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and are therefore genuine archaisms: or they are taken from the diction of common life. They occur only in the discourses of the persons introduced as speaking ; not in such parts as contain the writer's own narrative. By thus separating what is put into the mouths of the speakers from the author's own language, it is inferred that the one is strictly in character with the time of the judges when the events of the book occurred; while the other is pure Hebrew diction, free from Chaldaisms. We cannot assent to this line of argument. If indeed it could be shewn that the writer of the book is a compiler who closely follows written sources, the separation might be a plausible thing;

a but there is not a trace of his having been dependent on written memoirs. On the contrary, he evinces his own idiosyncracy. All therefore that can be said in favour of


distinction between the speeches and the narrative into which they are interwoven is, that the writer has skilfully adapted the discourses to their originals. But indeed the forms are not archaisms properly so called. It is their frequency that strikes the reader. The latter circumstance is sufficient to stamp them as marks of a later period when they began to characterise the language-a fact which cannot be predicated of them where they occur before. We rely therefore on the Chaldaisms and other peculiarities already adduced as valid examples, not incorrect specimens of late forms. And any attempt to distinguish the style of the speeches from that of the narrative is of the same kind as one that should separate the diction of the speakers in Thucydides from that of his own narrative. The view of Keil is substantially the same as that proposed by Dereser, who discovered in the peculiarities of diction and deviations from grammatical rules the remains of the usual Bethlehemite pronunciation of Hebrew, i.e., provincialisms or idiotisms. Augusti agreed with him. But Sanctius looked upon the peculiar forms as Moabitisms, because he assumed a contemporary writing of the history from the mouth of Naomi, who had lost the purity of her mother tongue during her sojourn among the Moabites. This is baseless conjecture.

(2) The language agrees in part with that of some other books. The writer however can hardly be said to borrow from or make use of them, as Bertheau argues. Thus the formula used in swearing, nwyd is thus shall do, etc., i. 17, occurs only

i in the books of Samuel and Kings; "y? Sporini. 19, comp. 1 Kings i. 45 ; p=Op na iv. 4, comp. 1 Sam. xxii. 8, 17;

| Das Buchlein Ruth, ein Gemaelde häuslicher Tugend, 1806, ? Commentar. in Ruth. Esr. Nehem. Tob. etc. Prolegomena iv, 3 Das Buch der Richter und Rut, p. 237.

2 Sam. vii. 27; iv. 15, comp. 1 Sam. i. 8. Perhaps an acquaintance with the book of Job may be seen in i. 20, 21, where the language is poetical, compared with Job xxvii. 2. Ewald also thinks that the mere appellation maj abbreviated from '70 bps became possible by the great example of Job; to which it is no answer, when Keil says that the same word was already used by Jacob (Gen. xlix. 25), and Balaam (Num. xxiv. 4, 16), unless he can shew that the respective prophecies in their present form really proceeded from the two individuals, or were written before the book of Job.

In consequence of the similarity existing between the language of the books of Samuel and that of Ruth in various respects, especially in certain forms already specified, Pareaus thought that both were written by the same person. But this is a hasty inference, and is more than outweighed by diversities of a different kind. There is in Ruth a want of the prophetic tone and manner. Events are not looked at in their connexion as cause and effect. The theocratic aspect is not prominent. All the resemblance that exists is so partial as to prove neither imitation nor use of the books of Samuel and Kings on the part of the writer of Ruth, nor identity of authorship. On the whole we feel that the argument founded on language has been pressed to an undue extent by various critics. All that it appears to shew in reality is, that the time of composition was comparatively late, when the diction was becoming more and more Aramaeising. It does not evince so late a period as the Babylonish exile.

(e) The book appears to have preceded Deuteronomy in which (xxv. 5–10) the levirate is prescribed by law. Here it is spoken of in a way to imply that it rested upon custom, not law.

(1) According to Bleek4 the point of view assumed toward neighbouring peoples is not that which arose after Judah had been engaged in severe struggles with them. A mild tone towards them is apparent in the book; so much so that Dereser thought one design of the writer was to censure Jewish aversion to foreigners. This argument on behalf of an early date is precarious.

The result of the most searching examination points to the time of Hezekiah as that in which the writer lived. He preceded the exile. Marriage with a foreigner or Moabitess was looked upon as illegal and objectionable at the time of the captivity (see Ezra ix. 1, etc. ; Neh. xiii. 1-3, 23–27); and the book contains no trace of the offensiveness of Ruth's descent,

1 Geschichte des Volkes Israel, vol. i. pp. 206, 207, second edition. ? Einleitung, pp. 415, 416.

3 Institutio interpretis, etc. p. 144. • Einleitung, pp. 354, 355,

nor the slightest apologetic design. This argument is of weight against an authorship so late as the exile. If there is little reason for regarding the author of the books of Samuel as the writer, there is still less for identifying the latter with the author of Joshua. This, however, is the hypothesis of Abarbanel and Sebastian Schmidt. Others fixed upon Hezekiah, and others Ezra. The writer cannot be known; and it may be safely said that he was different from every other whose writings appear in the Hebrew canon. According to the conjecture of Ewald, approved of by Bertheau, Ruth originally belonged to a larger work; but was taken by the final redactor of the books of Samuel and Kings, and incoporated in a more suitable place, viz., after Judges and before Samuel. We find nothing to warrant the supposition of its having belonged to a larger work till the redactor of the so-called earlier prophets who lived towards the close of the exile, took it and prefixed it to Samuel. This is very different from the view of Herzfeld, who thinks that the original writer of Samuel found it already existing, and attached his own work to it. He therefore dates the composition of Ruth soon after David.

V. NATURE OF THE HISTORY.—It has sometimes been thought that a fictitious narrative rather than real history is presented in the book. So Bertholdt reasons ;3 and Palfrey is inclined to the same opinion. The former appeals to the symbolical character of most of the names of persons, such as Naomi (my pleasure), etc., etc.; in reply to which it may be said that the symbolical character of most of the names is not apparent. Thus that of Boaz does not appear. The same critic appeals to the circumstance that the writer has once forgotten himself in making Naomi with her husband and two sons leave their inheritance through hunger and poverty and go to the land of Moab; while he puts into her lips after her return, “I went out full ; and the Lord hath brought me home again empty” (i. 21). Here, however, there is no contradiction ; for the fulness and emptiness relate to her husband and two sons not to property as Bertholdt supposes.

We see no good reason for resorting to the idea of a fictitious history, but very much against it. The writer meant to present true history, the materials of which he derived from tradition. And these historical materials are employed with freedom and originality. The quiet picture of private life among the Hebrews is eminently attractive. The author possessing a peculiar power of description, and animated with a poetic spirit, has succeeded in constructing a picCareful research is apparent, especially in iv. 7. He was a learned man, familiar with the historical and poetical literature of his nation. And he had the gift of appropriating all that was pertinent to his purpose in an original way, as is observable in the artificial arrangement of the story, the form in which it is set forth, the spirit which breathes throughout it, the masterly delineation of character, and the purity of language. So complete and beautiful is the entire portraiture, that the substance of the story is less considered by the reader than the delineation itself. There is a mixture of the learned and the artistic, which throws a peculiar charm over the piece, and distinguishes it from all others. How nice must have been the writer's perception of moral purity! How much alive he was to a sense of the beautiful in virtue! And what ability he had to reanimate an ancient tradition, and form it into an attractive picture! With plastic skill he clothes it with flesh and blood, so that universal humanity admires.

i Geschichte des Volkes Israel, vol. i. p. 213. ? Geschichte des Volkes Israel, vol. i. p. 288. 3 Einleitung, vol. v. p. 2342 et seqq. . Academical Lectures, vol. ïi. p. 206.

turesque narrative.



I. CONTENTS.—The contents of these books may be divided into three parts as follows:

1. The history of Samuel's judicial and prophetic administration (1 Sam. i.-xii.).

2. The history of Saul's reign from its commencement till his death (1 Sam. xiii.-xxxi.).

3. The history of the reign of David (2 Sam. i.-xxiv.).

The first book opens with an account of the miraculous circumstances attending the birth of Samuel. Elkanah, a Levite of mount Ephraim, had come according to his custom to sacrifice in the tabernacle at Shiloh, accompanied by his two wives, of whom the most beloved was Hannah. But she was barren, and wept sore on that account, praying to the Lord and making a vow that if a son should be given her she would devote him to the Lord according to the rites of a Nazarite. Eli the priest misinterpreting the symptoms of her emotion rebuked, but afterwards dismissed her with a blessing to her home. Hannah having borne a son whom she called Samuel, remained at home till he was weaned, and then brought him to Shiloh to be there dedicated to the service of the tabernacle. The thankfulness of her heart was poured forth in a song of praise. In consequence of the extortion and wickedness of Eli's sons, who were associated with him in the priestly office, the people were disgusted, and would not bring the required offerings. The reproofs of their aged father were unavailing. Accordingly a divine messenger came to him, setting forth the profligacy of his sons, predicting their sudden death, the future removal of his family from the priesthood, with their poverty and obscurity. This admonition was succeeded by another addressed to Samuel, as he lay in sleep within the precincts of the tabernacle. The Lord himself called Samuel, and announced to him the destruction of Eli's house. This communication was made known to the high priest, though reluctantly, by Samuel, who was thence

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