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narrative which is prefixed to Ezra's own story, and they break off in the middle of a sentence. How is this to be accounted for? Is it a scribe's oversight ? If so, it indicates that in old times Ezra followed Chronicles in the order of the books. It can hardly, however, be an oversight. It looks like a deliberate postscript referring the reader to the Book of Ezra for a continuation of the history, and reminding him that God had not forgotten His promises, but had raised up a deliverer in the person of Cyrus.
It is quite unnecessary to fix an absolute date for the compilation of either A. or B. The class of argument with which we are familiar in dealing with the date of the Acts of the Apostles is more or less valid for giving approximate dates to these works. There seems no reason for bringing A. down beyond the date of Jeremiah and Baruch, for the last sentences are probably an appendix by a later hand. Nor does there appear to be any necessity for bringing B. beyond the age of Nehemiah, if indeed it need come so low. evidently written whilst some works were still in existence which subsequently perished, and before the traditions (oral and written) of the prophetical and Levitical schools had passed into oblivion.
§ 4. Historical Authorities referred to or used in the
Books of Kings and Chronicles. A close comparison of the parallel materials raises many questions which it is not easy to solve. How are we to account for the strong tendency in B. to substitute God for JEHOVAH ? Why does A. (§ 2) omit the important reference to Joab's captaincy which B. inserts ? and so in the case of the fire coming down from heaven (§ 21) and the Babylonian captivity of Manasseh (§ 47) ? How is it that the Psalms cited together in § 6 do not stand together in the Psalter ? How is it that B. often seems to be following A., either exactly or condensing and paraphrasing, and then suddenly diverges, as in the sale of Araunah's stock and threshing-floor (14) ? How much of Bi's explanatory matter is his own, and what is copied from older documents extant in his time? But the most important question concerns the historical materials which A. and B. cite, the formulæ of citation being substantially
though not absolutely identical in the two works. It is note-
Kings of Judah.
Ahaziah and Jehoahaz).
Kings of Judah.
ditto. Jehoiachin's and
Zedekiah's No record. The book referred to in this list, being the same throughout, was doubtless the official record of the reigns, kept by the public scribes. This work probably perished or was carried off at the downfall of Jerusalem.
The record of the northern kingdom was of course a wholly distinct work. It is referred to at the time of Jeroboam's death as
the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel.' It is also mentioned in connexion with Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, Ahab, Ahaziah, Jehu, Jehoahaz, Jehoash, Jeroboam II, Zechariah, Shallum, Menahem, Pekahiah, and Pekah. These Chronicles must have been of the same character as the southern records, and probably perished at the fall of Samaria.
The work included under A. is of a totally different character from both these records, though it refers to them so frequently. As we have seen already, it was rightly regarded by the Jews as the work of the prophetic school. These men, whether
Levites or from other tribes, were the true conservers of sacred teaching and literature, and they felt themselves moved or called upon to carry on the record of God's dealings with His people century after century. Thus, three prophets wrote conjointly the life of David (1 Chron. 29. 29), and three the life of Solomon (2 Chron. 9. 29), two the life of Rehoboam, and one the life of Abijah (2 Chron. 12. 15 and 13. 22); one prophet wrote Jehoshaphat's life (2 Chron. 20. 34), whilst Isaiah wrote the records of the reigns of Uzziah and Hezekiah (2 Chron. 26. 22 and 32. 32). This is the class of materials from which A. is mainly if not wholly composed, and consequently B. also.
But there are other records named in B. For th rest of Asa's reign and for some other reigns we are referred to “the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel' (2 Chron. 16. II. Compare 27. 7; 28. 26 ; 35. 27; 36. 8). Thus there was a work in existence which combined the narratives of the northern and southern kingdoms. The Story of the Book of Kings' (2 Chron. 24. 27) was possibly the same book. have one such combined history still extant, that is to say our Book of Kings. Is it probable that there was another independent work of the same class ? This is not likely, though our present book is certainly not so full as it was originally. Can we say then decidedly that our Book of Kings was referred to by name in the Chronicles ? It seems reasonable to answer in the affirmative, though high authorities express their doubts. There is one verse which specially confirms the view thus taken, viz. 2 Chron. 32. 32, where the record of Hezekiah's life is described both as the work of Isaiah and as included in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel.
The conclusion we reach is that both A. and B. were the work of prophetic men, the latter being largely based on the former, but partly composed from additional materials of the same class.
It should be added that occasionally B. is unintelligible without reference to A., as in 2 Chron. 10. 15, and that sometimes what was true when A. was written was not so in the time of B., though he leaves the extract uncorrected, as in 2 Chron. 5. 9.
It is to be observed that although B. so often refers to other extant materials, and although he incorporates so much of A. in his text, he never introduces formal citations from it, so that he does not pledge himself to be giving strict extracts. In fact, if we had not A. to compare with B., we should be wholly ignorant of the extent to which the latter was indebted to the former. Similarly, A. never tells us that his work is composed from ancient and contemporary sources. left to find this out for ourselves. At the same time, both A. and B. confirm or illustrate their narratives by occasional reference to another class of literature, as when the Chronicler speaks of the collection which Moses the servant of God laid upon Israel in the wilderness' (2 Chron. 24. 9), or when the writer of A. quotes a passage from Deuteronomy (24. 16), which he calls the Book of the Law of Moses,' as furnishing the ground on which Amaziah acted in not slaying the sons of his father's murderers (see 2 Kings 14, 6).
Having regard to this historical reserve on the part of the compilers, we are led to ask how far A., or the final compiler of A., left his original materials untouched. These materials are the records of prophets who were contemporary with the events which they narrate, and who occupied a responsible position towards man and towards God; consequently they are amongst the greatest treasures of ancient literature, both because of the spirit which animates them and because of their contents; and it is not likely in the nature of things that A. would materially diverge from them. But he did not simply content himself by threading them together. Some amount of editorial work in the way of adjustment must have been necessary. The harmonistic introductions to the reigns, for example, whereby the kings of the two kingdoms are brought into chronological relationship, are usually assigned to a compiler (or to a later scribe) rather than to the original authorities. The same would naturally be the case with some of the notes, though others can be shown from their contents to be pre-exilic.
On the whole there seems no reason for doubting that the work of A. is in the main very much what it was when it left the hands of the original composers whose materials he uses. Of these Samuel was the first, and his work became an example
to his successors. Samuel, though he was not the inventor of sacred historic literature, was a most important contributor to it. The history of the past was already ancient in his time, and he must have had access from childhood to the archives which were preserved in the sanctuary, and to which he himself was a contributor (1 Sam. 10. 25). The law, or portions of it, were familiar to him, and his speeches, which we have no reason to doubt were taken down by official scribes, abound in references to the days of old. In fact, an outline of early Israelite history might be composed from them. It is possible, indeed, that we are indebted to Samuel and the school which he founded, not only for the history of the kingly period, but also for the threading together of the selection of ancient records preserved to us in the Book of Judges.
§ 5. On the Tendency of Hebrew Writers to quote from their Contemporaries and Predecessors, and on the
Modes of Quotation. When we consider the extent and bulk of the passages which B. extracts from A. we naturally seek the reason which prompted the writer of B. to go over the same ground a second time. It cannot have been merely to swell out his book, though certainly, apart from these extracts, the work would have been reduced to less than two-fifths of its present size. The definite object which the Chronicler had before him has been already pointed out (p. xiv), and we can see that his book, as we have it, is singularly adapted to produce the result he aimed at, which was a religious rather than an historical one. He was thus quite justified in reproducing so large a portion of an existing book. The Spirit Who guided him in his work prompted him to write under the conviction that lessons from the past might produce one effect when read in the surroundings of A., and another when provided in the form of B.
We must not forget, however, that the case is not wholly unique. The phenomenon is in some respects analogous with that which we are so familiar with in the Synoptic Gospels. Here, too, we have a large body of common material, and here, too, the writers add and omit, expand and contract, according to their judgement. The object in each case was the same,