The Inner History Of The Chaldean Exile -- By: John Franklin Genung

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 073:289 (Jan 1916)
Article: The Inner History Of The Chaldean Exile
Author: John Franklin Genung


The Inner History Of The Chaldean Exile

John Franklin Genung

A main reason why the Chaldean Exile must be ranked as one of the most momentous epochs in the history of the world is the fact that it began with, and that its keynote was, sur- J render. That fact was the element which, while it made the course of the history cryptic, like the current of a submerged river, lifted its real meaning from ethnic to universal, from casual to eternal. When in the year 597 B.C. the young king Jehoiachin, after a three months’ reign in a besieged capital, “went out” to the king of Babylon, and with him all his sterling citizenry from statesman to craftsman (2 Kings 24:10–16), he unwittingly opened the way to the working of a new spiritual and historic force, which from that time to this has been increasingly potent to revolutionize the stubborn and stupid ways of men. To trace and combine some of the tokens of this hidden force, as they come to light between the lines of the contemporary Biblical literature, is the purpose of the present paper. I have named my subject, too ambitiously perhaps, “the inner history”: it might be called, more specifically, The Sequel of a Surrender.

I.

Considered in itself, there is no more intrinsic virtue in surrender than in its opposite. To unreconstructed human nature, indeed, it is hardly dissociable from dishonor and

shame: men deem it incomparably less heroic than to defy your enemy’s worst and die fighting. Its wisdom depends on the motive that underlies it, and on the place in a nation’s history or in the evolution of the human spirit where it fits in. Surrender would have been no virtue a century before, when, in 701 B.C., Sennacherib the king of Assyria, having “shut up [Hezekiah] like a caged bird within Jerusalem his royal city,” 1 was minded in his insolent summons to detach the people by deceitful promises from their king: “Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the king of Assyria, Make your peace with me, and come out to me; and eat ye every one of his vine, and every one of his fig-tree, and drink ye every one the waters of his own cistern; until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive-trees and of honey, that ye may live and not die” (2 Kings 18:31–32=Isa. 36:16–17). It was the arrogant demand of what has been called “the most brutal empire which was ever suffered to roll its force across the world,”You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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