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The Return of the Israelites from Captivity.
sent a copy of it to all those of his own nation, that were in Media,” (Antiq. 11. 5). Media was the place of the Ten Tribes, Hence the remark of Henry on this subject: "Both Assyria [with Media] and Chaldea"- the land of the captivity of Israel, as well as that of Judah-" fell into the hands of Cyrus; and his procla mation extended to all the Jews in all his dominions. And there. fore, we have reason to think, that many of the house of Israel came with those of Judah out of the north," (Henry, in loc.). They came, indeed, under the banner of Judah; as many, in early times, after the division of the kingdom, and the defection of the Ten Tribes, under Jeroboam and other wicked kings, forsook their own tribes, and their own branch of the nation, and joined themselves to Judah and Benjamin, for the purer worship of God which was maintained there, (Vid. 2 Chr. 11: 16; 15: 9; 31: 6).
The returned captives from Israel may have been fewer in number, (doubtless were much fewer,) than those from Judah, as they had been longer in captivity, had less vivid apprehensions of their own land, and had found more to interest them in the countries where they dwelt. Yet the more pious and devout, of both branches of the nation, it seems reasonable to believe, came up to rebuild the temple, and restore the Jewish State.
In the book of Ezra, giving an account of the restoration, we have the two phrases, Judah and Benjamin and the children of Israel; the first, designating the Two Tribes and a Half, which were the more prominent actors in all the latter scenes of Jewish history; and the last, seeming to have a wider reference, looking more towards the whole nation collectively. "Then rose up," says Ezra, on the proclamation of Cyrus, "the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin," (1:5). And, afterwards, at the dedication of the temple, it is said: "And the children of Israel, which were come again out of captivity," [with others mentioned,] "did eat" (6:21); seeming to have a reference to a company collected from the nation at large. Josephus, referring to the encouragements which Cyrus gave the people to return, says: "When Cyrus had said this to the Israelites, the rulers of the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, with the Levites and priests, went in haste to Jerusalem," (Antiq. 11: 1). And of the company going up he says: "They chose themselves rulers, who should go up to Jerusalem, out of the tribes of their forefathers (Ib. 11. 3); not from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin exclusively, but from the tribes of their forefathers. This looks as though the whole twelve tribes had something to do in the matter of the restoration. "The Sa
maritan Chronicle asserts, that in the thirty-fifth year of the pon. tificate of Abdelus, three thousand Israelites, by permission of king Sanridius, returned from captivity, under the conduct of Adres, son of Simon," (Rel. En., Art. CAPTIVITY). And at the dedica tion of the temple, when it was completed, it is said, that, among other sacrifices, they offered "for a sin-offering for all Israel, twelve he-goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel," (Ezra 6: 17); and, on another occasion, "twelve bullocks for all Israel and twelve he-goats, for a sin-offering," (Ib. 8: 35). It seems most natural to conclude, that Israel and Judah were mingled together in these services, that all the tribes which had been carried captive had their representatives at this feast, so that it was strictly a national celebration. It may be true, therefore, as expressed by another: "We see Palestine [from this time to the end of that dispensation] peopled by Israelites of all the tribes indifferently" (Rel. Encyclop. art. Captivity of Israel), Judah and Israel forgetting their former antipathies, according to the prediction of the prophets, and living together again as one nation, and in peace. And what has been said by another writer may not be wholly unworthy of regard: "All questions, therefore, and investigations, for the purpose of ascertaining what has become of the TEN TRIBES, and whether it is likely they will ever be discovered, are superfluous and idle," (Jahn, Heb. Com. chap. 7, § 53). The idea is, that the tribes were extensively broken up and commingled together in their dispersions, and such portions of them as returned were commingled together in their restoration. And this may be an indication, in the providence of God, that that economy has accomplished its work in the world, and has permanently given place to something that is better. It may be in keeping with Judaism, to believe that the Messiah, when he shall come, will disentangle these intricacies, hunt up the lost tribes, show each its genealogy, and give them the earthly glory for which they are looking. But does Christianity, the question is, make itself responsible for these results?
Let some other passages receive attention. In chap. xxiii. of this prophet, Jeremiah, it is said: "I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries, whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful, and increase.-Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and
The Return of both Israel and Judah.
this is his name, whereby he shall be called, The Lord our Righteousness. Therefore, behold the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but the Lord liveth, which brought up, and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land," (23: 3, 5-8). Here, also, is a sort of generic vision, having reference, primarily, to the literal restoration, and glancing at the still greater deliverance of the Messiah's dispensation, of which that was a figure, and which that ever suggested. Nothing is more natural than this kind of proceeding. Nor is it any objection to this view, that the allusion to the Messiah's reign is thrown into the middle of the sentence, the beginning and the end relating to the other subject. Such sudden transitions are a part of the manner of the Jewish prophets.
In chap. xxix, it is said: "For thus saith the Lord, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon, I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the Lord; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive," (vs. 10, 14). This is, manifestly, the literal restoration, and nothing more. The attempt to make it mean more than this, is altogether uncalled for and gratuitous.
In chap. xxx, we have the two connected again : "The days come, saith the Lord, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah "—both branches of the nation—“ saith the Lord; and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it. Strangers shall no more serve themselves of him. But they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them. Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob; neither be dismayed, O Israel (both branches of the nation); for, lo! I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid," (vs. 3, 9, 10). This is manifestly a prediction of the restoration then about to take place, with a glance at the future blessings of the Messiah's reign; those blessings being promised in Jewish phrase, clothed in Jewish dress, as it was most natural should be the case.
In chap. xxxi, are some expressions much relied on as proving a literal restoration yet to come: "I have loved thee with an everlasting love. I will build thee, and thou shalt be built. I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth. He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. They shall come and sing in the heights of Zion," (vs. 3, 4, 8, 10, 12). But may not all this be said in reference to the restoration then about to take place when the prophet wrote? Why need we look further than that, for a fulfilment of the predictions?
In the latter part of the chapter is notice of a new covenant which God would make with his people; not such a one as he made with them when he took them from Egypt; but a covenant of a deeper and more enduring character. "I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." And the assurance is given, that the ordinances of heaven, the courses of the sun, and the moon, and the stars, are no more enduring, than these engagements of God to his chosen, (vs. 31-40). But in all this, may we not understand the spiritual covenant which God makes with his people, which is strictly eternal? It looks like a spiritual transaction: "putting his law in their inward parts, and writing it in their hearts." If there be an earlier application of it, connected with a literal restoration, the time intended may be that when the people came back from Babylon, tender and broken-hearted, grateful and devoted to the service of God. But whatever was wanting there, a spiritual religion, like that of the Messiah, when truly embraced, will entirely fulfil.
Other promises in this prophet are to be interpreted in the same manner. "I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again into this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God; and I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me forever, for the good of them, and of their children after And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them," (32: 37-40), I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them as at the first." "I will cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not
Meier's Lexicon of Hebrew Roots.
be day and night in their season; then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign on his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers," (33: 7, 15, 20, 21). "Be not afraid of the king of Babylon, of whom ye are afraid; be not afraid of him, saith the Lord; for I am with you to save you, and to deliver you from his hand," (42: 11). "Fear not thou, O my servant Jacob, and be not dismayed, O Israel; for, behold, I will save thee from afar off, and thy seed from the land of their captivity," (46: 27).
Such is a specimen of the predictions in Jeremiah relating to the restoration of the Jews. And now taking into view the fact, that he lived in the time of the dispersion, and died leaving the people in their captive state, of which is it most reasonable to believe that he spoke, of the restoration then about to take place, glancing occasionally, as the subject was suggested, to the more important work the Messiah was to perform in the world? or to some literal restoration now at this far distant period? Let the prophet speak of the subject in hand, and let his glances at the far future be at the Messiah and his dispensation, that great idea ever present to the Jewish mind; and all is natural and easyjust as we should expect. But the attempt to make out a course of prediction in reference to a literal restoration from present dispersions, overlooks the subject in hand, introduces a principle of interpretation that tends to secularize religion; and, by depriving many passages of their spiritual import, robs them of their chief richness and glory.
[To be concluded.]
MEIER'S LEXICON OF HEBREW ROOTS.
Hebräisches Wurzelwörterbuch, nebst drei Anhängen über die Bildung der Quadrilitern Erklärung der Fremdwörter im Hebräischen, und über das Verhältniss des Egyptischen Sprachstammes zum Semitischen; von Dr. Ernst Meier, Privatdocenten an der Universität zu Tübingen. pp. 783. Manheim, 1845.
By Rev. Charles A. Hay, Professor in Lutheran Theol. Sem., Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. THE consanguinity of the Semitic and Indo-European languages is now generally acknowledged. But as to the degree of