The Favorable References To The Foreign Element In The Hebrew History -- By: George Mooar

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 027:108 (Oct 1870)
Article: The Favorable References To The Foreign Element In The Hebrew History
Author: George Mooar

The Favorable References To The Foreign Element In The Hebrew History

George Mooar

It entered into the plan of God concerning the Jews that they should be an exclusive people. Strict ceremonial requisitions cut them off from close communication with other nations. The sons and daughters of the chosen race were not to form marriages with the idolaters of the surrounding lands. The exterminating policy with reference to several tribes in their neighborhood was the avowed policy. Frequent and deadly wars, hand to hand and knife to knife, must have tended to make the feeling of Hebrew nationality bitter. Perhaps the position of the Hebrews as to other races was not greatly unlike that which the white people of Arizona hold toward the vile and cruel Apaches. All the tribes around them were of a gross and licentious religion, and in the weakness of Israel nothing but the wall of a jealous nationality, with high towers of prejudice, could keep the nation even respectably separate from the world.

But over against this dominant exclusiveness of the Hebrew people some facts are recorded in the Biblical narratives which awaken surprise and pleasure.

If at any point it should seem that the national exclusiveness would be outright and strong and punctilious, that point is the genealogy of the royal and Messianic family. If we look carefully through the names we shall find those of four, and only four, women. Tamar, the first, was a woman of no great self-respect, but she is supposed to have been a Canaanite also. Rahab, the second, could not have held a very high moral position among her own people, but her own people were the devoted heathen of Jericho. We may dislike to mention the third name, Ruth, quite so closely

after the two already written; she was cast in finer mould; no suspicion of guilt or impurity sullies her reputation. But she, like the others, was not an Israelite, but a Moabitess, a daughter of the children of Lot. The fourth name is Bathsheba, beautiful indeed, and of pure Hebrew lineage, but the wife of a Hittite. Thus the only women mentioned in this sacred genealogy are all either foreigners or intimately associated with foreigners.

The incidents connected with these women’s lives are not suppressed on the holy pages. We might expect that the literary men, the scribes of an exclusive people, would obscure the incidents. On the contrary, the incidents are made noticeably conspicuous. In the case of one of these women, the whole of a book of scripture is devoted to her life. The sacred writer would seem to take pleasure in setting forth the picture of the fair, affectionate, and dutiful damsel of Moab, who, in her honorable poverty, gleaned in the fields of ...

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