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states the case when he says that it is 'exactly what one would expect in a writer of Daniel's age and under his circumstances.' Or take another scholar of a very different school of thought. Dr Cheyne thinks that 'from the Hebrew of the Book of Daniel no important inference as to its date can be safely drawn.' With regard to the Aramaic, it behoves one to speak with caution. Even Dr Driver, who advocates the later date, with careful reserve will only say that the Aramaic 'permits' a date after Alexander's conquest of Palestine (332 B.C.). The two crucial facts are that the Aramaic of Daniel is nearly identical with that of Ezra, some of which is assigned to the middle of the fifth century B.C., and is markedly different from the earliest Targums, those of Onkelos and Jonathan, though it is probable that these suffered modifications by not being reduced to writing till comparatively late. That various Persian words occur in Daniel need occasion no difficulty, if we remember that Persians traded with Babylon in the reign of Nebuchadnezzar. Yet we may well ask how the Persian words should be there at all if the book is a romance of the Maccabean age, written in Palestine to enhearten the revolters.

Lastly, we have two or three Greek words among the names for the musical instruments (chap. iii.). The difficulty is more apparent than real, and has sprung from the feeling that, at so early a period, the Greeks had little to do with the East. Yet about this time a brother of the Greek poet Alcæus held office at the Court of Babylon. Still earlier, Sargon mentions the Greeks (Javanu) of Cyprus; and, much earlier, we find a Greek in the Tel-el-Amarna tablets. Clearly, then, there is no reason why in the time of Daniel Greek musical instruments and their names should not have been known in Babylon. We would add

that the whole colouring of the book is Babylonian, and we can hardly conceive that the necessary knowledge would be current in Palestine in the Maccabean age. Many points still remain doubtful, but much has been cleared up by the help of the Inscriptions. Thus it was not till 1854 that we knew more of Belshazzar than was told in the Book of Daniel.

With regard to the interpretation of the prophecies of Daniel, we are faced by the widest diversities of view, and to enter into these in detail is impossible. On one point there has been an approximation to unanimity, that of the Four Kingdoms. Tradition has long explained these of the Babylonian, MedoPersian, Greek (i.e., the empire of Alexander and his successors), and Roman. The twelve-winged eagle of 2 Esdras xii., which seems to stand for the Fourth Beast of Daniel, can hardly be identified with aught but Rome. Yet there is a grave diffi culty. Four empires are to have their day before the coming of Messiah-to pass away before that coming. But the power of Rome was dominant for some centuries after our Lord's birth. Again, the early Church looked for a speedy return of Christ to judge the world, so that the end of Roman power and the end of the present dispensation were to be one, and no idea was present to them of a long-surviving Roman empire or of the centuries of conflict among the nations after its fall. In O.T. prophecies generally, we hold the belief in a nearer and a remoter fulfilment. We do not narrow the concluding chapters of Isaiah to the declaration of the return from Babylon, but believe that it points on to the triumph over mightier foes than Babylon and by a mightier Deliverer than Cyrus. Why not so in Daniel? Why should not the prophecies describing the conflicts between the Church and the nations before the First

Advent have a fresh cycle of interpretation from the period thence till the time when,

' at the world's last session,

The dreadful Judge in middle air shall set His throne.'

This view was adopted by Bishop Westcott, who took the Four Empires to be those of the Babylonians, Medes, Persians and Greeks, to all of whom Babylon seemed in a sense the world's capital. The last remnant of Alexander's empire fell when the Ptolemaic dynasty fell, shortly before Christ's birth. Since then, first, the Roman empire, and afterwards the nations, in some sort representing it and in part sprung from it, have held the world's stage. Conflicts, alike past and to come, may reproduce in more terrible form the struggles of the ancient empires. The Divine declarations would thus receive a deeper fulfilment. The world's history is now, as then, being shaped for God's purposes and according to God's will, till the final

consummation.

HOSEA

In some of the prophets-Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and others—we have again and again what we may call God's object-lessons for Israel, but in the case of Hosea, and in his case alone, the story of the prophet's life, thrown into strong light and shade, is itself an abiding object-lesson. The story of Hosea's marriage to Gomer, rightly understood, is the key to explain the twofold thought which runs through the book. We need not suppose that Hosea married a woman then unchaste, still less that he did

so consciously. There is nothing in the Hebrew compelling such a view, and it would fail to satisfy the obvious needs of the parable.

In early manhood, then, we may suppose that the prophet, as yet perhaps unaware of the prophetic gift, as he was of the cloud that should overshadow his life, marries Gomer. She is chaste indeed, yet there are possibilities of evil in her, which, acted on by we know not what influences, end in the gravest sin. How or when Hosea learns her faithlessness we know not; yet his knowledge, though bringing the acutest pain, cannot quench his love for the erring wife. Nay, the pain was intensified by the keenness of love. Then it was borne in upon him, that in himself and Gomer was to be found a faint reflex of the relations between God and Israel. God had assumed a certain spousal relation to Israel, while her character was still undeveloped, and capable of this or that turn. Though faithless again and again, deserting Jehovah for Baal and Ashtaroth, yet God's love never wavered, the yearning for her return was unceasing. But this was no weak love, which ignored what called for repentance and forgiveness; it needed a stern discipline to bring the erring one back. Thus in the names of the three children whom Gomer bare we are to see, in increasing emphasis, the thought of this discipline. The name Jezreel calls to remembrance the blood shed by Jehu which stains the land; in Lo-ruhamah we see Israel given up unpitied to her enemies; in Lo-ammi we see her driven into exile.

In some unexplained way Gomer falls into slavery, and Hosea buys her back at a price which itself shows the degradation into which she had fallen. She is restrained now from her old sins, but she may not hold the position of an honoured wife.

'Sterner rule

Is needed now: in silence and alone,

In shame and sorrow, wailing, fast, and prayer,
She must blot out the stains that made her life
One long pollution.'

By this sterner treatment her character must be formed anew, till she realises that underlying all the sternness is the tenderest yearning. That Hosea suffered intensely could not fail, yet at length he realises that it is through suffering that he was to learn God's lesson for him, and that the discipline was training him for his mission. We will trust and believe that such love as his. would not ultimately fail. In the late Dean Plumptre's poem,, 'Gomer,' the thought is strikingly worked out :

'I have learnt,

Poor, weak and frail, to love the fallen soul
Of one thus worthless. I have given my peace,
My honour, yea, my life, for her who turns
Unthankful from me. Is there not a cause?
Hath not our God wooed Israel as His bride,
The stubborn, wayward Israel, in His love
And pity, pardoning all the sins of old?'

The idea thus underlying the whole book is that of Israel's faithlessness and God's unceasing love; in chaps. i.-iii. under the thought of the marriage relation, in chaps. iv.-xiv. often with the thought of parental love. This latter division falls into three leading sections, dwelling on the guilt, the punishment, and the restoration respectively.

Hosea's style is a curiously broken and unconnected one, as though his feelings often impeded his utterance, and the discourse broke off into a sob. He sees that tender appeals are in vain,

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