2, 4, 5]
Then Job answered and said,
As God liveth, who hath taken away my right,
And the Almighty, who hath made my life bitter,
Surely my lips do not speak unrighteousness,
Nor does my tongue utter falsehood,
Far be it from me that I should grant that you are right;
Until I die I will not give up my innocence.
[Sidenote: Job 27:7-9]
[Then Zophar answered and said]:
Let mine enemy be as the wicked,
And let him who rises up against me be as the unrighteous.
For what is the hope of the godless,
When God requireth his life?
Will God hear his cry,
When trouble comes upon him?
[Sidenote: Job 29:1-5]
And Job again took up his parable and said,
Oh, that I were as in the months of old,
As in the days when God watched over me,
When his lamp shined upon my head,
And by his light I walked through darkness;
As I was in the prime of my life,
When God put a covering over my tent,
When the Almighty was yet with me,
And my children were about me.
[Sidenote: Job 30:16-21]
But now my soul is poured out within me;
Days of affliction have taken hold of me.
The night bores through my bones,
And my gnawing pains rest not.
By reason of great wasting my garment is crumpled together;
It binds me about as the collar of my coat.
He hath cast me into the mire,
And I am become like dust and ashes.
I cry to thee but thou dost not answer me.
I stand up, but thou dost not regard me.
Thou art turned to be cruel to me;
With the might of thy hand thou persecutest me.
[Sidenote: Job 31:5-8]
If I have walked with falsehood,
And my foot has hasted to deceit;
Let me be weighed in a just balance,
That God may know my integrity.
If my step has turned out of the way,
And my heart followed my inclination,
And if any spot besmirches my hands;
Then let me sow, and let another eat,
And let the produce of my field be uprooted.
[Sidenote: Job 31:35-37]
Oh, that there was someone to hear me!
See, here is my signature, let the Almighty answer me!
And the indictment which my adversary has written!
Surely I would carry it on my shoulder;
I would bind it to me as a crown;
I would declare to him the number of my steps,
As a prince would I draw near to him.
[Sidenote: Job 38:2-7]
Then Jehovah answered Job out of the storm, and said,
Who is this that darkeneth counsel
By words that lack knowledge?
Gird up thy loins now like a man,
And let me ask of thee and inform thou me.
Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Declare, if thou hast understanding.
Who determined its measures that thou knowest?
Or who stretched out the line upon it?
On what were its foundations fastened?
Or who laid its corner-stone,
When the morning stars sang together,
And all the sons of God shouted for joy?
[Sidenote: Job 38:8-11]
Or who shut up the sea with doors,
When it broke forth, and issued out of the womb;
When I made clouds its garments,