Hezekiah's Prophets

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 11
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The reproaches of "Hezekiah's prophets" all suppose this history. Their reproaches to the people have to a great extent no meaning if the whole Jewish history be not true. Persuading a people, some fine day, that a detailed voluminous history is their own, demands a credulity to be found only in an infidel, particularly when no proof whatever is alleged of it. Its ground is simply probability. But, it will be said, it was only the book had to be invented to flatter the people with the notion of the antiquity of their neglected worship. But then it did not do so. There was enough to prove the history all true; but the Pentateuch gave the tabernacle, not the temple-one candlestick, not ten; an ark with two cherubim looking towards it, and no cherubim stretching their wings to either side of the house. To invent something different to please the people by its antiquity, was absurd; and if they took the account in Samuel of the temple of Solomon, they found the oxen gone from under the layer, and they found, moreover, the authenticity of the books confirmed, for, in that case, Samuel's book was an authentic account. But, indeed, to suppose a history invented when every existing monument, changed, mutilated, or perfect, proved the whole history true from beginning to end, and its comparative dates at the same time; and that, confirmed by well-known public history,1 is an absurdity fit only for the credulity of an infidel, who will believe anything provided it be not the truth, for that is from God.
The fact of the introduction of "there it is to this day" is the simplest thing possible. Ezra necessarily re-edited the Old Testament on the return from Babylon.2 And nothing could be more natural, if I were editing an ancient history, when the origin of ancient monuments is referred to, than to add, as confirming the history, "and there it is still." This is the allusion to subsequent times which is found in Old Testament history.
1. All ancient heathen writers, and infidel opposers of Christianity, recognize Moses as unquestionably the legislator of the Jews, and their first great leader.
2. If it be asked on what authority any such book or chapter could be received as inspired, the answer is, " On the authority of the prophets." Hence the canon closes in the time of Malachi, the last inspired prophet- his prophecy, and Esther, being the last books. And this answer is as old as Josephus, who gives this reason for the closing of the canon, saying, there were records of what was done since, but that they had not the authority of the others. The feast of Purim, ever observed by the Jews, is an irrefragable proof of the history of the book of Esther, which the Jews value as they do the Pentateuch, saying these two will subsist when all the other books pass away in the days of the Messiah.