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the objection of itself amounts to nothing. We need not suppose the reapers of Boaz to have been unusually devout or spiritual men, or very devout at all, when they returned the salutation of their Master with the religious formula, 7072' 14', “ Jehovah bless thee.” Still, such formulas show a religious nation, at least one that had been religious, or whose national life had had a deep religious ground. See Ruth ii, 4.

The question is not what Abigail meant, exactly, but whence came the strange formula she so flippantly, and it may be unthinkingly, uses. It might have lost its serious meaning, and come to be used in a inere formal manner, as if one should

say, "May you live a thousand years,” or, as the Jews sometimes used that still more solemn and spiritually significant expression," As Jehovah liveth, and as thy soul liveth.” It may be that Abigail employed it in a mere temporal sense, or as a general prayer for long life and prosperity. But none of these suggestions satisfy the inquiry. There are none of them that would have given rise to the formula. They are meanings into which it might degenerate, but to which it never could have owed its birth. The more solemn must have been first. There must have been at sometime a power or depth of meaning in it corresponding to the strange power and vividness of the language. There must have been a serious reason for these peculiar words and more peculiar figures. The “binding up in the bundle of life,” (or lives, 7173, something firmly bound and holding secure,) and the “casting out of the sling,” (to denote the very opposite,) must have had a strong significance to give it currency as a popular formula. The more we look at it in this point of view, the more it will be seen that the argument, instead of being in the direction of this actual objection, is just the other way.

But did it have any ground in any common belief of the Jews? It may be said that the notion of Tanchum is opposed to the silence of the Old Testament, generally, respecting a future life, and especially the recognition in it of distinct states of happiness and retribution, or of blessedness and reprobation, or casting out, such as might seem to be denoted by the bundle" and the sling, if we give them this application. There is reason, however, to believe that the common popular opinions among the Jews respecting a spirit-world were more fixed and distinct (not to say more true) than the scanty intimations that barely appear under the wise reserve of the Old Testament Scriptures. For there certainly is a reserve, even what would appear to be a studied reserve, on this subject, and reasons may be assigned-with all reverence would we say it-why Deity, in the training of his peculiar people, did not encourage those views of Hades (or Sheol) and its departments which make such a figure in the poetry and mythology of the Greeks and other ancient nations. The tendency to abuse in that age of the world was greater than their moral power. This was not owing to any intellectual or spiritual incapacity, then existing, and now outgrown, which made them incapable of receiving the dogma. We should rather say that it was held back, kept in reserve, because that full plan of salvation had not yet been revealed, that full ground of faith, without which the doctrine of Hades, or the spirit-world, is capable of so much and such gross perversion. Such a belief was in the world, had been in the world from the earliest times, but the wisdom that gave us the Old Testament histories and the Old Testament wor. ship thought it better to hold these ideas in check, or, while confirming by unmistakable intimations, to throw over them the veil of a solemn reserve, instead of giving license to the imagination. In that state of the world there was danger of more evil thoughts coming out of the doctrine than good ones. The pious soul could rest contented with the general belief that it would be well, eternally well, with those that feared God, while to the unholy and profane a more distinct doctrine of Hades might be a fountain of malignity as well as of a false theology. In such a state it would be a source of darknessrather than light, or rather, the very light that was in it would become darkness---a “darkness visible.” It is evident, from some strong intimations and prohibitions that we find in the Old Testament, that superstition, manes worship, necromancy, a spirit and practice of sorcery, real or unreal, were only likely to be its products, (if made prominent before the national mind, or if not some way held in check,) than a true spiritual fear. Thus we find necromantic usages constantly springing up among the Jews, and the most severe threatenings required to prevent them. See Deut. xviii, 11: “There shall not be found in thee one who practices enchantinents, or inquires of the Ob,

(31x,) or familiar spirit, or seeks to the dead, dino7 sx 297, for they are an abomination to the Lord, even every one that doeth these things.” There is in all this no denying that the dead yet are; there is rather an affirmation and confirmation of it: but it is treated as a fearfully sacred region, to which human curiosity, or any feeling of worldly interest, or desire of knowledge for worldly purposes, should not profanely approach. Compare Isaiah viii, 19; xix, 3; 2 Kings xxi, 6; 2 Chron. xxxiii, 6 ; Leviticus xix, 31 ; xx, 6.

As to the manner or medium of the necromantic communication, see especially Isaiah xxix, 4, where it appears that it was not by rapping, but by a voice, or a supposed voice, coming out of the earth, in

.מארץ קולך


The prohibitions prove, at least, the strength and the reality of the common belief in a spirit-world. This is especially exhibited in the story of Saul and the Witch of Endor, who was one of those practicers of a forbidden necromancy. Homer is not stronger proof for the Greek belief in Hades than this Jewish chronicle of a similar and equally vivid notion of a spirit-world among the Jews. Their notions were very much the same, in the substantial conception, with those of the other ancient nations; very much the same, in fact, with those that have always existed, and still exist, among mankind—we may even say, are rife among us at this day. Whatever their locality, it was believed that souls might be evoked, and there were persons who claimed to have the power of holding intercourse with them. Now, in connection with this belief, nothing would be more natural and consistent than the thought of some distinction among the dead, and this distinction would be predicated, in the first place, not on the idea of separate localities, but on a difference of state. Taking the thought of what is most desirable for the spiritual existence, from the stormy experienees of this life, men would sum up its bliss and woe in the two ideas of rest and restlessness. They would think of the departed as in a condition of blessed repose, or as homeless, houseless, cast out,- just as Tanchum and Maimonides have given it from the traditions, as we may suppose, of their ancestors.

These, then, are the prominent ideas: a spirit-world-rest or unrest therein. The first belief undoubtedly existed. The

dead still had a being somehow and somewhere. But this idea could hardly have been without its accompaniments. Those we have mentioned are the most natural and primitive, and all combined might very easily form to themselves such a proverbial kind of expression as that strange one we find 1 Sam. xxv, 29. The inspired language per se, or when it is not simply giving us the common or current language of the day, avoids such descriptions. It does not ignore the idea, or keep it wholly back, in order to give to morality the purer sanction or the stronger motive of mere temporal interest, as the Warburtonians would say; neither does it obtrusively, or even prominently, present it. The Old Testament does certainly put a reserve upon the awful doctrine of Hades, thereby not only preventing abuse, but giving it, in fact, by the very reserve, a higher moral power than it could ever have possessed among the Greeks with all their pictures of Tartarus and Elysium. Whatever allusions are made to any future condition of the pious are all summed up in those general ideas of repose, blessedness, rest, security, trust in God, and the unreserved committing of the spirit into his hands, whatever might be the condition of stillness or activity he had determined for it. Jacob knew not whither he was going; but he could say

with confidence, as life departed: “I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord.” The patriarchs confessed that they were pilgrims and sojourners on earth, but they yielded not their hope of “a better country,” of “a city which had foundations,"—security, permanence, rest. Moses might not enter the temporal Canaan, but he felt assured that his name was written in the Book of Life. Exod. xxxii, 32. * The Psalmist could say: “I shall be satisfied when I awake in Thy likeness,"_"Thou wilt lead me (here) by Thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.” What was the confidence of any Grecian hero in his Elysium, or his Isles of the blest, however distinct or indistinct its topography, compared with such a trust in the unknown, yet believed in, as this.

On the other hand, there are expressions in the Psalms and in is דחה So .את נפש איביך יקלענה בתוך כף הקלע יי.hand_of_the_sling

* Compare Psalm lxix, 28, cxxxix, 16–1902 4Dopony Dun O' da ne May not this sepher chayim, this Book of Lives, (Psa. Ixix, 28,) and the Book “in which all our members are written," (Psa. cxxxix, 16,) be the same with the O"7973, the bundle of lives here mentioned ?

the Prophets, which, if interpreted of a future state, as may readily be done without any forced exegesis, resemble much the ideas here found by Rabbi Tanchum in this passage (1 Sam. XXV, 29.) See Prov. xiv, 32: pory inipa nomi yan ang inyna, “ The wicked is driven away in his wickedness; the righteous hath hope in his death.” In its vividness and striking contrasts the language resembles that of this proverbial saying of Abigail. 777 denotes violent impulsion, and is parallel in this respect to“the soul or life sent forth (slung forth) from the

" " used, (Psa. xxxv, 5) 107 mm 751, and the Angel of the Lord driveth them forth. The other word, non, is just the opposite of this. Its primary sense is, to take shelter, or run for shelter to any thing. The righteous hath a shelter in his death, in contrast with the homelessness, houselessness, of the wicked soul, driven forth violently, and cast out naked into the spiritworld. There may be supposed, here, an ellipsis of the word 117' in connection with which non commonly occurs; or more fully, 171,7° DJ Spa, “in the shadow of Jehovah's wings," as Psa. xxxvi, 7; lvii, 1, or o non non, "takes shelter under, etc., (Psa. xci, 4;) or 12 nnda non “in the secret place of his wings.” It is the same image of security, confidence, on the one hand, and of violent expulsion and unrest in the case of the other. The one is “bound up in the bundle of life,” the other is “slung out, as out of the middle of the sling,” when the projectile force is in its highest intensity. Compare Jer. x, 18, and especially the strong language used in Isa. Ixvi, 24, where the wicked are described as cast out, wwa 555128897, “an abhorring to all flesh."

Samuel was in the state of rest when the voice of Saul, not the incantations of the witch, disturbed him. It is clear, from 1 Sam. xxviii, 12, that the sorceress was as much surprised as Saul at the appearance of Samuel. She evidently had no faith in her power over the holy dead. It was the other class of ghosts, the restless, “perturbed” ones, with whom had been her professional intercourse, whether we are to regard her as having some real necromantic power or as being a juggling impostor, deceiving and deceived.

“Why hast thou disquieted me?" "nx mibuns 237 235, quare inquietasti me, says Samuel to Saul, “in bringing me up,”


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