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them to the invading Israelites. In later times, of course, the connection between the two countries is obvious, for Judah was carried captive into Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar and the Jews deported in 586 B.C., and it was not till after Cyrus the Persian conquered Babylon, 538 B.C., that the Jews were restored to their native country.

It is easy, nevertheless, to exaggerate the range of this Babylonian influence. When we speak of derivation of ideas, we do not necessarily imply conscious imitation. Babylon may have originally worshipped only one God in the form of Marduk, the God of Light, but the Myths are full of a multitude of gods, and the great distinction between the early legends of the two countries is that while the Babylonians were in spirit monotheistic, but in fact polytheistic, the Hebraic legends were both in spirit and in fact monotheistic. An ethical monotheism has been generally recognized as the main characteristic of Hebraic culture. Yet, on the other hand, it must be remembered that the Children of Israel, as the Prophets complained, were constantly falling into idolatry. They borrowed the superstitions of the Canaanites, and later on were exposed to the many gods of Babylon.

No one, however, who reads the Creation story and the deluge story, first in the Babylonian tablets and then in the Book of Genesis, can doubt that the versions current among the Jews were inspired by a purer and loftier spirit. We cannot say as much for the ordinary conditions of social life. The position of woman was much higher in Babylon than it was among the Jews. Woman was admittedly inferior in Israel. Originally the property of her parents, she becomes later on the property of her husband, and she is incompetent to take part in the practice of religious worship. The story that she was taken out of the rib of Adam while he slept, is undoubtedly intended to illustrate woman's dependent and subordinate position.

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701. Invasion of Judah by Sennacherib.

639. Josiah's accession.

626. Josiah's thirteenth year. Call of Jeremiah.

621-20. Discovery of Deuteronomy and Josiah's reformation (D.).

610-594. Pharaoh Necho, King of Egypt.

608. Josiah's death at Megiddo.

607. Destruction of Nineveh. Downfall of Assyria and commencement of New Babylonian Empire.

605. Defeat of Pharaoh Necho by Nebuchadnezzar at Carchemish.

604-3. First and second rolls of Jeremiah written by Baruch.

Babylonian Period.

597 (Jehoachim). First siege of Jerusalem. Some Hebrews taken to Babylon.

588-86. Second siege of Jerusalem. Capture of city by Chaldeans. Hebrews deported to Babylon.

592-72. Ezekiel,

Persian Period.

538. Capture of Babylon by Cyrus.

537. Return of exiles under Zerubbabel.

444. Solemn promulgation of the priestly legislation (P.). 444-32. Ezra and Nehemiah.

350 (?). Bulk of the Psalter of the period of the Second Temple written.

Greek Period.

275. Beginning of the LXX.

250-200. Close of the collection of the prophetic writings (Job, Koheleth).

164. Daniel.

130. Book of Esther.

Maccabean Period.


It is extraordinary how much of moral stature and individual interest historical figures gain when they are no longer regarded from conventional standpoints. To many of us the prophet Isaiah seems to belong to a past too legendary to recall—a dim, august personage clad in the mists of remote years. Or else we view him as a wholly exceptional character, divinely inspired to utter prophecies about the future Messiah. Or, once more, we hear his chapters read in churches-not too well read, unfortunately-as part of the lesson for the day, and sheer familiarity dulls our perception of the fact that we have in him one of the most magnificent of the poets of the ages. It is the price we pay for schoollessons that we not only lose all sense of proportion, but that we become actually insensible to values. And the real drawback of traditional points of view is that, after we have given our hero his conventional label, we are apt to lose all further interest in him as an active and vivid personality. But read the book of the prophet Isaiah with a fresh eye; read it in our splendid authorized version, written in English at a time when men had not forgotten the grand manner-the revised version is, alas! a much duller affair, though doubtless more accurate; supplement it with, let us say, the study by Dr. Whitehouse in The Century Bible, or the works of Dr. Cheyne and Dr. Driver; and the lineaments of the great hero of Jerusalem will stand out in proper perspective and clearer light. Here is a man who, alone, or almost alone, preserved an ideal of patriotism and faith when most of the politicians around him, such as Shebna the scribe, and the kings of his own land, such as Ahaz and Hezekiah, were for compromise and time-serving, opportunists of no very

high type, men who tried to preserve the future of their country and of themselves by balancing rival powers against one another, for all the world as if they had lived at the Yildiz Kiosk or were a Shereefian majesty in Morocco. And it all happened not so very long ago, as history counts timein the eighth century before Christ, between 740 and 700. A century earlier, Lycurgus is supposed to have given laws to Sparta; a century later, Draco made his name famous, or infamous, by his institutions in Athens.

In this eighth century B.C. the problems confronting the kings of Judah and of Israel were sufficiently serious to tax political statesmanship to the utmost. We sometimes think that these Jewish kingdoms were, in some undefined manner, independent at all events, if not prosperous. For a short time, it is true, at the beginning of the eighth century, Jeroboam II. of Israel and Uzziah of Judah had a happy interval of tranquillity and aggrandisement. But that was due not so much to their own power as to the relative quiescence of surrounding empires. The actual position of Judah and Israel was an existence as a buffer state between two great military powers, Assyria and Egypt, just as Afghanistan, for instance, lies between the rival influences of Russia and Great Britain. For the most part the kings paid a large tribute to Assyria, in order to be allowed to live in peace, and then, when they got tired of this subservience, raised the standard of revolt, and hoped that Egypt would come to their aid. The situation was further complicated by keen occasional animosities between Samaria and Jerusalem. The Northern kingdom, for instance, under Pekah, did not hesitate to call on Syria to join in an attack on the Southern kingdom, at that time ruled by Ahaz, and the so-called SyroEphraimite war was the result, ended by the failure of the Northerners. Isaiah alludes to this when he tells Ahaz not to be afraid of the two "tails of smoking firebrands," already almost extinct-in other words, Rezin, King of Syria, and Pekah, King of Israel (Isaiah vii. 4). But bigger events were now looming on the horizon. The great Assyrian Empire, under its warrior-ruler, Tiglath-Pileser III., had

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