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A JOURNAL

OF POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY

August 1980

Volume 9 Number 1

1

Robert Sacks

The Lion
on

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Ass:

a

Commentary

the Book of

Genesis (Chapters 1 1-20)

83

David K. Nichols

Aeschylus'

Oresteia
of

and the

Origins

Political Life

93

John A.

Wettergreen
1 1 I

On the End

Thucydides'

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Narrative

Aryeh L. Mot/kin
R. S. Hill

On Halevi's Kuzari
Duncan Forbes's Hume
s

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125

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137

Aryeh L. Motzkin

Harry
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Medieval Thought

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27:44 and word for one and signifies few. John's College Chapter XI 1 . Go to. ofShinar. The New Way. just as the presupposes building of the Tower itself presupposes a rejection of the bonds by which building of a city the rejection of any natural political bonds. as distinguished from Since the all previous experiments. and they had brickfor stone. will not begin with man as a whole. let build city we and a Tower. Go to. And they said one to another. but the their own bricks from the poorest material nature could afford. 2 . according to their languages had Again. The Tower was intended to provide a refuge from any further deluge. 29:20. is insufficient since the Hebrew (See Gen. let us make brick. And the whole earth was speech. and of appears here in the plural 's development life aspect of the origins. King James translation. Ed. 4. mankind. . Thinking they could establish a home for themselves above the waters they planned to build the Tower whose top may This is the appear second part of a longer work by Robert Sacks on the Book of Genesis. 3 . All of the Earth was of one language and spoke offew things. The men begin their work and in a plain. that they found a plain in the land they dwell there. and burn them thoroughly. The later parts will in subsequent issues. and slime us had they for mortar. The the Covenant holds heaven and earth together. as they journeyedfrom the east.) stages of man was The last simple. . The Tower is to be completely the product of their own labor. us a And they said. to begin on a mountaintop would mean to accept the assistance of nature Neither stone nor wood men make is used in the construction . and let us make us a name. lest be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.THE LION AND THE ASS A COMMENTARY ON THE BOOK OF GENESIS (CHAPTERS 11-20) Robert Sacks St. whose top may reach unto heaven. since a new plan man of mankind is to begin more gentle account of the division already been The one given in the previous chapter. The present account of with a very small part of into many families and into diverse that division is the second Biblical account. it presupposes the division of ways. phrase as were his thoughts implies that in the early and desires. each is intended to reveal an of one language. And And it came to pass.

Behold the people is one. and they begin to do: . that they may not understand one another's speech. it is not the gifts of nature or the gods but the labor of men which makes life at all bearable. As in Gen. but their understanding is very different. considered determining what was just and what was unjust. Some were in favor in of the Flood. finally reaching the one they they now inhabit. And the Lord came down to see the city and the Tower. And the Lord said. and now nothing will be restrained they have all one language. For them. that everything thoughtful men considered to be problematic is ultimately . 1:26. to the heights of heaven they cannot fully face the true task that has been placed before them. many sides to be Each side could be heard because there many gods present. were and some were opposed. God when again speaks of Himself in the plural. which they have imagined to do things and language without the words and spoke offew may imply that these men have begun to use their speech for bigger things no longer use it merely to communicate simple thoughts. Only with great pain and labor were to pull themselves up out of successive worlds. and this from them. the Tower may contain a reference The Biblical which account of to another account did present of itself at that time as a fundamental alternative to the Biblical as understanding the the world. there was a debate among the gods. which called fruitful world with men themselves throughout the whole. Monotheism would appear either as tyranny or as the assumption that there are no legitimate problems on the highest level. and there confound their language. Neither an Eden nor a The American Navahos condition of the human Convenant able was provided by the gods. There were the time had come for the Flood. Go to. the city of burnt bricks. The original world in which First Woman and First Man found themselves was poor. 6. which the children of men budded. repetition of The the phrase one 7. For these men nothing is for a secure that does not have its origins wholly within themselves. and dark. While they spreading In this wish sense. narrow. would have been disturbed by the Tower. The divine plan.2 reach unto Interpretation heaven. In the Gilgamesh. also tell a story about a tower. Gilgamesh returns. when he has lost his last chance for the immortality of the gods. the hero begins king of a great city whose foundation is also made of burnt bricks. only to realize that his true immortality had already been ensured by the name he had made for himself founding the city of Uruk. In the first tablet of the Gilgamesh. At the end of his voyage. 5. let us go down. the Tower shows both their reach pride and their cowardice.

the world is now divided into many different languages. and nine years. and begat Terah: . of Law. because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth. in establishing the Way 10. And Reu lived And Reu lived daughters. and begat Reu: And Peleg lived after he begat Reu two hundred begat sons and 18. begat Salah. than ensure the original By confusing their languages and scattering the men. And Ar-phaxad lived sons and after he begat Salah four hundred three years. 8. and begat sons and daughters. And Nahor lived twenty rears. 9. and begat sons and daughters. and 13.The Lion mundane. 21. And Eber lived after he begat Peleg four hundred and thirty years. God does nothing more blessing that man is to inherit the whole of the earth. and begat Ar-phaxad two years after the after 11. and ways. customs. and begat Peleg. and begat Nahor: Serug lived after he begat Nahor two hundred nine and years. 24. men of though the the Tower may not understand God 's action . And Shem lived he begat Ar-phaxad five hundred years. Therefore is Though the net result is the settling of the whole earth. And Eber livedfour and thirty years. 20. And Salah lived thirty daughters. 22 . years. And Salah lived after he begat Eberfour hundred and three years and begat sons and 16. and 17. 12 . To that extent a certain of manyness must still be present. 19. And Serug lived thirty years. and and begat sons and daughters. we shall have to face the problem of the differences in languages. 15. since on and the Ass side can 3 be defended insight is or the highest level only one for that matter even stated. And Ar-phaxad livedfive and thirty years. The unity of God in kind monotheism must be wide enough to include all sides. the name of it called Babel. And from there the Lord ceased scattered them upon the face of the whole earth and they to build the city. and 14. As a result. some acknowledgment of pagan necessary. two and after thirty years and begat Serug: he begat Serug two hundred and seven years. These are the generations of Shem: Shem Flood: was an hundred years old. daughters. and begat sons and And 23. and begat daughters. Again. begat Eber: . And Peleg lived thirty years.

Milcah. and begat Abram.Interpretation 25. and Haran. 100 years before the Flood. And Abram name and Nahor took them wives: of Nahor's wife. the father ofMilcah. and dwelt there. 511 621 of tThe birth of Isaac . Before be rewritten discussing the chapter in detail. and Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram. 29. 30. And Nahor lived and after he begat Terah an hundred and nineteen years. and begat sons daughters . the the name of Abram s wife was Sarai. And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity. to go into the land of Canaan. The account of the generations statement is the one connection an we have with the antediluvian period. 27. and they came unto Haran. and the father of Iscah. 26. 28-. And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran . Nahor. and Sarai his daughter-in-law. and Haran begat Lot. the information it contains should in the form of a chart: Birth in Age at Death in Years After the Flood 300 Years Remainder Birth of Age at After the Flood Name Noah Shem Ar-phaxad First Son of Life Death 100 35 30 34 500 403 403 430 600 438 433 464 239 2 500 440 470 531 340 370 393 Salah Eber 37 67 101 Peleg Reu 30 32 209 207 200 119 135 89 76 120 107 239 230 148 131 163 193 222 292 292 391 451 Serug Nahor 30 29 70 86* 341 427 467 467 571 598 Terah Abram Abraham Isaac 205 175 175 180 147 110 99t 60 40 Jacob Joseph *The birth Ishmael. and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees. she had no child. after The that Shem was hundred years old two years the Flood is roughly in agreement with the earlier information according to which Noah's children were born when he was 500 years old. But Sarai was barren. 31. 32. Haran. and Lot the son of Haran his son's son. Nahor. and the daughter of Haran. And Terah lived seventy years. his son Abram's wife. in Ur of the Chaldees. And Terah took Abram his son.

Abraham seems the last could to be born who could have known Noah. . most men begot their first child at a reasonable while the 35. thy father's house. reads like the story of Abraham. The words get thee strike the the Hebrew phrase force be since is composed of two. particular people.The Lion The and the Ass 5 longevity of characteristic of the antediluvian period certain major some time. since They intended to the eye they will repeated again under very different circumstances. It terms of genera rapid population of the earth as a whole. requires the singling out of a at this point. Now the Lord had said unto Abram. such as what kingship the building man cities. unto a land that I will shew thee: God 's first eye with great words to Abram are abrupt and clear. the New Way. any law or custom must begin as the specific law of a specific people. The obvious distinction between the two stories is that Terah 's decision was made the need by himself. It doubtful that this be accidental since first man who could not closely connected to the fact that Noah was the have known Man. Much of the material in this chapter will be of relevance later on. 9:25ff. As in so for doing what God would and later command of many other cases. and Abraham year was born in the year after the Flood his son Ishmael in the was 378. First. As will prove of some importance later. the Lord chose Abram to complete the journey. the Way of Law. Chapter XII 1 . Get thee and from out of thy country. and he suddenly left the land of his fathers to begin a new life in the land of Canaan. were short. between 29 the birth and Terah. the time span expect tions. Noah died in the man year 300. longevity is needed for the itself. but Verse 31 Terah. God always waits to see direction man will take. however. This accomplishes two things. andfrom thy kindred. Apparently Terah saw Abram to do. As we know from the rest of the story. According to this calculation. is the also provides the normally possibility stressing the fact that Isaac was born when Abraham was an old man. 292 not with Abraham. however. in many ways. There are. as has already been alluded to in Gen. The first to discover a way is never capable of never reached completing that way and by himself. the miraculous birth of a son at same as one would in our own of such an advanced age begins with Terah. and so Terah the land of Canaan. The story of Terah. His children were born when he was very old. the land which will turn out to be the Promised Land. two-letter attract words that are both spelled the same way. in day. apparently without any divine command. clearly continues for deviations from the pattern. has left the home of his fathers to set out for Canaan. Until age. is important Because of the division and scattering of mankind. By this device the author stresses the so it is continuity between the Covenant of Noah and the Convenant of Abraham.

there must be some bridge . but the curse is probably not accidental The blessing is only for that individual who so merits. 3 . So Abram departed. In studying the formation of the Western tradition. and Lot went with him: and seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. however. who are somehow included and somehow not included. The switch from the . house.6 Nachmanides rightly one Interpretation points out that "It is hard to leave one 's country where one's has all one's associations. had. and thou shalt be a blessing: and in Haran . This verse appears to cut time into two periods: one in which the and new nation is growing. And I will bless them that bless thee. and make thy name great. one cannot help but be impressed by the extent to which the author foresaw the effect his book would have. but his decision to take Lot with him shows he has not as most of us forgotten simple family duty know it. in fact. God one nation to has decided to start in a small way by choosing would bring the blessing. Abram was as the Lord had him. like the descendants of Lot and the descendants of Laban. I will bless thee. all families and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall of the earth be blessed. it is hard to forget that Abram s ancestral ties verse gains its full power only if the decision Terah made in the included as an integral part of the whole break with the past. In general. At the same time there nations. At the same time Abram 's relationship to Lot contains the seeds of the fulfillment of the promise that in the New Way the whole world will be blessed. Our main task. is beginning but in Ur. apart from outside influence. plural to the singular in the first part of the sentence is upon a whole. of and still more so one's father's While there is deal importance in were not what Nachmanides says. the other when the distinction between disappear and all nations will be blessed. The Torah contains play on the distinction between the Chosen People and and the rest of mankind. is to understand what effect the author believed this moment would or could have on mankind as a whole. spoken unto 4. be satisfied with merely raising the question. Without that understanding it would be almost At this will point let us impossible to grasp the overwhelming effect it has. Although the new nation must develop on its own. needing encouragement nations will care." It is harder to leave a great kindred. it is clearly are other sharply distinguished from all other nations. This 2 And I will make of thee a great nation. since the answer and will constitute a good portion of be very long the commentary from this point on. In the beginning the small nation a constant have to be by itself so that it might grow. For reasons that go radical well beyond human imagination Abram has . accepted this break with the past.

And Abram passed through the land unto the place ofSichem. which by the way where the sun goeth down . of Many will of them will collapse. but the such search will continue. and they into the land of Canaan they came. go the souls that and into the land of Canaan. they they to go into the land of Canaan. unto removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Beth-el. From this point on. Abram acquired the means for his task. And 1 . with forth them verses are almost the end of Verse period of 5. beside of (Deut. however. the and said. The descendants Lot form the first bridge. 6. Moreh? dwell in the champaign over against Gilgal. and Lot the and and son of Haran his went son's son. in the land of the the plains Canaan-ites. During this he would need his life. came from Ur of the unto Haran. The time identical in many ways apart from the crucial words at spent in Haran.The Lion and the Ass 7 linking many it to the rest of the nations. That part of the land Abram passes through is the land his children will first glimpse on their return: Are they not on the other side Jordan. and Sarai his daughter-in-law. and these passages are filled with names that will occur many times throughout the text. they had gotten in Haran. and pitched 8. and dwelt there. And Abram took Sarai his wife. and and Lot his brother's son. his Chaldees. Unto thy seed will I give this land: and budded he an altar unto Lord. Gen. The son Abram's wife. In the course of this commentary we shall see such bridges being built. This verse will mark a turning point in be the book and its relation to its readers. names and places will filled with memories. and all their substance that went forth they had gathered. who appeared unto him. And the Lord there appeared unto Abram. And he tent. the Canaanite was then in the land. The antediluvian period is over. and called upon the name of the Lord. and readers will not be able to follow what is not share being said in the land was text if they do those memories. 11:31: to Verse 5 is an intentional paraphrase of And Terah took Abram his son. 11:30) the Then he pitched his tent between Beth-el would and Ai and built the second altar on place where Joshua first camp when he and the Children of Israel finally entered the land: lie in ambush. Abram's first sight of the new the same one that the new nation would have after their 400 years of slavery in Egypt. was not lost. unto the plain ofMoreh. his having the Beth-el on the west. 5 . Joshua therefore sent them forth: and they went to and abode between Beth-el . and Hai on the east: and there he budded an altar Lord.

The seventeenth verse of Chapter 29 reads: Leah was tender-eyed: but Rachel was beautiful and well-favoured. I pray thee. that most seems to be tenuous to best (for further ment and substantiation of the reader will reveal commentary Biblical authors share this commended see Gen. 23:1). In the follow lead Abraham to s ing chapters beauty will almost cause the power death of a very noble man named Abimelech. which a him into Egypt in the famine will send his descendants there many 11. and camels. Behold 12. And it came to pass. years same way in later (Gen. cause of certain aspects of the be discussed this time. on the west side Interpretation ofAi: but Joshua lodged that night among the people. The theme meets of this story of s will recur twice in the book: once when Abraham Abimelech. Say. Nevertheless. the famine was grievous in the land. . and maidservants. soul shall thou art my sister: but they will save thee alive. And Abram journeyed. Abram 's journey is A famine sent beginning to look like a pastiche of the centuries to come. and oxen. And he entreated Abram her sake: and and she he had sheep. 8:9) 9. careful check develop by 15. It is probably intentional that the Pharaoh is parallel not named. and into Pharaoh's house. 43:1). to that he said unto Sarai his wife. beauty this. Therefore it now. King of Gerar. but God seems to have preferred the tenderness of Leah's eyes. For that reason most of our remarks concerning this story story should will be reserved at for Chapter 20. going toward the south. and my live because of thee. This is his 13. The princes also woman was taken of Pharaoh saw her.8 andAi. that. that it may be well with me for thy sake. 10. at From the point of view of Genesis. when 14. Jacob preferred Rachel's beauty. The immediate Abram's difficulties is Sarai 's beauty. I know that thou when art a fair woman look upon: shall come to pass. A view. and menserv ants. And for there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there. wife: and they kill me. that they shall say. Most of the story Abram his fears can only be understood in the light his visit to Abimelech. Joseph fall and rise to in Egypt will come about through the ambiguous virtue of beauty as well. And it came to pass. well for her before Pharaoh: and the 16. thus strengthening the between Abram s stay in Egypt and that of his descendants. lie and and once again when Isaac returns to Gerar. the Egyptians beheld the very fair. asses. woman that she was Abram was come into Egypt. it is used in relation to the seven beautiful kine of Pharaoh 's dream who were devoured by the seven kine who grew no fatter. when he was come near to enter into Egypt. on still (Josh. and he asses. will the Egyptians shall see thee. When the word appears for the last time in Genesis. Their beauty left no mark and was gone.

The plague the Lord sent upon Pharaoh and his house is of similar to the plague that will be will again sent upon Pharaoh 400 years later at the time Moses. Abram (or Abraham) will continue to live through will the experiences his descendants have after leaving will occupy Abraham until the birth of his son. and his wife and all that he had.The Lion 17. and that plague be connected with his descendants' flight from Egypt. and we shall see him fight their he beget a Only a after he has a clear notion of where the whole is going will For fuller discussion of this chapter as it applies to Abraham as an indi vidual. he. beginning. and in gold. What is this wife? might that thou hast done Why thou not tell me that she was saidst thy Why thou. And the Lord plagued and the Ass with great plagues 9 because of Sarai unto me? Pharaoh and his house Abram's didst 19. Egypt. and tents. son. Isaac. wars. andsaid. These travels In the chapters that follow. And Abram went up out of Egypt. In the concern beginning these necessities were available. the south even to made the place where his 4. And the land which went with Abram. and all commanded his concerning him: they sent him away. required for the fulfillment of the New Way. bear them. in silver. wife . hadflocks. Abraham must live through the whole from the beginning in order to see where it is going. between Beth-el and Ai. And Pharaoh called Abram. leaving life does Abram free to himself with other Abram's nomadic not require great riches. As founder of the New Way. that might dwell for their . that take her. yet he has sufficient means for that kind of nobility which will be required in Chapter 14. could not and herds. prophets a great deal is made of Abram's wealth. 18. She is my sister? So I have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife. They are educated and sufficient means to retain their independence. 3 . into 2. And Pharaoh wife. so that they they dwell together. which he had of the Lord. together: 6. unto went on his journeys from had been at the Beth-el. 5 . Unto the place called on the name of the altar. the south. there at the first: and there Abram Within these last verses. and 20. The Biblical have in general are not presented as poor men. A certain amount of wealth will clearly be matters. Chapter XIII 1 . was not able to substance was great. was And Abram And he tent very rich in cattle. We have seen him suffer from their famines. and his he had. men and go thy way. and Lot with him. And Lot also. see the commentary to Chapter 20.

and to thy seed for ever And I will make thy seed as the dust of the the earth. Then Lot chose land of Egypt. But the men of Sodom were bad and sinners before the Lord exceedingly. then I to the 10. and is indicative and of the general problems facing the poverty but because author. While he has struggle over them. and westward: which thou 15. said unto Lot. Interpretation And there was a strife between and the cattle: and the Canaan-ite the Periz-zite herdmen of Abram's cattle dwelled then in and the herdmen of Lot's the land. The break between Lot of and Abram arises not because of riches. but small groups tend to struggle with each other. but between their herdsmen. and look from the place where thou art northward. the choice. And Abram 9. to thee will I give it. which once . Lift up now thine eyes. 16. even though he pitches it near the city. left. that it was well watered before the the Lord destroyed Sodom Gomorrah. Abram dwelled in pitched the his tent toward land of Canaan. like 11 . after that Lot was separated from him. and eastward. then shall earth: so that thy seed also be ifa man can number the dust of numbered. between my herdmen and thy herdmen. him all the plain ofJordan . There is a curious inversion in the simile of the dust of the earth. Let there be no strife. The strife naturally tend to fall into small groups where intimate relationships are possible. or if thou depart to the right hand. Is not the whole land before thee? Separate thyself. If division becomes necessary. even as the Garden of the Lord. Sodom . between Lot Abram. and beheld all the plain and of Jordan. we know the importance country. and southward. Men This division is the spoken of universal blessing in the beginning of the long account of the strivings for the beginning of Chapter 12. especially when interdependence is no longer was not necessary. 12. even though Abram part of a general Lot's choice of the eastern section tendency within book. And Lot lifted up his eyes. and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain. from me: if thou wilt take the will go left hand. By lives in now. I pray thee. For all the land seest. then I will go to the right. for we be brethren.10 1 . and 13 . 4:16. Abram means given shows a natural he is unwilling to is magnanimity in the largesse of his reply. Lot is is the the elder. of the fact that Lot chooses the city and Abram lives in the a Lot should not be judged too harshly. and 8 . he still tent. And the Lord said unto Abram. between me and thee. I pray thee. and Lotjourneyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. everywhere . as thou comest unto Zoar. 14. which was described in the commentary to Gen. however.

his descendants. and king of Sodom. Sheshai. origins more in the recognition of man's needs than in their glorification. . by the spies Moses sends out to view the land: Hebron. Amraphel appears to to the author. which The war anticipated at the end of the previous chapter has come. \ou. Apart from this verse. though some modern scholars of unknown be totally have connected him with It was Hammurabi. king of Elan. And it came to pass Ched-or-laomer king ofElam. Elan. king of Admah. and came unto where A-himan. Biblical limitations on such ideas are marked by sobriety and have their sanctification as well. is otherwise completely unknown to the Biblical Arioch. His kingdom. On the contrary. appears of together with Babylon in the Book of Jeremiah as one of Israel's enemies (Jer. in the days of Amra-phel king ofShinar. and the grounds upon which the Tower of Babel stood. however. and the king ofBela. and The chapter ends whole of the by continuing the main theme of Chapter 12 Abram sees the Promised Land from the same vantage point from which it will be seen . Inversion through is not a specifically Biblical device. But the combatants are not those whom we had expected. dwell at Elon Mamre which is in Hebron. walk about moved altar the land. and came to the Lord there. Rise up. Shem-eber king ofZe-boi-im. (Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt. If the pattern that was begun in the previous chapter had continued. 18. were. as is Chedorlaomer.The Lion referred and the Ass 1 1 to man's mortality but now refers to his fruitfulness. the children of Anak. living through the future life between him and but of a land of giants as well. (Num. Abram is names of the combatants mean not even involved in the have first. has also left no traces. Ellasar. for I give it to . 17. 2. though modern sources believe it was in Babylon. And Abram he built an his tent. is not quite so unknown. the land Shinar. And they ascended by the south. we should expect to see a great war the Canaanites in the next chapter. through its to length and its breadth. That these made war with Shinab is Zoar. the home of Nimrod. Chapter XIV 1 . and Talmai.) The spies see a 13:22) If land Abram is to continue flowing with milk and honey. Bera king ofElla-sar. and with Birsha king of Go-morrah. king his kingdom. there would have been a war between Abram and various war at read Canaanite tribes. Ari-och and Tidal king of nations. author. The very little even to those who the later books. It is fundamental in pagan myth While poetry emerged as the refining and ennoblement of man's baser passions.

12 49:36ff). and that usually vary in size and shape with . men were about Joshua enters the When Joshua's orders not to take were not of the to take the city of Ai. The Canaanites and been dead. eating his food. regardless of once more however tenuous that league may be. Joshua found it necessary is the home Babylon of Nimrod and the seat of paganism par excellence. The war that had been expected between Abram and the Canaanites Canaanites the seems to and the have been replaced by a war between the that will ancestors of the ancestors of the Babylonians. Only Zoar will remain. a war find Abram defending Canaanites.25).21). in part. a thick fog comes up over the salt sea. The name will come up again soon after Promised Land. which is the salt sea. wealth. All things a man owns and uses and every day. customs . It battle. For us. The name of the valley is in fact the Valley of Ghosts. he gave them strict any spoils. Nor will These kings All these make cities the names of their kings ever be mentioned again. But why should a man be killed because he was attracted to a trinket he found one day? The attractions of Babylon will pose a constant threat to the new country. could be almost cities. Tidal. After to slay Achan for his part in the defeat of the army (Josh. though he must be strong. were based his keen Joshua's first the attack was unsuccessful because a man named Achan was attracted to a garment made in Shinar. 36:32). All these were joined together in the valley ofSiddim. up one side of the war. The others are all kings of dead but one will be completely destroyed. Shinar will be mentioned only in the whole of the Bible. 29:23. Joshua's strict instructions on to the men not to enrich themselves by awareness of the relation of men the spoils of the city to the things they make. The men long lived in the Promised Land before the New Way came were attacked of Babylon. but to burn the whole contents of the city. from city to city of another man from people to people. which he found in Ai (Josh. 7:24. Admah and Zeboiim will be destroyed along with them. This happened in the by the long dead past. In the early morning when the sun begins to rise. and ways of life that their maker put into them It is hard to cook in the pot without. taking various strange forms. or possessions of that people. Interpretation king of nations. 7:20. Sodom and Gomorrah will be explicitly destroyed in Chapter 18. the anyone. carry them ghosts of the goals. The name Babylon . The Valley of Siddim is rightly named. the their cities have who men war takes place in a Valley of Ghosts. too. 3. except if one is to suppose that this Bela is the same of King Bela who ruled in the land eventually settled by the sons Esau (see Gen. The attractions of seem to be uppermost in the author's mind at this moment. and according to Deut. The men to be enriched by the artifacts. which do remind one of ghosts. and no man can even remember them.

In the to days of Joshua the lands aside s of the giants were finally conquered and given Caleb. and some of Even Joshua victory. But the war is indeci Chedorlaomer is partly victorious. but it was ordained from the beginning that neither would ever . 5. people used to the life of slavery in Egypt revolted. were a foreign people. In the Book of Exodus one sees a people able to maintain their dignity while even right serving under a foreign master. however. and when they heard the tales they have to up who could It was then that God decreed that the Children a generation of of Israel would wander in the desert 40 years until free men grew face the giants (Num. but the people he conquers are left alive and remain to be conquered once again by the sons of Abram. so that his ability to chase Chedorlaomer and his followers out of the land of Canaan does not imply that his descendants The Rephaim will be able to conquer the Canaanites to Deut. the the only spy.The Lion disappears from return under and the Ass 13 the text and is never mentioned. totally. and smote the Rephaims in Ashteroth Karnaim. spies little life left in them. and the Emims in . And in the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer. As we had been that time. Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer. ancient lately come from over the western If one looks at the map of Israel. till the Babylonians suddenly to conquer the north Shalmenesser. as an Egyptian prince. are the giants who warned at and the Zuzim. from Joshua. and The will next time be the last. 4. but he has struggle within the no right to intervene when there was a community itself (Ex. according of 2:20. had the to kill the Egyptian taskmaster. Moses. There was bound to be constant conflict between the two be victorious . Their relation to Israel is somewhat complicated and can only be understood if we have the patience to follow every step of the way. As early as the Book of Numbers it had been established that the land of the Philistines would form the southeastern border of the Promised Land (Ex. one can see that the land of the Philistines always sides . Nebuchadnezzer will come. and giants escaped to Gaza completely decisive. and the Zuzims in Ham. The Philistines sea. They were a beaten Land. 14:33).be defeated. who maintained was not that the giants could. In the Book people with of Numbers little of that dignity is visible. Ashdod in the land of the Philistines. came and in the thirteenth year they rebelled. Judah fight no more (II Kings 24:1). 23:31). and the kings that were with him. such a whole cannot be achieved. is not a people to conquer giants. Shaveh Kiriathaim Chedorlaomer sive. suddenly appeared at the beginning Chapter 6. and his men now fight the serious war. King of Assyria. When they reached the borders of the Promised whom Moses sent out to scout the land returned with stories of its riches and great beauty. they return will (II Kings 17:24). 13:17. they have managed to live through the Flood and will constantly play a role throughout the Torah. 2:11-14). but A warned the people that it was a land inhabited by unconquerable giants. would have formed a natural whole with Israel But .

rose as Saul had fallen. Achish and his allies attacked war while During doing battle with the that Philistine Amalekites (I Sam. the first king of Israel. and David was more famous than Saul. There a were several skirmishes of Judges. His men were for attack. and at that point it is decided that the House of to be the royal house that of at Saul will not continue Israel (I Sam. the over to David's side (II Sam. David's stay with the Philistines was well spent. We must him ruler over the city Ziklag (I Sam. of became Early they were in the First Book Samuel the Philistines were able to capture the plagues and center of the New Way. to defend herself from the Philistines in the largest sense of the Philistines at Michmash passages are in no the word. won Saul the Young David. but Goliath was dead. 13:14). He was a boy then. 29-31). the Ark itself. 17:52). Philistine who Philistines. serious. His first battle. gives a series of reasons The Bible for the decision to establish the kingship. the prophet. Gittite. too. died in David's stay with the learn their ways. actually warring against the Amalekites. but God added another cause. but it was not until the days of King purely Saul that the private war with conflict them (Judg. The Israelite forces role of were victorious day in the field Michmash. constantly bear in mind that commentary David's power as king rested to a a large had extent on come his ability to control the army of Ittai. made 27). but David was forced to . 4-6). and Samson engaged in 13-16). The two Israel 's great task was way contradictory. Saul was appointed king in order to save Israel from the Philistines (I Sam. Ekron for the first time Philistine land was penetrated and the cities of rise Gad and and taken (I was Sam. was against the Philistine.14 When the Children the shorter route Interpretation of Israel left Egypt. decided to perform the sacrifice himself. But David's one of the to fame led to Saul's jealousy. However. Saul 's first great battle prepared was against . According to His account. in which he began to Israel. 9:16). but Samuel had not before the battle. 15:18ff). but for preempting the battle only to lose the royal seed. 36:12. During this period he found it possible to gain the friendship of kings in Philistia. Chaps. yet arrived to make the sacrifice that had to take place fearing that Samuel would not arrive on time and seeing the restlessness of the men. We have already discussed the human demands for a king. David David forced to flee. beautiful and full David's rise to fame began and with his single-handed defeat of the giant Goliath. Saul. Saul. as will be described at greater length in the to Gen. it only brought them forced to return it (I Sam. of a kind of wit rarely seen in the Bible. of who welcomed with open arms and Achish. God commanded Moses not to take through Philistia because they in the Book were not yet prepared for that battle. In doing so he upset the balance between the power of the king and the power of God as expressed through His prophet. the David was The first great wars with Philistines were over. while Achish that he had made himself odious in Israel convincing he spent his time by attacking them. and she had proven herself incapable of doing so without a king.

In the full account. The youth who a cup of water Israel and killed on that same provide. yet the eighth and ninth II Kings 18 . peace is possible but never guaranteed. Yet he could not enjoy or what other men had risked their lives to unto Whether it (II Sam. Immediately after the battle David composed a powers David's account of song began to fail him. The full story of David's last courageous act is told only in Chapter 23. was able to land of giants so that an ordered be established. 23:1). bear home could the same relationships to our lives. the giants will always remain on the borders. tired and fainting battlefield. Truly recounting the deeds accomplished in his life. the giant with a slingshot was now an old man. verses of and not much read: is heard the struggle. he what he had done. But according to the Biblical understanding of the human situation. lately from we over the seas. 5:25). Courage labor will always be required to of assure its perpetuation. In and its understanding. Caleb. when another fought By this time David was too place old and tired to carry on the war. like Winston Churchill to the chance hand of some which Charles De Gaulle. The original east was country was at its height. But the border with the Philistines land of plays a in our story. is given at the end of what some of men The Last Words of David (II Sam. This never-to-be-conquered the giants radically different is an essential part those men of one of the main themes of the come book. is the political counterpart of the waters above the and heavens were discussed in Chapter 1. David. By virtue of his courage. the beings that inhabit them laid out and well ordered during the six days of Creation. However. never included border with Moab and the Amonites in the to protect intended as a sacred western border and was meant the inheritance of those role people. this home we know so well waters that are above the is surrounded heavens. rarely leave historian called nor such accounts future is did David. the son of Jephunneh. and younger men had to take his (II Sam. which since the time of the Flood and have been held back by virtue of the Covenant between Noah God. The borders Israel. was David the King David the Singer who poured it out the Lord 23:16) we shall never of know. In Chapter 21 David's loss of physical prowess is merely indicated when the text mentions that David waxed faint (II Sam. Life the last days of then if nothing could be became peaceful battle was on the with Philistine border four giants. had broken through the Philistine lines in a well we discover that had David's order to fetch him charmed from he had known as a child. The political rid the giants and their new home. The land of the Philistines. accord ing by the chaotic pointed out at to the Biblical view of the universe. the seas below on the earth are a reminder of that which lies beyond the Covenant. Philistia. Earth. 21:15). Centuries pass. When some accurate and saw the necessity of leaving great leaders.The Lion fight them again and the Ass Jerusalem and 15 the time he estab settled between the time he as the permanent was until captured of the lished Jerusalem until home Ark. But as we that time. as that battle fought (II Sam. even when the the land of the Philistines. 21:15). sky.

And the Hordes in their Mount Seir. which is Kadesh. And it came to pass came against borders thereof. . from the tower of the that in the fourth year of King Hezekiah. Hezekiah's last act just before his state began to to renew collapse was giants. even this early stage. Even though Abram's people are to a new bring way of life to the world. justice may still . In Gen. of Seir will- become the home of the sons of Esau . 7. The city of En-Mishpat. The country men under Chedorlaomer and continue the war who by taking Kadesh and the lived in Hazazon-Tamar. While Hezekiah was able to by a miraculous destroy the High Places. and though there will be numerous the question of whether any of occasions for us to consider those justifications. intelligible in terms of simple retributive Ultimately the only true justification may hinge upon the success or failure of that New Way in bringing about the blessing for all nations. And they returned. taking the justification to the justification about can By limiting be Amorites. The city whose name was The Source of Judgment has become the city named Holy. them will be ultimately remain. and also En-Mishpat. In Deut 2 : 12 the Mountain . the great reformation was only carried out by his grandson. Samaria and beseiged it. received the new name Kadesh. the Bible only raises the question of whether that be formed in such simplistic terms. More can and will said that justification throughout the Torah. Shalmanesser. . which is by the wilderness. and smote all the the Amor-ites. 15:16 the Lord says Israel may not inherit the land at the present moment because the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. some justification will be needed for other people's land. that dwelt in Haza-zon-tamar. Josiah (see commentary to Gen. the may be a bit more complicated. 20: (7). of the Amalekites the Amorites The relation between the Children matter and will of Israel and the Amalekites is an ex tremely involved problems be dealt with in the commentary to Gen. king ofAssyria. and came to country of the Ama-lek-ites. unto El-paran. The spite of northern states had already fallen into the hands of the Assyrians. however. Abram has not forgotten to provide for his other grandson. 36:12. up and the watchman to the fenced city. Hezekiah 's own state of Judea was seriously threatened and was saved only calamity that befell the enemy. and in his great reforms and attempt to return to ancient practices. of the conditions under which the descendants of Abram will inherit the land. . The Amorites may stand for the whole of the Canaanite nation. the fight and penetrate once more into that strange land of the Chedorlaomer 's battle with the giants at serves in part to remind the reader. as is noted in the text. 6.16 He smote the Interpretation Philistines even unto Gaza.

who and all their victuals. 15. they that remainedfled to the mountain. 12.) and they joined battle with them in the valley ofSiddim. With Ched-or-lao-mer the king ofElam. and his dwelling place . 16. The Babylonians have only retreated. the northern border of what will become the Promised Land. the king king of Go-morrah. and also . leave that waiting. Hobah. and the people 17. It was the Tower of Babel was made. And the king of Sodom and went out to meet him after his at return slaughter of Ched-or-lao-mer. Blessed be Abraham of the most high god. 18. from the and his goods.The Lion 8. And there plain dwelt in Sodom. and told Abram the Hebrew. which is king's dale . 19. 14. and the women also. departed. brought again his brother Lot. And he blessed him. 10. born in his house. 9. And when Abram heard own that his brother three was taken and captive. in the which and his servants. the valley ofShaveh. And Mel -chize-dek king of the most ofSa-lem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest high god. and pursued them unto Dan. andAri-och andAmra-phel king of Shinar. and the threat of their return will be there just beyond the horizon. brother of Eschol. The author may have used the here in order to re-emphasize the relation between Chedorlaomer and Babylon. word slime appears material out of which the word only once again in the Book of Genesis. however. heaven and earth: and said. was not complete. And he brought back all the goods. possessor of Verse 2 of Ps 76 . And the king of Ella-sar . Throughout the rest of the book one is always conscious that Abram's somewhere near Damascus. And he divided himself against them. by night. This victory. of slimepits and the valley ofSiddim was full and kings of Sodom and Go-morrah fled. The settlement enemy is out there of the wars under Moses and old Joshua always will still problem unsolved. four kings with five. and with Tidal king of nations. he armed his trained servants. of Bela (the same is the king of Zoar. hundred he is eighteen. and . and the king ofZe-boiim. And there went out the and the Ass 17 and king of Sodom. Abram's brother's son. and and the Admah. and pursued them unto on the left hand of Da-mascus Abram is to successful war to the extent that he is able to clear the land up Dan. The and fell there. reads : in Salem also is his tabernacle. came one that had escaped. 11. for he dwelt in the and these were confederate with of Mamre the Amor-ite. 13 And they took Lot. and went their way. and his goods. And they took all the goods of Sodom and Go-morrah. and smote them . the of the kings that were with him. Abram.

That I will not thing that is thine. By giving tithe to Malchi-Zedek. by which the highest of the non-chosen legitimacy of the New Way seems to rely upon name the blessings This requirement fourth is chapter of and whole.18 is in Zion. The men most high God seems to be the know the God of the Jews. the possessor and earth. lest take from a thread even to a shoelatchet. And the thyself. 32:8 the author When the most high gave nations relation their homes and set the divisions of man. 23. which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. king of Jerusalem is not Malchi-Zedek but Adoni-Zedek. must be part of the legitimization Abram's (see Preface) . 22. Balaam is though writes: priest of the most a term found twice again in a prophet who of believes deeply in the most high God. his possessions to role the priest under Malchi-Zedek. Malchi-Zedek is the the Bible. This verse Interpretation is written in a common form of Biblical rhetoric . king of Sodom to the said unto Abram. Malchi-Zedek is therefore the high king be of (Jeru-) Salem. and take the goods to And Abram said king of Sodom. which would strengthen the notion that Abram's the aegis of what later Judaism will call the a wise men of the nations. 21. Again in Deut. Deuteronomy. the last sentence are gave a tenth of The antecedents of the relative pronouns of unclear. even he has never heard His Chosen People. The chapter as a possible is seems to make the claim that the virtue of the New Way visible to those who look with purely human understanding. God has become the Lord and the . Salem is therefore iden consequently must be taken as an old form of Jerusalem. and that I will not take any thou shouldest say. I have made Abram rich: Abram uses a double appellation for God. One is would assume that Abram. of heaven I have lift up mine hand unto the Lord. Malchi-Zedek. Its two parts say approximately the same tified with Zion in the and thing in different language. which in the tenth chapter of Joshua. the most high God. 20. as victor in the war. particularly Verse 6. which only in the light of the inspired this commentary. The role of Jerusalem as the may Bible that five kings form occurs point war also reflected an alliance in the fact that the only other time in the is in the first attack on Jerusalem. him tithes of all. Give me the persons. At that time the high God. Abram acknowledges that he cannot and should not accept the task if its virtues are not visible to men of good will among the other nations. he fixed the boundaries ofpeoples in to Israel's peoples. And blessed be the And he gave most high God. The of such men. of as a representative of venture those people.

The Lion
most

and the

Ass
he knows God to the
name used

19

high God. be

By joining the name by
Abram indicates
the ultimate

which

by

Malchi-Zedek,
would

a possible rapprochement which

presumably

part of

blessing.

Abram's
was a war of

refusal

to be enriched to

by

the war is two-sided. On the one hand it

duty

as opposed

a war of gain since

Abram

was responsible

for the
are

life
part

of

his brother, Lot. However, it need also be remembered that these lands of the Promised Land which will one day belong to his descendants.
Save only
with

24.

that which the

young

men

have

eaten, and the portion of the

men which went

me,

Aner, Eschol,
be
of unjust

andMamre; let them take their portion.

It
the

would

to deprive those with this time.

whom

he has

signed the

Covenant,

Amorites,

their

gain at

Chapter XV

1

.

After these things, the

word

of the Lord came

unto

Abram in

a vision

saying, Fear not,

Abram, I am thy

shield,

and

thy

reward shall

be

exceedingly great.

The opening words are a standard way the author has of indicating a close connection between the previous account and the present story. The word vision
must

be

weighed with great care.

The Later Prophets

use the word quite
,

frequently,

but it

here for the only time in the whole of the Torah and will appear only twice in the Early Prophets. The first time is in I Sam. 3:1. The verse reads: and the
appears
word

of the Lord

was precious

in those

days;

there was no open

vision

.

The
place

word vision

is

not used until

the rise of prophecy. It seems to be out of

in the early times. The only other use in the Early Prophets is in II Sam. 7:16 when Nathan announces to David that his son will build the Temple. The force
of the word vision

is to

continue

the dreamlike and

hazy

presenta
.

tion of the

world

that began with the description of the to
grow

Valley

of

the

Ghosts This

impression
2.

will continue

throughout the whole of the chapter.

And Abram said, Lord God,
steward

what wilt

thou give me,

seeing I

go

childless, and the

3

.

of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus: And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no

seed; and,

lo,

one

born in my house

is

mine

heir.

In

one way, at
chapter

least,

the sense in which this chapter

is intended to follow the

clear. By refusing the immediate gains of the himself worthy of a much greater reward. God also tells Abram not to fear. This too may be related to the preceding chapter, for we must not forget that Chedorlaomer has not been destroyed and is still living somewhere

preceding

is

immediately

war, Abram has

shown

near

Damascus.

20

Interpretation

Abram's reply is not a complaint. He is willing to do whatever the Lord commands and believes God will do all He can, but there does not seem to be much
of value that
will

God

can give

him. No

matter

how

great the rewards no son.

are, all of them

disappear

when

Abram dies, because Abram has

The

word

that has been translated childless

literally means naked.

The play

on

these two meanings appears in Lev. 20:20:

If

a man

lies

with

his

uncle's

wife, it

is his

uncle's nakedness

that he has

uncovered.

They

shall

bear their guilt; they

shall

die

childless.

There
nakedness.

are

two ways
apple

of

understanding the relationship
on a

of

fruitlessness

and

The

hanging
.

tree not only preserves the species

it

beautifies the tree

as well

In the commentary to Gen. 9:23, when considering the actions Japheth, we saw that it was the duty of a child to cover the nakedness This

of of

Shem

and

his father. justice

duty

is

part of

the answer to the problem of legitimization; if the

founding of a
the

people requires a

war, then

its legitimization radically depends
not understand good.

upon

found in the lives
At this
will
point

of the sons.

see,

do, hear,

in the account, Abram does or think, in terms of present

The
.

virtue of

anything of what he his actions rests

solely in their being a preparation for later generations On the basis of this verse one can draw no conclusions Eliezer. If we
are a

about

the character of

to

assume

that he

is the

same servant who appears

in Chapter 24,

he

seems to a

be

decent

man.

If, however,
s
chased

we read the verse

in

a

broader sense, it

becomes

bit

clearer.

Abram

Chedorlaomer has only been
the
verse's wider

fear may be more of Damascus than of Eliezer. back to Damascus, which means Babylon. In
that even if he

implications, Abram fears

is

able

to establish the

New Way, it will only be inherited and misinterpreted by Babylon. Abram seems convinced that he will be able to conquer the land; but he
will

whether and

be

able

to conquer the greater threat posed

by

Babylonian

arms

Babylonian

ways would seem

to be the

subject of

this all too

hazy

chapter.

4.

And, behold,
but he

the word

of the Lord came

unto

him,

saying,
shall

This

shall not

be

thine

heir;

that shall come forth out

of thine own
and

bowels

be

thine

heir.
and

5.

And He brought him forth abroad,
stars,

said, Look now toward

heaven,

tell the

if thou

be

able to number them: and

he

said unto

him,

So

shall thy seed

be.

God's first brilliance
of

attempt

to convince Abram is an appeal made to the manyness and

His Creation.

6.
7.

And he believed in the Lord;

and

he

counted

it to him for righteousness.
out

And he said unto him, I am the Lord that brought thee
thee this

of Ur of the

Chaldees,

to give

land

to inherit it.

The Lion
The
possible grammar of

and the

Ass
to
unravel.

21
The two

this verse is

difficult, if not impossible,

translations

are:

And he

[Abram} believed the Lord; and he [the Lord]
other

counted

him [Abram]

righteous.

The

possibility is:

And he

[Abram] believed the Lord; and he [Abram]

counted

him [the Lord]

as righteous.

The first
subject,

interpretation,
is certainly
best

which

Paul gave,

requires an

implied

change

in the
a

which

permissible within

Hebrew grammar, though

bit
at

strange, particularly

since the pronoun
one can

is

not emphasized.

Since

so much

is

stake,

perhaps the

do is to

attempt

to

spell out of

the

implications

of

the

two alternatives

and make a

judgment

on the

basis

the text as a whole.
worthiness of the

The first interpretation implies that God's recognition of the
man

is

fundamentally

determined

by

his faith in God, God's
to

as

distinguished, for

instance, from his dedication to those The second interpretatiorj would
based
upon

ways that are
seem

ways.

imply that Abram 's belief in God is
chapter as a whole

his belief that God is Abram's fears,

a

just God. Since the

is

an

attempt to relieve

such a context would seem

to speak in

favor

of

the latter interpretation.

However,

the point is quite difficult.

8.

And he said, Lord God, whereby

shall

I know that I

shall

inherit it?

Though Abram
seemed sure

appeared

to be

convinced of clear

to be

missing.

From Verse 6 it is he

God's justice, something that Abram believed God and

still

was

God

would act

justly, but Abram

was still confused

because, according to the
be
understood as an

present political present.

situation as

understood

it,

the threat of Babylon was still

The

following

rather strange verses must somehow

answer

to Abram

s question.

9.

And he
years

said unto

him, Take
him but
all

me an
years and

heifer of three

years

old, and a she goat

of three

old, and a ram
unto

of three
the

old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.

10.

A nd he took

these,

divided them in
not.

the midst, and

laid each piece

one

against another:

birds divided he
came

11.

And

when

the

carrion

birds

down

upon

the carcasses

Abram drove them

away.

If this is God's
sacrifice and

answer, our problem must

be to find the
to

significance of the question. animals: a

to see how it can be
with

undertsood as an answer

Abram's

Let

us

begin

the first
a

problem.

Abram is told to
and a pigeon.

sacrifice

five

heifer,

a she goat,

a ram,

turtledove,

The birds

seem

to be a

reference

to Lev.

5:7:

while under various circumstance said people. classes. and to that extent one cannot expect that all Prophets coat gain Traditions like Joseph's all their richness from their manyness. 4:22). in form of turn. And thou shalt not escape out of his hand. Law. he shall speak with thee mouth to mouth. before thee. are will Prophecy familiar to agree. burnings of thy fathers. But shalt not of the Lord. and all the kingdoms of the and against all and speak to earth Neb-u-chad-nez:ar king of of his dominion. establish which sacrifice would passage most appropriate understand to which The present nation in Genesis would seem the law to divide the future into four classes: the poor. is the one animal that is a ruler to be particularly may be offered by various fitting for a sacrifice made by and (Lev. a difficult affair. the ruler. which were will . It speaks in terms that each Prophet. offering and the burnt offering. and thou shalt go to word Babylon. Verse 18. Bearing this in mind and knowing used the traps we may be falling into. Yet hear the Thou 5. Thus saith the Lord. The passage from Jeremiah reads as follows: 1. one for a sin as his penalty for that otherfor a of which he is guilty. Even to use the word Bible if it were all the work of a single one of author. any gives a sacrifice for each of the four Verse 10 is much more difficult to understand. The Hebrew word. the people. I Babylon. at best.22 But Interpretation if his means do not suffice for a sheep. the cities saith the Lord. two turtledoves or two pigeons. let us continue on our way. one as the Bible is. thus saith the Lord of thee. comes to the world through Prophets. and will word the author in Verse 10 for piece is a rather uncommon used the word only occur once again in the whole of Biblical literature. he shall bring to the Lord. Go Zed-e-kiah him. 4. but shah surely be taken. and since the context in which it appears is sacrifice. Jeremiah in Chapter 34. the thou shalt die in peace: and with the former kings lament thee. O Zed-e-kiah die by the sword: king ofJudah. since it is unlike the sacrifice mentioned in the Torah. Jerusalem. so shall they burn odours for thee. behold. and all thereof. and he shall burn it with fire: 3 . saith the Lord. and the priests. and thine eyes shall behold king of Babylon. it is reasonable to suppose also concerned with a that Abram s sacrifice is intimately connected to the one described by Jeremiah. The other two animals. saying. will give this city into the hand of the king ofJudah and king of . when Babylon. and they saying. fought against . according to Levitical and appropriate to the average Israelite be to to the priests. The word which came unto and all Jeremiah from the Lord. the eyes of the and delivered into and his hand. the God of Israel. are equally hence it is difficult to group. Abram. Reading itself. 2 Thus tell his army. The she-goat. may cause grave contained problems when tries to understand any the books in it. the average man. Ah Lord! for I have pronounced the word.

and they of fight a against it. liberty I will for 18. unto thus saith the Lord: Ye have not hearkened me. of a into the covenant. maidservant. and to the beasts of the earth. after that the made a covenant with all the people which were at Jerusalem. against . and passed between the pieces thereof. Then Jeremiah and the Ass Zed-e-kiah 23 the prophet spake all these words unto king ofJudah in Jerusalem. thou shalt unto let him ear. and eveiy man to his neighbour: behold. saying. that none should serve himself of them. I made a covenant with your fathers in the day out I brought them forth end of the land of Egypt. and eveiy man them his handmaid. then they let them go. and the priests. his to proclaim king Zed-e-kiah liberty being an unto them. princes. That every Hebrew or let his go manservant. all the people 20. neither inclined their 15 . and ye name: made a covenant before In proclaiming liberty eveiy me in the house which is called by my 16. 13. to return. life. I will command. I proclaim famine. (Jer. to be for handmaids. 34) . to wit. that none should serve themselves of them any more. his brother an Hebrew. an Hebrewess. sold unto thee. and had done had right in my sight. 19. And I will give the the words of the that have transgressed my covenant. When the Judah king ofBabylon 's armyfought against Jerusalem left. which and had entered one heard that every one should let his manservant. Behold. and against A-zekah: for these defenced cities remained of the cities ofJudah. unto you for servants and to return. the God of Israel. and to the and make you to be removed into all the kingdoms of the made earth. which have they not performed cut covenant which they had before me. the eunuchs. go free from thee: but your fathers hearkened not were now me. 7 . This is had the word that came unto Jeremiah from the Lord. he hath served thee six years. which are gone you. to his neighbour. which passed betiveen the pieces of the calf. and even- man maidservant . which hath been . when the calf in twain. And ye man turned. Therefore Thus that and brought them into subjection for servants andfor handmaids. At the of seven years and when let ye every man out of the house of bondmen saying. man should 9. Now when all the and all the people. you. go obeyed. 22. AndZed-e-kiah and into the hand of them that seek their king ofJudah and his princes will I give into the hand of their enemies. and and cause them to return to this city. and of the land. But afterward they turned. 17. and into the hand of them that seek their life: and their dead bodies shall be for meat unto the fowls of the heaven. burn it with fire: and I will make the cities Judah desolation without an inhabitant. and against all the cities of that were Lachish. go 14. and Jew his brother. 10.The Lion 6. Lord. every his free. 11 . and take it. 12. men to the sword. 8 . whom they had let go free. But ye turned and polluted my name . every one to his brother. the word saith the of the Lord came to Jeremiah from the Lord. and caused every man his servant . free. Therefore whom he had set at liberty at their pleasure. saith the Lord. and into the hand of the king ofBabylon's up from saith army. to the pestilence. and caused the servants and the handmaids. 21. and brought into subjection. in proclaiming a liberty. / will even and the princes of Jerusalem. shall the Lord. give them into the hand of their enemies. The princes of Judah.

At the 2. Jeremiah looked around him and heard the One might was to beginning to stir Lord say that Jerusalem proclaimed fall since she on had not kept the Sabbatical Year prophet nor liberty throughout the land the Jubilee. it shall be a jubile unto you. thine eye be evil against thy and poor brother. the of release. nor shut thine handfrom thy poor brother: 8 . end of eveiy seven years thou shalt make And this is the manner of the release: eveiy a release. land shall not reign over thee. is hand. unto him . and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the return inhabitants possession. the seventh year. . (Lev. people was to last than seven At the end of each seventh year all slaves were let free debts foregiven 1 . of his brother. is a reference to the fifteenth chapter Deuteronomy. and he cry unto the Lord against thee.for the Lord shall greatly bless thee in the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it: if thou carefully hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God. . he shall not exact it of his neighbour. 25:10) Why are these two occasions so important that Jermiah should single out out as the prime cause of their we Israel 's find an failure to carry them command destruction? If we can answer to that question may be in a better position to understand God's to Abram. and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need. that he includes the Jubilee Year as well. but they 7. and thou givest him nought. that which he Beware year that there be at not a thought and in thy wicked heart. Of a foreigner thou hand shall release.24 Babylon was was about to attack. If there be among you which the a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy Lord thy God giveth thee. which the Only be no poor among you . saying. creditor that lendeth or ought unto his neighbour shall release it. many nations. but thou shalt not as He promised thee: and thou shalt borrow. mayest exact it again: but that which is thine with thy brother thine . of Verse 14 in particular. though in verse 17 later. Save when land 5. slavery among the years. Our task is to sense as we shall show the Sabbatical Year. The has in mind the verse: And ye shall hallow thereof: the fiftieth year. lend unto 6. thou shalt not harden thine heart. But thou shalt open thine hand wide wanteth. and The passage. to obsene to do all there shall these commandments which I command thee this day. For the Lord thy God blesseth thee. understand the significance of these two occasions and to see in what they give us a According to the for no more and all better understanding of sacrifice. Interpretation be tempted to say that Chedorlaomer in Damascus. in 9. called the Lord's release. which deals with Jeremiah indicates. and ye shall every man unto his and ye shall return every man unto his family. it be sin unto thee. laws of Deuteronomy. because it is 3 4 . and thou shalt reign over many nations.

Then thou shalt take an awl. then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee. For the poor shall shalt open never cease out thine hand wide unto thy brother. I will not go awayfrom thee. or have any ill blemish. seeing ye were in the land of Egypt. thee. shalt All the firstling males Lord thy God: thou of thy herd and of thy flock thou the firstling of thy sanctify unto the shalt do no work with bullock. because he loveth thee and thine house. it within thy the as if it be lame. hath been 19 worth a double hired servant thee in all that thou that come in serving him away free from thee. 13.The Lion 10. as the roebuck. And 16. of thy floor. And six years thou shalt sow thy land and shalt gather in the fruits thereof. The first of them long. (Ex. of the land: therefore I command thee. and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thy works. Chapter 25. be sold unto thee six years. Six days thou shalt do thy work. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard. and he shall be thy 18. and thrust unto it through his ear unto the door. when thou sendest to thee. 23:9-12) other two passages are rather them in full. andserve 12. if he say unto thee. and the son of thy handmaid. but to see its Chapter 26. Lord thy God hath blessed thee thou shalt and out and out of thy give unto him. or blind. for he thee six years: and the Lord thy God shall bless . 17 . Thou shalt eat it before the Lord thy God year by year in the place the Lord shall choose. but it will be worthwhile to quote is contained in Leviticus. where they are closely connected with the care of strangers and with Sabbath shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger. (Deut. and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto. be any blemish therein. But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still. 15) The laws concerning the Sabbatical Year are first mentioned in Exodus rest. and to thy needy. that the poor of thy Also thou strangers people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. thou shalt not sacrifice it unto the Lord Thou shalt eat gates: the unclean and the clean person shall eat it alike . 22. and the Lord God redeemed thee: therefore I command thee this day. saying. It servant for ever. 14. thou and 21. thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt. the ground as water. when thou sendest shalt furnish him out freefrom out thee. thy maidservant thou shalt do likewise. thy thing to And it shall be. Thou and the Ass 25 shalt surely give him. may be refreshed. because he is And also unto well with thee. 15 . or an thy poor. thou to 11 . thou shalt not let him go away empty: Thou him liberally winepress: of that wherewith the of thy flock. thou shalt pour it upon 23 . fullness we must also consider . Only thou shalt not eat the blood thereof. Hebrew woman. 20 . anHebrewman. and as hart. and with thy oliveyard. thy God. The and the stranger. shall not seem hard thee. And if there thy household. in thy land. which nor shear the firstling of thy sheep. And if thy And brother. and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest. doest.

and for the beast that are in thy land. shalt number seven sabbaths seven sabbaths cause And thou thee. saying. a sabbath for the Lord: thou shalt neither sow thy field. 6. and and ye shall dwell in 19. and nine years. and accord ing to the fewness of years thou shalt diminish the price of it: for according to the number of the years of the fruits doth he sell unto thee. 13 . Then shalt thou the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth shall ye make day of the seventh month. 21. seven times seven years. meat. but thou shalt fear thy God: for I do them. ye shall not oppress one another: 15. For it is the jubile. What shall we eat the seventh year? Behold. 18. A jubile 12. 11. And ye all the unto shall hallow the fiftieth year. Wherefore ye shall do my statutes. that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow. According to the multitude of years thou shalt increase the price thereof. and for And for thy thy hired servant. And if thou sell ought unto thy neighbour. Six years thou shalt sow thy field.26 Interpretation Chapter 25 1 . seventh year shall a sabbath 4. it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the groweth field. bring forth her And ye shall sow the eighth year. safety. then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the Lord. increase thereof be 8 . nor prune thy vineyard. say unto them. nor gather our increase: my Then I will command blessing upon you in the sixth year. neither reap that which of itself in it. and eat yet of old fruit until the ninth year. and proclaim ajubile unto liberty throughout all the land unto you. am the Lord your God. . of thy harvest thou shalt not reap. we shall not sow. maid. buyest ought neighbour's hand. ofyears shall unto that sojourneth shall all the with thee. unto the Children of Israel. andfor thy sen'ant. 17. In the year of this jubile ye shall return eveiy or man unto his possession of thy . and 2. andfor That which groweth of its own accord thy 7. And in 20. and the space of the of years be unto thee forty 9. 10. And the sabbath of the land shall be meatfor you. for thee. . neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land. and for thy stranger cattle. and dwell therein in safety. until fruits come in ye shall eat of the old store. and the number of years of the fruits he shall sell unto thee: 16. the land in And the land shall yield herfruit. nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed. be and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard. According to the number ofyears after the jubile according unto thou shalt buy of thy neighbour. in the day of atonement the trumpet sound throughout all your land. and it shall fruitfor three years. Ye shall not therefore oppress one another. When ye come into the land I give you. And the Lord Speak which spake unto Moses in Mount Sinai. 3. 14. 22 and ye shall eat yourfill. shall and ye shall return every man unto his family. and gather in the fruit thereof. if ye shall say. and ye shall return inhabitants thereof: it shall be eveiy man his possession. and keep my judgments. 5 . But in the of rest unto the land.

And if a man purchase of the Levites. Take thou thee. that he may return unto his possession. And if a man sell a dwelling house in a walled city. and restore the overplus unto Then let him to whom count the years of the sale thereof. are round about you. may in not of the among the suburbs children 34. 25. ofjubile: he departfrom thee. and be sold unto thee. in the jubile it shall go out. out house that was sold. Thou I am him thy money upon usuiy. then thou shalt relieve him: yea. And if the man have none he sold it. for sojourners with me. though no and fallen a decay with thee. God. and and the they shall go out in the jubile. then that which and of him that hath bought it until the year ofjubile: shall return unto his possession. that with 37. of a full year. of their posses of his Levites 32. which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt Jo give you the land of Canaan. thy usury of he be a stranger. And if thy brother be waxen poor. which they begat in your of them shall ye land: and they be your possession . to redeem 26. Notwithstanding sion. . for it is their perpetual 35. 31 . But the field of the possession . 36. sold as bondmen Thou shalt not rule over and him with rigour. may the the cities of the redeem at Levites. Andye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you.The Lion 23. 45. houses of the cities Levites any time. is sold shall remain in the hand and he 28. then shall he redeem that which his brother sold. buy. But ifhe be not able to restore it to him. then the 33. of the which thou shalt have. 42. his kin come land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land. 29. 24. of their cities be sold. that thy bondmaids. he may live with thee. then he may the redeem it within a whole year after it is sold. 40. but shalt fear thy God. shalt not give the Lord your . The land shall not and the Ass 27 ye are strangers and be sold for ever: for the land is Mine. which I broughtforth of the land of Egypt: they shall not be 43 . 39. 46. shall go are their possession in the year ofjubile: for the houses of the of Israel. children of them shall ye strangers with buy bondmen and shall be of the heathen bondmaids. him. to inherit them for . And if thy brother as an that dwelleth by thee by waxen poor. shall and of their families that are you. nor lend him thy victuals for increase. he shall be with thee. 38. and as a sojourner. and hath sold away some of his possession. and the city cities possession. For they my servants. Both thy bondmen. and shall serve thee 41 . 27. And in all the If thy brother be waxen poor. within a full year And if it be city not redeemed within the space to may he redeem it. both he then shall And unto the year unto and his children with shall him And shall return . and to be your God. then house that is in the walled shall be established for ever him that bought it throughout his genera tions: it shall not go out in the jubile. and if any of to redeem it. 44. and unto the possession of his fathers out he return. or sojourner. his own are family. thou shalt not compel him to sen-e as a bondservant: But hired servant. and himself be able to redeem it. the man it. 30. But the houses of the the fields of the villages which have no wall round about them shall be counted as country: they may be redeemed. that thy brother may live increase: butfear or God. Moreover of the that do sojourn among you.

12. or if he be able. . flight. according 51 . Chapter 26 1. was sold unto to him unto ofjubile: and the price of his sale shall be according unto the number ofyears. If ye walk and keep my commandments. may redeemhim. land Egypt 'of that ye . Lord your God. And I I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you And I will am the walk among you. wax poor. and time: and ye shall eat your give peace bread dwell in your land safely. For children with him. and they shall fall before you 8 by the sword. 53. Then I will give you rain in due season. 5 . I brought both he. And yearly hired servant shall sight.28 apossession. And ye shall eat old store. in the land. and the children 47. or his uncle's son. and the vintage shall reach unto the to the full. to bow down unto it: fori am the and reverence my sanctuary: Lord your God. and establish my covenant with you. according as a unto his years shall he give him with again the price of his redemption. and If there be yet many years behind. according unto them he shall give again the price of his redemption out of the money that he was bought for. or any that 50 . After that he is sold again. afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land. 52. and your enemies 9. And if there remain butfew years unto the year ofjubile. which brought you forth of the be my people. Ye shall keep my sabbaths. one of his brethren may redeem him: him Either his uncle . he may redeem And he shall reckon with him that bought himfrom the year that he the year is nigh of kin himself. 13 . 10. I am the Lord. and sell stranger 's family: thy brother that dwelleth by him of the himself unto the stranger of sojourner by thee. he be him: and the other shall not rule with rigour over him in thy his 54. . servants whom forth the children of Israel are servants. and ye shall lie down. and and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. do them. neither rear you up a standing image. Andfive ofyou For I will shall chase an hundred. then he shall go out in the year ofjubile. 1. and the 4. Interpretation they shall be your bondmenfor ever: but over your brethren rigour. 49. 2 3 . in my statutes. up any image ofstone in your land. of Israel. shall fall before you by have respect unto you. and bring forth be the old because of the and ye shall out new. to the time of an hired servant shall it be with him. of his family may redeem him. And your threshing sowing And I will shall reach unto the vintage. 55. And if he be and unto me out not redeemeed in these years. and multiply you. ye shall not rule one over another with And if a sojourner or stranger wax rich by thee. and none shall make you 6. then he shall count with him. neither shall the sword go through your land. he may be redeemed or to the stock 48. land shall yield her increase. they are my of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. and will your God. 11. And ye shall chase your enemies. Ye shall make you no neither shall ye set idols nor graven image. and make you fruitful. and an hundred ofyou shall put ten thousand to the sword.

34. be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase. which shall rob you of your children. ifye shall despise my statutes. 28. I will even appoint over you terror. consumption. 33. sorrow and the burning 17. 14. shall andyour cities waste. and cast your of your carcasses upon the carcasses idols. And I will break the pride ofyour power. andye shall flee when none pursueth you. your long as dwelt it lieth desolate it it. and enjoy her sabbaths. 35. and I have broken bands ofyour yoke. and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat. 19. 23 . so that ye will all do 16. Then the land enjoy her sabbaths. / also will my commandments. and cut down your images. 30. And I will bring the it . Then I will walk contrary unto you also injury.The Lion should not and the Ass the 29 and made you be their bondmen. And if ye hearken unto me. together that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant: and when ye are gathered within your cities. land into desolation: and your dwell therein shall be astonished at And I your will scatter you among the heathen. enemies which and I will not smell the savour 32. I have broken the staff of your bread. then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. 31. and will draw out a sword after you: and land shall be desolate. and few in number. and will not hearken unto me. I will send the pestilence among you . I also walk contrary unto you. will not for all 27. I will bring seven times more plagues upon you will also send wild your according to your beasts among you. but walk contrary unto me. when upon . will set my face against you. Then sins. And ifye / walk contrary unto me. and this be satisfied. go upright. and I. 24. andyour 20. And ye shall eat the flesh will And I destroy your of your sons. and destroy cattle. of your sweet odours. one oven not be delivered into the hand of the enemy. and will not do all these commandments. 22. and I will make earth as brass: And your strength shall your heaven as iron. will chastise you seven times for your sins. neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits. And I ague. make you sins. 15 . that shall consume the eyes. And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things. andye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate 18. And 1 will make your cities waste. But And not if ye will not hearken unto me. even I. And I will bring a sword upon you. shall rest. and ye shall 26. in and ye be in your land. And when . and my soul shall abhor you . ten women shall bake your bread in and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight: andye shall eat. 21. will but will walk contrary unto me. and will punish you yet seven times for your 25. and your high ways shall be desolate. and cause of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain . as the long as it lieth desolate. 29. for your enemies shall eat it. or ifyour soul abhor my judgments. As ye even then shall land rest. but that ye break my covenant: do this unto you. high places. you shall reign over you. And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me. and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation. because it did not rest sabbaths.

with their trespass walked they trespassed against me. to destroy them utterly. But I will for their sakes remember the covenant out whom I brought God: I am forth the of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen that I might be their Lord. and that also walked contrary unto me. land. What then are these laws. is and why does the aware of what entire structure depend so heavily on them? will The author fully is perhaps the most fundamental of political bit later on. . contrary unto them and have brought them into the land of and if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled. in their iniquity in your lands. and it allows for the proper relationship among men who live together on a land but whose ultimate allegiance cannot be fully described in purely political terms. and they shall fall when none pursueth. they then accept of the punishment of their iniqity: convenant with 42 . Even while setting up dream of the Jubilee he never loses sight of the given man: the highest freedom may be eternally accompanied by the lowest. I will not cast them away. which appeared in Lev. the children Lord made between Him and (Lev. and and shall I will remember the 43. neither will for I 45. Then also will I remember my Jacob. bringing destruction Then he thought of what God had said. few may accumu By proclaiming the end fifty-year period. And they that and also are and the 39. 25 .26) of Israel in Mount Sinai by the hand of Moses. These are the statutes and judgments and laws. as it were before a sword. that the desolate land finally enjoy her Sabbaths. And upon Interpretation them that are left alive of you I will send afaintness shaken into their hearts in the lands of their enemies. the .30 36. And ye shall perish among the heathen. Andyetfor all that. 41 . he problems. when none pursueth: andye shall no power to stand before your enemies. spoken of at the end of Chapter 26 had come. and they shall flee. the punishment . 15:11). enjoy her sabbaths. and my covenant with Abraham will I remember. am the Lord their God. For Jeremiah the days chaos and would . and the iniquity . as fleeing from have sword. of their ancestors. is often used to describe a liquid that runs freely. and also my covenant with Isaac. my they of because they despised my judgments shall accept of their iniquity: and because their soul abhorred statutes. It describes a people who do not live under a strong government. and the sound of a a leaf shall chase them. 40. In a passage with which we shall concern ourselves a say: the poor shall never cease out the Utopian of the land (Deut. left of you their shall pine land ofyour enemies shall eat you up. I abhor them. The land also shall be left of them. and to break my covenant with them: 44. 25:10. away shall enemie in the iniquities of their fathers they pine away they have with them. of their fathers. And they shall fall one upon another. And that I also have their enemies. The distinction between the few and the many presupposes a sufficient amount of a release at time in which the of every late their wealth. when they be in the land of their enemies. 37. 38 . If they which shall confess iniquity. The Hebrew word for liberty. her inhabitants taken to a foreign land. which the 46 . while she lieth desolate without them: and even because. Strong governments find their legitimacy in the strength required to prevent the few from tyrannizing the many.

read deals freeing of slaves at the end of the Seventh in part. when thou sendest been shall double hired servant to thee. Before going on we must stop and ask ourselves why the Book of Leviticus. Year. Oppression things that pass only cease when men learn to distinguish between mere commonly from hand to hand and are available to satisfy the infinite desires of any man. During the Jubilee Year the land is allowed to lie fallow. normal part of life sacrifice is complicated. one recognized and reinstated than it is for the Deuteronomy Fifteen. They are not things. 25:23). and. for a time. that judges. the men to year encourages dedicate themselves that can more to the land of their fathers than to any personal gain be drawn out of it. the way of written visible law. The New right way of action might be clear both to them initiated to their Way. for he hath years: and the Lord thy God (Deut. though perhaps not the will highest. It shall not seem worth a hard unto thee. bring During his visit. They are merely things and as such may pass freely from one to another. but it also makes the prize less attractive by virtue of its temporary nature. was not by God. Houses within walled cities are not included in the laws of the Jubilee because they do not belong to the land and hence do not belong to the family. in serving thee six bless thee in all that thou doest. came to visit. God accepted the human invention and the laws concerning the was willing to give laws. with the this is perhaps less soul of the one who important for the recognizes. In this sense the goal of the Jubilee Year is to allow for a minimal This amount of government combined with a minimal amount of oppression. But they may not sell it forever (Lev. But houses on the land belong to that land and make it livable. Land primarily belongs to families.The Lion Jubilee Year not and the Ass 31 only makes it difficult for any one man to gain the power needed for oppression. It the was he who suggested to Moses that laws be provided and for the people. even sell it in case of need. him away from from thee. According which also to the Bible. political question. should culminate in the author 's fullest statement of his attempt to deal with the most basic. Individuals may live on it. Jethro. 15:18) are The sacrifices ordained produce a soul in Leviticus that whom make intended to But for it shall not seem giving a hard. To restate . and may not be sold forever. Prior to Jethro 's arrival only before Jethro the function more that generally. but prompted by a need clearly to human understanding. from the dignity that surrounds all men when each man on dwells the land of his father. and we must look again. Jethro noticed that Moses had of himself the burden of ensuring the tranquility his people by listening to every case. Passover had been given. After the Egyptians Moses had successfully Moses' escaped ing taken upon wife and two children. his father-in-law. but part of a family. which is almost entirely devoted to the dull intricacies of the sacrifices.

And Aaron held his peace. and Aaron. lest ye die. speak of During this time the people man longer Moses the servant of God but merely the Moses. and put fire fire before the Lord. out and said unto sanctuary camp. And there of them his censer. chapter 10: And Nadab therein. and A-bihU. This is it that the Lord spake. which he and commanded them not. At first God intended to give the new law to all of the people. and devoured them. By people. 22:19). I be sanctified in them that come nigh me. until there was king in Israel. (Ex.32 of Interpretation law merely to remind the people of their unity and political independence God. saying. Moses where punished them severely and moved the tent ofmeeting a out of the camp. neither rend your clothes. And Moses called Misha-el and Elza-phan. Come near. lest ye die: for the anointing oil of the Lord is upon you. his sons. Aaron his sons. were invited to have a certain vision of God. Then Moses said will unto the Lord. and seventy of the elders oflsra-el: the God oflsra-el: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a and as stone. carry your brethren from before the So they went near. the sons of Aaron. And upon the nobles ofthe his hand: also of Isra-el He laid they saw God. at the top of the mountain. said. Nadab Abihu. And ye shall not go outfrom the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. thou. and lest the people: but let your brethren. And the Lord spake unto Aaron. and A-bihu. and virtue of that decision a great gap was made between Moses and and the and some attempt had to be made to close it. they saying. when ye go into the tabernacle of (Lev. Aaron. and unto E-le-azar and unto not your Itha-mar. and before all the people I will be glorified. along with 70 elders. the people The disasters that had been rebelled and asked Aaron to build Aaron no and confined to the sons of the 70 elders pervaded the people at large. the whole house oflsra-el. the sons ofUzzi-el the uncle of Aaron. it were the not body ofheaven in his clearness. it would in stay. The final result can completely misunderstood and inter be seen in Leviticus. bewail the burning which the Lord hath kindled. took either and offered strange and put incense thereon. the congregation. When Moses returned from . Do not drink wine nor strong drink. as of the camp. Moses had them. And they did according to the word ofMoses. a golden calf. one form or another. but the was under people became frightened receive and suggested to Moses that he go alone to the top of Mount Sinai to the Law (Ex. them In his absence. were presented to Moses. ye nor thy sons with thee. Nadab. Uncover wrath come upon all heads. alone. the vision in its lowest form. and did eat and drink. The text reads: Then went And they sapphire children saw up Moses. lest die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: 10:1-9) The the laws seven chapters that follow Moses These laws ' return from Mount Sinai are devoted to concerning sacrifice. and carried them in their coats out of the And Moses said unto Aaron. went out fire from died before the Lord. 24:9-11) The preted attempt was disastrous.

for the good of his people. should These laws were given so that men would so that men know how they best act with regard to one another. Abihu. 3:3). But from this walked men. Moses (Deut. even though five chapters are required. and any successful founder must come. These two statements of the frame the incident The first visible of the Golden Calf. because of clear and definite problems that Jethro realized when he saw that Moses could not continue judging all the people by himself. In a like the second set of laws was an answer to the all problems pervasive implied in the actions of Nadab and Abihu. which of the second set of laws were somewhat First there was the episode of Nadab. When considering the actions of Nadab problem. This time the laws are repeated almost verbatim after Moses Law returned. The first given laws. Yet the all notion of apotheosis within monotheism implies that comparison with Him. but contented himself by reporting the The incidents surrounding the giving more complicated. in some unknown spot. 34:6) was buried by the Lord Himself. The author. but passage we can see how narrow the escape was. which deal with man's relation to his fellow man. that occasion the author saw no reason to promulgation. God. and the elders. was fully aware of the narrow path that had to be traversed. When Moses because no returned from the mountain he repeated the laws to the on people laws can have force without promulgation. and lesser than Moses would be able to judge most cases in which a law had been broken. was given as an answer manner set of laws to clear and obvious problems to Jethro. men so short of human aspirations a serious attempt on that any nobility and understand ing they could achieve by their own part would be negligible. and yet the Old Testament never and Abihu we can see the wishes to make enormity of the the gap between men as they are and men as they should be infinite.The Lion Mount Sinai beams more and the Ass 33 of light were streaming from his brow. never underwent apotheosis. However. so that no man would ever go there to worship. 34:30-35). and even how very close to apotheosis Moses himself. Let us review once more set of the circumstances surrounding the Giving of The was Law. At that time he at the presence of his eyes because he feared to look Perhaps the most freely among striking character of the Torah is its presentation of a founder who. repeat the laws. in those closest to Moses had a twisted and ugly vision of God. and the people could no him than they had been able to look upon God earlier. and removed the veil only in the presence of look on God (Ex. At this point aside one cannot a help remembering a young shepherd who once turned covered to see what caused bush to burn (Ex. Given the fact that the text frames . which had become during the affair of the Golden Calf. After that affair mountain Moses returned to the in order to receive the laws pertaining to sacrifice and the Tabernacle. It is difficult for necessarily fall men to follow a way whose founder in was not a god. Moses was forced to veil his face from the people.

The need to sacrifice comes from the desire to nullify one's power in front of the whole insofar as one can. when This account of the origins of sacrifice presented in the Book far in of Exodus was intended only We to as a partial view. which is viewed by some as the highest moment of the year and by others as ugly and disgusting? In a sense. 8:21 seemed reaction to reflect the ambiguities in the human soul that sacrifice implies. insofar as one can . seemed at best to be indifferent to the head because of sacrifice was accepted with a pat on sacrifice was still his simplicity. The laws of sacrifice are intended to refine this many-colored soul. up Abel's to the time of Abram. and in another sense we need become the animal and hence sacrifice ourselves . The chaotic eternal. What lies behind soul seems to contains. to sacrifice comes from the desire to rejoin the chaotic . will take for granted the implied in the Sabbatical Year. insofar as the is understood to be the most pervasive character of the whole. but sacrifices to Noah's sacrifice in Gen. and Cain's At that time God may showed nothing. have had the highest hopes for Cain. one point of view. sufficient to account must still see for the role it plays in forming the inner relation of the people and how it forms their character how it makes it possible for them view men and possessions respect for peoples in such a way that they. by one s actions . demonstrate one 's willingness to sacrifice oneself to the highest power. when we sacrifice an animal we gain absolute mastery over the animal. inserting comments as we proceed: These are the statutes and judgments . nothing more than a substitute for the Since the time of Cain men have required of themselves a sacrifice to those something beyond themselves. one is forced to ask whether it is in the Tabernacle and perhaps even in the Temple that the whole of the worship itself is. thoughts lead men to this What kinds of passions and deed. of the sacrifice comes The need to from the desire to understood rejoin the completely ordered. but the realization that all was not right with man. insofar character of as the completely ordered is to be the most pervasive the whole. all the days that live upon the earth.34 Interpretation to the story of the Golden Calf with the two accounts of the laws pertaining to book the of intention not the imply sacrifice. God's ignored because it said very little about him. by one's actions. It also contained a promise. Perhaps the Rabbis of the Talmud was a punishment were not so sin for the wrong they said that Temple worship concerning the Golden Calf. The need to sacrifice comes from the desire to assert one 's power over the whole . No better statement of the relationship between sacrifice and the character it develops in the people can be found than that contained in Chapter 12 of Deuteronomy. force the highest power to do one's bidding. Nothing we have seen so sacrifice would be . Ye . from Golden Calf. of the eternal. We shall quote the whole chapter. actions within the human soul be a patchwork of the most noble and the most base that the God. which ye shall observe to do in ye the land. which the Lord God of thy fathers giveth thee to possess it. sacrifice.

to art was based partly on the character of the pre-artistic The primal objection partly on Cain's first Biblical solution was a world and inability to improve that world in a just the arts and a return manner. and upon the hills. is in scnc their gods upon sharp high mountain The worship in contrast to the second verse. in which the pagans and upon eveiy the hills and under eveiy green statement given tree. slaying the children in the valleys under the clifts of the rocks? Among the smooth stones of the stream is thy portion. The absolute by the Lord. 12:5) God begins to but will not set be resolved up a certain tension in Verse 5 that will grow in this chapter for many chapters to come In a manner that resembles His . they meat offering. wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods. 57:5-7: Enflaming are yourselves with idols under every green tree. as will demand that only one place. and graven break their pillars. inversion of the Biblical attitude toward As we re member. The rejection of to the simple life. first words to Abram. position will sharp criticism of art and a praise of the be maintained throughout the Book of be too Genesis. they. The objection is as much to the means of sacrifice as it is to the chosen notion of many gods itself. be mentioned in the next verse. 12:1-4) The statement about sacrifice contained in this chapter begins with the general repudiation of pagan sacrifice. thy lot: even to them hast thou poured a drink in these? Upon a offering. destroy the names of them of that place.The Lion shall utterly and the Ass 35 destroy high all the places. and under eveiy green tree: Andye shall their altars. objection to private most explicit Biblical natural surroundings is concerning the in Is. Get thee out of thy country . 12:1). andye shall out hew down the Ye shall not do so unto the images of their gods. . The destruction of the high places the Tent of and the insistence that sacrifices be made in Meeting in rather than under every green tree are based on the notion that sacrifice made natural surroundings is apt to lead the people to turn back to those passions that surrounded the sacrifice to the required the complete Golden Calf. should be used. The rise of sacrifice art. upon the overthrow mountains. (Deut. God grants the wisdom of art to Benzaleel in surroundings can mindful he might build the Tabernacle. But in Chapter 31 order that of of Exodus. Lord your God. Natural the waters of chaos to be a proper setting for sacrifice. an attempt The rise of Holy is But to refine art and make it capable of meeting the situation. but the the rise of the need to sacrifice rendered that solution untenable. even unto his habitation shall ye seek. unto the place which the Lord your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there. thou and hast offered a Should I even receive comfort wentest lofty high mountain hast thou set thy bed: thither thou up to offer sacrifice. Jo a land which I shall show thee (Gen. and and burn their groves with fire. and thither thou shalt come: (Deut. God withholds the name of the place in which the sacrifice is to be . the Book of Genesis This presented a life of the shepherd.

the and ye shall rejoice that ye put your hand unto. Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day. as and as of the hart.16) blood. and your menservants and your Levite that is within your forasmuch as he hath no part nor inheritance with you. (Deut. For ye are not as yet come . fathers and sons. 12:8-12) and The appointed sacrifice will mark a time of rest in the land when slaves all free men. your tithes. and the choice vows which ye vow unto the andyour Lord: Andye shall rejoice sons. your burnt heave offering ofyour hand. and your tithes. andyour vows. 12:13-14) For the third time special we are warned that all these things should be done in a our appetite way and are in a certain place. andyour freewill herds and of your flocks: And there ye shall eat before in all offerings. maidservants. andyour sacrifices. Then name there shall Lord your God shall to cause his dwell there. 12:6.36 made. and your sacrifices. is right in his own eyes. Interpretation This mysterious line. and your daughters. whatsoever thy soul lusteth according blessing of the Lord thy God of the roebuck. Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in eveiy place that thou seest: But in the place which the Lord shall choose in one of thy tribes. and there thou shalt do all that I command thee . These own gates. ye shall pour it upon the earth as water. 12: 1 5. ye. ye andyour households. and heave of your of your hand. thither shall ye bring all that I command you. gates. to and when He giveth you rest from all your enemies round a place which the dwell in safety. every man dwell in the whatsoever . choose God giveth so that ye to inherit. For the second time God mentions the place the Lord your God shall choose. will all be in one place. wherein Lord thy God hath blessed thee. and all your before the Lord your God. Again is whetted to know where all these things to take Notwithstanding after. place. verses stress the joys of daily life when each man is home within his The joys of the sacrifice were intended to affect each man 's character . be and land which the Lord your about. (Deut. (Deut. will be repeated six times in the present chapter and no less than twenty-one times in the next three chapters. thou may est to the eat kill and eat flesh in all thy gates.7) Sacrifice is primarily come a time of rejoicing in which all the people of all the tribes and together sharing their food their happiness. And thither ye shall offerings bring your burnt offerings. and the offerings. which he hath given thee: the unclean and the clean may thereof. to the rest and to the inheritance which the Lord your God giveth you But you when ye go over Jordan. sharing the same things. Only ye shall not eat the (Deut. and the firstlings the Lord your God. there thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings. the place which the Lord your God shall choose.

and thou shalt will eat flesh. or of thy oil. Thou whole stones: and thou shalt offer burnt offerings and thereon rejoice the Lord thy God: And thou Lord thy God. The Mountain of Curses: magnitude ever since. as he hath promised thee. altar and thou shalt plaister them with plaister. whatsoever chosen thy be soul lusteth If the place which the Lord thy God hath and to put his name there too far from thee. which I day. when the Lord thy God hath brought thee in unto the land whither . but Verse 15 reminds us that there are certain natural which should not limits of propriety be broken. Take heed to thyself that thou forsake not the Levite as long as thou livest upon the earth. in thy which the Lord hath given thee. only be understood as the final when Deuteronomy. Thou mayest not eat within or thy gates the tithe nor of thy corn. and thy daughter. before the beginning long awaited place Chapter 12. 12:17-19) the before The joyfulness openness makes our matter of course of this occasion is intended to foster poor and magnificence. And there shalt build an build the altar unto of the of stones: thou Lord thy God of shalt not lift up any iron tool upon them. is and to be Mount Ebal. and the Levite that is within thy gates: and thou shalt Lord thy God in all that thouputtest thine hands unto. thou shalt eat gates whatsoever thy soul lusteth after. or the place which the of thy flock. as I have commanded thee. When say. any of thy vows which thou vowest. and thy son. then thou shalt kill of thy herd and of thy flock. whose name "we have waited long to discover. This tension began in Verse 5 of Chapter 12. nor thy freewill heave offering of thine hand: But thou must eat them before the Lord thy God in Lord thy God shall choose. and rejoice thy maidservant. that ye shall set up these stones. which occurs in Chapter 27 the tension is irony of finally broken. has of grown in But only four verses Mount Ebal had already been mentioned. (Deut. because thy after. A stress is placed on allowed. shalt offer peace offerings. thou. and thy manservant. Deuteronomy 27:4-7 reads: Therefore it shall be command you this shalt thou when ye be gone over Jordan. thou mayest eat flesh. (Deut. was the And it shall come to pass. This responsibility toward the toward the Levites more a than a matter of duty. I the Lord thy God shall enlarge soul thy border. in Mount Ebal. or of thy wine. longeth to eat flesh. or the firstlings of thy herds offerings. and shalt eat there. 12:20-21) The with rest of the chapter reiterates the joy of the day and tempts us once more that strange phrase: the place which the It is difficult to grasp the Book of fully what can Lord thy God has chosen. before the The chosen place.The Lion and and the Ass 37 the abundance of what is to give him a way of life.

by implication the neglect of men are accused of the chapter a great stress establishing the economic is laid on the spirit in open thine going through the forms of the reforms that year entails. Jeremiah fall of the state was due to forgetting of the complete concept of of the community implied in the Jubilee Year. But thou shalt him sufficient for his need. The seeds of the destruction verses was of the Jubilee Year were planted even before its inauguration. down. when thou sendest him awayfreefrom thee. Mere freedom from past debts is not sufficient. and the curse side Jordan. says the Analogous to Plato's Republic. 11:29-32) Perhaps the in the to remind us of that other root of sacrifice discussed long excursus . from the Book of Exodus. Year. Through his irony he wishes us not to be blown in the wind by considering the highest on Mondays and the lowest on Tuesdays In reminding us that sacrifice is part of a curse and has another side to it. was an a brief story abruptly inserted into the text concerning fought with some of mother was Shelo-mith. the daughter of Dibri of the tribe of Dan. Are they the not on the other blessing upon Mount Geri-zim. The of common meals and common joys by the people as a whole was intended to foster that attitude toward people and mere things upon which the Jubilee Year depends the and which is the source of true humanity. for he hath double hired servant to thee. In the preceding the announcement of the Jubilee Year in a man whose Leviticus. 15:18) which the slaves were released The ceremony in sacrifice had as its culmination a that was eaten before the Lord. beside the plains ofMoreh? For ye shall pass over Jordan to go in to possess the land which And ye shall the Lord your God giveth you. but shall not seem important. was a slow and almost unseen process. (Deut. deeply rooted in the affair of the Golden Calf. (Deut . and dwell therein. in obser\'e to do all the statutes and judgments author wishes which I set before you this day. which dwell in the champaign over against Gilgal. It been worth a God shall hard unto thee. and whose father Egyptian. he forces us to hold in our minds both the highest and the lowest at the same time. this was to be done with a good heart. in new hand he wide unto him. By the way where the sun goeth land of the Canaan-ites. This man his brothers and cursed the name . But the story process can be traced if are willing to follow the convoluted with great care. The passage from Jeremiah The claims that the fundamental and reason for the fall of the state was the neglect of the Sabbatical the Jubilee Year as sacrifice without well.38 thou goest to possess upon Interpretation it. in sening thee six years: and the Lord thy bless thee in all that thou doe st. that thou shalt put the Mount Ebal. Throughout which the law must be carried out. and shalt surely lend means a that which wanteth. The Sabbatical Year beginning for those who have fallen into debt. And ye shall possess it. relation The sharing between sacrifice and the Jubilee Year should now be clear. The breakdown The threads twist was to Jubilee Year other. Verse 8 reads. The freed more slaves were all of to be given the means for maintaining themselves. and around each it is almost impossible to say we who or what blame.

At first Moses them the land on condition that conquer the whole thing had happened once before in unwilling. sons of Israel were now in possession of a and large tract to settle land east of the Jordan. those that directly relate to the service: Sinai. 30:32). battle in which Moses was successful. The only to the Promised Land led through Moab territory. and not the father of a Moses. lands. 27). He was quickly put to death by Moses. Sihon refused. Would it not be possible for Reuben the new territory? Gad their children and their wives in who asked was Why of all the sons was it Reuben to settle the land apart from the rest of the community? was Perhaps it because it he. Moses suddenly found himself in of the Jordan River that he had never intended to this The the conquered territories east of the Jordan were taken from neither case Moab and and Ammon. unhurt . but later he agreed to grant they accompany their brothers to land before returning to their wives and children. As a result of large tract rest of of land east battle. The war against Sihon continued.The Lion of the and the Ass and 39 the episode Lord. appeared before Moses (Num. asking his kingdom ensued on him to the Children of Israel to pass through and a great their way to the Promised Land. the only in the book and are the names of those and private names that appear immediately involved The only name place names in the Temple mentioned are and service: Moses Aaron his children. help them . and Moses not to take their land. mentioned four times. The arrangement seemed perfectly just to Moses over and so it was determined. mentioned three times each. whole and Jacob in Lev. Both Moab God had commanded Ammon were sons of route Lot. is never mentioned again (Lev. who had the natural claim of primogeniture (Num. also Canaan and Azazel. the daughters of Zelophehad from the tribe of Menassah. and This story is striking for two reasons. Isaac. Abraham. the problems of a family allow are intertwined within the story of a great war. Apart from the story concerning Nadab Abihu. and Moses permission sent a messenger asking to cross Ammon was . Their father had no sons. but the Moabites restrict panicked and attacked. Such was the uprising of Korah. In private fashion not unlike Tolstoy's War Peace. Furthermore. story. the Book of Leviticus contains no other stories. completely control of a capture. the The Moloch appears several times in direct relation to the laws against human sacrifice. 26:42. Apparently he did originally intend to conquer the seemed to be little choice. king of the Amorites. and they wished to inherit his land. Chap. It seems to have been Moses' intention to the not country within the natural border formed eastern by the Jordan. to In Chapter 21 Moses sent ambassadors Sihon. but once the Moabites attacked there After the battle three sisters. but The when it was finally Reuben and Gad came forward of with a request. Except for one mention of fathers. In did Moses intend to take the land. 24:10-23). no other proper noun appears in the book except in this In order to make intelligible this strange occurrence. we must try to unravel some of the boldest threads that a are woven into the latter half and of the Book of Numbers.

12). Gideon was not of from Ephraim and seems to have purposely ignored them in the early at a part his battles. with they please provided that great foresight. know to be rather strict such cases (see Num. the nominal leadership of Ephraim broke out serious question when open war between Ephraim and the other tribes (Judg. and half the tribe of Menassah had built a great altar contrary to the fundamental sent concept of the unity of the people (Josh. One need only look map to see that the men upon whom he did call were all noticed from the tribes surrounding Ephraim. parts of the land that would normally return to the tribe of Menassah during the Jubilee Year would then return to the tribe of their unperturbed and ruled that husbands. however. were duly praised by Joshua and allowed to return home (Josh However. while himself not an Ephraimite. Deborah (Judg. 25:7). Moses was the girls may marry whomever they be from the the choice easy of tribe of Menassah. 33:33). 8:2). It was never intended to be Even cholic than a reminder. Joshua eastern would Phineas the that priest to investigate the situation. had already made territories would be given to for the by suddenly announcing in his discussion with the men the land in the eastern Reuben and Gad that part of half the tribe of Menassah (Num. too. 4:5). after the lands had largely himself been settled. girls Moses. 4:12). the men of Reuben and Gad plus half the tribe of Menassah successfully fulfilled their commitment (Josh. was moved by the good intentions of the men and allowed the altar to remain. 13:8). 17). Under the leadership of Joshua. Gad. If they should marry outside the tribe of concerning the daughters of Menassah. of Israel soon heard that Reuben. Chap. It may be that this loss of position caused the action of the man named Micha. and a Bethlehem became his (see Judg.22:1). Phineas. the Children . near the home of the next great leader. and no sacrifices would ever whom we be given upon it. However Gideon was able to placate their complaints by calling on them for help and saying Is not the gleaming of the grapes of Ephraim better than the grapes ofAbi-ezer? (Judg. Chap. 22:10). an an Ephraimite Levite from Micha built his his death own altar and make priest ephod. The men of the lands protested they would be difficult for them to bring be very far from the Holy Place and that it their children. The men of Ephraim also 8:1). . They had built the altar in order were part of to remind their children that they. called the people together in the mountains of Ephraim. Many named years later. In that division Zelophehad was given the extreme northeastern sector. . Ehud. this slight and reprimanded him sharply (Judg. Joshua was an leaders after were Ephraimites. more God's in people. where there would be little chance that the girls would meet any young man not from their own tribe.40 In Chapter 36 the elders of Interpretation Menassah came forward to raise a difficulty Zelophehad. Joshua and most of the early Ephraimite (Num. Under the came into leadership of Jephtha.

since he had grown up that only to be around the altar which was never to all be happen? Was it just the final blow. perhaps feeling that their conquest of the land was a tribal victory rather than the victory of the people as a whole . Laish was an easy task. Since lands they had been allotted were too small Philistines. 15:11. an had stolen a sum of money from his it to build mother and then returned it to her. The destruction up a separate altar. better position . and be to better for thee to be tribe and a a priest unto the an follows: Hold thy peace. returned the money to her son. his own private altar would in some sense make up for that loss of prestige (see Judg. Dan Jacob who had no more than one child. convinced the Levite to leave Micha and to establish his altar in the newly conquered territories. This time the struggle between the Philistines Israel became a personal battle between Samson's the Philistines and Samson. but more than likely it was related to the fall from power of the tribe of Ephraim Micha undoubtedly felt that . Lord. of the Aholiad the son of Ahisanach had been when the Tabernacle was first Jubilee Year is now complete. personal war on men of Judah even protested against the ground of of futility (See Judg. a large number of them decided to set out had fallen to the on conquer . Menassah. of After the death Ephraimite who Samson the Book Judges tells the story of Micha. including to view the city of Leshem or Laish (see Josh prospective whom 19:45 ) As the Dan and this site. territory .The Lion Sometime before the days conquered part of and the Ass attack 41 Israel and of Micha. or was . Dan was The tribe probably in a . Micha took the money Bethlehem became its priest. She. Their argument was lay thine hand upon thy mouth and go with us. One was day a the only son of group of spies from the tribe of Dan appeared at Micha 's door. 21:6). and the Philistines began to the eastern territory The its that belonged to the tribe of Dan. fail and that this rebelliousness was bound to who The Danites soon replaced the Levite with a priest from at the rebellious used. Chap. 18:19). being pleased by his remorse. but on their return they. perhaps for that reason territory. But he was given a small by the time the tribe reached the Promised Land and much of that they the were more numerous than any other tribe with the exception of Judah. any other tribe since one of its members instructed by God Himself as an assistant to Bezaleel established many years before (See Ex. praising the A Levite from It is difficult to say precisely why this happened. they happened by the house of Micha chatted with the Levite The conquest of they happened to know. is it us a father and a priest: house of one man or that thou to be a priest unto a family of in Israel (Judg. and used a private altar. 17). rebellious One whole tribe has set prior to the By inserting inevitably the story of the author Danite just establishment of the would Jubilee Year the indicates that the practice of the Jubilee Year reoccur. easily fell into the How did it role of ministering altar.12). the northern spies of border. build such an altar than .

16. behold a smoking Unto thy seed furnace. from the river of Egypt unto the great river. and Abram is deeply 13 . 28:19). to pass. they be buried in again: a good old age. we remember that in a people. And nation. 15 . and it was dark. . serve. adeep sleep fell upon Abram. and a have I 19. asleep. or was it the simple fact that Dan that Zelophehad happened to have had only The incidents Year know which the Bible presents as were so numerous and each so where up to the fall of the Jubilee that it is difficult to insignificant relatively leading to place the blame. way that is not yet clear Abram has been going through the future history of his The carrion bird Abram chased away from the carcasses in Verse 1 1 was the same bird Jeremiah once used as a description of Babylon.42 expected since . But in the fourth generation shall come hither for the iniquity of the Amor-ites is 17. And he that said unto Abram. Only Abram can chase away the buzzard 12.shite s. and. the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram. him. The Kenites. that. whom and his sacrifice is made alone because there is not yet a people with he can rejoice. Unfortunately. Danites. 20:15 and Gen. and 14. In given burning lamp that passed between those pieces. when the sun went down. 18. and the Girga. and the Periz-zites. by establishing the true foundations. nothing of what we have said seems sufficient to explain why a sacrifice is asked of Abram. land. who had assisted all of their Was it Micha? Was it only had one daughters? son and the refusal of a man named Moab. whom they shall they shall afflict them four hundred years. If we bring the passage from Genesis back into focus. and commentaries to Gen. saying. and the complete weight of what has happened will be felt (see I Kings 13:29. and the Repha-ims. And it came not yet full. 20. was And when the sun great darknessfell upon going down. and the Kennizzites. Jeroboam will reestab lish the altar of Dan . Know of a surety and shall seire that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land is not theirs. and the Kadmon-ites. He seems to have no natural desires that must be cleansed. but perhaps that is the way in which the Bible understands the fall of great things. and the Jebu-sites. an horror of The dreamlike quality of the chapter is now at its highest. and the Canaan-ites. 21. Interpretation the brothers in securing their homes were left alone to conquer the most difficult lands? Their lot was the land of the giants which should have been captured first but which few men dared to enter. also that them. The story of the altar of Dan will have its effect only many years later at the time of Jeroboam "s revolution when the kingdom is split. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace. will /judge: and aftenvard shall they thou shalt come out with great substance. this the river Eu-phrates: And the Amor-ites. lo. And the Hittites.

and she shall have to its consequences. her mistress was despised in her eyes. Five Canaan's ten sons became tribes in their own and compose others are their birth. and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. 48:22. The reasons for this be more fully discussed in the commentary to Gen. And Sarai said unto Abram. Sarai. 2. after Abram had dwelt ten 4. Chapter XVI 1. but God has never asked when Many have sacrificed to for he sacrifice until now. bearing: I Hagar.The Lion and the Ass 43 what In his sleep Abram learns the full implications of what he has been doing and his children will do in times to come. . And Sarai Abram's years wife of Sarai. and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived. but in every other verse it refers to the carcasses of dead men lying in a battlefield. but only four appear in the dream. took Hagar her maid the Egyptian. but that he. The four sacrifices we originally took to be the sacrifices appropriate to the four classes of the people turn out to be the death of those men themselves. The word many wars translated as carcasses in Verse 11 is a common word in the Bible. Behold now. The plan was Hagar. live 5. I was despised in her eyes: the Lord judge between me and thee. Abram is convinced the promise will not a simple realizes that the Promised Land is make be fulfilled only gift. They to were known as the Hevites. My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy and when she saw that she had conceived. right. and their story will be told in the Moses' commentary The appearance restrict Chapter 34. chapter seems Only attempt one question remains. with the mistress of an Egyptian slave named to give Hagar to her husband Abram. will be forced to of many sacrifices. and his The children too. will have to be fought before the nation can be established. an Egyptian. of the Amorites seems to new imply that intention to the limits of the country to the eastern bank of the Jordan could not will succeed. the single tribe known as the Canaanites. From Verse 9 on. Canaan had one more son who grew never mentioned again after into a tribe. said unto Abram. being barren. decided Sarai 's. in the land of Canaan. my maid. And he went in unto Hagar. the to be an to answer Abram 's question: people Whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? God before. And Abram hearkened to the voice 3 . Now Sarai Abram's whose name was wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid. The land God has promised them is not a and land waiting to be occupied. It is a land inhabited by many peoples. And Sarai bosom . the Lord hath restrained me from pray thee go in unto it may be that I may obtain children by her.

and his sons will be the innocent his sons will all means of transferring Joseph into Egypt (Gen. this question is and Freedom is always a flight to never simply flight from. said unto Interpretation Sarai. and submit thyself her hands. as it plcaseth And when Sarai dealt Sarai dealt hardly with her Egyptian slave. Return to thy mistress. 25:9). will multiply thy seed exceedingly. and shalt bear a son. to his Hebrew of the slaves. And the under angel I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. Hagar the Egyptian 7. the Egyptian master. And the angel of the Lord said unto her. the twice in The Book that with of Psalms presents Kedar as a wild and warlike nation. Hagar. that it The inverted Isarel 's But the parallel is complete. Woe is me I sojourn in Mesech. The word translated dealt hardly is the word that will be used in the Book of Exodus for the relation of Pharoah. And the angel shall not be numbered of the Lord said unto her. the Ishmael be present at death of his father (Gen. cruel Hebrew master. Kedar. of a Genesis. thy maid is in thy hand: do to her hardly with her. is frequently mentioned in Isaiah. that . unlike these peoples the story of this great nation of the earlier will is never told in the Torah or in books Prophets. whence earnest And the thou:' she said. Isaiah and . 9. Like rhetorical . Jeremiah. Hagar has nowhere to go. Behold. angel of the Lord found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness. and shalt call his name Ishma-el. 25:12. Chapter 16 will turn out to be the inversion slave . I dwell in the tents of Kedar! My soul hath dwell long fall him that hateth In spite of peace (Ps. But Abram thee. on The son of the Egyptian slave will also be we will read a great the father of a great relation nation. Sarai's maid. 11. of the Lord said unto her. The piece of complete otherness of the Ishmael makes it a difficult story to earlier together. 10. because story of the Lord hath heard thy affliction. 120:5-6) Jeremiah both lament their their wild character. by the fountain in the way to Shur. most of the questions asked in the Book . Further in the book deal about to the sons of Esau and to the children of Abraham s son Midian. his second son. I for multitude. and whither wilt thou go? And And he said. Behold. The names of be given in Gen. thou art with child. Although neither he nor his sons are mentioned in the books Bible. 8. Psalms. and the Song Of Songs. but the names of their sons will never be mentioned. 39:1). she fled from her face.44 6. So she must return to her mistress and wait. story of Exodus Sarai is the . and once each in Ezekiel.

2:24) The wild ass first appears as the symbol of all that exists beyond the borders of the Expanse and the borders of law. references throughout the Book of Job are even more enlightening. a world far from our own. 49:28). And send to Kedar. Early ox in his laments Job says: Doth the wild ass wild ass bray when at it hath grass? Or loweth the over his fodder? (Job 6:5). in her month they her. . because there was no grass. it only be hypothetically of pieced from the rest of the Bible. when her world dry The even we who live within the bounds of law can pity her. their did fail. Since their story is not told in the books we shall be considering can in the main body of this commentary. for and consider diligently. Hath a nation changed their gods which are yet no gods? But my people have changed their glory that which doth not profit (Jer. His first description follows: her pleasure. The beloved. is a wild ass.The Lion when and the Ass and 45 Jer. 14:6) Though goes she lives in the realm of chaos. the son of the inverted story. they are captured by are can the forces of Nebuchadnezzar (Is. The is home in the grass. in the only truly to one of the tents of the Sons erotic of love poem . Job's comfort ers. am black and comely like the tents of Kedar (Song 1:5). But several chapters later Jeremiah also says: And the eyes wild asses did stand in the high places. 21:16 is They sin. (Jer. in her A wild ass used to the wilderness that snuffeth up the wind at occasion who can turn shall find her away? All they that seek her will not weary themselves. world of chaos and one of is even capable of a strange calmness when there is Zophar. wild. The reads as simile of the wild ass appears twice in Jeremiah. And he man's shall be a wild ass of a man. The of alternative son. 2:10-1 1). likens the wild ass to one who can never learn the ways of civilization (Job the wild ass reads: 11:12). his hand will be against eveiy man. and see if there be such a thing. For I interesting reference to Kedar appears in the Song of Songs. Job's final statement about . That implies that whether the author Genesis would agree with our findings or not will remain an open question. in Biblical literature. . then the life of the ass may be considered the inversion of the life under law. (Jer. but their wildness never understood as the recalcitrance of Jeremiah say of them: For pass over the isles ofChittin and see. likens herself Ishmael 12. and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren. Perhaps the The maiden most says. and every hand against him. If the inversion wild the story of Israel is to be found in the story of Ishmael. they snuffed up the wind like dragons.

and the soul of the (Job wounded God layeth not folly They are of those that rebel against the light: they know not the ways thereof. cold winds yet force them to not civilization. (Job 38:3-4) The problem. wicked. It is a place where each thing rain exists own sake. field: as wild asses Interpretation in the desert. The from the whirlwind is a strange one since his boils are never justice. pledge take a and breast. in his suffering for asked which he sees no reason in which he answer Job receives God why he must suffer such pain. go they forth to their work: They They cause the naked to lodge without the cold. Job in his and great personal sees no sorrows. They pluck the fatherless from the cause him to go naked without clothing. in the wilderness which has no human life (Job 38:26). attack God laveth no folly from to them. a He had it to never seen of that other world whose inhabitants is cannot numbered which land full raging the torrents and the behemoth. and tread their groan from out . Where thou when I laid the foundations of the Declare. It a strange land in God causes rain on earth where no man world is. but for man no special thought is taken. of a shelter. It begins with satisfies him. if thou hast understanding. mentioned. Job is given a the words: Gird up wast now thy loins like a man: for I will demand of thee earth? and do thou answer me. crieth out: yet hungry. They are wet with the showers of the clothing. 24:5-13) The horrible destruction as and chaos that lie in the twisted path of the wild asses and yet they careen through civilization can barely be imagined. and they the poor. and suffer thirst. They of their children. The spring falls. that they have no want rock for embrace the and mountains. men groan of the And God does blame them because the city is not their home.46 Behold. wilderness yieldeth foodfor them andfor prey: th rising betimes for a in the corn one his reap every and they gather the vintage of the covering in take away the sheaf from the winepresses. answer Job was given is a strangely impersonal answer to a personal He is invited to look into the world that lies beyond the Covenant. Job known before that the great had never even leviathan be existed. nor abide in the paths thereof. Which Men to them make oil within their walls. out When the city. The voice in the whirlwind asked: Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou through with a thorn? lettest Will he down? Canst make thou put an hook into his nose? or bore his jaw many supplications unto thee? will covenant with thee? wilt thou take a he speak soft words unto thee? Will he make a himfor a servantfor ever? Wilt thou play with him as with bird? or wilt thou bind himfor thy maidens ? Shall the companions make a banquet of him ? Shall they pan him among the merchants? Canst thou fill his skin with barbed irons? or his . but it ultimately world that men living momentary glance into a calmly under the Law in Jerusalem rarely see. The beyond law is for its a place of frightening tenderness. of the city.

In its the land attempt to de- the conquest of it leaves . with his friends pered. believed in almost as if the author were embarrassed great grandfather Perhaps the pity is that we were taught not to believe in giants. he was forced to look beyond its wild ass who limits. . an Israelite. The switch could be understood as a natural error since Ishmael complicated. called accord with the intentions it would of the author of see Genesis will but without them be hard to in what sense probably never Ishmael's life can Ishmael is blessed. and yet it is a world peer. It the world chosen for Israel. At first it and would appear as though Massah became who Amassah taken as the son of modern Jetur. use The the First Book of Chronicles makes of the sons of more In Chapter 2. It was a peaceful world and in which Job pros Suddenly of that peace was disturbed. Chronicles knows nothing of giants. no the son of Jephunneh. God tamed this monster of the sea. has been pieced together from the rest of the Bible. 17:2) he is said to be the son of Ithri. The impersonal answer that raised Job's eyes beyond himself him of more deeply than any personal answer could new have. end of From Job's the point of view it is a land full of wonder and horrors. then became Ithri. Caleb. not one remember the hope of him is in vain: shall fierce that dare stir him up: who be cast down even at None is so then is able to stand before me? (Job 40:25-32) In that infinite sea of waters above the expanse swims the great leviathan. Job realizes God's true justice by seeing his boils the real chaos from which He are no more than a protects us and in comparison with which fly buzzing 'round his touched ear. and no man knows and no man is known. At the book.The Lion head the with fish spears? and the Ass 47 battle. aside had of going through the land of the Philistines The great completely the fears Moses importance of courage as gained a virtue is lost. and consequently the full impact of Hezekiah 's last because his battle is lost. However. Our fathers have taught pointment us that progress can overcome all things. One the questions the whirlwind asks of this Job who has peered into the world beyond the protection of Law is: Who hath who sent out the wild ass free? or hath loosed the bands of the under the protection of wild-ass? (Job 39:5) Job had lived safely . Law. Part runs that infinite chaos was the was not beauty and the terror of the freely. into which even those who live under the care of Law are forced at times to which Whether this account. such indulgences into Biblical criticism will not answer the real problems The Book mythologize of only hinted at here. It is giants. had a son named Jetur and another son named misunderstood as Massah. However. in the Second Book of Samuel (II Sam. Behold. but mention mention is made of great fortitude in facing the giants. do no more. Amassah is said to be an Ishmaelite. No is made of the great charms and skill the young David showed in successful his first battle. the sight of him? Lay thine hand upon him. is in be be clear. Verse 17. The great disap in my own generation when these expectations were not fulfilled has led to more chaos than was ever caused by the mightiest of the giants. his still inherits the land he in the Torah.

but they who will give (Gen. Isaac. . Have I of the Lord that spake unto her. and Lord appeared to Abram. the sons of Ishmael. to them by my name. In the Book of Exodus it will explicitly be replaced by the word that is often transliterated as Jehovah: I appeared to Abraham. it makes some sense and the that the sons of Ishmael should live in some unknown place between hail holy. and the last reference occurs in Jacob's final blessing to Joseph. and in the name of God Jacob blesses his Almighty go down to Egypt (Gen. and Jacob as God Almighty but I did not make myself known (Ex. recast by Abdiel. Thou God here looked after him that seeth me? seest me: for she 14. While names are not always significant in the Bible. The words King James translates God Almighty. Interpretation provinces. it is between Kadesh and The town name of Bered is means mentioned in no other passage in Biblical literature. that the before me. descendant In the parallel in the Book of Chronicles the are Amorites replaced are never even mentioned (See I Chron. Og king . 5:14-20). 48:3. of Heshbon and leader of the Amorites . will appear five more times in the Book of Genesis.48 The battle for the eastern . 43:3). the wildest and most destructive form can come in which the waters that are over the heavens down. The term appears in Gen. 16. Kadesh means the holy. and said unto him. Chapter XVII 1. Instead. And when Abram was ninety years old and walk nine. But Joseph is the man most in contact with the Egyptians. however. which Hagar bare. Jetur. when Hagar bare Ishma-el to Abram. behold. The name Almighty journey to Padanaram will next new name be used by Isaac in the blessing he gives to Jacob before his sons as to Jacob the Israel (Gen. And Hagar bare Abram Ishma-el. Wherefore Bered. 25:11). I am God Almighty. us 6:3) God Let try to understand the significance of these two names. a son: and Abram called his son's name. 15. The in Hebrew hail. they silently 13. did account present the author of Chronicles was a with some problems of the giants . The giants are with the sons of Ishmael. And Abram was fourscore and sixyears old. but whose literal meaning is unknown. and be thou perfect. into a milder form by replacing them she called the name also andNehad. Nephish. the well was called Beer-la-hai-roi. It is God Almighty merely as a reference back to the last appearance. And said. 28:3).

in walk is another sense. the sense is in the present verse. translated simple but basically means complete. And I will make my covenant between me and thee. his people reach their highest end. 24:40). . 14:24. 13:1). and according to the words of his describe the Lord as the Lord before whom I stroll (Gen. translated as the English notice word stroll. The word Baalam does God know the difference. Although the original command walk. is as the He is the God of individual transliterated as face foreigners God or go on long journeys. also strolled with God (Gen. 3:8). verse stands in sharp contrast to God's first command to Abram. be. 12:5). and an animal or complete (Ex. when it finished. It often has was the correlate meaning of simpleminded as well. Such verses tend to be so complicated that they are best understood by considering passages in reader is referred to the commentaries 3. him. Noah. do for its own sake as opposed to Strolling This an act we walking to someplace for some purpose. The on Gen. Finally. come from the same root as which appears in the present verse. Abram was invited to stroll about the land to see what it was servant Abram is will like (Gen. Enoch strolled with God (Gen. virtue the term God Almighty is 2 . on his face: and God talked with saying. God Almighty. only when Abraham and his sons go out into a world inhabited by other men. as the confines men who the Torah. but carries English than does its English counterpart. 5:22). And Abram fell which similar thoughts are expressed more simply. the last time it is within used in the Torah is in the of blessing of Baalam (Num. its was called complete (I Kings 6:22) . the name of God insofar 24:4). In goal this verse God seems to command Abram to have a worthy for himself apart from the overall general plan. The words get thee out the word also ofthy country. The original Abram and quite different from the use of the command almost has the sense of thy own sake. of The name Jehovah is the not name of God the people. The first command have a long way to go before they will looks forward to a time in the future. The Hebrew word we have translated word as perfect and was used to describe Noah is identical to the with it more of the original sense in its origins. a reflexive verb. 6:9). A bow drawn to its fullest is drawn to that has no defect is called simple completeness (I Kings 22:34). It is sometimes in the sense of a unit. Such are some of the usages of the word that is used to describe the way in which Abram should Since the verse speaks of Abram's private used. and will multiply thee exceedingly.The Lion and the Ass 49 It is used The term God Almighty radically belongs to the early formation of the people. each facing the other. 9:9. Solomon's Temple. and 21:34. and Man In meaning it is rather close to was strolling in the Garden when He happened to Eve (Gen. goal That is to be perfect. had a reflexive reflexive verb go for quality about it. literally go for thyself.

And I will establish generations for an my covenant between me and thee and the seed after thee in their everlasting covenant. 18. and to thy seed after thee. outside indicate that the heart world as it be a new-born child or a piece of fruit or the of man. to be a God unto thee. and I will be their God. 15:18). The . and to . 14:6). 31:4). 14:3). Every man child among you shall be circumcised. keep. circumcision is of unknown origin and used word for foreskin. the father of the high. whether completed. 10:16). A follows: verse from David's lament at the death of Saul reads as . This is my covenant. and kings shall of thee . just as men who do harm have foreskinned hearts (Deut. is not Virtue hides itself and must be revealed by additional labor.^//?. 10. is changed to Abraham. but thy name shall be Abra-ham . The term occurs on six should in the Bible. often used The term foreskin is separate occasions for Israel's enemies. 8.50 4. After having been wounded.for a father of many nations have I made thee. 6. and I will make nations of thee. These examples would seem to given. all the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession . 3:14). is of some used in several is other senses and metaphors which years help. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram. Interpretation covenant is with thee. Later on Samson prayed to God not to deliver him into the hands of the uncircumcised (Judg. Saul asks one of the men passing by to kill him so that he would not be killed by one of the foreskinned Philistines (I Sam. impediment of speech is called cannot as Moses' hear his prophecy the foreskin of his tongue. The is always rough. Thou which ye shall shalt keep my covenant therefore. II Sam. 17. behold. my nations. In this sense Jeremiah describes those having foreskinned ears (Jer.? (I Sam. The for specific form of the sign of the Covenant is is somewhat difficult to interpret for those word who are not quite satisfied with Sigmund Freud. Chaps. and thy seed after thee in their generations. 9. And God said unto Abra-ham. When and a new tree not planted the fruit for the first three may be is called who the foreskin may be eaten. thou. And I will give unto thee. The Hebrew in no other sense. The name Abram. As for me. 6:10). take a wife In Jonathan's famous armour-bearer: single-handed and battle against the Philistines he cries to his Come let us go into the garrison of these uncircumcised (I Sam. Samson's father is distressed that Samson from among the foreskinned Philistines (Judg. thy seed after stranger. David's dowry for Saul's daughter is a hundred Philistine/on?. which is interpreted by the author to mean the father of many. between me and you and thy seed after thee. however. and thou shalt be a father of many 5. the land wherein thou art a thee. exceedingfruitful. 1 And I will make come out thee .

thou shalt not call your flesh for that her name Sarai. those of means blessing by all men. And God said unto offfrom his people. 13. be of her: yea I shall be of her. 1:20) uncircumcised triumph. They form the be kept back but It never fully conquered. and she shall and said in his heart. 12. and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. the course of the Torah but we shall also see another its great failure. contains the first attempt to fulfill the promise that the blessings of Abraham shall be shared attempt to spread the we shall see the During by people closest to the sons of Israel. Abram said to God: Although I have . The Covenant means leaving the way into which we are born New Way. and the Ass 51 publish lest the daughters of the it not in the streets ofAskelon. a mother of nations. and and he that is bought with an thy money. O that Ishma-el might live before thee! After the great war with Chedorlaomer. kings ofpeople Then Abra-ham fell upon his face. Way. 17. is ninety old. Abra-ham. but Sarah Verse 12 her name be. sense they are political counterparts of outer world that can the waters that are over the heavens. And he that is generations.The Lion Tell it not in Gath rejoice. The later Prophets will devote themselves to finding 16. The term foreskin Israel's only appears with reference to the Philistines. or be circumcised is not of thy seed. He that is born in thy house. The Philistines Their land was the are always understood to be the unconquerable enemy. . Heaven and earth and the things they for 11. he hath broken my covenant. eveiy man child in your with money of any stranger. a contain turn out not to be complete in the sense in which Abram was told to be complete or perfect. and laughed. be my covenant shall be in 14. last be refuge for the giants. And Abra-ham said unto God. In this and as such represents the limit beyond which no order can established. would follow from this that there is and Covenant of Noah similarity between the the Covenant of Abraham The rainbow. And the uncircumcised man child whose soul shall be cut 15. as it were is a kind a certain . wife. As for Sarai thy shall everlasting flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised. lest the daughters of the Philistines (II Sam. bear? 18. eight days old shall he that is born in the among you. And flesh of ye shall circumcise the your foreskin. and give thee a son also And I will bless her. Shall that a child years be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah. of cosmic circumcision dividing the chaotic waters from the bit of order that of surrounds man. just as the Covenant Abraham is an attempt to establish some political order within the chaos of human affairs. . will bless her. . which bought house. There are no other passages applied to in the Bible in enemies which the term is used in this way. circumcised. must needs covenant.

but rather to the twelve of Ishmael mentioned in Gen. of the blessing go to his son. 24. Ishmael. eveiy male among the selfsame when men of Abra-ham's as house. and I him a great nation. In the selfsame day was Abra-ham circumcised. as the Hebrew text puts it. were and all that bought with his money. he was circumcised in the flesh of in the flesh of his foreskin. 25 . I establish with Isaac. 26. God had said unto him. and thou shalt call his name and with I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant. all his brethren. which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set in the accepting Abraham's offer God would have had one less miracle to perform. And all the men of his house. covenant will next year. . and Ishma-el his son.52 accepted can will Interpretation You as my God. meaning that and does not dwell in the In Verse 12 presence Chapter 16 God had said of Ishmael that he says shall literally of Abraham is asking God to change that prophecy. Sarah thy Isaac: and wife shall bear thee a son indeed. And he left off talking with him. let Ishmael be the chosen one 19. sons The prophecy does not refer to a long line of kings. and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the old and day. him. and who lives in the face of God. born in the house. and all with me. And Ishma-el his son was thirteen years old. 16:12 concerning the and Israel. But the By world would have been a poorer place. I have blessed him. were circumcised with and bought with money of the stranger. and could have banished the wild ass from the world forever. For the importance of the name Isaac see the commentary to Gen. And Abra-ham took Ishma-el his son. and all that were born inhishouse. there is very little You do for me die since no matter what You give me I have no sons to carry it on. and will make hit <un will fruitful. And Abra-ham was ninety years nine. And God said. when he was circumcised his foreskin. 22. I have heard thee: Behold. make and will multiply him exceedingly . Ishmael's twelve sons are obviously as a parallel to the twelve intended tribes of Israel and complete parallel the discussion found in the commentary to Gen. The Hebrew in the face of his kinsmen. would a similar manner see Verse 18 is to be understood as Abraham demand a son be willing to from Sarah. and God went up from Abra-ham. In and am pleased to do Your will. And as for Ishma-el. 21 But my time between Ishmael . twelve princes shall he beget. 21. 27. 20. 25:13. his seed after him . 23.

In of discussion Malchi-Zedek there appeared to be a reference to the ultimate capital in Jerusalem (see commentary to Gen. but requests the honor of their visit. pass not away. as if tent Abraham's has no door there is no Since life. door. For that will many that would properly belong here be found in the commentaries to the next chapter. and the adds lengthened form verb. three men stationed themselves by him: and when he saw them. The men are by Abraham. Three times he of the uses a particle that can care be translated I pray thee. 3 . And said. the first seat of David's kingdom (I Sam. 23:2. servant: Abraham 's speech is simple and noble. This problem will be faced in the commentary to Gen. he ran to meet them from the tent door. but making doors and God did not grant him the had to say close the Ark Himself (Gen. continually to the richness of his speech. In the beginning of this chapter Abraham is found sitting at the opening of his deal of tent. and so we shall more about doors in the 30:31). lo. for instance. which indicates and respect. and. if now I have found favour in thy sight. Chapter XVIII 1 And the Lord appeared tent in the . the act itself from Chapter 22. 2. into his come they had already about him. stationed near to greet them from the but treats them as if they were passing by rather than being him. has only an opening make an opening in his Ark (Gen. Some people live in houses that have doors that with no can close. 1 pray thee. 6:17). The stationed words stationed themselves axe quite definite in Hebrew. close door to it. and are not there by opening of his tent. from thy My Lord. Abraham waiting for him to runs over acknowledge them. be forced to discuss the problem again. Some people live in tents that are open. He does not offer to give. 7:17). unto him by the oaks ofMamre: and he sat at the opening of the heat of the day: Chapters 18 without and 19 are so parallel reason that it would be difficult to examine one of the comments the other. Abraham our Mamre is Hebron (Gen. seems to be more at home in the first capital than in the second. in which Abraham will again and we shall approach his son with a knife. 14:18). world He takes them to be in the and own radical distinction between his mere chance.The Lion In cannot and the Ass 53 spite of what we be fully understood apart have already said concerning circumcision. but it is unclear why Abraham did not establish his residence there. and bowed himself toward the ground. 23:12). Lot's house has next chapter. . need of comfort. A great and the story of Genesis is wound around the question of openings doors. Noah is told to art of a The Tent Of Meeting. And he lifted up his eyes and looked.

calf which he had dressed. and rest yourselves under By saying Let a little water. tree. 6. Again Abraham de-emphasizes his have happened made along. men ask another rhetorical question. knead it. offine meal. but his great manor is in the open under the tree. Now Abra-ham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age. And they said unto him. Make ready quickly three 7 . The 10. return unto thee according to the time of life. the members of his household justly and smoothly. And Abra-ham hastened into the tent measures unto Sarah. and and gave it unto a he hastened to dress it. 9. I pray you. and comfort ye your hearts . be fetched in the passive voice. The cakes are baked in Abraham a man capable of by his 8. 31:35. and it ceased to be with Sarah after the way of women. In sure. young man. I pray you. And I will fetch a morsel of bread. I will certainly thy 11 . And Abra-ham ran unto the herd. And he said. which was behind him. and they are not to feel as beggars. and they did eat. wife shall have a son. see the commentaries to Gen. domestic and rules managing In ruling his house he performs well those acts that befit a man. it before them. and lo. in the tent. after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. Abraham understates the labor that will be required of him. and said. Behold. On the Gen. own bounty. andmilk. He treats them as guests who Chance has brought them to Abraham. 6:12 and . the tree: and wash your feet. By using the word little he de-emphasizes the travellers' needs at home. be fetched. So do. use of the Hebrew word way. And he took butter. and and the and set he stood by them under the Abraham himself serves the of a great meal and waits on his guests as if he were the lord manor. as thou hast said. Sarah And Sarah heard it from the opening of the tent. They may relax under a tree and not in a house. his actions are swift and passage one sees Throughout the affairs. Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said.54 4. wife and not by Hagar. Interpretation Let a little water. andfetcht a calf tender and good. and make cakes upon the hearth. And they said. contrast to the measured cadence of his speech. The privacy of his house will because Abraham is at home on the land in speech. thereby making them feel more not be needed. 5 .

I laughed not. and see whether it. 21. saying. that he they shall upon will command a great and mighty nation. is come unto me. And the Lord said. his children and his household that the after him. which am old? Sarah 's laughter 14. And the Lord said. Nay. altogether according to the ay of . And the Lord a said unto Shall I of a surety bear child. from the absurd. and they have done if not. and keep the way of the which Lord. But it must be distin guished world sense. I will know. Paths may sometimes go in ways that men follow. spoken Lord may bring Abra-ham that he hath of him. which seems to be cannot quite in Biblical thought. The questions are still as skillful as before. 20. absent Miracles presuppose the notion of natures. saying. / will go which now. 21:1. to do justice and judgment. since all the nations of the earth shall will be blessed in him. And he said. 13. but didst laugh.The Lion 12. Shall I hide from Abra-ham that thing which I do: and all Seeing that Abra-ham shall surely become him'' nations of the earth shall be blessed in For I know him. saying. God has what arranged a meeting with Abraham in Abraham learn the founder of a great nation must know. Then Sarah denied. Wherefore did Sarah laugh. And the them to men rose up from thence. The word wondrous cannot mean miraculous in the sense it had since about the first century. the 19. way. The world of wonders is a world that extends slightly beyond our field of vision. and because is veiy down grievious. After I lord being old also? Abra-ham. and the Ass am waxed old shall 55 I have Therefore Sarah laughed pleasure. a totally from human reason understood wondrous in its narrowest and strictest Originally the word translated expected. according to the time of life. my within herself. 18. distin guished from the normally 15. Is anything too will be discussed in the commentary to Gen. Because their sin the cry of Sodom and Go-morrah is great. in the cut off sense in which that word is used by Kierkegaard. but they teach in a much different way. Lord? At the time appointed wondrous for the I will return unto thee. We before are about to see a very different kind of questioning than we have seen or will see again which in the Book will of Genesis. and Sarah shall have a son. and looked toward Sodom: and Abra-ham went with bring them on the 17. The men s reply is clear but gentle. for thou she was afraid. and its objects cannot quite be brought into focus. merely meant separate. but that does not imply that they contradict understanding. 6.

God goes down to see what is happening in Sodom. then mercy would be needed. Wilt thou also destroy wilt the righteous with the 24. do what is best. The justice whole passage presupposes that there is no radical break between human divine justice. be as the That be farfrom thee: Shall not the Judge of the earth do right? Abraham question about approaches God and begins their discussion Whenever . not for mercy. as and the and present chapter suggests. For the author the superiority of seeing to of God Himself. but by slightly changing the of the words to all the place God reminds Abraham immensity of the problem and the risks involved. wicked? said. with a theoretical the nature of justice: can innocent men suffer along with the guilty? This is the question any founder must ask. and 23. And Abra-ham drew near. And the men turned their faces from thence. and both words will be discussed in the commentary to Gen. God agrees be willing to save the place for to do so. 26. Peradventure there be spare the place for the fifty righteous within the city: fifty righteous that are therein? after thou also destroy and not 25 . The problem would become more complicated if. If there were. then I will spare all the place for their sakes. Abraham had the sake of asked God whether He would fifty righteous men. Yet not all men see what is just. men join their lots. formula. . then mercy is too harsh a Like pity for those who need no pity it demeans the recipient by judging him in ways in which even the judge himself knows to be unjust. and so laws are needed. to slay the righteous with the wicked: and wicked. and went toward the Sodom: but Abra-ham stood yet before Lord. If justice were mere the thoughtless application of a a thoughtful attempt to But if justice is word. 21:1. indicative revenge or of a certain For him the distinction between mercy and justice is misunderstanding of justice itself. hearing is so important that it applies even in the case 22 .56 The Hebrew Interpretation word translated cry sounds like the word for laughter used in Verse 12. and yet how can such a result for justice. If Ifind in Sodom fifty righteous within the city. can one day some will suffer on account of others or die for others Justice be just? only exist within a people. there is a difference between justice in the individual justice in the nation. The author does not know the distinction between the two because he understands justice to mean the right and Abraham asks most appropriate way. mere hearing is insuffi cient. man's most serious efforts would be nothing and his life would be led in the waters of chaos. And the Lord said. That befarfrom thee to do that the righteous should all this manner.

I have Lord. In this passage it is God who walks away and Abraham who returns to his place. and sees only five bad God still sees the problem. one finds the expression God went up. and God agrees not to destroy And the Lord Abra-ham walked away. He will not press the city for the sake of the ten. would with protestation. the five? God accepts Abraham's argument but corrects his arithmetic. notion of dust and ashes. There are no apologies or protestations such as were between equals is at found in Verse 27. And he said. And he will not do it. 33. God's reply is equally short. there shall thirty be found there. be twenty found there. Abraham answers in God's terms. If God had actually gone down as He had intended to do in Verse 21 we would . if I find there forty destroy all the cityfor five. any further. but his question is short. God answers as before. Would God bargaining by asking what destroy the whole city because of men. I will not destroy it. I and I will speak: Peradventure there. And he said. And he there. I will not do it for forty's sake. Behold now. And he said. In parallel passages after God has finished speaking with man. Abraham has only been whole looking at the fifty. 29. if I find thirty to be Abraham with great magnificence now appeals to God not offended. Oh let Peradventure ten not the Lord be angry. This verse presents God as walking away. Abraham. Peradventure there shall be forty found And he said. Behold now. as soon as he had left communing with Abra-ham: and returned unto his place. . I will not destroy it for ten's Abraham has decided at what point to ask the last question. And he said unto him. and said. And he said. shall be found there. and I will speak yet but this once: sake. God's answer is short. and the Ass 57 taken upon me to speak unto the And Abra-ham answered and said. 31.The Lion 27 28 . Oh let not the Lord be angry. I will not destroy it for twenty's Abraham makes a slight reference back to his original position in Verse 27 but drops the 32. its height. which am but dust and ashes: Peradventure there shall lackfive of the fifty righteous: wilt thou and lack offive? And he said. and the discussion 30. said. a huge city of bad men who may cause great harm. spake unto him yet again. begins the were process of happen if five lacking. I have taken there shall upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure sake.

18:10). 32:25). go While it is clear that the men in Chapter 18 Lot's were intending to is not as to Abraham's house. which arises from the ambivalence of pride and fear. He first by no means clear that the angels intended to speak with Lot. A fuller account of the role of In Abraham s be found in the commentary to Gen. angels came to rose Sodom at even. However. radical a tent that had one's nothing own and more than an distinction between the rest of the world. or because of his timidity. Cities city prevents built for security. This relationship. and go on your ways. 22:15. And he said. who felt secure in the world as a unwillingness whole. I pray you. the angels appear to meet Lot by chance. And in the street all night. offer humble them as offers a night's rest but makes no mention of Lot lived in a giving any food. of better view it when we consider Verse 21 of the following chapter. and he bowed himself with his face toward the The visitors that come to the city to Abraham were called wrestled was men. The Lot's character. but Abraham lived in opening (Gen. Clear as it is to us that Abraham has learned something on a very high the content of that discussion remains obscure. of Sodom are called angels. does not run over Lot happened to be sitting at the gate when the angels passed by. has already been discussed in connection with the Tower of Babel.58 have expected Interpretation Him at this point to have gone back up. Fear forces men to establish their security. meeting in Gen. and feet. He to greet them as did Abraham. they said. and yet the fear that him from venturing outside it. And the two seeing them ground. as it relates to the establishment of one's own. andye shall rise up early. house that had a door. but we will abide Lot invites the Abraham said men to turn into your servant's house. on the contrary. Behold now. Chapter XIX 1 . into your servant's house. Lot's to leave the confines of his own city seems a bit caused ironical. Perhaps we will get a level. were him to live in a In Verse 3 spite of of. even the being with whom Jacob angels simply in the Book of Genesis contrast to called a man will (Gen. 18:2. Those that came Surprisingly. 2. it is Abraham's. turn in. God merely walks away. and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot up to meet them. my tarry all night and wash your lords. and yet pride must essential part of erase the original grounds is an for the establishment of one's own and replace it with foundations that appear more noble. It is also to be noted that the tent of meeting . Lot bows lower than did Abraham in the previous chapter. Nay. In a parallel passage do not go on past your servant. and it is Abraham who returns to his place.

Yet if doors are a necessary replacement perhaps some most cases sense might be for the affinity Abraham had with the world about him. As we know. all the people from eveiy quarter: compassed the . Even the door of a private home may not be providing protection in its own right: Bind them as a sign upon your hand and let them serve as symbols on yourforehead. but only understood as on His own terms. both old and young. Shekem (Gen. the food served was not quite as Abraham's 4. and they did eat. 6:8. the men of the city. The protection doors afford is ultimately accepted by the Lord. Lot and he made them they turned in unto him. Inscribe them on the doorposts of your house build a house and on your gates (Deut. That was just had in with the sons of prior to the difficulties his daughter. He wished to provide for the men but was apparently unable to manage his wife and household affairs as well as Abraham. Though the city is a sinful city. him. and prepared the meal himself. greatly. house round. 3. Cain city because of his fears that the first man to find him would kill him. and entered into his a feast. Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Apparently the angels feared they might be distracted duty by the sight of Lot. and thou shalt rule over The strange use of the word fact that the dangers to Cain lay not opening becomes intelligible if one reflects on the merely in the pride that was manifested in his building founded of the city. but also in his inability to cope with the outside world. Back in Chapter 14 Lot made no attempt to fight against Chedorlaomer. opening and unto thee shall be his desire. But before they lay down. though Chapter 13 gives us no reason to believe that his forces he were any weaker than Abraham's. The first descendant of Abraham to was Jacob. the sight of Noah God from carrying out his original intentions. ' angels refusal to spend the night in Lot 's house seems to reinforce the make a special relates indication in Verse 1 that they had not originally intended to exception in the case of Lot. Throughout the whole of Chapter 19 we must remember that author we are still searching for the from their 's answer to Abraham 's question . The problem latent in these lines decision to prevented to God's destroy the whole world in Chapter 6.The Lion and the Ass 59 had only an opening. One generous as should also mention that was. Dinah. and did bake unleavened bread. 4:7: sin coucheth at the And if thou doest not well. even the men of Sodom. made of the very strange wording in Gen. his fears themselves proved that he was incapable a of living The within a mere opening and that one day proper doors would have to be provided.9). 33:17). whereas much time and labor were used in making doors for the Temple (I Kings 6:31). And he pressed upon them house.

Men who live together tend to think together. do do ye to not so wickedly. Lot still believes in the protection of doors. And they said. 14:5). After having killed an Egyptian taskmaster. even upon the private in the presence of the public can often be danger to the point of loss of life. they pressed sore upon the man. I pray them out unto you. than with them. 8. which always indicates politeness and gentility. . which Behold now. Moses . went out at door unto them. Stand back. The dominant 3:1 was broken in and an Gen. The insistence ous. in astounding way reduced in full force. In these two verses. The one main theme of Verse 8 continues in which Moses will find himself. but that ultimately means the loss of One's own tends to one's own. Traditions arise and grab hold of the for bad people who live under their influence sometimes for good and sometimes necessarily requires having near neighbors. that we may know them. The establishment of a city. Cowardice. The Gen. 9. 7. is a greater in the discussion concerning Caleb and his vice in Biblical terms than is normally (see commentary to Gen. as we saw willingness apparent to face the giants. And said. Lot addresses uses the word please no less than three times. and came near to break the door. questioning has played in the Book of Genesis since original status now returns 18:23. 5:2ff). by placing Lot in a position similar to the Having been brought up in the court of when Pharaoh. And thee. . brethren. And they said again. 6. This and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse one fellow came with in to sojourn. become the public rather than the private. I pray you. or had he been been so would not would have felt the need more courageous chosen another means. And Lot questioning is the to the level of threats. for therefore came they the shadow of my roof.60 The desire to a Interpretation establish one's own for the sake of protection double sense. Where are the men which came in to thee night? Bring them role out unto us. It is Lot's greatest harm because that decent he he decency have is not decency itself that causes the accompanied by courage. Had he not to protect his guests. 2:19. and I have two daughters them as under have not known man. let me only unto bring do is good in your eyes: these men nothing. He the men of Sodom as my brothers and uses a lengthened form of the verbs. which arises is self-defeating in from the need for security. and shut the door after him. you. Lot's politeness is in fact cowardice. 5 . and said unto him. Moses people was considered a foreigner he first became leader of his (Ex. even Lot. And they this called unto Lot.

and thy sons. Surely thing is known (Ex. and whatsoever hast in the the city. point of view of Lot is in since an admirable position sets from the any potential new founder his foreignness The him apart and would allow him to bring ways. 19:17. THE OPENING For the analogy between this verse and Gen. 15. see the commentary to Gen. On the use of a the word destroy. The tions of angels have either not understood. Arise. 19:14. hand of his wife. 21:3.The Lion discovered two Hebrews Who and the Ass 61 fighting and him the judge tried to reestablish peace between them. daughters. But the men put forth their hand. or understood meal. and pulled Lot into the house to them. up. but he and get you out of this place. but his lack of courage renders such an action impossible. take thy here. Moses was able to become judge over the said. And Lot said. Blind passion so confuses the that is is turned to Lot's 12 advantage and protects him better than any door. his original fears. 13 . Yet in people. seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law. And be discussed in the commentary to Gen. And they smote the men that were at the opening of the wearied house with blindness. son . . went out. At that time one of them asked same question over us? and the men of Sodom now ask Lot. then the angels wife and thy two city. and shut to the door. sons waxen great of 14. inefficacy of doors to a man without courage is also made explicit in this verse. too well. And while he lingered. both small and great: so that they themselves to find the opening. in which God opening in the Ark Himself. Hast thou here any besides? thou in law. which are 16. lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the and upon the when the morning arose. 11 . And the men said unto Lot. and thy daughters. bring them out of this place: before the face for we will destroy this place. hastened Lot. the because the Lord: and Lord hath sent us unto cry of them is to destroy it. There is play on words God's attention to the cities which will in the Hebrew text between the outcry that called of Sodom and Gomorrah and the word mocked used in Gen. the men laid hold upon his hand. 10. 7:16. made thee a prince and a intendest thou to kill this me. spite of 2:14). saying. for the Lord will destroy this city. as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared. In Verse 1 1 the there were no word closed the door is replaced by the word opening men as if at this point distinction. which had taken his daughters. see the commentary to Gen. the implica Verse 3 when Lot prepared the They do not even ask if he has a wife. and spake his in law. 19:17.

In both cases God decided upon total destruction . Because Noah lacked with a complete knowledge closed the arts God had to close the opening door. The warning not to look back to Ham's sin in looking back at his own origins. there may be a warning. which servant hath found in thy sight. Lot knows which he wishes flee is only a little one. as we men with opening of Lot 's house. him without the Lord being merciful: and they brought him that forth. mountain dead drunk. See. is used for destruction as in Gen. escape to the mountain. The angels warn mourn Lot not to look back because of family to over the loss the city. well as concerning this thing also literally reads / The expression lifting the face. neither he said. once It appears twice in Chapter 40: in Verse 13 and again in Verse 20. and set the city. 6:13. I have accepted thee concerning for the which this thing also. In both cases a cry comes the same word Lord. and I cannot escape to the mountain.62 and upon the Interpretation hand of his two daughters. and little one?) my soul shall live. when they had brought them forth abroad. but was prevented man. He seems to be aware of the main thread that has been holding the Book of Genesis together thus far. from doing so by the in the accidental sight of an innocent In both cases the destruction of comes form Both of rain. The shall phrase / have accepted thee lift your face also in regard to this matter. they do not want him However. look not behind thee. thy mercy. and I die: it is a little one: Oh. thou hast spoken. He knows God is willing to find a reasonable mean between His notions of what the world should be and what men are capable of accomplishing. And Lot said unto then seem to 18. just as the angels ultimately end up on the top of a relationship between Lot and his daughters. appears quite often in the Book of Genesis and deserves some thought. 17 . And he said unto him. 19. Two . 20. is closely connected would be related Noah's relationship to Ham. as the word lifting itself. lest some this city evil take me. Oh. thatlwill not overthrow this city. and the the shall see. be consumed. them. let me escape thither. (is it not a is near to flee and unto . therefore stresses the fact that the city to 21. lest thou stay thou in all the plain. my Lord: grace Behold now. Beholdnow. or his more complicated but more important reason for this There Gomorrah out to the are a and striking and number of parallels between the destruction of Sodom and the universal Flood at the time of Noah. not so. Escapefor thy life. and thou hast magnified tin- thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life. Lot's true God objects to to virtues and vices are made quite explicit cities and in these verses. And it came to pass.

/ would do a lifting with regard to the whole lifting supports the ways of of the place for their sake. 36:7). son Abraham lifts his eyes to see the ram mind that will replace his Isaac as a sacrifice. which the Isaiah uses the phrase quite lifted faces (Is. The type save God has been forced to accept. In Gen. In Verse 24 do a lifting with regard to this place for the sake of the in it. honorable men. he placated him with large gifts. King James it is translators not good rightly translate as Proverbs 18:5 tells us that to lift the face of an evil man.The Lion men. The ambiguity in lifting is that many human ways cannot be lifted in this sense but sometimes must be destroyed. In the . ever since He decided to Noah from the Flood by establishing Law. This would account for the double interpretation Joseph gave to the two dreams as well as the problem of whether more explicit . From the end of though the answer on the political level cannot be the same as the answer would of accommodation be on a private level. (Gen. This understanding of the word lifting makes somewhat more intelligible the strange usage of Gen. use of 43:29). men are invited to lift their eyes in order to receive the great benefit with which God will provide good them. In Chapter 13. and yet in the Book of Job we are told to lift our notion of faces to God (Job 22:26). Joseph interprets he says within three the same words. position. land wherein they were strangers could not bear them because of their cattle (Gen. 18:23). and fifty righteous men The term in Verse 26 God replies. 18:2. 13:6). in the other they he will be hung This fundamental ambiguity in the word lifting occurs throughout the whole of Genesis. give a The man: word to lift is used twice in the sense of the support that land can And the land and was not able to and the bear them. In both cases head. Verses 10 and 12. 4:7: surely if thou doest well. there will be a lifting. In this sense ultimately means an accommodation in this principle as well. 24:64. the true subject matter of the discussion in Chapter 18 was the divine art of accommodation that Abraham learned through the true art of questioning. seems to be related to the way in which God accepts and man by placing them on a higher level. We are now prepared to begin to also understand the phrase / shall lift your face in regard to this matter. and in general. again. When Jacob feared the revenge of his brother. The ambiguity and hence the full meaning of the lifting comes to the foreground in the height of the discussion between and Abraham Abraham asks would you not which are God concerning the men of Sodom and Gomorrah. but in one case the words mean the man mean days shall Pharaoh lift up thine will be reinstated to his high from a tree. this welcome sight calls to the the phrase nine verses earlier when Abraham lifted his eyes to see Mount Moriah. 22:13. those hoping that perhaps he with will lift my face (Gen. It also makes the content of the discussion between God and original question was Abraham in Chapter 18 Abraham 's righteous with the wicked? as Wilt thou also destroy the the discussion it appears (Gen. have just had a dream. 3:3). that they might dwell together. 32:20). and men often lift their eyes to see some unexpected (Gen. it is good or bad to lift a man s face . a baker and a and the Ass 63 their dreams in butler.

and all And he overthrew the plain and all the inhabitants of the cities. The provides word is often used in the sense of earning. but there would be other men on other days. would have been willing to accept Cain's new ways had he been able to follow them justly. For instance. and fire Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone from the Lord 25 . Nine just men may have lived in those cities. smoke for is common enough smoke of smoke. but it is not the normal word for incense rising from a sacrifice. In other words. Therefore the of the city was called Zoar. And he looked toward Sodom Gomorrah and toward all land of the plain . God sacrifice. gat and she became where And Abraham up early in the morning to the place and of salt. The city of Zoar had been mentioned in Gen. and beheld. 45:27 and wagons are provided to carry presents to Joseph. 27 28 . in Gen. Abraham. but is used metaphorically since we know the wagons were literally pulled by escape name asses. the smoke of the when And it came to pass. 48:34. The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar. but rather to his face. 21:32. Jacob 50:13 his sons to carry him out of the land of which Egypt. 29 . 46:5 these requests same wagons are used to carry Jacob to Egypt. Lot was saved that day. 34:3 as the as a furthest place Moses in the would see Nebo. 13:10 when the surrounding country was described as the garden of the Lord. In 47:30. 22. It is the thick . 7:17).64 previous verse we were told that as Interpretation Cain's face fell. Haste thee. 24. Gen. and we read and carried his sons lifted him into the land. Joseph ten asses to carry the good things of Egypt to his father. and yet even there it meant to place the Ark above the whole that was to be destroyed. a pillar and that which grew upon the ground. Someone. But his wife looked back from behind him. The be discussed notion of a place of refuge or of decency midst of chaos will further in the commentary to Gen. Its tradition city of refuge extends to Is. when he overthrew the cities in Lot dwelt. The waters were said to lift the Ark (Gen. those cities. thither. and it will be mentioned once more in Deut. 23. out of heaven. At times the word lifting is used in the most literal sense of the word. and lo. 26. he stood before the Lord: the . God's answer touched the nature of political life deeply. 15:5 and also from the top of Mount Jer. The in the Bible. The lifting does not refer to his is normally supposed. in Gen. does not mean that they literally him on their shoulders. the which and set Lot out of the midst of the overthrow. In Gen. As Abraham of the cities word stood of the plain he began to before the Lord that morning watching the smoke rise out understand God's answer to his question. country went up as the smoke of a furnace. for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. God destroyed the cities of the plain that God remembered .

And Lot went up out of Zoar. The only other time the word furnace getting appears in the Bible is in the description of Mount Sinai at the time of the Giving of the Law (Ex. the early Christian commentator. that we may preserve seed of our father. 33. If true Christians our understood so much. Thus were both lay down. And the firstborn earth to come said unto the younger. Come. Having a cave no idea what it would mean to live on the land as Abraham the does. Sihon. and lay her father. 35 . nor when she arose. these verses Origen. 31. 34. 37. 9:8-10). he and his two daughters. bare a son. And the younger.for hefeared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave. and we will lie with him. Behold. Our father is old. some suffer war. nor when she arose.The Lion someone whose name we and the Ass been sacrificed that 65 do not even know. may have the day in the cities of the plain. made their father and drink wine that night: and when she the firstborn went in. In commenting merely says on these verses. the daughters of Lot with child by their father. drink wine that night also: and the younger arose. too. If a even though that suffering be considered just. does not imply that every man of the city had been unjust. It was not unjust for Israel to country suffers because of its sins. began a defend itself. when she and lay him. 19:18). let And they with us make our father drink wine. And it to pass on the morrow. and lie with him. and his two daughters with him . and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the this day. Perhaps in to day it is important to they would not blame the girls be explicit for the same reasons that Origen chose speak quietly. When Moses brings the first soot out of a plague on Egyptians. that we And they with made their father and may preserve seed of our father. and called unto this 38. he makes flies by furnace (Ex. king of the Amorites. he perceived not 36. came he perceived not lay down. it a distinction 30. was a sacrifice. The story of the relationship between Moab and Israel is spread out through a number of books and one must compare the passages closely in order to make sure . of the sequence of events. earth: and there is not a man in the in unto us after the way of all the 32. she also children his name Ben-ammi: the same is the father of the of Ammon day. Lot has now been convinced that the city is no place for a human being. When of people band together to form a city it is inevitable that because the actions of others. he lives in simple and the because he is not able to see difference between the primitive. a And the firstborn bare Moabites unto son. that the firstborn said unto the younger. and yet many Amorites died. If there is between private and public justice then Sinai. and dwelt in the mountain. . and go thou in. I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also.

prosperity because all the Lord thy God loved thee. through the land. was Ruth one day as she gleaning in his fields Love for a man where and duty toward a people sent Ruth to the another. (Deut. her to Israel. He. their peace nor their thy days for Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite. Suddenly in these pages it becomes right that each be with her own people praying But Ruth loves Naomi. . 25:1. and was to have been one of the means through which the New Way was to But Balak. Sihon Moses sent another messenger. but the Lord turned the curse not seek God shalt into a blessing unto thee. But there kinsman closer . neither contend with them in battle: for I children will not give thee of . 23:3-7) The next fragment of our tale is ever written. 2:26) That was the battle in which After the again war with Israel unexpectedly gained lands east of the Jordan. king of the Amorites. because thou wast a in his land. 2:26 Moses requesting And I words sent messengers to Sihon. Thou ever. this time to Moab. 2:9) In Deut. sons. there was a Elimelech. when ye came forth out of Egypt. God said: . their perhaps king. From now on have to go it alone. . Now requesting was a passage Moab. passage through his land: sent messengers out of the wilderness of Kedemoth unto Sihon king ofHeshbon with ofpeace. even to their tenth generation shall met you not with they not enter into the congregation of the Lordfor ever: Because they bread and with water in the way. Nevertheless the Lord thy God would not hearken unto Balaam. of Elimelech Boaz.Distress not the Moab-ites. There was a famine in the land. and to curse thy because they hired against thee Balaam the son ofBeor ofPethor of Mesopotamia. Orpah and Ruth. The result was a decision laid down by the Lord: An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord. saw A was gentle man. His story begins much like the travels of Abraham and Isaac and of Jacob. saying. panicked at the last moment. their landfor a possession. described in the commentary to Gen. a threshingfloor Boaz lay asleep. because I have given A r unto the of Lotfor a possession (Deut. and two sons went to dwell for a time in the land of Moab The man died there and so did his . leaving Naomi alone with two Moabite daughters-in-law. a and returns with named to her own god. grow. and there ensued a war that will be It of the was a sad war. thee.66 As the people were about Interpretation to enter the Promised Land. brother. kinsman . like Esau and the Amale kites. retold in one of the most charming books that discretion has man named Sometime. (Deut. back in the days of the Judges. his wife Naomi. the saddest of them all because it was against the last Israel would brothers. for he is thy brother: stranger thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian.

God seventy to assist him in his duties (Num meat: 11:16) and told the people that on the morrow they would have their And say thou unto the people. 13:26). twenty days. but Origen attack on Moab (II Sam. the Moabite. The first revolution was caused by the people over the lack of meat. David made an unprovoked shout. Kadesh of our story. The whose Elimelech. We do not cannot blame him. And Abraham journeyed from thence toward Kadesh and the south country. demand. Boaz and Ruth had a son and all Bethlehem of The last line the book says that through and Ruth. neither ten and days. he had even become its king. with us in Egypt: two therefore the norfive Lord will give you flesh. and sent his parents to be guests of Moab s king Saul pursued him (I Sam. saying Who shall give us flesh to eat? for it was well . Boaz begot into the congregation Obed. but seeing and seventy of them doing it together makes one think more of those men with cymbals drums than of Isaiah and Jeremiah. In elders Moses' compliance with . His face is blank. his name is So And So. 8:2). Why came we of Egypt9 (Num. and before him. the site of many revolutions. Lord days. until nor days. of the and Obed begot Jesse. Ye shall not eat one a whole day. But even unto you: month. and sojourned in Gerar. His Lot in dead We are not told. Jesse begot David (Ruth 4:21-22). Moses protested to the Lord that the Children of Israel were not his children and that he was no longer either able or willing to take the full responsibility of leadership appointed on himself (Num. andye shall eat flesh: for ye have wept in the ears of the Lord. One chapter after the Lord promised him the perpetual royal parents? line. This impression is further strengthened by verses that the follow it: . Sanctify yourselves against to morrow. declined. that ye have despised forth out the which is among you. and dwelt between Shur. not Three generations. 11:11). and a Moabite had Lord. She stayed duty it was to raise a seed through by his feet till morning. nor and ye shall eat. Feeling discouraged. one must Chapter XX 1. 11:18-20) and Before the prophesied. it come out at your nostrils. meat arrived the seventy elders received the spirit of God No mention is made of what the old men did when they prophesied. David knew of only entered when his ancestry.The Lion than and the Ass Ruth to replace the 67 life of Boaz. rejoiced. 22:3). other man and we know him. was silent and was a cave Today drunk. and Shur are both destined to play important roles in the development Kadesh is Paran (Num. it be loathsome have wept because saying.

Ultimately Ishmaelites (Gen. after many Levites had been killed in the revolution. Amram's second son was Moses Izhav's first son was Korah (Ex. more claims are made and more positions must rulership is be manufactured. if not superior. and all that night. and all the next and day. and took of Sarah his Sarah. wife. as well Miriam. Nonetheless. and we may have to said for several chapters before getting Abimelech an answer. Kadesh. Kohath. Leadership and hence guished Levites' worship in the Temple then became even more complicated because once partly shared (Num. the . and it were a upon day's journey on the other side. And there went forth let them fall by the camp. 25:18) but and most crucial son of also of the sons of Aaron and Esau. wrath And was while the flesh was yet between their teeth. the claim was met by giving them a more noble role in the community (Num. of a revolution within the the leadership of Korah three his followers. 16:7). sons: On. and God spoke to them as well. the second Izhav. and it became the home of the On. and revolt was quickly revolution caused by the report given by the Levites arose under and spies 14:4). Dathan. God it clear that it was Moses character rather than his birthright that distin him from the other men of the community. he and the elders from the Lord. and 11:30-33) In Chapter 12 Miriam their lineage was the Aaron that revolted against Moses on the grounds that that same as his. The land spoke of Shur plays a somewhat similar role. ere it was chewed. round about the it were two cubits high the face of the earth. and they gathered the quails: up all he that round gathered least gathered ten homers: they spread them all abroad for themselves about the camp. Ishmael and Amalek. though were never of unimportant ones. if we were to ask ourselves why will and not Abimelech was chosen to wait bring the New Way. If the Korah leadership s claim to be established by means of primogeniture. 36:12). Korah in and the Levites revolted because they of the were not given a role people was would makes accordance with their position. important families. It was there that the not angel to Hagar (Gen. And the people stood that day. to ' In the following verses. Merari. She is my sister: and king of Gerar . 11:16). 6:16-21). 18).68 And Moses gat Interpretation him into and the camp. and Now Levi had three Gershon. Korah. Abimelech lives in the land of In Hebrew the similarity between his name and almost as Abraham's is Abraham more evident. the unchosen one. as it a wind were a day's journey camp. Abiram live in Shur It is and only Amalek (I Sam. Dathan. the very- of the Lord kindled against the people. rarely heard of again . 15:7. Abiram. the last (see commentary to Gen. 20:7. they put were older than he. The decision be hard. 2. brought quails from the sea. As is usually true of children of the first son sons . but the After the to Gen. (Num. God's answer will be discussed down. and as on this side. these are the people who the other son. more fully in the commentary to (see commentary Gen. Moses' to power have been equal. and the Lord smote the people with a great plague. And Abraham sent. 27:8). and as of Israel. second son . but the Kohath had four the first one and named Amram.

But Abimelech had nation also? not come near her: and he said. He is my brother: integrity of my heart innocency of my hands have I done the word that will admit this. God's warning comes to Abimelech in peacefully. Since in the next verse God that description . On the general significance of communication between God and man through dreams. difference is that Pharaoh had never even seen This interpretation would seem to be borne out by the fact that in Chapter 12 no personal names are used.The Lion and the Ass 69 Superficially told common practice the story of Abraham and Abimelech reminds one of the story and in Chapter 12 concerning Abraham to delete one of them as certain minor a mere repetition of Pharaoh. however. and 5 . for the woman which thou taken: for she is a man's wife. since he had her. 28:12. and Sarah is merely called the woman. The couple have fallen asleep Abimelech seems not to have been a man of great and uncontrollable that Verse Even if one were to suppose 6 is related to that peace. The king is merely called Pharaoh as are all kings of Egypt. 3 . but Abimelech may have fallen in love with Sarah. reads as Abimelech the differences that are important. even he is righteous and believes his nation to be righteous as well. Lord. Verse 2 reads: king of Gerar sent and took Sarah In the parallel passage Chapter 12 . whereas Abimelech himself took Sarah. Said he in the not unto me. 17:1. Apparently we Abimelech is that God has destroyed Sodom would will Gomorrah. 12:15). a common expression in Hebrew for taking a wife. thou art but dead man. even she herself said. In the last century it was the other. Though do not know how Abimelech have answered Abraham's question. The word integrity is the same as had been translated Abimelech s perfect in of Gen. a dream. wilt thou slay a righteous The latest translation translates: Lord will you of Genesis done by the Jewish Publication slay people even though innocent? In Society doing so they seem to aware have missed the force of the word and also. speaks with God openly and fearlessly. There are. The woman in Chapter 12 was merely taken by some unknown hand. Behold. She is my sister? and she. follows: The and princes also Of Pharaoh saw her and commended her before Pharaoh obvious the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house (Gen. For instance. In the present chapter there is the warmth of private names. passions. The first not been attracted to Sarah. hast and said to him. 4. he does though wonder if he and his nation be destroyed. see the commentary to Gen. in other men such divine intervention might only have led to frustration. Note that he. as Abraham did in Chapter 18. But God came to Abimelech in a a dream by night.

In spite of the fact that the would word prophet appears Book some of Genesis. will of acquired a certain argument importance that Isaac marry at the significance for the it was also forty. For example. for he is not. it be impossible to understand much of the here for the only time in the book without This discussion has been understanding of the author's view of prophecy. a prophet. and he shall pray for thee. which Abimelech had used in Verse 4. On the character that could shed light be on this question. Abimelech does not become flustered nor does he embarrass Sarah by asking her to and was aware of intended to kill Abimelech his leave his bed immediately. but in the light have made age it our policy to ignore the age of a character except in those passages where the is specifically mentioned. and called all his senants. for I not to touch her. and on the basis of the story one Isaac to have been not much more than eight years old. But in the case of Abimelech there is no reason would and suppose have assumed that age played any role. Therefore Abimelech these things in their rose early in the morning. and one might wonder first whether there was other hand there seems nothing something else in Abimelech 's peculiar about Abimelech 's taste. . Now therefore and thou shalt restore the man his wife.70 himself is just that kind of and Interpretation accurate. Yea I also know sinning that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart. it age of author. on the assumption that the logic of the story was more important in the eyes of the author than the passage of a specific amount of time. 6. same reason it was important that the death son. not placed at the end of the chapter in order that it it we shall allow ourselves to wander a disturb the unity of the whole. In bit through the early books of the Bible to see what they contain. and told all ears: and the men were sore afraid. Ages of experience we times are often crucial in the story. it would seem fair to say that Abimelech has reached of perfection toward which Abraham was enjoined at the beginning Chapter 17. God integrity all the time. since the number forty has the From the point of view of not important that Isaac 's For the marriage take place too long after the death of his mother mother. And God said unto him in a dream. also withheld thee from against me. therefore suffered I thee God twice never repeats the word also. In the at previous chapter Sarah had been an old woman. 7 . of his follow the journey to Mount Moriah made where about as Abraham bound his These facts taken together would have he was Isaac thirty -eight or thirty-nine when bound to at the top of Mount Moriah. 8 . thou. and all that are thine. The some same problem will arise in many instances. live: and if thou restore her know thou that thou shalt surely die.

she is the daughter of my father. but rather ascribes it to a defect in Abraham's knowledge of particulars. He is my brother. Then Abimelech and what sin? called Abraham. assumes that seems Abraham believes himself to have justifiable of cause for his due to He incapable believing that Abraham's misjudgment was defect in character. . 13. an error that can befall even the most decent of men. that true. on the other hand. when thy became my wife.The Lion Abimelech command. a Abimelech 's way of describing a wrong action is to say deeds which are not done. Abraham is occasion. What sawest thou. And Abraham said. then Abraham's is a false speech. He does not cite any divine law that Abraham has transgressed. His first question is What hast thou done to us? His first concern Abimelech is and what merely for himself but for his people as well. If speech has its being in the thoughts it intends to speech give rise to in the mind of the hearer. no matter how base derivative the though he foundation shows no that fear may be. he seems in full commands his men. can of mistaken on made two counts. Abraham does not seem to feel the full force of the relationship between speech and the individual to whom the speech is addressed. Because I thought. God caused me to wander from my father's house. at everyplace whither we shall come. say of me. What hast on me and thou done unto us? have I offended thee. though the 9. 11. those same words would have been true. but since the sentence itself was intended to been imply that she was not his wife it was certainly a to someone who lie. thatl said her. And Abimelech said unto Abraham. himself. that thou hast brought unto me which are not my kingdom a great thou hast done deeds done. and Surely the fear of God is not in this they will slay me for my wife's sake. and at least on this be to fear the Lord. and the Ass men are 71 afraid. Abraham's excuse is weak. fear. but not the daughter of and she my mother. and said unto him. that thou hast done this thing? asks several questions. The men of Abimelech. as Abraham does. they seem to be asked in genuine confusion by a man who does not know the answer. Had the sentence addressed knew that Sarah was his wife and was meant only to inform the hearer of an additional relationship. Unlike the normal form of questioning found in Genesis. place. Audit unto came to pass. that thou hast brought on me and my kingdom a great not sin? Abimelech actions. This is kindness which thou shalt shew unto me. but rather views the world as the home of decent men who behave decently. is clearly 12. And yet indeed she is my sister. Abimelech a noble man. 10. The second question is have I offended thee. the words themselves are literally One may indeed argue. Sarah is in some sense his sister. He does not know what lying is.

but does not have the standing it acquired in the later books. only emerge in Chapter 21. And he word said: The Prophet Hear now my words unto Korah. And Abimelech said. So Abraham prayed unto God: God healed Abimelech. and his wife. and with all other: thus she was reproved. And unto Sarah he Behold. relation of justice to law requires some modification of Abimelech was placed between Kadesh and and . For Abimelech it do that was the only way show open to him no in his there attempt to soothe and yet the situation. I the Lord will him in a dream. For the Lord had fast closed up all the maidservants. and his 18. wife. and generalization renders him insensitive to the which distinction between Pharaoh learned only too If the home well Abimelech. My sen-ant we Moses is so. said. unto all that are with thee. There to be sufficient grounds for Abraham 's in the case of Pharaoh. and restored him Sarah his . 15. but on the grounds of his experience in Egypt Abraham has His made it a general rule or law to act in a particular manner. Shur in have order to raise the problem of the difference between him That will Abraham we yet to see Abraham's 14.lecv appears ten times in the Torah. In the prior more parallel passage from Chapter 12.7). A Digression on the Author's Understanding of Prop/. who is nowhere called a prophet. I have given thy brother a thousand pieces of silver: behold he is to thee a covering of the eyes. The Prophets . He tried in some way to that he bore ill will. presented gifts to Abraham to be to discovering that Sarah was payment on a In the case of Pharaoh it seemed like low level. Behold my land is before thee Dwell where it pleaseth thee . In the Book of Numbers. If there be a prophet make myself known not him in a vision and will speak to among you. Perhaps that lesson Abraham in Chapter 19 concerning the . Abraham's Abimelech plague on wife. God makes a clear distinction between a prophet and Moses. they bare children. who is faithful in all my house (Num. gave them unto and oxen. superiority. and mensenants. he could not without at the same time making it clear that were grounds for such a feeling on and his part. Pharaoh married. and womenservants. and wombs of the house of Abimelech.72 The seemed nexus of Interpretation this lack in Abraham comes to the foreground in Verse 13 position . 17. And Abimelech took sheep. 16. This may be the of what will turn out to be the decisive factor in God's decision to over Abraham Abimelech. 12:6. because of Sarah. seemed not even or to be aware of the fact that there had been a his house beginnings choose that Abraham had prayed for him. and Abraham.

see. the of wife of Hebber (Judg. by no means accidental that at this point would is called the sister of Aaron (Ex. Chaps. neither let any more. While that about normally be praise. . and God is almost immediately forced to him by an angel Saul meets everal than play on groups of men called prophets. after he has been abandoned by God and by Samuel. the would die one and that was beginning of prophecy. Moses burden ' . 6:8. him ye shall hearken. Deborah then does sings her Later in the Book Judges we meet an unknown prophet who speak the words we are accustomed to associate with the prophets words are (Judg.9). As prophetess she draws the army Israel together the leadership of Barak and sends him to make war against says Sisera (Judg. 4:22). but the irony is that no merely shows matter who brings the plagues. me see this great fire Let me desiredst of the Lord thy not hear again the voice of the Lord not.6). convey the very when to go out of one's . Moses. but his replace totally ineffectual (Judg. 18:15-16) . that I die (Deut. but they are of no help. 5. At the end of his life.The Lion shall meet and the Ass are not 73 only from strange and in the Torah also and the Early they Prophets were Moses. All these strange present transformations are to take place in Egypt where Moses and Aaron will themselves as magicians magicians and who can outdo even the magicians of Pharaoh. 4:9). of thy brethren. Saul becomes of them. God to Pharaoh: Apparently Aaron will play the role play the role of of the prophet to the extent to which Moses will God. unto will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee. Both the Moses are able to bring the plagues. was the first to be called a prophet. rise of The people the respectable prophet began in the days of Moses to when the became frightened by the voice of God and asked Him not speak to them directly day. I have Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet (Ex 7 : 1) . and and again they do little more one drums and sing wild songs (I Sam. the Egyptians suffer. Barak accompany his the men woman he will go only if Deborah is willing to than willing to accompany men. 15:20). Miriam at one point is also called a prophetess. to all that thou God in Horeb in my the day of the assembly. but the context is made thee a indeed: And the Lord said unto Moses. but the with a context her dancing she drum in her hands It is . But Moses any longer but through the mediator. way to say so the sister of Moses might opposite This same kind of wildness is again all we see of prophecy the Seventy Elders begin to prophesy (Num. According saying. God. Deborah answers that she is more because of her great prophecy that Sisera will be sold into the hands of a (Judg. but they seem only to humble and confuse him. 10:4 19:20). 6:10). In the battle Sisera escapes and is indeed killed by a woman. but Aaron from prophets as man very different known in later times. 11:25) after their pitiful attempt to share The of next prophetess we meet under is Deborah. he returns to these people. The Lord thy God like unto me. name song. but her famous is Jael.

ously: thou shalt not be afraid of him. The last lines seen on one of Hannah 's and prayer mean that not yet humblest had level what God Samuel had a recognized on the higher level. did not receive are his wisdom in visions and dreams in the interconnections of thought hidden. and to all his servants. ways. which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt to that mighty Pharaoh. True prophets alike are men who have had a vision of a whole prophet that includes the whose vision political whole and extends beyond it. But in Israel there That was could be no king. 22:5). The main thrust of the Book of Judges was to show the inadequacy of the loosely connected system of govern ment envisaged even the by Moses person and Joshua. own They were men of God lifetime they were not called Prophets but Seers (I Sam. 9:9. The Prophets. In the signs and the wonders. men like Elijah and Elishah. 34:10-12) other prophets. And there arose not a prophet since all in Israel like unto Moses. The false is a man has been impaired Though the either by a moral defect in his character or through situation. 2:10). but hath spoken it presumptu (Deut. And in hand. We have already seen the passage in which Moses is distinguished from all To them God will only reveal Himself in dreams and in hidden The Bible is prophets alike. the situation out of which the Seers came to be. their some other cause.74 It would Interpretation be wrong however to believe that Moses was distinguished merely from those early men who sang songs and played on drums. all whom the Lord knew face to face. final allegiance cannot be paid to a man. But Moses. 18:22) According to this verse one can only decide whether the final vision is true or false in terms guished which of the wisdom of what has been revealed. if the thing follow not. is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken. (Deut. Soon His promise to send a prophet. The final tribute the Book of Deuteronomy pays to Moses sets him apart even from those great Prophets who were to come in the future. prophets are aware of the political final cries to the people or advice to the kings arise through the revelation of the consequences of the political situation. and to all shewed his land. In their . a revelation give no account within for which they themselves after can the confines of their own thought. Israel could no longer do without king (I Sam. Even in later times prophecy came about slowly. God says: When that a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord. as distin from the Prophets. power of the sent to balance the king. and in all the great terror which Moses in the sight of all Israel. the prophet nor come to pass. a fully false aware that signs and wonders come to true and false A false and prophet is not merely a man who falsely claims to have had dream.

it is equally possible that she may have been descended from Sheba. At the end of ability to pay (I Kings 9:11-14). while Jokshan had many famous descendants. who receives Abraham's personal birthright as opposed to the special birthright that was given to supposition would place Isaac (see commentary to Gen. Zimran. 25:3). had no descen dants that we know of. after the kingdom cracked in two However. 75 we are later. have that same that Man and Woman had received from eating the seemed pleased on fruit of in the for fame. of this great . King Solomon's experiences with this grand to the building of shrines to foreign gods (I Kings 11:6). His famous decision received about the two the child shows that Solomon had purely human wisdom with which he could rule justly without advice of Seer or Prophet. The fame visited of Solomon's wisdom spread throughout the world. Solomon is seduced by many women of great plans for building turn from the Temple many nations (I Kings 11:1). his sacrifice at the Temple seems to be acceptable (I Kings 8:63). and who was attracted to he was by a most proper lady. conclude in the case of the second marriage as well that it is the second Jokshan. . lady seem to have given him a taste for strange women. This latter the Queen of Sheba in that same middle position between which we the Chosen People and and the rest of the world in have found men like Jethro the Moabites. . we are 9:25). 25:1). Since Abraham's first son by that marriage. Garden. would make her a daughter of the cursed nations and a complete foreigner (Gen. As to Saul. the second son of Abraham by his wife Ketura (Gen. hand. On the other forced to son. Solomon because clear.The Lion came much and the Ass . rushing our story brief and must leave them for another occasion and the able Only opposed with moment a King king of Solomon who building of the Temple does one find for a is to unify the political and the sacrificial. . His revolution left the kingdom divided between the two kingdoms. rather than for wealth results and Whether the when man results of that wisdom were so gained different from the that followed first the knowledge of good and bad is a question we shall women and have to cover with some care. The lineage . Judah goes and Israel. magnificent speech at The source of the wisdom of the of Solomon displayed in his back to the wisdom to the . the first son of Jokshan. God the wisdom this occasion that Solomon good and should asked to distinguish between bad. lady is by no means She may have been a descendant of Cush the son of Ham (Gen 10:7) which of his wisdom (I Kings 10:6). The height of King Solomon 's glory was the Temple he built and the the of wisdom the speech he gave at life his wisdom left the ways his opening ceremony of Israel and his buildings caused debts far beyond his that building. In the chapter that immediately follows his encounter with the Queen of Sheba. Because of these debts the people were willing to follow Jeroboam. and his Unfortunately. opening ceremony which he had asked wisdom Temple ninth verse of good from Chapter 3 the Tree in God the distinguish bad. the Queen of Sheba. who had received God's sanction. or the intervention of special divine providence.

And he day. nor turn again by the same way that thou earnest. drink water of the Lord. Lay hold on him. This is the sign which the Lord hath spoken. nor drink water. And theirfather said unto them What way went he? For his . 2 And he in the word unto Lord. that my hand may be of God besought the Lord. The real life of the kingdom after its establishment extends from the reign of King David through the reign of King Josiah. 8. And the king answered and said unto the of God. saying. so that he could not pull it in again to him. Behold. We shall begin by quoting I Kings. according to the sign man man of God had given by the word of the Lord. Come home unto with me. And the as man and pray for me. and became it was before. as His instrument (I required Kings 11:26). and his sons came and told him all the works that the the word man bread nor in this place: 9. Jo-siah by name. there came a man by the word of the Lord unto Bethel: and cried against the altar a child shall Jer-o-boam of the the stood and by the altar to burn incense. Now there dwelt an old prophet in Beth-el. 20). and upon thee places that burn incense upon thee. And behold. And and the king said unto the man of God. King Jer-o-boam heard the saying of the man of God. and the ashes poured out from the altar. I will give thee a reward. 11. shall be born house of David. this rending of the country into two cause of spiritual centers was said to be the the defeat of the northern kingdom and its fall into Assyrian hands (II Kings 17:23). 7. 10. thus saith the Lord. Jeroboam . of God out ofJudah . successful revolt that left only the south loyal to Rehoboam. and refresh thyself. dried up. For so was it charged me by of God had done that day in Beth-el: the words which he had spoken . which he put forth against him. The account of this period is held together by the problem with which we a single story that faces entirety: directly began this rather long digression. that he put forth his handfrom the altar. altar. to excessive taxation of the people that was continued and even in order build the Temple increased by his son Rehoboam. Behold. restored me again. And the man of God said neither will I eat the king. 4. and returned not by the way that he came to Beth-el. 6. and the king's hand was restored him again. which had cried against the altar in Beth-el. said. and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out. saying Eat no bread. 5 which The the altar also was rent. the be rent. in its the problem of the Prophets. The little time that remained after King Josiah 's death was nothing more than a moment that God added to the life of the nation in order that King Josiah would not be forced to witness the fall of Jerusalem (II Kings 22:19. Jeroboam's decision to build the new altar is ten times in the Second Book of Kings as the sin that was at the root of and more Israel's difficulties. God decided Solomon to take most of the land and used Jeroboam. So he went another way. And it came to pass. and men's bones gave a sign the same altar shall when he offer the priests upon thee. decided to build mentioned an altar in Beth El. Entreat now the face of the Lord thy God.76 Because from him The of Interpretation the later sins of Solomon. I will not go in with thee. If thou wilt give me half thine house. the son of Nebat. saying. Andhishand. unto the king. them they told also to theirfather. 12. of the high shall be burnt 3. Chapter 13. Rehoboam's tribes policies made it possible for Jeroboam to gather the people of ten northern together for a King fearing that the people would return to Jerusalem for the sacrifice and be reattracted by the ceremony that had traditionally ensured the unity of the people. O altar. 1. specifically.

by the the word of the Lord. who was disobedient unto the word of the Lord: therefore the Lord hath unto the lion. of God that with earnest from Judah? And he said. And went of God. I am a prophet also as thou art. and after of thy fathers 23. and to destroy itfrom off the face of the Earth. behold. my brother! Whenlam 31. 28. And he found his carcass cast in the way. to saying. dead. and against all houses of the high . him. andfound him sitting under an oak: and he said unto him. and hast not the commandment which the eaten Lord thy God commanded thee. I am. and he became of became sin unto the house of Jer-o-boam. and drank by the word the Lord. And he pass. the mouth saying. places which are returned notfrom his evil way. and did eat bread in his house. Then he said unto him. to mourn and to bun him. 26. Beth-el. Lord. then bun in the sepulchre wherein the man of God is buried. And it came to pass. Come home me. and eat thee: neither bread. And he said. of the which But earnest back. Eat no . bread. nor torn the ass. And they and the saddled him. 14. nor go in with will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place: 17 For it was said to me . and brought it back: carcass came and the old prophet came to the city. and the ass lion standing by the carcass: the lion had not eaten the carcass. 24. that he saddled for him the ass. which came from Judah So they saddled him the ass: and he rode thereon. And laid his the prophet took up the carcass of the man of God. and sa w the carcass cast in the way. Art thou the what way the man me the ass. the lion also stood by the carcass And. and the lion standing by the dwelt. And it to pass after he had buried him. For the saying which the he cried by the word of the lay my bones beside Lord against the altar in the cities ofSa-mari-a. I may not return with thee. that the word of the Lord came unto the prophet that they sat at the brought him back: 21. He said unto him. 15. Thou earnest. Alas. and 29. as the Lord. nor turn again to go way that thou 18. . in his bones: 32. he the people priests the made again of the lowest of of high places. foreign his was reunited rule. 16. which hath torn him. And this thing the the priests one of consecrated him. And and . And he went and spake to his sons. And he in his own grave. Saddle after man the man And he said unto of God went. The prophecy the man of God gave in Verse 2 is clearly a reference to the last whom we have been speaking In his reign great King of Israel Josiah the man of from Assyrian hands after 110 years of recaptured the northern provinces were . In reign the Torah of Moses.13.The Lion sons and the Ass . Saddle me the ass. 11 had seen his sons. 34. thy carcass shall not come unto the sepulchre had eaten bread. and slain him. me that he spake his sons. a lion met him by the way. of God. a book that had almost never mentioned since . shalt eat no bread nor drink water there. after he he had drunk. he said. 22 in the place. . he was gone. And it came to table. even to cut it off. and hast bread and drunk drink no water the Lord did say to thee. 27. Thus saith kept Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed of the .25. 30. according to the word of the him delivered Lord. but shall surely come to pass. for the when prophet whom he had brought back. into thine back with water. that Bring him back with But he lied unto him 19. . and they mourned over him. 33 After this thing Jer-o-boam high places: whosoever would. to wit. and an thee went angel spake unto me of he may eat bread and drink water. and slew him: his carcass was cast in the way. And when It is the man carcass: and the prophet that they brought him backfrom came and told it in the city the where the old prophet way heard thereof. and the split kingdom for the first time in 361 been years. So he saying. house. laid it upon the ass. saying. and water. men passed by. cried unto the man of God that came from Judah. which he spake unto him. and the ass stood by it. saying.

21:8). After destroying the high places he destroyed the that the Kings Israel did not altars Jeroboam had built and spied the sepulchres that were in the mountain and sent and took the bones out of the sepulchre and burnt them had yonder monument that upon the altar. we are prepared to face more of prophecy. he so the Old Prophet. lied to the of of God because he knew there was no other would evidently needed.78 Interpretation was rediscovered the time of Joshua 522 years earlier. Solomon. directly I Kings Chapter 13 its implication concerning the limits and The crucial difficulty lies in how one understands the end of Verse tators wish 18. according to Abrabanel. Jeroboam's altar. Old Testament Library (London: S.1 Most commentators understand this verse to imply that the Old Prophet true Prophet of God but rather argues a Prophet of Baal. T. Press. With so much of an and introduction.C. he argues that the Feeling that the of God sitting under the tree. The International Critical Commentary. 301.M. it was always used to words of of Kings the Torah is contrast present practices with the expectations laid down in that book (II Kings 10:31. It is the proclaimed I see? And the men of the city God which came from Judah and sepulchre of of these things that thou hast done against the altar of Beth-el (II Kings the man 23:16. While it was in the Second Book of Kings. as it is revealed to him even 'See James Montgomery. in quite a with different He fully sees that the last part of his understanding of the Biblical notion of a false The Old Prophet loved and cared for the young man and mourned his to is incompatible death. 17:13. Clark. since the we are reminded no less than seven were not taken away. it man would be unthinkable in Biblical terms that a false prophet should have such feelings. According Abrabanel. Book Of Kings (Edinborough: T. be that a prophet must follow the way convincing him to take the rest and sustenance If Abrabanel 's position is taken. claimed. 1963). The times such of King Josiah were as glorious as Israel has ever known: For no Passover had been kept during all the days of the Even during the reign of the best of the kings times that the high places we are reminded days of the judges who judged Israel. of Verse 14. It occurs in David's last mentioned three times earlier only warning to his son. From the mentioned time of Joshua to the time of the Second Book once. or kings of Israel or of the kings ofJudah (II Kings 23:22). What is told him. (II Kings 22:8). who proclaimed these Then he said. The Book Of Kings. Only at the end of the kingdom was Josiah able to destroy the cause of its corruptions. according to the word of the Lord which the man of God words.17). 1951). On the basis Old Prophet found the labors. exhausted from his divine commandment applied only to the king and not to man himself. . Some modern commen of the medieval was not a to take out the words he lied to him. Abrabanel the story prophet. of in addition to the ten times in which destroy Jeroboam s altar. the point of the story word of God. See also Gray. p. manner.

The Syria in order king of Israel proposed to Jehoshaphat that they to war against to recapture that lands that had been lost in the prior generation.The Lion though an and the Ass fall into 79 such it may seem foolish Kings or wrong. In I Kings 15:24. is bound together by the two parts the story concerning the of God. rest of the text reads as follows: of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne. 20. And the Lord go upandfallatRamoth-gilead?Andonesaid And he said. focus is again placed on King Jehoshaphat.2 The Books of as a whole contain one other unconnected with appears at whole man the story of the man of God. These have no master: let them return even man to his house in The peace ( 1 Kings 22:17). forth. Ahab . as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the Lord said. We- . Wherewith? And And he said. Now therefore. Micaiah joined the other prophets in thee that thou tell me nothing encouraging the kings into battle. 23. precisely in book. Micaiah answers. misgivings about moment a At that calling Micaiah and accused him of always prophesying evil strange thing happened. but throughout Ahab is known merely as the king of Israel. But was one prophet in the land had who had not been consulted. one of the promising kings between the rule of King Solomon and the rule of King perhaps under go Hezekiah. and the Prophets were full after making inquiry. How many times shall I adjure but that which is true in the name of the Lord? (I Kings 22:16). Lord hath put a living spirit in the mouth of all these prophets. Who on Ahab. Hear thou therefore the word and all the host of heaven standing shall persuade by said. Jehoshaphat they inquire of the Prophets expedition would be feasible. His name was Micaiah (I Kings 22:7-9). a dual kingship. (I Kings 22:19-23) 2Don Abrabanel. Coinmentaiy On The Early Prophets. Thou shalt persuade the him. The story then shifts to the northern told the story of King Ahab and the deterioration of his reign influence of his wife Queen Jezebel In the last chapter of the corrupting book. and that even a decent man can error. and prevail also: go do so.p. Jehoshaphat. will go forth. I will persuade and him. him on his right hand and on his left. cameforth a spirit. 21 And there . And the Lord said unto him. who went to pay a visit to the and we are the . I and said. The then ruling king was King Ahab. and said. I will be a living spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.5716). that he may this manner. and stood before he Lord. and the behold. 22. (Jerusalem: Hossath Sepharim Torah da'ath. and another said on that the manner. It the middle of the the very end of the which First Book of Kings. I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills. Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee. under came to rule in Judah. the author mentions the death of King Asa and that King Jehoshaphat kingdom. king of Israel the chapter most (I Kings 22:2). apparently had some hopes of unifying the country again. and Ahab says. but it may of story that is apparently shed some light on it. Jehoshaphat discovered that there suggested to see whether such an of encouragement. 35 Iff.

has he no special the story of Chapter 13 is about the man of God who had a great vision of the distant future. he was not sure who the man of God from Judah was (I Kings 13:14). a difference of roughly 370 years be significant. but the king But of Israel entered the battle incognito. Josiah (I Kings 13:2). Both the story that appears in the middle of the book and the story that holds the book together have in common the story of the false prophet. since it is obvious that both the man of God Superficially. The prophecy reads: Behold a child is born unto the house ofDavid. If we turn back to the prophecy of the man of God given in Verse 2. This word than to lie. that true prophets sometimes lie. by name present knows that someday the prophecy of the man of God will The prophecy is: Behold a child is born unto the house of David. They believe Ahab is prophesy according to what seems prophet. From the central and we have also learned story we have learned that God may send false prophets. from its man position in the sentence actually means to deceive it is unclear whether the Old Prophet deceived the of God or whether the angel deceived the Old Prophet in the (See I Kings 22:20-24). let Jehoshaphat escape. The Syrian soldiers.80 In the battle that ensued Interpretation Jehoshaphat went off to war in full regalia. The special character of this prophecy is intentionally under may lined when seen in contrast to the Old Prophet's constant inability to know the the present. there is another story concerning because they are sent false spirits. though it leaves us with the second suggestion would make sense problem of accounting for the actions of the angel. The lexicographically word one uses rather normally translated he lied to him are ambiguous both syntactically. also plays the role of a false prophet but for different an evil He wishes to trap Ahab because he believes Ahab to be king. For instance. and he had to be told that the man of God died (I Kings 13:25). The prophets lie to a good man and wish to them to be true. The word translated lied is not the normal to a in reference and false prophet. Josiah by name. between the two the story concerning the lying of God. in Verse 32 it becomes was forced to sons which clear that the Old Prophet come true. However. his and an Old Prophet whom we are constantly reminded knowledge ask of things he cannot see with his own eyes. they have been Micaiah in Verse 15 reasons. and the people would be forced to suffer another . But King Josiah had not yet been born. details of things he has not words that are and seen with his own eyes. to a capture having been instructed by their king drew the king a certain man bow at random Israel only. Precisely man in the middle. blinded by the same passions that have King Ahab. The light of the decency of certainly the Old Prophet. If the same argument applies to the first story. and smote the king of Israel (I Kings of sections of a 22:34). we see that in some sense it too is a false prophecy. In his discussion of this verse Abrabanel accounts for the tense of the verb by arguing that prophets see future events as happening in While this is undoubtedly the case. overcome However. it can certainly not hold in the same sense and the Old Prophet are good men. way the man of God went (I Kings 13:12).

and we have seen false And saddest of all. Undoubtedly the would man of God the evils of his day and a solution to them. of God's encounter with King Jeroboam totally In summary then. But eventually something was to fill the gap after the death of Moses. Such an verses of the interpretation would account man for the last two chapter. From an orthodox point of view. First there the men with the cymbals and the drums. gap. Abraham seems to fit into none of these categories. prophecy were needed was a long time in coming to Israel. The the deceiving prophecy of the angel may then have been given that the man prophecy of God might not raise the expectations of the people beyond the possibility of fulfillment. in which was it is made clear that the useless. . but his prophetic vision was blurred so that he did not see the great length of time it take for his dreams to come true. We have seen true prophets fill that prophets make the attempt.The Lion 369 had years until seen and the Ass 81 the kingdom was united once again. and his will position as a again prophet only become intelligible when we meet Abimelech in the following chapter. we have seen a visionary who lacked an understanding of politics. the necessary death of of a true prophet whose vision approach to tragedy possible within has become blurred may constitute the closest the confines of Biblical thought.

.

AESCHYLUS'

0RESTE1A AND THE ORIGINS OF POLITICAL LIFE
David K. Nichols

University of Virginia
[H]e
must

who

is

unable

to live in society, or who has no need because he is self-sufficient

be

either a

beast

or god:

he is

no part of a polis. '

For Aristotle there is
man's

humanity

sociality results builds his political teaching. However, it is an assumption that remains for the most part unexamined in the writings of Aristotle. It is in Greek tragedy rather than Greek philosophy that we find the most explicit consideration of the boundaries of
political

Outside the polis is necessarily transformed into bestiality or divinity. That man's from his in-between status is the assumption on which Aristotle

no man qua man except political man.

life. This

paper will examine the origins and

limits

of political

life

as

presented

in the Oresteia

by

Aeschylus. Such

an examination will

show

that

tragedy

provides the ultimate political

basis for both

the spiritedness and moderation

necessary for

life.

Agamemnon,
violence.

the first play of the

trilogy, is

set

in

a world characterized
and

by

The

abduction of

Helen,

the sacrifice of

Iphigenia,

the

long

brutal
hope
and

Trojan War

provide

the background. The watchman offers hope that Agamem

non's return will restore order and signal an end to the violent past.

But

such

is futile. Clytemnestra's intentions

soon

become

clear.

She kills Agamemnon,

the stream of blood continues to flow.

Clytemnestra's

actions

initially

appear

to be motivated
a

by

her desire to
home.2

avenge the sacrifice of

Iphigenia. She acts, in
private attachment

manly way, to defend her

Clytemnestra believes
his
pride.

that Agamemnon sacrificed their to the

daughter in the
in
order

service of

He denied his
position

family
brother

to act publicly.
a great

Clytemnestra's
price of

is

not without merit.

The
of a

sacrifice of a

daughter is
Both the

to pay for revenge against the kidnapper

s wife.

claims

the

immediate

family

and

the claim of justice for a brother are no doubt
other the

legitimate, but when placed in opposition to each
natural and the

former

seems

far more

latter

more of a point of presents a

honor.
sacrifice not understood

Aeschylus, however,
Clytemnestra. It is
pride, but his
of pride

dimension to the

by
his

true that Agamemnon must sacrifice Iphigenia

because

of

is

characterized not

the

gods.

The

gods were not

angry because he

by a denial of nature as much as by a denial was leaving his family to fight a

war.

was

Far from opposing his public action, they encouraged it. The goddess Artemis angry because Agamemnon claimed to surpass even her in his skill with the
recognize sees

bow. He failed to
himself.3

the qualitative difference between the gods and

Agamemnon

the sacrifice of Iphigenia as anything but prideful and

84
self-serving. of

Interpretation
He "puts
"4
compulsion"

on

the yoke strap of
of

and massacres

the "pride
can

his house.

His

child

is the foremost example

his pride,

and

her sacrifice

only

represent an acceptance of necessity.

Clytemnestra
pursue

sees

the glories of war.
gods.

only that Agamemnon has killed their daughter in order to She takes her bearings from physical nature rather than
acts to avenge

from the Yet her

She therefore simply

Agamemnon's
rejection of

crime against nature.

act

is
in

not

a private one.

Her

Agamemnon

cannot

be

understood

abstraction

from her

acceptance of

Aegisthus. His

sudden entrance

late in the play
"'manliness''

must

inform

our view of previous events.
self-

Clytemnestra's

earlier

own revenge

generated. In fact, Aegisthus claims that his may not have been for the crime of Agamemnon 's father is the motive of the murder. He

merely
an's

used

Clytemnestra

as an

instrument, for "decption
concerns

part."5

Thus Clytemnestra's

fade

with

clearly the wom the entrance of Aegisthus.
was

What

appeared to

political

be simply a private act of revenge is shown to have important tyranny.6 consequences. The act leads to the establishment of a Clytem longer
speaks with the confidence of one

nestra no

in

control.

Instead

she cautions

the chorus to acquiesce and be content with the
woman.
"7

new order. "Such is the saying of a Women lack the ability for independent action. The newly established tyranny can only be ended with the return of Orestes. The Libation Bearers tells the story of Orestes return. In avenging the murder
'

of

her daughter, Clytemnestra has

also

killed the father

of

her

son.

Apollo tells

Orestes that it is his fundamental

duty
To

to avenge his
avenge

problem.

father's death, but such revenge entails a his father he must kill his mother. He has an

equally strong blood tie to each parent. Nonetheless, Orestes does act in his father's name. Several factors may have served to break the deadlock arising from
Orestes'

dual

parentage.

His

own

maleness, in
unlike

addition

to the urging of

Apollo,
of

might

have been

sufficient.
of

But also,

Electra, Orestes is
not wish

concerned with the

political

dimension
city

the

crime.8

He does

to "leave the citizens
,)

the

most glorious
and

upon earth
. . .

.

.

.

subject to a pair of women.

Thus Orestes does

acts

kills "the two tyrants
of blood.

who

killed

[his] father. "10

Yet his

action

not end

the flow

Orestes has

aroused the wrath of the

Erinyes. We have yet to find The Erinyes because

an escape

from the

world of violence.

It is the Eumenides that

offers the

possibility

of an escape.

pursue

Orestes in

order

to avenge

his

crime against nature.

"It

was

of evil

that

they

were

born.

"n

It is their

duty to

punish
and

Orestes. The fulfillment

of

their

duty,

however,
principle,

means the end of

Orestes

his house. Their defense life. The

of nature would

ultimately lead to the destruction
unending.

of all

cycle of revenge would

be, in

Apollo
animal

offers an alternative

to Orestes. He purifies
and sends

Orestes by

means of

rather than

human sacrifice, be

resolution of his conflict with the Erinyes.12

Orestes to Athena to seek a Apollo thereby opens up the possibil

ity

that the claims of nature may
check

restrained

by

reason.

Athena,

the goddess

of

wisdom, may

the Erinyes.

Aeschylus 'Oresteia
Athena declines to
rule

and

the
of a

Origins of Political Life

85

in favor

jury

of

her finest

citizens.

(She thereby

suggests an even more radical alternative
wisdom might give

than that offered
side presents

by
its

Apollo. Divine
case to the

way to human reason.) Each

jury. way her

The Erinyes
to act at
on man. own

claim that should
"13

Orestes be

vindicated
are a

"every
she

man would

find

a

his

own caprice.

The Erinyes

necessary, though

limited,
kill

restraint

They

did

not seek

to punish

Clytemnestra, for

did

not

one of

blood. The Erinyes deal only with the crimes men commit against nature. To kill one of your own blood is to deny your connection with nature. But as we have
seen

in

Orestes'

case,

nature
of

Apollo's defense
"she who
sown

may present conflicting claims. Orestes rests on the simplicity of nature. He is
not

argues that

is

called the child's mother

its begetter, but the
this

nurse of the

newly

conception."14

Athena, herself, is
case.

proof of

argument.

The

jury, how

ever, is unable to
connection to

decide the

both

mothers and

fathers.

They are a human jury, and hence see a They see the claims of both nature and
She does
male so

rational restraint.

Their

natures are split as are their votes. outcome
.

Athena must decide the
not

in favor of Orestes For she
.

was

born

of woman and

"approves the

in

all

things.

"15

Orestes

and

his house has

are saved.

The

claims of nature are restrained

by

reason.

Athena's

assertion

allowed man

to avoid the path to
men

inevitable destruction. She
their

also suggests the

possibility that

may

exercise some control over

actions.

She

calls

for

a

jury

to rule the city for all time. "Neither anarchy nor despotism
and
respect."16

shall

the citizens

defend

assertion
assertion

of male

Political life is possible, but only because of Athena's supremacy, or the supremacy of reason. Without such an

the conflict would remain.
should note an
acquittal. additional not qualification.

We
Orestes'

Athena does

simply

enforce

The play does not end with her will and discredit the

Erinyes.

They

represent man's passionate

side, the side that provides
cannot

his

most

direct

connection with nature. accept a new role.

Their claims
will

be

neglected.

Athena

persuades

them to

They

dwell in the

earth and promote will

fertility. in

They

will still serve
rather

to

remind man of

his

natural

origins, but they

do

so

a positive

than a

negative manner.

Nature isn't simply //

overcome.

It is

re-directed.

Yet

perhaps we should

be

suspicious of a

resolution of man's conflicts, as presented
successful as

tragedy with a happy ending. The by Aeschylus, may not be as simple or
in favor
of

it

appears.

Athena's

assertion

the male provides

for the
rule,

public

to

rule

the private and

for reason to

rule passion.

By

allowing for

such

men are released

control over

from the grip their lives. But we

of natural must ask

necessity if Aeschylus

and given some measure of

supplies an adequate

basis
The

for

such rule.

Orestes is

saved

denial is justified

by

only by a denial of the female's role in Athena 's existence. But can Athena serve as

procreation. a model

for men?

he "captives envisions a world where men are neither "19 "sackers at nor of others. the jury to be incapable of action. However. Athena could not kill her mother since she had none. in womanly conquest. in fact. rather tion" than the establishment of an independent basis for their at the end of role. Thus it that the human conflict is ultimately subordinate to the conflict between the young and the old gods. conflict between the young and old gods has already The young gods have gained preponderance by the beginning of the play. fashion. most explicit example of the relative unimportance of human beings in the conflict Man 's conflicts Orestes to seek between the young and old avenge his father's murder.18 Aeschylus chorus of cities" seeks to obscure aspect of rule.86 There would Interpretation be no problem if men were gods. The jurors equal votes attest to man's complexity. It is Apollo. The been resolved. The comedy. They therefore call into question the efficacy of a divine solution to human problems. may merely reflect the more important gods. conflicts Kronos castrated have traditionally been resolved by violence: his father Uranus. In the end their claims are recognized by Athena's pronouncement. who tells and it is the Erinyes. Like the of Agamemnon. we have no example of a man not We see only a goddess not born of a goddess. The equal votes suggest a further problem with the play's resolution. Athena's treatment of the Erinyes the end of the trilogy might even suggest the fulfillment of that vision. The Erinyes are. The failure of the jury is the play. of the Athena offers political rule to man as an alternative to violent conquest. simplicity. Zeus bound his father this violent and exclusive Kronos. this divine origin may be no less problematic than the more directly human resolution. It is this divine conflict that provides the play's most explicit treatment problem of rule. is not of human origin. The "resolu form leads to We a kind of exile. The trilogy begins in media res. a young god. The jury scene though does not rule. Her It concern with the Erinyes at the end of the superfluous. We may see an analogue to the divine problem of rule in the ancient human conflict that lies behind the events of the play. Among the gods. they of choose. But this final act of conciliation is not without problems. the rule establishment of such rule depends upon Athena's intervention. It is a gift from the However. Political gods.17 men prove is reminiscent of a Men act as they are in control of events that are obviously beyond their power. appears almost as an afterthought. who to avenge Clytemnestra's death. But as we have seen. submission rather than a more violent could not choose see no reason why Athena simply to disregard their play seems claims in the future. Al though Athena has established a jury of men. Political rule allows man to overcome a bestial condition of continual bloodletting. In Agamemnon with past we are constantly reminded of the connection of current problems with conflicts. at the mercy of Athena. particularly the conflict between Atreus and Thyestes. The complex origin of human conflict is transcended by divine born of woman. Like Clytemnestra Agamemnon. . would seem old divinities.

Thyestes. act would unique have ended the bloodletting. In the first place. Athena 's establishment of a democracy represents the attempt to deal with such equal political claims. Through way redefinition.21 There remains a fundamental conflict between the two The concerns of the warrior male attempts a are at odds with those of the weaver middle ground Aeschylus to develop a between the to warrior and the weaver. in a way. but also Agamemnon and Meneleus. in to obtain the sheep. but is neither simple nor assured. If it remains unresolved men are destined to live in a world characterized by violence or tyranny.Aeschylus' Oresteia a and the Origins of Political Life would require SI Given this connection. Agamemnon when Meneleus even share the command of the Argive forces faced with this common enemy. rule provide the requisite is ultimately indivisible. Rather than seduce his brother's wife. Orestes has no brother. was In reprisal. Aeschylus shows us the not resolution only Atreus and Thyestes. there is little to distinguish their claims. Their cooperation is an alternative to the the ancient conflict. spheres. But as we see. This impotence is overcome only by a denial of certain The conflict between Atreus and Thyestes is resolved only by the death of and Aegisthus claims the end of his house. are still part of a unable to its public and private concerns. "political" with the solution of the play claims. The Erinyes In pursuit of Orestes is in the course of events presented by Aeschylus. resolve truly happy ending that we be able to the conflicting to claims of the ancient quarrel. Without the intervention of the Erinyes. It would seem that they should share equally in their father 's legacy. The one child co-conspirator. The the conflict between maternal and paternal the is resolved only by bloodletting ends only by But and abandonment of the mother's claim. In every case fiat. the purpose of the play to justify They and expand for that kind is of cooperation. grounds It is. Atreus killed all but one fed them to him in a stew. Agamemnon joins in the fight against the abductor of and Helen. female. cut them up.20 Thyestes' of who escaped Aegisthus. Aeschylus does hold out a legitimate hope for man. all past acts of revenge a . Clytemnestra's There is no immediate danger of a similar problem arising in this play. Aerope. As brothers. /// In the final analysis. Atreus became king because he possessed the sheep According the golden fleece. This ancient Democracy fails because it does the most not conflict represents profound problem of the play. unity. with Graves. its impotence. Agamemnon world that and Meneleus reconcile provide only a beginning. Yet the problem of rule among brothers represents the most radical political problem. seduced the king's wife. and order children. his brother. there we should note that is a difference between the revenge against Orestes Orestes' the other acts of vengeance. the public will serve reconcile warrior and weaver in such a as to recognize the necessity and desirability of maintaining But we have suggested a fundamental flaw a sphere for each.

The final problem. Without such an act Orestes would have been left without family or city. He could only react his senses. We are led to ask. Thus one solution to Orestes ' problem is a kind of forgetting. Apollo may represent a model the throne of prophecy is said to have been quite for Orestes. Athena appears to represent mainly male attributes reason. unsatisfactory because it was divine rather than human. However. Athena's defense would seem to undercut the basis for their claims. if that violence not occurred. but the child is female. by itself. himself. said that the apparent resolution of the conflict between male and female note. Zeus has a child without the aid of a goddess. example of Apollo is inadequate of the assertion of Athena. it may be more appropriate to the problems raised more by Aegisthus The and Thyestes than to the immediate problem of Orestes. their well- threat seems to be directed more to than physical being. It is one's easier to forget an ancient crime than the recent slaughter of one's without father by mother. we must remember that the abstraction cannot be complete. combination forgetting and that allows for the happy ending. Orestes the cannot forget his crime against his natural origins. mother. and public-spiritedness. in fact may be had for our current fortunes. than to the phenomena themselves. problems of the play. In most other accounts suggests that although violence his rise is by means of and violence. Thus reason is no longer It does not simply have to accept the it perceives.88 human Interpretation being has been directly responsible. it is Athena who controls the outcome of the play. In fact. At the beginning our of the play man's knowledge to the chaotic world perceived by simply empirical. That is why Athena rules by persuasion rather than mere assertion. the origin of that denial is the goddess Athena. While it is based denial of the female. The violent past must be forgotten so that a new order can be founded. remains. It may have a role in forming the world. Orestes cannot recognize both the necessity and the obscenity of his act and maintain his sanity. This new order is made possible by the development of man's reason. In what sense is she feminine? of Orestes rule The answer arises in her treatment of the Erinyes. forgetting the world as it appears to Order is found by world an appeal to abstract argument rather passive. However. was however. We should that even the divine resolution is more complex than it originally on a appears to be. assertiveness. He would have remained a permanent exile. In the play Apollo 's ascendance to peaceful. is only a partial solution to the Ultimately. The duplicity his place of nature may act led Orestes to the His we unnatural slaughter of his He had no choice but to deny his mother or deny world.22 Aeschylus responsible is a part of as the past. His mother's act deprived him of in the action was necessary to restore order to his world. While they Orestes' in the play. Apollo s defense of Orestes relies on was us. For It is the she is neither violent nor of tyrannical. The . Yet forgetfulness. Here the Erinyes take the form are personified psychological of something not unlike conscience. It is the form of Athena's provide a place rules that may finally She for the feminine. persuasion by persuasion. His mind keeps crime alive. the denial We have the female.

in a sense. "rumor" a rumor voiced by a nothing. The family the community. instead. the community is always in danger. Agamemnon returns "unwomanly" home. only tragedy can indicate what lies beyond. Ironically. They will no longer support ' man's violent destruction. reluctant to accept Clytemnestra's regarding Agamemnon's to be true. destroy him of man's nature. political philosophy. By persuasion a leader may direct the demos. but he cles will able cannot assume divinity. the heterogeneous whole. points through sterility. and limits within includes his highest act. Finally. Later. rather than will see more homogeniz ing. 1969). In so doing it shows us the need for the spirited escape that from nature and the limits to that spirit. 'Politics.J. all translated with an introduction by Hugh Lloyd. clearly its of connection with For it is through the convention of marriage that the new daughter leaves her natural family in order to begin a family her own.Jones (Englewood Cliffs. of crucial Yet precisely because is always threatened by the jealousy of role. 1). It Clytemnestra or the pride of Agamemnon. 940). As seen opposition Hugh Lloyd-Jones explains. All references to the Oresteia. 6 first reference to "manliness" Clytemnestra is indicated in several ways. 276). resolution It is this that makes democracy problematic. Men must remember that its order is not simply legitimate. That is why portrayal of human rule is Aeschylus' comic. The community is in some crucial respect artificial. Clytemnestra should p. is also the His comedy provides a soft reminder to men of their incompleteness.Aeschylus Oresteia true resolution of male and ' and the Origins of Political Life for the ordering less 89 female allows of nature without the destruction of nature. 2The Aristotle. but they points may. safe return. The literal at sacrifice of Iphigenia reflects the figurative its sacrifice of the daughter that lies the heart of the community. That reason for the Erinyes continued existence. Men deny their origins It shows the and still to live in this Tragedy illuminates which actions must man's precarious position. In the heart" p. be in Clytemnestra says. while heterogeneity. traveling fast. but dying fast. He maintaining the merly natural unity necessary for rule. 11). Oedipus. he observes the character of Clytemnestra's behavior (Agamemnon. to Penelope. Mans thought may take him to these limits." woman comes to But Clytemnestra's girl" proves her intelligence "is not that of ayoung (Agamemnon. 1970). and The Eumenides. unless otherwise noted. but. the hard element is in the service of maintaining. The public now has elements of the for can provide the private softness and public hardness. return of . the wife of safe such Odysseus (Agamemnon.: Prentice-Hall. Because of its union with the soft element. his fall. will be to Aeschylus. As when At 487 they say "a woman's ordinance spreads far. play's Clytemnestra the the chorus is watchman speaks of a "woman's man-counseling word (Agamemnon. it is womanly home and family that Clytemnestra purports to defend by her plot against . Ernest Barker (Cambridge: Oxford of University. The Libation Bearers. N. Penelope sits at home weaving while she waits and hopes for the her husband It is Penelope concerns as who is the purest example of the womanly. Aeschylus cannot to the problem Sopho be develop more fully in world. Agamemnon. Their existence to the upper limits He has escaped bestiality.

the rule. uThe Eumenides. 21 play we Clytemnestra is Agamemnon represents a an obvious contrast really see neither warrior nor weaver. I. "The Eumenides. But reject since Interpretation "it is not a woman's part to desire contention" (Agamemnon. 1953). 737. preventing Agamemnon's departure. Agamemnon. while the woman seeks a peaceful The man wants homelife. the . They of the forces that move Agamemnon. He hides behind in the and a woman . should remember 6We that the original quarrel between Atreus and Thyestes was over the question of quarrel. the problem of the play is that the two spheres. The Greek Myths (New York: Braziller. l2This is important because it indicates We should see no an alternative to the continual of bloodletting among men. He is not a warrior. 37-44. p.4The Eumenides. and 9The Libation Bearers. and even allows her to commit the crime . 1636. While Clytemnestra gain power. We then saw how Clytemnestra's apparent manliness might merely be a cover for the man who was actually in control Aegisthus. of Chicago Press. "'The Eumenides. (Hesiod. In the course of the 20Graves. However. Thus the play away from the the glories of merging of the two spheres. What is needed is a principle of reconciliation . 1661. acts like a man name other home. II. [New York: Putnam. 5 Agamemnon. The development of distinct spheres for public and private represents a move note violence and tyranny of the ancient world (see 6). ' . 495. 696. Artemis the storm Homerica. war. As we have said in note 1. Fire is the symbol of man's art." all mortals with . because of and Agamemnon's boast that he surpassed even skill with the bow. female is another aspect of the confusion of public and private mentioned in note 6. to Aulis. "Anne Lebeck. Rather than a contradiction. I believe it is the final step in the development of our understanding of Agamemnon's murder. The Oresteia (Cambridge: Harvard 19 University Press. In other words . 135. we see is a man returning home. p. 303 Orestes description contradict Aegisthus the earlier discussion of Clytemnestra's manliness. '"Robert Graves. hoping to end his days in peace. We began with a manly Clytemnestra acting to defend her home. 1971). 43-48. and it is the artless sacrifices of a world the war that characterize the Homeric world filled with the violence of nature. 657. Aegisthus acts like a woman in order to This confusion of male This and . 15 The Eumenides. to Penelope Although Agamemnon was certainly a warrior. 472. she must . 940). 208. are in opposition to one another. antithetical 1 Distinctions such as public and private suggest a kind heterogeneity that is to tyranny. it leads to the end of both public and private spheres 10The Libation Bearers. Here I follow Aeschylus I: Oresteia. the womanly if she is to contend . The Homeric Hymns Artemis in his 493). of neuterization or homogenization leads to the destruction the family (Agamemnon's family). The Greek Myths. the establishment of a tyranny. There was no distinction between public and private with regard to the ancient Perhaps the ancient blurring of public and private points to the defining of characteristic of tyranny. 71). translated with an introduction by Richard Lattimore (Chicago: Univ. Agamemnon. as originally constituted. are They each indicate that side Clytemnestra may appear to of man that seeks to transcend or overcome nature. Orestes' description may suggest that Aegisthus is no more manly then Clytemnestra. It is incompatible with distinctions between various spheres of action. A more literal reading would be "for this deed will harmonize easy-handedness. 71. especially if she is to contend successfully with Agamemnon to the Cypria sent 3According 1926]. this sacrifice in opposition to the human sacrifices the Trojan War sacrifices that "knew fire" (Agamemnon. 8The three reasons should not be seen in opposition to one another. and sees only one principle of action. 972. 1959). "Agamemnon.90 Agamemnon.

As Arlene Saxonhouse explains. of warrior and For and a further examination weaver." the 1976 Annual Meeting of the 22Graves. "Men. Women. War presented at Politics: Family and Polis in Euripides Aristophanes.Aeschylus Oresteia between the two public ' and the Origins of Political Life woman needs 91 spheres. . The Greek Myths. the the protection of the man. and see Arlene Saxonhouse. and the man needs the woman to provide warriors for the community. American Political Science Association. I. The Oresteia of a middle ground develops the possibility destruction or where the two spheres can meet without mutual dissolution. 76-77.

.

"l Thucydides "entitleth his book KTHMA EX AEI. ethical Thus political histories. the and speeches of outstanding reason of men. rather than a topical prize-essay. Hobbes Each Machiavelli. for example. the argument ought not to be presented by the historian himself. presented silently. Indeed. importance of could be known the events a record. the practical or political man. this or of however accurate that war. be the celebration a Thucydides' could still be worthy cannot of serious attention. didactic moral. Wettergreen San Jose State University- See the eighth book of Thucydides. and not only the god or gods of the preacher and the the moral philosopher. Histories moralize actual for a particular kind deeds of man. events of . no less than sermons or such treatises. if it is nothing of the record of everything that happened what in chronological order. then it is difficult to imagine how almost he has written could of be improved. Yet some of the greatest teachers. "2 But what is the meaning of this claim? Thucydides appears to claim to have written "A valuable a definitive history. preached and histories. Nevertheless.3 But the argument of histories must be. 1659. Not everyone be they may can sit still for the moralizing of Jonathan Edwards. and definitive history (in the sense indicated) forever. political For such men. lessons may be or which the narrative itself was supposed to means other than reveal. events of The parallel they may appear to the any time are uninstructive or not a matter of serious interest if they are accidental: accidents are events without could cause. in question apart from and Thucydides' record them. or The Grecian War. a possession for everlast This was Hobbes 's judgment of the character of the Athenian's writings. or even Histories. any more than for Thucydides ' writings. however exhaustive. But these means are not suitable for everyone. They did history so was to because they understood the be read for its lesson or Of course.ON THE END OF THUCYDIDES' NARRATIVE John A. A story in these times most necessary to be consider'd. have recommended the study of histories. or for the Nicomachean Ethics. may only be a record of accidents. This is not to deny that his narrative be more than a record of accidents events art by being a celebration of although accident. or reason. are authoritative. a possession Therefore. And he does make this claim for his whole work: for ever has been composed. and must present case arguments. Thucydides does not entitle his work A History of the Peloponnesian War. The would still be uninstructive. Introduction ing. who as such is not a . James Harrington. its power. If the definitive history is the best possible record of the between Athens and events of a war Sparta. meaning. That is. in the best is. Indeed. They may be taught by reasoned. morals character of such works.

of and and acquisitiveness ("imperialism"). There could be no more of war of the destruction of what men praise most highly narrative speak and. In by that peace. the heights cannot be understood as such without barbarism from which these cities arose and to which war. caution. Therefore. peaks of human justice (I 2. the speeches and deeds. old-fashioned orderliness. 13. therefore. daring. however true it may be that both ways arose. Accordingly. shows that.1. In the first place. comprehensiveness Thucydides' record cannot and even accuracy of if Thucydides amazingly unob ' trusive moralizing perfectly compensates manner of the political would not for. the political philosopher Hobbes understood Thucydides proud claim to mean that Thucydides narrative of this particular war circumscribes the whole of human nature. out of universal barbarism (13.94 political man . aimed at the full development of the speechfully reasonable (AoytKcy?) element.3). illumines the permanent possibilities for men. 7. upon The way of life that aimed at or nature. Thucydides has excelled He has written the history. 8. For that. it reveals every human possibility. Sparta and Athens To repeat. Yet the meaning of cannot be exhausted by the of Thucydides' claim to have laid up "a work valuable for ever" observation that his is the most perfect and instructor merely political men. on the other hand. not the war. silent "no of than by the judgments of the comment" shines through as well as in the severity limitation of his subject style and his rare judgments.3. must Hobbes have seen that the events. However assiduously Thucydides may have sought the truth of this war he may even have risked dear life for it his narrative. in silence. The events intelligible ' lessons ' ought to a part of an whole. of the clearly enough. a war inventiveness. war" matter to "the or to foreign As is generally classic political admitted. Thucydides presents a clear argument. by necessity.4 in the austerity of his by his apparently strict policy.3). The war's destructiveness. the two peaks of power and wealth and of represent those peaks of . still Spartan civic piety. through peace. this war is the greatest because its narrative shows nature the two peaks a human in mortal conflict. became and possible through the greatest peace. these ways conflicted. depended the full built up in Sparta was development of the political peace element of and human depended upon The Athenian way of life. 25. Even if the be excelled. the permanent value of some his work even to practical men be beyond doubt. or corrects. the busy and obtrusive man. Interpretation The argument ought to become manifest rather by means of the narrative of explicit the speeches and author. any more than they can be understood apart seeing the universal they fell in the course of the from the great peace that is their . Moreover. only out between Sparta human Athens could bring the whole character of the heights nature. human life were built up. the narrative is worthy of serious attention because this war was the greatest. That is. particular events written and the down form and necessary connection between the the lessons taught ought to exist. as well as its ominousness. of omens in any other. which preceded it. Thucydides' deeds themselves. 12. and moderation cannot coexist with Thucydides Athenian openness.

Thucydides the war. This does brutality alone to charismatic the superiority of calculating because Thucydides shows victory intelligence. Sparta and the Sicilian defeat the Athenians occurred under the were the half-Spartan Nicias. Athenian intelli and result in gence. the seems Athenian defeat everything at Sicily arouses compassion So Thucydides to have provided by the end of Book Why. defensiveness. The most has already considered these possibilities brilliant and telling victories came under Athenians' the command of the half. to the Sicilian campaign. in (VI . the city Hellespontian campaigns. through speech and deed. had come empire under Cyrus members of the Athenian empire. appears . . carelessness. openness. . Which daring of superior? the end of Book life is VII. the low and solid Spartans win a By way tarnished but total victory in Sicily and the lofty. and stupid policies and shining but brutal defeat. he admirable as judgments and he presents. these habits fos tered deeds.On the End of Thucydides' Narrative 95 foundation. seems Athens did not still had sufficient strength to fight the Ionian ones not inferior in force would seem of arms and number of enemies Book VIII to show the triumph of Sparta over Athens not to be nearly so complete as the course of Books I. order to victory deliberately intelligence 5 VIII (96 Book in ) emphasizes Thucydides Daring 5 34 9) as manner . ridiculous. it is self-destructive. Even then. However. In fact. Of course. it .VII suggests. the narrates not Only speeches can reveal the only deeds but also the speeches of inner life of man. defeated in Sicily not so much by imitated the Athenian by Syracuse. and the Persian taught to Athenians or at least to Syracusans. defeat in Sicily. is not weaker non- than calculating - power. Thucydides Spartans' to Book VIII. Rather. . were it Athens' not that recovery appears to have be come possible by the city's becoming more old-fashioned and moderate by Spartanizing. And the Syracusans the had 33 . against them. however. also guides Thucydides narrative. as Moreover.5 the part of the narrative following and fall following the disaster. and defeat.Athenian command of Brasidas. years after the whole power of the Peloponnesians. in of all peace. free-wheeling Athenians suffer a harsh. a victory Greeks following their losses in the great first VII. what happens at the the Sicilian beginning of Book VIII. part of the war. is there another book? The Problem of Book VIII From this point of view. it is Early in the narrative easily held out for three Athenians the 65): (II destruction that describes Thucydides the former the Syracusans. Thus Thucydides reveals war and full range of human possibilities: from high to low. in prior principle. similarly. orderliness. not prove is not praiseworthy. seems. injustice. In the course of his as reveals the bright dark sides of each of these ways of and life: Spartan narrow. Spartans' The remarkable that restored the reputation with the Spartan victory at Mantineia. surprising. Athens fell because it was torn by internal dissension. piety are. achieve . then.

quote of a speech defending the Athenian regime that preceded the 5000.7 But the most (and contemporary) narrative trust that it is genuine. Thucydides does provide a verbatim. could not believe that a man who indulges his tyranny. on the other hand. cause. narrative ends But Thucydides does year. This regime recalled the brilliant Alcibiades from exile. That oligarchy. if partial.6 "in every single (bidvota) then of the destruction and defeat in Sicily. That is the necessity than Athens' regime seems to have come being by chance or by art or human intention. almost obscured by the spectacle Athens amazing turnabout another Thucydides he seems to emphasize this spectacle by peculiarity of Book VIII: pays attention to the details of domestic politics. As Book VIII end of says under the rule of the 5000. his in the twenty-first He mentions the final defeat of Athens toward the center of his narrative (V 26. the many was unable to trust his excellence as a war leader. it is reasonable to suppose that the end of narrative connections Thucydides' has a unity of its own. Neverthe a less. Athens is not democratic to the the narrative. even while its relation to the rest of the work its lesson remains obscure.1). Similarly. . some ancient critics should Considerations that Book VIII is somewhat like these forced to conclude somehow spurious: Thucydides have written on for the full twenty-seven years of the war. body. But the formal ends.8 ' unusually large These formal features are and recovery. More precisely. especially Athenian domestic politics. and of deeds. first. In what may be the most remarkable Thucydidean judgment. for it very clever. Considering such between form and content. Indeed. it to seems to complicated by departures from chronological order. Accordingly. describe that end. Thucydides narrates no speeches regarding that regime. made . regimes. the 400. once there are no speeches aware of about democratic necessities moderation of itself it became the harsh Sicilian defeat.3]. into Alcibiades' actions appear to have this regime possible. Thucydides departs from his number of characteristic reserve judgments of men. and who is also would strive for anything not other than a Lacking excellent war leadership and torn by strife over that lack. Alcibiades.96 Thucydides specifies Interpretation the internal fault: Athens' ruin was caused Alcibiades' by the multitude (VI 15). this part of the is marked by a number of atypical features: it has (but is central character or hero. even if Alcibiades was not more its founder or lawgiver. render an be unusually in Book VIII. or he should have ended it all with Book VII (for nothing really respectable ancient new could be learned from the critics war after that). and. Antiphon. was the result of a plot by imposed by the the cunning and virtuous speechwriter. Athens is peculiarities also emphasize that spectacle. But. he that the government of this regime was the best ordered in that city in his lifetime. it lacks fully quoted speeches marked by the partial and verbatim quote of a speech [53. Athens fell after twenty-seven years of war. Thucydides judges that of unrestrained manner apparent life " together with the clever planning did was a thing he of Athens. of the Because of the Alcibiadean manner.

they made efforts to rearm. . Of that new regime. the 5000 was merely the best hand. This virtue marks and Athens as ordered than either the oligarchic 400 or Periclean post-Periclean Thucydides' mocracies. how Athens could the narrative before the whole war ended: a well-ordered with good morale. honored at home again. how does . As the party strife narrative ends. Thus came moderation or mildness. ended" (VIII 98. the ment other regimes under which Thucydides lived. After this victory. the end of the whole twenty-seven- year war 65). elements of or conditions then. What. ably led. lifetime).5). But. happy ending by ending Athens. on the other Therefore. metrion.5. He is also silent about relation to non- Athenian regimes. And the Athenians to hope well of the future. The narrative seems to end.2). and particularly against the claim of the best and of them the Spartan. Thucydides says: Now for the first time in my life at least the Athenians appeared to have good government (ew -rroXLTevaavTes). compares judg leaves open the war question of how the 5000 with the Athenian regimes before the and (and before Thucydides' of Hippias the democracy of Themistocles. the recall of Alcibiades. cf. for it was a moderate temper both of the few and the many. That is. the Thucydides seems to contrive a Athenians again believe their cause can prevail. showing Athens' have won the war. particularly the tyranny for Thucydides reserves extraordi the excellence of the 5000 in nary praise for these two men./ the 5000 was a better regime than that of enemies. 32. then the last book shows how Athens might have deserved to win. But. Athens is regime. More: . better de to distinguish the city of Athens. VIII. with his description of the condition of under a sound most Athens at the end of Book . just as after Sicily. the virtue of Pericles (II whole 65. then. and from its miserable condition [this regime] first raised the city (VIII 97. they were even more frightened than after they lost the Sicilian expeditionary force. There are.4). three for this the putative happy ending: the regime of the at 5000.On In the the End of Thucydides Narrative Thucydides' ' 97 judgments about order to understand that and relation. Athenian regime of the war. compare or final defeat (II destruction of Athens. and if the 5000 acted rightly in recalling the traitorous Alcibiades. they moderated their regime. Athens' back. that is. just as after the disaster in Sicily. this war is the greatest. Athenians' and if the hope based on the victory at Cynossema was reasonable. But this claim would have to be made good against that of non-Athenian regimes. restorative power outstanding war seem to have leader is on his way a substantial reason They win a naval to the Spartan victory at victory at Cynossema almost equal in Mantineia. "and the Athenian. And. if the war of 's greatness consists nature . in its narrative being able to reveal the heights to and depths human then the best regime of that war may have a claim being the best the regime simply. is this Athenian moderation. the war whose full narrative would show Athens destroyed. and restorative victory Cynossema. The Virtue of Athens' Best Regime After the Athenians lost Euboea. metrion.

that defeat did not destroy the Spartan capacity to govern at home or " wage war abroad (and was not at Apollo's promised aid to victory [I order. the apprehension dangerousness Athenian of slave population. including its worst excesses. or give the measure of. Athenian fear and was built up in and by war or destruction. seems of and Spartan moderation. and.98 it Interpretation Athens' compare with the political excellence or moderation. But in the same book. at For there is. the scions of the ruling class were captured on Sphacteria a the Athenians established themselves in a place well suited for the encouragement of slave rebellions. Euboea. In the face of what were Euboea) or appeared to be (after the Sicilian defeat) order. Spartan fear (after the loss of at was of built up in by peace or prosperity. Athens moderated after the Sicilian defeat. looks inferior to Spartan. but an excellence forced upon Athens from without. Thucydides states what Spartan virtue. the External that the political community might perish at any moment. . for it had its origin in political reality: "the regime is the way of life. Thucydides emphasizes that the great size of the enslaved population of the Spartans (and the similarly moderate Chians) was the great spur to their modera tion: Sparta (and Chios) its prospered by increasing Fear or the size. with that. Spartan fear and moderation were merely older than Athenian. That is. but it did strike of the heart of the Spartan ruling As a consequence and that defeat. and became even more moderate in the even-more-fearsome situation caused by the loss of Euboea. that is. slaves can least. 118. the Athenian bread distin basket. Pylos. Moreover. equally not choice. it results moderation appears to be chosen freely. Sparta felt compelled to seek peace. For in Book VIII. for its own sake. circumstances equally the cause foreign to distin enemies and slaves are external to the citizen body seem not guish. Spartan moderation flourished in deliberation prosperity. The Spartans offered peace following graceless caution or niggardliness with which the that defeat is characteristic of their manner or way of life. than from any inten- . it to be an intrinsic Athenian excellence.2] yet to come?). the Athenians moderated their political Following ' her defeat Athens in Sicily. From this point of view.9 However. there are political reasons for calculation and Sparta's habit. the excellence of the 5000. in this difference between slaves and foreign enemies: be enemies peace as well as in war. This accords with calculat Athens' the ordinary distinction between metrion and sophrosune the one being ing and the other habitual. from harsh necessity or war than from choice in peacetime. of enemy? At first glance. with the greatest terrors the war. harsh necessity. So the Spartan peace offer proceeded more from determination to maintain the existing order. Moderation- looks easier or less choiceworthy when discipline. which arrives in extreme adversity. So Athenian moderation. sophrosune. Spartan caution. Athenian tion only moderation appears to differ from Spartan appears not modera in degree and not in kind or rank. reserve. That manner was not merely habitual. a reversal trifling in destruction compared and Ionia. Athens course of guishes appears merely to emphasis have become more and more Spartan in the Book VIII.

Such an understanding example. Athens especially in regard to naval operations (VIII It was not on this occasion Considered in themselves. Moreover. choiceworthy than the Spartan regime. almost more: the Ionian against empire had revolted. but on many slow and other fearful. As the examples too cautious ever to get herself into measure of war proves passion as equally fearsome to that brought about by in the previous paragraph prove. nor to say that the Athenians are shown to have acted the conviction that failure in war is the punishment for domestic injustice disorder. on This is not to conclude that the Athenians acted in a wholly reasonable manner in establishing the 5000. did not understand this. especially if compared with their fears following the altogether so. Thucydides to fear. Athenian fears sound. For would Thucydides' or we measure of see the intrinsic superiority of the 5000. while remaining Athens' at rest on Samos.5). That is.2). Athenian party stripped of comprised strife had made Athenian patriotism questionable. Sparta was such a situation. for tells us of the Spartan character. their fears were middlingly sensible. former rulers. and merely for victory.11 made The city had been it Athenian: not even the every reason everything necessities came in from the as that Now was there not Sicilian disaster. and so were not even in Athens anymore. a Spartan order. the one being quick and daring and the 96. stood in Pericles' funeral oration. fears were altogether sound. concretely. were such a feared Much when the Sicilian defeat was a great part of reported came to pass with the loss of Euboea. Athens panicky moderation on this occasion resulted in a instituted. To Sicilian defeat. Pericles them and Athens under Pericles under that Spartan caution would prevent 5000. what is the the excellence of the 5000? That the Athenians could that their fight the Ionian based upon fears ' following the ' Sicilian defeat could not were as much their enemies belief that Athens hold out another year beyond defeat (VIII 2.13 But their lesser because of the character of the city destroyed itself. that The many and part of the middle class. that the enemy would sail "How could they be anything but wonders: question: they had following the right into Peiraeus? Thus. force. . to all appearances empire. the Athenians would have was available to them. the sake of Athenian fear or moderation appears to have been more reasonable than Spartan.14 But the have been otherwise. this helped differed greatly. the whole imperial armed force had turned the city. have to Sparta in a situation the loss of Euboea. despondent?" He answers the the most advantageous only that the Spartans proved themselves also.12 not altogether Their greatest fear was not following the loss of Euboea were likely to come to pass until the Spartans. the only Spartan domestic reform (IV 63) occurred in middlingly adverse circumstances. not what Thucydides understand had to be properly fearful.On the End of Thucydides Narrative tion to settle of ' 99 the war differences with Athens. the 5000 appears more merely from domestic partisanship. Then. however virtuous it might from attacking Peiraeus.10 But also all they had change in regime: elders. it did not proceed Therefore. Their characters others people for the Athenians to make war upon.

The 400 brought Athens nearly to ruin by seeking peace. the regime of Antiphon fell. Nor was founded merely on fear. The gray eminence of the oligarchic revolution was the awesomely clever AntiAntiphon plotted to remove the many. The domestic condition for peace was oligarchic rule. and brought the city to extremes Samos were internally Peiraeus appealed and externally many Athenians willing to best attack without gaining peace. The 400 had to rule by fraud: it claimed to be "5000.16 and settle them on Samos. It became manifest. 71. still it could not rule in its own right.18 The 400 was also weak because it was divided of internally now on the question of the related question Alcibiades' recall. Some of the 400 Athens' to the genuine 5000 against the others to set up regime. The 5000 are the heavily armed troops. and their phon. became manifest. Now Athens could to appear. the imperial war. if not honor. that is. the 5000 or the hoplites. Athenians. worthy of peace in Spartan eyes. and. the oligarchs seemed relatively weak Spartans would and oligarchic not accept believe. Nevertheless. including some of the oligarchs.100 Interpretation Considering reduced. with Euboea threatened and . for Euboea. and populous was much larger than it was. and indicates the excellence of its regime. to those 8). or to avoid peace. but the 5000 was its unwitting accomplice. while concentrating oligarchs at This put the 400 in office and weakened the city itself. 86. but also a foolish solution to their difficulties? At long last. a part of the hoplite force. for whom Athens would not be Athens without an empire (see the remark on Romilly in note Although the 400 had greatly weakened Athens by getting and keeping its rivals out of town. looks like simple patriotism. the stodgy middle class that which risks both property and life. the 400 needed to maintain a defensive army.1. and to understand the Thucydides' character of happy ending. with the loss of peace. it founded merely to preserve and imperial wealth. for Athens large to protect the city's walls while it conspired for peace. and would the truly fearsome situation to which the Athenians had been considering the not Athenians' not-fully-sensible genuine political excellence on their part this understanding have required of something beyond domestic reform? Was the 5000 not only a typically Athenian. externally. for the city. sham: " There was an external and an internal reason for this internally. the Spartan preference for Athens' eventual annihilation over unconditional surrender. 72. the oligarchs' the peace proposals. the regime of the 400.3). that is. (VIII 70. the sham deceived the Athenians into was so fearing that the oligarchy that many believed (what is in fact ridiculous) such a massive conspiracy to be possible17.15 leaders from Athens home. consider that before the 5000 was estab as close lished the peace party brought Athens to utter destruction as can be imagined by seeking peace. to found wanting.2-3. But its stodginess. situation. was this not the opportunity for the Athenians to follow the Spartan example and sue for peace? To gain the final measure of the excellence of the 5000. Peace had been tried empire was all but destroyed. The what was 5000 was not for the Athenians' fears wage were sensible. and.2. excuses it from its complicity.19 Having on maintaining the empire.

the establishment of a court concerned with matters of constitutionality. the domestic foundation of this we consider regime may be. Alcibiades' Alcibiades' amazing generosity (there was a general amnesty) and defective character and manifest lack of recall could also which be the return of the many from Samos. against their homeland. That return. Alcibiades was the most Athenian Athenian. power of Thucydides does ' not narrate. it is Athenian not its fundamentally character simply best. only the middle class acted unreservedly for civic survival.On those on the End of Thucydides Narrative ' 101 moderation of Samos ready to attack. but. Because there were no salaries for office. rich nor poor could rule in their own right. as has been shown. very angry by emphatically undemagogic speeches ("by many to many"). Yet this best the sign of regime was Athenian. The attempt had to be made. we may doubt its soundness when its recall of this remarkable Was the recall an act of daring? Or. The is the 5000 's second official act. that . considering attachment to Athens was it not anything but an example of Athenian intelligence? These questions gain weight from the consideration. even the Spartans believed the of the city from foreign enemies before finalizing their rule at Athens' internal troubles unusual would allow them to take was appears more it unopposed (VIII 94-97). in Athens at the extremes revealed by Thucydides in Book VIII. had middling government. . safety That is. The 5000 's internal at excellence was effective was domestically also. practically its first action was and the oligarchs. The the 5000 shows particularly in this: on the brink of civil the war revolution against ered the 400 and the threats from Samos those Athenians consid home. Indeed. based on Book VIII. spell the end of Athens best at that regime 's own hands Even at does Athens remain self-destructive? Thus the question of the regime s intrinsic excellence must recall be reduced to the question of the soundness of the decision to Alcibiades.21 Following his sound removal. How very this moderation granted it ought not be taken for that everyone clearly from the next section. It is more lawful and less pious than either the democracy or the oligarchy. thinks first of his community 's safety when his rule is at stake. For example. the very existence of the city was at stake. the 5000 began to institute its rule. being a polity. the 5000 actually interrupted its revolution to undertake a desperate attempt to save Euboea. the richer sort would hold office. his expedition and would removed daring intelligence conceived the Sicilian and have made it succeed. because all offices were elected by the 5000.20 The regime. the 5000 's lack of violence toward its political enemies is remarkable. oligarchs could not rule in their own right. All other claimants to rule are shown to have plotted. Although calmed. a of the harmony Neither excluded of the laws. he undertook a career as a traitor that must be unrivaled. if he had and not been impeached However from command for his impieties immoralities. The poorest of the many were public from the citizen body. thereby its best. Also. could dilute the regime - the 5000 and . recall of Alcibiades (together with all other exiles). and acted. traitor.

And Alcibiades betrayed he was a leading Athenian. That is. questions be Alcibiades' answered. practice of his Spartan Athenian principle. the attack would have In practice. Alcibiades best principle announced enemies are managed by doing they believe they fear ' most. barbarian. these questions believed it in ought to be answered on the basis of the whole narrative rather than on the basis of what might have happened after the narrative closes. after was recalled to Athens-on-Samos " by the democracy in there.102 Interpretation The Recall of Alcibiades To judge the will soundness of the decision. but related. In in almost the total loss of the empire. actual. he same as what is honored in an a man after man he dies cannot have 's contemporary rivals in opposing him. He would not choose to ruin Athens entirely (see VIII 47. he only someday. in what may be practiced the what called a universal juggling As a traitor. in Athens (VI 16-18). from his honored in Athens. exile convinced First. immediately after the foster revolts in Ionia. In the course of his career traitor. he departed from his Spartan principle three times. a traitor to the heart? Because Thucydides ends the narrative when he does. for "respectability. was not Alcibiades fundamentally the enemy of Athens. there was a limit to Alcibiades' from attacking Athens itself. a man's excellence would be praised for what it is "whatever men who must [his] homeland" (VI 16. two different. everyone else: known. as a simply a man of principle. respect those whom experience of what was they hope or fear are powerful." More be the particularly. Then. he twice dissuaded the "nautical resulted Alcibiades' both cases. mob enmities.5). Alcibiades learned contempt for all merely conventional standards of praise and concluded that what blame. rather than most. Throughout Book VIII Alcibiades his own interest (as he understands almost it) by frightening in Sparta: The everyone with everyone act. Spartan. else. well That Alcibiades betrayed Athens is practically crat. principle was and limited or guided as by his he said all Alcibiades learned in from democratic Athens. the 400 feared most was the demand that the sham "5000 was become and Alcibiades the one who urged that the 5000 be established. and hatred would disappear once the outstanding outstanding a private good ' his contemporaries honor: one dies. Alcibiades believed that the private reasons for envy. he in Euboea. Alcibiades did not mean that there are some deserve praise from every homeland. which good is harmonious with other contemporaries fear and hatred of him for his superiority. practice of this principle opened and closed Al cibiades career as a what traitor: it informed his Spartan policy for the Athenian defeat " in Sicily. advances demo and oligarch. fear. he believed.1). he But Alcibiades was not thrice refrains from doing he what Athens feared Sparta to defeat in Sicily. In Book VIII. meant that every homeland honor its most outstanding men no matter how far they may depart . Then. that the men appearance of strength and strength are the same. First. was not good what moved conflict with him because he the good of the would satisfy him fundamentally 5000? Second.

hopes will not be he was exiled the side of its enemies. glory after such identity existed for the many or the everything But else had become the unity principle of the whole city or the empire. tionately greater. the second time that Alcibiades restrained the Athenians Samos is the first time he benefited Athens. from the point of view principle. Therefore. the many and understand this. for best regime. Alcibiades' Athens' identity of Alcibiades good. own Alcibiades scurrying between them. "u In this situation. Alcibiades and the 5000 also agreed in understanding that their the few did not goods require a unified or powerful Athens. and many .On from established the End of Thucydides Narrative laws while ' 103 could habits and they live. to extremes together their city. If Alcibiades had not lived to be recalled to Athens-on-Samos. And Alcibiades was not the only for his own rule. and. or as close to the whole city as was possible in the extremes to which Athens had been reduced. whose good differs from that . conducting his separated and related opinion: to one another as ' All three held to the Alcibiadean extreme "My good or Athens in the ' destruction. and many were foreign enemies. and few. In this.22 To judge Alcibiades' Alcibiades' of patriotism record of accurately it is and not sufficient to consider condition outstanding of betrayal. the few in Athens. Book VIII shows the three normal city separated by place: the many on at Samos. the Athenians subtracted from their strength. that is the middle class. Therefore. as time that Alcibiades cast presence of well as second time was in the presence the democratic sailors. even if they did not add equally to their own. or the Athenian one. his part as a consequence of (in those Alcibiades' enemies homeland would have had no occasion to honor him during life or after death. if it is possible to secure civic what of on the basis of private goods. his political disposition was similar to that of the 5000. But Thucydides' judgment also means that Alcibiades core of cared Athens' tyranny. Those very departures on appear to him to be signs of great strength or daring . because imperial riches and ruling in peace are impossible without a secure the preference of his good over first principle city. Given the Athens. Yet there were limits to this fine balance. at once believes it least. its principles. there could be factual good or survival. No death. In the course of Book VIII. few. By recalling him. one a unprecedented narrative if not in human history. The the envoys from the oligarchs. foreign policy. a strength that every homeland needs or. Therefore. consider also how traitorous the as a result of the are reduced parts of a other parts of the Spartan policies of the oligarchs with city had become. nothing but a position contrive recall to make from Athens for impiety. perhaps nothing else was possible for him. As on of Thucydides judges. Alcibiades did himself appear useful to whatever Athenians were in Alcibiades' him. and it was also the second his lot with the 5000.23 the same time. And. One. good conflict with the 5000? Does Alcibiades' not that of the middle class? Thucydides judges that it is true that Alcibiades cared no more for democracy than for oligarchy (VIII 48). So this time was in the the whole city. Of course. his very betrayals made him appear useful: as to of Athens' Athenian strength declined strength became propor betrayals). few.

democrats. .26 This victory restored their morale. even though Thucydides' " that Athens did Alcibiades had hoped to to do so. which his closeness to Alcibiades had lost Spartans. thinking they had already won. last words are not of Athens: "And so [Tissaphernes] came first to Ephesus and sacrificed to Artemis. As for the Spartans. In this omen democrats to face regarded about was not reported the victory as was necessary for the the Athenians in Athens). albeit giving up Euboea Therefore. sobered by their experience? But perpetuate avoid from our intelligence itself? With all its complications Book VIII seems to indicate that it can Thucydides tells us destroy itself. is beyond measure happy ending. sacrificed to a Greek one somehow more regain the important in Sparta than in Athens. the Athenians are shown not to have fought with confidence. Yet. Thucydides' last do not bode for Athens. the Spartans withdrew from Euboea. could apart who could help wishing to see them have this can graceful second chance? Who help it. to say the least. but rearmed. shortly thereafter. if Alcibiades were capable of recognizing his the middle class." nautical All believed Athens might prevail. there Athenian who.104 of Interpretation one. if they set to And. the was something ominous: it was right. However. and many. and so the political excellence of the 5000 would be It would be. the were able best regime could somehow maintain might itself.28 . publicly a good fortune beyond their hopes. if Alcibiades patriotic to serve the 5000. assuming they had been properly wishes. spite of to "face about" in order to necessary for the defeat the Spartans. Athens still needed a military force. "Now (or perhaps the fact that it they any ceased either account to reproach themselves or to consider their enemy any longer of in matters. common cause with The Restorative Victory at Cynossema outstanding leader. with that of the 5000. in practice. The barbarian. even though the affairs of the Delians were settled at last (a trust of the sacral matter that words had troubled the Athenians for well some time). As for the sailors. in the victory itself. but also to Indeed. With the empire holding. promised to the Athenians. had broken ranks. that is. Having seen the Athenians suffer nice in Sicily. was not sensible? even this hope beyond hope Conclusion Thucydides' This. their old fighting spirit.27 deity. and with an outstanding commander.25 Athens could remain unified. and Alcibiades be in be sufficiently (given the circumstances). one Even with a well-ordered government and an recog nized as such sound by some or all the parts of the community. under a moderate regime. Throughout Book VIII. the sailors restored to work with their old zeal. few. they did not retire. then. Tissaphernes him. his good might harmony fully vindicated. whose friendship destruction.

Alcibiades' loyalty to the 5000 " remains after Thucydides last word of . Athens could remain sober or moderate. fresh from its victory name of a Alcibiades Athens' restrained the sailors his tyranny in the old could believe that from overthrowing the 5000. the eastern empire securing parts of Although Thucydides indicates that he will return to Athens he . but only mildly so. how it could maintain its best regime. Still. is how. if vulgar. this regime would foreign adventures would always be acquisitive. And that is necessary to preserve would also happy ending. and "predictable" in the sense By ending the precisely where he does. The shows action of Book VIII how the 5000 could be maintained. many out the one could maintain himself and gain glory by by alternately leading the the many. on the one hand. merely oligarchic point Alcibiades and the powerful. dreamer's Athens To repeat. him is that "he returned to Samos does the not describe Alcibiades' greatest triumph. Athens. the middle class would be . from to be a merely democratic point of view. Athens good of was saved and even with internally and externally. consider what would would to maintain the 5000. because the one's be limited by the threat of the oligarchic plots that must occur when he is out of town with the many. reduced to by ending when he does. Only dreamer spirit. And. Al the founder of the cibiades would have to be regime upon called 5000. just he needed it to be recalled. to defend the empire and bringing it back to terrorize the few. from of view. Therefore. Cynossema restored not just a old Cynossema. before setting for Sicily. Whether Athens as a depends Alcibiades' capacity be required needed founder. The many could be managed. Alcibiades he acted writes that alone could save by calling for the 5000. by occupying it with the defense extent that of the empire.On The question the of End of Thucydides Narrative ' 1 05 unanswered. Alcibiades have the middle class regime to sustain any of as his future a actions or schemes of conquest. Thucydides is able to show us its political extremes. Implicitly. both politics. if he were capable of can remain maintaining this moderate by his example or by his laws. Before evaluating his capacity. he would appear middle class would stand between these two opposed parts. Alcibiades would appear to be a potential tyrant. on the by foiling the plots of the few to rule in peace or in their own right. a rival. kept out of town. At the limits of improved by the coincidence of the private And. the overwhelming desires of the many for imperial riches and. The return of at Alcibiades be the return of the nautical mob. from establishing reestablished democracy. But the few could be managed only to the it could be frightened Therefore. Thucydides this problem raises the problem of whether. by coping other with hand. They could maintain themselves. Thucydides Athens in these circumstances. and particularly everything about that nothing new can be learned from it. he if Alcibiades solves and by his out ending: Athens Is this can remain a moderate solution? the sailors stay of town. Con sequently. at Alcibiades the good of the most moderate part of the city. Thucydides described that old Athens Everything narrative else about the war. to save the city these limits. But. but the out Athens entire Athens as it stood immediately previously.

his universal juggling have escaped the deepest prejudices of democratic apparent of Athens to enter the bright field honor the 5000 could provide. no one could easily discriminate between foreign home. and thrived on Only a juggler could this moderate Athens. the prejudices for Themistocles and against Hippias. II 36.2). envy. the city. when infamy during life. the Persian Alcibiades' king himself was amazed by Themistocles.4. even the necessity. Upon fleeing to the Persians by necessity and his intelligence. to advance a cause at situation. Alcibiades could not cosmopolitanism. by those responsible for (I 74. the cause of Alcibiades might have advanced. the middle class who remained strong. Without its . the intelligent for 100 tyrant who was hated in Athens down to the one Alcibiades' time Alcibiades. Persia. hatred."29 Persians even twenty years after he had been driven out of Alcibiades not spoke of the causes of glory after death and of is. Alcibiades took for granted the popular prejudices. This caused him to be unable to grasp the important truth accompanying the prejudices: lesson taught understood good more adequately. to treat fellow citizens like foreign enemies. himself. Of course. "most manifestly worth to the satrap of the king was however valuable he have been to the Spartans. "for demonstrated natural last resort. is honored above all by Alcibiades Alcibiades' political education not the equal of outstanding contemporaries. 144. considering the Hippias. importantly. Alcibiades was not capable the good of seeing this identity of his the new regime and. is who can restore Hippias to of Thucydides. Instead. the founder of democratic Athens who was driven out of his homeland others and into the ' service of its bitterest enemy. he did and virtuous years. and even if his likes the greatest political honors by sustaining it. may even the equal of Hippias the Athenian tyrant who fought against Athens with the . So this regime would be built for Alcibiades. were Even if the 5000 could gain of built up for the likes good with proven of Alcibiades .3. he of tried to curb the extreme democratic fear tyranny. or advanced quickly. In spite of his act. genius. even if the many maintain were elsewhere. Themistocles. Alcibiades might have restrained But." Thucydides judges. not his proper honors after death. that is. 138. When Alcibiades spoke of his desire for such glory. his understanding of the causes of glory after death. and so can survive beyond a lifetime. if Athenians had more understood the regime of and more Hippias adequately (VI 53).30 He was not ambiguous.1 06 Interpretation would the keystone of such a regime because the few surrender find it very difficult to while the city. he had before him the example of Themistocles. more outstanding more men. his probably. Alcibiades was aped rather Themistocles: he as a than emulated him. there would always be the temptation. becoming of its founder. In this extreme domestic policy. These are the inconveniences of maintaining moderation in a regime founded upon private interest. That take seriously the example Hippias. Public single reasons have a life of their own in the regime.1-2. strife. and foreigners like fellow citizens. This is by an examination of his Athenian principle. thereby. if he had been capable of by the example of there are public as well as private reasons for fear. and glorification.

. to say nothing of riches and of peace. 1929]). Charles Forster Smith (London. See Hobbes 's reply to understood for a long time. This was well (Boston and New York. ed. pp. 236. that. the whole war. See also D. Perhaps private. Thucydides Athens' presents regime as Nothing. 123. 227. Man and The Leo pp.is a compound of poetry and philosophy. 1954). pp. 58. With minor alterations. 1843). English Works. A sensible. 1962). and section numbers only. Hereafter cited used 2Thucydides. therefore. Therefore. 144-45. 80 ff. 1910). middle class morality is upheld by the very principles of relevant claim the But those who proposed this solution forgot that every capable of or to rule is partisan or partial and. History of the Peloponnesian War. William Molesworth (London. intelligence is not self-destructive. But is there any Thucydides does to suppose that the likes his of Alcibiades ending. Man in His statement of the historical problem. A. and even the oligarchic desire to in peace does times. According to it. chapter. 1-88. 41 (I 22. 285: "History . pp. of 6Here following Schadewaldt's reading VI 15 (Die to Geschichtschreibung des Thucydides final defeat and Athens' [Berlin. 1950). W.On the End of Thucydides' Narrative ' 107 founder. liberal universe. limits to political honors and. . VI. sSee W. City Kitto. which I do not deny. Poiesis: Structure andThought (London. or bourgeois ideology appeared to be the solution to this problem. as well as anyway less final. Gomme. Strauss. Pride (Chicago. enethememes. Complete Works xxiiiDionysius' have 3Or xxix). frontispiece. 1964). The Greek Attitude to Poetry and History (Berkeley. could have restrained Alcibiades from using the many to the middle class establish and his own The pedestrian good of (security rule of body property) as distinguished from the many 's desire for imperial riches. equally being ideologized. not his consideration of his own good and the middle class. 1967). City. n. 285. rule. Indeed. defeat at according to which K<xdei\ev refers k'oipv^av to the Sicily. 307-08. and could have deserved to win. 1966). in principle. Henry. Strauss.. See Thomas Babington Macaulay. xxi. W. Jacqueline de H. 'Thomas Hobbes. (Chicago. they do not emphasize the didactic or moralizing purpose of much as its scientific purpose. In inspire charismatic our death. viii. the necessity to reason not give any. More Essays in Greek History and Literature (Oxford. 307-08. for a good contemporary 89. are teachable? shows This need not mar happy He how. Athens could have won. Gomme. However. the destruction of Athens after Thucydides ends his narrative looks ridiculous. Thucydides' complex solution some is more moderate. maintain a well-ordered empire. pp. 159. future Alcibiades with will learn the public. merely fortuitous. Grene. the 5000 did not equal Hippias ' tyranny best or Themistocles democracy. after and one 's desire for glory not naturally leadership. Thody (New York. I.F. pp. Consider " also VI. by book. "See A. trans.4). this device so pp. criticisms (English Works. 1951). 103. trans. Greek Historical Writing (Chicago. even under these extreme ones. P. see the p.D. 1963). Romilly. certainly not Accordingly. if not final solution to six years the Athenian problem is possible. Thucydides and Athenian Imperialism. Cf. Under any conditions. VIII. it is difficult to imagine how middle class morality could be made to appear as resplendent as Alcibiadean vainglory. p. I Smith's translations.

16Consider the unusual use of hoplite transports (VIII 25. to be Hermocrates' Archidamus' and understanding crcnippoovvr) (VI 78 and I 10Thucydides "Euboea and says they moderated (crcoc^povCoat = Spartanized) expenses on this occasion. but fortunate for Athens that Syracuse the annihilation of Athens. VII 57. That this understanding was applied in practice appears from II 93. pp. cleverness 405 (1305b27). I7That is. ed. it was believed even is that.3. was as and try to show.1-2) who was willing to seek a Persian alliance and recall. see The Eighth Thucydides' Book of that the History. The first is that of Peisander (cf. building on the ancient. equally to a "This judgment show applies almost Spartan land ideal attack (see VIII 70. of Thucydides says that it seems to - him (64. called The final proof of this rule of being overthrown. see also Politics 1297al4 ff Antiphon 's the details of his part is brought out by the fact that Thucydides does not narrate in the plot. of Antiphon (cf. Phrynichus' amazing ' restraint leading leaders to the settling of the sailors on Samos (VIII at 27). I4See II 37-39. /jloi n. Modern critics. presumably. Athenian Imperialism. p. Goodhart (London. so thinks that that book really does not contradict the thesis that Thucydides' theme is imperialism. that Aristotle calls his the party of Phrynichus: sham of the Politics.4vroi 8oxei). this Romilly (Athenian Imperialism. An exhaustive account of p. have argued the same. uses 225.2.l. For the question of un-Thucydidean style and vocabulary. The second is that of Phrynichus and. it is on was was now again a democracy. cf. 54. 1893). xxxviii-xlii.108 Interpretation 7See Hobbes. (These had fought along with Nicias: IV 42. Cf. Hermoc hear of rates. 8Unless I often mistaken. and Phrynichus replacement by democratic more on the instigation of his political friend (VIII 54. (London. expressions) more In this regard. earlier books fine are not qualitative.5. was without any private knowledge of the plot. and 54) believes I believe that "Thucydides 'own presence is. is n. 30).4 91. was more important to Athens than Attica (VIII 96.1 I2In addition.least perceptible" in VIII. p. 1967). of see also VII 27.1. Phrynichus always opposed a Alcibiades' Persian alliance and recall. See also VIII 96. English Works. n. 19.2).2.2). But my unintentional. the 400 came to power only with the aid of foreign hoplites.4. See VIII 65. 1. style is also Romilly. VIII 85. 65. to say rough.11). the same event seemed to Alcibiades passage. enough but does not give a Thucydidean not explanation of Greek is See am not to judge whether the unfinished. which Spartan caution in the land approach even under conditions). Book VIII would make sense of . 69. 19The divisions among the oligarchs are illustrated by three peace proposals at VIII 91. This is followed by an explanation of how . Goodhart shows divergences from them. and VIII 87 is particularly striking because there Thucydides offers'three opinions about a certain event then tells how it seemed to him (ip. such a "gray p. seems 9This 80-84).3-4). 437 n. Thucydides all other the formula 8oKel (or cognate in Book VIII than in books combined (if the Archaeology excluded). 18 and 19 for the plot.3-4 28. see the remark on Theramenes below. The whole Spartan army is repulsed by a mere sally of the cavalry and part of the hoplites. even the democrats for the the 5000 18Moreover. See also ns.1-2. Was the 5000 the regime of the party of Nicias?) The 400 was able to take over the senate because the Athenian hoplites were busy guarding the walls (VIII 69. The Athenians have known this. H.3. could But. transl.5). Rackham . 71. the one most bent upon is in exile (the last must we him is that he the way to Sparta before the loss and Euboea). 48. On the 400. C. when the 400 (VIII 92.2. ." was so clever. So Thucydides be (and is) more in it. Book VIII ought to indicates how Athenian imperialism present be (but not) sustained.ol p. H.5) that - events confirmed the judgment Phrynichus that empire and oligarchy the Spartan way could not . which complicates the above point by showing that Pericles was a little too sanguine regarding the caution Athens 'enemies .2. IX. of 15He eminence.

. 4. The 5000 was not as pious as either the oligarchy or the democracy. Cf. see also II 104.5). battle. 50. Cf. two who signed the Peace of Nicias with Hagnon. 400 at was necessarily divided (VIII 50.2. he argues for moderation itself against the Chians and Spartans. to this regard. accordingly. Aristotle achieves this same extreme war situation by presenting city in which all the claims to rule are present and yet in which civil break out (Politics. It feared to sail cf. the Athenian fleet at Samos would not perhaps the harbor at Miletus. Necessity. Compare the differences in Alcibiades' "This situation is the major cause for the departures from separate chronological order that so mark purposes of Book VIII. 86.8). who also elaborates Leo Strauss' argument. the hoplites were 27So. 1283b2). 56. but he certainly understood the Alcibiadean point of view as well as a Alcibiades did. and . position with Tissaphernes the was "not altogether on cf. instrumental in He acted establ i shing the policy of Aristarchus (cf." Interpretation. 2 (Winter 1974).6. Phrynichus was the fatality that in the party leading to the establishment of the 5000. the longest-lasting treaty of the war. that would have been too much like Syracuse.5): "Just imagine: if we unassailable?" were islanders.sSee VIII 108. Phrynichus Moreover. together with ' Aristocrates and Leon. who would more 25Compare the with proposals for the 5000 the actual 5000 (VIII 97).4). ' ' . of the pretentious Spartan traitor. rather than recalling refusing to But. The one who was 5000 Theramenes son of Hagnon favored empire over oligarchy. Tissaphernes' 30See VIII 46. Alcibiades was Alcibiades' closer Pausanias. the question of recall. see also 92). the Phrynichus (VIII 50. See VIII a 79. 22Cf VIII 82 two passages on reasons opinions on foreign policy in these Alcibiades restraining actions Alcibiades moderation is underlined at VIII 45: for of private interest. Perhaps Phrynichus was not altogether serious. No. but not with regard to this.2. 26In into spite of its great power. consider the atheistic (no oaths) character of the very short-lived as Spartan-barbarian treaties in Book VIII (18.2. In Athens V 32. 20VIII 97. It has become impossible to narration without many minor There is a departure writing about what departures and Tore abounds. "Homeric Honor and Thucydidean n.2). Thucydides shows that such a situation is possible if each a does not part occupies different place . it did not care so much for the appearance of piety and it recalled Alcibiades against priestly Yet the 5000 would curse anyone who violated the principle of objections. They only broke down.2.3).2. To repeat. Third is the vengeful . But VIII 45-51 within a foreign from domestic policy for happened "about the same time or a little and earlier. Alcibiades Tissaphernes) toward recall. only the hoplites dealt by Alcibiades (VIII 89) and by the soft oligarchs (VIII 93) with the problem of the harmony of the problem of the laws. cf 70. Politics 1275a ff. is. V 1 29I 138. 98. 58) to common distinguished from the Alcibiadean (oaths. changes See Aristotle.: a maintaining unity seek when the regime is legal one for those concerned with justice. . 69 and 14. departure speech at at 73.On the End of Thucydides Narrative ' 1 09 coexist in Athens. cf 15.4. . 37. . When alternatives are considered. 86. 82. opinions of 24Compare Alcibiades' Sparta (VI 92. The only important battle before Cynossema decisive there. was knowledge the differences between Sparta and only relative (or Periclean). 106.2. and of the other strict oligarchs (VIII 91. divinities) character of the Argive-Athenian treaty (V 47. during these negotiations." There are 63-76 are especially complicated. Moreover. than to Themistocles. because could beat Alcibiades his own game VI 92. But where then is the Athenian homeland? The position of the Athenians on Samos be is confirmed by the authority of Pericles (1 143.5. land battle at Miletus.3) with the view of the democratic sailors (VIII 76. VIII 52 and 109. 21 Demosthenes' quiet excellence could never save of incapable recognizing its supremacy.3. Athens because the city is constitutionally See Thomas Engeman. the regime by seeking to make public offices pay. The issue of Alcibiades (and Alcibiades' recall was compromised within the 400 by opening or firm" negotiations with recall.1. strife .

80). He were could not and favor Sparta or Athens. nor remain neutral. In addition. and Alcibiades (III 8. actions before the envoys willing from the 400 and at . Dorieus. but he that he was at Phaselis (cf. . Thucydides does not tell that he ever arrived in emphasizes Aspendus. 61. were the end of Book VIII after his recall show that he still has more than western conquest in mind on all sides There is some scant evidence that Alcibiades intrigued to the end. which helped to convince them to desert Ionia for Hellespont. A little earlier. Hippocrates sent letters to the Spartans. his He situation appears all but hopeless. as he claims.2. Consider also the other possible connections among Hippocrates. and that he had some part in setting up the victory at Cynossema (as we know from Plutarch). VIII 88 end and 108).2). if Alcibiades to follow a policy of eastern conquest. Mindaurus.1 10 together with Interpretation his deeds. was on Delos at the same time as envoys from the 400 (VIII 77. Alcibiades set out for Aspendus. the Spartan admiral. not could only benefit it Alcibiades Alcibiades' recalled. He sent them from Phaselis.6-7. VIII 35. VI 16. 84. to negotiate with Tissaphernes. after he had settled matters at Samos.1.

philosophic and those of the author of the dialogue. for the is. one may say that hardly anyone asserts Plato's and that of the central character of his today identity teaching dialogues. ful. the historical and does "become old. the more ludicrous would the vulgar never wrote not exist find it written Plato declares that there does (nor will there ever exist) anything by Plato himself. and beyond the historical problem of questions that the text the Kuzari calls forth. and Sophroniscus Phaenarete. . why one should not write) philosophical more rarefied the discussion. does not become corrupted. This is the case even if we believe that Plato was more or less relationship of the Socrates who those dialogues.2 and it is certainly so if we believe Plato's After attempting to explain to Dionysius why he. the Jewish rabbi who is the main interlocutor. Socrates father the philosophical Socrates. the ideal Socrates. the first question that needs to be resolved is the mutual relations of the views of the Haver. Socrates as he should have been.3 In other words. he nor withers away forever. which is of course always "young and beauti meant to is he be. there is the the philosophical . As for Plato and Socrates." "idea" the of not Socrates. Beyond the son of question of the and dissimilarity who was of Plato's Socrates to Socrates.4 Unfortunately either there are no epistles by its Judah Halevi in which explains his method of The problem of writing Plato-Socrates as or his aims. the of positions necessarily presupposes at least a This quandary is analogous to the problem of appears in Plato 's dialogues and the author of "Socratic" only in his "early" dialogues. and to reconsider some of the perennial problems the Kuzari articulates. Any assertion about Halevi's or antiphilosophic tentative the resolution of this problem. . treatises. Plato.5 and parallel problem of Halevi-the Haver similarity or are not presented here historical riddles. and that all writings that bear his name were born or and nor generated of a or new young of the Platonic dialogues is not. (that second epistle. beautiful Socrates. addressed to Dionysius.1 // Since the Kuzari is a dialogue. but Socrates.ON H ALEVES KUZARI AS A PLATONIC DIALOGUE Aryeh Leo Motzkin Center for Middle Eastern Studies Harvard University The recent publication of the first satisfactory edition of the original Arabic text of the Kuzari provides us with the notable opportunity to reread one of the most books of the twelfth century." that is to say. born in 469 of died in 399 B C .

Halevi holds the view that who refrains "philosophic" - philosophy from identifying himself and a monotheistic religion. usually im plicitly there and by of way of allusion. people so. Can we maintain with an equal degree of certainty that the same was true of Halevi? The situation of Halevi was perhaps analogous to that of Augustine. we fortunate in having his own testimony. are hardly foreign to him. undesirable. for it is neither autonomous nor dis Shall we content ourselves with of pointing and the "constant presence of philosophy in the thought Judah Halevi" the "apprehension that Judah . or. Even if we would not subscribe to the authenticity of the Epistles (skeptical critics of the Epistles."8 a philosopher "at some point"? It is true that Al-Ghazzali. that there was at some point in his life." the Khazar that the Halevi knows full well king with the word laysa. his autobiography. Halevi works of demonstrates in this in speech that he knows the the core.e. is not philosophy. that he had not considered himself a philosopher at one any time. "there is beginning of philosophy consists in a tearing down. if you will. that "what we are told is not say isn't what is the significance of the contention that Judah Halevi had been Now. No was intimately conversant with philosophy has been noted more have represented philosophy better than Halevi in philosopher could the first speech of the Kuzari. i. that the philosophic approach. or lack of identity. including may reasonably conclude on the basis of his various writings. Plato's dialogues themselves furnish us with firsthand testimony of his own views regarding this question. both in this the a number of other speeches Kuzari. Nevertheless. Interpretation We can hardly least attempt a reconstruction of Plato s or of Halevi 's thought unless we have of at a tentative solution to the problem of the identity. in the assertion that so. are getting ever fewer). The is to of revive discussion this problem. the faldsifa. The philosopher opens his presentation of philosophy to as not. relates that he had decided to "pursue to the end all that these sects [or schools] contain" including philosophy. But whereas Augus A "uses" with philosophy. the Aristotelians who wrote speech as well as in Arabic. philosophy. though their similarity is often overstated). these two appear as the As for Plato. a "philosophic period. the is no comfortable solution to the problem posited..1 12 interpretation of the text. the views the philosophers. but at times quite explicitly. an amalgam of religion and philosophy is nor the religion will persuade neither the "philosophy" king at multitude. dialogues in are which Socrates and the Jewish Rabbi with the authors of the principal characters. most certainly of the Second Epistle.6 As for Judah aim Halevi."7 has been noted." "what or. who was the first to be confronted with the problem of of an accommodation or a "harmonization" tine. to of He in repeatedly shows. for example in Al-Ghazzali and (there is no al difficulty in noting some apparent parallelisms Halevi. and to demonstrate the inadequacy the usually accepted answer. and a religious cretionary. /// That Halevi than once.

not are of no offer consequence. it is time to the Khazar pass on king decides when a subject matter has been exhausted and to another. and he is the yield one who cuts off the speaker once he decides that he has to the floor. Moreover.14 If. religion is foremost ela "deeds. From the standpoint of philosophy one distinguish Christianity from Islam. this dialogue begins with a personal religious experience. for the philosopher not point at demands.13 The logographic (inherent in the necessity is clear. for the purposes this discussion. there is distinction between these two "actions. sacrifices. in fact. which were revealed to the pagan king is way of fulfilling God's in his dream.11 This is not to suggest that the philosopher worship. it is not the Haver but the Khazar who which arguments are who is in charge the discussion. way excluding those It is in no a philosophic actions duty. not study. and he has a compelling common To be sure. This is Plato s so not (as for example in a number of only in the beginning of the discussion dialogues in which Socrates seizes the reins . and for the and undisturbed (in the the widest sense of the word) well-being intellectual activity of philosopher. All of that is. as nonphilosophic as can be imagined. The God informs the are "thoughts" king intention is first and commendable but his deeds actions. that are indispensable for the sustenance and consumma material tion of philosophy. or engage in any other form of public However. it is the pagan who determines is to get the convincing and floor." hardly hardly any can religions and of any other monotheistic religion. pagan king possesses healthy instincts.12 The sense. Just the same. lest it shake his Wel as tanschauung there no to its foundations. And. the king does not allow himself to be hoodwinked."9 if he were a Rabbi Nahman as artless as of Braslav? Is seem? intimation that Halevi might not have been he may IV Judah Halevi initiates this book prompted by his retelling of the events that please had the Khazar king to start out on his search for a way to blameworthy. Lo hamidrash this hu ha-iqqar maxim cited hama'aseh (action. for the king's conversion is the ultimate proof dialogue) of the eternal truth of Judaism. duty: the the philosopher offers sacrifices because he remembers views these actions as a civic philosopher who is about to die that he "owes " a cock to Aesculapius.On Halevi 's Kuzari Halevi had on account of as a Platonic Dialogue 1 13 this (presence of philosophy).10 an axiom or tendency that points to the gulf separating any from Indeed. but throughout the book. and for that matter." and not or theory. it is the Khazar king who . the king finds it impossible to does acknowledge the truth of operative the philosopher's speech. Nor can the to the attempt of philosopher be of any help if the Khazar 's aim restricted placating the dream's God. is the a [essential] religion principle) in the Ethics of the Fathers is fundamental precept of any religion. it is the king who decides which are not. however. philosophy." the God that "his whose angel had appeared to him in a dream. Nor does philosophy prescribe any actions at all. only at a later stage of the dialogue). of Furthermore. does pray. all the various forms worship.

Furthermore. he is constrained to denigrate the credibility of all the people of India: the One should pay no heed to Indians say. belonging for the king is not a descendant of Abraham. In this discussion the or king interrogates the rabbi about chronometry. Says the Khazar king: had you said that I am piling originating with answer to on proof your "the people who walk in darkness" ('dmmah mine]. or national Judah Halevi. their philosophy is pirated from the Persians. and we find it difficult to believe having that Halevi was persuaded to Halevi 's intellectual himself notes Plato's or stature by arguments that he showing Aristotle's teaching is in error or devoid of any merit? The Kuzwi does not inform us of something that was well known to Judah Halevi.16 the king confronts the Haver with the following difficulty: How can you claim that our universe has been in existence of people for only a few thousand years. as was pointed out above. who was. it seems. Does the rabbi's polemic succeed in that held the view that they owed more to the Egyptians (sons of Ham) as of any other barbarians. which is the only testimony one can rely on. who appro up with? The philosophers priated theirs from the Babylonians arose [Who plagiarized the Indians?]. To be sure.68). knowledge the religious. good. as we noted.1 14 Interpretation and determines verities. a licentious nation.15 Let us consider the discussion between the Jewish chronology pagan king and the Jewish beginning in 1. in 1. Be that it may. and Indians what are an "ummah sd'ibah. dahmd'). answer would have hit the mark (fa-asabta al-jawdb) [italics The Khazar Indian nation king does in toto. rabbi Isaac. clearly substantiate (yuhaqqiqun) of years the allegation that these rabbi cannot come monuments were erected many thousands and so before? The up with a credible reply. Babylonians or Persians not excluded. then the Haver. rhetorical . And what does the rabbi come not permit are all Greeks. for they wish only to provoke. must nolens-volens ac actual existence of a natural autonomous of any ethnic. the Khazar king is compelled to cut off discussion of this topic (1.Adamites who are mentioned in the book of Nabatean Agriculture. and Jacob. After some general discussion in which the Jew becomes for awhile the one who questions and the pagan the one who answers. when we possess the testimony of the India that there are in their country ancient remains (athar) and which monuments. he is " compelled to use the basest of ad hominem attacks. and thus have no received tradition. and are not of the sons of Shem (Semites). well versed in Greek philosophical literature: it neglects to mention that the Greek philosophers are unconvincing. The king shows quite clearly come that this respect is unacceptable. The came proof: no with philosophers in Greece before the Greeks conquered into contact the Persians.17 Halevi thus quickly disabuses us of the notion that he believes the rabbi 's be persuasive.44 and ending. and this discussion naturally leads to the question of whether the universe was created in time or is eternal. the Haver himself cites the pre. hujjaj muqni'ah. and philosophers' assertions by the rabbi to persuade him by vilifying the he implores the Haver to try and counter the rational argumentation.68. All than to the Jew's arguments are. answer nor after Rome Greece.

On Halevi 's Kuzari
proofs, and

as a

Platonic Dialogue
pagan

1 15

do

not suffice

to confound the king. Should the

decide,

after

all,

to continue and seek the Haver's company (wa-'in talat
that time

suhbati

laka), he

would at proof

demand that the Jewish
ah).

rabbi

supply him

with

demonstrative

qdti'

(hujjaj
Thus

we

learn that Judah Halevi

allows that the

Jew's thesis, the dialectic

of

the best possible spokesman for Judaism that Halevi can

fashion, is
rooted

problematic.

Now Halevi 's

critique of

the Jewish rabbi is not analogous to Plato's critique of

Socrates. Plato's
philosophy.

critique

is

not extra-philosophic:

it is

in the

ground of

Halevi 's

critique of his so-called

spokesman,

however, is not rooted in
Socrates' '

his religion, his
apology,
with

Plato may take issue with Socrates and with Socrates defense of philosophy, for the success of Socrates defense
ummah.
'

before his judges is
avows

not

unequivocal, even

were we

to

believe Socrates

when

he

that he wishes to die and prefers death to

exile.

As for Socrates, he has
"

reached

ripe

old

age,

and

thus one may say he has already "lived
not

philosophy.

But

it is

neither expedient

fitting

that every future philosopher would
and

"live

philosophy"

in

an

identical way,

here

we come upon

the crux of

Plato's
as

critique:

Plato himself
noted. not

wrote with

the

view of

the hemlock before

his eyes,

Lessing
that this

This is

the case with Judah Halevi. The rabbi succeeded in

his mission;
sources.

is

so we

learn both from the Kuzari Halevi
make

as well as

from historical

What

speeches should

the Haver utter? Has Halevi one convincing

logographic

motive that would explain

the Jewish rabbi's path? We are

away the obstacles he continually throws in forced to conclude that Halevi cannot but let us
and

know that the Haver is
permit outselves
drummer.18

not

his spokesman, that he

the Jew are not one.

We

to say then that Judah Halevi is marching to the beat of a different

Let Plato is

us return to the question of

Plato

and

Socrates. No

one would

Socrates, and that Plato holds the view that the position are inadequate, as Alfarabi has already pointed out. Plato thinks that his way Socratic ethics must be rooted in Timaean metaphysics on the one hand, and
not

gainsay that of Socrates and

of

life

protected

by
in

Thrasymachean
the
political

politics

on

the other. The ethical philosophy of
of

Socrates

requires

philosophy

Plato. Be that

as

it may, Plato's

reservation

relation

to his

chief spokesman are not extra-philosophic, as we

noted above.

Could

anyone contend

(as

some

been stung by that gadfly Socrates and having Plato can return to be what he had been prior to that maintain that this left him with but a faint mark?

do regarding Halevi) that having contracted the fever of philosophy,
sting?

Would

we

be

content to

Again,
significance
philosophic

once we perceive that

Judah Halevi is

aware of

the

limitations

of all

standpoints represented

in the Kuzari, it For
an

seems that we
awareness

have to

reflect upon

the

of this

awareness.

of

the limitations of any

position, or even of philosophy such,

itself,

of the search after

human

wisdom as

is

not extra-philosophic.

Philosophy

indeed demands just that:
students.

that its

own premises

do

not escape

the scrutiny of any of its serious

1 16

Interpretation
an awareness of

However,

the

limitations
Moslem

of

any

religious position

casts suspicion on standpoints of

any the Christian

critic of religion who possesses such an awareness. and

necessarily The

Halevi, but it is clear from his scathing critique
there the Khazar

king is Halevi 's

equably by Christianity and Islam (and spokesman) that neither of them is considered by
scholars are also presented of

both

him to be plausible. But what

about

philosophy, which was rejected at the outset? It

becomes

clear that

dismisses the
religious

notion

it is philosophy which the Khazar king rejected because it that dreams (such as the king's dream) or actions (such as
merit
that

worship) have any
part of

leaves the

king restive,

and

he

returns

to it

again

in the fifth

the

Kuzari.19

A

central

issue in the Kuzari that may
or aim

aid us

in

our attempt to

determine Judah
sensual of

Halevi 's tendency dialogue
might

is the

problem of

knowledge. Does Halevi hold
to the
other?

perception or rational

knowledge to be For

superior

A first reading
with a

this

lead

us

to the conclusion that Halevi
one

holds

sensual perception

to

be

more reliable or accurate.
certain

thing, the Kuzari begins

retelling

of a

experience

the Khazar
and

king

underwent, a nonrational experience that

occurred
event of

in

a

dream

belongs to the

faculty

of

the imagination. This
at

personal

determines the

course of the

discussion, it defines

the outset the character

the dialogue. Above all, the dream experience tips the balance in

determining

the outcome of the first encounter between the

king

and philosophy.

The
reason

view

that Halevi held the

testimony

of

the senses to be superior to that of

may be further buttressed by citing the words of the king in IV, 16: It has become clear to me what the difference is between elohim and adonai [both

understand
God"

signifying God, the latter sometimes translated as Lord], how great is the distance between "the God of
of

and

I have

come to and

Abraham"

"the

Aristotle: for the Lord (Adonai) on high is longed for by men who have perceived him by the senses, on the basis of an eyewitness (yatashawwaqu ilayhi
shawqan

dhawqan wa-mushahadatan) whereas logical reasoning leads to a pred ilection for God (Elohim). In other words, religion's God belongs to the sensitive
,

soul,

or

if
of

you

will, to its passionate

part.

The God

of

domain The

rational,

intellecting

soul.

On

which side of

philosophy dwells in the the fence would we find
"syllogism"

Judah Halevi? Does Halevi
view of all readers of

"taste"

prefer save one

(sentiment)
is that the

or

(reason)?
clear and

Halevi

answer

is palpably

indisputable.
In the
center of the

longest

speech

term adoney ha-adonim (Lord
viewpoint.

of

in the Kuzari (IV,3), while he explains the Lords), Halevi turns the tables on his apparent

know the essence of things, says Halevi. have the power to know the accidents that the beings attach to They merely themselves. The essence of things and their nature (amr) may only be grasped by sane reason. Whoever has acquired the intellect in actu will be able to apprehend
senses
no power to

The

have

On Halevi 's Kuzari

as a

Platonic Dialogue
goes on to

1 17
relation of

the essences and natures of substances. the intellect to the senses and to the
relation of one who sees well

Halevi

describe the

faculty of the

imagination

as analogous

to the

to another whose sense of sight is weak. Those who

rely on the faculty of imagination (and have trust in the experiences that emanate from the imaginary faculty) are as blind people, who must be steered and guided. Who is to
guide

them and steer them? He who sees well, who

has

a powerful

intellect, he who has attained the active intellect. These are the words of the Kuzari and what follows from them. How are we to resolve this shocking contradiction in
Judah Halevi? There
are two

possibilities, if we assume that Halevi 's intellectual

powers were no weaker

than ours, and that he was therefore aware of at least the

elementary story
of the

contradictions

in his
at

writings.

Khazar king told
standpoint of

the outset of the dialogue and the remarks in
while what

The first possibility is to believe that the IV, 16
the Haver says in

represent

the

Halevi,

IV, 3 is

said

for

political purposes.

The

alternative

is to

reflect upon

the possibility that what

is

said

in IV, 3 is in
philosophic

accord with

the views of

Halevi,
a

whereas the scene that opens

this

drama must be interpreted in

way that is at variance with the common
the author
and

interpretation. Unfortunately,
proof

we cannot revive

demonstrative is

in these

matters

is impossible. The

reader must

decide

which alternative

more reasonable.

VI is explicitly

One

should not conclude on

the

basis

of what

or

implicitly

stated

here that is
made

we maintain

that Halevi would not

have

uttered

the very words the Haver

to

speak

if he had found himself in

similar circumstances.

There is

no

denying that Halevi 's Haver is the best advocate of Judaism that Halevi believed he and could fashion, and had Halevi been summoned to the court of the pagan king
had been
carried
charged with
mission as

the task of presenting the case for
and as

Judaism, he
He
would

would

have

his

zealously

ably

as

his Jewish
although

rabbi.

might

have

started off with a philosopher's
would not

speech,

he

very well have known in

have any immediate effect. That is precisely why the advance that it the king's quest, and he philosopher speaks first: he is least satisfactory, assuming is farthest removed from Judaism. Christianity is the least satisfactory religion,
perhaps also

because it has

established a certain scholastic

relationship

with philosophy;

it is

in his reply to
and natural

the Christian

that the Khazar

philosophy.

However,

the relationship of
science.

king Christianity to philosophy is
mentions nature

first

apparently analogous to As Christianity is to

that of magic to

philosophy, so

is Islam to Judaism. Islam

shares with

shari'ah,

religion centered on the Judaism a pristine monotheism. Islam, like Judaism, is a halachah. Just the Jewish the which is analogous to the Islamic

law,

"magical,"

same, Islam
proof

is,

as

far

as

Halevi is concerned,

for its

greatest

hujja,

or

for its

asserted

superiority,

is the

unique and peerless magic of

the words of

the Koran.

from "his land. it is the Jew . who would be converted to philosophy?20 be all a perfect Judaism according to the Haver. his the Khazar king the at the end of the dialogue He had been a pagan . Furthermore. be far more convincing than a conversion of the remote not pit mountainous Kagan Bulus. It is equally perplexing to ponder on Maimonides s reasons for constantly emphasizing the contradiction between the unadulterated religious dogma asserting creation ex nihilo and classic Aristotelianism. Like a VII We are compelled to address ourselves to the following question: Why did of a Judah Halevi choose not to adopt the opinions of the mutakallimun. The performance of possible king for religious. king retains his original mind. Are we permitted is possible that in such a confrontation and it would be the philosopher who would emerge triumphant. is a religion to which one i s born whereas to Jew one must dwell in the land of Israel for only there can one fulfill of God's commandments. reminiscent of our perplexity regarding Maimonides. since Plato's position. . would not a to Judaism of a philosopher. the Kalam allowed for did the Aristotelianism of the faldsifa. reflective.1 18 Interpretation Why do the philosopher and the Jew never confront each other? If Halevi 's conversion intention in the Kuzari is to demonstrate the superiority of Judaism. tenacious. may be harmonized without undue effort with the This dilemma is wondered have demands of religion. he had become man of a Jew. which was usually culled from the Timaeus. dream of angels the best candidates A dialogue not exist between the because it philosopher and the Jew." is already religious. who is a far more dangerous and powerful of enemy religion. far from state of being a dogma. What kind who not " of Jew would one be who is not a descendant birthplace of Shem. As the book ends. . Many why Maimonides refused to adopt Plato's views on the question of the eternity of the world or its creation in time. like Plato's Philosopher. alert. and and his father house to persuade others not to go position of only leaving but actually endeavors to the best of his abilities to the land of Israel? For that precisely describes the refrains . to claim that philosophy was unknown to the mutakallimun of It was of the fathers of the Kalam as well as founders unquestionably familiar to Christian apologetics. clearly portrayed throughout: open-minded. seeking. the as doctors not Islamic theology. "assiduous in the are his duties. Saadia Gaon had chosen to do? For the Kalam is only paramount system of apologetics. prince of the Khazars? Halevi does the philosopher and the Jew against each other. Nor is it Halevi 's to the possible age. which affirms the . does to wonder whether it cannot exist. but he never ceased to question. that he is about to take that necessary step in making his Judaism whole: he is "ascending" to the Holy s Land. Indeed the Haver announces in the book's epilogue . very Religious princes who conversion. philosopher? doubting. which greater served as the model variation within its pale than for the Kalam.

of course is Judaism but it is also filtered philosophy. The the mistress into a theology.21 religious purposes. This solution was adopted. as Thierry of lover of -did. obliging and tame. Jew and a Christian. Had Halevi 's primary intention been to shield Judaism against the specter of philosophy. and As to Maimonides. In other words. unquestionable. another contemporary. more or less. Every student of Maimonides must therefore consider the question whether Maimonides took this position. harmless. took part. one can not plausibly maintain that he Plato's philosophy to be "intellectually It becomes this has been pointed out before. to whose mastery of philosophical as well as apologetic Christian literature is not it. he himself chose that castrated it. or whether he had other aims that he kept to escaping a similar conclusion regarding Halevi. refined. and that the true classical philosophers. as a divine philosopher. only the wolf. Abelard wrote his a renowned work.23 Chartres. and philosophy it appears in the writings of Aristotle. Christian. a Muslim. As a prerequisite to our resolution of problem we posed about Judah Halevi 's dictum every Socrates' genuine position must come our answer to the question whether about the identity of knowledge and the good is indeed true. by the Christian West. was no doubt familiar with adopt Nonetheless. its is indeed transformation palace of tame. Christianity Nothing would have prevented Halevi from asserting. its teeth incisive. who attacks only and of religion. he Israel. At the very a same time that Judah Halevi wrote a dialogue in which a and a philosopher a Jew. that Maimonides wanted to exacerbate unsatisfa the essential conflict (in the theoretical realm) between philosophy and religion rather than camouflage it. But philosophy may be trapped and caged. he need Kalam. as a Platonic Dialogue 1 19 considered clear.26 and perhaps even a serviceable animal philosopher - or philosophy - dangerous wolf of the steppes. reason The for this is that Halevi Plato was convinced as philosophy is the not philosophy. immune to the his philosophic have chosen to walk the path the great medieval could Christian theologians had celebrated before him. A Dialogue between position was encloses Philosopher. and whether he had to take it for exclusively himself. an accommodating the enemies of the nation when ordered. and Judah Halevi. Abelard 's declared encompasses and that Christianity. He have adopted the way of contemporary Peter Abelard. It is and possible to dull the teeth of the superior Epicurean. just as his contemporary the Bishop of Chartres John of Salisbury God.On Halevi 's Kuzari eternity of the world. a pagan. to transform him into a and watchdog. to the the did. to make the faithful of virus. and faithful servant. could paved and especially the perplexed youth.27 its nails are barbed. . which represents pristine truth. the will always be a challenge to religion. to trim his nails. that the philosopher is a all other truths.22 If indeed Halevi 's principal not have restricted himself to the way of the There is no aim had been to safeguard the humiliated religion.24 or to describe Moses.25 The best solution challenge posed by philosophy and would be from the in the a standpoint of religion subordination of philosophy its domestication.

definitive. thereby also pointing at the immediately preceding verse. Otherwise stated. Leo Strauss. 1970) in the lgnaz Goldziher Memorial Volume." the Christian the Muslim to tell him about their "knowledge and whereas of from p.50). no." these things are closed end." Cf. Ben-Shammai was charged with the final preparation of the book for publication." " the Haver 's proofs some which persuaded me". "his am true person slowly adapted to the mask he had put on for purposes of (I quoting from Daniel Patrick Moynihan's citation of this in A Dangerous Place [Boston: Little. there is no need to pile on proofs in up and sealed. II. Shlomo Pines. 72 ff. 37-38 be lightly dismissed. Baneth 's edition is not preceded by an any kind." 9Cf. reproduced photomechanically. ed. Yehudah Halevi. the philosopher and the Jews he wishes to learn about their "belief. 1977). Horovitz. and Baneth. "The Law of Reason in of the Kuzari. there were among the Haver's proofs those that did and the not persuade him and that are not in accord with Jewish rabbi are not to be confused with each other. A positive reply to this reevaluation of the book before us. " note 33. views of cf. as well as the perennial conflict of . Halevi. cf- 5About Halevi 's that this book writing in general. . 1958). Jerusalem. is a homonym. ra Se vvv keyopava ^. pi) ovk eKtreo-elv. note 17. "The Law Reason. ." 7Cf. Clearly then. I believe it is useful to broaden the discussion in order to clarify further Halevi's tendency 6Cf .1). question would require a xKitdb stration al-radd wal-dalilfi al-din al-dhalil (al-kitdb al-Khazari) (the book of reply and demon text in regard to the despised religion).' 25. Vajda. Maimonides. Albeit these words of Halevi solve our problem for all practical purposes. kaTiv Kakov xal vkov yeyoforos. for Halevi in his introduc tion to the dialogue clearly says: wa-kdna minjujaj al-haver ma aqna 'ani. A random proof and demonstration in the defense the despised religion]. After Baneth 's death in 1973. Phaedrus 275 D. 4See second Epistle 314 A-C. The Khazar king asked their "action. As Max Beerbohm noted [247-48] (1976). 2Second Epistle. note not". belief. This is hardly surprising: Hirschfeld's edition is chockfull of errors in copying the text. the Jew is asked about his belief and replies "I believe. analytic Regrettably. ta'lif R.: Free Press. the philosopher is asked about his belief and answers "there is 104. part II (Jerusalem. Efros. that is. philosophy and religion.p. Cf. ovSev 8ia -rruttTOj' ravra ovdev eyd) Ttepi tovtidv ov8' eoriv <jvyypa. e. of eaTiv toc ypoupevTCt introduction iov yap yeypa<pa . in his Happy duplicity. David Hartwig Baneth. 8Compare words of the the opening words of the Haver. The Muslim begins his and speech with the word " identical to the opening "we. Baneth published princeps few hundred invaluable emendations (in which the book is entitled Kitab of al-hujja wal-dalilfi nasr al-din al-dhalil [the book of Leipzig." in Persecution Art of Writing (Henceforth: "The Law Reason") (Glencoe.1 20 reader of Interpretation the Kuzari must address the question of whether true knowledge neces sarily implies the true way of life. Halevi Cf. 314 A-C. "Yehuda Jewish Social Studies believe. "for Indeed.g." 3(1951). "I which are Christian.coKparov. p. Seventh Epistle 341 C. 1887.p. scrutiny of a number of problematic locations in the text demonstrates conclusively the superiority of the present edition. as could be expected. Nemoy.a HAaTowos" ovd' ko-rai. The Guide of the Perplexed 1. 111. (And indeed Ctiqdd. together with critical articles by Goldziher. errors of judgment. without order to demonstrate that Halevi and his "spokesman are not identical. The Baneth-Ben Shammai edition is." in Hebrew. where calls our attention to the fact is "sealed" and enigmatic at the very outset he quotes from Daniel 12:10. in other words. "On Leo 457. 259. 1952). 101. Halevi (1. and emended by Haggai Ben-Shammai (Jerusalem: a Magnes Press the Israel Academy of Science and to Hirschfeld's Editio Humanities. Baron. H. p. and the Halevi's views. "there were among wise shall "and the understand. Pines's contention cannot Strauss. and plain misprints. Molad 7 [30]." Hypocrite. Salo W.

." Philosophy (1979). . almost place some time before the the greatest part of the Kuzari is a dialogue between two Jews. and may no longer be found it were. which is. And further "moreover they punished on account of that if robbers or murderers of they would Cf. Cf." Press. Pt. . as a Platonic Dialogue impossible. 254. is difficult 121 167) Indeed. a comprehensive commentary on the Mishna and then a complete rewriting of the Oral Law. 13This is a "true Socratic Halevi. which took the book. much time or energy to the promulgation of their esoteric teachings If in Pines 's view Maimonides 's true opinions were not overcome opposite was or by his "necessary Maimonides opinions. 253. What is the cuase? One may be just as truly committed to a "necessary as to a "true Be that as it may. 111.' why would he have us believe that the is the not case with contend the other thinkers ? that surely Pines does recommends was Is it because they were lesser in stature? For exceptional in this respect. persuasion. indeed Pines contributed no less than anyone else to making this reading of Maimonides just about the rule among respectable scholars. to be applied only when they be "The laws. The question then would have pursuing. Very few thinkers or philosophers devoted as . end "See 11." is But that is to be restated as follows: Would Pines argue that one's own notion of the shortcomings of one's professed views or lurking. "On the Interpretation of Independent Journal of Philosophy 2 (1978). 1. the cause one p. a court perplexed Jew. Bk. Pines. opinion" opinion. the Mishna and p. 39-46. Now Maimonides spent the major portion of his adult life serving as the chief rabbi of the Jewish community of Egypt. In fact. See Motzkin. then I think he his prima not unreasonable would that the mental habit of putting on a mask becomes (second) nature. institutions. Motzkin. to be sure. S. "On the Interpretation of pp. "The Relationship of Faith and [in Hebrew]." Luzzatto. kanat dariira" ("four entered the orchard. this as becomes in time completely obliterated. that is to say conversion of the Khazar king to Judaism. p.the third etc. mustathna 12Cf. 1978].65. dialogue. "Spinoza and Luzzatto: Philosophy of and Journal of the History Maimonides. takes place after the second part of keep in mind that four-fifths of the dialogue. 19: "fa-intajaw (and al-nawamis wa-hiya siyasat ghayr established lazima lakin biha ilia in ways of opinion they [the philosophers] behavior.). one can imagine that a view presented as one's own having been chosen as a lesser evil becomes as attractive to oneself as it is meant to be perceived by the world at large. IV." necessary).. 1913) Vol. he considers view of Maimonides a truth. 44." and abnegation. should elaborate on regimes. 16For another instance in the dialogue in the Jewish rabbi is the questioner and the Khazar . cf." p. Against this background it V of the why the philosophic discussion tout is delayed until part book: as much possible passes after the king's conversion. Heller-Wilensky notes "Yehuda Cf.4On the all of the Kuzari.D. In other words. Maimonides. [in Hebrew] in Mehqere Hayahadut (Warsaw: Hatsefira Maimonides. Pines. 10See A. "Note sur la prophetie et doctrine de la et la rehabilitation de la matiere dans le Kuzari. 4. S. while not without commitment to begging the question. ideology soul'1 Pines does not take issue with the view that "glaring" Maimonides had and a double teaching. "Note sur la doctrine de la which p.49. other one should . If Pines in the negative. 2. " Melanges de philosophic de litterature juives 1(1957)." 168. 1978). first. S.L. and religion the bounds of." Cf. Motzkin. Writing 39-46. Since Pines may said ask whether that we honor that Strauss by treating him in a similar way. be these being however non-obligatory are not of the it. in The PhilosophicTeaclung of Rabbi Judah Halevi Reason according to Judah further that (Jerusalem: Ministry of Education and Culture. becomes time as clear one of whom is.On Halevi's Kuzari Brown. we be if Pines would point out which thinkers and he obviously has some in mind let their adumbrated and inner teachings slip further further back into total darkness Religion. and writing. Baron. in the shady recesses of one's Let us take Maimonides as a case in point. 15Cf. we it is Pines 's about Strauss' considered view thinking was overcome by what Strauss explicitly facie either medieval philosophers or about would answer contention well-served contemporary ideologies. Cf. countries. Heller-Wilensky.L. also A. 43-51. "Halevi decries blurring hand Halevi. his Mishne Torah. 257.

sa'ibah: une chose qui est commune et publique. Strauss' 100) as a mutakallim. p. Interpretation I. the king convincing. mix Dictionnaires Arabes (Leiden and Paris: Brill Maisonneuve. sa'ibah means a woman. ummah she-ein is.13 where it is said that there is not one proposition about which the science. the philosophers excelled in human wisdom: "na'am annahum al-insaniyyah." Independent Journal of Philosophy 3 (1979). "Spinoza's Tractatus Theologico-Politicus. . 3: Esclave affranchi anta sa'ibah: tu es libre. He knows "nature" there is no only in the Bible. Pines. relache. II. II. a nation having and no tradition. la garder .13 and V. "The Mutual Influence of Theology Philosophy." . also Halevi philosopher. "The Philosophic Sources of the Guide of the Perplexed. 13).2): "qdla lahu inna kaldmaka . "lam 'hu bal rubbama bihi" adarr the art of the Kalam pp. Cf. "blame the philosophers: "fa-annahum yu 'adhdharun to make an apology . See also S. a liberated faddalu I8According bil-hikmah when to V. licentious woman or a liberated slave. Compare what Halevi has to say about philosophy and about the great advantages inherent in it (see the notes above). Introduction.13): "ara li-hddha that this philosophic al-kalam al-falsafi fadl tadhqtq wa-tahqtq 'aid sd'ir 'alayka min al-kal (I speech is more excellent accuracy than all other speeches). that 17And Even-Shmuel translates. Dictionnaire Arabe-Francais (Cairo. Studies in Philosophy. certainly not the Kalam nor even Karaism. 643. not only for "al-tahadhdhuq fi Cf. Leo Strauss. 14. In "The Law of Strauss says that "the explicit aim of the Kuzari is identical with the aim" Reason. 1927) Vol. 1968). 104-05. with the birth "way" of the concept of nature. He does not . will not benefit him in any way. The about "the heavens and the earth and all that is between them": discovery of the of nature is the discovery of philosophy. This not Kalam. and may be of great harm. qui est en friche." The Jew does not know what nature is. Philosophy real fruit of the tree of knowledge. The king is of course the first to mention "nature. "The Law 21 of Reason. Since "it is impossible to Cf.16 and compare also with IV. Maimonides and Scripta Hierosolymitana 20 (Jerusalem: Magnes Press. Cf.1 22 king answers cf. in modern parlance. 'immah masoret. 1963). for them It may not be accidental that he uses this word in proximity to the name of Socrates Be that as it may. translated with notes 22Halevi attacks the . It is only the al-khazari philosopher's first speech that ' . the not as cosmos. Dozy. and " out in IV.62. finds where he contradicts this assertion. In other words. Supplement p. The Haver knows it full well: "wa-hddhd alladhi kuntu al-ink this is exactly what I feared will be tempting is the to you ! No religion . R." philosophers concur with 1." "explicit unaware of makes it possible for Strauss to refer to Halevi (p. king by the Jewish rabbi in precision and akhdfahu Moslem. Kalam with unparalleled acrimony: yanfa The Kalam "lafd'idfi dhdlika" is totally useless More than that. is predicated on the multiplicity of philosophic " (metaphysical) it is possible points of view. convincing) No the speech of the such encomium is offered after the Christian 's speech ( "your speech is illogical ") is fiercely attacked. philosophy is born. He says (1. the first philosophers were al-kalam. Translator's Kant. king view (V. . the only perilous temptation. such as point then must be understood as follows: to the a dialectic the one before us must be either philosophical or theological call (belonging but to call Kalam). It ought to be noted that even Halevi points polarity. trop libre." of such exalted rank that one may say of them that "hd'uld'i afrad la matma' fi darajatihim." Halevi quotes Socrates twice (cf. Halevi disregards the multiplicity of points of view in "human wisdom or the human Compare 1." Cf." a we have no choice and him a mutakallim. Furthermore. de Biberstein-Kazimirski. al-mar'ah al-sa'ibah: unefemmequi ne se garde pas elle-meme .14. 3-54. A. Says the hold the nor even the Jew's presentation: his after the first of speech "All this happens indoctrination the throughout the book. def." by Shlomo Pines (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2"Cf. lamuqni " (said the Khazar [king to the philosopher] : your words [or: speech] are . et qui n'a personne pour 711: . 1875). Vol. can be tempting. 71 ff. IV. 1 3 the critique profound mutual antagonism of religion and essential his of philosophy is limited philosophy and their like Maimonides 's critique to metaphysics." especially aim of the 99-100. Strauss is the Kuzari's virulent attack on the Kalam. "pp. or if you will. V.

" Ma'itre Thierry de Bulletin de la Societe Archeologique than Eure-et-Loir. That some twentieth-century same are quick same. 646a. or when he asserts that the dialogue precedes the the Khazar (p. The thought that by leaning back on a confrontation between the philosopher and the religious a (whether Christian historical or Jew) is more revealing than a confrontation between Christian and a Jew. unless the characterization of as proof Spanish Judaism poetic" "literary is to be taken (p." scholarship. He apparently believes that Halevi's but that strange notion and and rabbi's position is less "juridique" than the one of Abelard's Jew. 123 Rudolph Thomas comparative 23Petrus Abelardus. Abelard's Dialogus is and considered proof of "permanent" "profound" contacts between Jews and Christians of "urban society and of circles" "intellectual the principles of their in Paris. 269. V. Webb (London. (Stuttgart-Bad Constatt: Friedrich Frommann study of Verlag Gunther Holboog." Christianum in den Epistulae des Petrus Venerabilis: Widerspruch p. Ramon Lull. 109. in Otto Keicher. from De One sex dierum operibus. Dialogus inter philosophum.R. in J. au XIIe Grabdis. 20 quoted as creation (1954). Moses is of philosophers. divinus. 80. prudentissimus siecle: Moyses. never seems to have crossed his mind. nationale de quelques manuscrits where latins de la Bibliotheque the wisest (Paris: Klincksieck. Frankfurt A. properly done. or when says that a doctrine of admitted free will is fundamentally " opposed to "the monotheistic conception" (p. Chartres. also J. whereas four-fifths of the dialogue takes place after the king's conversion. 644). A would Abelard 's Dialogus and the Kuzari. 647). VII (Paris: J. "intellectual scholars faiths (p. in loannis Saresberiensis ed. N 546 Venerable. pp. "Un de tolerance intellectuelle dans la le 'Kuzari' societe occidentale siecle: Pierre le i in Pierre Abelard. Raymundus Lullus Stellung . "je suis historien. La doctrine de la medievales attributing to dans I'ecole de p. 1970). to parrot slogans of the age profit is hardly proof that great minds of paper the twelfth century did the volume.: Minerva. selbst wenn quod credidi " especially Ich schweige ja and nicht meinen Gedanken. 1965). of no less William of Conches or Abelard. For sive example. philosophorum 62. oder pp. 1938). Vrin. XIIe 1890).M. 653). Graboi's may be excused but not for shoddy insight. Judaeum et Christianum. Colloques Internationaux du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique le Dialogus de Pierre Abelard d'Yehuda Halevi. Parent world quotes soul. as is not substantiated. VII. 1975). "Die und Greater might be gained from Rudolf Thomas's in the et Personlichkeit Peter Abaelards in Dialogus inter Philosophum. 5. Vol. where Thierry. ludaem Ubereinstimmung. Clemens C. where Jews Christians (and presumably philosophers) discussed for liberal climate. a All of the above purports to serve as materials and of an theory of a of tolerance. the study of A. 652). 644)." See Thierry de Chartres. he gives the absence of a dialogue between the Jew and the the hypothesis that the Dialogus is "incomplete" Christian in Abelard 's Dialogus (p. It is to his "nonphilosophic as when training that up trying to we must attribute reflect upon his unsuccessful attempts to struggle with the text. Memoires. identifies the holy spirit with Plato's might perhaps mention that the commentary Librum hunc found " Thierry 's doctrine equivocal and couched in "reprehensible language dialog! 26Cf. I. as he makes the title of the work read "kitab v'al-da al-khogue thereby revealing his lack conversion of ability to handle the text. Vol.I. "Un representant du platonisme au d" Chartres.S. also in which Thierry . of ich mit dem Munde schweige 24See John Salisbury. 651). 650). See also Edouard Jeauneau. Policralicus. falls far short of the mark. 641-54. Haureau.' Paris: Editions du for lack of philosophical when of C. De also called sex dierum operibus. p.On Halevi's Kuzari as a Platonic Dialogue ed." society" "open in the twelfth century. whatever the or social circumstances of Abelard's time were. in note 61 and the following citation: "desideravi. chapitre et surely prove fruitful.N. rpt. II. 25"Philosophus Notices et extraits p. intellectu.. Cf. Parent. Unfortu nately. for as he says (p. Episcopi Carnotensis Policratici De Nugis Curialium et Vestigiis Philosophorum. 1909. 255-69. or when he states that Halevi's method of pitting against the time who is never king he one interlocutor at a heard from again follows Plato's style (p. Declaratio Boethii per modum edita contra aliquorum philosophorum et et eorum sequacium opiniones erroneas et damnatas a venerabilipatre domino episcopo Parisieosi: und seine seu zur liber contra errores et Sigerii.M. is Plato knowledge the Trinity. Publications de l'institut d'etudes where d 'Ottawa.

from the general run of men: above all because he disengages himself at he commits heresy by dissenting The philosopher from the dogma that is always the root of every nation." even when he in the philosopher. certainly.1: solitary. 27The solitary (al-mutawahhid) is indeed dangerous. 18-19: every anachoretic man is considered to be a Cf. Without the company of young political life of his people.1 24 arabischen Interpretation Philosophie Beitrdge . zur Geschichte der Philosophie und Theologie des Mittelalters. heft 4-5. 1909). philosopher can not exist. 7 (Minister i. whom he loves more than anything else. but apparently not always. is "the solitary. the . 111. every engages religion.. See IV. W. Vol . and with whom he can trade in his ideas. men. every society.

obligation. "is needs of wholly and unambiguously Forbes can thus display "Hume's (65). is or the expression of Hume's thought on society. and Newtonian religious or Baconian experimental science came together. ." saw philosophy as a response to the This new age was a "post- the needs and drives revolutionary age. politi irrelevant. except by implication. predominantly accounts: natural . "Hume's secular" hand. "a regime a proper intellectual education undertook and carried out program of political for opportuni changed circumstances and new in three parts: "a theory This of political parts of obligation. subject of book." give the established." Hume's stood "theory of political as a transformation of according to Forbes. . in which the challenges and opportunities.' scene of and one aspect of this was a new plished theory of natural secularization. Hume s political philosophy fills the bill on both of of foundations. a science of politics." would conciliate or allay the opposing so Jacobites This new commer Whigs was a the basis for a "modern. then. (17). scientific it needed a political philosophy "modern in style. Hanoverian. political his age and society. Duncan Forbes s describes it intentions identified as and "a study of Hume the historical "to He thinking (vii). and the old conflicts and loyalties.S.Hill Marietta College In the first paragraph of Hume's Philosophical Politics." it gave "new and law the contract theory in that wholly secular and empirical." Forbes 's book correspond to the three parts of . review will examine almost No judgment will exclusively Part I "The Foundations of Poli be ventured on Parts II and III.REVIEW OF HUME'S PHILOSOPHICAL POLITICS BY DUNCAN FORBES R. of men were predominantly economic. it would appear in often obscure sources is for." context" in his "historical as an its application to "his age and It is Hume ideologist or a propagandist or it may be something of each. and allied to Hume's skepticism. informed by the new scientific method and the " secular outlook. The transformation was accom by a thoroughgoing "Natural theology political was the indispensa on the other ble foundation of natural law" philoso (14ff. . . as he them. 96). society. The three tics. It . and a History of England" (x). outmoded and It "moderate" needed a zeal of political and philosophy that and provide "secular. religious and dynastic. produced his famous "new law." thought. suggests that "the two of advanced speculation in Scotland that time: natural law teaching." cal.1 on politics in the light of his political are context" David Hume's political intentions almost at once: foundation. For that caution in accepting Forbes 's use of his wide reading called example.). the thought of the "natural law Forbes at can be under writers" of the main currents seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Hume 's program. age "empirical. to versions had been revised "to meet the needs society" men' forward-looking The politics rather 'moderate this a modern progressive not (91.

so crucial to Forbes 's explana Hume. law ) They differed much among themselves but not in the aspect pertinent to all Forbes. however. to God "official" universal fellow-men. is an inseparable whole" is presupposed by "all these thinkers" (45). edgment . "empirical" one of of rationals. One way in which Forbes supports his interpretation of the nature. have deceived those of his time "who " criticized the attempt to law from the principle of sociability. what Pufendorf and by saying that man has a 'sociable obligations are including his "right to dorf "means by saying man has a 'sociable nature "means derived. G." to reason and of So their thought has been described and without as "wholly Their secular. Now it is indeed true that the pletely serene." "from which "all his rights what " self-preservation" ' Pufen means is (not " what he says he but) that man and for God has "the ability to see that he is not made to live for himself alone but "2 society.). with particular reference to Hutcheson Pufendorf. . he teaches that the basis of natural law is the combination in man's nature of a extreme need of the help of virtually irresistible desire for self-preservation. For example. So to be safe he must be . but by God's (50ff. necessity" They overlooked what Forbes and understood "social too narrowly. . George Turnbull one Richard Cumberland and Heineccius. for "there is also the society compelled creatures. For a "god-given universe.' natural law writers is to attribute to them a kind of crypto-stoicism.)." But Forbes takes care to avoid "the " secular fallacy of premature ' theories are "empirical attributes of God [is] only because taken for 'experimental proof of the existence and which granted" (41ff. ." of men qua rational a will" society that is "not only surface of by earthly needs. and a strong and great propensity to hurt his fellows ability to do so. will now be considered. that acknowl (Hutcheson 's full-scale treatment of natural law postdates." theory derive sees. Hugo Grotius and Samuel Pufendorf. grounded on human nature and the 'nature of experience. / through whom Forbes takes his way to Hume and also and The natural law writers include J. Hutcheson.126 sometimes seems Interpretation to present Hume's thought serve as formed by his time. More often perhaps it is seen as fabricated to his political purpose. "self-love. without given They "claimed to have established a science of and morality things' the aid of revelation. He as a also brings in the only acknowledged forerunner by Hume himself. seems to natural society. On the one Pufendorf 's teaching is not com hand. The "official starting-point of Pufendorf 's theory is the . entirely independent theology " theological foundations. This interpretation tion of and of the natural law writers . and even William Cleghorn. " But the real starting-point is the society consequently to himself "to improve [himself] in every way the better to fulfill God's laws and the laws of Pufendorf 's and As a part of this and man has duties to its other society members. his fellows and great power to help them.

that he has been endowed with more noble was faculties not than he observes in the " animal world about him. on himself. For a man duty drawn from "other foun "observes that he did not come into being from himself.Review of Hume's Philosophical Politics sociable. to be a God . . I have been able to comprehend. The second account of the source of natural stoic of theory) is made up of or is based on such sentiments. but that of man's find the knowledge he owes his origin to a more sublime cause. not what Forbes does attempt to assemble paragraph the stoic that Hutcheson 's thought. The first of these concerns God as creator and ruler of the with one 's universe. For instance Forbes writes. towards whom he is obliged to bear himself in a sociable manner. toward other On the other tains. he is under both to publish abroad the majesty of God. 127 all The fundamental law of nature commands sociality. 'uprightness and innocence relation of manners which should other observed without consideration of "8 its to men. for indeed. an essential duty that one rightly hold and make a part of oneself certain sentiments that have to do duty. docility under enough to resolve the It is. that he for himself.3 corollaries: the duties we of man toward God. The "one as such a society Hutcheson 's. and finally. the others are men. and forthrightly declares. The than stoic view is imputed to Hutcheson with even less support in the texts is found in Pufendorf. that he was so in the order of argument comes simple presuppositions that what what comes later.6 Their basis is their to sociality. "When Hutcheson and the natural law theorists stressed the fact that man was a social being they had in mind ' his membership of the 'one which great society words . and to show himself sociable men. of all rational great beings are included God" society" (51). It seems that Forbes deals with the paradox presented writings by the alternative foundations dorf was of natural of law found in Pufendorf 's in his by assuming that Pufen grip of theological first must depend on Pufendorf 's lead is unaware the paradox. paradox. and that in return for the gifts granted him. but as a part of mankind. He "will recognize that he is subjected to the sovereignty of God. toward himself. not. be not "the .7 truth" of such sentiments contribution is not what requires that they be held. . but . duty. and the human race. they is refer (as Forbes guilelessly lets us know) to the "one great society of [emphasis supplied] (51). On the contrary. . whose content and context method of its subject. illustrates Forbes 's proof. The indicate Hutcheson as theory from scattered elements of follows. and his manner of exposition as well: ." born obligation towards other The preservation of one's life is then seen "when but on a man neglects his own care. What Forbes says that Hutcheson had in mind Hutcheson wrote. Pufendorf writes." hand. And of course sociality imposes on writers such as Pufendorf the duty to promote It is natural noting that when Pufendorf meets the critics of the derivation law from sociality he does not invoke the "universal society of worth of ratio He sticks to his guns. he "4 works an injury. nature of that ' .5 The "logical law (the the law them.

36) And the ." whole system of rational Human nature is what it is by God. stable. is that common among "Deity" more" governme mankind.).9 God-made. morality independent of revelation meant one based on principles of human nature which include an ability to recognize and acknowledge God's government of the kingdom of rational beings which is as common to the human species as includes God. He teaches that the disposition that "naturally gains the highest moral approbation. The inward sense that governs the system of human is discovered by observation and experience and is felt and heeded by the Hutcheson does not teach that the "principles of human nature include an In the cited passage ability to recognize and acknowledge God's Hutcheson does teach that (not merely an ability to believe but) a belief (not in God which may be "one or but) in beings. . that they have been good of commanded by they at are propensities which are seen by reason to make for the our the whole system or least do nothing to hurt it. governing the created universe. the use of speech or the sexual instinct (Hutcheson System. cant at But it appears signifi least insofar correct. They are derived from "social constitution" in that sense. however. However.12 Hutcheson does not teach that the morally approved propensities are that make for the good of the community of rational beings as such. it is a says nothing that is Hutcheson does because it is not teach that "human nature 'system'. which includes rational beings except for God. to say "The commands. human constitution because it is an inseparable part of the whole " is "system" a or "moral which system of rational beings. is the calm. in the of the sources of the cited passage the knowledge of human nature is said to be one gather belief. it can be known to be a system without knowing that it is nature irreligious. 1 . God: . But this is not to say that it is a part of a system including God." But Hutcheson saying "God scrupulously distinguishes the two propositions. it is a God-made system. there are also obligations to . that is. Indeed. approved by conscience. for Hutcheson. . Moreover. senses and feelings and propensities and from which rights and obligations and justice are derived are dispositions reason or determinations that have which means been. that.128 Interpretation nature As in the teaching of Shaftesbury and the Stoics. A science of and law living in society. sentence one From the third moral sense may with that. as the passage represents Hutcheson.11) based to that But that is on not to say that knowledge of human nature or a science of morality on or human nature is either logically dependent temporally posterior belief."13 The object this benevolence is primarily mankind. universal of good- will to all.because it is an inseparable part of the created beings. or the most extensive benevolence. He is so far from teaching that the authority of the moral sense is acknowledged because it is viewed as the medium of approves" is identical God's commands that he teaches that the justification of God's commands is that those the moral sense approves of submitting to them. or are capable of being. . Gathering a clear and precise meaning from Forbes is not easy. our membership of the community of rational beings as such (48ff.10 (What he writes elsewhere casts doubt on the assertion.

or want of good. . Now that thesis itself. If it could be shown. . that Hutcheson 's doctrine becomes intelligible beings. what philosopher. . suppressed for such showing." whatever they of thought they had in mind. This is called "avoiding secularization. indigence. to refuse to take him seriously as a the natural law theorists . the never they are capable of feeling pleasure and not pain. however. to divorce natural which was Hutcheson 's. except by sociability that are the laws of nature.14 includes nonrational beings."15 It and would be distorting but wearying to multiply examples of Forbes ignoring Hutcheson 's plain teaching. But the difference "indispensable foundation" does not concern theology the as the of natural law. Pufendorf observes that men cannot be restrained to follow the rules of despite their manifest usefulness. be expressed by saying that Hume was secular.16 That is. that to turn the dictates doctors' (45) although it is orthodoxy perhaps the weightiest toward Thomas Hobbes of religious of reason making must for sociability into "laws which presuppose a God who governs all things mortals to observe oblige as orders do not. The is to the dispute God's Grotius 's the thesis that natural law would still be law in the true law sense were existence or providence and denied. A casts a careful on examination of what Pufendorf this subject. without explanation. has one by his providence. He said. Perhaps its character will emerge natural from the consideration of two more of Forbes 's arguments to show that law teaching was based on theology. "there would not have been all the trouble and misunderstanding caused by the problem of moral obligation. He knows "Hutcheson and had in the mind. As for those who disputed it. He offers an come enforcing from God the rules would not have the force (vis) be law" of law." fallacy a of premature Hume does. observation as evidence that without having that power. and theology. who enjoined us [them] as laws. but Forbes points to none. light it different from what Forbes wishes. And it does as include God: "We it benevolence toward God. reference the controversy over over Grotius 's notorious definition" (42). some reason closest that is hard to Forbes attempts no The he comes is to deny. for instance. for example. for law wrote on presupposes a (42). "If natural jurisprudence had really been divorced from nor theology. And he infers from that the same observation that it must always maintained they do come from God. in the speak of that word carries with some supposal of object." Forbes writes. Hutcheson what asserts: that is. precisely differing in what seems Forbes seems to think is the direction away from Thomas Aquinas and was Pufendorf. a rule has the "force of rules of if it has teeth in it.Review of Hume's Philosophical Politics the lower animals as "system" 129 That is. in The difference might they do differ from one another." only that by importing into it the stoic "society of rational it is a silent then one might guess. differ from Pufendorf and not Hutcheson. way in which course. Revision of such a scale might be possible defensible if it were needed to resolve contradictions. Forbes reports. infer But premise. And it is be esteemed a rule of sociability that the sociability should divine commands.

son experimental method in Hutche its object "to discover God's of purpose for man by examining the 'system.17 Wise men have plainly shown that. "a souls" serious in the Divine law.23 . is an essential support of natural That may be the " that Pufendorf can state that "by agreement (ex consensu ) " of all wise men ." which requires addition to knowledge "the design whole. part" is the course of Action for in which it appears to of be intended of by the its great Author.. one Forbes simply disregards denies Hutchesonian distinctions. the premise." evidence of God's existence. God made man to serve him.18 those Pufendorf seems to think wise did doubt As if to that convince those unsure of the premise.21 Being His providence. Pufendorf teaches.' several powers or faculties human nature as constituting a that is. That the Hutchesonians did not share the own report assumption is indicated by Forbes 's speakers that a disciple of Hutcheson points to Cicero 's De Finibus as an example of the proper method of nature: inquiry into human and "all the in it agree that the natural end for which man is made can only be inferred from the whole" consideration of his natural faculties dispositions an as they make one (48). But the or speakers certain each in De Finibus include Epicurean. It is another "to conclude .. may ation of proof grasp that most clear demonstration. Their atheism is refuted by consider This must be meant to be a more conclusive Pufendorf 's treatment of than the most clear demonstration. if. and it is not He does not say that it is not doubted by any wise assert Indeed. doubted man. . " The first reason he gives is.20 of a first cause But some people . law its "indispensable belief ground" in Forbes 's and Religion.).1 30 Pufendorf proven goes on Interpretation to say that the divine obligation of natural law can be by reason. imposed microcosm" or (45ff. the decisive arguments are those based on moral consequences. by any pious as man." whether natural or revealed."19 argument is parallel to that in another place: wise men have most clearly demonstrated the existence the bad influence of atheism. It that for Pufendorf natural theology . he writes. Throughout natural theology in his appears writings on natural law.22 Forbes son appears to believe that the "profoundly " pious causes character of Hutche 's philosophy is 's hands has as manifested by the fact that "final The [are] written into the experimental method as a matter of course. The premise of the argument he makes is that God is the maker and ruler of the universe. however. to some of the eternity of the universe is to deny the existence of God. was not the necessary philosophical premise of natural sense. It is of thing what to "observe the office or end of one observes the office or end of a part of human nature. whether "harmful to the welfare of [men's] reason or not. "because the human The race cannot exist in safety if this belief be not firmly not established. in the way that the body. a hierarchy. Pufendorf tries to make it clear enjoined upon men "a social life has been by the authority of God. . Forbes 's apparent assumption is that the func tion of a natural thing can by the will of a be discovered only on the premise that the function was divine maker.

It is task that Forbes where Hume to have declined to take to a criticism of up. what is the End of for Happiness or for Virtue? For this life or the next? For himself or his Maker? Your definition of Natural depends upon solving these questions. For pray. Hume the word anywhere else. As Hutcheson often it in his discussion built the final causes of the moral sense. has ' been taken for granted in these Papers 'That the Deity "26 is morally good. The last-quoted sentence indicates that Man? Is he created artificial" appears to me the "sense natural" of that Hume cannot accept was used of justice as an artificial virtue by Hutcheson in of criticizing Hume 's theory of Human Nature. he "made it his task to understands causes a because.25 That philosophers would not concern whose progenitor which Hutcheson does indeed conclusion of both the necessarily be inconsistent with the fact that himself with what he calls "final At the and causes.28 argument teaches that virtue and interest harmonize. But this is the Inquiry concerning Virtue he gives reasons why the Author of nature." Inquiry concerning Beauty it is. recognize was and him as company of included Locke. In any event. an important practical corroboration of the sense. Hutcheson Forbes put it. seems in Book III him for the Treatise a manuscript of which Hume had sent to comment." after all. final which is another practical corroboration of the moral sense.) Precisely "sense natural" of Hutcheson had employed in his letter we cannot is not objecting to Hutcheson he would s use of learn from Hume's letter. which is a consideration that pretty uncertain and philosophical. causes are a Hutcheson 's speculations on final kind of anthropocentric theod its maker icy: way of confirming a conviction that nature and display goodwill toward men.27 Moreover. out of his goodness. He cites a letter to Hutcheson cause of "anatomist" Hume replies deficient "warmth in the virtue" in the manuscript of Book III of the Treatise by distinguishing the of human . it seems. I have never call'd Justice un-natural but only (59). tho ' the Reasoning a is not at all upon this Supposition. Most to the point is this: "I cannot agree to your of Natural.'' find it to mean "independent on custom and that is. which are endless and quite wide of my Purpose. "It . was added (It likely that the last paragraph of Book III. Part II. may have nature as not constituted written human to say that "final causes course" [are] that " into the experimental method as a matter of (46). 'Tis founded on final Causes. Bacon would agree causes" "unphilosophical.24 The implication that "final one of a Hume's words in the letter is that Hutcheson Hume did. It is rather final causes are superadded puts to the results of obtained by the "experimental method. moral They thus nourish piety. propounded At least in part.Review of Hume's Philosophical Politics Forbes does support sense 131 offer excerpts from Hume's correspondence with Hutcheson to his reading of the latter. nearly of are in Hume's sense. In Hutcheson 's used published writings education. as 'preach' (56). us the principal final cause proposed by Hutcheson for the moral sense inclining to benevolent actions is that in that way our sense of morality Thus Hutcheson 's and our concern for our own happiness do not counteract one another. Section I what in response to Hutcheson 's remark.

Forbes does not note make Hume's "I intend to make a new trial.). In that " respect the contrast with Hutcheson is sharp. satisfactory ending) his moral teaching. on religious considerations and in these passages. leave the question of Hume's religious belief in suspense. would hold even if there keep faith. issued from his involved a conscious that "a genuine experimental discovery philosophy (59). if it be possible. of course. rather than argument the philosopher who so the that from design in the Dialogues.The obligation to systems. Forbes himself remarks that Hobbes proceeded on an reasons. contract theory which Hume attacked rested on some supernatural sanction. Or Hume ideologist perhaps Forbes is implying be Hume's religious skepticism was a priori or dogmatic. which would consonant with the view of as the of a secular age. for Hume to carry out his political and conciliation. Hume is here as a methodological agnostic along the lines of a contemporary painstakingly rebutted social scientist. Forbes declares: "What is clear is that for Hume the unquestioned Christianity and/or natural religion and the experimental method would conceived experimental method ruled out of do: a properly any science of man " and morals what represented he came to describe as the 'religious hypothesis' (61). ." the necessity of contracts. . he writes. the Dialogues pillars of was Natural Religion the invisible but essential the essay Of the Original Contract."31 a strong moral feeling in our ."29 moralist and the metaphysician agree a little were Presumably would the last few a pages of Book III tacked on (to what an "anatomist" have found Here.offends. supernatural" aside "the whole question of what to. His "political philosophy was not complete without [the scrutiny of the religious hypothesis] in so far as it was designed to take the place of . to better. " and declaring the "I imagine it impossible to conjoin the two conclusion: views" (60).against faithfully observing hearts." amounted alliance of not exactly Hume's religious belief. as in the mature restatement of attained that attempt. . it turns out. "The . sanction" (67). . enterprise of modera tion Forbes able' explains: "The . Hume is indeed "secular. But that can hardly be true of all of the proponents of the social contract theory. . places no reliance what ever. As for Hutche son. sense at all. . according to the 'fashion were no such thing as society in Hume's promise. And the attack on the contract theory essential. Leaving separation or bracketing off of the natural from the . . In effect.which the necessity of a social life. the contract theory which rested on on the religious hypothesis in the final are (65ff. Hume tries to show that as a result of virtue. or lack of it. shew also them. quite Forbes does not. because the Therefore the political obedience rests on the and promise carries higher. . "atheistic shew hypothesis" (68). .132 nature Interpretation from its "painter." Hume 's "modern theory of natural according to Forbes.30 happiness is best altogether by the practice of "preacher" So Hume does He not abandon the calling of the of morality. // law. ultimately divine. "infidelity. and the obligation of Moreover. of course.

Hume tries to escape from his dilemma by "twisting and plain was no Nero turning. and who brought it (100). In the cited contracta- of Nero. But it is. the social be they faithfully observed.. but he does Hume's " abstention from making an ex hypothesi awareness theological argument against the that it social contract theory may reflect his does not need to be "secularized. when the public is in the highest danger. Forbes finds. (Treatise. Book III. Part II. he says. but principle they cannot justify the Revolution itself. he bases his refutation of the divine right theory on the "religious hypothesis. fragments texts. and of course Forbes does not observe that in Of the Original Contract. /// Hume's own theory of political obligation is. In the violence and tyranny '(Passive Obedience however."32 Forbes supports his misunderstanding only by by his conviction that he knows in advance what the thinkers of a certain era think.33) not. essentially defective. His "doctrine of resistance and on a device to encourage political moderation . is in Forbes "s understanding of Hume. to even the most extreme preacher of passive obedience Hume is . Hume's "experimentally established modern justify the results of the Revolution of 1688 on the basis of "time and custom". but an unsuccessful one. He makes uncompromising antiresistance declarations without considering context." government. But James II only in the most extreme (96). to Hume's "insistence that any infringement the bond of allegiance must be 'the last refuge in desperate cases. ( "That the Deity " is the had ultimate author of all providence.. from cited essay. their of He refers. Again: Forbes cases of )" ." but "the fact seems to be that although Hume can defend. themselves misread. Resistance to government is case warranted in the case of a Nero. the unambiguously and establishment. Section IX egregious however. however. will never be denied by any. present consistently with his general principles. for example. of opinion (100). in Britain. an essay in which Hume's intention to allay the strife of Whigs and Tories is foremost. . is tyranny refers to the misgovernment that and rians would regard as deserving resistance Hume professes agreement with them. bears down on Whig theory" "Jacobite practice" (93). Nero an example of an oppression so enormous that it would which be intolerable not.Review of Hume's Philosophical Politics Pufendorf states that 133 nature of man requires that this guarantee. he cannot about" quite consistently defend those unambiguously is a propagandist. Hume much of certain The fatal flaw. For if an agreement lacks the largest part of the advantage which accrues to mankind of "whenever any from the mutural interchange duties of would be lost. rested on a similar Now if he had thought that the opposing theory basis he presumably would have argued against it in the same manner. difference is legitimate is called and where exaggeration in the public teaching like that passage. according to Forbes. writes that Hume "insisted" that resistance "could be justified only in 'egregious' tyranny. much men enter into any agreements. of the duty of obedience for. . (92). who admit a general it begins. Hume is offering his opinion on a matter where.

. time for example."34 Forbes quotes Hume as saying that "in the In the general distribution be among the several members of a constitution. ."38 It possesses a certain internal or tension. Another in of power according to the established stance: maxims of and politicians. there can seldom other question admitted any than. may justly provoke passage is that in a limited monarchy "impru as "35 . we are does little nothing to account for the Or rather. whether public or private. . He does say (what Forbes quotes but seems to . Why were Hume's fortify the Protestant estab rather politics what they were. on these (For Hume could also write liberty . For example. . supplied] (98). ought commonly and to be subordinated to a reverence to established government. form of govern ment" renounce" consideration of "the advantages or s disadvan government" tages of a particular type of (98). One twist mixed constitution. give no weight that "true philosophy subordinate teaches us to regard the controversies in liberty. The words by these: "perhaps. dence and indiscretion "may justly provoke rebellion In any event."36 politics as. he and records that Hume wrote that in the disputes between the Stuarts in Hume lawyers their opponents. But Forbes slackens the tension paradox. .entirely to the interests of peace and And the decisive public reason for stressing political present possession as giving title to govern is the interest in not stability. led to conclude that it is one of the logical irregularities a hard-working publicist falls of a into when. he forgets the "seldom" (271). and in his own time and place lishment.. . foster conciliation. Hume does not say "that our allegiance to particular govern ments is not based on considerations of interest. theory of political obligation of another establishment" to the events IV What Hume wrote on politics did undoubtedly to aim to instill moderation." since he thought that "when "we expressly bind ourselves to a particular. in the British Forbes finds unavailing is Hume s contention that in a constitution in particular. be lawful precisely in order to maintain the form of Forbes wonders how Hume can "make use of this piece we Whig lore. Forbes based on some confusion that we need not stop to explore. The questions arises.37 This is subjects. . by his one-sidedness. . perplexity is obviously It may lead him to attribute to Hume a disingenuous in the " pronouncement that the reign of James II rebelli constituted whereas "such enormous tyranny cited Hume 's point (100). " all [emphasis to) . more are preceded legal' (266). to deny the paradoxical character of Hume's that "a regard to teaching . he attempts "the application designed for a post-revolutionary (264). "the safe and more views of '' the royalists 'ought to have appeared more solid. resistance may government as of sometimes mixed.1 34 Forbes 's use of Interpretation texts is extraordinarily careless sometimes. What is or turn that and usual?" next paragraph. at .

II. C. De officio. IV. I. Sec.Hutcheson. IV. xiv ff. 1688 (rpt. Ch. Sees. Ch. was a perhaps. Ch. 6Pufendorf. Ch. Ch. L. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. Dejure. II. trans. and W. Bk. (London. Sec. Ill. p. Oldfather (Oxford: Clarendon Press. 4. VI. 101. Hume was however. Dejure. De jure. IV. Dejure. Professor of English. Ch. Moral Philosophy (Glasgow. Sees. Bk. 16. concerning Moral Good. 3Pufendorf. 2. Book II. IV. Sec. "Hutcheson. 14Hutcheson. least entertaining. Ch. Dejure. Sec. '"Francis Hutcheson. Bk. 20. I. sPufendorf. 7Cf. obscure. Bk. Ch. One wonders how. System. A find description how an old-time propagandist pulled off and expensive his tricks useful. Ch. 2lPufendorf. De officio et civis naturalem libri duo. 7. Sec. Bk. I. translation). Ch. Ch. 16. Sec. p. 15. in Selby-Bigge. Inquiry preface by William Leechman. 5. 1755). IV. IV. 6. Bk. that at purpose well. By this definition of the so-called philosopher as an us" ideologist or propagan dist. L. . 19Pufendorf. l6Pufendorf. Sec. IV. 16. Passions with Illustrations on the Moral Sense. Dejure. vi. Sec. The book is a specimen of the depredations of historicism on scholarship and an illustration of how historicism can rob the study of a philosopher of relevance. 1934). H. Ch. De officio. IV. "Samuel Pufendorf. Preface. Selby-Bigge (Oxford: Clarendon Press. Bk. Evans. Sec. II. 1682 (rpt. 19. Ill. but Forbes 's book is too prolix. Ch. Ill. 1742). I. Bk. Ill. hominis juxta legem 1934). iv (e. Forbes does not try Scotsman. ed. University Press. 'Francis Hutcheson. Sec. IV. II. Inquiry concerning Moral Good. A System. Sees. Ill. 3rd ed. A. 3 (Oldfather College. Ch. I. Bk. II. Sec. p. p. 15Hutcheson. Hume's Philosophical Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge 1975). xii. Dejure. A. Sec. "Pufendorf. ix (Oldfather translation).. "Pufendorf. Ch. x. I. Bk. 3. l2Francis Hutcheson. Sec. Sees. "Hume was a philosopher. pp. Ch. 18Pufendorf. Bk. System. ''Pufendorf. An Inquiry concerning the Original of our Ideas of Virtue or Moral Good. 1927). Idle curiosity does not seem to supply a sufficient motive to read carefully. Bk. Dejure. 314). Bk. Ch. 3. that the answer. 8. 82. An Essay on the Nature and Conduct of'the 230-31. Dejure naturae et gentium libri octo. Sec. Ill. II. 2Samuel Pufendorf. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 143. System. 1897). 16. 24Hutcheson. 20Pufendorf. Duncan Forbes. . Thanks to Gerald with the reading of Pufendorf 's text. System. Dejure (Oldfather translation). pp. Dejure. if not exactly relevant. for his Marietta help 2. II. 20. in British Moralists. . A System of "Francis Hutcheson. Ch. Pufendorf. for his politics. I.Review of Hume's Philosophical Politics than one age of 135 as suited to the other kinds of politics that might have seemed just his those of Johnson. to serve An antiquarian might find such a study. x. I. is ruled cosmopolitan " Hume's philosophy cannot be treated philosophy is treated as a consequence of his out. as a cause of his politics. iii. Bk. II. or of Paine? Except for an occasional personal reference Hume to tell us It is clear.g. Forbes hopes to propagandist might make a him "relevant to of (viii). Dejure. But Forbes "s reports on so-called philosophy are not reliable.

30David Hume. IV. Bk. Treatise. Ch. 1947). LXXI.: Open Court. IX. 444. 26Hutcheson. Sec. H. "Of Passive Obedience. xiii. "Of the Coalition of i. Bk. Inquiiy concerning Moral Good. 29David Hume. "Hutcheson. Inquiry concerning Moral Good. Essays. p. Pt. II. 1888). IX. 186. Green & Co. Sec. p. 469. "Pufendorf. p. Political and Literary. (London: ed. ''Hutcheson. Ch. Moral. 38David Hume. Ch. 36Hume. X. Essays. I. Sec. 2 "Hume. p. p. Bk. Treatise. p. II. 463. II. IV.136 Interpretation 25David Hume. 1882). Enquiry concerning Sec. the p. 557. 187. Ch. Treatise of Human Nature (Oxford: Clarendon Press. 428. 562. 111. 37Hume. p. G. Bk. p. History ofEngland (Philadelphia: E. 34David Hume. Principles of Morals (LaSalle. I. 1828). System. p. T. 35David Hume. Sec. I. Parties. A System. IV. 78." Essays. Ill. Sec. . (Oldfather translation). Ch." Essays. Littell. I. Green and T. I.. 28Hutcheson. Grose Longmans. xxi. Ill. Dejure.

00. himself in the works not of because they were regarded philosophy and theology.. Plotinus and Thomas Aquinas. 2 vols. between 1929 and 1974. be were questions" of essentially distinguishable from one man. reputation rested on a number of important books Wolfson 's and a great number of shorter studies. demonstrated erudition. whether written by the great thinkers or by their epigones. God and universe. When Wolfson embarked on his sixty-six-year career at Harvard. Motzkin Harvard University Harry A. Wolfson. 639 pp. 1976. especially in the United of medieval States. 238 pp. 626 pp. asserted become. his mastery of many languages and his acquaintance with diverse sources. $18. Cambridge. xii. This specifically in the All of them medieval Jewish theology vast and philosophy. cause Wolfson did not think that they another: both treat of the "large "spirituality. was seen as the wrecker of this as a marriage and thus was the first modern man although Wolfson historian was at least equally impressed continuity which by Spinoza's indebtedness to his could predecessors and by the he thought he demonstrate existed from Philo to Spinoza .HARRY A. but also in the writings of Avicenna." by Wolfson as the Alpha and Omega of medieval Philosophy and theology are mentioned together. $25. Themistius and Simplicius. $30. The Philosophy of the Kalam. between which seek a sort of although this last point or theme was only partly developed by Wolfson. stormy as it was to philosophy and theology the was or between reason and faith. Williams. Harry Austryn Wolfson scholar was regarded.: Harvard University Press. Spinoza all-important. idem. Mass. Cambridge. and as the most important area of in the field Jewish studies.00. and both because it was he. it was taken for granted that for adequate scholarship in medieval Judaica one must know not only the extensive poraries body of writings of medieval Jews but also of their Arabic contem For Wolfson. only immersing (written mostly in Arabic)... Repercus sions of the Kalam in Jewish Philosophy. Cambridge.: Harvard University Press. Three names must be mentioned sepa rately: Philo. Mass. 779 pp. 1977. edited by Isadore Twersky and George H. of Aristotle..: Harvard University Press. Spinoza and Plato. idem.WOLFSON AS INTERPRETER OF MEDIEVAL THOUGHT Aryeh L. $22. a relationship "intellectual" saw as central axis around which medieval man's life revolved. xxvi. Philo and Spinoza were deleted from this list and of their Greek and Roman predecessors. Studies in the History of Philosophy and Religion. 1979. Philo brought about was all-important Wolfson. Wolfson who this marriage. 1973.00. it meant Maimonides and Halevi Crescas. for he . of Alexander of Aphrodisias. xiv. xvii. al-Ghazzali and Averroes.00 During the last half century of his life. Mass.

a way of life. status of Critique of Aristotle." ultimate purpose was a coherent and to show that these doctrines formed part of a of each philosopher taken sepa all-embracing teaching endeavored rately. One could maintain that Plato is mentioned relatively shown to have made use "Platonic doctrines little it by Wolfson (only somewhat more often than. culled that is. It is missing not because Plato was not mentioned by Wolfson. and clearly . Jewish and philosophers. and this of despite the fact that the the mutakallimun. earlier books have endured. seems cite Plato far less than they cite Aristotle. Plato to erected an almost insurmountable barrier have been against anyone who would attempt unearth a systematic teaching beneath the argument and the action of his dialogues. But Wolfson also constantly to establish his unified field theory. Origen) because for the infrequent medieval philosophers. Still appearance to me that this is not a sufficient explanation . to the reason. of especially the mu'tazila. and Wolfson was nothing if not born. such attempts time and again. and the natural and revealed distinction between theology was of little consequence to him. Aristotle's sobriety was far more to his taste than Plato s Socratic irony. His studies centered on epistemology. Theoretical philosophy unmitigated by political or practical philosophy does tend to obscure that distinction as does viewing philosophy as a science rather than . whether or not such a or even indeed found in the various Greek. but Wolfson knew as a search and a intuitively that Plato. ontology and theology. of Plato in Wolfson 's goes a extensive corpus and I believe this relative absence of Plato of in Wolfson long way toward explaining Wolfson 's interpretation of a concept or medieval philosophy. Arab. Now. Arabic. and Jewish philosophers. single-handedly raised Crescas to the the second most important medieval Jewish philosopher." The third name missing from the list of philosophers reproduced above is that Plato. would not yield the appropriate materials for the kind of doctrinal research Wolfson for much the manner same engaged in. possibly as a counterweight to the teachings of the more or less Aristotelian falasifa. his formed one are conviction that medieval grand system.138 the latter call Interpretation being the last. Wolfson was intrigued neither by political philosophy nor by ethics nor by the two logical Wolfson 's Crescas' arts which are also political arts: poetics and rhetoric. The scholastics preferred a grand Aristotle to Plato scholastic. who presented philosophy way of life more than as a body of doctrine . though heretical. say. although his book on the Philosophy of the Kalam does not cite Plato even once. sometimes two or three Jewish philosophers. Arab. representative of what Wolfson liked to "Philonic philosophy. a set of as often as not in Greek. His edition and interpretation of Crescas. made To be sure. clearly evince Moreover. the mutakallimun have been " (culled mostly from Hellenistic dogmatic literature). and influence of certain neoplatonists. Wolfson 's "system. all of whose philosophy fundamental "from Philo to characteristics "system" Spinoza" may be from Philo 's "systems" writings. Wolfson 's forte in the but was a comparative study doctrine Latin as it appears works of several philosophers. Jewish or Latin.

Maimonides. and them. His study of Spinoza. of attributes. epoch-making book (whose Wolfson takes issue with Pines contention that the Kalam owes much to Indian ' thought. "Avicenna. once told me problem of divine attributes (which he and many other studies on he thought to be the central rewarding area of study in medieval Jewish philosophy. A Study in published of Typical Jewish Attitudes toward Greek Philosophy in the Middle Ages he was 25. Wolfson treats extensively the Kalam 's theories atomism." Philosophic "Halevi Texts." "The Double Faith on Attributes" Theory in Saadia. Gersonides and St. eclipsed his far more popular still disciple. The Kalam." in the last year of his life. Averroes and St.Harry A. Indian thought however was outside Wolfson 's purview. These studies range over six decades. The volumes contain such well-known studies as Thomas. One may take issue and study. beginning in 1912 the when with Wolfson 's paper. Arabic Philosophy and St. Thomas. a his death. Algazali and Averroes on Divine "The Internal Senses in Latin. Wolfson demonstrated his originality as Interpreter of Medieval Thought significance. And of course his the standard work on that enigmatic figure. and here Wolfson s discussion is far more complete. creation. But there to Christian apologetics. both volume of his had of whom Wolfson for many years. who believed it to be precisely the kind of pseudo-philosophical polemics destructive both to the true community. "Maimonides and Halevi. Plotinus. And with some of there are more than forty other studies of his. sions. after 139 and philosophic he had long been by Philosophy of Spinoza. a name given to a Islamic dogmatic theology. Thomas. It is completed book on Philo will surely remain certainly to projected be regretted work on that Wolfson larger Professors Isadore studied under persuaded Philosophy Twersky and George H. The contains much useful information. not and indeed his argument against this understanding of the Kalam is more is no doubt that the Kalam owes very convincing. to his paper. Chance a short Necessity. and Kaufmann 's Geschichte der Attributenlehre to be the most fundamental work in medieval and most philosophy) in Albinus." Maimonides. published indeed Repercus last year and five work on the years after to his much larger Kalam. have earned our Harvard University Press to publish fifty-five over gratitude of for having studies Wolfson 's comprising 1250 pages in two thick volumes. Averroes and and and of Maimonides Design. he was 87. may be seen as an appendix study on which he worked intermittently number of schools of for decades. Albo." "The Amphibolous Terms in Aristotle. 1936). philosophic enterprise most and to the well-being of the religious previous The important work on the Kalam to Wolfson 's book was Shlomo Pines' Beitrdge zur islumischen Atomenlehre (Belin. Arabic and Hebrew Attributes. but they all make worthwhile reading Wolfson 's two Kalam books should be taken together. was for a number of reasons vehemently attacked by Maimonides. 1974." "Crescas on the Problem the Divine book in itself. causality and predestination and free will. "Answers to Criticism published of My Discussion when Ineffability of God. In ." "The Plurality of Immovable Movers in Aristotle. an translation into English is nearing completion). the of the only the first Church Fathers. Williams.

140 Interpretation with much Repercussions. . no although Maimonides ' discussion of the Kalam Wolfson less in the Kalam book. Jewish philosophy are indebted to Harvard University care it bestowed on these thought-provoking and very one of Students Press for the of medieval meticulous useful volumes written by the most erudite historians and influential teachers of our time . Wolfson deals context of occupies the same problems. but of course in the Jewish philosophy.

Mandragola.Mandragola translated by Mera J.O.50 Niccolo Machiavelli's stage comedy. rendered paid by the in be as literal as it is consistent When possible. To request a complimentary enrollment] examination copy of Mandragola please write [specifying course. Box 400 Waveland Press. Prospect Heights. Characters. Special attention has been in other are translated as to words and phrases which are significant writings of Machiavelli. 1981 Flaumenhaft St. John's College Annapolis. Illinois 60070 (312)634-0081 . Idioms the text and are possible explained in volume contains a of brief Introduction and a closely as The Note on Names the notes. is of interest to students of political thought and of drama. to: and approximate annual P. present text(s). Maryland $2. the same Italian word is same English one. This with translation attempts to English usage. Inc. and to those interested in the relationship between literature and politics.

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