The word bible comes from the Greek "biblia" meaning Books

It is a collection of ancient writings about God (Yahweh)




.
.. these are stories about an old agreement between God (Yahweh) and man (the Hebrews) when the Hebrews came out of Egypt ... and how it worked out.


..
.these are stories and teachings about a new agreement between God and man based on the teachings and life of Jesus--who opened up a relationship with God to all men who believed in Him and accepted God's forgiveness of their sins.

*Protestant Bibles include 68 writings.   Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Anglican contain 73 writings. 

Who wrote the Bible?

It was written by many different authors, 
mostly Hebrews, some unknown.

Who Chose these writings?

The writings were not chosen but acknowledged to be inspired. The Council of Hippo (393 A. D.) and subsequent councils drew up a list or canon of inspired books.
   

When was it written?

At different times
-- over about 1,000 years--from 
    about 900 B.C. to 100 A.D. 

At different places

-- Palestine, Babylon, Egypt, Rome, Corinth.

For different purposes

--to teach religion and
   patriotism, to describe the Messiah.

Why read the Bible?

  For many different purposes --
 
--to help you understand God and His works

 
-- to help you know how to live and act

 
--to share stories of human experience in many literary forms

  
-- songs and poetry

 
  -- laws and history
  
-- prophecies, wise sayings

  
-- short stories, letters

  
-- to know about the most
famous book in history--

 a Book of 30 Centuries, the all-time best-seller!

The Old Testament (Jewish Scriptures)

A collection of religious books in Hebrew written over a period of 900years, including:

1. Histories
2. Codes of Laws
3. Speeches and Sermons
4. Poetry

39 books in the  Protestant Bibles                    46 books in Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Anglican Bibles

"The Law"

"The Prophets"

Genesis
Exodus
Leviticus
Numbers 
Deuteronomy
Joshua              Amos
Judges              Obadiah

I Samuel            Jonah

II Samuel          Micah

I Kings             Nahum

II Kings            Habakkuk

Isaiah               Zechariah

Jeremiah          Haggai

Ezekial             Zechariah

Hosea              Malachi

Joel

"The Writings"

"The Second Canon"

Psalms
Proverbs

Job

Daniel

Ezra

Nehemiah

I Chronicles

II Chronicles

Song of  Solomon

Ruth

Lamentations

Ecclesiastes

Esther

Tobit
Judith
Wisdom of Solomon
Sirach
Baruch
I Maccabees
II Maccabees

plus additions to

Esther
Daniel

The First 5 Cover "The Law"

The Hebrews now entitle all the Five Books of Moses, from the initial words, which originally were written like one continued word or verse; but the Septuagint have preferred to give the titles the most memorable occurrences of each work. On this occasion, the Creation of all things out of nothing, strikes us with peculiar force. We find a refutation of all the heathenish mythology, and of the world's eternity, which Aristotle endeavoured to establish. We behold the short reign of innocence, and the origin of sin and misery, the dispersion of nations, and the providence of God watching over his chosen people, till the death of Joseph, about the year of the world 2369 (Usher) 2399 (Salien and Tirinus), the year before Christ 1631. We shall witness the same care in the other Books of Scripture, and adore his wisdom and goodness in preserving to himself faithful witnesses, and a true Holy Catholic Church, in all ages, even when the greatest corruption seemed to overspread the land. (Haydock)
 
The second Book of Moses is called Exodus from the Greek word Exodos, which signifies going out; because it contains the history of the going out of the children of Israel out of Egypt. The Hebrews, from the words with which it begins, call it Veelle Shemoth: These are the names. (Challoner) --- It contains the space of 143 years, till the beginning of the second year after the liberation of the Israelites. (Tirinus) --- Their slavery is described in the first chapters; and is supposed to have continued ninety years. (Du Hamel) --- The laws prescribed by God to his people, the sacrifices, tabernacle, &c., were all intended to prefigure the Christian dispensation. (St. Augustine, City of God vii. 31.) --- Moses himself was a type of Jesus Christ, who was rejected by the synagogue, and received by the Gentiles, as the Jewish Legislator was abandoned by his mother, and educated by the Egyptian princess. She delivers him back to his mother; and thus the Jews will, at last, acknowledge our Saviour. (Du Hamel) --- God deigns to address his people in the character of a powerful Eastern monarch, and requires the like attention. He appoints his ministers, like guards, to attend before his tabernacle, &c. The laws which he enacts, are such as suited the Jewish people: they were not to rise all at once to perfection; but these laws guide them, as it were, on the road. They are infinitely more perfect than those of the surrounding nations. (Calmet)
 
The Book is called Leviticus: because it treats of the offices, ministries, rites and ceremonies of the Priests and Levites. The Hebrews call it Vayyicra, from the word with which it begins; (Challoner) "and (the Lord) called." The a at the end of this word is printed in a smaller size, to insinuate that little children should begin to read this Book first, if we may give any credit to those who attempt to account for all the irregularities sanctioned by the great Massora! But such irregular letters are the faults of some transcribers, and are of no authority. (Kennicott, Dis. 1.) --- This Book is styled also, "The Priests' Law." (Haydock) --- The seven first chapters explain the sacrifices; the sixteen next, the offices and ordination of the Priests and Levites. From the 23d chapter to the end, the feasts are designated, and some regulations respecting vows are interspersed. All these rites and sacrifices foreshewed the eucharistic sacrifice of Jesus Christ, (St. Leo, ser. 8. de pas. Trid. sef. 22. c. 1.) and tended to keep the Hebrews employed, and at a greater distance from idolatry. (St. Jerome on Isai. i. &c.) --- These prescriptions were given during the month of Nisan, in the second year after the exit, while the Hebrews remained at the foot of Mount Sinai. God spoke from the New Tabernacle. (Tirinus) --- In the Book of Deuteronomy we find but few regulations respecting sacrifices, as Moses had sufficiently explained them in this book. (Du Hamel) --- If we confine ourselves to the letter, we may say these precepts are not good, and carnal; (Ezechiel xx. 25.; Hebrews vii. 16.) but if we consider the spirit, we shall confess that they are excellent, and spiritual. (Romans vii. 14.; 2 Corinthians iii. 6.; Origen, contra Cels. vii.) (Calmet)
 
This fourth Book of Moses is called Numbers, because it begins with the numbering of the people. The Hebrews, from its first words, call it Vaydedabber. It contains the transactions of the Israelites, from the second month of the second year after their going out of Egypt, until the beginning of the eleventh month of the 40th year; that is, a history almost of thirty-nine years. (Challoner) --- In the nine first chapters various orders of people are described, and several laws are given or repeated. From the 10th to the 33d, the marches and history of God's people are related; (Haydock) from the 20th of the second month, in the second year after their departure out of Egypt, till the eleventh month of the 40th year, and the last of Moses: so that this Book contains the transactions of almost thirty-nine years; (Tirinus) whereas, the Book of Leviticus specified only some of the laws and occurrences of one month. Here we behold what opposition Moses experienced from Aaron and his sister, from Core, and from all the people; and yet God protected him, in the midst of all dangers, and confounded, not only their attempts, but those also of Balaam, and of all his external foes. (Haydock) --- Moses conquers the Madianites, and divides the conquered country between the tribes of Ruben, Gad, and half of the tribe of Manasses. In the three last chapters, he describes the land of Chanaan, orders all the inhabitants to be exterminated, assigns cities for the Levites, and for refuge; and forbids such marriages, as might cause any confusion in the distribution of the lands belonging to each tribe. Moses composed this part of the Pentateuch, as well as that of Deuteronomy, a little while before his death, out of the memoirs which he had carefully preserved. (Calmet) --- According to Usher, the people were numbered this second time, in the year of the world 2514, chap. i.; after which they leave the desert of Sinai, (chap. x. 11.) go to Cades-barne, and return thither again 2552. Soon after this, Mary and Aaron die; Moses lifts up the brazen serpent; and the Hebrews take possession of part of the promised land (2553) on the eastern banks of the Jordan. That on the western side, flowing with milk and honey, was conquered by Josue in the following years. (Haydock)
 
This Book is called Deuteronomy, which signifies a second law, because it repeats and inculcates the ordinances formerly given on Mount Sinai, with other precepts not expressed before. The Hebrews, from the first words in the Book, call it Elle Haddebarim. (Challoner) --- It may be divided into many discourses, which Moses made to the people during the last two months of his life. (Haydock) --- The first was delivered by him on the first day of the eleventh month of the fortieth year, since the deliverance of the Hebrews out of Egypt, and relates various particulars which had occurred to them. In chap. iv. 41, and following, and a supplement from the Book of Numbers is given to this discourse. Chap. v., a fresh exhortation to the people commences, which continues until chap. xxii., where the famous blessings and maledictions, from the mountains of Garizim and Hebal, are related. In the following chapters, Moses exhorts the people, in the most pathetic manner, to be faithful to the Lord, adding the strongest threats and promises to enforce their compliance; and having appointed Josue to succeed him, and repeated that beautiful canticle which God ordered them to write, (chap. xxxi. 19,) he gives the Book of Deuteronomy, to be kept with care, (ver. 9,) blesses the tribes like a good and tender father, and gives up his soul to God on Mount Nebo in the 120th year of his age. (Calmet) --- There can be no doubt but that Moses was the author of this book, as well as of the four preceding ones; though the last chapter may, perhaps, form a part of the Book of Josue, which formerly was written immediately after the works of Moses, without any such marks of distinction as we find at present. The whole Bible seemed to make but one verse. How easily, therefore, might the account of the death of Moses be taken in, as forming a part of the Pentateuch, when the different books came to be distinguished by separate titles! Such an insertion cannot hurt the general claim of Moses to be the author of the Pentateuch; or, if it should be thought to do so, no absolute proof can be brought to shew that he did not write this chapter also, by the spirit of prophecy. All the people spoke to Esdras, the scribe, to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded, to Israel. The whole nation of the Jews has all along maintained, that Moses wrote these books: and he himself repeatedly asserts that he was ordered to leave on record many things of importance. Hence both internal and external evidence concur to establish his title to them; and if we be not disposed to cavil with all other authors, and to deny that Demosthenes, for example, Cæsar, and others, have written the works which bear their names, we must confess that the Pentateuch is to be attributed to the Jewish legislator. Yet if this were a matter of doubt, the things contained in these books could not, on that account, be controverted. How many anonymous works have been published which are of unquestionable authority! Many of the books of Scripture are of this nature. But as we have every reason to believe, that they have come down to us without any material corruption, and were written by people of veracity, by divine inspiration, they deserve to be regarded as authentic records. This is true, whether we speak of the originals or of the versions authorized by the Church; though it should suffice to stop the mouths of infidels, if we can procure an authentic history of the Bible by the collation of the different copies which are extant. Thus, where the Hebrew editions appear to be incorrect, they may receive great light from the Samaritan copy of the Pentateuch, and from the versions of the Septuagint, and of other respectable authors on the whole Bible. The variations, which we may discover, are not of such moment, but that, if the very worst copy were selected, we should find the same great outlines of Scripture history, the same precepts of faith and morality. The laws of Moses, which are scattered through his five books, may be seen all together in their natural order, collected by Cornelius a Lapide and Calmet. But the spirit of God was pleased to intersperse historical facts among them, which both shew the occasion on which they were given, and enable us to read them with greater pleasure and satisfaction. The four preceding books might be compared to the four Gospels; Deuteronomy represents the whole, (Ven. Bede) and may be styled a Diatessaron, as it recalls to our mind the great Creator of all things, who was about to fulfil the promises which he had made to the Patriarchs. Almost all those to whom Moses addresses himself, had been unborn or very young, when their parents received God's commands at Sinai, and wandered in the desert. He therefore gives them an account of what had happened during the last eventful period of forty years. He shews what had brought on so many disasters, and cautions his hearers, that if they imitate the perfidy of their fathers, as he foresees, with sorrow, that they will, (chap. xxxi.) they must expect to be treated with no less severity. This prediction we behold verified, at the present day, in the persons of the scattered remnants of Israel. How sublime! how terrifying are the truths which Moses enforces with so much earnestness! The same threats which he denounces against the perfidious Jews, regard us in some measure. If we feel not their effects at present, in being driven out from our country, we have more reason to fear lest we should be excluded from our heavenly inheritance, if we do not repent. (Haydock)
 

"Historical Books"

This book is called Josue, because it contains the history of what passed under him, and, according to the common opinion, was written by him. The Greeks call him Jesus; for Josue and Jesus, in the Hebrew, are the same name, and have the same signification, viz., A Saviour. And it was not without a mystery, that he who was to bring the people into the land of promise, should have his name changed from Osee (for so he was called before, Numbers xiii. 17,) to Josue, or Jesus, to give us to understand, the Moses, by his law, could only bring the people within sight of the promised inheritance, but that our Saviour, Jesus, was to bring us into it. (Challoner) --- The Hebrews who had been so rebellious under Moses, behaved with remarkable fidelity and respect towards his successor; who, by these means, more forcibly represented the Christian Church, (Du Hamel) which will be ever obedient to her divine head and observe his directions. Josue had been trained up a long time under the hand of Moses, and God had given him the commission to govern his people, in so public a manner, that no one offered to claim that high and arduous office. In effect, the whole conduct of Josue before and after his exaltation, shewed him to be most deserving of command. (Haydock) --- Josue, says the Holy Ghost, (Ecclesiasticus xlvi. 1,) was successor of Moses among the prophets, or, according to the Greek, "in prophecies." Many explain this of the obligation incumbent on him, to continue the sacred history (Calmet) and revelations where Moses had left off. The last chapter of this book informs us that he did so. Perhaps some additions, by way of farther explication, have been made by subsequent inspired writers, though most of the passages which are adduced to prove this assertion, seem to be of little force. Respecting the death of Josue, we may make the same observations as on that of Moses. It may have been written by the author of the Book of Judges. Theodoret seems to have thought that the work before us, was compiled out of the public registers, which are quoted chap. x. under the name of the book of the Lord. See Numbers xxi. 14. The Samaritans have a book or chronicle of Josue, which relates in 39 or 47 chapters, many facts of scriptural history, (Haydock) down to the reign of Adrian, intermingled with a variety of fables. It seems to be of modern date. Hottinger undertook to publish it in Latin, but was prevented by death. (Calmet) --- The true history of Josue sets before us the passage of the Jordan, the conquest of Chanaan, and the distribution of the country. After the pious general had performed all that could be expected from him, after he had twice ratified the covenant between God and his people, and exhorted the latter, with his last breath, to observe an inviolable fidelity to the only Lord, he departed this life in peace, in the 110th year of his age, and was buried at Thamnath Sare, which he had built for the place of his abode. (Haydock) --- As the five books of Moses contain the law, intermixed with history, so this first of the historical books exhibits a variety of useful precepts and predictions. The prophetical and sapiential books must be considered in the same light. (Worthington) --- They all tend to promote true wisdom and the salvation of men, provided they be perused in the same spirit with which they were written. (Haydock)
 

Judges 

This Book is called Judges, because it contains the history of what passed under the government of the judges, who ruled Israel before they had kings. The writer of it, according to the more general opinion, was the prophet Samuel. (Challoner) --- Some are of opinion, that the judges might have each left records of their respective administration, (Menochius) which might be put in order by Samuel. The author of this book seems to have lived under the reign of Saul, before David had expelled the Jebusites, chap. xviii. 31. (Du Hamel) --- The captivity, which is mentioned [in] ver. 30, must be understood of that when the ark of God, as well as the idol Micha, and may of the people were taken by the Philistines. (Huet) --- Many passages of the Psalms, &c., are taken from this book, which shew its antiquity, Psalm lxvii. 8., and 2 Kings xi. 21. The divine Providence is here displayed in a very striking manner. (Du Hamel) --- The theocracy still subsisted and God generally chose these judges to be his ministers, and to deliver the people, on their repentance, from some dreadful calamity. (Haydock) --- They exercised a supreme power, yet without bearing the insignia of regal authority, or imposing taxes, or making any alteration in the established laws. The Suffetes, who were Carthaginian magistrates, seem to have taken their name from these Ssuptim. (Du Hamel) --- When God did not raise up judges, in an extraordinary manner, a kind of ananchy prevailed. (Haydock) --- Each of the tribes regarded only their own affairs, and the republic was dissolved. (Grotius) --- Prosperous and unfortunate days succeeded each other, in proportion as the people gave themselves up to repentance or to dissolution. Sicut se habebant peccata populi & misericordia Dei, alternaverunt prospera & adversa bellorum. (St. Augustine, City of God xviii. 23.) St. Jerome (ep. ad Eust. & ad Paulin.) exhorts us to penetrate the spiritual sense of the historical books, and he regards "the judges as so many figures" of the apostles, who established the church of Christ. Though some of them had been noted for their misconduct, they were reclaimed by the grace of God. Then all the judges, every one by name, whose heart was not corrupted, who turned not away from the Lord, that their memory might be blessed, &c., Ecclesiasticus xlvi. 13, 14. (Worthington) --- St. Paul mentions four of them, though the conduct of Jephte and of Samson might have been regarded as more exceptionable than that of Othoniel, who is said to have been filled with the spirit of the Lord, chap. iii. 10. Serarius doubts not but they are all in heaven. Salien (in the year of the world 2640,) supposes that the transactions recorded in the five last chapters, took place before this 40th year from the death of Josue, which was the last of Othoniel. With respect to the chronology of these times, there are many opinions. Houbigant endeavours to shew that the system of Usher is inadmissible, as well as that of Petau. Marsham maintains that many of the captivities, and of the Judges, related only to some tribes, so that the different years which are specified, must be referred to the same period of time. Thus while Jephte ruled over those on the east side of the Jordan, and fought against the Ammonites, other judges endeavoured to repel the armies of the Philistines on the west. See 3 Kings vi. 1., and Judges xi. 16. By this expedient, he finds no difficulty in shewing that 480 years elapsed from the departure out of Egypt till the building of the temple, and that the Israelites had occupied the country of the Ammonites during the space of 300 years. (Haydock) --- Houbigant seems to adopt this system in some respects, and he thinks that errors have crept into some of the numbers, so that Aod procured a peace of only 20 instead of 80 years, &c. He observes that the name of judge here designates, 1. A warrior, like Samson; 2. a person who passes sentence according to the law, which was the office of Heli; 3. one divinely commissioned to exercise the sovereign authority, as Samuel did, even after Saul had been elected king. (Proleg. Chronol.) Others have compared the power of these judges with that of the Roman Dictators, or the Archontes of Athens. (Serarius) --- They were properly God's lieutenants. Their revenue seems to have been very precarious, and their exterior deportment modest and unassuming. They were guided by the declarations of the high priests, when arrayed with the Urim and Thummim; and their business was to promote the observance of the true religion, and to defend the people of God. This book concludes with the history of Samson, describing the transactions of 317 years, (Calmet) according to the calculation of Usher, which has met with the approbation of many of the learned, and is therefore chiefly inserted in this edition, as it was in that which was published in 1791, at Dublin, by the care of the Rev. B. Mac Mahon, who seems to have made some alterations. It is not indeed free from many serious difficulties. But we have not leisure to examine them at present. See chap. iii. 11, 30. We shall only subjoin the chronological table of Houbigant, which is not very common, that the reader may perceive where they are chiefly at variance. Moses governed 40 years, Josue 20, the Ancients 20, king of Mesopotamia 8, Othoniel 40, Moabites 18, Aod 20, Samgar 0, the Chanaanites 20, Debora and Barac 40, Madianites 7, Gedeon 40, Abimelech 3, Thola 23, Ammonites 0, Jair 22, Jephte 6, Abesan 7, Ahialon 10, Abdon 8, Philistines 0, Samson 20, and with Heli 20, Heli and Samuel 25, Samuel and Saul 20, David 40, Solomon 3. In the 4th year of his reign the temple was begun, 480 years after the liberation from Egypt. Those to whom no years are assigned, lived at the same time with others whose years enter into the calculation. Thus Samgar gained a victory over the Philistines, while the Chanaanites held the Israelites in subjection, chap. iii. 31. For other particulars we must refer to the author. (Chron. sacra.) (Haydock)

 

Ruth

This Book is called Ruth, from the name of the person whose history is here recorded; who, being a Gentile, became a convert to the true faith, and marrying Booz, the great-grandfather of David, was one of those from whom Christ sprang according to the flesh, and an illustrious figure of the Gentile church. It is thought this book was written by the prophet Samuel. (Challoner) --- The Holy Ghost chose that the genealogy of David, and of the Messias, should be thus more clearly ascertained. (Theodoret) --- Christ proceeded from the Gentiles, as well as from the Jews, and his grace is given to both. (Worthington) --- Send forth, 0 Lord, the lamb, the ruler of the earth, from Petra, Isaias xvi. This was the capital city of Arabia Petrea, where Ruth is supposed to have lived, (Tostat) being, according to the Chaldean, &c., the daughter of Eglon, king of Moab. The Jews also pretend that Booz was the same person as Abesan, the judge. But it is by no means certain to what period this history belongs. Usher places it under Samgar, about 120 years after Josue. (Calmet) --- Salien believes that the famine, which obliged Elimelech to leave Bethlehem, happened under Abimelech, and that Noemi returned in the 7th year of Thola, A.C. 1243.[1243 B.C.] This event certainly took place under some of the judges; so that we may consider this book as an appendix to the preceding, like the last chapters, (Judges xvii.; &c.; Haydock) and a preface to the history of the kings. (Calmet)

 

1 Samuel  

This and the following Book are called by the Hebrews, the Books of Samuel, because they contain the history of Samuel, and of the two kings, Saul and David, whom he anointed. They are more commonly named by the Fathers, the First and Second Book of Kings. As to the writer of them, it is the common opinion that Samuel composed the first book, as far as the twenty-fifth chapter; and that the prophets Nathan and Gad finished the first and wrote the second book. See 1 Paralipomenon, alias 1 Chronicles, xxix. 19. (Challoner) --- The authors of the Third and Fourth Books of Kings were also prophets, but we know not exactly their names. These works have nevertheless been always esteemed authentic (Haydock) and canonical. (Worthington) --- Ven. Bede takes occasion to observe, from the Books of Kings (or as the Septuagint read, "of kingdoms;" Haydock) being placed after that of Judges, that the everlasting kingdom of Christ will succeed the general judgment. The translation of the priesthood and of the regal dignity, recorded in these books, denote also that Christ would united both in his own person; as the two wives of Eleana intimated, that both Jews and Gentiles would acknowledge the same Lord. (St. Jerome; St. Augustine; &c.) --- The transactions of Heli, Samuel and Saul, and the persecutions which David sustained from the latter, form the subject of the first book, (Haydock) during the space of 100 years. All the four books carry down the sacred history near 600 years, from the year of the world 2849 till the transmigration of Juda, in the year 3420. (Calmet) (Usher)
 
This Book contains the transactions of David till the end of the pestilence, occasioned by his numbering the people, chap. xxiv. The last six chapters of the preceding book were probably written by Gad, who delivered God's orders to David, after he was deprived of the company of Samuel. Gad, Nathan, and other prophets, continued the sacred history, 1 Paralipomenon xxix. 29. After the unfortunate death of Saul, his general, Abner, instead of submitting quietly to the dominion of David, (Haydock) set the son of the deceased monarch upon the throne, at Mahanaim; and two years elapsed before the rival kings came to open war, chap. ii. 10. (Salien) --- David was 30 years old when he was anointed at Hebron, (chap. v. 4,) where he reigned seven years and a half over Juda. On the death of Isoboseth, he was anointed a third time, as king of all Israel, and reigned in that character 37 years. (Haydock) --- The partisans of Isoboseth might be excused in their adherence to him, as he was the son of the late king, and the election of David was not sufficiently notified to them. (Salien) --- We here behold the many virtues of David, and his repentance for some faults into which he had fallen. His predictions, and the names and exploits of many of his valiant men, are likewise recorded. (Worthington)
 
This and the following Book are called by the holy Fathers, The Third and Fourth Book of Kings; but by the Hebrews, the First and Second. They contain the history of the kingdoms of Israel and Juda, from the beginning of the reign of Solomon to the captivity. As to the writer of these books, it seem most probable they were not written by one man, nor at one time; but as there was all along a succession of prophets in Israel, who recorded, by divine inspiration, the most remarkable things that happened in their days, these books seem to have been written by these prophets. See 2 Paralipomenon, alias 2 Chronicles ix. 29., xii. 15., xiii. 22., xx. 34., xxvi. 22., and xxxii. 32. (Challoner) --- This book informs us of the death of David, chap. ii. 11, where some Greek copies concluded the second book "of the reigns or kingdoms," as they style all the four books. Theodoret and Diodorus follow this division. The point is of no consequence; and the Hebrew editions have often varied. Origen observes, that the Jews denoted these two books from the first words, "Ouammelech David." (Eusebius, Hist. vi. 25.) (Haydock) --- In St. Jerome's time, the four books made only two. The present book details the actions of Solomon, (Calmet) till the end of the 12th chapter. Then we behold the division of the kingdom: Roboam, Abias, Asa, and Josaphat, reign over Juda; Jeroboam, &c., over Israel; while the prophets Abias, Elias, Eliseus, appear in the remaining eleven chapters. (Worthington) --- Though the memoirs seem to have been left by contemporary authors, (Haydock) one, and most probably Esdras, made the compilation, after the captivity, inserting frequently the very words of his authors, yet so as to make some additional reflections. (Calmet) --- The Rabbins generally attribute the work to Jeremias. (Haydock) --- He is more attentive to the house of David, and to display the rewards of the piety, and the punishment of vice, as well as the glory of the temple and of religion, than to describe the military exploits, which occupy so much of the profane history. (Calmet) 
 
This Book brings us to the conclusion of the kingdom of Israel, (chap. xvii.) and to the captivity of Juda, at Babylon, chap. xxv. We behold some virtuous princes reigning over the two tribes [of Juda and Benjamin], while the ten were uniformly governed by men of perverse morals. (Worthington) --- Yet there were some who adhered to the Lord in both kingdoms. David and his descendants (Haydock) occupy the throne near 480 years; and, after the captivity, continue in some degree of honour till the coming of Christ. (Worthington) --- But various families rule over Israel; some by usurpation, (Haydock) others by God's appointment: who thus chooses to chastise the wicked. He still watches over his Church, and sends his prophets for the instruction of all. (Worthington) --- We have enquired in the preface of the former Book, who composed this. (Haydock) --- The kingdom of Israel subsists about 250, (Worthignton) or 254 years. This Book contains the transactions of 308 years. (Calmet) --- But the chronology is extremely perplexed. To the sixth year of Ezechias, when Israel was led away captive, the kingdom of Juda seems to have lasted 260, and that of Israel only 241 years, though they both commenced at the same period. The errors regard the kings of Isreal, according to Houbigant, who would assign the following years to the respective kings of Juda and Israel. 1. Of Juda: Solomon, 40; Roboam, 17; Abiam, 3; Asa, 41, Josaphat, 25; Joram, 8; Ochozias, 1; (the same is said to have begun to reign in the preceding year, the 11th of Joram, 4 Kings ix. 29, incorrectly) Athalia, 6; Joas, 40; Amasias, 29p; (he reigns 15 after the death of Joas, king of Isreal) Azarias, 52; Joatham, 16; Achaz, 16; Ezechias, 6; in which year, the three hundredth from the commencement of Solomon's reign, and the two hundred and sixtieth of the kingdom of Juda, Samaria was taken. 2. The kings of Israel: Jeroboam, 22; Nadab, 2; Baasa, 24; Ela, 2; Zambri, 7 days; Amri, 12; Achab, 22; Ochozias, 2; Joram, 12; Jehu, 28; Joachaz, 17; Joas, 16; Jeroboam, 41; Zacharias, 10½; (in the text 10 is omitted.; Haydock) Sellum, 1 month; Manahem, 10; Phaceia, 2; Phacee, 30; (in the text, 20.; Haydock) Osee, 9; in all, 261½ years, (Houbigant, Chron. Sac.) or 261 years and 7 months. The variation of 19 months, which still appears, may be owing to some of the years being incomplete. (Haydock) --- 3. After a reign of 28 years over Juda, Ezechias is succeeded by Manasses, who reigns 55: Amon, 2; Josias, 31; Joachaz, a few months; Eliacim, or Joakim, 11; Joachin, Conias, or Jechonias, had reigned ten years with his father. After three months and ten days reigning alone, he is led away to Babylon with part of the people. Matthanias, or Sedecias, is appointed in his stead; but proving refractory, is also, after nine years, deprived of his sight, and conducted with 832 of his subjects to Babylon. Nabuchodonosor had already led away 3023, under Joachin. After the death of Godolias, who was left to govern the miserable remains of the people, the year of the world 3417, he made 745 more captives, and thus an end was put to the kingdom of Juda. The scourge had been retarded for some time, by the repentance of Manasses, and the prayers of the prophets. (Calmet)
 
These Books are called by the Greek Interpreters, Paralipomenon; (Greek: Paraleipomenon,) that is, of things left out, or omitted; because they are a kind of supplement of such things as were passed over in the Books of Kings. The Hebrews call them, Dibre Hajamim; that is, The words of the days, or The Chronicles. Not that they are the books which are so often quoted in the Kings, under the title of, The Words of the days of the kings of Israel, and of the kings of Juda; for the Books of Paralipomenon were written after the Books of Kings; but because, in all probability, they have been abridged from those ancient words of the days, by Esdras, or some other sacred author. (Challoner) --- The author of this compilation refers to the same works, 2 Paralipomenon xvi. 11., &c. These journals were principally composed by prophets, though there were other people appointed to write the most important occurrences, 2 Kings viii. 16., and 4 Kings xviii. 18. The genealogies of families, particularly of the Levites, and the interests of piety and religion, are kept most in view. (Calmet) --- The variations which appear between this work and the other parts of Scripture, are owing to the faults of transcribers; and, though they could not be satisfactorily explained, it would be rashness to condemn the author of inaccuracy, at this distance of time, when we know so little of those transactions. (Haydock) --- Who calls in question the history of Alexander, though the different authors of it scarcely agree in one calculation of the number of troops, nations conquered, &c.?" Yet the work before us is of far higher authority, as it was dictated by the Holy Ghost. (Calmet) --- "Without it, a person would in vain pretend to understand the Scriptures." It is "an epitome of the Old Testament," and "explains many difficulties of the gospels." (St. Jerome) --- The author does not, however, seem to have designed to draw up an exact epitome, or to supply the deficiencies of the other works. (Calmet) --- The first nine chapters contain various genealogical histories. In the 10th, we have the election and death of Saul; and in the remainder of the first book, the transactions of David, (Worthington) till the year [of the world] 2990, where the second book commences with the reign of Solomon, and brings us to the end of the captivity. (The year of the world 3468.; Calmet)
 

2 Chronicles

As the former Book shews how David was chosen to rule over God's peculiar people, so this [Book] explains briefly the reign of Solomon, in the nine first chapters; and in the rest, that of nineteen of his successors, who governed two tribes till the captivity, while Israel was divided. (Worthington)

 
This Book taketh its name from the writer, who was a holy priest and doctor of the law. He is called by the Hebrews Ezra, (Challoner) and was son, (Tirinus) or rather, unless he lived above 150 years, a descendant of Saraias, 4 Kings xxv. 18. It is thought that he returned first with Zorobabel; and again, at the head of other captives, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes Longimanus, with ample authority. Esdras spent the latter part of his life in exhorting the people, and in explaining to them the law of God. He appeared with great dignity at the dedication of the walls of Jerusalem, 2 Esdras xii. 26, 35. We have four books which bear his name. (Calmet) --- This and the following book of Nehemias, originally made but one in Hebrew, (St. Jerome, &c.) as the transactions of both those great men are recorded. The third and fourth are not in Hebrew nor received into the canon of the Holy Scriptures, though the Greek Church hold the third as canonical, and place it first; (Worthington) and Genebrard would assert that both ought to be received, as they were by several Fathers. But they contain many thing which appear to be erroneous, and have been rejected by others of great authority, and particularly by St. Jerome. The third book seems to have been written very early, by some Hellenist Jew, who was desirous of embellishing the history of Zorobabel; and the fourth was probably composed by some person of the same nation, who had been converted to Christianity, before the end of the second century; and who injudiciously attempted to convert his brethren, by assuming the name of a man who was so much respected. Many things have been falsely attributed to Esdras, on the same account. It is said that he invented the Masora; restored the Scriptures, which had been lost; fixed the canon of twenty-two books; substituted the Chaldaic characters instead of the ancient Hebrew, Samaritan, or Phœnician. But though Esdras might sanction the latter, now become common, the characters might vary insensibly, (Bianconi; Kennicott, Dis. ii.) as those of other languages have done, (Haydock) and the sacred books never perished wholly; nor could the canon be determined in the time of Esdras. (Calmet) --- As for the Masoretic observations and points, they are too modern an invention. (Elias Levita; Capel.; Houbigant, &c.) --- What we know more positively of Esdras, is, (Worthington) that he was empowered by Artaxerxes to bring back the Jews, and that he acted with great zeal. (Haydock) --- This book contains the transactions of 82 years, till the year of the world 3550. The letter of Reum, and the king's answer, (chap. iv. 7., till chap. vi. 19., and well as chap. vii. 12, 27.) are in Chaldean; the rest of the work is in Hebrew. (Calmet) --- We may discover various mysteries concealed under the literal sense of this and the following book. (St. Jerome, ep. ad Paulin.) (Worthington) --- Esdras is supposed by this holy doctor, as well as by some of the Rabbins, &c., to have been the same person with the prophet Malachy[Malachias]; (Button) and several reasons seems to support this conjecture, though it must still remain very uncertain. (Calmet) --- Some think that (Haydock) Esdras wrote only the four last chapters, and the author of Paralipomenon the six preceding ones. (Du Hamel) --- But it is most probable that he compiled both from authentic documents. (Haydock) --- Some few additions may have been inserted since, by divine authority, 2 Esdras xii. 11, 22. (Tirinus)
 
This Book takes its name from the writer, who was cup-bearer to Artaxerxes, (surnamed Longimanus) king of Persia, and was sent by him with a commission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. It is also called the Second Book of Esdras, because it is a continuation of the history begun by Esdras, of the state of the people of God after their return from captivity. (Challoner) --- Genebrard believes that the latter wrote the work. But how long must he thus have lived? and how come the lists to vary so much? (Calmet) --- We may allow that these variations are owing to the mistakes of transcribers, (1 Esdras ii. 1.) for the writer of both works was certainly inspired. Esdras lived a long time along with Nehemias; (chap. xii. 35.) and he may have left memorials, as well as the latter, from which the present work seems to be compiled. (Haydock) --- Some additions have been made since the days of Nehemias, articularly chap. xii. to ver. 26, or at least (Calmet) the five last of these verses. (Capel.) (Chronicles) --- The passage cited from the commentaries of Nehemias, (2 Machabees ii. 13.) is not to be found here; which shews that we have not his entire work, but only an abridgment, in which the author has adopted his words, with some few alterations. The fifth chapter seems to be out of its place, and also the dedication of the walls, chap. xii. 27. Nehemias was a person in great favour at the court of Persia; and of high birth, probably of the royal family, (Eusebius; Isidore; Genebrard in Chron.) as most of the ancients believe that all who governed, till the time of the Asmoneans, were of the tribe of Juda. Hence he styles Hanani his brother, (chap. i. 2.) and declines entering into the temple, chap. vi. 11. His name never occurs among the priests; and though we read [in] 2 Machabees i. 18, 21, jussit sacerdos Nehemias, (Tirinus) the Greek has, "Nehemias order the priests;" Greek: iereis: (Calmet; Huet; Du Hamel) and the title of priest sometimes is given to laymen at the head of affairs. (Haydock) --- In this character Nehemias appeared, by order of Artaxerxes: and notwithstanding the obstructions of the enemies of Juda, rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem, and returned after twelve years to court, making a second visit to his own country, a little before the death of the king, whom he probably survived only one year, dying the year of the world 3580, about thirty years after he had been appointed governor. (Calmet) --- In the two first chapters, we behold his solicitude for the welfare of his country, in the ten following his success, and in the last what abuses he corrected. (Worthington) --- He renewed the covenant with God, (chap. ix., and x.) sent for the sacred fire, and established a library at Jerusalem, 2 Machabees i. 19, 34., and ii. 13. (Haydock)
 

Tobit

This Book takes its name from the holy man Tobias, whose wonderful virtues are herein recorded. It contains most excellent documents of great piety, extraordinary patience, and of perfect resignation to the will of God. His humble prayer was heard, and the angel Raphael was sent to relieve him: he is thankful, and praises the Lord, calling on the children of Israel to do the same. Having lived to the age of one hundred and two years, he exhorts his son and grandsons to piety, foretells the destruction of Ninive, and the rebuilding of Jerusalem: he dies happily. (Challoner) --- The Jews themselves have a great regard for the book of Tobias; (Grotius; Sixtus Senens. viii.) which Origen (ad Afric.) says they "read in Hebrew," meaning probably the Chaldee, (Calmet) out of which language St. Jerome translated it, preferring to displease the Pharisaical Jews, rather than not to satisfy the desires of the holy bishops Chromatius and Heliodorus. (Ep. t. iii.) (Worthington) --- The Greek version seems to have been taken from another copy, or it has been executed with greater liberty by the Hellenist Jews, between the times of the Septuagint and of Theodotion. (Calmet) --- Huet and Prideaux esteem it more original; and Houbigant has translated it in his Bible, as the Council of Trent only spoke of the Latin editions then extant; and St. Jerome followed in his version the Hebrew one of a Jew, as he did not understand the Chaldee. (Haydock) --- The Syriac and the modern Hebrew edition of Fagius, agree mostly with the Greek, as that of Munster and another Hebrew copy of Huet, and the Arabic version, both unpublished, are more conformable to the Vulgate. The most ancient Latin version used before St. Jerome, was taken from the Greek; and the Fathers who lived in those ages, speak of it when they call the book of Tobias canonical. St. Augustine leaves it, however, to adopt St. Jerome's version, in his Mirrour. The copies of all these versions vary greatly, (Calmet) though the substance of the history is still the same; and in all we discover the virtues of a good parent, of a dutiful son, and virtuous husband, beautifully described. (Haydock) --- "The servant of God, holy Tobias, is given to us after the law for an example, that we might know how to practise what we read; and that if temptations assail us, we may not depart from the fear of God, nor expect help from any other." (St. Augustine, q. 119. ex utroque Test.) --- The four first chapters exhibit the holy life of old Tobias, and the eight following, the journey and affairs of his son, directed by Raphael. In the two last chapters they praise God, and the elder Tobias foretells the better state of the commonwealth. (Worthington) --- It is probable that both left records, from which this work has been compiled, with a few additional observations. It was written during (Calmet) or after the captivity of Babylon. (Estius) --- The Jews had then little communication with each other, in different kingdoms. Tobias was not allowed to go into Media, under Sennacherib; and it is probable that the captives at Babylon would be under similar restrictions; so that we do not need to wonder that they were unacquainted with this history of a private family, the records of which seem to have been kept at Ecbatana. The original Chaldee is entirely lost, so that it is impossible to ascertain whether the Greek or the Vulgate be more conformable to it. The chronology of the latter seems however more accurate, as the elder Tobias foretold the destruction of Ninive, twenty-three years before the event, which his son just beheld verified, dying in the 18th year of king Josias. The accounts which appear to sectaries to be fabulous, may easily be explained. (Houbigant) --- Josephus and Philo omit this history. (Calmet)
 
Judith
The sacred writer of this Book is generally believed to be the high priest Eliachim, (called also Joachim.) The transactions herein related, most probably happened in his days, and in the reign of Manasses, after his repentance and return from captivity. It takes its name from that illustrious woman, by whose virtue and fortitude, armed with prayer, the children of Israel were preserved from the destruction threatened them by Holofernes and his great army. It finishes with her canticle of thanksgiving to God. (Challoner) --- He was a chief officer at court, under Ezechias, (4 Kings xviii. 18.; Haydock) before he was high priest, assuming his father Helchias's name. Many suppose that he was the author of this Book, as Josephus informs us that the priests recorded the most remarkable transactions. But this would prove that they wrote all the histories of the Bible. St. Jerome (in Aggeus i. 6.) seems to believe that Judith left these memoirs. Yet we have no certain proof of the author. Josephus passes over this history, as he professed to exhibit only the Hebrew books. (Antiquities x. 11.; Prol. &c.) St. Jerome doubts not but this was written in Chaldean, from which language he translated it; unless he caused it to be first explained to him in Hebrew as he did the Book of Tobias. (Calmet) --- He might, however, have attained sufficient knowledge of the former language, which is so like the Hebrew, before he undertook this work. (Haydock) --- He professes to give "the sense," rather than a verbal translation. The Greek must have been taken from another copy, and is followed by the Syriac, in which we find some passages more exact than in the present Greek copies. The original is entirely lost. It might have removed many difficulties. Those however which are started by our adversaries, are not unanswerable. Grotius would suppose that this work is only a parable, representing the state of the Jewish church under the persecution of Epiphanes. But this singular notion has no foundation; and if it had, the authenticity of the Book would not be endangered, as the parable both of the Old and New Testament are certainly true, and written by inspiration. (Calmet) --- Luther styles it a poetical comedy; (Pref. et Sympos. 29.) but both Jews and Christians have esteemed it as a true history: (Worthington) and this innovator (Haydock) allows, that "the Book is beautiful, and written by an inspired prophet." (Calmet) --- The Fathers have looked upon it with the utmost veneration; and St. Jerome, though he was at one time under some doubts, placed it on a level with the Books of Ruth, and Esther, &c. (Ep. ad Principiam.) --- It is admitted by Origen, Tertullian, St. Chrysostom, St. Hilary, Ven. Bede, &c., as the history of a most valiant matron, delivering God's people from a cruel tyrant. (Worthington) --- Some place this event under Cambyses, son of Cyrus; (Eusebius; St. Augustine) others under Xerxex, (Torniel) or Darius Hystaspes, (Estius) or Ochus: (Sulp. Severus) but the opinion which has been given above is more accurate; (Calmet) or rather Bethulia was saved, while Manasses was in captivity, (in the 10th year of his reign) and the high priest administered affairs in his absence. At this point, Judith might be thirty-five years old. She lived seventy years afterwards; and many days (perhaps eight years more) passed before the country was invaded by Pharao Nechao, chap. xvi. 30. Thus Manasses survived 45 years, Amon 2, Josias 31; total 78. This chronology removes every difficulty. (Houbigant, Pref.) --- If true, it seems probable that the work would be originally in Hebrew, as the Chaldean was used only after the captivity, (Haydock) which may be farther proved from chap. i. 15. (Greek) (Houbigant) --- Protestants prefer to translate this and the other apocrypha from the Greek. (Menochius)
 
This Book takes its name from queen Esther; whose history is here recorded. The general opinion of almost all commentators on the Holy Scripture, make Mardochai the writer of it: which also may be collected below from chap. ix. 20. (Challoner) --- He and the queen were certainly authors of the letter, (Haydock) enjoining the celebration of the feast of Purim, or "lots," which is the ground-work (Calmet) of the present narration. (Du Hamel) --- The compiler has also had recourse to the archives of the kingdom of Persia: so that his work has all the authority that can be required of a profane historian; and being moreover inspired in all its parts, we cannot refuse to receive it with the utmost respect. Those additions which are not now in Hebrew, (Calmet) though they were perhaps formerly, (Worthington; Origen; Du Hamel) have been carefully preserved by St. Jerome, and were recognized by the ancient Vulgate, as they are at present by the Greek, without any distinction. Lysimachus, the Greek translator, was probably the author of them, chap. xi. 1. (Calmet) --- The objections of Capellus against this "Greek scribbler," as he is pleased to style him, despising the judgment of both Jews and Christians, are in general very unaccountably borrowed (Haydock) from the Latin version, and are easily refuted. (Houbigant) --- Those Jews, who have rejected this work entirely, with Melito, (Eusebius, Hist. iv. 26.; St. Gregory of Nazianzus, &c.) ought not to prevail against the consent of the majority, (Calmet) expressed in the Councils of Laodicea, Carthage, Trent, session 4, &c. To read this book according to the order of time, we should begin [with] chap. xi., ver. 2, &c., chap. i., ii., and xii., and iii., to ver. 14; then we find the distress of the Jews in the rest of that chapter, and in chap. xiii., to ver. 8, and their delivery in chap. iv. to ix., ver. 17, and chap. xiii. ver. 8, &c., and chap. xiv., xv., and xvi. The consequences of these events are recorded [in] chap. ix., ver. 17, &c., to chap. xi. 1., (Worthington) with which verse the book ends, in the Greek editions. (Haydock) --- They vary considerably, as did the copies of the ancient Vulgate, which called forth the complaints of St. Jerome, Preface. But the Church has distinguished what was spurious from the genuine word of God; so that the doubts of Lyran, Sixtus, (Bib. viii.) &c., respecting the fragments at the end of the book being not canonical, ought no longer to be indulged; much less can the boldness of many Lutherans, (Calmet) and particularly of Le Clerc, (Houbigant) be tolerated, who represent the whole work as a mere fiction. The Jews have a greater respect for it than for any of the prophets; whose works, they say, will perish at the coming of the Messias: whereas this will subsist with the books of Moses, and the feast of Purim will never be abolished, chap. ix. 28. (Maimonides) --- Ben. Gorion (ii. 2.) admits the additions. But Josephus is silent about them, as he probably did not find them in his copy. (Calmet) --- He recites, however, both the epistles of Assuerus. (Antiquities xi. 6.) (Du Hamel) --- It is not agreed whether these events happened before or after the captivity. But it is now most commonly supposed, that Esther was married to Darius Hystaspes, the year of the world 3489, about the time of the dedication of the temple, chap. xiv. 9. He had been on the throne six years, and reigned other thirty. See Herodotus vii. 4. (Calmet) --- Josephus thinks that Esther was the queen of Artaxerxes Longimanus, who was a great friend of the Jews. (Du Hamel) --- The Thalmud attributes this work to the great Synagogue, consisting of Esdras, Mardochai, Joachim, &c., and, as various persons might write the same history, the Greek, with the additions, seems to be taken from one copy, and the Hebrew from another rather more concise, (Huet; Du Hamel) but equally inspired. (Haydock)
 

1 Maccabees

These Books are so called, because they contain the history of the people of God under the command of Judas Machabeus and his brethren; and he, as some will have it, was surnamed Machabeus from carrying on his ensigns, or standards, those words of Exodus xv. 11., "Who is like to thee among the strong, O Lord;" in which the initial letters, in the Hebrew, are M. C. B. E. I. It is not known who was the author of these books. But as to their authority, though they are not received by the Jews, saith St. Augustine, (liber[book] xviii., City of God, chap. xxxvi.) they are received by the Church; who, in settling her canon of the Scriptures, chose rather to be directed by the tradition she had received from the apostles of Christ, than by that of the Scribes and Pharisees. And as the Church has declared these two books canonical, even in two general councils, viz., Florence and Trent, there can be no doubt of their authenticity. (Challoner) --- The most ancient Father, Clement [of Alexandria], (Strom. i.) St. Cyprian, (1 ep. iii. ad. Cornel.) St. Ambrose, (Off. i. 41., &c.) quote them as divine; and the third Council of Carthage, Trent, &c., have inserted them in the canon. Though (Worthington) St. Jerome did not translate (Calmet) or urge them against the Jews, he had a great regard for them. (In Daniel i., and xi., &c.) The texts to which Protestants object, will be explained. They are not more difficult than many which occur in the Books of Kings and Paralipomenon. Other books have been formerly contested, which they now admit. The author of the second books seems to have designed at first only to insert two supplements. He then resolved to abridge the work of Jason, and hence added a preface, (chap. ii. 20.) which may be first perused. He then gives an account of some who had suffered death for the truth; and in the eighth and following chapters, the victories of the Machabees, which had been partly recorded in the first book, are specified, with some fresh circumstances. Judas was styled the Machabee for his strength and valour, (Worthington) being "the scourge" of God, (Haydock) or because he was an exterminator. (Menochius) --- Yet the etymology is not well ascertained. That given above, (Zacharias xii. 5.; Haydock) or M. C. B. I. (Buxtorf; Prideaux, &c.) seems to be overthrown, by the Syriac having always k instead of c, which is the case in two Chaldean manuscripts. These may not contain a truer history, but they rectify several mistakes in the printed copies. (Kennicott) --- St. Jerome found the first of these books in Hebrew, the second in Greek. (Ep. 106.) We have a third also in Greek, in the Complutensian Bible; as well as a fourth, mentioned by Sixtus, (Bib. i.; Worthington) "on the administration of Hircan," (Calmet) to which reference seems to be made [in] 1 Machabees xv. 24., (Worthington) though what is extant be a work of no authority. "The empire of reason," falsely attributed to Josephus, and printed among his works, is more probably the fourth book, known to the ancients. Neither of these latter were ever deemed canonical by any authentic decree. (Worthington) --- Many have indeed ranked the with the other contested works: but now it is generally agreed that they belong not to the sacred Scriptures, as the two former do. On these (Calmet) indeed, as almost on all the sacred books, (Haydock) authors have varied: but he most respectable and the most numerous declare in their favour. To arrange the four books in chronological order, we must make the first and third exchange places. This last can obtain its title only inasmuch as the Jews of Alexandria, who were persecuted by Philopator, and miraculously delivered, were animated with the same sentiments of piety and heroism as the rest of the Machabees. (Calmet) See Ecclesiasticus l. 1, 21, 23. (Haydock) --- The authors of the first and second books relate many of the same events; yet seem not to have seen each other's works. The latter follows the Greek chronology, dating from Tisri, September and October, (Calmet) the year of the world 3828 to 3843, (Haydock) while the former dates from Nisan, (Calmet) our March or April, the year 3829 to 3869. The third book gives an account of Philopator's persecution in Egypt, the year 3787. The fourth, from the year 3869 to 3698, (Haydock) is little known among the Latins. Calmet gives two copies, the one regarding Hircan and the other "the government of reason," or the martyrdom of the Machabees, the year 3837; (Haydock) the author of which last seems to have been a Stoic. (Calmet) --- We shall pass them[3 Machabees and 4 Machabees] over, with Protestants, as they are not received by the Catholic Church. (Haydock)

 

2 Maccabees

This Second Book of Machabees is not a continuation of the history contained in the First; nor does it come down so low as the First does, but relates many of the same facts more at large, and adds other remarkable particulars, omitted in the First Book, relating to the state of the Jews as well before as under the persecution of Antiochus. The author, who is not the same with that of the First Book, has given (as we learn from chap. ii. 20., &c.) a short abstract of what Jason, of Cyrene, had written in the five volumes, concerning Judas and his brethren. He wrote in Greek, and begins with two letters, sent by the Jews of Jerusalem to their brethren in Egypt. (Challoner) --- Hence the whole book has been considered by some as an epistle. (Cotelier, Can. Ap. p. 338.) --- But it is easy to distinguish the letter from the history, (Calmet) to which a preface is prefixed, chap. ii. 20. Yet the Alexandrian copy has at the end, "A letter concerning the acts of Judas Mach.[Machabeus.]" (Haydock) --- The appendix of two epistles was added to the First Book by him who wrote the second, (Worthington) abridging the work of Jason. (Haydock)

Sapiential books

Job

This Book takes its name from the holy man, of whom it treats; who, according to the more probable opinion, was of the race of Esau, and the same as Jobab, king of Edom, mentioned [in] Genesis xxxvi. 33. It is uncertain who was the writer of it. Some attribute it to Job himself; others to Moses, or some one of the prophets. In the Hebrew it is written in verse, from the beginning of the third chapter to the forty-second chapter. (Challoner) --- The beginning and conclusion are historical, and in prose. Some have divided this work into a kind of tragedy, the first act extending to chap. xv., the second to chap. xxii., the third to chap. xxxviii., where God appears, and the plot is unfolded. They suppose that the sentiments of the speakers are expressed, though not their own words. This may be very probable: but the opinion of those who look upon the work as a mere allegory, must be rejected with horror. The sacred writers speak of Job as of a personage who had really existed, (Calmet) and set the most noble pattern of virtue, and particularly of patience, Tobias ii. 12., Ezechiel xiv. 14., and James v. 11. Philo and Josephus pass over this history, as they do those of Tobias, Judith, &c. (Haydock) --- The time when Job lived is not clearly ascertained. Some have supposed (Calmet) that he was a contemporary with Esther; (Du Hamel; Thalmud) on which supposition, the work is here placed in its chronological order. But Job more probably live during the period when the Hebrews groaned under the Egyptian bondage, (Haydock) or sojourned in the wilderness, Numbers xiv. 9. The Syrians place the book at the head of the Scriptures. (Calmet) --- Its situation has often varied, and is of no great importance. The subject which is here treated, is of far more; as it is intended to shew that the wicked sometimes prosper, while the good are afflicted. (Haydock) --- This had seldom been witnessed before the days of Abraham: but as God had now selected his family to be witnesses and guardians of religion, a new order of things was beginning to appear. This greatly perplexed Job himself; who, therefore, confesses that he had not sufficiently understood the ways of God, till he had deigned to explain them in the parable of the two great beasts, chap. xlii. 3. We cannot condemn the sentiments expressed by Job, since God has declared that they were right, chap. xlii. 8) and reprimands Elihu, (chap. xxxviii. 2.) and the other three friends of Job, for maintaining a false opinion, though, from the history of past times, they had judge it to be true. This remark may excupate them from the stain of wilful lying, and vain declamation. (Houbigant) --- However, as they assert what was false, their words of themselves are of no authority; and they are even considered as the forerunners of heretics. (St. Gregory; St. Augustine, &c.) (Tirinus) --- Job refutes them by sound logic. (St. Jerome) --- We may discover in this book the sum of Christian morality, (Worthington) for which purpose it has been chiefly explained by St. Gregory. The style is very poetical, (Haydock) though at the same time simple, like that of Moses. (Du Hamel) --- It is interspersed with many Arabic and Chaldaic idioms; (St. Jerome) whence some have concluded, that it was written originally by Job and his friends (Haydock) in Arabic, and translated into Hebrew by Moses, for the consolation of his brethren. (Worthington) --- The Hebrew text is in many places incorrect; (Houbigant) and the Septuagint seem to have omitted several verses. (Origen) --- St. Jerome says almost eight hundred, (Calmet) each consisting of about six words. (Haydock) --- Shultens, in 1747, expressed his dissatisfaction with the labours of all preceding commentators. To explain this book may not therefore be an easy task: but we must be as short as possible. (Haydock) --- Those who desire farther information, may consult Pineda, (Worthington) whose voluminous work, in two folios, will nearly (Haydock) give all necessary information. (Calmet)
 
The Psalms are called by the Hebrew, Tehillim; that is, hymns of praise. The author, of a great part of them at least, was king David; but many are of opinion, that some of them were made by Asaph and others, whose names are prefixed in the titles. (Challoner) --- These, however, are not unquestionably of divine authority, though they deserve to be respected. (Calmet) --- St. Jerome (ad Cyprian) says: "Let us be convinced that those labour under a mistake, who suppose that David was the author of all the Psalms, and not those whose names appear in the titles." Paine is not, therefore, the first who has made this discovery. (Watson) (2 Paralipomenon xxix. 30.) --- Psalm lxxvi., compared with Psalms xxxviii., lxiv., lxx., cxi., cxxv., cxxxvi., and cxlv., seems favourable of this opinion, (Calmet; Tirinus; &c.) which is contrary to St. Ambrose, &c. The matter is not of great moment, as all confess that the 150 Psalms were dedicated by the Holy Ghost. (Du Hamel) --- St. Augustine (City of God xvii. 14.) attributes all the Psalms to David; and it seems best to adhere to this opinion, as it is most generally received. (Menochius) --- Our Saviour cites the cix. Psalm as belonging to David, (Matthew xxii. 44.) agreeably to the title; and the 2d Psalm is also attributed to him, by the apostles, (Acts iv. 25.) though it have no title at all, no more than the first. (Haydock) --- It has generally been asserted, that when a Psalm is in this position, it must be referred to the author who was mentioned last. But Bellarmine calls this in question: and the titles of themselves afford but a precarious argument, either to know the author or the real import of the Psalm. (Calmet) --- St. Jerome himself (ad Paulin.) seems to suppose that David was the writer of all the Psalms, (Worthington) and that he has left us compositions which may vie with those of the most celebrated pagan bards. In effect, nothing could excel the harmony of these divine hymns, to judge even from a translation. (Fleury.) --- What then would they be in the original? The difficulty of coming to a perfect knowledge of the author's meaning, arises chiefly from the variety of translations and commentaries, which have been more numerous on this work than any other. To examine all minutely, would require more volumes than our present limits will allow. The version which we have to explain, is not that which St. Jerome made from the Hebrew and which possesses the same intrinsic merit as the rest of his works: but the Church has declared authentic the holy doctor's corrected (Haydock) version from St. Lucian, (Bellarmine; Tirinus) or from the Septuagint as the people had been accustomed to sing the psalter in that manner; and it would have been difficult for them to learn another. (Calmet) --- A critical examination would show, that the Septuagint have not so often deviated from the original [Hebrew] as some would pretend. See Berthier, &c. Pellican extols the fidelity of our version on the Psalms, though he was a Protestant. (Ward. Err. p. 6.) --- When therefore we offer a different version, we would not insinuate that the Vulgate is therefore to be rejected. The copiousness of the Hebrew language, (Haydock) and on some occasions the uncertainty of its roots, or precise import, (Somon. Crit.) ought to make every one diffident in pronouncing peremptorily on such subjects. Let us rather adhere to the decision of the Church, when it is given on any particular text; and when she is silent, let us endeavour to draw the streams of life from our Saviour's fountains, and read for our improvement in virtue. (Haydock) --- No exhortations could be more cogent, than those which we may find in the Psalms. They contain the sum of all the other sacred books, as the Fathers agree. (St. Augustine; St. Basil; &c.) To understand them better, we must reflect upon what key or string they each play. Expositors discover ten such stings on this mysterious harp: 1. God; 2. his works; 3. Providence; 4. the peculiar people of the Jews; 5. Christ; 6. his Church; 7. true worship; 8. David; 9. the end of the world; 10. a future life. On some of these subjects the Psalm principally turns. The titles, composed by Esdras, or the Septuagint, (Worthington) or by some other, (Calmet) will often point out the subject; and if that be not the case, the context and other parts of Scripture will (Worthington) commonly (Haydock) do it. (Worthington) --- The greatest stress must be laid on these. (Calmet) --- An intimate acquaintance with the history of David, and with the Jewish and Christian religion, will also be of essential service to enable us to penetrate the hidden treasures contained in these most heavenly canticles. (Haydock) --- David excels all the pagans in point of antiquity, as he lived 100 years before Homer. His natural genius led him to follow the pursuits of poetry and music; (1 Kings xvi. 23.) and God inspired him to compose these poems, as works in metre are more easily remembered, and make a more pleasing impression upon the heart. Hence Moses and other prophets adopted the same plan, both in the Old and the New Testament. The pious king [David] not being permitted to build the temple, made nevertheless all necessary preparations for it; and among the rest, procured 288 masters of music to train up 4000 singers, 1 Paralipomenon xxiii. 25. He foresaw that these Psalms would be of service, not only on the Jewish festivals, but also in the Christian Church, (Psalm lvi., 10., &c.) gathered from all nations, (Worthington) among whom he sings by the mouths (Haydock) of the clergy, who are commanded daily to sing or recite some of these Psalms. (Worthington) --- The psalter takes its name from an instrument of ten strings, resembling the Greek [letter] Lamda, (Ven. Bede) and sounding from above, to insinuate that we may (Worthington) here learn to observe (Haydock) all the decalogue, and to aim at heaven. If difficulties present themselves in the perusal of these sacred writings, we must remember not to trust private interpretation, (2 Peter i.) but to the doctrine of the Church, (John xiv. 16., and 1 Corinthians xii.) which we may find in the works of the holy Fathers, (St. Augustine, Doct.[On Christian Doctrine?]) and exercise ourselves in humility, when any thing occurs above our comprehension. (St. Gregory xvii. in Ezechiel) (Worthington) --- We must pray with all earnestness to the Father of Lights, and surely no prayers can be more efficacious to obtain what we want, than those which he has here delivered. Whether just or sinners, whether in joy or sorrow, we may here find what may be suitable for us. (Haydock) --- In hoc libro spiritualis Bibliotheca instructa est. (Cassiodorus)
 
This book is so called, because it consists of wise and weighty sentences, regulating the morals of men; and directing them to wisdom and virtue. And these sentences are also called Parables, because great truths are often couched in them under certain figures and similitudes. (Challoner) --- Wisdom is introduced speaking in the nine first chapters. Then to chap. xxv. more particular precepts are given. (Worthington) --- Ezechias caused to be collected (Haydock) what comes in the five next chapters, and in the two last. Some other, or rather Solomon himself, under (Worthington) different titles, gives us Agur's and his mother's instructions, and his own commendations of a valiant woman, (Haydock) which is prophetical of the Catholic Church. He also wrote the two next works, besides many other things, which have been lost. This is the first of those five, which are called "sapiential," giving instructions how to direct our lives, by the dictates of sound reason. (Worthington) --- It is the most important of Solomon's works, though collected by different authors. (Calmet) --- T. Paine treats Solomon as a witty jester. But his jests are of a very serious nature, and no one had before heard of his wit. (Watson)
 
This Book is called Ecclesiastes, or the preacher, (in Hebrew, Coheleth) because in it Solomon, as an excellent preacher, setteth forth the vanity of the things of this world, to withdraw the hearts and affections of men from such empty toys. (Challoner) --- Coheleth is a feminine noun, to indicate the elegance of the discourse. It is very difficult to discriminate the objections of free-thinkers from the real sentiments of the author. It is most generally supposed that Solomon wrote this after his repentance; but this is very uncertain. St. Jerome (in chap. xii. 12.) informs us that the collectors of the sacred books had some scruple about admitting this; and Luther speaks of it with great disrespect: (Coll. conviv.) but the Church has always maintained its authority. See Conc. v. Act. 4. Philast. 132. (Calmet) --- It refutes the false notions of worldlings, concerning felicity; and shews that it consists in the service of God and fruition. (Worthington)
 

Song of Solomon

This book is called the Canticle of Canticles, that is to say, the most excellent of all canticles: because it is full of high mysteries, relating to the happy union of Christ and his spouse; which is here begun by love; and is to be eternal in heaven. The spouse of Christ is the Church: more especially as to the happiest part of it, viz., perfect souls, every one of which is his beloved; but above all others, the immaculate and ever blessed Virgin mother [Mary]. (Challoner) --- The bridegroom is Christ, as God and man. His praises and those of his spouse are recorded by various speakers. Solomon has given us three works; for beginners, the more advanced, and the perfect; as the philosophers teach ethics, physics, and metaphysics. All the holy Scriptures contain spiritual food, but they are not all fit for every person, Hebrews v. 13. With what humility ought we not, therefore, to read this most perfect and mystical canticle, as the sentiments of spiritual love are expressed in the same words as that of worldlings, and we are more inclined to follow our own judgment and carnal notions! (Worthington) --- None, therefore, should dare to peruse this work, who has not mastered his passions, having his conversation in heaven. (Haydock) --- The Jews would not allow any ot read it before the age of thirty. (Origen and St. Jerome) --- Some of the fathers and commentators have even asserted that the mystical sense is the only one which pertains to this book, (Theodoret; Durham; Tirinus) and it is certainly the true and principal one, though allusion may be made to the marriage of Solomon with Pharao's daughter, (Calmet; Bossuet; Du Hamel) or with a Tyrian princess, (chap. iv. 8., and 3 Kings xiii. 5.) or with Abisag. (Rabbins) --- Grotius shews the corruption of his own heart in his impure comments, as Theodorus, of Mopsuestra, is blamed by the second Council of Const.[Constantinople?] iv. a. 68. The name of God never, indeed, occurs; as he is represented under the idea of the bridegroom, &c., and the piece is allegorical. It might be divided into seven scenes, or nights, as the marriage feast lasted so long, Genesis xxix. 22. During this time the bridegroom saw his spouse seldom, and with great reserve, (Calmet) as was the custom with the Lacedemonians. (Plut.[Plutarch?] in Lyc.) --- We might also refer all to six nights, or to the six ages of the Church, conformably to the system of De la Chetardie and Bishop Walmesley on the Apocalypse. --- I. Age. Chap i. 2., marks the ascension of Christ, and the propagation of Christianity; ver. 4, 5., persecutions; ver. 6, 7., vocation of the Gentiles; ver. 12., protection granted by Christ. II. Chap. ii. 3., peace under Constantine; ver. 11, 17., troubles excited by Arius. III. Chap. iii. 1., irruption of barbarians; ver. 4., does not overturn the Church; ver. 6., they are converted; ver. 11., and Christ is more glorified, as [in] Apocalypse xix. IV. Chap. iv. 5., the Latin and Greek Churches; ver. 8., the Chaldeans, lions, and Greeks, leopards, (Daniel) are converted; the Turks obtain dominion; ver. 12., the Greek schismatics cut off: ver. 16., the Church is persecuted, but protected. V. Chap. v. 2., Dew marks the cooling of charity, (St. Augustine) when Luther appeared; chap. vi. 3., yet the Church triumphs, particularly after the Council of Trent. VI. Chap. vi. 9., after the sounding of the sixth trumpet, the Jews are converted, and adorn the Church, in spite of antichrist's power; ver. 11., she addresses the synagogue, ver. 12. Chap. viii. 2., obtains leave to go into the house of her mother, as the apostles were of Jewish extraction; ver. 7., the constancy of the martyrs appears; (see Rondet.) ver. 8-14., the Church pants for her speedy union with her beloved. We may justly admire her authority, in preserving this and the former work of the canon, notwithstanding the internal and external evidence, and the ill use made of them by infidels, which seemed to militate against them. The Protestant Chateillon styles this "a wicked book." Several passages may, no doubt, be abused by a corrupt heart: but what is there so holy, which may not be perverted? When we meditate on this canticle, we ought to remember the admonition given by the Church in the Mass: "Let hearts be on high;" and Oh! that all might answer with truth: "We have them to the Lord!"
 

Wisdom

This book is so called, because it treats of the excellence of Wisdom, the means to obtain it, and the happy fruits it produces. It is written in the person of Solomon, and contains his sentiments. But is is uncertain who was the writer. It abounds with instructions and exhortations to kings and magistrates to administer justice in the commonwealth, teaching all kinds of virtues under the general names of justice and wisdom. It contains also many prophecies of Christ's coming, passion, resurrection, and other Christian mysteries. The whole may be divided into three parts: [1.] In the six first chapters, the author admonishes all superiors to love and exercise justice and wisdom. [2.] In the next three, he teacheth that wisdom proceedeth only from God, and is procured by prayer, and a good life. [3.] In the other ten chapters, he sheweth the excellent effects, and utility of wisdom and justice. (Challoner) --- Their authority is surely greater than that of the Jews, (Calmet) whom Protestants choose to follow. (Haydock) --- Before they attack us, they must, however, answer this prescription. (Calmet) --- St. Irenæus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, St. Athanasius, &c., attribute this book to Solomon; and, though St. Jerome and St. Augustine call this in question, they maintain its divine authority. Sometimes the Fathers abstain from urging it against the Jews, because they[the Jews] reject it, for the same reason as our Saviour proved the immortality of the soul, against the Sadducees, from the books of Moses alone, though other texts might have been adduced. The Councils of Carthage, 419, Florence, Trent, &c., declare this book canonical, (Worthington) agreeably to the ancient Fathers. (St. Augustine, Præd. xiv., and City of God xvii. 20., &c.) --- Philo (St. Jerome) the elder, (Worthington; Menochius) one of the Septuagint (Genebrard) might compile this work from the sentences of Solomon, preserved by tradition, as Sirach's son did that of Ecclesiasticus; (Worthington) or it is styled "Solomon's Wisdom," (Septuagint; Haydock) on account of its resembling his works, in like manner as the Second of Kings is called Samuel's, though he wrote none of that book. (Worthington) --- Sixtus (Bib. viii. hær. ix.) and others, maintain, that this was written originally in Hebrew, and some think by Solomon; being translated by the Septuagint. But these go too far. (Calmet) --- The nine first chapters seem, however, to be the production of Solomon, though the latter may have been added by the Greek translator, (Houbigant) who must, therefore, have been divinely inspired. (Haydock) --- The sentiments are very grand, (Calmet) and contain a prediction of the sufferings of the just one, whence we may infer, that the name of the author was originally in the title, like that of all other prophets. The arguments which Calmet adduces, to prove that Solomon was not the author of the first part of this work, may easily be refuted. In the New Testament, that part is frequently quoted, whence we may gather, that it was allowed to be the work of Solomon. (Houbigant, præf. p. 176.) --- Some style this work Panaretos, as being an exhortation to all virtues. (Calmet) --- All the five sapiential books (Proverbs, &c.) are cited under the title of Wisdom in the mass-book. Superiors are here admonished to act with justice, and taught that wisdom is to be obtained by prayer, and by a good life, chap. ix. Its effect and utility (Worthington) form the subject of the latter part. See Apocrypha, vol. i. p. 597. (Haydock)

 

Sirach

This book is so called from the Greek word that signifies a preacher: because, like an excellent preacher, it gives admirable lessons of all virtues. The author was Jesus, the son of Sirach, of Jerusalem, who flourished about two hundred years before Christ. As it was written after the time of Esdras, it is not in the Jewish canon; but is received as canonical and divine by the Catholic Church, instructed by apostolical tradition, and directed by the Spirit of God. It was first written in Hebrew, but afterwards translated into Greek by another Jesus, the grandson of the author, whose prologue to this book is the following: (Challoner)
* * *
--- If some forbear to urge the authority of this book, in disputes with the Jews, we need not be surprised, as there were other proofs against them. We often act with Protestants in the same manner, even using their versions, &c. (Haydock) --- It was alleged in the controversies about baptism and grace, and no one thought of rejecting its testimony, chap. xxxiv. 30. (St. Cyprian, ep. 65.; St. Augustine, Bap. vi. 34., and Grat. ii. 11., &c.) --- The Councils of Ephesus, 3d Carthage, (c.[canon?] 47.) Francfort, 8th Toledo, and Trent, ought to settle all doubts on this head. The Jews themselves have a great regard for the book, (though the Thalmud condemns it for admitting more persons than one in God) and seem to have copied many sentences from it into the two Syriac alphabets of Ben Sira. This may be the work which St. Jerome (Pref. in Sal.) testifies he saw in Hebrew, as that test cannot at present be found. (Calmet) --- See ep. 115. (Du Hamel) --- But this is no proof that it was not extant in St. Jerome's time, and the many variations between the Greek copies themselves and the Vulgate, may owe their rise to the different translators omitting some parts of it. (Haydock) --- The same person seems to have translated this and the former book [of Wisdom] into Latin in the earliest ages, though the present work is more obscure, because the Greek is less beautiful, of which the Roman edition is deemed the most correct; though the Complutensian agrees with the Vulgate. He appears to have given frequently a double version, for fear of not having expressed the full sense in the first, unless the additions be his, or some other person's glosses, which have crept into the text. (Calmet) --- If this be the case, near one hundred verses ought to be cut off, yet as they are published without any distinction by the Church, perhaps it would be as well to adhere to the former sentiment, or to suspend our judgment, chap. ix. 12. (Haydock) --- Many of the Fathers quote this book as the production of Solomon, because it contains many of his sentences preserved by tradition, (Menochius) and resembles his works. (St. Augustine, City of God xvii. 20.) --- The Greek styles it "The Wisdom of Jesus, the son of Sirach." He has imitated (Haydock) the Proverbs to chap. xxiv., Ecclesiastes to chap. xlii. 15., where wisdom ends her exhortation, and the Canticle [of Canticles] in the remainder of the work, praising God and the great men of the nation, down to Simon II. (Vales in Eusebius iv. 22.) (Calmet) --- The last chapter contains a prayer, which may be in imitation of the book of Wisdom. This work is often styled Panaretos, a collection of pious maxims, (Haydock) or a "receptacle of all virtues." (Worthington) --- Many think it was composed between the year of the world 3711 and 3783; (Torniel.) but it seem rather to have appeared in times of persecution, (chap. 36.) after Philopator had been incensed against Simon II for opposing his entrance into the sanctuary, (chap. l. 4., &c.) for which he ordered the Jews in Egypt to be cruelly butchered, (2 Machabees) and after Epiphanes, the Syrian monarch, had commenced his most cruel persecution of that people, and of Onias III, twenty-two years after the death of Simon II, (chap. xxxv., and l.) the year of the world 3828, the year before Christ 176. (Eusebius; Grotius; Usher) (Calmet)

Prophetic books

 
This inspired writer is called by the Holy Ghost, (Ecclesiasticus xlviii. 25.) the great prophet; from the greatness of his prophetic spirit, by which he hath foretold, so long before, and in so clear a manner, the coming of Christ, the mysteries of our redemption, the calling of the Gentiles, and the glorious establishment, and perpeutal flourishing of the Church of Christ: insomuch that he seems to have been rather an evangelist than a prophet. His very name is not without mystery: for Isaias in Hebrew signifies the salvation of the Lord, or, Jesus is the Lord. He was, according to the tradition of the Hebrews, of the blood royal of the kings of Juda; an after a most holy life, ended his days by a glorious martyrdom; being sawed in two, at the command of his wicked son-in-law, king Manasses, for reproving his evil ways. (Challoner) --- He began to prophesy ten years before the foundation of Rome, and the ruin of Ninive. His style is suitable to his high birth. He may be called the prophet of the mercies of the Lord. Under the figure of the return from captivity, he foretells the redemption of mankind (Calmet) with such perspicuity, that he might seem to be an evangelist. (St. Jerome)
 
Jeremias was a priest, a native of Anathoth, a priestly city, in the tribe of Benjamin, and was sanctified from his mother's womb to be a prophet of God; which office he began to execute when he was yet a child in age. He was in his whole life, according to the signification of his name, great before the Lord, and a special figure of Jesus Christ, in the persecutions he underwent for discharging his duty, in his charity for his persecutors, and in the violent death he suffered at their hands; it being an ancient tradition of the Hebrews, that he was stoned to death by the remnant of the Jews who had retired into Egypt, (Challoner) at Taphnes. His style is plaintive, (Worthington) like that of Simonides, (Calmet) and not so noble as that of Isaias and Osee. (St. Jerome) --- He was the prophet of the Gentiles, as well as of the Jews, predicting many things which befell both, and particularly the liberation of the latter, the year of the world 3485, after the seventy years' captivity, dating from the year of the world 3415, (Calmet) or 3398, the 4th of Joakim. (Usher) (Chap. xxv.) (Haydock) --- He began to prophesy when he was very young, the year of the world 3375, in the 13th year of Josias, (Calmet) before that prince had brought his reformation to any great perfection. (Haydock)
 
In these Jeremias laments in a most pathetic manner the miseries of his people, and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, in Hebrew verses, beginning with different letters according to the order of the Hebrew alphabet. (Challoner) --- In the first chapter the order is exactly observed, but in the three next phe comes before ain, either for some mystery to us unknown, or by the derangement of transcribers, who perhaps thought that those verses were better connected, as they seem to be, (Calmet) though this is not very clear. (Haydock) --- In such pieces the sentiments of a pensive heart are poured out without much connection. (Worthington) --- The Greeks style this word Greek: threnoi, and Hebrew kinoth, or lamentations. (Haydock) --- St. Jerome, (2 Paralipomenon xxxv. 25.) thinks it was the first composition of Jeremias, and sung at the death of Josias. (Worthington) (St. Jerome, in Zacharias xii. 11.) --- The eulogy of the king seems to belong to him rather than to Sedecias, chap. iv. 20. (Calmet) --- Yet it might afterwards be applied to the latter, (Haydock) and to the ruin of Jerusalem, Ecclesiasticus xlix. 8. (St. Jerome, Pref.; Theodoret, &c.) --- The city is represented standing, and sometimes in ruins. Chap. v. seems to have been written after the rest, ver. 4, 18. (Calmet) --- It is not acrostic like them. The prophet alludes to the wretched condition of the Jews, after the murder of their Messias; and hence the Church makes use of the lamentations on the anniversary of our Saviour's passion, inviting all sinners, both Jews and Gentiles, to repent: "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, be converted to the Lord thy God." (Worthington) --- Many passages are applicable to a soul fallen into sin, as the commentary under the name of St. Jerome, (Haydock) compiled by Rabanus, (Du Pin) shews. (Haydock)
 

Baruch

Baruch was a man of noble extraction, and learned in the law, secretary and disciple of the prophet Jeremias, and a sharer in his labours and persecutions; which is the reason why the ancient Fathers have considered this book as a part of the prophecy of Jeremias, and have usually quoted it under his name. (Challoner) --- The frequent Hebrew idioms shew it to have been originally in that language. Baruch wrote by inspiration of the Holy Ghost the letter comprising the five first chapters, which he carried to the Jews from their brethren at Babylon. The martyrologies place his death, December 28. The sixth chapter contains a letter of Jeremias, to which allusion is clearly made [in] 2 Machabees ii. 2. The Church still recites the works of Baruch under the name of Jeremias. (Sab. Pent. proph. 6.) (Calmet) --- Many Fathers did so formerly, though they doubted not but Baruch was the author. See St. Irenæus, [Against Heresies] v. 35.; St. Augustine, City of God xviii. 33., &c. Others, with Origen (Prin. ii. 3.) specify the writer; and the Councils of Laodicea, Florence, and Trent, decide that it is canonical. St. Jerome alleged it not against the Jews, as they denied its authority. (Worthington) --- See Jeremias xxxii. 44. (Haydock) --- In his preface on Jeremias he testifies that "it contains many things relating to Christ and the latter times." (Worthington) --- Grotius in vain attempts to represent some parts as interpolated (chap. iii. 38., &c.; Calmet) and L. Cappellus has left some posthumous notes, which would represent the author as a stupid impostor, though he acknowledges his great learning. (Houbigant)

 
Ezechiel, whose name signifies the strength of God, was of the priestly race, and of the number of the captives that were carried away to Babylon with king Joachin. He was contemporary with Jeremias, and prophesied to the same effect in Babylon as Jeremias did in Jerusalem; and is said to have ended his days in like manner, by martyrdom. (Challoner) --- He strove to comfort the captives, who began to repine that they had listened too readily to Jeremias, exhorting them to submit to the king of Babylon. Some think that part of his prophecies is lost, as Josephus mentions two books: but the nine last chapters, regarding the new city and temple, might form the second division. The Jews hesitated whether to allow his works to be canonical, as they seemed to differ from Moses, and from the dimensions given of Solomon's temple. But the same God might surely suggest some improvements, and the morality of the prophet is most excellent. (Calmet) --- His style may be compared to that of Homer (Grotius) and Alcæus. Many have thought that (Calmet) Pythagoras was his disciple; (Eusebius, præp. xiii.) yet the latter seems to have lived after the prophet, who was led into captivity with Jechonias, the year of the world 3410, and prophesied for twenty years. He dates from this period, (Calmet) and from the renewal of the covenant under Josias, (chap. i. 1.; Haydock) when the captivity was first announced. (Worthington) --- The Jews allowed none to read the first and the nine (Haydock) last chapters, nor the beginning of Genesis, nor the Canticle of Canticles, before they were thirty years old; and they never attempted to explain the vision nor the building of the temple, supposing it to be above the power of man. (St. Jerome)
 

Daniel

DANIEL, whose name signifies "the judgment of God," was of the royal blood of the kings of Juda, and one of those that were first of all carried away into captivity. He was so renowned for his wisdom and knowledge, that it became a proverb among the Babylonians, "as wise as Daniel;" (Ezechiel xxviii. 3.) and his holiness was so great from his very childhood, that at the time when he was as yet but a young man, he is joined by the Spirit of God with Noe[Noah] and Job, as three persons most eminent for virtue and sanctity. (Ezechiel xiv.) He is not commonly numbered by the Hebrews among the prophets, because he lived at court, and in high station in the world: but if we consider his many clear predictions of things to come, we shall find that no one better deserves the name and title of a prophet; which also has been given him by the Son of God himself. (Matthew xxiv.; Mark xiii.; Luke xxi.) (Challoner) --- The ancient Jews ranked him among the greatest prophets. (Josephus, Antiquities x. 12., and 1 Machabees ii. 59.) Those who came after Christ began to make frivolous exceptions, because he so clearly pointed out the coming of our Saviour, (Theodoret) that Porphyrius has no other method of evading this authority except by saying, that the book was written under Epiphanes after the event of many of the predictions. (St. Jerome) --- But this assertion is contrary to all antiquity. Some parts have indeed been questioned, which are found only in Greek. They must, however, have sometime existed in Hebrew or Chaldee else how should we have the version of Theodotion, which the Church has substituted instead of the Septuagint as that copy was become very incorrect, and is now lost? (Calmet) --- Some hopes of its recovery are nevertheless entertained; and its publication, at Rome, has been announced. (Kennicott.) --- In a title, it seems to make the Daniel visited by Habacuc, a priest; but it is abandoned. (Calmet) --- This version of course proves that the original was formerly known; and the loss of it, at present, is no more decisive against the authenticity of these pieces, that that of St. Matthew's Hebrew original, and of the Chaldee of Judith, &c. will evince that their works are spurious. (Haydock) ---Extracts of (Calmet) Aquila and Symmachus seen by St. Jerome, (Worthington) are also given in the Hexapla. Origen has answered the objections of Africanus, respecting the history of Susanna; and his arguments are equally cogent, when applied to the other contested works. The Jews and Christians were formerly both divided in their sentiments about these pieces. (Calmet) See St. Jerome in Jeremias xxix. 12. and xxxii. 44. --- But now as the Church (the pillar of truth) has spoken, all farther controversy ought to cease; (Haydock) and we should follow the precept, Remove not the landmarks which thy fathers have placed. (Deuteronomy xix. 14.) See N. Alex. [Alexander Noel] t. ii. St. Jerome, who sometimes calls these pieces "fables," explains himself, by observing, that he had delivered "not his own sentiments," but those of the Jews: quid illi contra nos dicere soleant. (Calmet) --- If he really denied their authority, his opinion ought not to outweigh that of so many other (Haydock) Fathers and Councils who receive them. They admit all the parts, as the Council of Trent expressly requires us to do. See St. Cyprian, &c., also the observations prefixed to Tobias, (Worthington) and p. 597. (Haydock) --- Paine remarks that Daniel and Ezechiel only pretended to have visions, and carried on an enigmatical correspondence relative to the recovery of their country. But this deserves no refutation. By allowing that their works are genuine, he cuts up the very root of his performance. (Watson) --- Daniel, according to Sir Isaac Newton, resembles the Apocalypse (as both bring us to the end of the Roman empire) and is "the most distinct in order of time, and easiest to be understood; and therefore, in those things that relate to the last times, he must be made a key to the rest." (Bp. Newton.) --- Yet there are many difficulties which require a knowledge of history; (St. Jerome; Worthington) and we must reflect on the words of Christ, He that readeth, let him understand. (Matthew xxiv. 15.) Daniel (Haydock) is supposed to have died at court, (Calmet) aged 110, having written many things of Christ. (Worthington) --- His name is not prefixed to his book, yet as Prideaux observes, he sufficiently shews himself in the sequel to be the author. (Haydock)
 
Osee, or Hosea, whose name signifies a saviour, was the first in the order of time among those who are commonly called lesser prophets, because their prophecies are short. He prophesied in the kingdom of Israel, (that is, of the ten tribes) about the same time that Isaias prophesied in the kingdom of Juda. (Challoner) --- The chronological order is not observed in any edition. The Septuagint very from the rest. They place the less before the greater prophets, and read some of the names rather differently, as Protestants do also, though they have nothing but novelty to recommend the change. We shall here specify the Protestant names, (Haydock) in the order in which these prophets appeared: (Calmet) 1. Hosea, 2. Amos, 3. Jonah, 4. Micah, 5. Nahum, 6. Joel, 7. Zephaniah, 8. Habakkuk, 9. Obadiah, 10. Haggai, 11. Zechariah, 12. Malachi. (Haydock) --- It is not known who collected them into one volume. but the book of Ecclesiasticus (xlix. 12.) speaks of the twelve; and 4 Esdras i. 39., specifies them as they are found in the Septuagint: Osee, Amos, Micheas, Joel, Abdias, Jonas, Nahum, &c., as in the Vulgate. (Calmet) --- Many other prophets appeared before these, (Worthington) but Osee is the first of the sixteen whose works are extant. He must have continued his ministry about eighty-five years, and lived above one hundred and ten, if the first verse speaks of him alone. But some take it to regard the whole collection, and may be added by another hand. (Calmet) --- The style of Osee is sententious and very hard to be understood, (St. Jerome) as but little is known of the last kings of Israel, in whose dominions he lived, and to whom he chiefly refers, though he speaks sometimes of Juda, &c. (Calmet) --- By taking a wife, and other parables, he shews their criminal conduct and chastisment, and foretells their future deliverance and the benefits to be conferred by Christ. We must observe that the prophets often style the kingdom of the two tribes, Juda, Benjamin, Jerusalem, or the house of David; and that of the ten tribes, Ephraim, Joseph, Samaria, Jezrahel, Bethel, or Bethaven; and often Israel or Jacob till after the captivity of these tribes, when the latter titles refer to Juda, who imitated the virtues of Jacob better than the other kingdom. (Worthington) --- Then all distinction of this nature was at an end. (Haydock)
 

Joel

Joel, whose name, according to St. Jerome, signifies the Lord God, (or, as others say, the coming down of God) prophesied about the same time in the kingdom of Juda as Osee did in the kingdom of Israel. He foretells, under figures, the great evils that were coming upon the people for their sins; earnestly exhorts them to repentance, and comforts them with the promise of a teacher of justice, viz., Christ Jesus, our Lord, and of the coming down of his Holy Spirit (Challoner) upon the hundred and twenty faithful assembled in Sion. He describes the land of the twelve tribes made desolate, and the people cast off. (St. Jerome ad Paulin.) --- Yet he speaks chiefly of the kingdom of Juda, and mentions the house of God, sacrifices, &c. (Worthington) --- St. Jerome infers from his being placed after Osee, without any fresh title, (Calmet) that he lived in that order of time. (Worthington) --- But this rule is not general, as Jonas lived before Amos; and [the] Septuagint observe not the same disposition of the prophets as we do. The exact time of the famine, when Joel prophesied, cannot be ascertained. It seems he addressed the people in autumn, when a second year's famine was apprehended. He paints every thing with great force and beauty of style. (Calmet)
 
Amos prophesied in Israel about the same time as Osee, and was called from following the cattle to denounce God's judgments to the people of Israel and the neighbouring nations, for their repeated crimes, in which they continued with repentance. (Challoner) --- The kingdom was then almost free from idolatry, except that of the calves, yet dissolute and flourishing under Jeroboam II. The prophet spoke at Bethel, (chap. vii.) till the idolatrous priest, Amasias, forced him to flee to Thecua, four leagues south of Jerusalem, where he continued to prophesy against the various nations of Damascus, Juda, &c., but particularly against Israel, chap. i., &c. How long he continued is uncertain. St. Jerome and others account his style rustic; but St. Augustine (Doct. iv. 7.) as good a judge, pronounces that it was eloquent, and like that of the other inspired writers, suited to the speakers. (Calmet) --- Amos means "one carrying," or "a people torn away." (St. Jerome in Joel.) (Haydock) --- He deals in metaphors agreeably to his pastoral education, but is profound in sense. (St. Jerome, ep. ad Paulin.) --- After denouncing judgments on different nations, he foretells the coming of Christ and abundance of grace. (Worthington)
 
Abdias, whose name is interpreted the servant of the Lord, is believed to have prophesied about the same time as Osee, Joel, and Amos: though some of the Hebrews, who believe him to be the same with Achab's steward, make him much more ancient. his prophecy is the shortest of any in number of words, but yields to none, says St. Jerome, in the sublimity of mysteries. It contains but one chapter. (Challoner) --- He foretells the destruction of Edom, for its pride and enmity against the Jews: whose return and the redemption of mankind are also announced. (Worthington) --- Abdias seems to have prophesied after the destruction of Jerusalem, and before Nabuchodonosor attacked Edom, &c., which took place within five years. (Calmet)
 
Jonas prophesied in the reign of Jeroboam II, as we learn from 4 Kings xiv. 25., to whom also he foretold his success in restoring all the borders of Israel. He was of Geth --- Opher, in the tribe of Zabulon, and consequently of Galilee; which confutes that assertion of the Pharisees, (John vii, 52.) that no prophet ever arose out of Galilee. He prophesied and prefigured in his own person the death and resurrection of Christ, and was the only one among the prophets who was sent to preach to the Gentiles. (Challoner) --- The most incredible mystery in our religion, and the vocation of the Gentiles, are thus insinuated. (Calmet) --- The latter shall be saved if they repent, like Ninive. (Worthington) --- Thomas Paine's supposition, that this book was written by a pagan "to satirise the malignant character of a predicting priest," requires no refutation. (Haydock) (Watson)
 
Micheas, of Morasti, a little town in the tribe of Juda, was cotemporary with the prophet Isaias, whom he resembles both in his spirit and his style. He is different from the prophet Micheas, mentioned in the Third Book of Kings, (chap. xxii.) for that Micheas lived in the days of king Achab, one hundred and fifty years before the time of Ezechias, under whom this Micheas prophesied, (Challoner) as he did in the two preceding reigns. (Haydock) --- He addresses both Israel and Juda, and predicts the happiness of the Jews after the captivity, as a figure of what the church should enjoy. (Calmet) --- The Jews shall embrace the faith at last, after the Gentiles. (Worthington) --- We have only a small part of the predictions of Micheas, though he may have written no more. His style is obscure, like that of Osee. (Calmet) --- His name signifies "humility," or "who is like." (St. Jerome)
 
Nahum, whose name signifies a comforter, was a native of Elcese, or Elcesai, supposed to be a little town in Galilee. He prophesied after the ten tribes were carried into captivity, and foretold the utter destruction of Ninive by the Babylonians and Medes; which happened in the reign of Josias, (Challoner) in the sixteenth year, when the father of Nabuchodonosor and the grandfather of Cyrus entirely ruined Ninive, and divided the empire between them, (Calmet) in the year of the world 3378. (Usher) Tobias xiv. 16. --- Nahum was probably on the spot when he proclaimed this beautiful prediction, which yields not to any work of profane authors. He might have been carried captive by Salmanasar, as he alludes to the captivity of Israel and to the blasphemies of Sennacherib. We cannot, therefore, place his prophecy before the fifteenth year of Ezechias. (Calmet) --- He appeared about fifty years after Jonas, when the Ninivites had relapsed, and were destroyed in the space of one hundred and thirty-five years, as a figure of the subversion of idolatry by Christ's preaching the gospel of peace. (Worthington)
Habacuc was a native of Bezocher, and prophesied in Juda some time before the invasion of the Chaldeans, which he foretold. He lived to see this prophecy fulfilled, and for many years after, according to the general opinion, which supposes him to be the same that was brought by the angel to Daniel, in Babylon, Daniel xvi. (Challoner) --- He might very well live to see the captives return, as only sixty-six years elapsed from the first of Joakim, when he began to prophesy, till that event. He retired at the approach of the Chaldeans, and afterwards employed himself in agricultural pursuits. (Calmet) --- The sins of Juda, the coming of the Chaldeans, and the relaxation of the captivity are specified; and in the canticle, the appearance of Christ, the last judgment and eternity, (Worthington) are mentioned in the most sublime style. (Haydock)
 
Sophonias, whose name, saith St. Jerome, signifies "the watchman of the Lord," or "the hidden of the Lord," prophesied in the beginning of the reign of Josias. He was a native of Sarabatha, and of the tribe of Simeon, according to the more general opinion. He prophesied the punishments of the Jews, for their idolatry and other crimes; also the punishments that were to come on divers nations; the coming of Christ, the conversion of the Gentiles, the blindness of the Jews, and their conversion towards the end of the world. (Challoner) --- Some editions read, Ezechias. (Haydock) --- But this opinion is not well grounded no more than that of the Jews, who assert (Calmet) that all the ancestors mentioned by the prophets were endued with the prophetic spirit, for which reason Amos specifies none, as he was not the son of a prophet, Amos vii. 14. (St. Jerome) --- Sophonias appeared a little before Jeremias, Ezechiel, Baruch, and Daniel, foretelling the captivity and return of the two tribes, the destruction of various nations, the conversion of the Gentiles, and of the Jews also towards the end of the world. (Worthington) --- Many of the promises regard only the Christian Church. (Calmet)
 
Aggeus was one of those that returned from the captivity of Babylon, in the first year of the reign of king Cyrus. He was sent by the Lord in the second year of the reign of Darius, the son of Hystaspes, to exhort Zorobabel, the prince of Juda, and Jesus, the high priest, to the building of the temple; which they had begun, but left off again through opposition of the Samaritans. In consequence of this exhortation, they proceeded in the building, and finished the temple. And the prophet was commissioned by the Lord to assure them that this second temple should be more glorious than the former, because the Messias should honour it with his presence; signifying, withal, how much the Church of the new testament should excel that of the old testament. (Calmet) --- The glory of the Catholic Church hence appears. (Worthington) --- We know little of the life of Aggeus. It is thought that he was born in captivity. (Calmet) --- He came into Judea eighteen years after its termination, (Worthington) in the second year of Hystaspes, when the seventy years of the temple's desolation ended, Zacharias i. 12., and 1 Esdras v. The people had courage to obey the word of the prophets rather than the king's edict. Aggeus means feasting, (St. Jerome) or pleasant. He brings joyful tidings, after rebuking the people for preferring their own convenience before the house of God. (Haydock)
 

Zechariah

Zacharias began to prophesy in the same year as Aggeus, and upon the same occasion. His prophecy is full of mysterious figures and promises of blessings, partly relating to the synagogue and partly to the Church of Christ. (Challoner) --- He is the "most obscure and longest of the twelve [minor prophets];" (St. Jerome) though Osee wrote the same number of chapters. (Haydock) --- Zacharias has been confounded with many others of the same name. Little is known concerning his life. Some have asserted that the ninth and two following chapters were written by Jeremias, in whose name chap. xi. 12., is quoted [in] Matthew xxvii. 9. But that is more probably a mistake of transcribers. Zacharias speaks more plainly of the Messias and of the last siege of Jerusalem than the rest, as he live nearer those times. (Calmet) --- His name signifies, "the memory of the Lord." (St. Jerome) --- He appeared only two months after Aggeus, and shewed that the Church should flourish in the synagogue, and much more after the coming of Christ, who would select his first preachers from among the Jews. Yet few of them shall embrace the gospel, in comparison with the Gentiles, though they shall at last be converted. (St. Jerome ad Paulin.) (Worthington)

 
Malachias, whose name signifies "the angel of the Lord," was contemporary with Nehemias, and by some is believed to have been the same person with Esdras. He was the last of the prophets, in the order of time, and flourished about four hundred years before Christ. He foretells the coming of Christ; the reprobation of the Jews and their sacrifices; and the calling of the Gentiles, who shall offer up to God in every place an acceptable sacrifice. (Challoner) --- He also clearly speaks of the twofold coming of Christ, preceded by [John] the Baptist and by Elias. Nothing is known for certain respecting this prophet. He inveighs against the same crimes as Nehemias, to whose covenant he alludes, chap. ii. 4. None was afterwards recognized for a prophet till the Baptist appeared. (Calmet) --- Both priests and people are here reproved, and the Jewish law yields to that of Christ. (Worthington) --- No date is prefixed no more than to the works of Jonas, Nahum, &c. St. Jerome seems to fix on the seventh year of Artaxerxes, when Esrdras came to Jerusalem. Liber ejus pro titulo sit. (Haydock)


 

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