A Study In Biblical History -- By: George F. Herrick

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 042:168 (Oct 1885)
Article: A Study In Biblical History
Author: George F. Herrick


A Study In Biblical History

Rev. George F. Herrick

In again revising and reprinting the Bible in Turkish, the writer has recently been called to the duty of reading over repeatedly, and with minute care, the historical portions of the Old Testament Scriptures. In the process, he has been somewhat forcibly impressed with the reflection that the discharge of a duty so exceptional ought to yield not only the result immediately aimed at, but also some contribution toward clearing up the dark corners of Old Testament history. The necessity of scanning, for perhaps the twentieth time, in the course of half as many years, the sentences and the syllables, the letters and the dots of records like those, e.g., of Gen. 9:20 and foil., Gen. 19:30 and foll., Gen. 38, the last five chapters of the book of Judges, and many others, not to mention the details of the Levitical law and the extermination of the races of Canaan,—ought to offer, one would think, some stone of help, to rest the weary foot upon, or some oil of consolation to those who more cursorily review, or perchance sadly grope among these perplexing records.

That these records are perplexing the experience of many will abundantly testify. The records are more than perplexing; they are revolting. They are sometimes ghastly.

Some seek to apologize for these portions of Old Testament history, and do so with more or less of success. Others cover them up or pass them by, after the example of the two dutiful sons of Noah. Others, and a vast number, if one glances broadly over the field of human history, it must be confessed with sadness, derive from them false principles of morals, and complacently wear them as a mantle to hide their own deformity. All these alike accept these records as a part of God’s book of Revelation. In our day we find another and a growing class, a class too of highly respectable and thoughtful men, who from the accepted doctrine of a human element mingled with the divine element in the Bible, infer that these records are the purely human crust and dross of the Book, to be deliberately thrown aside as belonging not only to the externals and accidents of Revelation, but as, even in this view, records which are now wholly antiquated. The total impression of large portions of the Old Testament is, by these critics, put down to the imperfect enlightenment, the low morality, the false ethics of a rude and barbarous age; and then these records are virtually eliminated from the Bible, as human clothing, which, as concerns the intent of Revelation for succeeding and advanced ages, is outgro...

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