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A Paraphrase of the Song of Deborah.
BY PROF. THOMAS H.
That the strong in Israel laid bare their strength ;
Praise ye the Lord !
Hear, O ye kings of earth! ye princes, lend your ear !
Lord, when Thou wentst our from Seir ;
Earth quaked ; yea, heaven dissolved ;
Yea, clouds dissolved in rain !
The God of Israel !
In days of Shamgar, Anath's son ;
Went ways circuitous.
He chose new gods;
My heart goes out to the leaders of Israel ;
Praise ye the Lord !
Ye, who on white asses ride ;
Ye, who on rich carpets sit ;
Muse on the victory!
Then from their refuges on high,
No foe to fear !
Awake, Deborah, awake!
Up, Barak, Abinoam's son,
Down to the battle came ;
Came down to Jezreel !
Next thee Benjamin, joined with thy hosts.
With captain's staff.
And Issachar like Barak brave,
Down to the vale his feet impel.
Why tarrying still amid the fold ?
Is bleat of flock so sweet to hear ?
But none the battle sought !
Asher by the seashore abides,
Kings came; they fought.
Spoil of silver failed to take !
The stars their courses left to fight with Sisera.
Kishon's brook swept them awayBrook of ancient days—Kishon's brook.
My soul contemns their strength !
Then hoofs of horses smote the ground;
A troubled multitude !
Curse ye Meroz, saith the Angel of the Lord ;
Coming not to help the Lord-
Jael, Kenite Heber's wife-
Let her blessed be !
Her hand out to the nail she stretched,
At her feet he sank, he fell ;
Through the window there looks forth, and cries aloud-
Why step his steeds so slow !
The wisest of her princesses reply-
"Surely they booty find and share ; A maiden, two maidens, for each man ;
Booty of garments bright for Sisera ;
Booty of garments bright, with needle wrought; A garment bright, on both sides wrought
Booty for me to wear !
So perish all who hate Thee, Lord !
But them who love HimLet them like the sun go forth,
In strength of victory!
The Babylonian Element in Ezekiel.
C. Η. ΤΟΥ, D. D.
$ I. EZEKIEL'S ATTITUDE TOWARDS BABYLON.
1. The almost complete silence of the earlier prophets, down to the end of the 7th century, B. C., in respect to the Babylonian kingdom; is what we should expect from the political relations of the time, and the method of the prophetic exhortations. The prophets were practical preachers and statesmen, who dealt with foreign nations only as these came into actual contact with Israel, and from the time of Amos to that of Jeremiah Babylon was merely a restless, hardly-managed dependency of Assyria, with no important independent political power, not formidable as an enemy, or valuable as a friend. After various revolts and wars it was finally completely subdued B. C., 710 by Sargon, who took the title of King of Babylon, and held his court in the city probably for several years; and it seems to be just at this time that Micah declared (ch. iv. 10) that Judah should be carried away out of the city into the country and as far as Babylon. It was not long after the destructive expedition of Sargon into southern Palestine, which filled the land with dismay (B. C. 712 or 711), and was not improbably connected with the embassy of Marduk-bal-iddin (Isa. xxxix.), who before his last, ill-fated struggle for independence, may have wished to gain the friendship of the petty kings of Palestine. The genuineness of the prediction ascribed to the prophet Isaiah in Isa. xxxix., 2 Kings xx. may fairly be regarded as doubtful, seeing that this whole historical insertion (chs. xxxvi. -xxxix.) bears the marks of a later date, and the book of Kings belongs to the period of the exile. The mention of Babylon in Micah, then, the only one certainly earlier than Jeremiah, is nothing but a consequence of the temporary position of the King of Assyria in that city, and has nothing to do with a kingdom of Babylon. The sole mention of this last is found in the prediction of Isaiah, if this be genuine.
2. In B. C. 625 the Assyrian empire fell before the attack of the Medes and Babylonians, who divided its territory between them, Palestine naturally falling to the latter; Josiah, King of Judah, became a vassal of Babylon and lost his life in an attempt to prevent Pharaoh Necho from marching against his suzerain. The prophet Jeremiah assumed the same friendly attitude towards Babylon, opposed with all his might alliance with Egypt and rebellion against Nebuchadrezzar, wrote to the captives to make themselves at home in the land of their exile, and carried his advocacy of the Babylonian supremacy so far as to incur the suspicion of treachery to his own country, and the hearty hatred of the national party. He spoke no word against Babylon, but predicted a speedy return of Israel to their own land.
3. On this point Ezekiel is completely at one with Jeremiahwhile he looks to his people's restoration to Canaan, he is thoroughly friendly to Babylon. He sides with Nebuchadrezzar against Egypt and Tyre-promises to the Babylonian King the spoil of the latter (xxvi. 7-14), and when his attack had failed* gives him Egypt in compensation (xxix. 18-20). In portraying the attack of Gog on Israel, the allies whom he assigns to the northern horde are nearly identical with the allies of Tyre the enemy of Nebuchadrezzar. He has no word of blame or reproof for the King of Babylon-he does not denounce him for holding Israel in captivity-when the tidings of the fall of Jerusalem come, it is not against the conqueror but against Israel that he lifts up his voice (xxxiii. 21–29)—the judgment of God on Ammon, Moab, Edom and Philistia is announced for their hostility to Israel, but there is no word of judgment on Babylon. This forbearance is extended to the Babylonian religion. The idolatry of Israel is denounced, the idols of Egypt are to be destroyed, but Bel and Nebo and Marduk, Nebuchadrezzar's special god are unmentioned.
4. All this is in striking contrast with the tone of later prophecies, as Jer. 1,. li.; Isa. xiii., xiv., xlvi. xlvii, in which Babylon is treated as the enemy of Israel, and therefore to be punished with destruction.
5. The difference of tone is explained by the difference of the historical circumstances. To Jeremiah and Ezekiel Babylon was the supreme political power of the world, victorious over all enemies, firmly established, and therefore the safest guardian of Israel. They saw that it would be madness in a petty kingdom in Palestine to set itself
*Whether Nebuchadrezzar took Tyre or not (on which point Josephus' citation of authorities seems to me to amount to little), still the prophet says that neither he nor his army had wages for his service against Tyre.