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(ch. xvi. xvii.); the reign of Hezekiah; his war with the Assyrians; his recovery from a mortal disease; and his death, (ch. xviii.-xx.); th^ reigns of Amon and Manasseh, (ch. xxi.); the reign of Josiah, (ch. xxii.—xxiii. 30.); the reigns of Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, and Zedekiah, the last king of Judah; the taking of Jerusalem, burning of the temple, and captivity of the Jews to Babylon, (ch. xxiii. 31.—xxv.)*
The FIRST Book of CHRONICLES comprises a period of 2989 years, and contains an account of the genealogies of the patriarchs from Adam to Jacob, (ch. i.); the sons of Jacob, with the genealogy of Judah to David, (ch. ii.); the posterity of David to Zerubbabel, (ch. iii.); a second genealogy of Judah, and the genealogy of Simeon, (ch. iv.); the genealogies, exploits, and captivity of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh, (ch. v.); the genealogy of Levi and Aaron, with the offices and cities of the priests and Levites, (ch. vi.); the genealogies of Issachar, Benjamin, Naphtali, Manasseh, Ephraim, and Asher, (ch. vii.); the genealogy of Benjamin to Saul, with the children and descendants of Saul, (ch. viii.); the first inhabitants of Jerusalem, after the captivity, (ch. ix. 2-34.); the pedigree, defeat, death, and burial of Saul, (ch. ix. 35-44. x.); the history and transactions of the reign of David, (ch. xi.-xxix.) †
The SECOND Book of CHRONICLES embraces a period of 469 years, from the accession of Solomon, A. M. 2989, to the return from captivity, A. M. 3468; containing an account of the piety, wisdom, riches, and grandeur of Solomon, (ch. i.); his erection and consecration of the temple, &c.; the remainder of his reign, and death, (ch. ii.-ix.); the accession of Rehoboam; the division of Israel; and the plundering of Jerusalem by Shishak, (ch. x,—xii.); the reigns of Abijah and Asa, kings of Judah, (ch. xiii.—xvi.); the reign of Jehoshaphat, (ch. xvii. —xx.); the reigns of Jehoram and Ahaziah; the usurpation of Athaliah, (ch. xxi.-xxiv.); the reigns of Amaziah, Uzziah, and Jotham, (ch. xxv.-xxvii.); the reign of Ahaz, (ch. xxviii.); the reign of Hezekiah, (ch. xxix.—xxxii.); the reigns of Manasseh and Amon, (ch. xxxiii.): the reign of Josiah, (ch. xxxiv. xxxv.); the reigns of Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah; the destruction of Jerusalem, and of the temple; and the edict of Cyrus for the return from captivity, (ch. xxxvi.). ↑
The Book of EZRA contains a continuation of the Jewish history from the time at which the Chronicles conclude, to the 20th year of Artaxerxes Longimanus, a period of about 80 years; containing an account of the edict of Cyrus, granting permission to the Jews to return, and rebuild Jerusalem and the temple, (ch. i.); the people who returned under Zerubbabel, with their offerings toward rebuilding the temple, (ch. ii.); the erection of the altar of burnt-offering, and the laying of the foundation
Comprehensive Bible, Introd. to Second Kings.
+ Idem, Introd. to First Chronicles.
of the temple, (ch. iii.); the opposition of the Samaritans, and consequent suspension of the building of the temple, (ch. iv.); the decree of Darius Hystaspes, granting the Jews permission to complete the building of the temple and city, which they accomplish in the sixth year of his reign, (ch. v. vi.); the departure of Ezra from Babylon, with a commission from Artaxerxes Longimanus, (ch. vii.); his retinue and arrival at Jerusalem, (ch. viii.); his prayer on account of the intermixture, of the Jews with heathen nations, (ch. ix.); the reformation effected by him, (ch. x,). *
The Book of NEHEMIAH contains an account of the departure of Nehemiah from Shushan, with a royal commission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, and his arrival there, (ch. i. ii. 1-11); the building of the walls, notwithstanding the obstacles interposed by Sanballat, (ch. ii. 12.-vii. 4.); the first reformation effected by Nehemiah, with his return to Persia, containing a register of the persons who first returned from Babylon, and an account of the oblations at the temple, (ch. vii. 5—72.); the reading of the law, and the celebration of the feast of tabernacles, (ch. viii.); a solemn fast, with the renewal of the covenant with Jehovah, (ch. ix. x.); the names and families of those who dwelt at Jerusalem and other cities; and of the high-priests, Levites, and singers, (ch. xi. xii. 1– 26.); the completion and dedication of the walls, (ch. xii. 27—47.); occurrences at Jerusalem during Nehemiah's absence, (ch. xiii. 1—6.); Nehemiah's return to Jerusalem, and the second reformation effected by him, (ch. xiii. 7—31.). †
The history of the Book of ESTHER comes in between the sixth and seventh chapters of Ezra, commencing about A. M. 3540, and continuing through a period of twelve years it relates the royal feast of Ahasuerus; the disgrace of Vashti, (ch. i.); the elevation of Esther to the Persian throne; the essential service rendered to the king by Mordecai, in detecting a plot against his life, (ch. ii.); the promotion of Haman, and his purposed destruction of the Jews, (ch. iii.); the consequent affliction of the Jews, and the measures pursued by them, (ch. iv.); the defeat of Haman's plot, through the instrumentality of Esther, against Mordecai, (ch. v. vi. vii.); and also the defeat of his general plot against the Jews, (ch. viii. ix. 1-15.); the institution of the feast of Purim to commemorate this deliverance, (ch. ix. 16-32.); the advancement of Mordecai, (ch. x.). 1
The Book of Joв opens with an account of Job's piety and prosperity, the charge of hypocrisy and selfishness which Satan brings against him, and the permission he obtained from God to reduce him to the deepest distress, as a trial of his integrity, (ch. i. 1-13.); it proceeds to relate the first trial of Job, in the loss of property and children, and the declaration of his integrity, (ch. i. 14—22.); the second trial of Job, in the
• Comprehensive Bible, Introduction to Ezra. + Idem, Introd, to Nehemiah.
severe affliction of his person, and the visit of his three friends to console him, (ch. ii.); the complaint of Job on his calamitous situation, which is the ground-work of the following arguments, (ch. iii.); the speech of Eliphaz, in which he reproves the impatience of Job, and insinuates that his sufferings are the punishment of some secret iniquity, (ch. iv. v.); Job's reply, in which he apologizes for the intemperance of his grief by the magnitude of his calamities, prays for speedy death, accuses his friends of cruelty, and expostulates with God, whose mercy he supplicates, (ch. vi. vii.); the resumption of the argument of Eliphaz by Bildad, who reproves Job with greater acrimony, and accuses him of irreligion, (ch. viii.); the answer of Job, in which, while he acknowledges the justice and sovereignty of God, he argues that his afflictions are no proof of his wickedness, and in despair again wishes for death, (ch. ix. x.); the prosecution of the argument by Zophar with still greater severity, who exhorts Job to repentance as the only means to recover his former prosperity, (ch. xi.); the answer of Job, who retorts on his friends, censuring their pretensions to superior knowledge, and charging them with false and partial pleading against him, and appeals to God, professing his hope in a future resurrection, (ch. xii.—xiv.); the resumption of the argument by Eliphaz, who accuses Job of impiety in justifying himself, (ch. xv.); the reply of Job, who complains of the increasing unkindness of his friends, protests his innocence, and looks to death as his last resource, (ch. xvi. xvii.); the recapitulation of the former line of argument by Bildad, who applies it with increased asperity to Job, whose aggravated sufferings, he urges, are justly inflicted on him, (ch. xviii.); the appeal of Job to his friends, and from them to God; professing his faith in a future resurrection, he cautions his friends to cease from their invectives, lest God should chastise them, (ch. xix.); the retort of Job's appeal upon himself by Zophar, (ch. xx.); the reply of Job, in which he discusses at large the conduct of Divine Providence, in order to evince the fallacy of Zophar's argument of the short-lived triumph of the wicked, (ch. xxi.); the resumption of the charge by Eliphaz, in which he represents Job's vindication and appeal as displeasing to God; contends that certain and utter ruin is the uniform lot of the wicked; and concludes with renewed exhortation to repentance and prayer, (ch. xxii.); the reply of Job, in which he desires to plead his cause before God, whose omnipresence he delineates in the sublimest language, urging that his sufferings are trials of his faith and integrity; and he shews that the wicked frequently escape punishment in this life, (ch. xxiii. xxiv.); the rejoinder of Bildad, who repeats his former proposition, that, since no man is without sin in the sight of God, consequently Job cannot be justified in his sight, (ch. xxv.); the answer of Job, who, having reproved the harsh conduct of Bildad, re-vindicates his own conduct with great warmth and animation, and concludes by repeating his ardent wish for an immediate trial with his
up of the whole argument by Elihu: who, having condemned the conduct of all the disputants, proceeds to contest several of Job's positions, and to shew that God frequently afflicts the children of men for the best purposes, and that in every instance our duty is submission; and concludes with a grand description of the omnipotence of the Creator, (ch. xxxii.—xxxvii.); the termination of the controversy by the appearance of Jehovah to pronounce judgment; who addresses Job out of a whirlwind, in a most sublime and magnificent speech, in which are illustrated the omnipotence of God, and man's utter ignorance of his ways in the works of creation and providence, (ch, xxxviii.-xli. ;) the submission of Job, which is accepted; his restoration to his former prosperity; and the double increase of his substance, (ch. xlii.). *
The Book of PSALMS consists of hymns composed by various authors, at different times, and on various occasions. As, by HEMAN, on the affliction of Israel in Egypt, 88. By MOSES, on the shortening of man's life, 90. By DAVID, on his victory over Goliath, 9; on being advised to flee to the mountains, 11; on Saul's soldiers surrounding his house, 59; on being with the Philistines at Gath, 56; on leaving the city of Gath, 34; on being in the cave of Adullam, 142; on the priests murdered by Doeg, 17; on the persecution by Doeg, 52, 109, 35, 140; on the persecution by Saul, 64, 31; on the treachery of the Ziphites, 54; on his refusal to kill Saul, 57, 58; on being in the wilderness of Engedi, 63; on being driven out of Judea, 141; on being made king of Israel, 139; on the first removal of the ark, 68; on the second removal of the ark, 24, 132, 105, 96, 106; on Nathan's prophetic address, 2, 45, 22, 16, 118, 110; on the conquest of Syria and Edom by Joab, 60, 108; on the war with the Ammonites and Syrians, 20, 21; on his adultery with Bathsheba and murder of Uriah, 6, 51, 32, 38, 39, 40, 41, 103; on his flight from Absalom, 3; on the reproaches of Shimei, 7; on being by the Jordan, having fled from Absalom, 42, 43, 55, 4, 5, 62, 143, 144, 70, 71; on the conclusion of his wars, 18; on the dedication of Araunah's threshing floor, 30; after his advice to Solomon, 91; on a review of his past life, 145; occasions and dates unknown, 8, 12, 19, 23, 28, 29, 33, 61, 65, 69, 86, 95, 101, 104, 120, 121, 122, 124, 131, 133; on the coronation of Solomon, 72. By SOLOMON, on the removal of the ark into the temple, 47, 97, 98, 99, 100; on the dedication of the temple, 135, 136. By ASAPH, on Asa's victory over Israel, 78. By ASAPH and others, on the reign of Jehoshaphat, 82, 115, 46. By HEZEKIAH, on the blasphemous message of Rab-shakeh, 44. By ASAPH, on the destruction of Sennacherib's army, 73, 75, 76; on the burning of the temple at Jerusalem, 79, 74, 83, 94. By ASAPH, ETHAN, and others, during the Babylonian captivity, 137, 130, 80, 77, 37, 67, 49, 53, 50, 10, 13, 14, 15, 25, 26, 27, 36, 89, 92, 93, 123. By DANIEL, near the close of the captivity, 102. By the SONS of KORAH, on the decree of Cyrus for restoring the Jews, 126, 85.
• Comprehensive Bible, Introd. to Job.
By various authors, on the return of the Jews from captivity, 107, 87, 111, 112, 113, 114, 116, 117, 125, 127, 128, 134. By the SONS of KORAH, on the foundation of the second temple, 84, 66. By EZRA or NEHEMIAH, on the opposition of the Samaritans, 129. By HAGGAI or ZECHARIAH, on the rebuilding of the temple, 138. By various authors, on the dedication of the second temple, 48, 81, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150. By EZRA, as manuals of devotion, 1, 119.*
The Book of PROVERBS has properly been divided into five parts. The first part, which is a kind of preface, contains a series of admonitions, cautions, and excitements to the study of wisdom, from a teacher to his pupil; delivered in varied, elegant, polished, and sublime language; aptly connected in all its parts; embellished with beautiful descriptions and personifications; and decorated with all the ornaments of poetry, so that it scarcely yields in elegance and splendour to any of the sacred writings, (ch. i.—ix.): the second part consists of those proverbs or maxims which constitute that wisdom to which in the preceding part we were incited; given in unconnected, general sentences, expressed with much neatness and simplicity, and truly like apples of gold in pictures of silver,' (ch. x.—xxii. 16): in the third part, the tutor, for a more lively effect, drops the sententious style, and addresses his pupil as present, to whom he gives renewed and connected admonitions and exhortations to the study of wisdom, (ch. xxii. 17.-xxiv.): the fourth part is a collection of Solomon's proverbs, made by the men of Hezekiah,' (2 Chron. 31. 20, 21) and, like the second part, consists of detached, unconnected sentences, (ch. xxv.— xxix.): the fifth part contains the wise expostulations, admonitions, and instructions delivered by Agur the son of Jakeh to his pupils Ithiel and Ucal, (ch. xxx.); and also the precepts of a mother, who is not named, to her son Lemuel, (ch. xxxi.)†
The Book of ECCLESIASTES is an enquiry into the CHIEF GOOD, or what can render a man happy; in discussing which Solomon first shows what is not happiness, and then what it is. Accordingly, the book has been very properly divided into two parts; in the former of which he shews, from his own experience, the vanity of all terrestrial objects and pursuits, of wisdom and knowledge, (apart from true religion,) of mirth and pleasure, of riches, magnificence, power, and wealth, interspersed with many counsels how the vanity or vexation of each may be abated, and frequent intimations that true wisdom is far preferable to all other acquisitions, and that a cheerful use of providential blessings is much better than covetousness, (ch. i.—vi. 9); and in the latter part, he shews that true happiness is only to be found in a religious and virtuous life, which constitutes the truest wisdom, (ch. vi. 10.—xii.) Here, indeed, the royal Preacher sometimes pauses to shew the vanity of things incidentally mentioned; yet this part is chiefly occupied in teaching us where and how to seek present
* Comprehensive Bible, Introd. to the Psalms, where a tabular view is given of the author, probable occasion, connection, and date of each Psalm, + Idem, Introd, to Proverbs.