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violable treasures. It is not strange that Herodotus should see in such conduct the vagaries of an uneasy conscience developing into the frenzy of a madman. "So it seems certain to me," he says, "by a great variety of proof, that Cambyses was stark mad; otherwise, he would not have gone about to pour contempt on holy rites and time-honored customs." Whatever may have been the real ground of his action, it had, for the time being, the desired effect, namely, thoroughly to cow the Egyptian people, and leave to the conqueror the way open to return to his capital. A great surprise, however, was in store for him. Having already led his army a part of the distance homeward, being in Syria, a herald suddenly entered his camp, one day, unannounced, and proclaimed before the astonished soldiers and their leader that Cambyses was no longer king, Smerdis, his brother, having ascended the throne of Cyrus. Amazed, confused, and half in doubt, as it would seem, whether his agents had really done the horrid work intrusted to them, the king utterly lost courage, and, although at the head of a victorious army, and as the elder son of his renowned father able, no doubt, to count on the support of the masses of the Persian people, he took refuge in cowardly suicide (B. C. 522). The details of his death as given by Herodotus, who regarded it as a judgment upon him for his crimes in Egypt, are more than suspicious, and have little historic worth as compared with the record of the great Behistun inscription, which distinctly states that Cambyses killed himself because of the insurrection.2


The conspirators at the capital must have looked upon the king's death as an astounding omen of final success. Still, caution was needful. A thousand things must be thought of in order to prevent the suspicion from getting abroad that the Magus, Smerdis. Gomates, who impersonated him, was not actually the son of Cyrus. The greatest danger lay in the fact that the change of administration meditated involved a change in the national religion. The destruction of Zoroastrian temples, the general substitution of Magians in the place of the usual priest-caste, and other similar movements could not but attract attention, and might awaken a too powerful opposition if entered upon before the new king was fairly seated on his throne. Undue haste and bigotry seem, in fact, to have got the better of discretion. Whispered rumors of the great fraud that had been committed began to circulate among the Persian noblemen. The first uneasiness, which the pretender tried in vain to repress, grew, at last, to a counter conspiracy. A company of leading Persians, with Darius, the son of Hystaspes, at their head, forced their way into the presence of the false Smerdis, and put him to death, along with a number of his retainers, after a reign of only seven months. And now, religious fanaticism, combined with national pride, led the fully aroused Persians to take bloody vengeance on the Magian priests and their adherents who had betrayed them.

One event that happened in a distant province serves to clothe this short reign of the pseudoSmerdis with a peculiar interest. The reaction in religion at Susa and Ecbatana was felt no less seriously at Jerusalem. The work on the temple, begun under Cyrus, had not been interrupted by Cambyses, notwithstanding the embittered efforts of the Samaritans in that direction. With the idol-loving Magian, however, the enemies of the Jews were immediately successful. The holy work ceased by his order, not again to be resumed till news had been received of the accession of Darius.8 A clearer proof could scarcely be asked that the friendliness of the Persian kings for the Israelitish people was prompted, at least in some degree, by a deeper and nobler motive than that of simple policy.


Darius Hystaspis was one of Persia's greatest rulers, second only to Cyrus, and even his superior as an organizer and administrator. His reign extended over a period of thirty-six years, and is marked by events that, without the coloring of a partial historian, are full of interest even when read amidst the absorbing concerns of the present day. The revolts that early broke out in various parts of his dominions he suppressed with a hand at once so firm and wise that it left him, later, the needed repose for his widereaching plans of administration. To him is due the honor of being the first to introduce a really stable form of government among the heterogeneous elements of power and weakness that had hitherto ruled in the empires of the East. He greatly improved the prevailing military system, and took wise precautions that the immense resources of his kingdom should not be needlessly wasted. If he did not origirate and introduce among the Persians a metallic currency, its more general use certainly dates from him; and his gold and silver daries carried

1 iii. 38.

3 Cf Ez v 2; Hagi 11.

2 See Rawlinson's Herod., ii. 591 ff.

the name of Darius far beyond the bounds of his age and empire He was before the Romans in appreciating the importance of safe and easy communication from place to place.1 His couriers found the streams already bridged for them and sped from station to station, like birds in their flight. "Nothing mortal," says Herodotus, "travels so fast as these Persian messengers. . . . The first rider delivers his despatch to the second, and the second passes it to the third; and so it is borne from hand to hand along the whole line, like the light in the torch race, which the Greeks celebrate to Vulcan." 2 Indeed, Darius Hystaspis was so great and wise a ruler, as the times then were, that it has served to obscure the genius which he also possessed as a military leader. He had not finished his preparations for suppressing a fresh revolt that had broken out in Egypt, where the wild severity of Cambyses still rankled. when death overtook him, in the sixty-third year of his age (B. C. 486).


Artaxerxes and his successors.

The kingdom descended, by his own appointment, to Xerxes, the eldest of his sons. It would be interesting to dwell upon the latter's history, embracing as it does some of the most magnificent, if mistaken and unsuccessful, enterprises which the world has ever known, and which have made the names of Thermopyla, Salamis, and Platæa celebrated for more than twenty subsequent centuries. Especially would it be interesting because of his connection with the fascinating story of Queen Esther, the palace at "Shushan," and the averted destruction of the Jewish people. But for the purposes of the present work it would be an unjustifiable diversion. Notwithstanding all his magnificence, Xerxes ranked, both in character and achievements, far below his predecessor, with him beginning, indeed, the fatal deterioration and decline that made the Persian kingdom, less than a century and a half later, a comparatively easy conquest for the disciplined troops of Alexander. Xerxes was succeeded by Artaxerxes, with the surname Longimanus (B. C. 465), and the latter by Xerxes II. (B. c. 425), who reigned but five and forty days, when he was put to death by his half-brother, Sogdianus. Sogdianus himself, also, in less than seven months afterwards, lost his life at the hands of a brother, who followed him on the Persian throne under the title of Darius Nothus (B. C. 424). His sovereignty continued for nineteen years, but was little else than one uninterrupted scene of debauchery and crime at court, and of revolt and bloody strife in the provinces. Arsaces, a son, under the name of Artaxerxes II. (Mnemon), was the next in succession. But the ceremonies of his coronation were not yet over when he was called to confront a danger of a serious character at the hands of his brother, generally known as the younger Cyrus. Instigated by his mother, the latter sought to win the crown for himself by the murder of Artaxerxes. Foiled, for the time being, in his wicked purpose, it was none the less secretly cherished, and his subsequent rebellion while satrap in Asia Minor was made memorable by the famous battle of Cunaxa, in which he lost his life, and the still more famous victory and heroic retreat of the ten thousand Greek soldiers who had been his auxiliaries. The success of this retreat was no doubt largely due to the superior bravery and discipline of the Greeks. But it was also due to the inherent weakness and advanced decay of the Persian empire. It already tottered to its fall. Under this reign and that of the following king, Artaxerxes III. (Ochus, B. C. 359), the re ligious apostasy and deterioration of the Persians, which had already long since begun, made the most rapid progress. A vicious eclecticism that saw no danger in mingling Magian rites with the relatively pure tenets of Zoroaster ended by accepting Venus as a national deity, and lascivious orgies in place of the exercises of religion As might have been expected, the Persians were not the only sufferers by the change. The bond of sympathy that had united to them in all their varying fortunes, until now, as obedi ent and faithful allies, the nation of the Jews, was violently rent asunder. By the toleran Cyrus or Darius, not much difference could be observed between Jehovah and Ormuzd. But with a Mnemon or Ochus on the throne, and images of Anaitis by royal authority set up for worship at Susa and Persepolis, at Babylon and Damascus, and, as we may well suppose, at Jerusalem also, the circumstances were changed indeed. Sympathy and protection gave place to repugnance and persecution. If we may accept the account of Josephus, who quotes Hecateus, this much-oppressed people were obliged at the present time to suffer another cruel deportation. Moreover, a creature of Artaxerxes III., one Bagoas (Bagoses), who afterwards poisoned his master, taking the rejection of a certain candidate for the high priest's



1 See Xen., Cyrop., viii. 7. 18; and Duncker, iv. 537.

2 Rawlinson's Herod., iv. 335.

8 Contra Apion, i. 22; cf. Graetz, Geschichte, ii. (2) 209, note. The same fact is also mentioned by other ancient writ See Hitzig, Geschichte, i. 307.

office, whose election he had favored, as a personal affront, laid the most oppressive burdens on the temple service, and even forced his way into the Holy of Holies, as if, thereby, to give a greater emphasis to his contempt. Sad omens these for a future that had in store a Heliodorus and an Antiochus Epiphanes !

Arses and

the over

throw of the Persian

Arses, the last Persian king but one, was a son of Bagoas, and ascended the throne B. C. 338. Refusing to be the tool of his father, the latter, who had hitherto hesitated at no crime lying in the path of his ambition, ruthlessly murdered him, together with his infant children. His successor was Codomannus, or Darius III. (B. C. 336), the beginning of whose reign nearly synchronizes with that of Alexander Empire. of Macedon. And now followed, within the space of three short years, the bold invasion of Asia Minor by the Macedonian, and, in quick succession, the renowned and decisive battles of the Granicus, of Issus, and of Arbela, where the fate of the great Persian monarchy was effectually sealed. It had fully accomplished its purpose in the providence of God. Its yoke had indeed been heavy on the necks of many peoples. But it had also served some of the nobler ends of civilization and human progress; and, in the case of Israel, had helped to tide it over certain dangerous reefs and shallows in its progress towards the development of a world religion. Such development, though slow, could not wholly cease, or be long checked. Hence the new factors that at this point enter into human history, and especially into the history of the covenant people. What had called for a Cyrus two hundred years before now called no less loudly for an Alexander. Judaism had had its period of incubation; what it now needed was wings and liberty. Parseeism had been helpful as a protector, and to some degree, also, as it would seem, in the way of moral stimulus and suggestion. The Greek language and philosophy were to prove a still greater resource and auxiliary, and, though in ways they would never have chosen, and through the most painful as well as humiliating experiences in political and social life, the consecrated nation advanced towards its providential goal.

The Jews.
Origin of


It remains to us, in the present section, to treat more in detail what has been already given above in outline, -the internal history of Judaism; to show what it gained during the present period, and how far it felt the influence, and subsequently carried the impression, of the religious ideas of its Persian rulers. Naturally, the first thing Samaritanthat by its prominence and its bearings on the future suggests itself is the schism of the Samaritans, if so it may be called. It is a disputed point to what extent the kingdom of Israel, whose capital was Samaria, had been depopulated of its inhabitants in consequence of the great Assyrian invasions (2 Kings xvii. 6; xviii. 11). The later criticism, however, supported by the inscriptions of the monuments, assumes a far less thorough deportation of Israelites than has generally been supposed. From the testimony of the monuments, moreover, it is clear that the number and variety of foreign colonists that at this period were introduced into Palestine has been generally under-estimated. Certain it is that among these colonists, who naturally brought with them the sensuous idol-worship of their own lands, the worship of Jehovah was also adopted, and the rights and privileges appertaining to it boldly claimed. The repugnance which the native Jews, particularly in Judæa, could not but feel towards this mongrel religion, seems, previous to the Exile, to have come to no violent outbreaks. It may have been looked upon as simply a widening of the political breach that had long existed between Judah and Ephraim. There were also evident prudential reasons why at least the externals of peace should be maintained with the distasteful neighbors. After the return from the captivity, however, where new lessons concerning the sin and folly of serving idols had been learned, especially after the accession of the monotheistic Cyrus and his immediate successors to power, and the sweeping reforms inaugurated by Ezra and Nehemiah, it was not to be expected that the deep-seated aversion would fail to give itself emphatic expression. The occasion was the request of the Samaritans to be permitted to participate in the rebuilding of the walls and temple of Jerusalem. Sanballat, their "Horonite" leader, had made an alliance by marriage with the high priest's family, and it seems to have been expected on their part that now, by mutual participation in the sacred work of restoring the walls of Zion, the reconciliation would be complete. So much the greater, therefore, was their disappointment, and the more intense their hatred, when every offer of aid was, with ill-concealed disgust, rejected, and, in addition, the apostate sonin-law of Sanballat was banished from Judæa.

1 See Schrader in Schenkel's Bib. Lex., under "Samarien." 2 Schrader, idem, and Die Keilinschriften, p. 162.

The separation was final and decisive. Nothing remained for the Samaritans but to make the best of their defeat. They also had descendants of the priestly Aaronic

The Samar

tan Temple. family among them. That the same had been driven from their homes on ac

count of wicked practices was in their eyes no discredit. They too had some claim to the name of Israelites, and where it failed were at no loss to supply its place with the most baseless and egregious assumptions. Why should they not, then, have a temple and service of their own, and win, as far as possible, the repute of being the only true successors of Abraham? The central and fertile Mount Gerizim, where under Joshua the blessings had been spoken, might at least hope to rival and share, if not eclipse, the glories of Mount Moriah and of Jerusalem. And thus the bold undertaking, in itself proof that along with Assyrian cunning and duplicity there was associated also not a little Israelitish persistence, was entered upon. The temple was built on Gerizim. The Pentateuch was forced to give its support to the new Zion. And to this day "the foolish people that dwell in Sichem " as the Son of Sirach (1. 26) calls them, though insignificant in numbers, have continued to maintain a separate existence. In all these centuries, moreover, they have lost none of their capacity for groundless assertions, or their superstitious reverence for Gerizim. Heaven, as they claim, lies directly over or near this spot. Here Adam built his first altar, and was himself made from its sacred earth. Here the ark rested after the flood, for it is the real Ararat of the Bible, and the exact place is shown where Noah disembarked and offered thankful sacrifices. Here, too, Abraham brought his son Isaac as a burnt-offering to the Lord, and here as well, strange to say, the patriarch Jacob on his way to Padan-Aram found his Bethel and dreamed sweet dreams of heaven.1

Results of the division.

It was inevitable that the whole movement would react powerfully upon the little Jewish community, and, as might have been expected in the end, with good results. The temple on Gerizim and its spurious service was, in the first place, a perpetual menace. The Samaritans, moreover, lost no occasion, fitting or unfitting, for showing their hostility. By means of flaming torches, for instance, simultaneously waved from mountain-top to mountain-top, the Israelites had been wont, since the Exile, to announce to their brethren still in Assyria the exact time for holding the sacred yearly festivals. The adherents of Sanballat and the banished Manasseh set a similar line of beacons blazing, but at the wrong time, in order to confuse and mislead. In one way and another, to escape punishment or with hope of reward, not a few native Jews from Judæa cast in their lot with them. The Persian officials were probably indifferent, if not acquiescent. Insolence and assumption grew with apparent success. All reserve was finally laid aside. The covenant people were fairly challenged to show what right they had to exist, and to bear the revered, historic name. Not only as over against heathenism, therefore, but especially in sharp distinction from those who falsely professed to worship the same God and to be governed by the same Mosaic institutions, they were called upon to determine and declare what it was that really characterized them as a people. From this point, as we have already intimated, although the name itself does not appear until a later period,2 properly dates the origin of Judaism. In its struggles with what was false and baneful it came to the first real knowl edge of itself.

The Scrip


The Law, for instance, had been caricatured and perverted. What, then, was the Law, and what were its demands? Were there not other sacred books in addition to those given to Moses which were entitled to holy regard? It had been denied by them of Gerizim, and hence from such a quarter that the denial itself was almost equal to a proof of the fact. And so investigation arose. The Scriptures were studied as they had never been before. The different parts were classified as Law, Prophets, and Hagiographa. New copies were assiduously made. The goodly custom of public readings, introduced by Ezra, was perpetuated. The Sabbaths and festivals were given a new sacredness and even market days were ennobled by reverent communion with Moses and the prophets. The Torah was divided into sections so that in the public readings the whole of it could be gone over either in a single year or in three years, as the case might be. The old Hebrew character, which had become antiquated and was understood only by a few, was exchanged

1 See Petermann in Herzog's Real-Encyk., xiii 376, and, in general, concerning the history and literature of the Sa maritans, vols. ix. and xiii. of Eichhorn's Allg. Bib. d. bib. Litteratur; De Sacy, vol. xii of Notices et Extraits des Mann serits; Juynboll, "Comment de Versione Arabico-Samaritana," in vol. ii. of the Orientalia, edited by Juynboll, Roorda and Weijers; and Gesenius. De Pentateuchi Samaritani origine, indole et auctoritate.

2 See 2 Mace. ii. 21: viii 1.

8 See Ecclus., Prol.

The Syna gogue.

for an alphabet with which the Israelites had become familiar during their sojourn on the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates. For convenience in reading, also, vowel points were introduced. In short, for the people of Israel, the seals were taken from the holy books. Not so with the Samaritans. They were governed by another principle. They chose to retain their Bible, that is, the Pentateuch, in its ancient form. They left it with all its seals upon it, where to this day they still remain. They may be regarded indeed, as the first champions of the doctrine, not yet extinct, that the Bible was not intended for general circulation. Another great and far-reaching change of this period was the introduction of synagogues. To the idea of worshiping elsewhere than in the temple the people had become somewhat accustomed during the exile. And when, after their return, Ezra set the example of a similar service under the very shadow of the temple, it was readily taken up and carried, little by little, into every part of the land. There were, however, other reasons which contributed to this result. The second temple was itself a disappointment. It could never quite take the place, in the affections of the people, of that which had been destroyed. It was destitute of some of its chief attractions. This made it easier to be reconciled to the simple forms of the synagogue, and to grasp, in some measure, the sublime thought, which for its full development, however, required other centuries of bitter experience, that God is a spirit and that they who worship Him should worship Him in spirit and in truth. We cannot help feeling, moreover, that the existence of the temple on Gerizim also had something to do with the popularity of synagogues. To Sanballat and his coadjutors the temple was the principal thing in Judaism. To build its counterpart, therefore, or its superior at another point; to introduce into it a more imposing liturgy; to claim for it, equally with any other, the sanctions of the ancient legislation; and to hallow it with the memories and traditions of Israel which were also theirs, this, they thought, would be a fatal blow at the heart of Jewish exclusiveness. And a noble answer it was which was returned to them:

God is greater than the temple. To understand the Law and to do it- - for this was really the teaching of the new system is more than all burnt offering. Obedience is better than sacrifice, the offering up of the heart to God than a multitude of costly gifts in his house. The temple was not ignored. Synagogues, in their outward form, were constructed with due reference to it. Their simple services were made, as far as possible, a re- Its services. flex of its revered ritual. But the false notion that worship was a matter of priestly functions and of brilliant shrines was greatly weakened. A new system was introduced more in harmony with the real, inner nature of Judaism, and one which afterwards, Christianity, represented by Christ and his Apostles, found not to be ill adapted to serve as one of the most powerful means for its propagation. From the New Testament, in fact, we may easily learn almost the entire order of proceeding in the worship of the synagogues. The service began with prayer, which, indeed, like the sacrifices in the temple, formed its principal feature. The leader was not a priest, but one of the elders of the little communion. The language used was that of the people. Following the prayers, which differed in number and length according to the occasion, came invariably the reading of a portion from the Pentateuch in the original, and generally, also, from the Prophets. The reader was selected by the person officiating from among those present. A translator stood by his side and rendered the sacred oracles, verse by verse, into the vernacular. Explanatory remarks and exhortations, moreover, were not excluded.1 The blessing of the minister and the loud responsive amen of the assembled worshipers marked the close of the impressive service.2 What could have been better calculated to give to the masses of the Jewish people a knowledge of the Scriptures, or unite them in reverence and love for their religion? "Our houses of prayer in the various cities," says Philo, are nothing else than schools of prudence, courage, temperance, and righteousness, in short, of every virtue which is recognized or enjoined by God or man.' ." It was through the synagogues, also, that the poor of the community were relieved and other friendly services rendered, a special office being instituted for the purpose. Here, too, the minor differences and offenses of the people were considered and adjudicated. The synagogue represents, in fact, politically the democratic side of Judaism. On one side, it was a pronounced hierarchy. Here, on the contrary, all interests and classes were represented and could make their influence felt. And if, through its more hearty, spiritual worship it served as a healthful check on the formalizing influences of the temple, the synagogue

1 Cf. Luke iv. 16-20.

2 See Zunz, Die Ritus des synagogalen Gottesdienstes, passim.

8 De Vita Mosis, ii. 168.

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