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Wise Men and Priests and Scribes

Wise Men and Priests and Scribes

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Published by glennpease
BY GEORGE HODGES

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the
days of Herod the King, behold, there came wise men from
the east to Jerusalem. — Matt. 2 : 1.
BY GEORGE HODGES

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the
days of Herod the King, behold, there came wise men from
the east to Jerusalem. — Matt. 2 : 1.

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Published by: glennpease on Mar 10, 2014
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WISE MEN AND PRIESTS AND SCRIBES BY GEORGE HODGES Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the King, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem. — Matt. 2 : 1. The wise men were unwelcome visitors. Jerusalem hated the east. Indeed, the Jews were not a friendly nation towards any of their neighbors. They were at enmity with all the points of the compass. Their earliest foe lived in the south, in Egypt. Herod, the king, whom they all properly detested, was set over them by their latest foe, from the west, whose capital was at Rome. But most of all they hated the east. Out of the lands which lay in that direction, had come first the army of Sargon and then the army of Nebuchadnezzar, and had destroyed their nation. These eastern folk had broken down the ancient kingdom of David and Solomon, past repair. As for the north, there was the great gate of the country. The land was defended by the sea on the west, and by the deep cleft of the river on the east ; all armies from either of these parts of the
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world must take the northern road. Nobody knows whence the Epiphany wise men came, 91 92 THE YEAR OF GRACE nor by what way they traveled. We may freely guess, then, that they came along the old trodden thoroughfare out of the east, and through the northern gate. Anyhow, they were unwelcome. They represented regions and races which the Jews hated. The bitterness of this hatred and the nature of it are shown in two curious writings of the Old Testament : in the book of Esther and in the book of Jonah. The purpose of the book of Esther was to stir the old fires of race hatred. It is the worst book of the Bible. For even in the Bible there are good and bad. Some of these books are bet-ter than others ; some are not so high in spirit
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nor so helpful to the reader ; some might well have been omitted. For example, the Song of Solomon was written by Lord Byron, and Ec-clesiastes was written by Colonel Ingersoll. I mean that the authors of these books were men of these two types and were actuated by the motives which these two names represent. The Song of Solomon is a love song, quite without reference to religion. And Ecclesiastes is the work of one to whom the voice of cur-rent religion was not the voice of truth. But Esther was written by Thomas of Torquemada, the general of the inquisition. That is, the book is filled with that fierce hatred which WISE MEN AND PRIESTS AND SCRIBES 93 finds occasional expression in the Psalms, as when the psalmist hopes to wash his footsteps in the blood of the ungodly and that the tongue of his dogs may be red through the same. The King of Persia in the book of Esther is Ahasuerus, who is known in history as Xerxes,
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