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as having long protected. The people during the latter gradual. It is true that from the earliest chapters of years of King Saul's reign were terribly exposed, not Genesis the glorious hope of an endless life with God only to the Philistine encroachments, but also to the casts its bright light upon the present dark and repeated and destructive forays of the powerful nomadic shadowed existence; but still, comparatively little intribes bordering on the “ Land of Promise." Another formation seems to have been given even to the reason which seems to have induced the selection of patriarchs on this subject. It was there certainly; a this episode of Nabal and Abigail is supplied by glorious hereafter lay in the far background of the the character of Abigail, who represents evidently a present life, but no more seems to have been taught. type of the Hebrew woman of the higher classes of În the words of Abigail to David there is, however, that period. The influence of the schools of the an indication that already a distinct advance had been prophets instituted by Samuel and of the prophetic made in Divino revelation on this subject. In the Notes order had already begun to be felt, and the result was on verse 29 of this chapter, the bearing of Abigail's that a loftier tone of morality and nobler and higher words on the future of the human soul and on the views of life began to be cultivated through the people. question of the eternal life are discussed. It is more Abigail had doubtless learned her beautiful creed, her than strange how modern Christian commentators have implicit trust in the Eternal Friend of Israel, her clear missed the momentous teaching of the Tords in question. perception of truth and honour, from the Ramah schools They would have done wisely had they searched a little of Samuel the seer.
among the great Hebrew commentators, who, as might But if we read carefully between the lines of the be expected, in a passage where their eyes were not seemingly simple, almost childish, story, there is yet blinded by any false national prejudices, have caught the another reason for its having been selected by the true meaning, and seen something of the extraordinary Divinely helped compiler as a portion of the book which beauty of the teaching, scarcely veiled by the homeli. is to endure for ever. The question of the future life- ness of the imagery. The presence of this passage (in the life, after death has dissolved the union between verse 29) especially, I venture to think, influenced the soul and body-is but little dwelt on in the earlier compiler of the Books of Samuel to insert the Nabal of the Divine records. God's revelation here was and Abigail episode in his history.
EXCURSUS K: ON THE WORK OF SAMUEL (chap. xxv.). After the death of Eli, the capture of the Ark, and the chosen people—and for what high ends they had been sack of Shiloh-the old religious capital of the land, and so strangely favoured and assisted ; and so he led the the residence for many years of the high priest and people back to God. (3) As the old religious life was judge—the fortunes of Israel were at their lowest ebb. slowly awakened out of its deadly torpor, the old There was no Sanctuary, no religious life among the national life seemed at the same time also to awaken. people. The Law of Moses was, save by a few scattered In Israel the latter was necessarily inseparable from the families, almost forgotten. Its precepts, as well as its former. Then Samuel gave them a king to consolidate moral ceremonies, were wholly ignored, and with the their national life, which had almost ceased to exist. The religious life the national life was quickly dying alto. scattered tribes, as they awoke to the knowledge of gether out of Israel. It appeared to be the destiny of that mighty God who loved them so well, were taught the people soon to be swallowed up among the Philis- by the presence of a king that they were one nation, tines and other native peoples. From this abyss of and that from Dan to Beersheba they had one common degradation Samuel raised the tribes. (1) He kept interest, one common work. The restoration of the alive and fanned the dying spark of the old love of Sanctuary and the ceremonial religion was also Israel for their God. (2) Instead of restoring the necessary, but it must be a later work, and one which fallen Sanctuary and the elaborate system of ceremonial could only follow the national and religious restoration religion, he created the Prophetic Schools, whose work of Samuel. This was accomplished by Samuel's pupil, was to teach Israel who and what they really were—the David.
EXCURSUS L: ON WHAT HAPPENED AT EN-DOR? (chap. xxviii.). In all times the question taken as the title of this On the last (No. 3), which assumes the whole scene Excursus has excited deep interest,What happened at En.dor to have been a piece of jugglery on the at En-dor? We will divide our general question into part of the woman, we may observe that it is an three parts.
hypothesis adopted by some great names, apparently by (1) Did Samuel, the prophet of the Lord, really the illustrious Jewish commentator, Maimonides, who appear? and if so, what power brought him up from wrote in the twelfth century after Christ; by the majority the realm of departed spirits ?
of the less orthodox modern writers from the seventeenth (2) Granting that something did appear and speak, century downwards, and even by such true divines can we assume that the appearance was not Samuel, and scholars as the present Dean of Canterbury. It but a demon or evil spirit assuming Samuel's name? is, however, a purely modern hypothesis, and receives
(3) Is it possible that there was no appearance at no support from the early Church writers. Dean all, and that the whole scene was a well- played piece Payne Smith admirably puts forth the best arguments of jugglery on the part of the woman ? or, in other employed by the defenders of this supposition in words, that the whole scene was merely a delusion these words: “ We cannot believe that the Bible would p'roduced by the woman, without any background at set before us an instance of witchcraft employed by the all.
Divine sanction for holy purposes; but we can clearly I. SAMUEL.
believe that the woman would gladly take a bitter | ing, then, that the soul of Samuel did appear on earth revenge on the man who had cruelly put to death that night at En-dor, we have still to deal with the all persons reported to have such powers as those to question: By what power was he brought up from which she laid claim ..., She reproached him for the realm of departed spirits? Here the narrative, these crimes, announced to him what now all were con. if carefully read, will supply us with the correct vinced of, that David was to be his successor, and answer. Far from having herself, by any incantaforetold his defeat and death.”—Dean Payne Smith, tion she had used, brought Samuel back again to in Pulpit Commentary on 1 Sam. xxviii. 17 — 19. earth, the witch is represented as crying with a loud No. 2 assumes that there was an apparition, but voice from very terror when the shade of the prophet that what appeared was not Samuel, but an evil spirit, appeared, so little apparently was she prepared for which showed itself in the character of Samuel. Not what she saw. We may, therefore, with Theodoret, a few of the fathers, with the great Protestant re- dismiss the idea as unholy, and even impious, that formers, such as Luther and Calvin, have preferred the witch of En-dor, by any power or incantation of this view. Ephrem Syrus explains the phenomenon which she was mistress, conjured up the prophet by stating that “an apparent imago of Samuel was Samuel; and we may affirm with considerable cerpresented to the eye of Sanl through demoniacal arts." tainty that it was by the special command of God Luther plainly writes: " The raising of Samuel by a that he came that night to speak with King Saul soothsayer, or witch, in 1 Sam. xxviii. 11, 12, was cer. at En-dor. Keil and Bishops Hervey and Wordsworth tainly merely a spectre of the devil . . . for who all agree in the maiu with this theory. could believe that the souls of believers which are The above conclusions respecting the reality of the in the hand of God (Eccles. iii. 1), and in the bosom circumstance detailed in this remarkable episode in of Abraham (Luke xvi. 23), were under the power of the history of Saul being, as we have seen, in strict the devil and of simple men: ”—Luther, Åbuses of | harmony with the judgment of the ancient Hebrew the Mass, 1522. Calvin similarly tells us: “It is Church (comp. the passage referred to above from certain that it was not really Samuel, for God would Ecclus. xlvi. 20; the LXX. addition to 1 Chron. X. never have allowed His prophets to be subject to such 13; Jos. Antt. vi. 14, § 2, besides the general sense diabolical conjuring. For here is a sorceress calling of the more mysterious comments in the Talmud), up the dead from the grave.”—Calvin, Hom. 100, are a most important contribution to our knowledge in 1 Sam. No. 1 still remains. Did the spirit of of the ancient Hebrew teaching concerning the state Samuel the prophet himself really appear in the witch of the soul after death in the earliest Prophetic Schools, of En-dor's house to Saul? Now, without doubt, the as early as the reigns of Saul, David, and Solomon. ordinary reader would so understand the history. 5 We gather, then, that these old Hebrews held that Everything before and after the incident is simple after death the soul continued in a state of self.conand natural. The woman herself is appalled at the scious existence; that it was capable of feeling and sight, whatever it was, and describes it as resembling expressing grief and sorrow; that it retained the the dead seer.
Whether or not Saul saw the spectre memory of transactions in which it had taken part is uncertain, but he certainly heard the voice, which when on earth; that it was—at least, in the case of a spoke a too true and mournful prophecy: nothing servant of God like Samuel-in a state of rest, from fierce or vindictive, as we have noticed in our comments which it evidently had no wish to be summoned to on the scene-rather the contrary. The words, so simple share again in the fret and fever of this life—“Why and gentle, and yet unutterably sad, were no mere hast thou disquieted me to bring me up ?” words of a juggling old woman; still less were they Of the abode of the souls of the departed we can the utterances of an evil or malicious spirit.
gather but little from this passage. It was evidently We thus confess our full belief that the shade of not Heaven—the Heaven where is the throne of God. Samuel was seen by the woman (perhaps by Saul; and where dwell the heavenly powers. The language but this is uncertain from the narrative), and that his used, though popular, and adapted to the ordinary voice was certainly heard by King Saul; and this conception of Sheol, or Hades, the unseen place or has been the common belief in all times. Bishop lodging of the disembodied souls of men, clearly Wordsworth's note here is most learned and ex- distinguishes between the abode of souls like Samuel haustive, and he fully endorses this view (here styled and the abode of the heavenly powers. Throughout No. 1). The bishop marshals an array of witnesses the history the soul of Samuel is represented as coming who support this, which I venture to call the plain, up, instead of coming down or descending, which
sense interpretation of the history. He would be the popular language used of an angel of begins with the ancient Hebrew Church, and quotes God. Ecclus. xlvi. 20. The writer of that book evidently The testimony which this history gives to the ancient believed that Samuel himself appeared ; and so did Jewish belief in the existence of the soul after death the LXX., who plainly express the belief in their fully accounts for the prominence which the comaddendum to the Hebrew text at 1 Chron. x. 13. piler of the book has given to this episode. It is, Josephus affirms the same in Antt. vi., 14, 2. Among besides, an important contribution to our knowledge the early Christian fathers, Justin Martyr, Trypho, of the complex character of the first great Hebrew $ 105; Origen, tom. II., 490—495; St. Ambrose in monarch, so splendidly endowed by God, tried, and, Luc, chap. i.; St. Basil, Ep. 80; St. Gregory Naz., alas ! found wanting..
The En-dor incident, beOrat. III.; Theodoret, Qu. 63, hold the same belief sides, clearly and incisively gives us God's judgment that the shade of Samuel appeared at En-dor and on necromancy, and generally on all attempts to hold spoke to Saul. Among the famous mediæval writers converse with the souls of the departed. holding the same view, we may instance Cajetan, In every age these attempts have had an extraordinary Lyra, and à Lapide ; later, Waterland may be added fascination for men.
own day necromancy, to the list; in our own days, Bishop Hervey, in the unfortunately, is not a lost art among ourselves. Men Speaker's Commentary, and Bishop Wordsworth and and women of education, as Dr. Fraser well observes the German writers, O. von Gerlach and Keil. Assum- in the Pulpit Commentary, are not ashamed or afraid
to practise arts and consult "mediums” that are re-
“How pare in heart and sound in head,
“In vain shalt thou on any call
My spirit is at peace with all.
EXCURSUS M: ON THE URIM AND THUMMIM (chap. xxx.). We read in the description of the high priests | listening to it as it proceeded, in articulated sounds, official vestments (Exod. xxviii. 2-32), that over the from the glory of the Shechinah_(Buxtorf, l.c., 7; ephod there was to be a breastplate of judgment," Lightfoot, vi. 278; Braunius, de Vestitu Hebr., ii.; of gold, scarlet, purple, and fine linen, folded square Saalschütz, Archäolog., ii. 363). and doubled, span in length and width. In it were That mighty storehouse of learning and tradition, to be set four rows of precious stones, each stone the Babylonian Talmud, suggests, however, another with the name of a tribe of Israel engraved on it, and quite a different explanation of this mysterious that Aaron might "bear them upon his heart.” Inside and sacred possession of the Israelites in the earlier the breastplate were to be placed the Urim and days of their existence as a people. (See note on verse 7 Thummim (the Light and the Perfection), and they, of chapter xxx.) too, were to be on Aaron's heart as he went in before The Talmud begins by explaining why the oracle the Lord.
was called Urim and Thummim. It is called Urim What, now, were these mysterious gems ? for that because it gave explanatory light to its utterances ; they were precious stones of some kind nearly all and it is called Thummim because it made perfect tradition seems agreed. Among the best supported and complete its
declarations. traditional notices-quoted by Dean Plumptre in his How did the Urim and Thummim indicate or mani. learned article in Smith's Dictionary of the Bible- fest its utterances ? Rabbi Yochanan saith: Boltoth the following are the usually accepted ones.
(by means of) projection. Resh Lakish saith : Mitz(a) The Urim and Thummim were identical with
taphoth (by means of) transposition. the twelve stones on which the names of the tribes (1) Boltoth (by means of projection).—The several of Israel were engraved, and the mode in which an letters that were intended by the oracle to form the oracle was given was by the illumination, simultaneous word or words in reply to an enquiry were raised or successive, of the letters which were to make up from concave to convex (as the engraved letters on the answer” (Jalkut Sifre, Zohar, in Exod., f. 105; a seal were to become raised letters, as on a coin), Maimonides, R. ben Nachman, in Buxtorf, l.c.). and the priest, uniting these projected letters, thus Josephus (Antiq. iii. 7, § 5) adopts another form of ascertained the proper meaning of the intended answer, the same story, and, apparently identifying the Urim which he delivered to the enquirer. For instance: and Thummim with the sardonyxes on the shoulders in the reply to David, ăleh --"go;" the ayin in of the ephod, says that they were bright before a Simeon, the lamedh in Levi, and the he in Judah victory or when the sacrifice was acceptable, dark become prominently raised, and thus the answer was when any disaster was impending. Epiphanius (de unmistakable. æii. gemm.) and the writer quoted by Suidas present (2) Mitztaphoth (by means of transposition). The the same thought in yet another form.
letters composing the names of the twelve tribes diamond placed in the centre of the breastplate prog- transposed themselves into words, which indicated the nosticated peace when it was bright, war when it was oracle's reply. But it is objected : How could the red, death when it was dusky.
oracle express 1 Sam. xxx. 8 (i.e., “ Thou shalt without (6) In the middle of the ephod, or within its folds, fail recover all”), since the letter tsadde, for instance, there was a stone or plate of gold, on which was en- is not to be found in any of the names of the tribes ? graved the sacred name of Jehovah, the Shem-hamme- nor is the letter teth to be found there either. To phorash of Jewish cabbalists; and by virtue of this, this it is responded that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob the High Priest, fixing his gaze on it, or reading an were engraved on the gems, as also the Hebrew invocation which was also engraved with the name, words signifying “ the tribes of Jeshurun.” or standing in his ephod before the mercy-seat, or, at Thus the Hebrew alphabet in the Urim and Thumleast, before the veil of the Sanctuary, became capable mim is made complete.—Treatise Yoma, fol. 73, cols. of prophesying, hearing the Divine voice within, or 1 and 2.