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357

CHAPTER XXIV

THE BOOK OF MICAH

The Book of Micah lies sixth of the Twelve Prophets in the Hebrew Canon, but in the order of the Septuagint third, following Amos and Hosea. The latter arrangement was doubtless directed by the size of the respective books;774774   See above, pp. 6 f. in the case of Micah it has coincided with the prophet's proper chronological position. Though his exact date be not certain, he appears to have been a younger contemporary of Hosea, as Hosea was of Amos.

The book is not two-thirds the size of that of Amos, and about half that of Hosea. It has been arranged in seven chapters, which follow, more or less, a natural method of division.775775   Note that the Hebrew and English divisions do not coincide between chaps. iv. and v. In the Hebrew chap. iv. includes a fourteenth verse, which in the English stands as the first verse of chap. v. In this the English agrees with the Septuagint. They are usually grouped in three sections, distinguishable from each other by their subject-matter, by their temper and standpoint, and to a less degree by their literary form. They are A. Chaps. i.-iii.; B. Chaps. iv., v.; C. Chaps, vi., vii.

There is no book of the Bible, as to the date of whose different parts there has been more discussion,358 especially within recent years. The history of this is shortly as follows:—

Tradition and the criticism of the early years of this century accepted the statement of the title, that the book was composed in the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah—that is, between 740 and 700 b.c. It was generally agreed that there were in it only traces of the first two reigns, but that the whole was put together before the fall of Samaria in 721.776776   Caspari. Then Hitzig and Steiner dated chaps, iii.-vi. after 721; and Ewald denied that Micah could have given us chaps, vi., vii., and placed them under King Manasseh, circa 690-640. Next Wellhausen777777   In the fourth edition of Bleek's Introduction. sought to prove that vii. 7-20 must be post-exilic. Stade778778   Z.A.T.W., Vols. I., III., IV. took a further step, and, on the ground that Micah himself could not have blunted or annulled his sharp pronouncements of doom, by the promises which chaps, iv. and v. contain, he withdrew these from the prophet and assigned them to the time of the Exile.779779   See also Cornill, Einleitung, 183 f. Stade takes iv. 1-4, iv. 11-v. 3, v. 6-14, as originally one prophecy (distinguished by certain catchwords and an outlook similar to that of Ezekiel and the great Prophet of the Exile), in which the two pieces iv. 5-10 and v. 4, 5, were afterwards inserted by the author of ii. 12, 13. But the sufficiency of this argument was denied by Vatke.780780   Einleitung in das A.T., pp. 690 ff. Also in opposition to Stade, Kuenen781781   Einleitung. refused to believe that Micah could have been content with the announcement of the fall of Jerusalem as his last word, that therefore much of chaps, iv. and v. is probably from himself, but since their argument is obviously broken and confused, we must look in them for interpolations, and he decides that such are iv. 6-8, 11-13, and the working up of v. 9-14. The famous passage in iv. 1-4 may have been Micah's, but was probably added by another. Chaps, vi. and vii. were written under Manasseh by some of the persecuted adherents of Jehovah.

We may next notice two critics who adopt an extremely359 conservative position. Von Ryssel,782782   Untersuchungen über dis Textgestalt u. die Echtheit des Buches Micha, 1887. as the result of a very thorough examination, declared that all the chapters were Micah's, even the much doubted ii. 12, 13, which have been placed by an editor of the book in the wrong position, and chap. vii. 7-20, which he agrees with Ewald can only date from the reign of Manasseh, Micah himself having lived long enough into that reign to write them himself. Another careful analysis by Elhorst783783   De Profetie van Micha, 1891, which I have not seen. It is summarised in Wildeboer's Litteratur des A.T., 1895. also reached the conclusion that the bulk of the book was authentic, but for his proof of this Elhorst requires a radical rearrangement of the verses, and that on grounds which do not always commend themselves. He holds chap. iv. 9-14 and v. 8 for post-exilic insertions. Driver784784   Introduction, 1892. contributes a thorough examination of the book, and reaches the conclusions that ii. 12, 13, though obviously in their wrong place, need not be denied to Micah; that the difficulties of ascribing chaps, iv., v., to the prophet are not insuperable, nor is it even necessary to suppose in them interpolations. He agrees with Ewald as to the date of vi.-vii. 6, and, while holding that it is quite possible for Micah to have written them, thinks they are more probably due to another, though a confident conclusion is not to be achieved. As to vii. 7-20, he judges Wellhausen's inferences to be unnecessary. A prophet in Micah's or Manasseh's time may have thought destruction nearer than it actually proved to be, and, imagining it as already arrived, have put into the mouth of the people a confession suited to its circumstance. Wildeboer785785   Litteratur des A.T., pp. 148 ff. goes further than Driver. He replies in detail to the arguments of Stade and Cornill, denies that the reasons for withdrawing so much from Micah are conclusive, and assigns to the prophet the whole book, with the exception of several interpolations.

We see, then, that all critics are practically agreed as to the presence of interpolations in the text, as well as to the occurrence of certain verses of the prophet360 out of their proper order. This indeed must be obvious to every careful reader as he notes the somewhat frequent break in the logical sequence, especially of chaps, iv. and v. All critics, too, admit the authenticity of chaps, i.-iii., with the possible exception of ii. 12, 13; while a majority hold that chaps, vi. and vii., whether by Micah or not, must be assigned to the reign of Manasseh. On the authenticity of chaps, iv. and v.—minus interpolations—and of chaps, vi. and vii., opinion is divided; but we ought not to overlook the remarkable fact that those who have recently written the fullest monographs on Micah786786   Wildeboer (De Profet Micha), Von Ryssel and Elhorst. incline to believe in the genuineness of the book as a whole.787787   Cheyne, therefore, is not correct when he says ("Introduction" to second edition of Robertson Smith's Prophets, p. xxiii.) that it is "becoming more and more doubtful whether more than two or three fragments of the heterogeneous collection of fragments in chaps. iv.-vii. can have come from that prophet." We may now enter for ourselves upon the discussion of the various sections, but before we do so let us note how much of the controversy turns upon the general question, whether after decisively predicting the overthrow of Jerusalem it was possible for Micah to add prophecies of her restoration. It will be remembered that we have had to discuss this same point with regard both to Amos and Hosea. In the case of the former we decided against the authenticity of visions of a blessed future which now close his book; in the case of the latter we decided for the authenticity. What were our reasons for this difference? They were, that the closing vision of the Book of Amos is not at all in harmony with the exclusively ethical spirit of the authentic prophecies; while the closing vision of the Book of361 Hosea is not only in language and in ethical temper thoroughly in harmony with the chapters which precede it, but in certain details has been actually anticipated by these. Hosea, therefore, furnishes us with the case of a prophet who, though he predicted the ruin of his impenitent people (and that ruin was verified by events), also spoke of the possibility of their restoration upon conditions in harmony with his reasons for the inevitableness of their fall. And we saw, too, that the hopeful visions of the future, though placed last in the collection of his prophecies, need not necessarily have been spoken last by the prophet, but stand where they do because they have an eternal spiritual validity for the remnant of Israel.788788   See above, p. 311. What was possible for Hosea is surely possible for Micah. That promises come in his book, and closely after the conclusive threats which he gave of the fall of Jerusalem, does not imply that originally he uttered them all in such close proximity. That indeed would have been impossible. But considering how often the political prospect in Israel changed during Micah's time, and how far the city was in his day from her actual destruction—more than a century distant—it seems to be improbable that he should not (in whatever order) have uttered both threat and promise. And naturally, when his prophecies were arranged in permanent order, the promises would be placed after the threats.789789   Wildeboer seems to me to have good grounds for his reply to Stade's assertion that the occurrence of promises after the threats only blunts and nullifies the latter. "These objections," says Wildeboer, "raise themselves only against the spoken, but not against the written word." See, too, the admirable remarks he quotes from De Goeje.

362

First Section: Chaps. I.-III.

No critic doubts the authenticity of the bulk of these chapters. The sole question at issue is the date or (possibly) the dates of them. Only chap. ii. 12, 13, are generally regarded as out of place, where they now stand.

Chap. i. trembles with the destruction of both Northern Israel and Judah—a destruction either very imminent or actually in the process of happening. The verses which deal with Samaria, 6 ff., do not simply announce her inevitable ruin. They throb with the sense either that this is immediate, or that it is going on, or that it has just been accomplished. The verbs suit each of these alternatives: And I shall set, or am selling, or have set, Samaria for a ruin of the field, and so on. We may assign them to any time between 725 b.c., the beginning of the siege of Samaria by Shalmaneser, and a year or two after its destruction by Sargon in 721. Their intense feeling seems to preclude the possibility of their having been written in the years to which some assign them, 705-700, or twenty years after Samaria was actually overthrown.

In the next verses the prophet goes on to mourn the fact that the affliction of Samaria reaches even to the gate of Jerusalem, and he especially singles out as partakers in the danger of Jerusalem a number of towns, most of which (so far as we can discern) lie not between Jerusalem and Samaria, but at the other corner of Judah, in the Shephelah or out upon the Philistine plain.790790   See below, pp. 383 ff. This was the region which Sennacherib invaded in 701, simultaneously with his detachment of a corps to attack363 the capital; and accordingly we might be shut up to affirm that this end of chap. i. dates from that invasion, if no other explanation of the place-names were possible. But another is possible. Micah himself belonged to one of these Shephelah towns, Moresheth-Gath, and it is natural that, anticipating the invasion of all Judah, after the fall of Samaria (as Isaiah791791   x. 18. also did), he should single out for mourning his own district of the country. This appears to be the most probable solution of a very doubtful problem, and accordingly we may date the whole of chap. i. somewhere between 725 and 720 or 718. Let us remember that in 719 Sargon marched past this very district of the Shephelah in his campaign against Egypt, whom he defeated at Raphia.792792   Smend assigns the prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem in iii. 14, along with Isaiah xxviii.-xxxii., to 704-701, and suggests that the end of chap. i. refers to Sennacherib's campaign in Philistia in 701 (A. T. Religionsgeschichte, p. 225, n.). The former is possible, but the latter passage, following so closely on i. 6, which implies the fall of Samaria to be still recent, if not in actual course, is more suitably placed in the time of the campaign of Sargon over pretty much the same ground.

Our conclusion is supported by chap. ii. Judah, though Jehovah be planning evil against her, is in the full course of her ordinary social activities. The rich are absorbing the lands of the poor (vv. i. ff.): note the phrase upon their beds; it alone signifies a time of security. The enemies of Israel are internal (8). The public peace is broken by the lords of the land and men and women, disposed to live quietly, are robbed (8 ff.). The false prophets have sufficient signs of the times in their favour to regard Micah's threats of destruction as calumnies (6). And although he regards364 destruction as inevitable, it is not to be to-day; but in that day (4), viz. some still indefinite date in the future, the blow will fall and the nation's elegy be sung. On this chapter, then, there is no shadow of a foreign invader. We might assign it to the years of Jotham and Ahaz (under whose reigns the title of the book places part of the prophesying of Micah), but since there is no sense of a double kingdom, no distinction between Judah and Israel, it belongs more probably to the years when all immediate danger from Assyria had passed away, between Sargon's withdrawal from Raphia in 719 and his invasion of Ashdod in 710, or between the latter date and Sennacherib's accession in 705.

Chap. iii. contains three separate oracles, which exhibit a similar state of affairs: the abuse of the common people by their chiefs and rulers, who are implied to be in full sense of power and security. They have time to aggravate their doings (4); their doom is still future—then at that time (ib.). The bulk of the prophets determine their oracles by the amount men give them (5), another sign of security. Their doom is also future (6 f.). In the third of the oracles the authorities of the land are in the undisturbed exercise of their judicial offices (9 f.), and the priests and prophets of their oracles (10), though all these professions practise only for bribe and reward. Jerusalem is still being built and embellished (10). But the prophet, not because there are political omens pointing to this, but simply in the force of his indignation at the sins of the upper classes, prophesies the destruction of the capital (12). It is possible that these oracles of chap. iii. may be later than those of the previous chapters.793793   See above, p. 363, n. 791.

365

Second Section: Chaps. IV., V.

This section of the book opens with two passages, verses 1-5 and verses 6, 7, which there are serious objections against assigning to Micah.

1. The first of these, 1-5, is the famous prophecy of the Mountain of the Lord's House, which is repeated in Isaiah ii. 2-5. Probably the Book of Micah presents this to us in the more original form.794794   So Hitzig ("ohne Zweifel"), and Cheyne, Introduction to the Book of Isaiah; Ryssel, op. cit., pp. 218 f. Hackmann (Die Zukunftserwartung des Jesaia, 127-8, n.) prefers the Greek of Micah. Ewald is doubtful. Duhm, however, inclines to authorship by Isaiah, and would assign the composition to Isaiah's old age. The alternatives therefore are four: Micah was the author, and Isaiah borrowed from him; or both borrowed from an earlier source;795795   Hitzig; Ewald. or the oracle is authentic in Micah, and has been inserted by a later editor in Isaiah; or it has been inserted by later editors in both Micah and Isaiah.

The last of these conclusions is required by the arguments first stated by Stade and Hackmann, and then elaborated, in a very strong piece of reasoning, by Cheyne. Hackmann, after marking the want of connection with the previous chapter, alleges the keynotes of the passage to be three: that it is not the arbitration of Jehovah,796796   As against Duhm. but His sovereignty over foreign nations, and their adoption of His law, which the passage predicts; that it is the Temple at Jerusalem whose future supremacy is affirmed; and that there is a strong feeling against war. These, Cheyne contends, are the doctrines of a much later age than that of Micah; he holds the passage to be the work of a post-exilic imitator of the prophets, which was first366 intruded into the Book of Micah and afterwards borrowed from this by an editor of Isaiah's prophecies. It is just here, however, that the theory of these critics loses its strength. Agreeing heartily as I do with recent critics that the genuine writings of the early prophets have received some, and perhaps considerable, additions from the Exile and later periods, it seems to me extremely improbable that the same post-exilic insertion should find its way into two separate books. And I think that the undoubted bias towards the post-exilic period of all Canon Cheyne's recent criticism, has in this case hurried him past due consideration of the possibility of a pre-exilic date. In fact the gentle temper shown by the passage towards foreign nations, the absence of hatred or of any ambition to subject the Gentiles to servitude to Israel, contrasts strongly with the temper of many exilic and post-exilic prophecies;797797   So rightly Duhm on Isa. ii. 2-4. while the position which it demands for Jehovah and His religion is quite consistent with the fundamental principles of earlier prophecy. The passage really claims no more than a suzerainty of Jehovah over the heathen tribes, with the result only that their war with Israel and with one another shall cease, not that they shall become, as the great prophecy of the Exile demands, tributaries and servitors. Such a claim was no more than the natural deduction from the early prophets' belief of Jehovah's supremacy in righteousness. And although Amos had not driven the principle so far as to promise the absolute cessation of war, he also had recognised in the most unmistakable fashion the responsibility of the Gentiles to Jehovah, and His supreme arbitrament upon them.798798   Amos i. and ii. See above, pp. 124, 133. And Isaiah himself,367 in his prophecy on Tyre, promised a still more complete subjection of the life of the heathen to the service of Jehovah.799799   Isa. xxiii. 17 f. Moreover the fifth verse of the passage in Micah (though it is true its connection with the previous four is not apparent) is much more in harmony with pre-exilic than with post-exilic prophecy: All the nations shall walk each in the name of his god, and we shall walk in the name of Jehovah our God for ever and aye. This is consistent with more than one prophetic utterance before the Exile,800800   Jer. xvii. but it is not consistent with the beliefs of Judaism after the Exile. Finally, the great triumph achieved for Jerusalem in 701 is quite sufficient to have prompted the feelings expressed by this passage for the mountain of the house of the Lord; though if we are to bring it down to a date subsequent to 701, we must rearrange our views with regard to the date and meaning of the second chapter of Isaiah. In Micah the passage is obviously devoid of all connection, not only with the previous chapter, but with the subsequent verses of chap. iv. The possibility of a date in the eighth or beginning of the seventh century is all that we can determine with regard to it; the other questions must remain in obscurity.

2. Verses 6, 7, may refer to the Captivity of Northern Israel, the prophet adding that when it shall be restored the united kingdom shall be governed from Mount Zion; but a date during the Exile is, of course, equally probable.

3. Verses 8-13 contain a series of small pictures of Jerusalem in siege, from which, however, she issues368 triumphant.801801   Wellhausen indeed thinks that ver. 8 presupposes that Jerusalem is already devastated, reduced to the state of a shepherd's tower in the wilderness. This, however, is incorrect. The verse implies only that the whole country is overrun by the foe, Jerusalem alone standing, with the flock of God in it, like a fortified fold (cf. Isaiah i.). It is impossible to say whether such a siege is actually in course while the prophet writes, or is pictured by him as inevitable in the near future. The words thou shalt go to Babylon may be, but are not necessarily, a gloss.

4. Chap. iv. 14-v. 8 again pictures such a siege of Jerusalem, but promises a Deliverer out of Bethlehem, the city of David.802802   Roorda, reasoning from the Greek text, takes House of Ephratha as the original reading, with Bethlehem added later; and Hitzig properly reads Ephrath, giving its final letter to the next word which improves the grammar, thus: אפרת הצעיר Sufficient heroes will be raised up along with him to drive the Assyrians from the land, and what is left of Israel after all these disasters shall prove a powerful and sovereign influence upon the peoples. These verses were probably not all uttered at the same time.

5. Verses 9-14.—In prospect of such a deliverance the prophet returns to what chap. i. has already described and Isaiah frequently emphasises as the sin of Judah—her armaments and fortresses, her magic and idolatries, the things she trusted in instead of Jehovah. They will no more be necessary, and will disappear. The nations that serve not Jehovah will feel His wrath.

In all these oracles there is nothing inconsistent with authorship in the eighth century: there is much that witnesses to this date. Everything that they threaten or promise is threatened or promised by Hosea and by Isaiah, with the exception of the destruction (in ver. 12) of the Maççeboth, or sacred pillars,369 against which we find no sentence going forth from Jehovah before the Book of Deuteronomy, while Isaiah distinctly promises the erection of a Maççebah to Jehovah in the land of Egypt.803803   Isa. xix. 19. But waiving for the present the possibility of a date for Deuteronomy, or for part of it, in the reign of Hezekiah, we must remember the destruction, which took place under this king, of idolatrous sanctuaries in Judah, and feel also that, in spite of such a reform, it was quite possible for Isaiah to introduce a Maççebah into his poetic vision of the worship of Jehovah in Egypt. For has he not also dared to say that the harlot's hire of the Phœnician commerce shall one day be consecrated to Jehovah?

Third Section: Chaps. VI., VII.

The style now changes. We have had hitherto a series of short oracles, as if delivered orally. These are succeeded by a series of conferences or arguments, by several speakers. Ewald accounts for the change by supposing that the latter date from a time of persecution, when the prophet, unable to speak in public, uttered himself in literature. But chap. i. is also dramatic.

1. Chap. vi. 1-8.—An argument in which the prophet as herald calls on the hills to listen to Jehovah's case against the people (1, 2). Jehovah Himself appeals to the latter, and in a style similar to Hosea's cites His deeds in their history, as evidence of what He seeks from them (3-5). The people, presumably penitent, ask how they shall come before Jehovah (6, 7). And the prophet tells them what Jehovah has declared in the matter (8). Opening very much like Micah's first370 oracle (chap. i. 1), this argument contains nothing strange either to Micah or the eighth century. Exception has been taken to the reference in ver. 7 to the sacrifice of the first-born, which appears to have become more common from the gloomy age of Manasseh onwards, and which, therefore, led Ewald to date all chaps. vi. and vii. from that king's reign. But child-sacrifice is stated simply as a possibility, and—occurring as it does at the climax of the sentence—as an extreme possibility.804804   So also Wellhausen. I see no necessity, therefore, to deny the piece to Micah or the reign of Hezekiah. Of those who place it under Manasseh, some, like Driver, still reserve it to Micah himself, whom they suppose to have survived Hezekiah and seen the evil days which followed.

2. Verses 9-16.—Most expositors805805   E.g. Ewald and Driver. take these verses along with the previous eight, as well as with the six which follow in chap. vii. But there is no connection between verses 8 and 9; and 9-16 are better taken by themselves. The prophet heralds, as before, the speech of Jehovah to tribe and city(9). Addressing Jerusalem, Jehovah asks how He can forgive such fraud and violence as those by which her wealth has been gathered (10-12). Then addressing the people (note the change from feminine to masculine in the second personal pronouns) He tells them He must smite; they shall not enjoy the fruit of their labours(14, 15). They have sinned the sins of Omri and the house of Ahab (query—should it not be of Ahab and the house of Omri?), so that they must be put to shame before the Gentiles806806   For עמי read עמים with the LXX.(16). In this section three or four words have been marked371 as of late Hebrew.807807   Wellhausen states four. But תושיה of ver. 9 is an uncertain reading. רמיה is found in Hosea vii. 16, though the text of this, it is true, is corrupt. זכה in another verbal form is found in Isa. i. 16. There only remains מטה, but again it is uncertain whether we should take this in its late sense of tribe. But this is uncertain, and the inference made from it precarious. The deeds of Omri and Ahab's house have been understood as the persecution of the adherents of Jehovah, and the passage has, therefore, been assigned by Ewald and others to the reign of the tyrant Manasseh. But such habits of persecution could hardly be imputed to the City or People as a whole; and we may conclude that the passage means some other of that notorious dynasty's sins. Among these, as is well known, it is possible to make a large selection—the favouring of idolatry, or the tyrannous absorption by the rich of the land of the poor (as in Naboth's case), a sin which Micah has already marked as that of his age. The whole treatment of the subject, too, whether under the head of the sin or its punishment, strongly resembles the style and temper of Amos. It is, therefore, by no means impossible for this passage also to have been Micah's, and we must accordingly leave the question of its date undecided. Certainly we are not shut up, as the majority of modern critics suppose, to a date under Manasseh or Amon.

3. Chap. vii. 1-6.—These verses are spoken by the prophet in his own name or that of the people's. The land is devastated; the righteous have disappeared; everybody is in ambush to commit deeds of violence and take his neighbour unawares. There is no justice: the great ones of the land are free to do what they like; they have intrigued with and bribed the authorities.372 Informers have crept in everywhere. Men must be silent, for the members of their own families are their foes. Some of these sins have already been marked by Micah as those of his age (chap. ii.), but the others point rather to a time of persecution such as that under Manasseh. Wellhausen remarks the similarity to the state of affairs described in Mal. iii. 24 and in some Psalms. We cannot fix the date.

4. Verses 7-20.—This passage starts from a totally different temper of prophecy, and presumably, therefore, from very different circumstances. Israel, as a whole, speaks in penitence. She has sinned, and bows herself to the consequences, but in hope. A day shall come when her exiles shall return and the heathen acknowledge her God. The passage, and with it the Book of Micah, concludes by apostrophising Jehovah as the God of forgiveness and grace to His people. Ewald, and following him Driver, assign the passage, with those which precede it, to the times of Manasseh, in which of course it is possible that Micah was still active, though Ewald supposes a younger and anonymous prophet as the author. Wellhausen808808   And also Giesebrecht, Beiträge, p. 217. goes further, and, while recognising that the situation and temper of the passage resemble those of Isaiah xl. ff., is inclined to bring it even further down to post-exilic times, because of the universal character of the Diaspora. Driver objects to these inferences, and maintains that a prophet in the time of Manasseh, thinking the destruction of Jerusalem to be nearer than it actually was, may easily have pictured it as having taken place, and put an ideal confession in the mouth of the people. It seems to me that all these critics have failed to appreciate a piece of evidence even more remarkable than373 any they have insisted on in their argument for a late date. This is, that the passage speaks of a restoration of the people only to Bashan and Gilead, the provinces overrun by Tiglath-Pileser III. in 734. It is not possible to explain such a limitation either by the circumstances of Manasseh's time or by those of the Exile. In the former surely Samaria would have been included; in the latter Zion and Judah would have been emphasised before any other region. It would be easy for the defenders of a post-exilic date, and especially of a date much subsequent to the Exile, to account for a longing after Bashan and Gilead, though they also would have to meet the objection that Samaria or Ephraim is not mentioned. But how natural it would be for a prophet writing soon after the captivity of Tiglath-Pileser III. to make this precise selection! And although there remain difficulties (arising from the temper and language of the passage) in the way of assigning all of it to Micah or his contemporaries, I feel that on the geographical allusions much can be said for the origin of this part of the passage in their age, or even in an age still earlier: that of the Syrian wars in the end of the ninth century, with which there is nothing inconsistent either in the spirit or the language of vv. 14-17. And I am sure that if the defenders of a late date had found a selection of districts as suitable to the post-exilic circumstances of Israel as the selection of Bashan and Gilead is to the circumstances of the eighth century, they would, instead of ignoring it, have emphasised it as a conclusive confirmation of their theory. On the other hand, ver. 11 can date only from the Exile, or the following years, before Jerusalem was rebuilt. Again, vv. 18-20 appear to stand by themselves.

374

It seems likely, therefore, that chap. vii. 7-20 is a Psalm composed of little pieces from various dates, which, combined, give us a picture of the secular sorrows of Israel, and of the conscience she ultimately felt in them, and conclude by a doxology to the everlasting mercies of her God.


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