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separated themselves from all strangers ; confessed their sins; bewailed the dreadful calamities that had overwhelmed their country; and concluded by a solemn
giver himself. To him is attributed the collection and revision of those books of the Old Testament wbich were extant in his days; in the execution of which he is said to have corrected the errors which had originated in the mistakes of transcribers, arranged the books in their proper order, inserted several elucidatory passages, (Gen. xxxvi. 31. Exod. xvi. 35. Deut. ii. 12. Prov. xxv. 1.) changed obsolete names for others of a modern date, (Gen. xiv. 14. Judges xviii. 27, 29.) and finally, caused the whole to be written out in the Chaldee character, which during the Babylonish captivity, had come into general use.
The Samaritans, whose scriptures consist of the five books of Moses only, have retained the ancient Hebrew character, (said to bear a close affinity to the old Phænician) and make their boast of it, because the law was therein written ; whilst they carse the memory of Ezra as an impostor, for its rejection.
From the Jewish traditions, said to have been examined and approved by Ezra, arose the oral or traditionery law; delivered, as the Jews insist, at the same time as the written law, which they pronounce imperfect, obscure, and of no force without it. Upon the oral law they say the covenant was made: thus denying Moses himself, and resolving their religion into mere tradition. This abuse was so flagrant in the days of the Redeemer, as to have superseded the law entirely. Mark vii. 13. They say that the words of the law are weighty and light; but the words of the scribes, all weighty : that the written text is as water ; but the mishna and talmud are as wine and hippocras: by these and such like comparisons manifesting that the word of God is become of no effect through their traditions.
These traditions, they affirm, were given by God to Moses, with an express injunction to transmit them from generation
covenant in writing, to serve the Lord, and to obey the laws he had given them by his servant Moses.
Q. What things were particularized in this covenant?
A. The non-intercourse with strangers by marriage ; the sanctification of the sabbath ; the observance of the sabbatical year ; a small annual tax to defray the expenses of the temple service; and the payment of tithes to the priests and Levites.
Q. By what measure did Nehemiah re-people Jerusalem ?
to generation by tradition only. From Moses they passed through the hands of a variety of individuals, in succession, until they reached Rabbi Judah the holy, who wrote them in the mishna.
This work, however, originated in necessity: for certain doctors who discoursed on the traditions, being constantly in the habit of annexing their numerous inferences and deduc. tions to the traditions on which they were founded, the mass of matter became so bulky, about the middle of the second century, that they could no longer be preserved by mere memory. The dissolution also of the Jewish schools by the final overthrow of their state by Adrian, had rendered the usual means of preserving these traditions impracticable. The whole was therefore collected by Rabbi Judah, son of Simeon, president of the Sanhedrim, and master of the school at Tiberias in Galilee. This compilation, and the comments made upon it by the doctors, constitute the gemara or complement. The' mishna and gemara constitute the lalmud. Of these there are two;--the Jerusalem, and the Babylonian: but the former is so very obscure that it is almost entirely neglected. -See PRIDEAUX's Connect.
For an account of the Karaites, a Jewish sect who reject the talmuds, see Appendix S.
A. He caused the people to cast lots, to bring one in ten to dwell there. Q. How long did Nehemiah govern
Jerusalem ? A. About twelve years; after which he returned to the Persian court.
Q. Did the Jews observe the covenant ?
A. No: in the absence of Nehemiah, Eliasbib the high priest prepared a room in the temple for Tobiah the Ammonite, his relative; the Levites were deprived of the maintenance allowed them by law, and therefore forsook the temple service to look after their fields ; the sabbath was profaned by all kinds of labour and traffic; and great numbers of the Jews intermarried with the Gentiles. *
For these transgressions they were reproved by Malachi,t the last of the prophets.
Q. How long did these abuses last?
A. Until the return of Nehemiah. $ A. M. 3595. Q. How did he punish those who had B. C. 409. married strange wives ? Nothus 15. A. He smote some of them, and disgraced
* Nehem. xiji.
+ The suitability of the reproofs of the prophet Malachi to the general state of the Jewish nation during Nehemiah's absence, has given rise to the opinion that the governor and the prophet were contemporary with each other.
When Malachi actually flourished it is impossible to ascertain, seeing the sacred record is silent on the subject. Arcbb. NewcoME places him about B. C. 436, and Dr. KennicoTT about B. C. 420.
Dean PRIDEAUX assigns five years for the term of his absence: this however is only mere conjecture.
others by plucking off their hair ; but he banished the son of Joiada* the priest, who had married the daughter of Sanballat the Horonite.
Q. To what did Nehemiah ascribe all his success ?
* Dean PRIDEAUX places this event in the fifteenth year of Darius Nothus; because Joiada, who, he contends, was high priest at the time, [the word translated high priest, Nehem. xiji. 28. being in apposition with Joiada, and not with Eliashib] did not enter on that office until the eleventh year
of Darius Nothus; and because from the seventh year of Artaxerxes Longimanus to the fifteenth year of Darius Nothus is exactly forty-nine years, which he explains as the seven weeks of Dan. X. 25, in which time the Restoration and Reformation of the Jewish state were effected.
The Jewish History subsequent to the days of Nehemiah.
The Old Testament record closes with the book of
Nehemiah ; and all the subsequent history of the Jews to the advent of the Redeemer, is supplied from the apocryphal books, the writings of Josephus and Philo, and from the pagan authors who wrote during this period. The following summary, is digested from Dean Prideaux's Connection, and contains the leading features of Jewish history during this epocha, with the most remarkable events of profane history.
Sanballat, by permission of Darius Nothus, builds a temple on Mount Gerizim,* and makes Manasseh, son of Joiada, whom Nehemiah had banished, high priest 408
After the death of Nehemiah, (the precise period of which cannot possibly be ascertained) Judea is annexed to the government of Syria, under which the high priest acts as deputy
ib. Aristotle born at Stagyra, in Macedonia
384 Joiada dies. Is succeeded by his son Johanan
* So many Jews took up their residence in Samar ia, after this event, that the worship of the true God became general, instead of the former idolatry. By the Jewish nation however, these refugees were despised as apostates; and the malignity between the Samaritans and Jews became ultimately so inveterate as to suspend all intercourse, and to stifle even the feelings of humanity. To this state of things John iv. 9. alludes; and hence the force of the parable of the good Samaritan.-Luke x. 30-35.