Israelites Hebrews, Or Jews (Heb. Ibrim, Benei Yisrael, Yehudim), a people of Semitic race, whose ancestors appear at the very dawn of history on the banks of the Euphrates, Jordan, and Nile, and whose fragments are now to be seen in almost every city of the globe. Their history is the history of a nation, of a religion, and of a literature, and must thus exceptionally be treated. For its chief characteristic is the intimate blending and joint working of the national and religious elements in the development and preservation of the people; and Hebrew literature is almost entirely national or religious. The opening event of this history, as recorded in Scriptures, is the emigration (about 2000 B. C.) of the Semite Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees. (See Chaldea.) He was by his father Terah a descendant of Eber, and as such may have borne the name Ibri (Hebrew), but more likely he was first designated by it in the land west of the Euphrates, as an immigrant from beyond ('eber) the "great river." The name Israelite was applied to his descendants after a surname of Jacob, his grandson, and that of Yehudim (Jews) at a much later period (first mentioned about 712 B. C), when, after the dispersion of the ten tribes, the house of Judah became the representative of the whole people.
Separating from his relatives, who were idolaters, Abraham passed over from Mesopotamia (Aram Naharaim)to Canaan or Palestine, where he lived the life of a nomad, being rich in herds, flocks, and attendants, and worshipping the "Creator of heaven and earth," to whose service, " to walk before him and to be innocent," he bound himself and his house, in after life, by the covenant of circumcision. Having repaired to Egypt during a famine and returned, he rescued his nephew Lot, who lived in the valley of the lower Jordan, from the captivity of Amraphel, a king of Shinar, and his allies; lived for some time in the land of the Philistines; and finally settled near Hebron, where he died, leaving his main inheritance and his faith to Isaac, his son by his relative Sarah. Isaac thus became the second Hebrew patriarch, while his brother Ishmael, the son of Hagar, an Egyptian woman, sought a separate abode in Arabia. Of the two sons of Isaac, only Jacob (afterward Israel), the favorite of their mother Rebecca, imitated the peaceful and pious life of his fathers and propagated the Hebrew line in Palestine, while his brother Esau (or Edom) settled in the mountainous land of Seir (Idumaea). Jacob had 12 sons, of whom he distinguished Joseph, the child of his favorite wife Rachel. This excited the envy of the others, who secretly sold their brother as a slave to Egypt, where he rose through his wisdom to the dignity of prime minister to one of the Pharaohs. The latter allowed him to bring the whole family of his father, numbering 70 males, over from the land of Canaan, and to settle them in the province of Goshen (E. of the Pelusiac branch of the Nile, it is supposed), where they could continue their pastoral life, unmolested by the Egyptians, who held that mode of existence in great contempt, and where they would be uncontaminated by Egyptian idolatry.
Jacob closed his life, having adopted the two sons of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephra-im, for his own. The book of Genesis, the only record of that earliest period of Hebrew history, closing with the death of Jacob and Joseph, also contains the last blessing of the former, a specimen of the most ancient Hebrew poetry. After the death of Joseph the Hebrews were not only oppressed but degraded to the condition of slaves, were overtasked and employed in the public works, while the fear of their joining a foreign enemy finally led one of their tyrants to decree what may be called their slow extermination, they having in the mean while increased to a prodigious number. How long they remained in the "house of slaves" (for the Hebrews were not the only slaves in Egypt) cannot be determined, there being Scriptural testimony for 430, as well as for about 210 years; nor can the precise date of their arrival, which Bunsen endeavors to fix almost 1,000 years earlier than it is fixed by Scriptural chronology; nor of their exodus, which, according to some of the most celebrated Egyptological critics, took place about 1300 B. C., while according to a distinct Biblical passage (1 Kings vi. 1) it must have happened early in the loth century. (See Exodus.) Nor is it easier or more important to find the reigns during which these events took place. (See Egypt, and Exodus.) Some writers have attempted to identify the Hebrews with the Hyksos, which is little less absurd than the fables of Manetho mentioned by Josephus. The last named Jewish historian has also some traditional additions to the early life of Moses, concerning his exploits in Ethiopia. Born at the time when the oppression of his people had been carried to its extreme, Moses, the younger son of Amram, a descendant of Levi, the third son of Jacob, was doomed to perish in the Nile with all new-born males of the Israelites, but was saved by the love of his mother Jochebed and his sister Miriam, and the compassion of a daughter of the Pharaoh. Adopted as a son by the princess, who gave him his name, but nursed by his mother, he united the highest Egyptian education with the sentiments of a Hebrew. And "when Moses was grown he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens." Seeing an Egyptian man smiting one of his brethren, he killed him, tied to Mid-ian, married Zipporah, the daughter of Jethro, a wise priest or prince of that country, by whom he had two sons, and tended the flock of his father-in-law, leading it into the desert, as far as Mount Horeb, the N. E. eminence of Mount Sinai, in the S. part of the peninsula between the two gulfs of the lied sea.
It was not till the decline of his life that he returned to Egypt to become the "shepherd of his people." He appeared with his brother Aaron, his spokesman, assembled the elders of Israel, and announced to them their approaching deliverance and return to Canaan in the name of the Everlasting (Hebrew, Yehovah, Being) and Unchangeable (Ehyeh-asher-ehych, I-am-that-I-am), the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who "had seen their affliction." He now repaired to the palace of the king, proved superior to his priests, gained the admiration of his ministers and people (Exod. xi. 3), and finally compelled him to grant his demand by a series of disasters, the last of which was the sudden destruction at midnight of all the first-born Egyptians (possibly then a privileged class). The Israelites had received their secret instructions, and immediately departed toward the desert. Moses led them across the northern extremity of the gulf of Akabah or Suez, the western prolongation of the Bed sea (Heb. Yam Suf, reedy sea); and the king of Egypt, who, repenting of having let them go, pursued them with his cavalry and heavy war chariots, perished there with his army.
The "song of Moses," which celebrates this event (Exod. xv.), is an admirable monument of ancient Hebrew poetry, though surpassed in grandeur by that which closes the narrative of his life (Deut. xxxii.). After having repulsed an attack of the Amalekites, a roving and predatory Arabian tribe, Moses led the people to Mount Sinai, which from the delivery of the ten commandments now received the name of the mountain of God. This divine decalogue not only contained the common fundamental points of every moral and legal code ("Honor thy father and mother," "Thou shalt not murder," &c), but also included the sublime doctrine of monotheism, the great social institution of the sabbath, and the lofty moral precept, "Thou shalt not covet." These commandments, which formed the basis of a "covenant between God and Israel," together with the successively promulgated statutes, precepts, etc. (according to the rabbis, altogether 365 positive and 248 negative obligations), constitute the Mosaic law ( Torath Mosheh), which is contained principally in the second and third, and repeated in the fifth book of the Pentateuch, and for about 15 centuries remained, and with the exception of a strictly national part still is, the general code of the Hebrews. Its aims are the moral perfection of the individual and the welfare of society.
Its means are chiefly a common and central worship, under the direction of the Aaronites (Kohenim), whose restrictive obligations are, however, not equalled by the privileges they enjoy; three festivals for the commemoration of great national events, thanksgiving and rejoicing, as well as for the annual gathering of the whole people; a fast day for repentance; periodical readings of the law; general education through the Levites its guardians (Deut. xxxiii. 10); a weekly day of rest (sabbath) for the people and their animals; the seventh year as a periodical time of rest for the earth, as well as for the extinction of various pecuniary claims; numerous and most frequently repeated obligations for the support of the fatherless and widow, the poor and the stranger; an organized judiciary and police; a severe penal code; strict rules for the preservation of health and cleanliness; circumcision as a bodily mark of the covenant; and numerous other rites and ceremonies designed to guard the nationality, or to lead to the preservation of truths and principles.
The chief principles are : self-sanc-tification and righteousness, in imitation of God, who is holy and righteous (Lev. xix. 2, etc.); brotherly love and equality, for all people are his children (Deut. xiv. 1); freedom, for all are bound exclusively to his service (Lev. xxv. 55); limited right of property, for the whole land belongs to him (Lev. xxv. 23). The principal promise of reward is the natural share of the individual in the happiness of society; the principal threat of celestial punishment, his natural share in its misfortunes. The form of government is the republican (though a limited monarchy may be established if the people demand it), with the moral theocratic dictatorship of a prophet (na-bi) like the lawgiver, with the sovereignty of the people who judge the merits and claims of the prophet above it, and above all the majesty of the divine law, which can be explained and developed, but not altered. The whole system is entirely practical, containing no definitions of supernatural things, except in a negative form, no articles of belief, no formulas of prayer. - But the difficulties of introducing this system of institutions were as immense as those of maintaining the nation in the desert.
The first census showed 22,000 male Levites above one year of age, and 603,550 males of other tribes over 20, including 22,273 first born. Provisions were scanty, water was scarce, dangers were constant; the people were an unruly mass of freed slaves, who often regretfully thought of the flesh pots of Egypt and of the quiet carelessness of bondage; a multitude of non-Israelites who had joined them regretted the visible gods of their former worship; envy and ambition often augmented the existing dissatisfaction. Moses was still on Mount Sinai when the people compelled his brother Aaron to give them, in a golden calf, an imitation of the Egyptian Apis, a visible god. Moses, descending, broke the tablets of the covenant in his anger, and restored order by a massacre of the idolatrous rioters, but almost despaired of his mission and desired to die. A pompous worship was now introduced, and sacrifices were ordained, of which a later prophet, Jeremiah (vii. 22), significantly says in the name of God : "For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices." Moses removed his tent from the camp.
All difficulties, however, were conquered by the "man of God," who consoled himself with the idea that a generation educated under his guidance would replace that of the desert. Having passed around the lands of the Edomites, Moabites, and Ammonites, he conquered those of Sihon, king of the Amorites, and of Og, king of Bashan (Batanaea), E. of the Jordan, giving them to the tribes of Reuben and Gad and to half the tribe of Manasseh, and died on Mount Nebo before entering the land of promise. The man who was "meek above all men that were on the face of the earth" died in voluntary loneliness, and "no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day." Joshua, his pupil and appointed successor, an Ephraimite, now led the 13 tribes of Israel, named after 11 sons of Jacob and the two sons of Joseph, across the Jordan into Canaan (or Palestine proper), which was conquered after a war of extermination, and allotted to the tribes of Judah, Ephraim, Manasseh (the other half), Benjamin, Simeon, Zebulun, Issa-char, Asher, Naphtali, and Dan. The Levites, who were to live by tithes, received no separate division, but a number of cities within the limits of every tribe, among others the historical places of Gibeon, Geba, Beth-horon, Mahanaim, Heshbon, Jaezer, Hebron, Shechem, Golan, Ke-desh, and Ramoth-Gilead; of which the last five together with Bezer were selected as towns of refuge for involuntary murderers, while Shi-loh became the central city, receiving the tabernacle with the ark of the covenant.
Phine-has, son of Eleazar, the zealous priest, and Caleb, son of Jephunneh, were among the most distinguished assistants of Joshua. Before his death, Joshua held an assembly of the whole nation at Shechem, in which he called upon them to choose once more between the gods of their ancestors beyond the Euphrates, those of the conquered Amorites, and the God whom he was determined to follow with his house. The people chose their Deliverer and Preserver, and confirmed their choice by a new covenant; but scarcely were the elders gone who had witnessed the whole work of deliverance and maintained the order of Joshua, when idolatry and anarchy became general. Parts of the country remained unconquered, principally in the hands of the Phoenicians in the N. W., of the Philistines in the S. W., and of the Jebusites in the centre. With these, and with other neighbors on the borders, frequent warfare had to be waged, while the young state, forming a loose confederacy of 12 (or, counting Manasseh as two, of 13) almost independent members, had neither natural boundaries nor a capital, neither a hereditary head nor an elective federal government, the only bond of union being the common law, and the only centre the seat of the ark of the covenant, whose guardians probably enjoyed the privilege of convoking a general assembly of the people in cases of urgent necessity.
Such national assemblies were often held at Mizpah. But the enmity and frequent attacks of the surrounding idolatrous tribes was less pernicious than their friendly relations in times of peace, when the voluptuous rites connected with the worship of Ashtoreth and other divinities of the Phoenicians, Syrians, and Philistines, were too seductive for a people in an undeveloped state, whose own religion required a rigid observance of a strict morality. To remedy these evils, heroic men arose from time to time, repulsed the enemies, restored order and the law, were acknowledged as leaders and judges, at least by a part of the people, and thus revived its unity. This period of republican federalism under judges (shophetim, a name which also designated the chief magistrates of the Carthaginians in their language, which was also Semitic) is described in the book of that name, a continuation of that of Joshua, and forms one of the most interesting portions of Hebrew history. But criticism labors in vain to arrange chronologically the striking but in part probably contemporaneous events of the narrative. Othniel, a younger brother or nephew of Caleb, of the tribe of Judah, was the first of the judges.
Ehud, a Benjamite, delivered Israel from the oppression of the Moabites, having killed with his own left hand Eglon, the king of the invaders. "And after him was Shamgar, the son of Anath, who slew of the Philistines 000 men with an ox goad," at a time when "no shield was seen or a spear among 40,000 in Israel." Barak, a Naphtalite, inspired by Deborah, a female prophet and judge, who afterward celebrated the event in her great song (Judges v.), gained together with her a signal victory near Mount Tabor and the brook Kishon over the army of Sisera, commander of Jabin, a Canaanite king on the N. of Palestine, which numbered 900 iron war chariots. Sisera fled, but was killed in sleep by Jael, a woman of the nomadic and neutral Kenitc tribe, in whose tent he had sought refuge. Gideon, characterized as the youngest son of one of the weakest families in Manasseh, surprised with 300 select men the immense camp of the Midianites and Amalekites, dispersed them, called the surrounding tribes to arms, exterminated the invaders, appeased the Ephraimites, who were jealous of the glory gained by their neighbors, and refused to accept the royal dignity offered him by the gratitude of the people, declaring, "I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the Lord shall rule over you." Abimelech, however, his son by a concubine, gained adherents among the idolatrous friends of his mother in Shechem, destroyed the numerous family of his father, was proclaimed king in that city, was afterward expelled, but-reconquered the city, and finally perished while besieging the tower of the neighboring Thebez by a piece of millstone cast from its top by a woman.
Jotham, the only son of Jerubbaal (as Gideon was called from his destruction of the Baal worship) who escaped from the massacre of his brothers, had predicted the bloody end of the usurper in his fable of " the trees that went forth to anoint a king over them " (Judges ix.), which is probably the most ancient specimen of that kind of poetry now extant. Of the judges Tola, of the tribe of Issa-char, and Jair, from Gilead in Manasseh beyond the Jordan, little more is preserved than their names. Jephthah, another Gileadite, of illegitimate birth, having been expelled from his home, was recalled by his native district to combat against the Ammonites, who had attacked it, carried the war into the land of the enemy, and returned after a signal victory, of which his daughter, in consequence of a vow, became a victim. The Ephraimites, who had not been called to participate in the combat, now threatened vengeance on the conqueror, who, unlike Gideon, terminated the quarrel with a bloody defeat of the troublesome tribe, which is the first example of civil Avar among the Israelites, soon to be followed by others. Ibzan of Bethlehem in Judah, Elon, a Zebulun-ite, and Abdon, an Ephraimite, are next briefly mentioned as judges.
Dan, too, gave Israel a judge in the person of Samson, who braved and humiliated the Philistines; he was a Nazarite of prodigious strength, whose adventurous exploits in life and death much resemble those of the legendary heroes of Greece. The greatest anarchy now prevailed. The Danites not having yet conquered their territory, 600 men among them made an independent expedition north, and conquered a peaceful town of the Phoenicians, Laish, which was by them named Dan, and is henceforth mentioned as the northernmost town of the whole country, the opposite southern point being Beersheba. The concubine of a Levite having been outraged to death on a passage through Gibeah in Benjamin by some inhabitants of that place, her lover cut her corpse into pieces and sent them to all the tribes, calling for vengeance. The people assembled at Mizpah, and demanded from Benjamin the surrender of the criminals. The Benjamites refused, and a bloody civil war ensued, in which they were nearly exterminated. The people wept over their fratricidal victory, and 600 Benjamites who alone survived were allowed to seize wives (for the victors had sworn not to give them any) from among the girls dancing in the valley of Shiloh, on a sacred festival annually celebrated there.
The little book of Ruth, which contains the idyllic narrative of the Moabitish widow of that name, who, faithfully sharing the fate of her unfortunate mother-in-law, adopted her Hebrew home and religion, and married Boaz, is supplementary to the book of Judges. The first book of Samuel begins with the continuation of the latter. The priest Eli, who died suddenly on receiving the news of the defeat of his people by the Philistines, the death of his two sons, and the capture of the ark of the covenant, and his pupil, the prophet or seer Samuel, the son of Elkanah and the pious Hannah, were the last of the judges. The latter reestablished the exclusive worship of the Lord, routed the Philistines, restored the ark, and introduced schools of prophets, residing in Ramah, his native place, and regularly visiting Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah; and when he finally resigned the executive power, he could say to the assembled people at Gilgal, "Behold, here I am; witness against me before the Lord: Whose ox have I taken? or whose ass have I taken? or whom have I defrauded? whom have I oppressed? or of whose hand have I received any bribe to blind mine eyes therewith?" And the people testified to the purity of his career.
But his sons, whom he appointed in his old age, acted very differently, and their corruption, but still more the desire for a strong military head, so natural after the previous long period of war, anarchy, and disunion, finally decided the people to urge the appointment of a king to rule them "like all other nations." The seer, deeply grieved by the proposed change of the Mosaic form of government, which is distinctly branded in the narrative as a repudiation of the divine rule itself, in vain painted to the people all the oppression, extortion, and degradation inseparable from monarchical rule (1 Sam. viii.); they persisted in their demand, and he was obliged to yield. Saul, the son of Kish, was appointed the first king of Israel, and the constitution of the monarchy (1 Sam. x. 25) was written and deposited in the sanctuary. The new rule was strengthened and became popular by a series of victories over the Ammonites, Moab-ites, Idumaeans, Syrians, and Philistines. The eldest son of the king, Jonathan, distinguished himself as a heroic youth. Abner, a cousin of Saul, became commander of the army. Gib-eah was the capital of the monarchy.
But an expedition against the Amalekites, though successful, was not executed according to the ordinance of Samuel, who now turned his influence against Saul. The spirit of the latter became troubled, and David, the son of Jesse of Bethlehem, was brought to soothe his temper with music. This young shepherd excited the jealousy of Saul by his triumph over Goliath, the Philistine giant, which decided a campaign, as well as by his subsequent successes when he married the princess Michal, and became the intimate friend of her brother Jonathan. Foreseeing the future destinies of the aspiring youth, Saul repeatedly attempted to take his life, and, exasperated by his failures, and the protection bestowed on David by his children, Samuel, and the priests, he exterminated the inhabitants of Nob, a city of the latter, and passed his life in pursuit of his rival, who, with a band of desperate outlaws roving on the southern borders of the country, baffled every attempt to capture him. The extermination of wizardship was one of the acts of Saul. His reign was terminated by a catastrophe. A battle was fought against the Philistines at Mount Gilboa; the Hebrews fled, Jonathan and two other sons of Saul fell, and the king slew himself with his own sword.
David, whose skill in poetry equalled his musical genius, honored in a touching elegy the memory of his fallen friend and foe (2 Sam. i.), who, "lovely and pleasant in their lives, were even in their death not divided: they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions." Repairing to Hebron, he was anointed there by his own tribe of Judah as king, while Abner proclaimed a surviving son of Saul, Ishbosheth, at Mahanaim, who was acknowledged by all the other tribes (about 1055 B. C.). Bloody conflicts stained this double reign, David continually gaining the ascendancy through his heroic officers, the brothers Joab, Abisai, and Asahel, until the assassination of Abner and soon after of Ishbosheth, caused by private revenge, gave him the whole kingdom. He now conquered Zion from the Jebusites, made Jerusalem his capital, organized the national worship as well as the military power of the state, and by continual victories over all surrounding neighbors, except Phoenicia, a friendly country, extended the limits of his dominions N. E. as far as the Euphrates, and S. W. as far as the Red sea. Justice was strictly administered; literature and arts, especially poetry and music, flourished.
Asaph, the founder of a family of sacred singers, rivalled the king in psalms; Nathan and Gad assisted him as prophets, Zadok and Abiathar as priests; Joab held almost continually the chief command of the army. But the palace of the king was often stained with crimes; David himself had much to repent of; the infamous deeds of his sons by various wives, Amnon, Absalom, and Adonijah, distracted the peace of his house and kingdom, and the two former had perished, and two great insurrections had been quelled, when he died after a reign of 40 years (about 1015). Solomon, his son (by Bathsheba, the widow of the assassinated patriot Uriah), ascended the throne at the age of twelve, and commenced his reign with the execution of his half brother Adonijah and the aged Joab, who had conspired against his succession; but he soon became famous for personal wisdom and scientific attainments, as well as for the splendor of his court and the prosperity of his subjects. He inherited a large army and a full treasury, but he used the former only to preserve peace and secure tribute from his neighbors, and the latter for the adornment of his country by numerous gorgeous public structures.
He built the temple, which more than all contributed to his glory, and a royal palace (both in Jerusalem and with the assistance of Tyrian architects), an armory, Palmyra (Tadmor) in the desert, and other cities; made common naval expeditions with the king of Tyre, from Ezion-geber, a port on the eastern gulf of the Red sea, to the distant land of Ophir, which brought back gold, gems, precious woods, and rare animals; imported horses from Egypt for his numerous cavalry and war chariots; and introduced general luxury. The fame of his wisdom attracted visitors, among them the queen of Sheba (Sabaea) in southern Arabia. The authorship of 3,000 proverbs and 1,005 songs is mentioned among his literary merits; for. he wrote "of beasts, of fowl, of creeping things, and of fishes," and of all kinds of plants from the cedar in Lebanon to the hyssop on the wall; and the extant philosophical book of Proverbs and the graceful Song of Songs (the latter of which, however, criticism assigns to a much later period) bear his name. But, while he was teaching wisdom in writings, his personal example taught extravagance and folly. His court was as corrupt as it was splendid.
The magnificence which he exhibited was not exclusively the product of foreign gold, tribute, and presents, but in part based on the taxes of his subjects. The army served not only to secure peace, but also as a tool of oppression. The public structures were built with the sweat of the people. Near the national temple on Mount Moriah, altars and mounds were erected for the worship of Ashtoreth, Moloch, and other idols, introduced by some of his numberless wives from their native countries, Phoenicia, the land of Amnion, Idu-maea, and Egypt. Rezon was suffered to establish a hostile dynasty in Damascus, and Ha-dad to make himself independent in Idumaea. When Solomon died, after a peaceful reign of 40 years, the people felt themselves so exhausted that they demanded a considerable change from his son Rehoboam before they proclaimed him king at Shechem, where they had assembled for the purpose. Jeroboam, an Ephraimite who had already attempted an insurrection against the late king, now returned from his exile in Egypt and headed a deputation of the most distinguished citizens. Rehoboam promised an answer after three days.
The experienced councillors of his father advised him to yield for the moment in order to be master for life; but the advice of his younger companions better suited his disposition, and his reply to the people was accordingly: "My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke; my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions." The consequence of this was an immediate defection of ten tribes, who proclaimed Jeroboam their king, while only Judah and Benjamin remained faithful to the house of David. Rehoboam, having fled from Shechem, where his receiver general of taxes was stoned by the revolted people, returned to Jerusalem and assembled a powerful army to reconquer his lost dominions; but the prophet Shemaiah dissuaded the people in the name of God from the civil war. Thus the division of the state into two separate kingdoms was consummated (975). The northern, comprising the country N. of Benjamin and all E. of the Jordan, was called Israel, or, from its principal members, Ephraim and Manasseh, the house of Joseph, and poetically Ephraim; its capital was Shechem, subsequently Tirzah, and finally Samaria (Shomeron). The southern, from its chief tribe called Judah, had the advantage of possessing the sanctuary in the old capital, and being supported by the Levites and the priests, who gathered around it.
To destroy the influence of the religious element upon his own subjects, who according to the Mosaic law were bound to repair three times in the year to the chosen sacred spot, Jeroboam revived the not yet extinct Egyptian superstitions of his people, established two golden calves as emblems of their divinity, at Dan and Bethel, on the N. and S. boundaries of his state, admitted non-Levites to the priestly office, and introduced new festivals and even a new calendar. The Mosaic institutions being thus systematically excluded from the state, idolatry, despotism, and corruption prevailed throughout the 250 years of its existence, almost without interruption. While these evils remained permanent, the condition of the people was made still worse by a continual change of masters. Usurpation followed usurpation; conspiracy, revolt, and regicide became common events. The house of Jeroboam was exterminated with his son Nadab by Baasha, who reigned at Tirzah, and whose son Elah was assassinated while drunk by Zimri, one of his generals. At the same time another of his officers, who commanded an army besieging Gibbethon, a city of the Philistines, was proclaimed king by his troops, marched upon Tirzah, and took it, and Zimri after a reign of seven days burned himself with his palace.
A part of the people now wanted Tibni, but Omri prevailed, and Tibni died. Omri, who built Samaria and made it his capital, was succeeded by his son Ahab, whose wife Jezebel, a Sidonian princess, was fanatically zealous in propagating the worship of the Phoenician Baal, and in persecuting the prophets of monotheism, who were almost exterminated. Ahab having died of a wound received in the battle of Ramoth-Gilead against the Syrians under Benhadad II. (897), his two sons Ahaziah and Jehoram successively reigned after him; but with the latter the idolatrous house of Omri was exterminated by Jehu, who was proclaimed king by the officers of the army which he commanded against Hazael of Syria in Gilead (884). Jehu, who had been anointed by the prophet Elisha, abolished the worship of Baal, but left the institutions of Jeroboam. His dynasty, assisted by the influence of Elisha, was in many respects prosperous. To it belonged the kings Jehoahaz, Joash, Jeroboam II., and Zechariah, with whose murder by Shallum it ended (773). Shallum met with the same fate after a month through Menahem, whose son Pekahiah was slain and succeeded by his chariot driver Pe-kah. The murderer of the latter, Hoshea, was the last of the usurpers, and the last king of Israel. This state, which during all its existence was exposed to violent shocks from its neighbors, Judah, the Philistines, Moab, which revolted, and especially from the Syrians of Damascus, against whom its possessions beyond the Jordan could seldom be defended, had recovered some strength by repeated victories under Joash and Jeroboam II.; but soon after, rotten and decayed through idolatry, despotism, and anarchy, it became an easy prey to the growing power of Assyria, to whose king Phul it became tributary after an invasion in the reign of Menahem. Tiglath-pileser conquered its E. and N. provinces, carrying off the inhabitants to Assyria, in the time of Pekah, and Shalmaneser destroyed it entirely, conquering the capital, Samaria, after a siege of three years (721), taking Hoshea prisoner, and dispersing the inhabitants throughout the N. E. provinces of his empire, where their idolatrous habits made them likely to lose their nationality and soon to disappear among their neighbors, though scattered remnants may occasionally have emerged at later periods, and in various countries, as representatives of the ten tribes of Israel. The prophets Ahijah of Shiloh, who contributed to the election of Jeroboam L, Elijah, the hero of the Mosaic religion under Ahab, his great disciple Elisha, the two contemporaries of Jeroboam II., Amos and Hosea, Micah, who lived in the last period, and many others, strove in vain to check the growing power of evil by appeals to the conscience of rulers and people, boldly denouncing the despotism, hypocrisy, and licentiousness of kings, princes, and priests, the selfishness, pride, and extravagance of the rich, the extortions, deceptions, and seductions practised on the people, and again and again kindling the spirit of justice, truth, patriotism, humility, or hope.
The rival state of Judah enjoyed more frequent periods of prosperity and lawful order, as well as a longer duration. There the interest of the dynasty, which continued in a direct line of succession down to the latest period, was identical with that of the people. Their common enemy was the idolatry which reigned in Israel. Their common safeguard was the law, which was here supported by the Levites, and more effectively defended by the prophets. Corruption, however, often led both government and people to break down their only wall of protection, and to imitate the pernicious example of their neighbors. This tendency prevailed as early as the reign of Rehoboam, the most important event of which was the invasion of Shishak (Sheshonk), king of Egypt, who pillaged the temple and the royal palace. War against Jeroboam was almost continually waged during this and the following short reign of Abijam. The successor of the latter, Asa, abolished idolatry, checked public immorality, routed an invading army of Ethiopians, resisted the attacks of Baasha of Israel through an alliance with the king of Damascene Syria, and fortified Gibeah and Mizpah against an invasion from the north.
Jehoshaphat, his son, made peace with Israel, and even fought in alliance with Ahab against Benhadad of Syria (897), subdued Idumaea, and fought successfully against the Moabites and their allies, but was unfortunate in an attempted expedition to Ophir. Internally, too, his reign wa3 one of the most successful, the salutary reforms of his father being further developed. But his son Jehoram, having married Athaliah, a sister of Ahab, followed the example of the court of Samaria, and also lost his father's conquest, Idumaea, by a revolt. Ahaziah was equally attached to the house of Ahab, whose fate he shared. Having gone to visit Jehoram, he was mortally wounded by the conspirators under Jehu, and expired on his flight at Megid-do (884). On receiving news of that event, Athaliah his mother usurped the government, exterminating all the royal princes except one, Joash, a child of one year, who was saved by his aunt and secreted in the temple. Six years later Jehoiada, an old priest, matured a conspiracy, the legal heir to the house of David was produced in the temple, and the queen, who hastened thither, was slain.
The altars of Baal were now destroyed, and the temple was repaired under the influence of Jehoiada; but an invasion of Hazael from Syria could not be repulsed, and the capital itself was saved only by an immense ransom. After the death of Jehoiada Joash abandoned his teachings, and even the son of his benefactor, Zechariah, who boldly reprimanded him, fell a victim to his tyranny, which was ended with his life by a conspiracy (838). His successor Amaziah punished the murderers of his father, and made a successful expedition to Idumaea, but was made prisoner in a battle against Joash, king of Israel, which he had wantonly provoked by a challenge, and, having returned after the death of that king to his conquered and unfortified capital, was deprived by a conspiracy of his throne and life. The following reign of Uzziah or Azariah was not only one of the longest in the history of the Hebrews, lasting 52 years, but also distinguished by victories over the Philistines, Arabians, and Ammonites, and by the flourishing condition of husbandry, mechanical arts, and literature. Besides Amos and Hosea, who were active also in Judah, Jonah and Joel were among the prophets of that period.
Of the last we still possess a beautiful poetical description of a dreadful devastation by locusts, perhaps allegorically of barbarians, when "the land was as the gardon of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness." Another destructive event was a long remembered earthquake. Jotham, the son of Uzziah, who during the last years of his reign acted as regent, continued after his father's death (759) his beneficent rule; but his son Ahaz again introduced idolatry, and his reign was disgraceful and disastrous. Rezin and Pekah, allied against him, advanced as far as Jerusalem, which was saved only by the dearly purchased aid of Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, who conquered Damascus, carried its inhabitants into captivity, and slew Rezin. Ahaz declared himself the subject of his Assyrian deliverer, and also suffered attacks by the revolted Philistines, while the state of the interior of the country provoked the immortal denunciations of Isaiah and Micah. But these prophets express in no less glowing words their hopes of a better future, which seemed to be realized in the succeeding reign of Hezekiah the son of Ahaz. This pious king followed almost entirely the injunctions of Isaiah, who was bold enough to advise an uncompromising abolition of ancient abuses and restoration of the Mosaic law, war against the Philistines, independence of Assyria, and at the same time the rejection of any alliance with Egypt; and was powerful enough to bravo the general corruption, to baffle the plots of the court, and to maintain the courage of the people as well as of the sick king during the great invasion of Sennacherib, when the state was on the brink of ruin.
Thus Judah escaped the fate of her sister state, which had a few years before been conquered and devastated by the Assyrians, and which now began to be repeopled principally by Cuthaeans, an idolatrous people subject to their rule, who, mingling their rites with those of their new territory about Samaria, became afterward known under the name of Samaritans (Kuthim), while scattered portions of the ancient Hebrew inhabitants augmented the number of the subjects of Hezekiah. But the reign of his son Manasseh, longer than that of Uzziah, was more disgraceful than that of Ahaz. Idolatry was not only publicly introduced, but had its altars even on Mount Mo-riah. The most abominable practices prevailed, including the bloody worship of Moloch, and Jerusalem was filled with the blood of the innocent victims of tyranny, while the limits of the country were narrowed by hostile neighbors. Amon, the son of Manasseh, followed in his father's footsteps, but was murdered after two years. Josiah, his successor, however, was a zealous imitator of Hezekiah, and was assisted in his radical reforms by the reviving influence of the prophets, among whom were Nahum, Zephaniah, the young Jeremiah, and their female colleague Huldah. Nahum celebrated the final fall of Assyria, and the destruction of Nineveh its capital, "the bloody city full of lies and robbery, (whence) the prey departeth not," which was then completed by the allied Babylonians and Medes. But the power of Babylonia, lately founded by Nabo-polassar, was now growing to a threatening extent, and the position of the weak kingdom of Judah between this and the rival power of Egypt doomed it to a sudden catastrophe.
Pharaoh Necho having commenced a campaign against Babylonia through Philistia, Josiah opposed his march, and fell in the battle of Me-giddo. His son Jehoahaz was sent prisoner to Egypt, and the younger Jehoiakim (or Eljakim) appointed king in his stead. The great victory of the Babylonians, however, over Necho on the Euphrates, soon made Jehoiakim a vassal of their empire. He afterward revolted, against the advice of Jeremiah, who saw the impossibility of resisting the sway of Nebuchadnezzar, the successor of Nabopolassar. The king was as little inclined to listen to his council in his foreign as he was in his domestic policy. Jeremiah's prophecies were burned. Another prophet, Uriah, was punished for the boldness of his rebukes with death. The Chaldeans soon invaded the country, and were joined by its neighboring enemies. After the death of his father and a short siege of Jerusalem, Jehoiachin or Jeconiah, the son of Jehoiakim, terminated the war by a voluntary surrender to Nebuchadnezzar, who sent him with his family, his army, and thousands of the most important citizens, to Babylonia as captives. The treasures of the temple and royal house were plundered.
Mattaniah, an uncle of the dethroned king, was appointed his successor, as vassal of the conqueror, under the name of Zedekiah (598). It was the last reign of the house of David. Zedekiah, a weak prince, was induced by a misguided patriotism to revolt against Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah in vain exerted all his zeal and eloquence to dissuade the king and the people from this pernicious step. He was persecuted by both; the seductive influence of false prophets prevailed. The second siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar now ensued (588). It fell after a desperate defence. The king, who attempted to escape with the remnants of his troops, was made prisoner in the neighborhood of Jericho, was deprived of his eyes after having seen the slaughter of his children, and was sent in chains to Babylon. The temple was burned, its vessels were plundered, the walls and palaces of Jerusalem destroyed, and all important or wealthy citizens carried into the Babylonish captivity. Jeremiah was spared and allowed to remain with Gedaliah, whom Nebuchadnezzar appointed his viceroy at Mizpah, and around whom a number of the remaining people soon gathered.
But this last centre, too, was soon destroyed by the assassination of Gedaliah. A number of the surviving officers emigrated with their followers and Jeremiah, who tried in vain to dissuade them, to Egypt, whither the sword of the Chaldeans still followed them. The annihilation of the state of Judah was complete. The book of Lamentations contains touching elegies on this tragic end. Ezekiel too laments the dispersion of bis nation. Providence is arraigned by Habakkuk and Jeremiah, and also in the book of Job, a sublime lyrical drama, which numerous critics regard as a production of that time. A number of psalms, too, belong to the last period of the kingdom of Judah. But Babylonia, the prison of the Jewish nation (for this name had now become the most familiar), was destined also to become the cradle of its regeneration. The most eminent of the people had been transplanted there with Jeconiah, and afterward, among others, Ezekiel, Daniel, and his pious companions at the court of Nebuchadnezzar, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; and their activity in reviving the spirit of religion and nationality is evident from the nu-merous contributions to the Hebrew literature of that period, all glowing with enthusiasm and unconquered hope.
The court, that source of corruption, was no more; the priests of Baal and Moloch, so long fattened on lies, had disappeared with the altars of their idols; the voluptuous groves of Ashtoreth could not be transplanted into the land of dreary captivity; Zion was regretfully remembered, and the true admonishers of the people, who had predicted all this, now found more willing ears. Their consolations, too, and the deliverance which they promised, were soon to be confirmed; and the captives, who were full of revengeful hatred toward their oppressor, the profligate and treacherous mistress of the world, heard with secret delight of the warlike preparations of the Medo-Persian empire against her. The last ruler of Babylon, Belshazzar, was drinking wine with his lords, his wives, and his concubines, from the golden and silver vessels of the temple of Jerusalem, when "one messenger was running to meet another" to tell him "that his city was taken at one end " (538). The Persian conqueror did not disappoint those who had predicted, and perhaps secretly promoted, his triumph. He allowed the Jews to return to their country, where they could be useful by forming a kind of outpost against Egypt, and to rebuild their capital and temple.
The first and largest body of returning patriots consisted of more than 42,000 persons, under the lead of Zerub-babel, a prince of the house of David, and the high priest Jeshua. But the idolatrous Samaritans, whom the Jews would not admit to have a share in the new temple, exerted themselves to prevent their rebuilding and fortifying Jerusalem, calumniating them at the court of Persia, particularly under Cambyses (529-'22) and Pseudo-Smerdis (522). Darius, however, fully confirmed the permission of Cyrus (521). The prophets Haggai and Zechariah (assisted, perhaps, by Obadiah, who seems to have been their contemporary) inspired Zerubbabel, the priests, and the people with fresh zeal, and after five years the new temple was completed (516). The events which are described in the book of Esther - the elevation of the Jewess of that name (or Hadassah) to the dignity of Persian queen, the high official career of her relative Mordecai, the schemes of Hainan, a courtier and personal enemy of the latter, to destroy all the Jews of the Persian empire, his fall, and the almost miraculous escape of the people through Mordecai and Esther - probably refer to the reign of Xerxes (48G-'65), the son of Darius, though the name Ahasuerus is used in the Scriptures to designate various monarchs of the Persian empire.
Under the following reign of Artaxerxes, Ezra, the pious scribe (or critic, sopher), led a new colony of Jews from beyond the Euphrates to Jerusalem, where he carried through a series of important reforms, completing the restoration of the Mosaic law, for which he was afterward revered as the second lawgiver of his people. The condition of the Jews in Palestine, however, or rather in Jerusalem and its vicinity, was not cheering. The city had no walls or gates, and poverty prevailed. To remedy these evils Nehemiah, the Jewish cup-bearer of Artaxerxes, started from Susa with the permission of the monarch and the dignity of governor (445). The work of restoring and fortifying Jerusalem was now carried on and executed with the utmost zeal, though the laborers were often obliged to work under arms, the Samaritans and their friends threatening an attack. Notwithstanding his dignity, Nehemiah voluntarily shared the toils and privations of his brethren. He restored order, assisted the poor, abolished the abuses of the rich, and strengthened the observance of the law. After a long absence at the royal court, during which fresh disorder had arisen, he resumed his pious and patriotic work, in which he was assisted by Malachi, the last of the known prophets.
The enmity of the Samaritans, though baffled in its first assaults, remained active down to a much later period, their separation having been sanctioned by a rival temple on Mount Gerizim. The Jewish temple on Mount Moriah had a successive line of hereditary high priests in the direct descendants of Jeshua, of whom Jaddua held that most influential office at the time of the conquest of the Persian empire by Alexander, whose wrath he is said to have diverted from Jerusalem (832). The names of the Persian governors during the last century of that empire are unknown, this being altogether the most obscure period in the history of the Jews. It seems to have been a time of comparative tranquillity and prosperity; at least it included no particular national disaster, as it added no day of fasting to those recently established in commemoration of the fall of Jerusalem, the death of Geda-liah, etc. But the same century, together with the time of Ezra, may certainly be regarded as the period of the most important religious developments, of a permanent consolidation of Judaism. The first impulse had probably been given in Babylonia, during the active literary period of the captivity.
But Ezra the sopher, his contemporaries Haggai, Zechariah, Nehemiah, and others, " the men of the great assembly" (anshei keneseth haggedolah), and the successive sopherim, are the real authors of the restoration and the new developments connected with it. The sacred Scriptures were collected, authenticated, and arranged into a canon, including the most precious remnants of a vast literature, among the lost parts of which were the often mentioned and quoted Sepher hayashar (in the English version, "book of Jasher"), probably a collection of historical songs, the book of the " Wars of the Lord," the special "Chronicles" of the kings of Judah and Israel, the prophecies of Nathan, Ahijah, Iddo, and others, the "History of Solomon," various works of this king, and an endless multitude of others; their great number was complained of in the philosophical book of Ecclesiastes, a work commonly attributed to Solomon, but by numerous critics assigned to a very late period. The Pentateuch was publicly read, taught in schools, explained, hermeneutically expounded (mid-rash), and translated into the Chaldee language, which the common people had adopted in Babylonia, together with various eastern notions concerning angels, spirits, and other supernatural things.
The legal or religious traditions, explanatory of or complementary to the law of Moses, were traced back through the prophets and elders to that lawgiver, and systematically established as the oral law (torah or debarim shebbeal peh). New obligations were added to form a kind of "fence" (seyag) around the law, preventing its infraction, and founded on the authority of the scholars and wise men of the age (dibrei sopherim, mitzrath zekenim). The following century and a half, when Judea was a province of the successors of Alexander in Egypt and Syria, the Ptolemies and Seleucidae, is marked by new features. Greek refinement, science, and philosophy spread among the Jews, particularly among the flourishing colonies in Alexandria and other cities of the Ptolemies. A part of the people, especially the wealthier, adopted the Epicurean notions of the demoralized Greeks of that time, and were finally organized as a sect, denying the immortality of the soul, rejecting the authority of tradition, and adhering to the literal sense of the Mosaic law; while the teachings of the Stoics agreed well with the more austere life of the followers of the "great assembly," who maintained their preponderance with the people.
As a sect the former were called Sadducees, the more ascetic of the latter Pharisees. The derivation of both these names is as little settled as is that of the name of the Essenes, who appear about the close of this period, forming secluded, industrious, and socialistic communities, and engaged in medical, mystical, and ascetic practices. The Samaritans, who, adopting in part the Mosaic rites, had succeeded in attaching to their temple a part of the neighboring Jews, now followed the example of the Hellenizing cities of Syria, and made little opposition to the spreading worship of the Greek gods. The Greek language became common in Judea, and the Greek translation of the Pentateuch prepared under Ptolemy Philadelphus in Egypt (the Septuagint) was used in the synagogues of that country. A Syrian dialect of the Aramaic was used for the same purpose by the Samaritans, and the pure Chaldee prevailed among the Jews beyond the Euphrates. Politically, no less than in matters of religion, Judea seems to have been ruled by the high priests, who had to be confirmed by the Egyptian or Syrian kings, and the sanhedrim of Jerusalem, a college of 70, with a president (beth din hag-gadol, high court). After the death of Alexander (323), the little province frequently changed masters, until it was definitively attached to the empire of Ptolemy I. Soter, under whom the celebrated Simon the Just (or Righteous) officiated as high priest, and Antigonus of Socho as president of the sanhedrim.
The uncertainty of possession made the foreign rulers. more lenient. The country was growing in wealth and population, in spite of large colonies drawn to Alexandria by Alexander the Great, Soter, and others. These were particularly well treated, and enjoyed privileges which made them an object of envy. They, like their brethren of Babylonia and other countries of Asia, enriched Jerusalem and the temple by their gifts and visits during festivals. Ptolemy II. Philadelphus (285-'47) was especially favorable to the Jews. Under his successors, however, Judea grew impatient of the Egyptian rule, and when Antiochus the Great attacked the young Ptolemy V., the Jews willingly aided him in driving the Egyptians from their land (198). They soon had reason to regret this change of dynasty. The Seleucidae were bent on Hellenizing their empire, and were offended by the determination of the Jews to preserve their own national and religious peculiarities. The treasures, too, which had been slowly accumulated in the temple of Jerusalem, tempted their avarice, while they also augmented the number of priestly office-seekers. Tyranny and corruption growing together, the dignity of high priest was finally converted into an office for sale.
One Onias was robbed of it for the benefit of his younger brother Jason, who offered 360 talents to the court of Syria; a third brother, Menelaus, wrested it from him, giving 300 more, and strove to maintain himself in his usurpation by scandalously promoting the arbitrary schemes of Antiochus Epiphanes. Being driven from the city by Jason and his followers, and besieged in the citadel, he was rescued by Antiochus, who destroyed a part of the city, sold many of his opponents into slavery, and robbed the temple (170). But worse was to follow. During the second expedition of the Syrian king against Egypt, a false report of his death spread in Judea. and Jerusalem immediately rose against his officers. But the Hellenizing Jews opened its gates to the returning king, and an unparalleled slaughter of the religious inhabitants ensued (169). Not satisfied with this, Antio-chus destroyed the walls of the city, garrisoned a new citadel with his soldiers, and decreed the general and exclusive introduction of Greek idolatry.
The image of the king was placed in the temple, swine were sacrificed on the altar, new altars were everywhere erected for the obligatory worship of the Olympian Jupiter, the Hebrew Scriptures were burned, circumcision was prohibited, and every act of opposition made a capital crime and punished with extreme cruelty. Thousands after thousands were dragged into captivity, sold as slaves, or butchered. Finally the king departed on an expedition against the Parthians, leaving the completion of his work to his general Apollonius (167). The latter continued it in the spirit of his master, but soon met with a sudden check. Mattathias, an old priest of the village of Modin, and of the distinguished house of the Asmoneans, and his five sons John (Johanan), Simon, Judas, Eleazar, and Jonathan, commanded to sacrifice to Jupiter, drew their swords in defence of their religious liberty, and soon after were able to defend that of others. The people flocked after them into the wilderness, whence they sallied forth to destroy the altars of their oppressors. Contempt of death gave victory, and victory created new warriors.
The work of liberation was successfully commenced when the old patriot died (166), leaving the command in the hands of Judas, who well deserved by his overwhelming victories the surname of the Hammer (Makkab), though the name of Maccabees, which is applied to the whole house, and the title of the apocryphal books of their history, may have been derived from the initials of a supposed Scriptural sign, M(i), K(amokha) B(aelim) Y(ehovah) ("Who is like thee among the gods, O Everlasting?"), or from those of the name of the father, Mattathias Kohen (the priest) ben (son of) Johanan. Terror reigned among the Syrians in Judea. Their greatly superior forces suffered defeat after defeat under Apollonius, Seron, Lysias, Timo-theus, Nicanor, and other generals. Jerusalem was reconquered, the temple purified, a treaty of alliance concluded with the Romans, the traitor Menelaus was executed by order of An-tiochus, and the latter soon after died (164). But the bold struggle of the heroic brothers again became desperate. Eleazar (or perhaps another warrior of the same name), rushing through the thickest of the enemy to transpierce an elephant, on which he supposed the young king Eupator himself to be seated, was crushed to death under the falling animal.
Judas, seeing himself deserted by most of his followers at the approach of an immense host under Bacchides, and having no alternative but flight or death, chose the latter, attacked the Syrians with 800 men, broke through one of their wings, but was surrounded by the other, and perished with all his companions (160). The surviving brothers again fled to the wilderness of the south, carrying on a desultory warfare, in which John soon after fell. But the protracted struggles for succession to the throne of Syria, between the various kings and usurpers who followed Eupator, Demetrius Soter the son of Epiphanes, his pretended brother, Alexander Balas, Demetrius Nicator the son of Soter, Antiochus the son of Balas, Antiochus Sidetes the son of Nicator, and Tryphon, gave Jonathan, who now commanded, and after him Simon, ample opportunity to restore the fortune of the war. Jonathan's friendship was soon sought by the rival pretenders; he made peace with the one or the other, was acknowledged as high priest, strategus, and ethnarch of Judea, and was successful in his long wars, but was finally enticed to an interview with Tryphon, and assassinated with his sons. Simon conquered the citadel of Jerusalem, renewed the alliance with Rome, and was proclaimed an independent prince.
The independence of Judea was successfully defended against Antiochus Sidetes under the command of John and Judas his sons, but the old man was soon after assassinated with his sons Judas and Mattathias by his own son-in-law Ptolemy (135). His surviving son, John Hyrcanus, who succeeded him, resisted the invasion of Antiochus Sidetes, concluded a peace, and further developed the independence of the country, extending its limits by the conquest of Idumaea, and of the city of Samaria, which he destroyed, as well as the temple on Mount Gerizim. The Samaritans were thus crushed, but the Sad-ducees attained great influence under his reign, and the religious dissensions, assuming also a civil aspect, gradually undermined the foundations of the newly restored state. John Hyrcanus and his sons Aristobulus (106-'5) and Alexander Jannseus (105-78), belong to the small number of Maccabees who died a natural death; for the race of priestly warriors, who conquered their dignity by the sword, were doomed to perish by the sword, and only the earlier members of the house who fought for the liberty of their people fell in glorious battles. Aristobulus, who assumed the royal title, ordered the murder of his brother Antig-onus, while their mother was starved in a dungeon.
Alexander Janna3us proved equally barbarous in a war of six years against the majority of his people, who abhorred him as a debauched tyrant and Sadducee, and stained his victory by the execution of 800 of the most important rebels before the eyes of his revelling court. Thousands sought refuge in flight, and he was allowed to continue his reign till his death, when he advised his wife Alexandra (or Salome) to follow an opposite line of policy. She accordingly chose her councillors from among the distinguished men of the national party, and recalled the exiles. Of her two sons, she appointed Hyrcanus high priest, keeping the political rule herself. Dissatisfied with this arrangement, the younger, Aristobulus, sought for support among the Sadducees, and after the death of their mother (71) a long civil war was waged by the two brothers, which was terminated only by the interference of the Romans, to whom both applied. Scaurus, the lieutenant of Pompey the Great in Syria, decided for the younger of the brothers (63). But Pompey soon after reversed the sentence, besieged Aristobulus in Jerusalem, took the city and the temple, entering both amid streams of blood, and confirmed Hyrcanus as high priest, in which capacity he became tributary ethnarch of the Romans. Aristobulus and his sons, Alexander and Antig-onus, were carried as captives to Rome. Judea, with narrowed limits, was now a province of the Roman republic, which was just advancing to its furthest boundary in the East. In the name of Hyrcanus it was governed by Antipater, his crafty Idumaean minister, who ruled his feeble master, and was finally himself established by Caesar, after the fall of Pompey (48), as Roman procurator of Judea. Aristobulus and his two sons escaped from Rome, and made desperate efforts to recover their dignity, but all of them perished in the successive attempts.
Antigonus procured aid from the Parthians, who, having vanquished Crassus (53) and other Roman generals, invaded Judea and carried Hyrcanus into captivity. But he finally succumbed to the son of Antipater, Herod, who on his flight to Rome had gained the favor of the new triumvirs, and who now inaugurated under their auspices, as a powerful independent king, the last dynasty in Judea, the Idu-maean (39). This prince, who as if in irony has been called the Great, was the slave of his passions, as well as of the Romans, and the bloody master of his subjects. His ambition made him rival in splendid structures, among which was the rebuilded temple, in the erection of new fortresses, citadels, and cities, and in unlimited sway, the glory of King Solomon, but did not prevent him from basely cringing before Mark Antony, his mistress Cleopatra of Egypt, and his rival Octavius, and from sacrificing the most sacred customs and usages of the people in order to flatter the vanity of his foreign supporters. Gladiatorial games, statues, and other things abhorred by the Jews, were introduced in their cities, and the Roman eagle was placed on the top of the new temple.
The desire of the people for the national house of the Maccabees was to be stifled in the blood of its last descendants, though Herod was himself the husband of Mariamne, the granddaughter of Hyrcanus by her mother Alexandra, and of Aristobulus by her father Alexander. Antigonus was executed by the Romans at Damascus; the old Hyrcanus was enticed from Babylon to share the same fate in Jerusalem; the young and beautiful brother of the queen, the high priest Aristobulus, was treacherously drowned while bathing with the king. Herod's own house followed, treacherous intrigues and the dread of conspiracies demanding new victims. His uncle Joseph, his frantically beloved, beautiful, and noble Mariamne, her mother Alexandra, his two sons by Mariamne, the favorites of the people, perished successively at his order; and finally, five days before his own death, his son by another wife, Antipas or Antipater, next to Herod's sister Salome the chief cause of the last murders and of the king's dreadful agonies. The blood of many other innocent persons was shed, attempts at insurrection or regicide being quelled or punished with remorseless rigor. In extent of possessions, however, Herod's reign by far surpassed the power of his predecessors.
Augustus divided his territory among his three surviving sons. Archelaus, as ethnarch, received half of them, viz.: Judea (proper), Samaria to the north, and Idumaea to the south; Philip and Herod Antipas, as tetrarchs, the other half - the former, Batanaea, Trachonitis, and Aurani-tis, E. of the Jordan (Peraea), and the latter, Galilee W. of the Jordan and N. of Samaria, with some slight additions. Anarchy was a natural consequence of this arbitrary arrangement, and it came with all its horrors. - Such was the political condition of the Jewish state in the first year of the Christian era, about three years after the birth of the founder of the Christian religion, for an account of whose life, doctrine, and death (in the year 33, under the sway of the Roman procurator Pontius Pilate, the possessions of Archelaus having been annexed to the Roman province of Syria) we refer the reader to special articles under the appropriate heads. The religious and literary institutions of the people had in the mean while received a remarkable development during the Asmonean period, on the basis of the sopherim, and principally under the lead of the successive schools of the 'hakhamim (scholars) Jose of Zeredah and Jose of Jerusalem, Joshua ben Perachiah and Nittai of Arbel, Judah ben Tabbai and Simeon ben Shetah, and Shemaiah and Abtalion; and it reached a most flourishing condition under the school of the great Hillel the Babylonian, president of the sanhedrim like all the first of the above named pairs, and the rival school of the austere Shammai, in the reign of Herod. The eminent philosophical book of Ben Sirach and the first book of the Maccabees are the products of the earlier part of that period, while the age of the books of Tobit, Judith, Baruch, and other apocryphal writings, is unknown.
The simultaneous literary activity of the Jews in Africa is evinced in the book of Wisdom, by their numerous contributions to Hellenistic poetry and history (Jason, Alexander Polyhistor, Ezekiel, &c), and especially to Platonic philosophy, from Aristobulus, the Jewish teacher of Ptolemy Euergetes, to Philo, the distinguished deputy of the Alexandrian Jews to the Roman emperor Caligula. The emperors were already becoming the exclusive masters of Palestine. Archelaus was carried captive to Gaul under Augustus (8), and separate procurators ruled Judea, Samaria, and Idu-maea. Philip's possessions were attached to Syria after his death (35) by Tiberius, but afterward given by Caligula to Herod Agrippa, a grandson of Herod, and brother of Herodias, who, being unlawfully married by Herod An-tipas, caused the deposition of the latter, and the annexation of his tetrachy to the dominion of Agrippa, who even succeeded in reuniting for a short time, in the reign of Claudius, the whole of Palestine. After his death (44) his territory was again ruled by procurators, and only a small portion was afterward given to his son Agrippa II. (53). The condition of the country was dreadful.
The emperors, at that time the vilest of men, demanded divine honors, their statues were erected in the temple, the procurators grew rich by extortions, the petty Herodian courts shamelessly imitated the licentiousness of the imperial, robbers infested the mountainous regions, impostors and fanatics raised the standard of rebellion, and insurrections led to new oppression, both religious and civil. Nero's rule, and the extortions of his procurator Gessius Floras, finally drove the people to despair. Death to the Romans or to themselves became the cry of the fanatics and the poor. The Sadducees and the rich opposed it in vain, though aided by the troops of Agrippa. The temple of Jerusalem, the ancient capital itself, and numerous strongholds in the country were taken by the insurgents (66). The Roman governor of Syria, Cestius Gallus, who hastened to Jerusalem, was routed near that city. The zealots now organized a general rising. The priest Jose-phus, the historian, was sent to arm and defend Galilee. But one of Nero's best generals, Vespasian, was already approaching from the north (07); and Titus, his son, brought new legions from Egypt. The Jews fought with Maccabean valor near Joppa, at Mount Gerizim, in the streets of Gamala, at Jotapata, and other places.
But Josephus's army perished in the struggle about Jotapata, and he was made prisoner; Galilee was lost, and civil carnage raged within the walls of Jerusalem between the moderates under the priest El-eazar, the terrorists under John of Giscala, and the volunteers commanded by Simon the Idumaean. Vespasian now advanced and took most of the strongholds (68). The events which followed the death of Nero, however, checked his progress. Vespasian himself being proclaimed emperor by his legions (09), Titus took the command. Jerusalem, Masada, Machaerus, and Herodium were still to be besieged. The northern part of Jerusalem, Be-zetha, was first taken by the Romans with the external wall. The middle wall, too, fell into their hands, but the defenders, now united and heroically fighting, drove them out. The Roman resolved upon conquering by hunger, and this brought pestilence to his assistance. Hay, leather, and insects were finally consumed; the victims could no longer be buried, but were thrown over the wall. Deserters and fugitives were mutilated by the besiegers or driven back. The castle Antonia, and with it the second wall, were finally taken (June, 70). John and Simon still refused to hear of surrender.
In August the temple was stormed, and Titus was unable to prevent its becoming a prey to the flames. The last defenders retired to the fortified upper city, which fell in September. Jerusalem was razed to the ground, its surviving inhabitants were slaughtered by thousands, sold into slavery, or doomed to perish in public fights with wild beasts before Romans and Greeks, at the command of the future amor et delicioe generis humani. Herodium, Machaerus, and Masada still defended themselves for a time. In the latter the conquerors found only a few children, the last men having died by their own hands. A million of Jews perished in this war, which found an eloquent but partial historian in the learned captive Josephus. The later and still more furious risings of the scattered people in the reigns of Trajan and Hadrian in Cyrene, Egypt, Cyprus, and Palestine, where Bar-Co-kheba for years victoriously maintained himself against the Roman generals until he fell with his last stronghold Bethar, are known only from scattered passages full of exaggerations, dictated by hatred on one side and patriotic admiration on the other. - The last insurrection, and the bloody persecutions which followed it, finally broke the strength and spirit of the people.
Their leaders prohibited every attempt at insurrection in the name of religion, and were obeyed. Hadrian's AElia Capitolina rose on the sacred ground of Jerusalem, and his decrees forbade the Jews to enter its precincts. Its environs were desolate. The land of Israel was no more; the people scattered all over the world. The previous invasions and conquests, civil strifes and oppression, persecution and famine, had carried hosts of Jewish captives, slaves, fugitives, exiles, and emigrants, into the remotest provinces of the Medo-Per-sian empire, all over Asia Minor, into Armenia, Arabia, Egypt, Cyrene, Cyprus, Greece, and Italy. The Roman conquest and persecutions completed the work of dispersion, and we soon find Jews in every part of the empire, in the regions of Mt. Atlas, on both sides of the Pyrenees, on the Rhine and Danube. Palestine, however, for some time continued to be a national centre through its schools of religious science, which after the desolation of Jerusalem flourished at Jamnia, Lydda, Usha, Se-phoris, Tiberias, and other places, principally under the lead of the presidents of the sanhedrim (patriarchs, nesiim) of the house of Hillel, of whom Gamaliel Hazzaken (the Elder), his son Simeon, his grandson Gamaliel, and great-grandson Simeon, with their celebrated fellow tanaim (teachers or scholars) Johanan ben Zakkai, Eliezer, Joshua, Eleazar, Ishmael, Tar-phon, the great Akiba, and others had been successfully active during the previous disastrous period.
The succeeding rabbis (rabbi, my master), Ben Azai, Ben Zoma, the five pupils of Akiba, Eliezer, Meir, Jose, Jehudah, Simeon, Nathan, and others, continued their work by public teaching, as well as by collecting, elucidating, systematizing, and further developing the decisions (halakhoth, collectively termed Halakhah) of the oral law, which was finally converted into a written code or compendium of teachings (Mishnah) by the patriarch Jehudah the Holy and his school, during the mild reigns of the Antonines. To this were added the partly supplementary, partly explanatory works, Tosephta, Mekhilta, Sa-phra, and Siphri. These works became the basis of religious study in the subsequent three centuries, in Palestine, as well as in Babylonia, where the schools of Sura, Pumbeditha, Nehardea, and others, flourished under more favorable circumstances, the most renowned teachers (in this period amoraim) of both countries being Rab, Samuel, Joshua ben Levi, Johanan, Simeon ben Lakish, the patriarch Jehudah II., Ame, Ase, Abahu, Eleazar, Jehudah, Hunna, Hisda, Nalmian, Kabbah, Joseph, Zera, Jeremiah, Abbaye, Raba, Pappa, Ashe, Abina, and Mar bar (ben) Ashe (died 4G7). After new persecutions by the Christian emperors, which destroyed the schools (353) and the patriarchate (429) of Palestine, and by the Persian kings Yezdegerd II., Hormuz, Firuz, and Kobad in the latter part of the 5th century, which destroyed the schools of Babylonia, the results of those studies were also collected, though in chaotic disorder, in the two Gemaras or Talmuds (literally, studies), the Palestinian and Babylonian. Other extant products of the time of the tanaim and amoraim were various ethical treatises (Derekh eretz, Aboth, &c), historical, legendary, and cosmogonal writings (haggadoth, stories, collectively Haggadah, a vast branch), prayers (tephilloth), additions to the Chaldee paraphrase (Targum) of Scriptural books, a new calendar, admirably adapted to the religious duties of the people, by Hillel (340), and some Greek fragments by Aquila and Sym-machus. The Chaldee, often with an admixture of Hebrew, was now generally used in literary works, while the people used the various languages of the countries in which they lived.
More and more oppressed and degraded by the emperors, of whom only Julian was favorable to his Jewish subjects, and even attempted to rebuild the temple of Zion, and by the decrees of the councils, the Jews of Palestine once more hoped to recover their independence when they assisted the Persians in conquering Jerusalem (610), but were soon severely chastised for their rash attempt by the victorious emperor Heraclius. But a new power springing from the Arabian desert was destined to humiliate all the contending parties and sects between the Tigris and the Nile, the Byzantine emperors and the Sassanide shahs, Christians, fire worshippers, and Jews. A new Semitic prophet arose in the vicinity of the Red sea, teaching his disciples and people a monotheism which was to be carried triumphantly over a great part of Asia, Africa, and Europe (622). Mohammed himself alter a long struggle conquered the castles of the independent Jews in Arabia, who, living from a very remote period in that country, were masters both of the poetical tongue and the sword of the desert, their warlike Samuel ben Abdiah, among others, being one of the most distinguished early poets of the peninsula.
Omar and his generals conquered Jerusalem, Tiberias, Damascus, Antioch, and Alexandria from the Byzantines, and subdued Persia, thus bringing most of the eastern Jews under the rule of Islam. This proving comparatively mild, and the later caliphs favoring every science, Jewish studies revived, especially in Babylonia, where the Jews lived under the immediate rule of a prince of the captivity (resh gelutha), and where their great schools, having been reorganized under the seboraim (thinkers), were made flourishing under the geonim (the eminent). Of these Saadia, the translator of the Pentateuch into Arabic (died 041), and Hai (died 1037), the son of Sherira, and son-in-law of Samuel ben Hofni, are eminent as theological writers, poets, and linguists. Numerous works of Haggadah, now mostly known as midrashim, and ethical writings, were composed; the critical notes of the Masora and the "Targum of Jerusalem" elaborated; the admirable system of Scriptural vocalization introduced; talmudical compendiums written; medical, astronomical, and linguistic studies, and also cosmogonal speculations (Kabbalah), pursued.
An anti-rabbinical sect, besides the extinct Sadducees the only one which deserves that appellation, was founded about the middle of the 8th century by Anan in Babylonia, receiving from their strict adherence to the letter of the Bible the name of Karaites (Seripturists). Their scholars, Salmon, Jeshua, and Japheth, flourished in the loth century. Scientific pursuits also spread among the Jews in Africa, who with slight interruptions enjoyed peace under the Saracenic princes; and among the theological writers of Fez and Kairowan in that period, of whom Nissim and Hananel (both in the first half of the 11th century) are the most celebrated, we find the physician and critic Isaac ben Soleyman, the lexicographer Hefetz, and the grammarians Ben Koraish, Dunash, and Hayug. The Arabic was generally used by the scholars. - The political and intellectual condition of the Jews was worse in the Byzantine empire and in the feudal states which arose on the ruins of the West Roman. Deprived of most civil rights, they were now and then bloodily persecuted, as by the Franks and Visigoths in the 6th and 7th centuries, by the Byzantines in the 8th, when many of them fled and even spread their religion among the Khazars about the Caspian sea, and again in the 11th, about which time they appear in Russia, though only for a short time, and in Hungary. More tolerable, however, was their situation in Italy, Sicily, and Sardinia, where they often found protection through the influence of the popes.
Bari and Otranto became the principal seats of Jewish learning. The renowned Eleazer ben Kalir and other writers of piyutim (liturgical songs in Hebrew rhymed verse), the historian Josi-pon, and the astronomer Shabthai Donolo, flourished in Italy in the 9th and 10th centuries, and the lexicographer Nathan in the 11th. From Italy science spread to the cities on the Rhine, to Lorraine and France. In the 11th and 12th centuries we find in Germany Simeon, the author of the talmudical Yalkut ("Gleaning Bag"), the poet Samuel the Pious, and the writer of travels Petahiah; in northern France, Gerson, surnamed the "light of the exiled," the liturgical poet Joseph Tob Elem, the renowned commentators Solomon Isaaki and his grandson Solomon ben Meir, and the authors of the talmudical Tosafoth ("Additions"), Isaac ben Asher, Jacob ben Meir, etc. Spain, after the conquest by the Saracens, who carried thither culture, science, and poetry, was destined to develop the most prosperous and flourishing condition which the Jews enjoyed in the middle ages. Persecutions became rare and exceptional.
The Jews enjoyed civil rights and rose to high dignities in the state under the Moorish princes, and were almost as well treated by the Christian monarchs; and their culture and progress in science not only kept pace with their prosperity, but also outlived occasional adversity. In the 10th century we see there the lexicographer Men-ahem, the astronomer Hassan, and the rich, liberal, and scientific Hasdai, the friend and physician of the caliph Abderrahman III., at Cordova; in the 11th the talmudical scholars Samuel Hallevi and Isaac Alfasi (of Fez), the grammarian Abulwalid, the philosopher David Mokamez, the ethical writer Behai, and Solomon Gabirol, equally celebrated as Hebrew poet and Arabic philosopher; in the 12th the theologian Abraham ben David, the astronomer and geographer Abraham ben Hiya, the poet Moses ben Ezra, the traveller Benjamin of Tudela, the philosophical poet Jehudah Hallevi, whose glowing songs rival the beauties and purity of the Psalms, the great critic, philosopher, and poet Aben Ezra, and finally Moses Maimonides, who as a philosopher and writer on the law by far surpassed all his contemporaries.
The diffusion of science among the Jews now attained its height in Europe, as well as in Egypt, whither Maimonides fled after a persecution at Cordova (1157), and where he and his son Abraham officiated as physicians to the court of the sultan. Spain numbered among its vast number of scholars in the 18th, 14th, and 15th centuries, the poets Harizi, the Hebrew imitator of the Arabian Hariri, and Saho-la; the astronomers Aben Sid, one of the authors of the Alfonsine tables, Israeli, and Al-hadev; the philosophical theologians Palquera, Lattef, Caspi, Hasdai, Albo, and Shemtob; the celebrated commentators Nahmanides, Adde-reth, Gerundi, Behai, Yomtob, and Nissim; the cabalists Todros, Gecatilia, Abelafia, and Do Leon. In Provence and Languedoc, where high schools flourished in Lunel, Nimes, Narbonne, Montpellier, and Marseilles, from the 12th to the 15th century, we find the three grammarians Kimhi and their follower Epho-di; the poets Ezobi, Jedaiah, and Calonymus; the commentators Zerahiah Hallevi, Abraham ben David, and Menahem ben Solomon; the philosophers Levi ben Abraham, Levi ben Gerson, and Vidal; the four Tibbons, all translators from Arabic into Hebrew, and the lexicographer Isaac Nathan. Italy had in the 13th, 14th, and 15th centuries the poets Immanuel, an imitator of Dante, Moses di Rieti, and Messir Leon; the talmudists Trani and Colon; the cabalist Recanate; the astronomer Immanuel; various grammarians and translators from Arabic and Latin; and finally the philosopher Elias del Medigo. Germany had in the same period the talmudists Meir, Mordecai, Asher and his son Jacob, and Isserlin, the cabalist Eleazar, and others.
The Karaites, too, had a number of scholars, as Hadassi, the two Aarons, and others. During the earlier part of this long period of literary activity in the West the Jews enjoyed peace and prosperity, with various interruptions, in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, the islands of the Mediterranean, in Hungary, especially under the national kings, and in Poland, which hospitably received the numerous exiles from all neighboring countries, under the Piasts, particularly the last of them, Casimir the Great; but there were none in Muscovy and in the Scandinavian states; and in England, where they appear before the time of Alfred, in France, where only the early Car-lovingians, and especially Charlemagne, favored them, and throughout Germany, their condition was in the last degree deplorable. Circumscribed in their rights by decrees and laws of the ecclesiastical as well as civil power, excluded from all honorable occupations, driven from place to place, from province to province, compelled to subsist almost exclusively by mercantile occupations and usury, overtaxed and degraded in the cities, kept in narrow quarters and marked in their dress with signs of contempt, plundered by lawless barons and penniless princes, an easy prey to all parties during the civil feuds, again and again robbed of their pecuniary claims, owned and sold as serfs (Kammerknechte) by the emperors, butchered by mobs and revolted peasants, chased by the monks, burned in thousands by the crusaders (who also burned their brethren of Jerusalem in their synagogue), tormented by ridicule, abusive sermons, monstrous accusations and trials, threats and experiments of conversion, the Jews of those countries offer in their mediaeval history a frightful picture of horrors and gloom.
In England they had their worst days in the reign of Richard I., at whose coronation they were massacred at York (1189), John, Henry III., and Edward I., who expelled them altogether from the realm (1290). From France they were for the last time banished under Charles VI. (1395). Germany, where the greatest anarchy prevailed, was the scene of their bloodiest persecutions, the most frightful of which took place in the cities on the Rhine during the great desolation by the black plague which depopulated Europe from the Volga to the Atlantic (1348-50). Pointed out to the ignorant people as having caused the pestilence by poisoning the wells, the Jews were burned by thousands on the public squares, or burned themselves with their families in the synagogues. Almost every imperial city had a general persecution of the Jews. The Swiss towns imitated their neighbors, almost all banishing their Jews. With the growing influence of the inquisition, the Jews of southern Europe, too, suffered the same fate. The protection of the popes being gradually withdrawn, they were banished from the cities of Italy into separate quarters (ghetti), and obliged to wear distinctive badges; persecutions became more frequent; in 1493 all the Jews of Sicily, about 20,000 families, were banished.
In Spain, during a long drought in 1391-'2, the Jewish inhabitants were massacred in many cities. The condition of the Jews grew worse in the following century, until their extirpation from the whole country was determined upon, and, after repeated but fruitless attempts at conversion by the stake, finally carried into effect by Ferdinand and Isabella (1492). More than 70,000 families sought refuge in Portugal, where for a large sum of money the fugitives were allowed to remain for a few months, in Africa, Italy, Turkey, and other countries. Not the fifth part of them survived the horrors of compulsory expatriation, shipwreck, and subsequent famine. The feeling observer may find a compensation in the fact that while these events happened, propitious winds carried three small caravels across the Atlantic to a new world, whoso enervating treasures were destined to assist the inquisition in undermining the power of the oppressors, and whose future institutions were to inaugurate an era of freedom to the descendants of the oppressed.
The Jews of Portugal were banished soon after (1495) by King Emanuel, being robbed of their children under 14 years of age, who were sent to distant islands to be brought up as Christians. The numerous converted Jews of the peninsula and their descendants were still persecuted for more than two centuries by governments, inquisitors, and mobs. These persecutions, which eventually carried the bulk of the European Jewish population into the provinces of Poland and Turkey, similar events in the East during the crusades, a long series of persecutions in Germany, and in central and southern Italy in the 16th century, and bloody massacres by the revolted Cossacks under Chmiel-nicki in the S. E. regions of Poland, together with a general and minutely developed system of petty oppression, extortion, and degradation, to which the Jews were subjected in most parts of Europe during the 250 years following their expulsion from the Iberian peninsula, could not but exercise a disastrous influence upon the culture and literature of the people. The spirit of cheerful inquiry, study, and poetry which distinguished the Spanish-Provencal period, was gone.
The critical knowledge and use of the Hebrew was neglected, the study of the Talmud and its commentaries became the almost exclusive occupation of the literary youth, and cabalistic speculations replaced philosophy, producing in Poland various schools of religious enthusiasts called 'Hasidim (pietists). A bold Turkish Jew, Shabthai Tzebi, who, like the Persian Aldaud or Alroy in the 12th century, was proclaimed by his cabalistic followers the expected Messiah of Israel, found numerous adherents even in various parts of Europe (16G6), whose delusion was destroyed only by his compulsory conversion to Mohammedanism. Literature and science, however, still found scattered votaries, especially in northern Italy, Turkey, and Holland; and besides the great talmudists, theologians, or commentators of this period, Don I. Abarbanel, I. Arama, J. and L. Habib, Mizrahi, O. Bartenura, O. Sforno, I. Luria, T. Karo, the author of the talmudical abridgment or code Shulhan arukh, E. Ash-kenazi, Alsheikh, S. Luria, M. Isserels, M. Ja-feh, Sirks, S. Cohen, Lion of Prague, E. Lent-schutz, J. Trani, J. Hurwitz, II. Vital, S. Edels, Y. Heller, Shabthai Cohen, A. Able, D. Op-penheimer, the collector of the best Hebrew library (now in Oxford), Tzebi Ashkenazi, II. Silva, J. Rosanis, D. Frankel, J. Eybesehutz, J. Emden, II. Landau, Elias of Wilna, etc, we find the philosophers and men of science Bibago, S. Cohen, Amatus, Almosnino, De Castro, A. Zacchuto, J. del Medigo, M. Hefetz, and Kioto; and among the poets, grammarians, critics, lexicographers, and historical writers, De Palmes, Elias Levita, A. Farissol, Solomon ben Melekh, Jacob ben Hayim, Geda-liah, Yahiah, A. de Rossi, De' Pomi, D. Gans, S. Arkevolte, Lonsano, Manasseh ben Israel, the defender of the Jews before Cromwell, S. Norzi, S. Luzzato, Leo de Modena, S. Mortera, J. Orobio, Shabthai ben Joseph, B. Mussaphia, De Lara, J. Cardoso, J. Abendana, S. Hanau, M. H. Luzzato, J. Heilprin, Azulai, and others.
Beyond the limits of the Turkish empire there was scarcely any trace of Jewish literature in the East, though there were and are still numerous Jewish communities in Persia, northern Arabia, Independent Tartary, and Afghanistan, as well as scattered colonies, mostly of more or less mixed race and religion, in India, China, Cochin China, Yemen, Abyssinia, and other parts of Africa, partly of very ancient date, partly founded by escaped Portuguese and Spanish New Christians, some of whom also settled in parts of Brazil and Guiana during the occupation by the Dutch. In Europe the last of the three great religious struggles, against paganism, against Mohammedanism, and between the contending Christian sects, all of which were destructive to the Jews, was terminated by the peace of Westphalia (1G48). Catholicism was triumphant in the south and in France, Protestantism in the north and northwest. The greater persecutions of the Jews now ceased. They became flourishing in the republics of Holland and Venice and their dependencies, were readmitted into England by Cromwell (having also entered Denmark and returned into France), spread with the Dutch and English to various parts of America, reentered Russia under Peter the Great (to be expelled afterward), were admitted in Sweden, and were protected and often employed in high stations by the sultans of Turkey and Morocco. In Germany and Switzerland, where the struggle was not terminated by any decisive triumphs, the mediaeval treatment of the Jews was continued longest, its worst features being maintained and developed in Austria (excepting in the reign of Joseph II.). In this empire, down to the revolution of 1848, the Jews were excluded from all civil rights, numerous professions, and various provinces, districts, towns, villages, and streets, paying besides a tax for toleration in Hungary (in spite of the remonstrances of the legislatures), a tax upon their sabbath lights in Gali-cia, and a residence tax when visiting Vienna, and being subject to Pharaonic marriage restrictions in Bohemia and Moravia. The general progress of freedom was promoted in the age of philosophy by the appearance of Spinoza and of Mendelssohn (1729-'86) among this long despised people.
The influence of the latter upon Jews and Christians through his works, example, fame, and friends (the great Hebrew poet Wessely, Euchel, Lowe, Friedlander, etc, among Jews, and Lessing, Dohm, Abt, Nicolai, Engel, Ramler, etc, among Christians), was immense; and his admirers could say, "Between Moses (the lawgiver) and Moses (Mendelssohn) there was only one Moses (Maimoni-des)." Progress now became general among the Jews, and the noble philosopher lived to see the first dawn of freedom in the land of Franklin and Jefferson. The great revolution in that of Voltaire and Rousseau came next, and the triumphs of republican and imperial France destroyed the mediaeval institutions on the Rhine and Po. Liberty, crushed in Poland by the Russians, when 500 of Kosciuszko's Jewish volunteers fell fighting to the last on the ramparts of Praga (1794), was successively victorious in the West. Proclaimed in the United States and France, the rights of the Jews were recognized in Holland, Belgium, Denmark, parts of Germany, Canada, and Jamaica; in 1848-'9 throughout Germany, Italy, and Hungary; and finally in Norway and England. Among the most zealous defenders of the rights of the Jews we may mention the Frenchman Gregoire, the Pole Czacki, the German Welcker, the Irishman O'Connell, the Englishman Lord John Russell, the Italian D'Azeglio, and the Hungarian Eotvos, all Christians; the Jews by descent Borne and Disraeli, and the professing Jews Jacobssohn, Riesser, Philipssohn, Montefiore, and Cremieux. The revolutionary movement of 1848-'9 proved the immense progress of the Jews as well as of public opinion since Men-delssohn and Lessing. The Jews Cremieux, Goudchaux, and Fould were among the minis-ters of the French republic; Pincherle was a member of the provisional government in Ven-ice; Jacoby of Konigsberg was the leader of the opposition in the Berlin parliament; Ries-ser was vice president of that of Frankfort; Dr. Fischhof stood at the head of affairs in Vienna after the flight of the court; Meisels, the rabbi of Cracow, was elected to the Austrian diet by Polish patriots; and Hungarian barons and counts willingly fought under Jewish officers.
The subsequent reaction, as in Austria, where it was checked by the events of 1859, was mostly temporary, and the Mortara case in Italy in 1858 excited a very general expression of opposition to the antique legislation by which it was decided. Of the vast number of Jewish writers after Mendelssohn (excluding all converts to Christianity like Heine, Nean-der, or Gans) we mention only a few : the tal-mudists Jacob of Dubno, Jacob of Slonim, Pick, Jacob of Lissa, Bonet, Eger, Sopher, Chajes; the Hebrew poets, philologists, or critics, E. Luzzato, S. Cohen, Satanow, Wolfsohn, Bensev, Pappenheim, Troplowitz, Heidenheim, Lowi-sohn, S. Bloch, Simha of Hrubieszow, Jeitteles, Landau, Reggio, Perl, N. Krochmal, the great rabbinical critic Rapoport, S. D. Luzzato, Letteris, Eichbaum, P. M. Heilprin, S. Sachs, Kirchheim, Schorr, A. Krochmal; the historians, critics, or publicists on Jewish subjects in modern languages, Zunz, Jost, Riesser, Gei-ger, Furst, Philippson, Salvador, Munk, Cahen, Dukes, Frankel, M. Sachs, Jellinek, Herzfeld, Saalschutz, Steinschneider, Gratz, Low, Ber-nays, Neubauer, Harkawy, Kayserling, Raphall (New York), Leeser (Philadelphia), Wise (Cincinnati); the conservative theologians Pless-ner, Johlsohn, Steinheim, and Hirsch; the advocates of religious reform (besides Geiger and Herzfeld) Chorin, Creizenach, Stein, Herx-heimer, Holdheim, Hess, Stern, Einhorn (New York), Lilienthal (Cincinnati); the pulpit orators Mannheimer, Klcy, Salomon, Frankfurter; the philosophers Maimon, Bendavid, Frank; the mathematicians Witzenhausen, Sklow, A. Stern, Cassel, Hirsch; the astronomers W. Beer, Stern, Slonimski; the ichthyologist Bloch; the physiologist Valentin; the anatomist Hirsch-feld; the botanist Pringsheim; the poets Kuh, M. Beer, Frankl, Leon Halevy; the miscellaneous writers Auerbach, Bernstein, M. M. Noah, Grace Aguilar, Jules Janin; the orientalists Weil, Dernburg (Derenbourg), Oppert, E. Deutsch, Levy (besides Munk). Politics, law, medicine, and the arts, including the stage (Mlle. Rachel, etc.), have had numerous representatives, and especially music (Moscheles, Meyerbeer, Halevy, &c). - The number of Jews in all parts of the world is hardly less than 0,000,000, or more than 7,000,000. - The Hebrew Language (Heb. Ibrith, or lashon lbrith, Hebrew tongue, also leshon hakkodesh, sacred tongue, in post-Biblical Jewish works; Yehudith, Jewish, in the Biblical history of the period following the captivity of the ten tribes; in Isaiah, poetically, also sefath Kena'an, language of Canaan), together with scanty remnants of the Phoenician and Punic, belongs to the so-called Canaanitic branch of the Semitic family of languages. (See Semitic Race and Languages.) In the antiquity of its extant literary remnants the Hebrew by far surpasses all other Semitic idioms, and in richness and development exceeds all others except the Arabic. The Hebrew is deficient in grammatical technicalities, especially in moods and tenses of the verb, and consequently also somewhat in precision; but in euphony, simplicity, brevity, variety of signification, and [tower of poetical expression, it is hardly excelled by any tongue.
In its full purity the Hebrew appears in the earlier books of the Bible, in the mediaeval poetical works of Judah Hallevi, Aben Ezra, etc, and in the modern poems of Wessely, S. Cohen, and others. The prose writings posterior to the Babylonish captivity are generally tinged with Aramaisms, especially the Mishnah, which also contains numerous Greek words, while the mixed idiom of the Gemara and its commentaries may be termed Chaldaic rather than Hebrew, (See Talmud.) In the middle ages pure Hebrew was used only in poetry and poetical prose; in modern times it is used also in simple prose. In the East and in Poland the Hebrew is often used in correspondence, in the East occasionally also as a medium of conversation with occidental Jews. Of the various modes of Hebrew pronunciation, the Sefaradic (improperly Portuguese), or that of the descendants of the exiles from Spain and Portugal, is regarded by scholars as the most genuine. There are three kinds of Hebrew alphabets now in use: the square, also called the Assyrian (properly Babylonian), which is generally supposed to have been introduced by Ezra, the most common in print; the rabbinical or mediaeval, used chiefly in commentaries and notes; and the cursive, in writing.
The most ancient Hebrew, however, is believed by many critics more to have resembled the Phoenician (see Alphabet), and to be best represented by the Maccabean coins and the alphabet of the Samaritan version of the Pentateuch. The writing is from right to left. The alphabet consists of 22 letters or consonants, called aleph, beth, etc. (see Alphabet), the vowels being expressed by marks above or below the letters, thus: Five letters (kaph, mem, mm, pe, tsade) have a separate final form. There are no capital letters. The accents and marks of punctuation are very numerous. The following examples will exhibit some of the most interesting features of the language: Kol, (a) voice, hakkol, the voice; gan, garden, haggan, the garden; shem, name, hashshem, the name. Dod, uncle, dodah, aunt; dod zaken, an old uncle, dodah zekenah, (Epistle to the) 599 an old aunt; dodim zekenim, old uncles, dodoth zekenoth, old aunts; dod e'had, one uncle, dodah a'hath, one aunt; shenei dodim, two uncles, shetei dodoth, two aunts. Oznayim, raglayim, alpayim, two (a couple of) ears, feet, thousands. Banim, sons, banoth, daughters; benei david, benoth david, sons, daughters of David. Ani gadol, I am great, hu gadol, he is great, hem gedolim, they are great. Koli, my voice, kolo, his voice, Kolam, their voice, Kolan, their voice, speaking of females. Lemosheh, to Moses, bemosheh, in Moses, kemosheh, like Moses, middavid, from David. Bo, in him, lo, to him; banu, in us, lanu, to us. Bein, between; bein mosheh vedavid, between Moses and David; beini ubeino, between me and him. Min, from; gadol middavid, greater than David; haggadol baaretz, the greatest in the land.
Golyath raah eth david, Goliath saw (looked at) David; golyath 'hereph eth david, Goliath insulted (mocked at) David; david hikkah eth golyath, David struck (at) Goliath. Shamor, to guard; eshmor, I shall guard, tishmor, thou wilt guard, nishmor, we shall guard; shamarti, 1 (have) guarded, shamarnu, we guarded, shemartem, ye guarded; ani shomer (I am guarding), I guard, hu shomer, he guards, hi shomerah, she guards, hem, shomerim, they guard; shamar, (he) guarded, nishmar, was guarded, hishtam-mer, guarded himself; lishmor, to guard, bish-mor, in guarding; mosheh shamar, Moses guarded; miryam shamerah, Miriam guarded; she-marani, (he) guarded me, shemaro, guarded him; yishmerenu, will guard us; shomer (guarder), guardian, mishmar, guard, watch, confinement, ashmoretli, night watch, mishmereth, thing to be watched, observance, trust. Akhal, (he) ate, ikkel, consumed, heekhil, caused to eat, nee-khal, was eaten, ukkal, was consumed. - Among the eminent modern Christian-writers (besides the Jewish previously mentioned) on Hebrew history, literature, or language are Reuchlin, the Buxtorfs, Lowth, Basnage, Michaelis, Eich-horn, Herder, Rosenmuller, Jahn, Gesenius, De Wette, Ewald, Quatremere, Milman, Robinson, Noyes, Stuart, Conant, Bush, and Renan.