Encyclopaedia Biblica/Window-Wisdom (Book)

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Encyclopaedia Biblica
Thomas Kelly Cheyne and John Sutherland Black
Window-Wisdom (Book)
see Encyclopaedia Biblica for other articles, typographic issues, links to PDF copies, and public domain status



The words so rendered are :

1. H21X, 'arubbah, Is. 60:8. See LATTICE, 2,1, and COAL, 3.

2. ji^n, hallon, Gen. 26:8. See LATTICE, 2 2.

3. p?3, kawwin (pl.), Dan. 6:10 [6:11]. See LATTICE, 2, 3. On these three words, cp HOUSE, 3.

4. ins, tsohar, Gen. 6:16. See LATTICE, 2, 7.

On the *] , shekeph, and C Ep- , shekuphim, of 1 K. 6:4, 7:4-5, see LATTICE, 2, 6. On VQV, shemesh, in Is. 54:12 see PINNACLE.


  • Terminology (1-9).
  • Winepress (11-16).
  • Wine making (17-24).
  • Varieties* (25-27).
  • Mixing (28-30).
  • Metaphors (31).
  • Use of wine (32).

In this article it is proposed to examine the terms rendered wine or strong drink in EV, 1 and to discuss the methods adopted by the Hebrews in the preparation of these beverages. For the cultivation of the vine in Palestine reference must be made to the articles VINE, and NEGEB, 7, and for the various stages in the growth of the fruit to the article GRAPE.

1 For a complete list of passages with the renderings of the principal versions (to be used with caution, however) see Lees and Burns, The Temperance Bible-Commentary, 412-428 (1868).


1. yayin; oivos [oinos][edit]

The first place in our study of the relative terminology belongs to j yayin, oivos, apparently a loan word in Semitic ( see BDB. s.v., with references there, to which add O. Schrader in Hehn, Kulturpflanzen u. Hausthiere, (6) pp. 19:91+, also Muss-Arnolt, 'Semitic words in Greek and Latin' in Publications of Amer. Philolog. Ass. 1892, pp. 142-146). Occurring over 140 times in the traditional text of OT, yayin denotes, like its Greek and Latin congeners, oivos and vinum, the juice of the grape, fermented and matured in appropriate vessels. It is represented as in daily use, whether at the ordinary family meal and the more ambitious banquet (MEALS, 12), or at the sacrificial feast and in the ritual of the sanctuary (RITUAL, 2 ; SACRIFICE). Yayin is uniformly rendered by 'wine' in EV, by oivos in LXX (except Job 32:19, where the sense is correctly given by -yXeO/iOS [gleukos] sweet [fermenting] must), and by vinum in the Lat. verss. In OT yayin is confined to grape-wine ; but in later Hebrew it is extended to include both the freshly-expressed juice or must (see tirosh below) and the fermented juice of various fruits, such as the apple-wine frequently mentioned in the Mishna (see section 26). The corresponding oivos is found over 30 times in NT, not reckoning its presence in compounds such as oicoTTOTTys [oinopotes] 'winebibber' (Mt. 11:19, Lk. 7:34).

2. tirosh.[edit]

In 7VR, tirosh, we have a word of uncertain etymology, {1} occurring 38 times in OT. A convenient summary of the various qualities predicated of tirosh is given in Driver's Joel and Amos, 79-80; for more detailed discussion see A. M. Wilson, The Wines of the Bible [1877] 301-339. In 11 places tirosh is associated with corn as a valued product of the soil, and in 19 other passages with corn and fresh oil (yitshar, the raw, unclarified oil as it flows from the oil press, see OIL). Hence by analogy we ought to regard tirosh as primarily the freshly-expressed and still unfermented grape -juice, technically known as must, the Latin mustum (Mic. 6:15 Vg. ). It is also applied, however, proleptically to the juice while still in the grape, as in Is. 65:8 ('the new wine is found in the cluster' EV; cp the Latin phrase vinum pendens), and by another figure to the grapes in the press-vat (Mic. l.c. 'thou shalt tread tirosh [RV the vintage], but shalt not drink the wine' [yayin]). On the other hand it is important, in view of the controversies to which the term tirosh has given rise, to note that in certain passages it clearly denotes the product of fermentation, or wine properly so called. Its application in this respect, however, was apparently limited to 'new wine', as frequently rendered in AV and RV, 2 either while still in the fermenting stage or during the next few months, while the process of maturing was still incomplete. The grounds on which this conclusion is based are these: -

  • (1) In one passage where tirosh is associated with whoredom and wine (yayin) as 'taking away the understanding' (Hos. 4:11 RV), 3 intoxicating properties are unmistakably assigned to it.
  • (2) Tirosh is repeatedly mentioned as subject to the laws of tithe and of the first fruits (Dt. 12:17, 14:23, 18:4, Neh. 10:37+ and elsewhere). Now the later Jewish code specifies the precise moment when the expressed grape-juice becomes subject to the law of tithe: 'Must 4 is tithable from the time that it throws up scum' (Ma'aser. 1:7, reading "iBp] ; so evidently Surenhusius' unpointed edition, as shown by the explanations of Maimonides and Hartenora ; cp also Levy, NHWR, s.v. Kp) - i.e., from the moment when it begins to ferment. The result is the same if, with later editions, we read the piel IS/; and render: 'from the time one begins to skim the froth' (Jost. Sammter; cp also Jastrow, Dict, of the Targumim, etc., s.v.). Even the inferior wine made by pouring water on the refuse of the press had to ferment (f"!2rn) befor<> becoming subject to tithe (Ma'aser Sh. 1:3 ; cp, for the heave-offering, Teram. 3:1, where the reference is to wine that had passed through the stage of alcoholic fermentation and had become vinegar (acetous fermentation). Hence when it is said that tirosh shall be drunk in the courts of the sanctuary (Is. 62:8-9), the conclusion is unavoidable that tiros is not here the unfermented must, but true fermented wine. The wine of the drink-offering (^p^ Nu. 15:5, etc.; see under SACRIFICE, 31a) is never described otherwise than as yayin, except once when it is described as shekar (see below, section 8). The tirosh, finally, which in an early passage (Judg. 9:13) is said to 'cheer God' as a libation, and to exhilarate man in the accompanying sacrificial feast, must be understood, in the light of what has just been said, as a fermented wine.
  • (3) The evidence of the versions in this question must not be overlooked. With two exceptions (Is. 65:8, pta [roox] 'grape-stone'; and Hos. 4:11, for which see foot-note above) LXX has uniformly rendered tirosh by olvos [oinos]. The Targums and the Peshitta with almost equal uniformity give "Cn K^-~ fermented wine (see 4 below), whilst Jerome, with very few exceptions, renders by vinum, not as we might expect, by mustum (except Mic. 6:15), even where, as in Pr. 3:10, Joel 2:24, the sense seems to require mustum.

1 The usual derivation from yarash, 'to take possession of', though supported in Aramaic by the cognate merith from yerath, is not convincing. Recently it has been suggested that tirosh is a loan-word from Sumerian through Assyrian (see Ball and Haupt, SROT, Gen., note on 27:28).

2 According to Temp. Bib. Comm. (ut supr. 415) tirosh is translated in AV 26 times by 'wine', 11 times by 'new wine' ... and once (Mic. 6:15) by 'sweet wine'. A table of all the occurrences with their renderings is given in Eadie's Cyclopedia, s.v. 'Wine'. RV adds to these the rendering 'vintage' Nu. 18:12, Mic. l.c. and in several other passages in the margin. The American revisers would consistently render by 'new wine' throughout.

3 It is possible, however, that C lTH is here a clerical error for "1317 which the context certainly leads us to expect. LXX's rendering neSvcrna [methysma], a frequent equivalent of shekar, but not elsewhere of tirosh, supports this view. The other ancient versions follow LXX.

4 The original has J", yayin, tirosh having now become obsolete.

3. 'asis; yAfuKos [gleukos].[edit]

The word 'asis (s sy) is found five times in OT and is rendered in AV twice by 'new wine', twice by 'sweet wine' and once (Cant. 8:2) by 'juice'. RV renders uniformly by 'sweet wine' except in the passage cited, where it appears only in the margin.

Derived from the verb 03y [ASS], to crush by treading, 'asis is apparently a poetical synonym of tirosh, denoting primarily the freshly-expressed juice of the grape or other fruit (so Am. 9:13 ; 'sweet wine'; imitated Joel 3:18 [4:18]). In Joel 1:5 and Is. 49:26, however, the context shows that, like tirosh, 'asis might be an intoxicating beverage, as it doubtless is in Cant. 8:2, where it is made from pomegranates (26). In this passage LXX{BXA} renders by 1 a/j.a [nama], whence EV 'juice'; in Is. 49:26 by otvos veos [oinos neos]; Am. 9:13, Joel 3:18 [4:18] by yAuicacr/ud s [glykasmos], which recalls the yAeOxos [gleukos] (EV 'new wine') of Acts 2:13. Gleukos is used of the 'sweet' grape juice through all the stages of its passage into fermented wine. Thus the lexicographer Hesychius defines y\eiiicos [gleukos] as 'the juice which drops (TO a7r6<TTa-yju.a [to apostagma]) from the grape, before it is trodden' (cp the explanation of Ex. 22:29 [22:28], section 15 below). Again the word is used of must in the process of fermentation, as Job 32:19 (LXX{B} acTKo? vAeuicovs eW [askos gleukous zeoon]), whilst in the passage before us (Acts 2:13) the reference is clearly to the strongly intoxicating qualities of new and immature wine - in this particular case, wine of the preceding vintage. Here may be taken the reference in Neh. 8:10, to eating the fat and drinking the sweet (C |TrC3 LXX yAi/KaoyiaTa [glykasmata]), evidently a variety or varieties of sweet wine recalling the p WO |" [yayin ....Q] of Menah. 8:5. {1}

1 For the methods adopted to increase the sweetness of wines, see sections 15, 22 below.

4. hemer, etc.[edit]

Another poetical designation of wine is hhner (ten) which occurs only in the poem Dt. 32:14; for in Is. 27:2 we must read, for the MT -en (AV 'red wine'), with RVmg ,"B.^, 'a pleasant vineyard'. In Aramaic, however, as frequently happens, the Hebrew poetical term is the ordinary word for wine; so six times in the Aramaic portions of Ezra (6:9, 7:22) and Daniel (5:1-2, 5:4, 5:23). The etymology from on [HMR], fervere, to foam, ferment (cp nan p; [yayin hemer] Ps. 75:8 [75:9] 'the wine foameth', RV) shows that hemer and its cognates in Aramaic and Arabic specially denote wine as the product of fermentation.

5. Sobe.[edit]

Sobe (xrib) occurs only in Is. 1:22 (EV 'wine' LXX oivos), Hos. 4:18 ('their drink', RVmg 'their carouse'), and Nah. 1:10 ('their drink') ; but the text of the last two passages is very uncertain (HDB s. v. and the Comm. ). That sobe was some strongly intoxicating beverage the root-word, saba, 'to drink to excess', abundantly proves (see e.g. Pr. 23:20-21). The cognate sabu, a synonym of kurunnu, denoted in Assyrian a drink from sesame (Del. Ass. HWB, s.v.).

6. mesek, mimsak, etc.[edit]

In a small number of post-exilic passages, we meet with a group of allied terms derived from the verbal root ^ps, to mix (wine) with spices (Pr. 9:2, 9:5), and the cognate .,., which in the Hebrew of the Mishna period signified 'to mix with water' - viz. meseh 7]DO (Ps. 75:8 [75:9] EV 'mixture'), {1} mimsak 7JDDD (Prov. 23:30, EV 'mixed wine', Is. 65:11 AV 'drink offering', RV 'mingled wine' [K^paff/j.a [kerasma] 'unto Destiny'), and mrzeg, q10 (Cant. 7:2, AV 'liquor', RV 'mingled wine', LXX Kpcifj.a [krama]). The nature of the mingling or mixing here implied will be fully discussed later (section 29).

7. Miscellaneous and figurative expressions.[edit]

In Is. 25:6 the word c"ic shemarim, properly the lees of wine (Ps. 75:8 [75:9], Jer. 48:11, Zeph. 1:12), is used for the sake of the assonance with shemanim, 'fat things', to signify wine (EV 'wines on the lees') in a figurative sense. For the obscure or perhaps corrupt term n&s-K ['ShYShH] which AV, following an erroneous tradition, has rendered a 'flagon of wine' (2 S. 6:19; cp 1 Ch. 16:7, Hos. 3:1, Cant. 2:5) see the discussions under FRUIT (section 5). In Nu. 6:3 wine and strong drink are both distinguished from the unfermented juice (rno o) (EV 'liquor') of the grape. 2

Our list of the words rendered wine in EV may close with a reference to three figurative expressions which are met with at very different stages of Hebrew literature. In the early book of the covenant we have the unique expression ya7 (literally 'tear' Ex. 22:28), which includes the first flow of the juice of olives as well as of grapes (for a new suggestion as to the origin of this term see section 15). In the Gospels we find wine designated 'the fruit of the vine' (r6 yevrnna TTJS d/j.TTf\ov [to genema tes ampelou], Mt. 26:29, Mk. 14:25, Lk. 22:18), a periphrasis doubtless already current in Jewish speech, since it is found in the time-honoured benediction over the wine-cup in Berakh. 6:1 (jsjri "i@ - for the words of the blessing see MEALS, 7, end). In all periods, finally, we find the poetical designation 'blood of the grape' from the red colour of the expressed juice (Is. 63:2) derived from the stalks and skins of the fruit (Gen. 49:11, Dt. 32:14, Ecclus. 39:26, 50:15, cp Rev. 14:20 and the Arabic damu-z-zikk, blood of the wineskin).

1 LXX has here the apparent contradiction jroTrjpioi oivov oxparou n-Arjpe? KepaoyxaTO? [poterion oinou akratou pleres kerasmatos] (cp Rev. 10:14 rov KeKpavfiei dv axpaiTov [tou kekrasmenou akratou]), the explanation being that oti os aicpaTOs [oinos akratou] is the usual designation of wine undiluted with water, whilst (cepatr/ua [kerasma] denotes the addition of aromatic herbs (see 29).

2 [ In Cant. 2:13 etc. Sym. renders TIDD (RV 'in blossom'; Ges., following Syr. authorities, flos vitis) by v\.va.v&i\ [oinanthe]. It has been suggested that the impossible niSTJ in Is. 16:8 should be corrected into vi^D (GRAPE, 3), and a special reason for the mention of the vine-blossoms may be found in the use of these blossoms in flavouring new wine (cp Duval, A*/-, / 14277). Such flavoured wine was called olvo<; oivdi Oivos [oinos oinanthinos]. Hasselquist thus describes the method employed, viz., 'hanging the powder produced by drying the flowers of the vine in the cask, when the new wine begins to ferment' (Voyages and Travels, 1766, pp. 401-402).]

8. shekar, 'strong drink'.[edit]

There still remains for examination the important term -m"y shekdr (from the root -ay [ShChR], common to all Semitic dialects, which supplies the Hebrew words for 'drunk, 'drunkard', and 'drunkenness'). In LXX the word has assumed the form criKfpa [sikera] but occasionally translated fj.e6i fffj.a [methysma], twice /j.fdrj [methe], and once olvos [oinos] - through the influence of the Aramaic shikra, xnriw ; and in Jerome, sicera. The etymology warrants the inference that shekar is to be regarded as a comprehensive designation for every sort of intoxicating beverage from whatever source derived, or, as Jerome has it, 'omne quod inebriare potest' (Vg. Lev. 10:9, Nu. 6:3, 1 S. 1:15).

In one of his letters Jerome expands his definition as follows :

'Sicera hebraeo sermone omnis potio, quae inebriare potest, sive ilia quae frumento conficitur, sive pomorum sncco, aut quum favi decoquuntur in dulcem et barbaram potionem, aut palmarum fructus exprimitur in liquorem, coctisque frugibus aqua pinguior coloratur' (Ep. ad Nepotianum, ed. Vallarsi, 1:266). {1}

From this specification, it will be noted, wine is apparently excluded, and for this exclusion there is a certain amount of justification. Thus in the priestly legislation affecting the Nazirites (Nu. 6:3-4) vinegar of yayin is distinguished from vinegar of shekar which shows that by the early post-exilic period, in certain circles at all events, yayin was no longer included in the category of shekar or 'strong drink'. We are not justified in inferring from this, however, that the two categories of wine and strong drink were at all periods mutually exclusive. Thus when the term shikaru is first met with on the soil of Palestine, it is used for 'drink' generally, and is repeatedly associated with food, oil, honey, etc. (see the Amarna letters, KB 5, index s.v.). One has but to recall the enormous number of jars of wine which Thothmes III. received from Syria at an earlier period to see that the shikari or 'drinks' of the Amarna letters must have included wine. In the Assyro-Babylonian contract-tablets shikaru denotes intoxicating beverages generally, and in particular wine made from dates (Del. Ass. HWB, s.v ; see further, 25). Indeed it is extremely probable that in prehistoric times, while the Semitic races were still confined to their primitive home in Arabia, the principal, if not the sole, intoxicant was obtained from fermented date-juice. 3 To this first of all the name shekar would be given, when at a later period the Semites spread northward and became acquainted with the vine and its fruit, it is only natural that the term should be extended to include tht fermented juice of the grape, for which, however, the loanword yayin was by and by adopted to distinguish grape wine from the older date wine or shekar in the strict sense, as well as from the fermented juices of other fruits, such as pomegranates, quinces etc. (see 26) included under shekar in its wider application

The distinction which has just been drawn between these varying applications of the term sekdr receives ample confirma tion from a closer study of the OT data. Thus in the many poetical and semi-poetical (prophetical) passages where the word occurs in the parallelism alongside of yayin (Pr. 20:1, 31:6, Is. 5:11, 5:22, 28:7 etc.) it is unlikely that shekar is more than a synonym of yayin, denoting 'strong', 'heady' wine or such like. Perhaps also 'spiced wine' (for which see section29), as stated in Suidas definition, s.v. <riicepa. [sikera] : (TxevacrToi jro/xa. /cod jrap" E(3paiois OVTIO \ty6fj.evov ^(6v<7fj.a., euros au/j/iiyij? ySvefiairiv [skeuaston poma, kai gar Hebraiois outoo legomenon methysma, oinos symmiges edysmasin]. The Targums and the Peshitta frequently render shekar by 'old wine', whilst the Midrash records the tradition that it denoted wine in the natural state ( % H) as distinguished from yayin or wine diluted with water (jltC); in both cases, however, we have probably nothing more than exegetical guesswork. Of much greater importance for our argument is the fact that in the unique passage, Nu. 28:7, the material of the drink offering is expressly designated shekar (AV 'strong wine', RV 'strong drink'). Now it is difficult to believe that in the historical period any liquor other than the juice of the grape was accepted for this purpose, 4 and still more difficult to admit that any other liquor than wine was intended in this passage of the Priests Code. In other legislative passages, such as Nu. 6:3-4, cited above, and Dt. 14:26, shekar must be distinguished (from yayin) in the direction suggested by Jerome, as a general term for all fermented beverages other than yayin and in particular - though of this we have no positive OT evidence - for date wine. A land whose produce of dates was beyond reckoning (Aristeae Epist., ed Wendland, 112) was certainly not ignorant of the methods of manufacturing wine from their juice, although the name date wine is first met with in the Talmudic period (see further, 25).

1 With this definition of shekar may be compared 'Omar's definition of hamr as including wine from grapes, dates, honey, wheat, and barley' (Jacob, Altarab. Beduinenleben, 97, quoting Buhari).

2 The distinction here so clearly drawn between the two kinds of vinegar is fatal to our acceptance of the tradition, represented in Onkelos and approved by Rashi (Comm. in loc.) that the shekar is 'old wine'.

3 For the importance of the palm among the early Semites see Barton, A Sketch of Semitic Origins, 75+; cp also PALM, 1

4 Date juice was of course accepted in the earliest times; in Babylonia indeed in all periods libations of date wine (niki sa shikari) were common (see RITUAL, 2).

9. Some general terms.[edit]

Last of all, mention may be made of one or two more comprehensive terms. From the root nnt" [ShThH] , 'to drink' we have n%nto, mishteh, as a general term for beverages, especially wine. Thus workmen, receiving wages and 'everything found', have an allowance of 'meat and drink (nnro [mishteh]) and oil' (Ezra 3:7; cp the parallel akali, shikari, shamni of Am. Tab. 209:12-13 and elsewhere; also Dan. 1:10 with vv. 5, 8, 16, where the mishteh is said to consist of wine). From the associated root npc> [ShQH], we have both ^pjy, shikkuy, (Hos. 2:5 [2:7], where bread, oil, and 'drinks' are parallel to the 'corn, oil, and wine' of v. 8 [v. 10] ; Ps. 102:9 [102:10], and figuratively Pr. 38) and np8e>a, mashkeh. Mashkeh is used comprehensively, as in Lev. 11:34, for 'every drink that may be drunk', and in the later plural form (ppc c) it becomes, in the Mishna, the general term for all sorts of beverages water, wine, milk, etc. (see Terum. 11:2). Hence njJBJC* ^N? is Delitzsch's rendering of the Gk. /3pui<ny Kal 7r6<ns [Broosis kai posis] (Col. 2:16), whilst their respective plurals represent the f3pwfj.ara Kal iro/j-ara [Broomata kai pomata] of Heb. 9:10.

10. Use of grapes.[edit]

The economic use of grapes in ancient, as in modern times, was fourfold. The grapes might be eaten in their natural state (c*nS Nu. 6:3, AV 'moist'), or they might be exposed to the sun and used as raisins (FRUIT, 4), or finally they might be trodden in the press and the juice converted either into grape-syrup or dibs (HONEY, 1 (3)) or into wine. The last of these processes alone concerns us here.

The Winepress.[edit]

11. Two-trough press.[edit]

The ancient winepresses, traces of which are found in every part of Palestine, from Dan to Beersheba, have proved the most permanent memorials of the Israelite occupation, and show that the land of promise was indeed a 'land of wine and vineyards' ( 2 K. 18:32). Two adjoining vineyards might have one press in common (Demai 67). The typical winepress consisted of two troughs of varying dimensions, at different levels, hewn out ( as>n, Is. 5:3 RV) of the solid rock, the upper of the two having the larger superficial area, the lower the greater depth. 1 In the upper trough, which we shall call the pressvat (n], gath, in AV variously rendered press, wine-press [sometimes in one word, sometimes in two] and winefat) men and women trod (r t ~ri) the grapes, the expressed juice flowing by a channel (7ijsi Ma'aser. 1:7) through the intervening rock into the lower trough or winevat (HJT, yekeb ; see Schick's diagrams reproduced below). This distinction between the gath and the yekeb is not always observed by the OT writers, yekeb being occasionally used to denote the pressvat (Is. 16:10, Job 24:11) whilst either may be used by metonymy for the whole winepress, as may be seen from the names of localities now with gath (Gath, Gath-hepher, etc.), now with yekeb, as Zeeb's winepress (Judg. 7:25) and the king's winepresses (Zech. 14:10) in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem. A third term, ni S, purah, which may be rendered winetrough, is used as a synonym both of gath (Is. 63:3) and of yekeb (Hag. 2:16 reading as in AV m7isO - the RV rendering 'vessels', following LXX and Vg. , is not an improvement). By NT times yekeb as the name of the winevat had become almost, if not altogether, obsolete, its place being supplied by 113, bor (Mishna passim) - gath, however, remaining for the pressvat. Occasionally, however, we find gath used in the Mishna for the winepress as a whole, with the two troughs or vats designated respectively the 'upper' vat (m vSyn n;) and the 'lower' vat (minnnn ns, Terum. 8:9, Ma'aser. 1:7 etc.). In LXX the uniform rendering of gath is ~\-r]v6s [lenos] (also Mt. 21:33, Rev. 14:19-20, 19:15), which is also used to represent yekeb in some passages, whilst in others we find for yekeb the more exact inro\ /]VLOV [hypolenion] (Is. 16:10, Joel 3:13 [4:13], Hag. 2:17, Zech. 14:10; also Mk 12:1).

1 Of the modern Syrian winepresses it is said that 'if the upper trough be 6 ft. long by 5 broad [and a foot and a half deep] the lower one will be about 4 ft. long by 2 ft. broad, but about 3ft. deep'. G. M. Mackie, Bible Manners and Customs, 1898.

12. Three-trough press.[edit]

[picture of FIG. 1. - Ancient wine-press. (From the Palestine Exploration Fund, QS, 1899.) goes here]

Whilst a press with two vats seems to have been in general use, several instances are known of an arrangement with three and even four. Thus the late Dr. Schick has given a description (PEFQ, 1899, p. 41-42), with plans here reproduced, of an elaborate press discovered by him at 'Ain Karim, to the SW. of Jerusalem. Here we have a trough a, about 7 ft. square, into which the grape-baskets were first emptied. This trough at once recalls the irpo\-r\v(.ov [prolenion] by which LXX renders the yekeb of Is. 5:2, and is probably the 'abit, c 31 , of the Mishna (Bab. Mes. 5:7 [where it occurs alongside of the ma'atan, ]oy0s, or trough for the olives ; see OIL, 2]. Tohor. 10:4 [the grape juice here trickles in drops from the 'abit into the gath], Jer. Mo'ed Kat. 28:1a [grapes trodden in the 'abit]).

The prolenion, a, is connected by a channel in the rock with the larger trough, b, 10 ft. by 8 ft., the floor of which is lower by 3 ft. than that of a. From b again, two channels lead into two vats at a still lower level, connected with each other by a third channel ; the smaller of the two vats, c, is about 3.5 ft. square and 4 ft. deep, whereas d measures over 5 ft. square and is 6J ft. deep. In the floor of the larger vat, a circular hollow has been sunk at one side, easily recognisable in the sectional plan, to allow the last drops of the must to be scooped out. This is evidently the 'little vat' (p^? *rfi) of the Mishna. A somewhat similar arrangement of three vats, the floors of which were paved with a mosaic of 'rough white tesserae set in plaster' was unearthed, with several other presses, in 1889 at Tell-es-Safi (PEFQ 1900, p. 34 with plans, 32-33; see this volume passim for numerous vats laid bare by the explorers).

In vineyards where the nature of the ground or other considerations did not permit of rock excavation, pits were dug in the ground (Mk. 12:1 RV, 'a pit for the winepress', Mt. 21:33), {1} which were then lined with masonry or cement and coated with pitch (see 'Abodah Zarah, 6:11, where the name gath shel hores, cin rt? m, or cement-vat, is given to this kind of press). An excellent specimen, probably of the thirteenth century B.C., was discovered by Bliss at Tell el-Hesy (A Mound of Many Cities, 69-70, with illustr. ). The vats, of which there were three, were circular. The uppermost had a diameter of 63 ins., walls of mud, and a floor of cement sloping gently towards a cup-like hollow, the 'little vat' described above. The second vat of the series had also a diameter of over 5 ft. and walls of brick with a floor of cement consisting of pebbles imbedded in lime, sloping rapidly towards the outlet into the lowermost of the vats, a small pit lined with rough stones and in the side of which was a stone spout.

1 That the Arjvos [lenos] of this parable was not rock-hewn, as is generally assumed, is evident from the context of Mt. 25:18 where the same expression, 'dug the ground', iopvgcv yt)i> [oorxen gen] (so BX[aleph]) is used.

13. Wooden press.[edit]

A third species of press was used from time immemorial in Egypt, and is attested for Palestine, where it bore the name gath shel ets, vy *}& rn, or wooden press ('Abod. Zar. l.c. ). As represented by Wilkinson (op. cit. 1385) this was simply a large wooden trough raised considerably above the ground and furnished with spouts through which the must flowed into the receiving-jars. In the particular specimen reproduced by Wilkinson ropes are seen hanging from a wooden roof, by means of which those treading the grapes supported themselves. A modern press of the same type is reproduced in Van Lennep, Bible Lands [1875] 118. It is possible that the yekeb of Is. 5:2 is to be understood not as a whole press, but as a rock-hewn vat (such as vat No. 4 at Tell-es-Safi, PEFQ, 1900, p. 33-34), and the inro\r;viov [hypolenion] of Mk. 12:1 as a cemented pit, both intended to receive the juice expressed from a wooden press such as that now described. {1}


14. Grape harvest.[edit]

On the approach of the vintage season ( r/u,tpai Tpvytjrov [emerai trygetou], Ecclus. 24:27, 6 tempos TU>V Ka,pir(av [o kairos toon karpoon], Mt. 21:34, ninsrr nytr, Chagigah 3:4), which corresponded fairly with our September, whole families repaired to the vineyards for the more expeditious gathering of the fruit, sleeping in booths, and living largely on the ripening grapes. It was the most joyful time of all the Hebrew's year (Is. 16:10). The ripe clusters (rriV3E>K) were either nipped off (j"]jj, Pe'a, 7:4), or, more usually, cut off (p?2) with a curved knife ("so, Joel 3:13 [4:13], Ohal. 18:1 ; Sp^-n-avov [drepanon], Rev. 14:19; EV 'sickle'). Hence is derived the special name for the grape harvest, Ti'2, batsir (cp Ti2, the grape-gatherer, Jer. 6:9, 49:9; rpvyuv [trygoon], Ecclus. 30:25 [33:16]), although T%p, katsir, strictly the corn-harvest, is sometimes applied to the vintage (Is. 16:9, 17:11, 18:5, Joel 3:13 [4:13], 'put ye in the sickle for the harvest is ripe'). 2

15. Spreading-place.[edit]

The grapes destined for the manufacture of wine were carried in baskets (So, Mishna passim, n TD- D, Jer. 6:9 AV, see, however, RVmg and art. BASKET) to the press where thev wore immediately trodden out, or, as is still a common practice in Syria and other wine-producing countries, spread out for some days 3 on the naa o or spreading-place (cp FRUITS, 4, with footnote), where the grapes were laid either on the bare ground or on vine leaves (Tohor. 10:4-5). The mistah was generally, if not always, close to the press, so that the juice exuding from the grapes under their own pressure might trickle into the vat (njS]Bj, ib. 10:5). The object of this proceeding was to increase the amount of sugar and diminish the amount of water in the grapes (see Redding, A History . . . of Modern Wines (3) [1851], 55), with a view to the production of a specially sweet wine, like the pao^j ['LYSTVN] (-rj\ia(TT6v [eliaston]) of Menahoth 8:5. An ancient mishtah or spreading-place with its adjoining vat has, in the writer's opinion, recently been laid bare at Tell es-Safi (PEFQ, 1900, p. 31-32 with plans). It consists of 'a floor of rock, roughly rectangular, about 42 ft. long by 16 ft. 8 ins. broad. It has been smoothed level and sunk to a maximum depth of 5 ins. below the surrounding rock outcrop'. The many cups scattered over the floor (cp a similar series of cups at Tell-el-Judeideh, ib. 249, with illustrations) were evidently for receiving the juice expressed from the grapes by their own weight. This has always been considered to produce a quality of wine superior to that obtained by treading the grapes, and was termed irp6xu/j.aby [prochyma] the Greeks, and protropum by the Romans (Geopon. 6:16, Pliny HN 14:85; cp Hesychius' definition of -yXeO/coj [gleukos] cited above, 3).

1 Is it possible that purah (Is. 63:2 ; see above) was the special designation for a press of this description?

2 The unity of the prophet's figure in this verse has hitherto been marred by the commentators taking katsir in its usual sense of corn harvest, and consequently rendering maggal by 'sickle'. In reality the reference is to the grape harvest and (LXX Tpvyqros [trygetos]) the gatherer's knife. This view of the passage preserves the unity of the figure and is confirmed by LXX and the author of Revelation (14:19-20), and by the fact that the only other instance of ^ 3, in the sense of 'to be ripe', refers to the ripening of grapes (Gen. 40:1).

3 At present from five to seven days, near Hebron even for sixteen days ZDPV 11:170.

The many cup-like hollows in the floor of the mishtah suggest a new explanation of the unique term IJ Cn (Ex. 22:29 [22:28] lit. 'thy tear' [yQ"?] EV 'thy liquors', LXX dimp^a? ArjroO [aparchos lenon], so Pesh.). The hollows in question may very naturally have been termed the 'eyes' of the mishtah (cp 'the seven eyes upon one stone' in the difficult passage Zech. 8:9), when the liquid collected in them would as naturally have been called the 'tear'. There are analogies in other languages for this application of the word 'tear', as in the Arabic dam'atu-l-karmi (Konig, Stilistik, etc., 106) and the Spanish lagrima, the name for wine made from grape-juice which has exuded without pressure (Redding, op. cit. 58).

The treading of the grapes was accompanied by much merry shouting and singing on the part of the treaders (c lni - in later Hebrew 7]i-n, women trcaders fi iDTi, Terum. 3:4), a proceeding several times referred to in OT. The vintage-shout even received a special name, the hedad (-rrn, Is. 16:10, Jer. 25:30, 43:33). A snatch of a vintage song is preserved in Is. 65:8: 'Destroy it not, for a blessing is in it'. The Greek translators, as is well known, read the titles of Pss. 8, 81, and 84 as nh;n ^y, which they rendered vntp TWV \t]v&v [hyper toon lenoon] (Jerome, pro [or in] torcularibus), evidently regarding the Psalms in question as vintage hymns, corresponding to the djULvoi. twi\r)VLOL [hymnoi epilenioi] of the Greeks, a view adopted in recent times by Baethgen (HK 16). {1}

1 Specimens of modern vintage songs in Arabic are given by Dilman in his Paleestinischer Diwan (1901) 28+

16. Qualities of wine.[edit]

The grapes having been trodden as thoroughly as possible with the feet - the juice thus expressed was termed by the Romans mustum lixivum - a further flow was obtained by piling the husks and stalks in a heap (j<^, 'Ab. Zar. 4:8 etc. ) in the middle of the pressvat. Flat stones, or planks of wood, were laid upon the top of the tappuah and the whole was subjected to pressure by means of a wooden press-beam (run ^^y, Shabb. 1:9 ; Tohor. 10:8), one end of which was fixed, into a socket in the wall of the pressvat, as shown in Schick's diagram reproduced above, whilst the other end was weighted with stones (see the illustr. , fig. 2, of the same procedure at the present day, Mackie, Bible Manners and Customs, 45). The wine obtained from this second pressing, which produced the mustum tortivum of the Romans, was of course much inferior to that obtained from the mustum lixivum. Still lower in the scale must be placed the beverage termed isn, tomed (so pointed by Dalman, Aram.-Neuhebr. Worterb. , s. v. , who derives the word from the Latin temetum), which was prepared by pouring water upon the skins and stalks after they had been pressed (Ma'aser. 5:4b), or upon the lees of generous wine (Shabb. 20:2) and allowing the whole to ferment (j"onn, Ma'as. Sh. 1:3), precisely as in the manufacture of the lora of the Romans. Tomed was also prepared from grapes that had become atrophied on the vine ('Orla 18). Some such wine of poor quality may be intended in some cases by the j i ah, homets, of the OT (AV 'vinegar'), which like lora was the vinum operarium or workmen's wine (Ruth 2:14).

[picture of FIG. 2. - Modern contrivance for pressing grapes in Palestine. goes here]


17. Fermentation.[edit]

Proceeding now to the preparation of the ordinary varieties of wine, we are met by the somewhat remarkable fact that of the two hundred or more biblical references to wine, only two or three refer specially to any of the many processes in its fermentation and maturing. We are accordingly dependent on the more numerous and more explicit statements to be found in the Mishna, which apply strictly to the procedure of the second century A. D. But the methods then in use are of so primitive a character that they may safely be used to illustrate the procedure of a much earlier period. In the case of small vineyards, it was perhaps possible to allow the must to ferment in the winevat, fermentation, in the warm climate of Palestine in September, commencing a few hours after the expression of the juice. Thus in Aboth 42b the man that learns from a young and immature teacher is compared to one that 'eats unripe grapes and drinks wine from his vat' (injia p). {1} After the first and most active stage of the fermentation, technically known as the 'tumultuous' fermentation (Redding, op. cit. 62), was completed in the vat, the new wine was drawn off (r^-n, Hagg. 2:16, in the Mishna, rjS?) and transferred to skins (Job 32:19, Mt. 9:17 and ||s, see BOTTLE, ) or jars for the so-called 'after-fermentation'. It is impossible that the must could ever have been put into skins to undergo the whole process of fermentation, as is usually stated, the action of the gas given off in the earlier stages of the process being much too violent for any skins to withstand. Where a large quantity of grapes had to be trodden, it was necessary to relieve the winevat by transferring the must immediately to earthenware jars, of which the Jews possessed a large variety (see Krengel, Das Hausgerat in der Mishnah, pp. 48+). The most frequently mentioned is the jvan, habith, corresponding to the Roman dolium, a large full-bellied jar with a wide mouth, of the type represented under POTTERY, Fig. 3, No. 1, intermediate in size between the smaller 7D, kad (/cctSos [kados]) and the larger ob9, pitos (iridos [pithos]). The jars, which had previously been lined with pitch, were placed beneath the spout of the vat if it had one (see the Tell el-Hesy vat above described), or were filled - but not to the brim (Menah. 8:6) - by means of the mahats (fno, Tohor. 10:7) or dipper, a bowl-shaped vessel like those used in Egypt for the same purpose (illus. Wilkinson, op. cit. 1:387 ; cp POTTERY, Fig. 2, No. 6). Schick's diagram above shows at e a special cavity in which the jar was placed to be filled. The jars were then set aside 2 for the contents to ferment. The active fermentation of the Roman wines lasted about nine days, according to Pliny, whilst the modern red wine of Syria is said to complete its first fermentation in from four to seven days, and to become drinkable after the lapse of from two to four months (ZDPV 11:171, see below, section 21).

1 Here, and elsewhere in the Mishna, however, yayin may he used instead of the now obsolete tirosh to denote the unfermented must, in which case the aphorism throws an interesting sidelight on the Jewish appreciation of unfermented wine !

2 From Abodah Zarah 4:10 we learn that the jars were left open; see nSE n Strack's glossary to this tractate.

18. Straining, etc.[edit]

The scum which was thrown up during the process of fermentation was removed from time to time, the technical term for which was i7ap (Ma'aser, 1:7, 4:1). The later Jewish legislation decreed that the new wine was not admissible for the drink offering until it had stood for at least forty days in the fermenting-jars ('Eduy. 6:1 ; Bab. Bath. 97a ; Targ. Jerus. 1 [Pseudo-Jonathan] on Nu. 28:7, where after rendering shekar by 'old wine' it adds : 'if old wine cannot be had, let wine forty days old be poured out before the Lord'). On the expiry of this period, then, the wine was assumed to have sufficiently settled to allow of its being racked off into smaller jars (13, jjS, |p3p. Va:. for all which see Krengel, op. cit. ) corresponding to the Roman amphorae, and into wine-skins (itu). The skins were preferred to the jars where the question of transport was concerned (Josh. 9:4, 1 S. 1:24, Judith 10:5 etc.). In order to purify the new wine from the lees (cnce ) or deposit of husks, stalks, etc. , that had settled at the bottom of the fermenting jars, it was poured through a strainer (p ^ rnsc>O, Kel. 25:3 and often), which might be of metal, as in the passage cited (see Becker's Gallus, Eng. ed. 490, for illust. of a fine metal colum vinarium), or of earthenware (Kel. 3:8), or more frequently a plain linen cloth ("mo, Shabb. 20:2 = ffov5dpiov [soudarion]), the Roman saccus vinarius. To strain wine was termed ppj (Is. 256 'wines on the lees well strained') and j|D (Mishna, passim), in NT 6iiA/fw [diulizoo] (Mt. 23:24 also LXX of Am. 6:6 rbv 5iv\i<T/j.tvot> olvov [ton diulismenon oinon], which suits the parallelism better than the MT). {1} A striking figure employed by Jeremiah to denote the even tenor of Moabite history informs us that it was the custom to 'fine' the new wine by pouring it at intervals from one jar to another:

'Moab has been at ease from his youth, and has settled on his lees [cp the similar figure Zeph. 1:12] and has not been emptied (pTin vb) from vessel to vessel, neither has he gone into captivity: therefore his taste remains in him, and his scent [the modern "bouquet"] is not changed. Therefore behold the days come, says Yahwe, when I will send tillers [c KS, from nNs, to tilt over a vessel in order to pour out its contents ; see RVmg] and they shall tilt him, and they shall empty his vessels and break his jars' (Jer. 48:11-12)

19. No 'old' wines.[edit]

Care had to be taken, on the other hand, lest this frequent tilting should set up acetous fermentation and turn wine into vinegar. The frequent references to this danger in the Mishna show that the Jewish wines were not calculated to keep for a long period. Indeed wine was already 'old' when a year had passed from the time when it had left the winepress. 'Old wine' (JB" ; cp the similar use of 7raXcu6s [palaios] absolutely in Lk. 5:39) we read in the Mishna (Bab. Bath. 63) 'is wine of the previous year' - i.e., of the vintage last but one - 'very old wine (p i- c) is wine that is three years old', i.e. , according to Jewish reckoning, of the vintage last but two, in other words from two to three years old. 'New wine', accordingly, would apply only to wine of the immediately preceding vintage. Probably the ordinary custom is reflected in the statement in the book of Jubilees (7:1-2) that Noah prepared the wine of his vineyard in the seventh month, and kept it in ajar until he offered it on the following new year's day ; that is to say wine which had begun to ferment, say, on the first of October was considered ready for use about the middle of the following March.

1 Ignatius is fond of the metaphor from straining or filtering; see ad Rom., 'salutation, filtered (an-o6iuAia>xeVois [apodiulismenois]) from every stain' ; ad Philad. 3.

20. Storage.[edit]

When the wine had been sufficiently refined and clarified, the mouth of the amphora, which had previously been lined |HBT) with pitch, was closed with a lid (lB3), probably in the shape of a hollow cone (Krengel, op. cit. 50, illustr. ap. Wilkinson, op. cit. 1387), or, if the jar had a narrow neck, it was corked (rpj) with a stopper (nsijp ; Mishna often). Both lids and stoppers were carefully luted with gypsum or clay, pitch, wax, etc. (see the list in Kel. 10:2). {1} Wineskins were fastened with a knotted cord (Shabb. 15:2; cp dcr/cds SeSe/uepos [askos dedemenos], Job 32:9 LXX). The jars were now ready to be stored in the wine-cellars (j",T rrnxN, 1 Ch. 27:27, Vg. cella vinariae, by which Jerome also renders the pn n 2 of Cant. 2:4 [AV 'banqueting house']). Wine shops (i7un, Bab. Mets. 4:11, Ab. Zar. 5:4) were common in Jerusalem in NT times. Those of Arabia - often kept by Jews, whence the name hanut - frequently had displayed a sign or 'bush', with which some commentators have identified the obscure 'banner' of the 'house of wine' in the passage of Canticles just cited (cp ENSIGNS, 1b).

21. Modern process.[edit]

The process of wine-making as above described on the basis of the data of the Mishna may be illustrated by two brief ccounts of the modern process in Eastern lands. Writing in 1824 Henderson in his History of Ancient and Modern Wines thus describes the method adopted in Persia (264) :

'When the grapes are gathered, they are brought to the cellar, and introduced into a vat or cistern, formed of masonry, and lined with plaster, about 8 ft. in length and breadth, and 4 in depth, where they are trodden, and the juice which flows from them is collected in a trough at the bottom, from which it is immediately removed into large earthen jars, to undergo the requisite fermentation. . . . When the fermentation has fairly commenced, the murk is stirred by one of the workmen with his arms bare ; and this operation is repeated for eighteen or twenty successive days. The wine is then strained, through coarse sieves, into clean vessels, which are filled to the brim, and covered with light matting. In these it is allowed to remain for thirty or forty days, and when the secondary fermentation is thought to be completed, it is racked into smaller jars or bottles in which it can be conveniently transported'.

The following extract applies to the present [late 19th century] day.

'In Damascus the Christians use principally red grapes in the manufacture of wine. After the grapes have been trodden, the must is transferred with the husks to large earthenware jars, the mouths of which are closed with pieces of linen. Fourteen days afterwards when the fermentation is completed the wine is poured into smaller jars, stirred daily for two months with a rod to prevent acetgus fermentation and then strained through a thick linen cloth. The wine is now drinkable. It is preserved in jars which are stoppered and sent to the cellar' (Anderlind in ZDPV 11:171 [1888]).

22. 'Boiled wine'.[edit]

In what has been said hitherto of the Jewish methods of manufacture, the ordinary quality of wine has been exclusively in view. We have also seen (section 15) that it was usual to expose some part, at least, of the vintage, to the sun before pressing in order to increase the sweetness and strength of the wine ; but with this exception the mode of manufacture was as above described. Another procedure which aims at improving a must that is poor in sugar is still in vogue in Syria and elsewhere. 2 The must is boiled in a caldron for a short time, until it is reduced four or five per cent in volume (see the direc tions from the geoponic collection a p. Henderson, op. cit. 41), after which the liquor is set aside to cool and in due time to ferment. This is apparently the boiled wine (>c pp j", Terum. 26; Menah. 85) which the context shows to have been inferior to wine made and matured in the ordinary way from the best quality of must. The authorities, however, differed in their attitude to 'boiled wine'. 'It is not permissible to boil the must (p< [yayin]) of the heave offering, because its bulk is thus diminished. But Rabbi Yehuda allows it, because it is thereby improved' (Terumoth 11:1). The process now described must not be confused with the much more elaborate process of the manufacture of grape-syrup, full details of which have been given under HONEY, 1 (3) (cp also PANNAG).

1 There is a decided flavour of modernity about the precautions against 'broaching the admiral' - or tampering with the wine-jars in transitu. as detailed in 'Abodah Zarah 5:3-4.

2 'In some parts, e.g. Portugal, must which is too watery is concentrated by evaporation in a caldron; Thudicum, A Treatise on Wines, 50 (1894); cp Wilson, The Wines of the Bible, 110+

23. Doctored wine.[edit]

The doctoring of wines, as it is now called, was not unknown to the Jews, since we read of the lees of a more generous wine being added to a wine of inferior quality to increase its strength (see Bab. Mets. 4:11, where also is mentioned the familiar expedient of combining a strong, harsh [HB^] wine with one of a milder [?p] quality). The method of hastening the maturing of wines by fumigation (Henderson, op. cit. 54+., Wilson, op. cit. 96+, Smith's Dict, of Gr. and Rom. Ant. (3), 2:967b) was also practised ; but such 'smoked wine' (m ; j?a p*, Menah. 85) was, like the boiled wine, admitted with a grudge as the material of the drink offering (Menah. l.c.). The poet's comparison of himself to 'a bottle in the smoke' (Ps. 119:83) is generally supposed to refer to the fumigation of the wine-skin (so RVmg) ; but the terms are not sufficiently precise for this special application, and the reference is more probably to any skin-bottle exposed to the smoke of the hearth.

24. Various 'brands'.[edit]

Of the wines most esteemed in OT times, only two are known to us by name, viz., the wine of Lebanon (Hos 14:7 [14:8], but see Nowack, who suspects an error in the text [see further Crit. Bib., and cp LEBANON, 8]) and the wine of HELBON (Ezek. 27:18), a locality about three hours distant from Damascus, to the NW. Its wine was greatly prized by the Assyrians and is frequently mentioned in the cuneiform literature (with nine other varieties in the list R 44:9-13, Del. Ass. HWB, s.v. 'karanu'). The Persian kings are said by Strabo (15:735) to have drunk only wine from Helbon, and even at the present day it is held in repute. In the Mishna treatise Menahoth (85) five obscure localities are mentioned by name as supplying the wine most esteemed in the Temple service (see for discussion of these Neubauer, Geogr. du Talmud, 84-85).


25. Date-wine.[edit]

In discussing the signification of the term shekar (section 8), we found that both etymology and history pointed to its being originally a comprehensive term for intoxicating beverages of all sorts, including wine, but that, with the popularisation at an early period of the word yayin as the exclusive designation for the fermented juice of the grape, the two terms came to be regarded as mutu ally exclusive. It was further pointed out that of all the intoxicating liquors, other than wine, likely to be known to the early Hebrews as a branch of the Semitic family, date-wine was historically the oldest. It is not till the Talmudic period, however, that we meet with its Hebrew name, c"ion ]"\ 'wine of dates' or 'date-wine'. This beverage is said by Herodotus (1:194) to have been the principal article of Assyrian commerce and is mentioned times without number in the cuneiform contract-tablets (Del. Ass. HWB, s.v. 'Sikaru'). The greater part of the wine of Arabia Felix in Strabo's time was made from the palm (:425 ; see, further, Low, Aram. Pflanzennamen, for the Arabic sakr). The dates were first steeped in water - a modius, or peck, of ripe dates to three congii (about 17 pints) of water is Pliny's recipe (HN 14:19) - then submitted to the press, after which the juice was allowed to ferment. The wine which Pliny mentions as being made 'from the pods of the Syrian carob' (see HUSKS, FRUIT, 14) was no doubt prepared in a similar manner.

26. Apple-wine, pomegranate-wine.[edit]

Repeatedly in the later Jewish literature reference is made to a species of cider known as tappuah-wine ("io^ \n \, Terum. 11:2; Ned. 69, etc.). In the uncertainty that attaches to the identification of the tappuah (see APPLE, and cp FRUIT, 12) we cannot be sure whether we have to do with true cider - or apple-wine, or with the cydoneum or cydonites of the classical writers, which was made from the juice of the quince. In any case the beverage was intoxicating and therefore taboo to those who took a vow of abstinence from wine (see Nedar. 69). From the kindred pomegranate was prepared the only fermented liquor other than wine mentioned by name in the OT (unless we are prepared to render shekar by palm-wine) - viz. , the 'asis rimmonim, D Jisi D DV (so read Cant. 8:2, AV 'juice', RV 'sweet wine of [pomegranates]'). This beverage is described by Pliny as 'vinum e punicis quod rhoiten vocant' (HN 14:16), and is the /XH TTJS otvos [roites oinos] of Dioscorides (534). Both these wines were prepared, like the English cider, we may assume, by crushing the fruit, probably in the oil-mill, as described in detail under OIL, 3, and allowing the juice to ferment.

27. Foreign beverages.[edit]

It is not surprising to find, in the later literature, reference also to various novel beverages either imported from abroad, or made at home in imitation of the imported article. Thus in the minute directions for the removal of every trace of leaven in the Mishna treatise on the passovers (Pesahim 3:1), four foreign liquors are proscribed on the implied ground that fermented grain in some form or other entered into their composition. These are : 'Babylonian kuttah, Median sekar, Edomite (i.e., Roman) vinegar, and Egyptian beer (o7rn, futfos [zythos]). The kuttah is said to have had sour milk for its basis. The Median differed from the Palestinian shekar, in not being pure fermented fruit-juice, but having an admixture of malt. The Roman vinegar was also suspected of containing a similar mixture. The last of the four is the beer for which Egypt had long been famed. Herodotus (277) is the first Greek writer to refer to the Egyptians' fondness for 'wine made from barley', whilst Diodorus styles it vdos [zythos], declaring that its bouquet was little inferior to that of wine (134). This preparation, of which the native name was hek, is said to be as old as the fourth dynasty (Birch, ap. Wilk. op. cit. 1396) and to have been at all times the favourite beverage of the common people. It was made from barley, and flavoured by an infusion of various plants (for further details see the references, especially to modern investigations, in the list of authorities cited by Schurer, GJV (3), 2:57, and for the buza of modern Egypt, see J. Death, The Beer of the Bible, 1887). The Alexandrian translators found a reference to the manufacture of beer in Egypt in the already corrupt text of Is. 19:10b (ol Troiouvres TOV fidov [oi poiountes ton zython]; see WEAVING, 5).


28. With water.[edit]

It is still an open question whether the Hebrews under the monarchy drank their wine neat or, as was customary among the peoples of classical antiquity, diluted with water (see MEALS, 12). From the quaint expression used by Isaiah to symbolise the degeneracy of his contemporaries (1:22, 'thy silver has become dross, thy wine mixed with water' [rnc, lit. 'circumcised']), it has been inferred that in the eighth century, at least, the addition of water was not the usual practice. That this is the significance of the unique phrase 'circumcised' - the accompanying bammayim in the original is probably a gloss - is proved by many analogies both in the Semitic and in the non-Semitic languages, of which Pliny's castrare vinum is the most familiar 1 (see Marti's list of parallels in KHC, in loc. ). In this connection it should be remembered that the ancient wines were not, like the modern, 'doctored' or 'rectified' by the addition of a strong spirit, and the wines of Palestine, in, particular, may be assumed on the whole not to have exceeded the strength of an ordinary claret.

1 [Or we may read SmC, which in MH means the dark turbid liquor pressed out from grapes. So Earth, Noldeke, Cheyne (SBOT, 'Isaiah', Heb., 111).]

It may be taken as a result of Hellenic influence that it is in the late post-exilic period that we first meet with a clear reference to the diluting of wine with water. Thus the author of 2 Macc, remarks that 'it is hurtful to drink wine or water alone' whilst 'wine mingled with water (otvos vdari ffWKfpay&fis [oinos hydati synkerastheis]) is pleasant' (15:39 ; cp LXX rendering of Bel. 33). In NT times it may be taken that the Greek custom had become firmly established, since the diluting of wine is assumed to be the usual custom in the Mishna (Berakh. 7:5, 8:2; 'Abod. Zar. 55, and oft.). Wine thus diluted was termed J1TO j" ; undiluted or 'neat' wine, n j" (lit. 'living wine'). In Nidda 27 mazug wine is defined as consisting of two parts of water and one part of the wine of Sharon. In the Gemara and in the Midrash, however, Sharon wine is said to have been weaker than the ordinary sorts, which were usually mixed in the proportion of three parts of water to one of wine (see also the commentaries on Shabb. 8:1). These are the proportions recommended by Hesiod for peasants in the dog-days ( Works and Days, 596). {1} A refinement of this custom consisted in mixing the wine with snow (Negri. 1:2), a practice which some have found referred to in Pr. 25:13 (see Toy in loc. with reff. there). It is further attested that it was a common custom to mix wine with hot water, so perhaps always at the Passover supper (see Pesah. 7:13, where the hot-water apparatus [crrc] is specially named). Even the must in the vat was drunk mixed with water, either cold (fjis) or hot (j snn, Ma'aser. 44). The Arabs also, in the period before Mohammed, mixed their wine with cold water (half and half) or with hot (Jacob, Altarab. Beduinenleben, 102).

29. With spices.[edit]

A study of the OT passages in which reference is made, either explicitly or by implication, to the 'mixing' or 'mingling' o wine shows that the mixing in question was not with water but with various aromatic herbs and spices, for the purpose of heightening the flavour and increasing the strength of the wine. Thus the 'men of might' denounced by Isaiah (522) did not, we may be sure, dilute their strong drink with water, but mingled it with appropriate spices. Indeed, we have seen some ground for supposing that shekar itself may have been sometimes used to denote wine when treated in this way (see 8, and especially the definition of Suidas there quoted). This 'spiced wine' is plainly specified by the name npnrt p [yayin ....] of Cant. 8:2 and by the CB : 3D ;;; [yayin ....] of Baba Bathra 63 (cp the special term f; Trm ess, to 'spice' the wine, Ma'aser. Sh. 2:1). Maspero thus describes the Assyrian practice:

'The wines, even the most delicate, are not drunk in their natural state ; they are mixed with aromatics and various drugs, which give them a delicious flavour and add tenfold to their strength. This operation is performed in the hall, under the eyes of the revellers. An eunuch standing before a table pounds in a stone mortar the intoxicating substances, which he moistens from time to time with some essence. His comrades have poured the contents of the amphorae into immense bowls of chased silver [cp Pr. 9:2, LXX iKfpaatv els Kparrjpa TOV olvov [ekerasen eis kratera ton oinon]] which reach to their chests. As soon as the perfumed paste is ready they put some of it into each bowl and carefully dissolve it. The cupbearers bring the cups, draw out the wine, and serve the guests' (Ancient Egypt and Assyria, 370+, with illustrs.).

This class of beverages is styled aromatites by Pliny, who enumerates the various aromatics used in their composition - myrrh, cassia, calamus, etc. (HN 14:19). The same authority has much to say of the fondness of the Romans for the special beverage known as myrrhina or myrrh-wine (HN 14:15 ; cp Smith, Dict. (3) s.v. 'Vinum', 2:967a), the olvos 4fffj.vpiff^tvos [oinos esmyrismenos] of Mk. 15:23 (AV 'wine mingled with myrrh' - see CROSS, 5, and cp || Mt. 27:34), and the p-^j-N of later Jewish literature (Shir Rabba 4:14).

1 For other proportions recommended by various classical writers see Iwan Muller, Handb. d. klass. Altertumswiss, 4:443b

30. With honey.[edit]

Here also may be classed another popular beverage of the first centuries of our era in Palestine, the foreign origin of which is betrayed by its name p ^i (variously pointed = otV6/ue\i [oinomele], Ep. Ignat. ad Trall. 6:2), the favourite mulsum of the Romans. As the name also indicates, we have here a mixture of wine and honey (Terum. 11:1), in the proportion of 'four by measure of wine to one of honey', to which pepper was added as flavouring ('Ab. Zar. 30a).

31. Metaphors.[edit]

It is a remarkable fact that the plain and literal references in the Bible to wine and strong drink are exceeded in number by the illustrations and figures borrowed from their preparation and use. Only a few typical cases can be here adduced. Passing by the familiar designation of Israel as a vine and as the vineyard of Yahwe, we have in the treading of the winepress a frequent and expressive figure of the divine judgments (Is. 63:2-3, Joel 3:13 [4:13], Lam. 1:15, Rev. 14:19-20). The action of the must under fermentation suggests to a Hebrew poet a novel metaphor to express agony of soul occasioned by the calamities of his country (Lam. 1:20, 2:11). The folly of attempting to force the 'new wine' of the gospel into the 'old wine-skins' (Mt. 9:17 and ||s), the worn-out forms and formulas of Judaism, is illustrated by the familiar figure discussed above (section 17). We have also seen how the treatment of the wine while maturing in the wine-jars supplied Jeremiah with an image for the easy-going Moab, who had not been 'emptied from vessel to vessel' (46:11-12), but had settled contentedly 'on his lees', like the callous insouciant contemporaries of Zephaniah (1:12). By the superiority of old wine to new (cp Lk. 5:39) ben Sira illustrates his preference for an old and tried friend over one whose friendship has still to mature (TraXcuoO/xcu [palaioumai]; Ecclus. 9:15 [LXX 9:10]). Perhaps the boldest metaphor is that in which the in toxicating properties of wine, as contained in Yahwe's 'cup of reeling', is employed by prophet and poet (Is. 51:17+, Jer. 25:15+, Ezek. 23:33, Hab. 2:16, Pss. 60:5, 75:8) as a frequent symbol for confusion, bewilderment, and distress. Drunkenness may typify spiritual blindness or perplexity (Is. 19:14, Jer. 23:9). It also supplies the figure for sailors of a ship in a storm at sea, who reel about the deck in bewildered witlessness (Ps. 107:27); and finally it is combined with the image of the wind-tossed booth to illustrate the convulsions of the earth upon the Judgment-day (Is. 24:20). {2}

This symbolism may be said to reach its highest point in the institution of the Eucharist.

1 This name, however, may have supplanted an earlier native designation, since honied wine was known to the Assyrians from an early period, see Del. Ass. HWB, s.vv. 'dashpu' and 'dushshupu'.

2 Quoted from a most suggestive paper, entitled 'A Tentative Catalogue of Biblical Metaphors' by Claude G. Montefiore in JQR 3:662.

3 Schurer (GJV (3), 2:569) combats the generally received view that the Essenes also were abstainers.

32. Ideas about drinks.[edit]

With regard to the attitude of OT and NT to the general question of the use of fermented beverages, it is worthy of note that while tirosh in the OT sometimes denotes the unfermented must, there is no trace in Hebrew literature, from the earliest period to the close of the Mishna, of any method of preserving it in the unfermented state. Indeed it has been maintained that 'with the total absence of antiseptic precautions characteristic of Orientals, it would have been impossible to do so' (Prof. Macalister in Hastings' DB 2:34b, in this agreeing with many modern authorities). Throughout the OT the use of wine as a daily beverage (see MEALS, 12) appears as an all but universal custom (for the exceptions see NAZIRITE, and RECHABITE; {3} priests also, while on duty, had to abstain from wine and strong drink: Lev. 10:9 ; cp Ezek. 44:21). {1} Even its use to the extent of exhilaration is implicitly approved (Gen. 43:34, Judg. 9:13, Ps. 104:15, Pr. 31:7), whilst the value of alcohol as a stimulant in sickness and distress is explicitly recognised (Pr. 316, cp 1 Tim. 5:23). The views of the biblical writers on this subject, in short, may fairly be summed up in the words of Jesus ben Sira (about 180 B.C.): 'Wine drunk in measure and to satisfy is joy of heart and gladness of soul' ( Ecclus. 31:28 RV ; cp v. 27, and for the converse vv. 29-30), or in those of a somewhat later, or it may be contemporary, Jewish writer, the Pseudo-Aristeas : Tr\r)v 4v 7rd<rt jUerptoTTjs KoiKov [plen en pasi metriotes kalon] (in all things [according to the context : eating, drinking, and pleasures] moderation is good ; ed. Wendland, 223). Whilst this is so, the opposition of biblical writers to immoderate indulgence in wine and strong drink is too explicit and too well known to require further elaboration here. 2 The problems raised by the very different conditions of the modern world were of course undreamt of by the biblical writers.

A. K. S. K.

1 It has often been remarked that Ezekiel in his ideal sketch of the restored temple worship makes no provision for the use of wine, which had from time immemorial a recognised place in the ritual. [On the daily libation of wine at the morning and evening sacrifice, see SACRIFICE, 35, and cp Ecclus. 50:15-16]

2 We may note in particular the deutero-canonical writers (e.g., 1 Esd. 3:4+, and the frequent denunciation of excess in Ecclesiasticus) : also Philo's treatises 'on the planting of Noah' and 'Drunkenness'. In the latter occurs the fine saying (sect. 32) regarding aicparov ai rriv a.tf>po<rvvr)<; <jia.pfia.Kov [akraton kai pan aphrosynes pharmakon].


(!Ttt ; Ruth 3:2, Is. 30:24). See AGRICULTURE, 9.


  • Definition (1).
  • Early philosophy (2-3).
  • The Sages (4).
  • Their teaching (5-8).
  • Ethics (9-10).
  • World-questions (11-14).
  • Decline (15).
  • Bibliography (16).

1. Definition.[edit]

'Wisdom Literature' is the usual designation of those old-Hebrew writings which deal, not with the Israelitish national law and life, but with universal moral and religious principles of all human life. It is thus sharply distinguished from the PROPHETICAL LITERATURE [q.v.] (whose central theme is the obligation to serve Yahwe alone and no other god), from the LAW LITERATURE [q.v.] (which is mainly concerned with ritual), and from the Liturgical Literature [see PSALMS, etc. ] (which is the expression of religious emotion). As its lower limit we may take the beginning of the Christian era - after this the Jewish thought occupies itself with other things ; it may be considered to include all reflective writings before Philo, who forms a new category. In as much as it seeks to discover what is permanent and universal in life (which is the aim of philosophy) it may be described as the pre-Philonic Hebrew philosophy. The books and psalms in which it is contained, arranged in what is taken in this article to be the general chronological order, are : Job, certain Psalms (such as 8, 19, 29, 37, 49, 73, 90, 92, 103, 104, 107, 139, 147, 148), Proverbs, Ben-Sira (Ecclesiasticus), Ecclesiastes, Wisdom of Solomon, to which may be added the earliest sayings of the heads of schools (reported in Pirke Aboth}. For details the reader is referred to the articles on the several books.

Early Jewish philosophy.[edit]

2. Origin.[edit]

The Israelites, like all other peoples, must have reflected more or less, from the moment when they attained a settled civilisation, on general questions of life. The lowest form of such reflection appears in popular proverbs and fables, which express, usually in a one-sided and superficial way, the result of the ordinary common-sense experience and observation; such are Jotham's fable (Judg. 9:8-15), and the proverbs cited in 1 S. 10:12, 2 S. 5:8, 20:18, Jer. 31:29 ( = Ezek. 18:2). Nathan's apologue (2 S. 12:1-4) and the allegories in Is. 51-52, Ezek. 16-17, 23 are of a higher literary and moral character ; but they are moral and religious discourses (such as form the staple of the prophetic books) directed against particular cases of sin rather than reflections on life. 1

In the Pentateuch, the Prophets, and the Historical Books there is frequent mention of wisdom (nc2n, hokmah) and 'wise men' (nO3rr, hakamim). In all these cases the connection shows that what is meant by 'wisdom' is either the skill of the magician (Ex. 7:11), or of the artisan (Ex. 28:3, 35:10, 35:25, 2 Ch. 2:6 [2:7], Is. 40:20), or the sagacity of the man of affairs (Gen. 41:33, Dt. 1:13, 2 S. 13:3, 14:2, Is. 3:3), or, with larger scope, the broad and high-minded intelligence of him who is in sympathy with the divine law of right (Dt. 4:6, Is. 11:2). In the passage Is. 11:2 the term seems to approach very near the meaning it has in Job and Proverbs, and this it might well do if, as is probable, this passage is later than the sixth century B.C. ; but here also the context shows that the wisdom of the king is manifested in his equitable administration of affairs, not in his reflection on life. 'Wise men' are spoken of as a class by some of the earlier prophets (Is. 29:14, Jer. 8:8-9, 9:11 [9:12], 9:22 [9:23], 18:18, cp Ezek. 7:26); {2} but their wisdom lies in practical acquaintance with the affairs of the state and of life. A fundamental difference between them and the sages of Proverbs appears in the fact that the prophets are hostile to them; they were probably men of experience and practical sagacity whose views of public policy were opposed to those of the prophets, and in this regard they belong in the same category with the 'false prophets' (see Jer. 8:11). The opposition to the great prophets came from various sources - among others, it would seem, from men who rejected the prophet's claim of a divine revelation (Jer. 8:9), and interpreted the existing torah in their own way (Jer. 8:8). These may have been patriotic, conscientious, and able men in spite of the denunciations hurled at them by Isaiah and Jeremiah ; but their wisdom concerned itself not with universal human life, but with the political, legal, and moral questions of Israelitish policy. Solomon's wisdom, in the only example of it given in OT (1 K. 3:16-28), is administrative ; later Jewish legend (see Wiinsche, op. cit.) represents it as skill in giving and answering riddles. Of the proverbs and songs and sayings about plants and animals ascribed to him in 1 K. 5:9-14 (4:29-34), nothing has survived. His reputation for wisdom rests, no doubt, on some real fact ; he was, very likely, a man of sagacity, and may have been the author of some shrewd observations on men and things ; afterwards it may have become the custom to ascribe to him all anonymous songs and apophthegms, summed up by the editor of Kings in large round numbers. In a later age, when his fame was established, his name was assumed in certain books (Ps. 72, Pr., Cant., Eccl., W. Sol., Pss. of Sol.) in accordance with a recognised literary habit of the times.

Outside of Israel the centres of wisdom mentioned in OT are Egypt, Edom or the East, Babylon, and perhaps Tyre (1 K. 5:10-11 [4:30-31], Ob. 8, Jer. 4:1, 49:7, Is. 44:25, Ezek. 28:3). Egypt, from a remote time, had its moralising sages, {3} Babylon was the home of astrology (Is. 47:10-13), and Tyre was renowned for artistic and commercial skill (Ezek. 2:7); of Edom we know only its repute (Ob. 8, Jer. 49:7) - from it, at a later time, come apparently the Three Friends in Job. Of all Israel's neighbours it was, so far as we have exact information, only from Egypt that she could have learned gnomic lore in the earlier period, and it is precisely from Egypt (if we may judge from the religious history) that she seems to have received the least intellectual stimulus. It thus appears that the history, as detailed in OT, gives no warrant for supposing that, down to the close of the sixth century B.C., there was in Israel any universal or philosophic treatment of moral and religious problems.

1 The riddle, which is a mere exercise of ingenuity, does not come into consideration here (see RIDDLE). The same word (rrvn) it is true, is used for Samson's riddle (Judg. 14:12) and the moralising discourse of Ps. 78 ; but the different application in the psalm is an indication of the advance of thought. On Hebrew riddles see A. Wwnsche, 'Die Rathselweisheit bei den Hebraern' (in JPT, 1883).

2 Hos. 14:10 [14:9] appears to be a late editorial addition.

3 For the Egyptian gnomic literature see Records of the Past, and Griffith, art. 'Egyptian Literature', in the Library of the World's Best Literature. For Babylonian magical texts and riddles, see RP, and Jaeger, in Beitrage z. Assyriologie, 1892.

3. Growth.[edit]

Though there were, however, no systematic discussions of these questions in the pre-exilic and exilic periods, there was the germ of larger thought. The prophetic declaration that God desires men's love, not their sacrifices (Hos. 6:6), the formulation of the principle of individual moral responsibility (Dt, 24:16, Jer. 31:30, Ezek. 18:4), and the announcement of the obligation to love one s neighbour as one's self (Lev. 19:18) contain the substance of what was afterwards developed into a universal religion. To a man of the sixth century B.C. who recognised the significance of these principles it might have seemed that the natural process of national growth would carry Israelitish thought beyond the limits of nationalism to a moral and religious system which would transcend all that was local and temporary. There is, in fact, every reason to believe that the growth of the Israelitish people in ethical and religious thought was sound and continuous. After the heroic period of struggle for a unitary conception of the divine government of the world, in which the fresh spontaneous prophetic feeling played a great part, came a time of quieter reflection, when the nation was obliged to face the question of orderly organisation on the basis of definite written law. The attempt to formulate principles of organisation must have forced the larger problems of life on the attention of the thinkers of the time. How far this process would have gone, and what direction it would have taken, if the lews had been all massed in their own land under an independent national government it is impossible to say. From the sixth century, however, they were never independent except in a partial way for a century of Maccabaean rule. Moreover, what is of more consequence, the old national isolation vanished for ever ; Jews were scattered over the whole area of Western civilisation, and Judaea was a petty province exposed on all sides to the inroads of new ideas. Israelitism was a single fact hemmed in by great peoples, Babylonian, Egyptian, Persian, Greek - it maintained itself, but not without modification. The Jews were persistent and sympathetic, gave and took, wove into their own system what they got from without, and lived in an atmosphere of comparison and adaptation. From Babylonia they seem to have received suggestions of literary work and of a regular liturgical cultus, from Persia the form of an elaborate angelology and demonology and the doctrine of a bodily resurrection, from Egypt and Greece the belief in the ethical immortality of the soul, and from Greece, further, a touch of philosophy. Out of all these influences sprang that attitude of reflection which produced the Wisdom Literature. The experience of the Jews repeated that of many other civilised peoples - they were educated by contact with their neighbours. The post-exilian Jewish thought, whose basis and soul was the native intellectual force of the people, was constantly stimulated and broadened from without, but received its direction from the course of the national fortunes.

In estimating the literature of the post-exilian Jews two features of their social position should be borne in mind:

  • (1) Though, so far as records go, they were not persecuted by their conquerors till the beginning of the second century B.C., their political dependence probably exposed them in some degree to oppression and humiliation on the part of foreigners and apostate fellow-countrymen;
  • (2) While not giving up the agricultural life in Palestine, they came more and more to live in cities - to no small extent in their own land, but especially in foreign countries (see Job 29:7, 31:32 and Pr. and Ecclus. passim) - and thus had occasion to observe and acquire the virtues and vices of urban life. Hence, in part, the prominence given in the wisdom books to the insolence of the rich, to sexual immorality, and to the duties and dangers of the business life; and hence,

also, came fuller opportunity of contact with the philosophical thought of the time.

4. The sages.[edit]

The Jewish sages or philosophers formed a distinct class sharply differentiated from prophets (see PROPHET), priests (see PRIEST), and SCRIBES (q.v.) The difference between the point of view of the sage and that of the prophet or the priest is obvious, and he is no less distinct from the scribe, if this term is understood to mean 'one learned in the scriptures'. A member of any one of these classes might, it is true, be also a member of any other class : a priest might be a prophet or a scribe or a sage, and so with the others. But in becoming a sage, one assumed a. particular attitude toward life, and thought and spoke in accordance with that attitude. The cultivation of learning and thought began with the priesthood, which was the custodian of the Torah. The Torah, however, had two sides, the ritual or liturgical, and the civil and moral, and the priesthood soon split into two divisions which devoted themselves severally to these two classes of duties. The second class (which soon came to include others than priests), composite in nature, in its turn called for division ; one set of men cultivated the study of the national code of law, becoming necessarily expounders of the national scriptures - these were the lawyers or scribes ; others were attracted by the study of universal moral truth - these were the sages.

The aim and function of the sage are clearly described by Ben Sira (Ecclus. 39:1-11) : the wise man, whilst he meditates on the law of God, will search through the world for knowledge, and will gain honour and renown among all men for his acute sayings and his practical understanding. The sages made the pursuit of wisdom the chief aim of life. For most of them (for all, so far as our knowledge goes, except Koheleth and Agur) the basis of wisdom was religious faith. This conception was a necessary one for the devout Jew for two reasons: first, since God was held to be universal and absolute ruler, it followed that he was the bestower of all gifts of learning, including physical and psychological knowledge (Wisd. 7:16-21), and doubtless all the science of the time ; and second, so far as wisdom was regarded as the guide to the best life, it must be founded on the divine moral law, which sprang from God s wisdom and was enforced by his power. This religious conception of wisdom, however, did not prevent the widest study of men and things, if we may judge from the examples of Ben Sira and the author of Wisdom of Solomon; there must have been many Jews, certainly from the fourth century B.C. onwards, who went outside of Israelitish learning. 1 There is no reason to doubt the sincerity of such men when they declared that the fear of Yahwe was the beginning of wisdom : they might hold to this central dogma, and at the same time yield to their thirst for the knowledge which was to be found only in foreign lands and books ; they might believe that Yahwe was the teacher of foreign sages, or they might follow their bent without troubling themselves to solve the apparent contradiction that whilst Yahwe s revelation of wisdom to his people was complete and all-sufficient, there was also other wisdom which was good. A similar remark holds of the maxims of prudence and shrewdness which abound in proverbs and Ecclesiasticus ; these, though they had no immediate connection with the fear of God, might be considered as a. part of the scheme of life which God had ordained ; more probably the moralists wrote what they thought desirable, and the question of logical harmony did not occur to them. Philosophic schools, in the full Greek sense, the Jewish sages did not form - they had no speculative philosophy proper. There were, however, theoretical differences among them, especially in regard to the nature of the divine government of the world, and in regnrd to the dignity and possible happiness of human life. It is probable that a sort of academic life gradually established itself.

1 Cp Plumptre's biography of Koheleth in his Ecclesiastes (in Camb. Bible, 1881) and the criticism of it by Bois, in his Origines d. l. Phil. Judeo-Alexandrine, 1890.

Whilst in Job (12:2, 15:10, 32:7) the wisdom is that of experience and tradition, there is in Proverbs (1:2-6, 22:17-21), Ecclesiasticus (38:24-39:10), and Ecclesiastes (12:11) a distinct recognition of professional study and of a body of teaching. In the second century B.C. there existed an incipient University (Antigonus of Soko and his successors), and before this there must have been some form of the higher teaching (cp EDUCATION, 5). The thought of the great scholars no doubt took a wide range ; we have recorded only so much of it as survived the revisions of generations.

There was a stirring intellectual life, of which we find not a few traces in the extant literature. 1 When the Jews began to be influenced by organised bodies of foreign thought it is difficult to say. Of early Persian literary life we unfortunately know nothing, and it is not probable that Jews came into intellectual contact with Greeks before the time of Alexander. Immediately after his death Greek schools of philosophy sprang up abundantly in Egypt and Western Asia, and from them, it seems probable, Jewish sages got ideas which coloured their thought. No doubt they learned something of all the current science ; but they have left no full statements of their non-religious opinions (hints in Ecclus. 43, Wisd. 7, etc.). Here we shall be obliged to confine ourselves to the main points of the moral and religious thought, referring, for other ideas, to the commentaries.

Teaching of the Sages.[edit]

5. The old material.[edit]

Part of the thought of the wisdom books they have in common with preceding and contemporary literature, and this may be dismissed with a brief mention.

They inherited the belief in monotheism, and in the practically unlimited character of the divine attributes pertaining to knowledge and power. 2 For them, as for the prophets, God is teirible to those who violate his commands (Job 15, Prov. 1:20-31, Ecclus. 27:29, Wisd. 5), a compassionate, forgiving saviour to those who fear and obey him (Job 5:18, Ps. 103, Ecclus. 2:11, 17:29, Wisd. 16:7). They take monogamy for granted, 3 and recognise a well-ordered family-life and all the ordinary virtues. They retain the common view of man as a being made up of body and soul, and possessing conscience and freedom, while, at the same time, he is absolutely controlled by God ; with their predecessors (Dt. 24:16, Jer. 31:30, Ezek. 18:4) they reject the old conception of the solidarity of the family and the nation - or, more exactly, they ignore it. They, however, retain the traditional sharp division of men into the two classes of good and bad. Here also should probably be put their silence respecting the miraculous. In the OT, miracles are described or mentioned only in works written long after the events described. There are no miracles between Hezekiah and the Book of Daniel; Nehemiah says nothing of supernatural intervention, and the Maccabaean apparitions and signs are recorded not in 1 Macc., but in 2 Macc. Miracles play no part in the writings of the Prophets or in the Psalms, except as reminiscences (Is. 63:12, Ps. 105 etc.) or vague expectations (Is. 11 Zech. 14, Joel 3). In the Wisdom books they are referred to only as events of the ancient history, and only in Ecclesiasticus (44, 48) and Wisdom (10-19). In a word, neither in the gnomic literature nor elsewhere in the OT does the miraculous enter into the texture of the thought.

1 Cp the evidences, in the Talmud, of thought which went outside of the current orthodoxy.

2 On the apparent polytheistic conception of Pss. 58, 82 see the Commentaries.

3 Israelitish polygamy had probably disappeared by the beginning of the fifth century B.C.

Characteristic thought.[edit]

6. The ritual.[edit]

Proceeding, now, to examine the characteristic thought of the Wisdom books, we have first to note its relatively non-national character : it lays little stress on national institutions, laws, and hopes; but it holds to some extent to tne moral and religious superiority of Israel over all other nations. The sacrificial ritual is referred to a few times as an existing custom (as in Prov. 15:8, Ecclus. 34:18-20, Eccles. 5:1), but rather with the purpose of controlling it by moral considerations, and faithfulness in the payment of tithes (Prov. 3:9) and vows (Eccles. 5:4) is enjoined. The sages (like the prophets and the Gospels) recognise the propriety of observing the custom ; but they do not put it in the same category with obedience to moral principle. Such things as circumcision and the Sabbath they take for granted, but find no occasion to mention. It is noteworthy that they do not refer to the private reading of the sacred books, or to synagogal services. It is certain that they were well acquainted with the old literature, and that this had, in their time, a semi-sacred character ; but reading was an art confined to the few, instruction was largely oral, and the duty of reading was not a thing that could be insisted on for the masses, and for students it was taken for granted. Synagogues hardly existed before the second century B.C. , and attendance on the weekly gatherings was a custom which did not need to be enjoined. Forgiveness of sin is not connected with sacrifice, but with the mercy of God and obedience to him (see, e.g. , Job 8, Ecclus. 17:25-26, Wisd. 11:23). This, however, is not peculiar to the sages ; it is a part of the general Israelitish conception; in the Torah there is no sacrificial atonement except for sins of ignorance. 1 The negative attitude of the Wisdom books towards sacrifices and the Temple ritual in general must be ascribed to the progress of moral and religious thought. All the cultivated world of the time was moving away from this external sort of service. This was notably the case in Greece and Rome, and the same tendency (formulated in the Gospels) is visible in the sayings ascribed (in Pirke Aboth) to the early Jewish teachers. The moral side of the relation between man and God was of necessity emphasised.

7. The nation.[edit]

The silence of the sages respecting Messianic hopes is to be explained partly by their philosophic individualism, partly by the circumstances of the times. There are glowing pictures of the future of the nation in prophetic writings as late as the fourth century B.C. (Is. 11, Joel 3-4, Zech. 9-14); but of this there is in Job and Proverbs not a word, in Ecclesiasticus only a general wish (Ecclus. 47:22, 50:22-26), in Wisdom only a look to the life to come (Wisd. 5). The sages held that the one thing necessary for all men was individual righteousness ; they might thus have been comparatively indifferent to hopes of national independence and glory, they might sympathise with their suffering fellow-countrymen (Wisd. 1-6) without cherishing political dreams. They may also (like the Pharisaic party at a later time) have convinced themselves that resistance to the great military powers was useless, and that the true mission of the Jewish people was to cultivate knowledge. Their attitude towards foreign nations was not hostile, but friendly; they recognised the excellence, in certain regards, of the civilisation of these peoples, utilised them by becoming their pupils in philosophy, and thus, while remaining Jews, became in a measure cosmopolitan, and began the formal fusion of Semitic and Hellenic thought.

On the other hand, the belief remained that Israel stood in a peculiar relation with God, had a special revelation of his will, and was entitled to his special protection (Ecclus. 24, 44-50, Wisd. 10-19). On this point there may have been diversity of view ; there is no reference to it in Job and Proverbs. In these books the name 'Israel' does not occur, and the national Torah is not mentioned. It is hardly probable that the sages (except Agur and Koheleth) were wholly without national pride ; but their national feeling receded before their philosophic and religious devotion to virtue. It is to be noted that the prominence given in the wisdom books (omitting Eccles. ) to national topics increases as time goes on : there is nothing of it in Job, next to nothing in Proverbs, somewhat in Ecclesiasticus, more in Wisdom. This fact is probably to be attributed partly to a change in the condition of the Jewish people, and partly to the personal feeling of the writers. At the time when Job and the greater part of Proverbs were composed (that is, in the 4th and 3rd cents. B.C.) the nation was tranquil - so far as the records go there was no persecution, there was nothing to call forth an expression of national feeling. In Ben Sira's time (about 190 B.C. ), the Jews had begun to be involved in the conflict between Egypt and Syria ; but his Ode to Heroes (Ecclus. 44-50) seems to have been suggested partly by his patriotic feeling, partly by his admiration for the high priest Simon, then lately deceased. Wisdom was written at a moment (about 50 B.C.) when the memory of scorn, insult, and oppression was fresh. Koheleth stood so far away from his nation that no reference to its fortunes could be expected from him.

1 On this point, cp WRS Rel. Sem. (2), ch. 11; Smend. ATliche Rel.-Gesch. 21 ; Montefiore, Hibb. Lect. Lect. 9 ; also SACRIFICE, 48+.

8. The nature of virtue.[edit]

What most particularly characterises the Wisdom Literature is its conception of virtue or righteousness, and its discussion of the moral government of the world. These points we may now proceed to consider.

The sages do not enter into any formal investigation of the nature of virtue. They assume, in general, that it is sincere adhesion to the moral law (Job 29-31, Prov., Ecclus., Wisd. , passim}. This definition is not affected by their eudaemonistic theory - one may look to a reward and yet be sincere ; nor is its reality destroyed by the maxims of selfish worldly wisdom which are occasionally found in their writings (particularly in Ecclesiasticus). But in Job and Proverbs and the succeeding books we meet a conception of the moral life which, while not without a point of connection with the prophetic thought, still goes far beyond anything in the earlier literature ; virtue is practically identified with knowledge. Knowledge, it is true, is a necessary condition of obedience, and is so spoken of in the Prophets (Is. 1:3, 6:9, Jer. 4:22, 4:54); but the sages treat it as if it were the same thing as obedience. The central fact in the books just named is wisdom, which is made to include all the duties of life from the lowest to the highest. The ideal person, he who stands for the right against and above the wrong, is the wise man. When we recollect that in the Prophets, and to some extent in Job (5:15, 37:24), human wisdom is looked on as a thing alien to or opposed to God, it is evident that Jewish thought, in representing wisdom as the one thing needful, has taken a new direction. This was the doctrine of Greek philosophy, and we therefore seem \varranted in supposing that it was from the Greeks that it came, in its full form, to the Jews. 1 Instead of the simple demands of earlier times, the sole worship of Yahwe and obedience to his ritual and moral laws, there has now arisen a science of living, in which intellectual insight is the central faculty, it being assumed that he, and only he, who sees will do. Wickedness is folly, the bad man is a fool ; 2 the guide to right living is the sage, the duty of the young is to seek his instruction. The moral and religious organisation of the Jews corresponded to this conception of life ; there were schools like those of Athens and other Greek centres, and the synagogue was also doubtless a house of instruction. This idea - that life is a moral training - proved to be permanent ; the Jews never gave it up - it was, in fact, an essential element in the growth of the world. But a pious Israelite, while he accepted wisdom as the guide of life, could not fail to identify its moral code with the law of God, since he looked on this law as the perfect expression of duty. This identification is accordingly made in Proverbs, Ecclesiasticus, and Wisdom. The terms 'instruction' and 'the law of Yahwe' are used interchangeably, and 'wisdom' itself is said to be the same with 'the fear of Yahwe'.

1 A similar influence is visible in the stress laid, by Rabbinical Judaism, on knowledge of the Law (Jn. 7:49, Pirk. Ab. 2:5).

2 S'lN occurs only twice in Job (5:2-3), and 7D3 not at all; the two terms are common in the other books.

Freedom of ethical discussion is, however, not diminished by this quasi-nationalistic definition of wisdom. The sages do not confine themselves to the Prophets and the Torah, but seek their maxims everywhere, chiefly by observation of actual life, possibly, also, in such Greek and other writings as they had access to. 1 Nevertheless there is no reason to regard their acceptance of the law of Yahwe as a pretence. They were perfectly sincere in treating the divine will as the final standard of right, only they enlarged the definition of the 'law of the Lord', making it comprehend all the deliverances of their moral consciousness ; for those who would be faithful at once to their national traditions and to their own convictions there was no other course. The sages thus represent the ethical ideas and usages of their time, and are in this regard valuable as making a contribution to the history of ethical thought. It is also true that they assume the position of independent moral teachers, with reason and conscience as their guides ; they do not lay claim to revelation or inspiration from God, and they appeal only to the good sense of their readers. All this is in accordance with their philosophical point of view ; they wrote simply as moralists, never citing the Law as authority, yet by no means setting them selves above revelation - rather they accepted revelation, and believed in the Tightness and authority of their own teaching, and saw no incongruity in these two positions. 2 Of their books two (Ecclesiasticus and Wisdom) were excluded from the canon, two (Job and Eccl. ) were substantially modified by interpolations and additions, and two (Prov. and Eccl.) reached canonical dignity only after a struggle.

9. Human wisdom.[edit]

The human quality of wisdom is sometimes treated as natural intellectual acumen and breadth, sometimes as the direct gift of God ; but there is no discrepancy between these views. The latter belongs to the old-Israelitish theocratic faith, according to which all powers of body and mind come immediately from Yahwe. That the gnomic writers regard 'wisdom' (n7r3n. hokmah) as primarily an intellectual faculty appears from its various synonyms, such as 'understanding' or 'intelligence' (i7v'a, binah), 'shrewdness' (ns*ij?, 'ormah), 'sagacity' (naip, mezimmah), 'practical ability' (nx:w, tushiyyah), They, in fact, treat it also as a purely natural power, subject to ordinary conditions of training and growth, and to a certain extent under the control of its possessor. They thus collocate the divine and the human points of view. This sort of collocation or combination appears also in the relation, as conceived by the sages, between human wisdom and divine wisdom. Whilst in the Prophets and the Law it is God s apartness, sacredness, or holiness that is put most prominently forward, it is of wisdom that the sages think as his chief attribute. By it he is said to direct the whole course of nature and the whole life of man. As in the beginning the breath of God gave life to man, so the divine wisdom, filling and ordering all things, yet able to choose its own course, enters into the souls of those who fear him, and brings them into unison with his thought. This conception, indicated in Prov. 2:10, Ecclus. 6:22, is more distinctly stated in Wisdom (1:4), as, in fact, it belongs to the more definitely philosophical side of the idea, and is an approach to personification.

Definite personification of Wisdom is found in Job 28, Prov. 8:22-31, Ecclus. 24, Wisd. 7:8 (and also 10-19). In the first passage {3} she is extolled as a most precious thing, known to God alone, but she has no demiurgic function ; and, if the last verse of the chapter be genuine, the personification is half given up.

1 For example, the resemblances between the Jewish gnomic books and the lYuijuiai Moi/darixoi [gnoomai monostichoi] which go under the name of Menander are many and striking, though the resemblances may often be accidental, and the date of the Menander material is uncertain.

2 It must be recollected that at this time the full conception of revelation had hardly been formulated.

3 The chapter, as it stands, appears to be an interpolation. It decidedly interrupts Job's discourse, breaking the connection between 27:6 and 29:2 (27:7-23 does not belong to the speech of Job), and does not accord with Job's words as elsewhere given, or, indeed, with the tone of the rest of the book. For reasons stated above it seems to be earlier than Prov. 8:22-31 ; it is probably to be put later than the rest of Job. By Bickell, Budde, and others it is regarded as belonging, in part or in whole, to Job's address. This point does not affect the general view taken above.

In Prov. 8 she is the companion of Yahwe (though his creature) in the primeval work of creation, in which she takes part as sympathetic friend (God's foster-child). Hen Sira represents her as compassing the universe, only however, to take up her abode in Israel. The completest philosophical personification is found in Wisdom, in which she is substantially identical with the Stoic Logos. The progress in the conception is obvious ; Wisdom is unspeakably precious (Job), is the companion of the divine creative energy (Proverbs), is an effluence from the divine glory, the all-powerful maker of all things, material, intellectual, spiritual (Wisdom); only Ben Sira appears to interrupt the line of development by practically identifying Wisdom with the Jewish Law. This interruption will disappear if his description be earlier than that in Proverbs ; or if the identification of Wisdom with the Law be regarded as showing a completer national assimilation of the conception. However that may be, the general advance in the thought remains unaffected. That its final form is Greek is universally held, and the same origin is probably to be assigned to the earlier forms. In the more distinctively Israelitish parts of the OT (the Prophets and the Torah) there is no personification of a divine attribute, 1 and we here naturally think of foreign influence, Persian or Greek. The Jews may conceivably have got it from the Gathas (or, from the popular ideas therein represented) in which such personification plays so prominent a role; but in the Gathas wisdom is not personified, and is not the principal attribute of God, and to none of the Amesha-Spentas are cosmogonic or universal functions assigned. 2 One of the most striking features of the biblical repre sentation is the conception of the world as an orderly unity, a cosmos - a conception found, however, only in the Wisdom Literature (in which certain Psalms are to be included); it is clearly indicated in Job (28, 38-39), and expressed more distinctly in Ecclesiasticus (24, 42-43), Proverbs (the 'Righteous Order' of the Gathas corresponds to the Jewish kingdom of God on earth, chap. 8), and Wisdom (chap. 7). This conception is hardly Jewish or Persian ; it is undoubtedly Greek. With it we must connect the disposition (shown in the passages just cited, and in Pss. 104, 107, 139) to make wide surveys of natural phenomena. The movement of thought to which it belongs was a scientific one, and rested on a serious contemplation of all the phenomena of the world, including the life and soul of man. It is no doubt to Greek influence that we must ascribe the selection of wisdom (rather than power, kindness, or holiness) as the attribute distinctively representative of God.

1 The partial personification of the 'word' of Yahwe in Is. 55:10-11 is not a case in point; the attribution of objective power to the spoken word belongs to the old popular belief (Gen. 27:33, Judg. 17:2, 2 S. 21:3).

2 (See CREATION-, 9, end.) The date of the Gathas can hardly be regarded as fixed with certainty. Cp ZOROASTRIANISM, 7+

10. The ethical motive.[edit]

The philosophy of the sages does not include psychology or moral and religious inward experience. They have no theories of free-will, of the genesis of sin, of the way of salvation. Their interest is in practical questions of life, and in the pre-eminence of wisdom as the guide of man. Their theory of the ethical life is simple ; every man may do right if he will, and, if he docs wrong, he must bear the consequences ; men are divided into two classes, the good and the bad - every man must belong to one of these classes, and is to be treated according to his position. This neglect of the shades of men's characters was doubtless to some extent a feature of the times (the nice balancing of qualities and impulses is a comparatively recent mode of thought) ; but it was due in great part to the judicial nature of the moral teaching of the sages ; a man, they appear to have held, must be judged by his deeds - we cannot see his heart, and we must estimate him by the total outcome of his thought, that is, by his act. In the same way we may explain the fact that no account is taken of temptation and struggle - that is the man's own affair, with which the judge has nothing to do. It cannot be denied that this strict external way of judging man has its advantages ; weakness is as dangerous as badness, and we must face the facts of life. On the other hand, the gnomic writings lose educational power by their failure to take account (as, for example, Marcus Aurelius does) of men's inward experiences; they press the rule home, but do not come as sympathetic helpers of the inner life; they warn, but do not persuade, the bad man. Their appeal is simply to man s intelligence; if, they say, he does not see, there is no help for him. That they say nothing directly of the sense of duty is characteristic of OT thought in general, and of their point of view in particular.

The Hebrew language contains no specific terms for 'duty' and 'conscience' - a fact which signifies, of course, not that the Israelites did not have these ideas, {1} but only that their ethical point of view did not lead them so to analyse their experience as to create a demand for such terms. These words are lacking also in Wisdom, though the Greek language contained certainly one of them. The sages preferred not to rely on so uncertain a thing as sense of duty; to their exhortations they add a further consideration or motive. Two motives 2 for welldoing are presented in the Wisdom Literature. One is the individual prosperity and happiness which it confers (so the Three Friends in Job, Prov. , Ecclus. , Eccl. , Wisd. 3-5); the other is the beauty of moral perfectness (Wisd. 7); Job himself says nothing of motives, contenting himself with affirming his integrity. The eudaemonism of the first group of books is that of the OT generally. 3 There is a frank appeal to what is held, not without good ground, to be the most powerful motive for the mass of men - the desire for personal wellbeing. As in the Prophets national prosperity, so here individual prosperity, is the reward of a morally pure life. There is no reference to the public good, no recognition of the unity of the world or the solidarity of society, no mention of personal purity as in itself a desirable object of effort. Doubtless the writers of these books were in sympathy with the best practical morality of their time, and had aspirations after perfection ; but, as practical moralists, they preferred to omit all that seemed theoretical or out of reach, and to confine themselves to what they thought would be immediately serviceable. The praise of wisdom in Wisd. 7 is Greek rather than Hebrew, and, from its sublimated form, could act as moral stimulus to very few men ; and the author, in the practical part of his work (chaps, 5-6) relics, for his motive, on the rewards and punishments dispensed by God.

1 We may, perhaps, recognise the conception of conscience in Ecclus. 14:2: 'happy is he whose soul (that is, whose self) does not condemn him'. Cp HEART.

2 All ethical theories are eudaemonistic - they must assign a motive for welldoing, and that motive must be happiness in some form. The important point is whether the eudaemonism is individualistic or universalistic; in the former case the man looks to the satisfaction of his own immediate desires, in the latter case to the happiness of the world, of which he is a part. Under the second head comes the ethical system in which desire to do the will of God is the motive; for such a motive is morally pure only when the will of God is done because it is morally good, that is, because it seeks the happiness of the whole.

3 The NT system differs from that of the OT and the Apocrypha (except Wisdom) in that the reward offered is eternal salvation, and the obligation is more definitely recognised to bring it within reach of all men, whereby a universalistic character is given to the desire for happiness. The later OT prophets also look to an impartation of Israel s blessedness to all nations.

11. The moral code.[edit]

The mingling of worldly shrewdness and unworldly elevation in the Wisdom books is a natural result of the circumstances. The authors of these books were practical teachers, dealing with all of human life that they knew, and giving the results of their experience, observation, and reflection ; and they were independent thinkers, not absolutely bound by any code. Their independence makes them all the more interesting and important, and they must be treated not as a mere mass, but as individuals. Their observations are coloured by their characters and surroundings. Ben Sira's shrewdness sometimes degenerates into meanness or hypocrisy (38:17), and Koheleth's experience made him one-sided and cynical. But the prominence given to the economic virtues (especially in Proverbs and Ecclus. ) is legitimate and necessary. On the other hand, the Wisdom Literature also represents the highest ethical standard of the time. Job's confession of ethical faith (Job 31) leaves little to be desired, and the same may be said of passages in Proverbs (as 10:12, 24:17, 25:21), Ecclesiasticus (4:9-10, 5:10-11, 28:2, 29:2) and Wisdom (7:23, 8:7); only Koheleth has nothing to say of the self-denying and self-forgetting virtues. This higher standard was that which the world had reached. The process of social and ethical unification, begun by the Babylonian empire, was carried on by the Persian and Greek conquests, and the sages of all lands were at one in inculcating justice and kindness. But no people of pre-Christian antiquity, as far as our records go, made so varied and complete a collection.

12. Divine control of the world.[edit]

The most important and the most interesting questions of the Wisdom-books are those which relate to the divine control of the world. First in time came the general inquiry into the moral government of the world, and then, somewhat later, the question as to the value of human life.

The idea of a universal divine control of things appears as early as the first of the writing prophets (Am. 1-2, 9:7), but, for a considerable time, no difficulty seems to have arisen in connection therewith; the accepted prophetical theory down to the middle of the sixth century B. C. , was that all things were ordered in the interests of Israel (Is. 10:5, Jer. 1:10, 25:14, Ezek. 25:3+). A perplexing character was given to the situation by the national disaster of the sixth century, but the theory was not disturbed; and in none of the proposed solutions of the problem of the day (Is. 40:2, Zech. 3, Is. 52:13-53:12) was the divine justice called in question. In the course of time the progress of thought transferred the inquiry from the sphere of the nation to that of the individual ; it was no longer 'why does righteous Israel suffer?' but 'why does the good man suffer and the bad man prosper?' The old arguments were discarded, 1 and the philosophers addressed themselves to a candid examination of the facts of life. Before looking at their arguments we ma} recall the fact that God is regarded by them as the sole agent in the control of the world. The old notion of his local limitation lingered (Ecclus. 24:10, cp Wisd. 3:14), though it is not prominent, and the purely spiritual conception of him seems not to have been reached; he is never called 'a spirit'. 2

1 The 'Satan' of Zechariah appears, in larger form, in the prose introduction to Job (which is a recension of an earlier folk-story), but is not mentioned in the poem, nor, in this connection, in any other Wisdom book.

2 No formulation of this conception is found in any Jewish writing before the end of the first century of our era (Jn. 4:24), at which time the local idea of God still existed (Jn. 4:20). The doctrine of the immateriality of God (as i<oOs [nous]) is as early as Aristotle, and its adoption by Jews and Christians was probably furthered by the influence of the later Platonists and Stoics (as in Philo and the Fourth Gospel). On the position of the Talmud see Weber, Jud. Theol. chap. 11.

Nevertheless he is regarded as supreme and in himself sufficient, and the disposition of the sages is to ignore intermediaries between him and the world. The old 'spirit of Yahwe', which plays so prominent a part in the early narratives, is here not mentioned. 1 Angels appear rarely in Job, Ecclesiasticus, and Wisdom, and not at all in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes ; when they are introduced, it is not as messengers sent to protect and guide heroes and prophets, but as attendants on the person of Yahwe. 2 Of the mass of demons of the old popular belief only Satan survives in the Wisdom Literature, and he is there (if we omit the prologue of Job) mentioned only once, 3 and in the latest book of the group (Wisd. 224). The role ascribed to him in this book is significant. The Hebrew heavenly Satan, the adversary of Israel and the accuser of men, passed gradually, probably under the stimulus and direction of Persian demonology, into the form of an independent Power, at enmity with God and man. 4 Wisdom gives us the earliest extant formulation of the conception (forced on Jewish thinkers by their sense of God's absolute justice) of a demonic author of moral evil. In general, it may be said that the theology of the sages was free from ethically obstructive anthropomorphism. In their system the older apparatus of intermediaries was supplanted by the more refined conception of Wisdom; in Wisd. 10:6 that is ascribed to Wisdom which in Gen. 19 is ascribed to angels. 5

13. Historical occasion for discussion.[edit]

It was doubtless the Jews exalted conception of the moral purity of the One God that led them to the discussion of the justness of his government of the world . The Greeks appear not to have gone into this inquiry. They were especially attracted by such problems as the constitution of man, the nature of virtue, the organisation of society. Their conception of God did not force them to hold him responsible for everything ; when they considered his nature, they either (like Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics) contented themselves with assuming his perfect justness, and referring evil to other sources, 6 or (like the Epicureans) rejected or ignored the supposition of a divine oversight of the world. For the Jewish philosopher, however, to whom life was God, it was a necessity to attempt to harmonise God and the world. The historical occasion for the Jewish discussion seems to have been given by the condition of society in the fourth century B. c. , when jews, scattered throughout the already decadent Persian empire, had frequent occasion to note the apparently irrational inequalities of men's fortunes ; the question arose: Does a man's lot in this life bear any relation to his moral character ?

1 The expression 'spirit of God', in which the 'spirit' is part of God's person, occurs rarely (Wisd. 1:7, 9:17, 12:1, Pr. 1:23, perhaps in Job 32:8; the genuineness of Job 33:4 is doubtful); its anthropomorphic tone may have made it distasteful to the sages.

2 That they did not vanish from the popular faith is evident from Daniel, Enoch, and the later literature (see ANGELS).

3 Probably not in Ecclus. 21:27.

4 This development appears to have occupied several centuries; Satan appears as a great demonic Prince first in the Similitudes of Enoch (53:3, 54:6).

5 The question as to how God created the world is not discussed; the picture of the divine creative act in Job 38:7 (cp 26:7) appears to be to some extent independent of the account in Gen. 1. God is conceived of always as standing outside of and above the world, except perhaps in Wisd. 7. On the use of mythological ideas in the Wisdom books see the Commentaries on these books, and on Isaiah and Psalms, and H. Gunkel, Schopfung u. Chaos. See also CREATOR, 21.

6 As, for example, to matter and to bad men. Neither of these explanations could be accepted by a pre-Christian Jew who held with firmness to the national faith.

7 The Book will here be treated simply as a collection of discussions, without inquiry into its composition. The addresses of Elihu and Yahwe may be regarded as appendages to the dialogue ; it is immaterial, for our purposes, whether they were added by the author of the dialogue, or by other persons, nor will the bearing of the argument be seriously affected if the man Job be supposed to represent, in whole or in part, the nation Israel [cp JOB ii.].

We may distinguish four stages in the progress of the discussion; in the first three the future life is ignored, in the fourth it is considered.

1. In the Book of Job the question is argued from several different points of view, 7 but without reaching a definite conclusion. The indictment of the divine government is put sharply by Job, who appeals to ordinary observation and to his own experience. The traditional defence, in the mouth of the Three, is comparatively monotonous and weak; with the exception of the suggestion of Eliphaz (Job 5:17), that the suffering of good men is disciplinary, their discourse is little more than the assertion of a theory, and Job remains unconvinced (Job 31:35-37). Elihu, besides repeating the orthodox view, expands the suggestion of Eliphaz, and declares that the unsearchableness of God is a sufficient answer to all objections ; and this last is the point urged in the Yahwe-speeches. {1} The Book thus practically gives up the general question as insoluble; Job maintains, against the Friends, his sceptical position, and only yields to the representation of the Yahwe-discourse which declares the phenomena of the divine government to be incomprehensible for man; and the explanation of Elihu, since it does not touch on the prosperity of the wicked, ignores half the problem.

The Book of Job is the only serious contribution made by the earliest generations of Jewish philosophers to the problem of a theodicy. It shows that the problem existed and was grappled with. The arguments of the discourses of Elihu and Yahwe were no doubt accepted, by some Jewish thinkers, as satisfactory; but those of Job must have appealed to others. His scepticism appears to be purely Jewish ; there is, so far as we know, no outside source, Babylonian, Persian, Egyptian, or Greek, whence it may have come. The man Job was the creation of a Jewish genius, who, not unaffected by the culture of his time, boldly faced the problem presented by the monotheistic faith, but found no adequate solution. For a parallel to his thought in his own age we have to go to India. (Cp JOB [BOOK], 8, 15.)

2. The Book of Job had no immediate successor. For some reason it did not appeal to the next following generations. 2 It may be surmised that the practical moralists regarded such speculations as futile, as, indeed, they were not in keeping with the Jewish genius. The authors and compilers of Proverbs and Ecclesiasticus, avoiding discussions of divine justice, assume that the government of the world is righteous, that the compensation, in this life, for virtuous and vicious conduct is moral. It is substantially the pro-exilic view ; but it is refined and broadened. The earthly fortune of men is regarded not baldly as the result of an arbitrary divine decree, but as also the product of natural social laws. These laws, it is true, are thought of as made by God, so that all compensation goes back to him ; nevertheless man s freedom and the control of natural law are recognised. This position, namely, that God works in and through society, relieves the old theory of much that is difficult.

1 The Prologue and the Epilogue appear to have nothing to do with the real argument.

2 The argument of the man Job is ignored in succeeding Jewish literature, except by Koheleth and Agur. In the NT Job is mentioned only (Jas. 5:11) as an example of endurance.

It was the product of deeper reflection on life, induced by the wider social connections of the Jews, under the more or less definite guidance of Greek habits of thought. Thus, for a considerable period the body of Jewish moralists appear to have come to the conclusion that speculations about divine justice were useless, and that the only practical position was the assumption that the world is governed morally.

3. It seems to have been during the second and the first century B.C. that doubt reappeared in Agur and Koheleth, under the form of philosophic agnosticism. The Book of Job had adduced the incomprehensibility of God as a motive for reverence and trust; Agur and Koheleth appear to make it a ground of indifference. The isolation and the consequent obscurity of Agur's words (Prov. 30:1-4) make it difficult to define his position with exactness ; but he seems to be satirising or protesting against the pretensions of certain theologians who undertook to explain the method of the divine government. Koheleth similarly sees in the control of natural law the impossibility of coming in contact with God. 1 Job had affirmed this impossibility in the form of an agonising cry after God ; these men set it forth coolly as a philosophic thesis. Neither of them directly calls God's justice in question ; but Koheleth, in his sweeping and sardonic survey of the injustices of life, silently assumes that the world is conducted neither rationally nor morally. If he had not been a Jew, he might have passed lightly over the theocratic difficulty; being a monotheist, he was bound to hold the creator responsible for his creation. He may not employ technical philosophic terms ; but his whole conception of the world is philosophic. He seems to have been an isolated thinker. His book was too interesting to be ignored ; but it was greatly modified before it passed into the hands of the general public [cp ECCLESIASTES, KOHELETH].

4. It is possible that Koheleth intends to deny and reject definitely the doctrine of ethical immortality which was probably in his time making its way among the Jews. Certainly his affirmations of the emptiness of the future life are many and pointed, and they stand, by their dispassionateness, in marked contrast with the passionate hopelessness of Job. However that may be, Koheleth is the last of the Jews to ignore the life to come. The new doctrine gained general acceptance, is taken for granted in Wisdom, and its reception closed the discussion of God s justice. In declaring that the future will wipe out the apparent injustice of the present Wisdom virtually affirms, with Job and KShe leth, that this injustice exists to human sight, and is inexplicable when the present alone is considered. It thus virtually denies the position of Proverbs and Ecclesiasticus. 2

14. Value of human life.[edit]

The question of the value of human life was closely connected with that of the divine control, and its discussion followed the same lines. What may be called the healthy natural view - namely, that life may be honourable and happy if it is morally and religiously good - is taken in Proverbs, Ecclesiasticus, and Wisdom, and the gloomier view by Job and Koheleth. Between these two last there is the difference that is referred to above; one is tortured by the uncertainties and pains of life, the latter calmly affirms its emptiness. 3 This difference is to be ascribed to the philosophic training or to the temperament of Koheleth, or to both of these causes. The question was substantially solved, as before, by appeal to the life to come. No Wisdom book finds a source of happiness in man's love to God and communion with him. The germ of this conception is expressed by Hosea (Hos. 6:6) ; but it appears to have been overlaid by the sense of God's majesty. The nearest approach to it is made in Wisdom (7:10, 8:2); but there it is not God but wisdom that is loved.

In all this discussion it is physical evil alone that is considered ; the sages are at one with other OT writers in not undertaking to deal with the question of the origin of moral evil. 4 They do not purposely avoid the question; rather it did not present itself to them, Man's liability to sin was accepted as an ultimate fact. The problem of the reconciliation of God's goodness with the existence of moral evil was thus left untouched. Here, again, it was doubtless in large measure the overwhelming sense of divine absolute authority which made the Jews intellectually unfriendly to such an inquiry. 1

1 This is clear when his book is freed from orthodox insertions.

2 Why Wisdom says nothing of a bodily resurrection is not clear ; the idea hnd been accepted by some Jews (Daniel) long before its time. Perhaps the author thought of it as a relatively unimportant incident of the future life, and he might the more easily pass it by if, as is probable, the resurrection was confined in the current belief to Israelites. Possibly be did not accept it. The future which he had in mind concerned the nobler life of the soul, and included Gentiles as well as Jews.

3 Koheleth (Eccl. 2:24), like Ben Sira (Ecclus. 30:23, Heb. of 40:18), advises enjoyment of the enjoyable things of life.

4 Gen. 2-3 describes the first human sin, but not the psychological beginning of evil; and its purpose is not so much to relate the origin of sin as to account for certain great facts of human experience, namely, birth, toil, and death. Wisdom 2:24, though it substitutes the devil for the serpent of Genesis, comes hardly nearer a solution of the question.

15. Decline of the Wisdom Literature.[edit]

The phase of Jewish thought represented by the Wisdom books lasted into the first century of our era, ending with Philo of Alexandria. It is, however, to be observed that his expositions take the form of commentaries on the Torah - he thinks it necessary to rest his conclusions on an inspired authority - and that, on the other hand, his system is simply Greek thought in a Jewish dress. The spontaneous philosophical teaching of the Jews reached its culmination in the Wisdom of Solomon (which was probably composed before the beginning of our era). As early as the middle of the second century B.C., the national interest began to turn in other directions - political and legal; the Messianic enthusiasts wrote apocalypses and hymns, and those who were more concerned with the social organisation of the nation developed the jurisprudence. The troublous times which succeeded cramped the creative power of the people. Few of the gnomic sayings of the Pirke Aboth can be called philosophical, and later collections, such as the Alphabet of Ben Sira, show no originality. The spirit of the Wisdom Literature was not revived till long afterwards, when the Jews began to devote themselves, under different conditions, to the study of Greek, Arabian, and modern European philosophy. The august figure of the creative Wisdom (almost an hypostasis) is not referred to in the NT, and plays little part in later Jewish thought. 2 The philosophy of the earlier time remains a unique and inspiring creation of the Jewish mind.

16. Bibliography.[edit]

Besides commentaries, articles in dictionaries, and histories of old-Hebrew literature and of old-Hebrew religion, the following works may be mentioned : Gfrorer, Philo, 1831; Dabne, Jud.-Alex. Religionsphilosophie, 1834 ; Bruch, Weisheitslehre d. Hebraer, 1851; M. Nicolas, Doctrines relig. d. Juifs, 1860; J. Hooykaas, Gesch. d. boefening v. d. wijsheid onder d. Heb., 1862; M. Heinze, Lehre v. Logos, 1872; K. Siegfried, Philo v. Alexandria, 1875 ; Derenbourg. Hist, et geogr. d. l. Palestine, 1877; J. Drummond, Philo Judaeus, 1888; C. G. Chavannes, La Religion dans la Bible, 1889 ; H. Bois, Origines d. l. Phil. Judeo-Alexandrine, 1890; A. Aall, Gesch. d. Logosidee, 1896; T. K. Cheyne, Job and Solomon, 1887, and Jewish Religious Life (American Lectures), 1898.

C. H. T.

1 However, the question stood outside the range of thought of the ancient world in general, unless it be held to form a part of the pantheistic systems of India.

2 The Sophia of the Kabbala is a different conception from the Wisdom of Proverbs and of the Book of Wisdom, though the two doubtless spring in part from the same source, and have some things in common.


  • Name and plan (1-2).
  • Structure and aim (3-5).
  • Position (6).
  • Teaching (7-13, 18).
  • Literary form (14-16, 18).
  • Legendary additions (18).
  • Historical conditions (19-21).
  • Author (22).
  • Text and Versions (23-24).
  • Bibliography (25).

WISDOM OF SOLOMON, or simply Wisdom, one of the Apocryphal books of the OT (see APOCRYPHA, 8).

1. Name and plan.[edit]

The title varies slightly in different MSS of the Septuagint: LXX{B*} <TO<t>ia SaAio^wi Os [sophia saloomoonos], LXX{B} <T. 2aAa>ju.uii< [sophia saloomoon], LXX{X[aleph]} <r. SnAo^/Wro? [sophia salomoontos], LXX{A} a: 2oAoji(oiros [sophia solomoontos]; the Latin has Liber Sapieniae; the Syriac, ed. Lagarde (Mus. Brit. 14,443), 'The great Wisdom of Solomon'; in Walton, 'The book of the great Wisdom of Solomon, son of David', with the remark, 'concerning which there is doubt whether some other Hebrew sage, writing in the spirit of prophecy, did not compose it in the name of Solomon, and it was so accepted'.

The book appears to have been written to console and instruct the Jews, and to warn their enemies, in a time of severe trial ; the author's particular point of view is indicated by the title. The book divides itself, by its subject matter, into two main parts, each of which may be further subdivided. Thus:-

  • I. The part played by Wisdom in human life (1-9) :
    • (1) Her moral demands and her rewards (1-5);
    • (2) Her nature and powers (6-9).
  • II. Illustrations of her power taken from the ancient history of Israel (10-19):
    • (1) The patriarchs and the exodus (10-11);
    • (2) The Canaanites (12);
    • (3) Digression on idolatry (13-15);
    • (4) Contrast between God's dealings with the Israelites and his treatment of the Egyptians (16-19).

2. Outline.[edit]

The author makes his first section (and so perhaps the whole book is to be considered) an address to kings (1:, 6:1-21), apparently wishing to influence the potentates in whose hands lay the outward fortunes of the Jews; but his discourse is of a general nature, applying to all men.

  • He begins by affirming that unrighteousness is alien to Wisdom and is punished with death by God, though, in truth, God does not desire the destruction of any, but the wicked, against his purpose, call down death on themselves (1);
  • then, passing to the moral question raised by the absence of just compensation in this world, he observes that the wicked (by whom he appears to mean Jewish apostates), because they deny future retribution, give themselves up to sensual enjoyment here, and, because they are reproved by the righteous, hate and persecute them, not knowing that God created man to be immortal (2);
  • whilst, on the other hand, the sufferings of the righteous in this world are only a chastening, their hope is full of immortality, hereafter they shall be honoured and happy, and, in fact, the wicked even in this life are miserable, and their offspring is cursed (3:1-12);
  • he adds (against a current view) that happiness does not consist in children and old age, childless virtue is better than vice with children, and the truly venerable age is wisdom and probity (3:13-4:9);
  • then, resuming the general argument, he observes that the value of righteousness will be demonstrated hereafter, when good men, here scorned by the bad, will be blessed, whilst the bad, crushed by divine wrath, will be forced to acknowledge the folly of their course (4:10-5:23).
  • In view of all this he proceeds to assure kings that they need wisdom in order that they may govern worthily and attain to immortality (6:1-21),
  • and king Solomon (with whom the author here identifies himself) describes his own experience, how he had loved and sought after wisdom, what great things she had taught him, with what wonderful power and beauty she is endowed, she being, indeed, an effluence and image of God, how, therefore, he had desired to dwell with her always as his spouse, and he besought God, who alone could give her, to bestow her on him (6:22-8:21);
  • then follows the prayer in which the young king, acknowledging and pleading human weakness, begs that Wisdom and God's Holy Spirit may be sent down to him from the holy heavens (9).
  • The prayer concludes with the reflection that men of former generations were guided by Wisdom, and thus the author passes naturally to his second division, a review of the old history. Wisdom, he says, preserved and guided the patriarchs, from Adam to Joseph, and, by Moses, led the Israelites victoriously from Egypt (10).
  • The remainder of the book (from chap. 11:1), no longer occupying itself with wisdom, takes the form of an address to God, detailing his special miraculous care of Israel, particularly in the treatment of Egypt, with brief reference to the conquest of Canaan.
    • The author, undertaking to give a religious-philosophical sketch of the history, points out that the Egyptians were punished by means of their animal gods, yet not wholly destroyed, but given space for repentance (11);
    • that the Canaanites also were punished for their sins, but not blotted out at one blow, God doing all things in just measure, and training his own people in righteousness by the spectacle of the castigation of their enemies (12:1-22),
    • and (the main argument being now resumed) that the Egyptians, through the terrible punishment inflicted on them by means of their own gods, were compelled to acknowledge the true God, whom they had before declared that they did not know (12:23-27).
    • At this point the author pauses in order to explain the nature and origin of idolatry (i.e., polytheism).
      • The least blameworthy (though still an inexcusable) form of idolatry, he says, is the worship of the powers of nature, by whose beauty men were naturally attracted (13:1-9),
      • whilst the worship of beasts and stones and images made by human hands is ridiculous (13:10-19),
        • as, for example, the homage paid by seamen to images (14:1-5),
      • and all idolatry is accursed as having been the source of moral corruption (14:6-12);
      • idolatry originated in a desire to honour dead children and kings, and was helped forward by the skill of artists, who made beautiful images (14:13-21),
      • and so came all the frightful vices of society, for which men will surely be punished (14:22-31),
      • from which idolatry Israel kept free, whilst Israel's enemies fell into this childish absurdity (15).
    • Returning now to the history, the author declares
      • that God did indeed send plagues on his people (in the wilderness), not dealing with them in destructive fury, but chastising them, and further, making nature fight for them (in Egypt), and giving them angels' food, that they might learn to trust in him (16);
      • that the contrast in God's dealing
        • further appears in his appalling the Egyptians with a horror of darkness and monstrous apparitions, while the Israelites had light and guidance and the comfort of a pillar of fire and a friendly sun (17:1-184),
        • that it is visible in the remarkable destruction of the Egyptian firstborn (when the almighty Word, a fierce warrior, leaped down from heaven into the doomed land), whilst the plague (in the rebellion of Dathan and Korah), which devastated the Israelites, was subdued by the intervention of Aaron (18:5-25),
        • and finally, that it is to be seen in the overthrow of the Red Sea, when the Egyptians were punished for their treachery to strangers (worse than that of Sodom), whilst the freed Israelites roamed over beautiful pastures, and thus in all things God magnified and glorified his people (19).

3. Unity.[edit]

Certain features of the book have given rise to doubts as to its complete and unitary character. The abrupt close of the historical sketch, which ends with the entrance of the Israelites into Canaan, has suggested the view that the work is not complete (Calmet), that the continuation of the historical sketch was abandoned by the author as too large an undertaking, or cut short by some accident (Grotius, Hasse, Eichhorn), or that, having been written by him, it was lost by the accidents of time (Heydenreich). This consideration, though not without force, is not decisive ; the author may have stopped at this point because he thought the illustrations given from the earliest history sufficient, or because he wished to single out the Egyptians (Ewald), or (Grimm) because he felt that the later history was lacking in picturesque and dramatic character, and that it chronicled chiefly the subjection of the Israelites to their enemies. The question of completeness may be left undecided ; but it may be said that the work, in its present form, does not necessarily make the impression that it is a fragment.

Nor, perhaps, is it possible to decide with certainty whether the book is the production of one man. The two main divisions are not very closely connected ; the history of the fathers in the second part (which is at once a glorification of Israel, and an attack on idolatry in general and Egyptian idolatry in particular) may appear to be quite distinct from the praise of wisdom in the first part, which is a philosophical consideration of the life of the author's own day ; Solomon is not introduced till chap. 6; after 11:1 the narrative does not mention wisdom, but is wholly concerned with the history ; and the style changes, being, in the first part, relatively simple and direct, with constant regard to the Hebrew principle of parallelism, whilst, in the second part, it is ambitious, grandiloquent, or turgid, complicated and artificial, often without parallelism. On the other hand, it may be said that a logical unity is recognisable in the fact that the two points of attack in the work, apostasy and idolatry, represent the two great enemies of the later devout Judaism, and that a consciousness of unity is shown in 9:18, which makes the transition from the first part to the second, and has not the appearance of an editorial insertion; that the similarity between 1:1 and 6:1 suggests that the same speaker is intended throughout, that the non-mention of wisdom after 11:1 is due to the fact that the author became so immersed in his historical sketch (which he meant as an indictment of his own contemporaries) that he forgot the philosophical thesis with which he set out, that the change of style is a natural consequence of the change of subject matter, the moral and philosophical discussions falling more easily into the form of the Book of Proverbs, the dramatic scenes of the earlier history readily suggesting legendary touches and highly-coloured language, and that there are marked resemblances of tone and style in the two parts - e.g. , the rush of thought of the second part is paralleled in the description of the wicked (5) and of wisdom (7:22-8:1), and the religiously elevated and dignified tone of the first part appears here and there in the second (cp 1:13-15, 9:1-6 with 11:23-26, 12:19 16:7). On the whole it seems easier to account for the differences of matter and style under the supposition of one single author than to explain the unity under the supposition of two or more authors.

4. History of criticism.[edit]

In the last century there were several attempts to ascribe the book to a number of hands.

This analysis was begun, according to Bretschneider, by Houbigant, who divided the work into two parts, chaps. 1-9 and chaps. 10-19, and was herein followed by Doederlein ; only, whilst Houbigant ascribed the first part (written in Hebrew) to Solomon, and the second (written in Greek) to a later writer, Doederlein denied the Solomonic authorship ; from this analysis Eichhorn dissents only in making the division at 11:2 and regarding the whole hook as having been originally written in Greek, and Bertholdt begins the second part with 13. Nachtigal's proposal, to cut the book up into a number of parts and make it an anthology, met with no favour, and Bretschneider contented himself with dividing Eichhorn s first section into two, thus making three sections in the book, of which the first (1:1-6:8), a fragment of a larger work written by a Greek-speaking Jew (who, however, was not imbued with Platonic philosophy), at the time when Antiochus Epiphanes was meditating his assault on the Jewish religion, deals with the righteous, that is, the faithful part of the Jewish people ; the second (6:9-10), composed by an Alexandrian Jewish contemporary of Philo, is devoted to wisdom; the third (12-19), of the same period, is the work of a Jewish partisan, and chap. 11 is the insertion of an editor.

The arguments used by these scholars (given at length by Grimm) are substantially those which are mentioned above. No one since Bretschneider's time has advocated such a dismemberment of the book, and at present its unity is generally regarded as certain or probable.

5. Aim.[edit]

The aim of the work appears from what has been already said. The author is equally concerned to rebuke apostate Jews and idolatrous Gentiles, to console and encourage his suffering fellow-countrymen, and to extol the greatness of his nation. He calls on princes to observe that virtue, though here oppressed, will be rewarded in the next world, that wisdom, which is the source of virtue and the informing spirit of all things good, is the gift of the God of Israel, that in the past she has saved men from great perils, and that God, in ancient times, glorified his people Israel by delivering them from the hands of their enemies ; especially that, for their sake, he formerly inflicted terrible punishment on the Egyptians. In a word, he comforts his people (and warns their enemies) by assuring them that God is on their side.

6. Fortunes.[edit]

The work appears to have been always held in high estimation. From its inclusion in the Septuagint we may probably infer that the Egyptian Jews attached a great value to it from the time of its composition, whether or not they regarded it as canonical in the full sense of the term. 1 As to the position assigned to it by early Palestinian Jews, the only evidence is that which may perhaps be derived from its recognition in the NT. There are a number of coincidences of expression which have been held by some scholars to indicate a use of the book by some NT writers ; lists of such expressions may be found in Nitzsch, Kern (in the Tubingen Zeitsch. f. Theologie, 1835), Stier (Apokryphen, 1853), and others. On the other hand, Tholuck, Grimm, Farrar, and other writers regard the resemblances as too general to prove quotation. From the nature of the material it is hardly possible to speak decidedly on this point ; but a comparison of certain passages makes it not improbable that the book was known to Paul and some of his followers, and suggested to them certain expressions and lines of thought.

For example, 5:17-18, Eph. 6:13-18 (nwoirAiav [panoplian], Ouipaica [thooraka], SiKaio<niis [dikaiosynes]), 7:25-26, Heb. 1:3 (aTraiiyacrjaa [apaygasma]), 9:15, 2 Cor. 5:4 (/Sapvi ei [barunei], /Sapoi/fxeim [baroumenoi]), 9:16, Jn. 3:12 (comparison of earthly things and heavenly things as to the difficulty of understanding them), 11:15-16, 13:1-8, 14:24-26, Rom. 1:20-32 (description of the blindness and vices of the Gentile world), 11:23, Acts 17:30 (trapopas [paroras], v7repi8aji> [hyperidoon], God's overlooking of men's sins), 16:7, 1 Tim. 4:10 (God the Saviour of all men).

Be this as it may, it is generally agreed that, from the end of the first century onwards, it was esteemed and used by Christian writers.

Clement of Rome, in 1 Cor. 2:7, has an almost exact verbal reproduction of 11:22, 12:12, and so Irenaeus in Adv. Haer. 4:38, cp 6:19 ; {2} the later Patristic writers generally regarded the work as inspired, though Origen, Eusebius, and Augustine denied the Solomonic authorship (see Clem.Al. Strom, ed. Potter, 609; Hippolytus, ed. Lagarde, 66; Cyprian, Exhort. Mart. 12; Origen, Cont. Cel. 3:72 ; Euseb. Praep. 1:11; August. De Doctr. Christ. 2:8), and the title n mxi/aperos votjtia [e panaretos sophia] was given to it, as to Ben Sira (see ECCLESIASTICUS) ; homilies on it appear to have been composed by the presbyter Bellator (so Rabanus Maurus, Praef. in libr. Sup.), and, from Rabanus onwards, there is a continuous line of expository works.

It has, with few exceptions, been regarded by Christian scholars as a work of high value, in spite of its occasional turgid rhetoric and narrow nationalism ; so Luther and most writers up to the present time. Pellican held it to be inspired ; but in this view he stands almost alone among Protestants. The opinion as to its canonicity has varied greatly. The fathers cited it freely as 'Scripture' or as of divine authority, but apparently without having in mind the question of canonicity. Augustine seems to be the first writer who formally included it in the list of canonical books. It was recognised as canonical by the Roman Church in the decree of the council of Trent, and shared the fortunes of the other Apocryphal books in the controversies between Protestants and Catholics in the seventeenth century, in the movement which banished the books from the publications of the British and Foreign Bible Society, in the German discussions of 1851-1855. We may be content to say that the Palestinian Jews did not accept it as an inspired Scripture (their standard being in some regards local and narrow), that it was so accepted probably by the Egyptian Jews (though it is not cited by Philo), certainly by many Patristic writers, that it is now accepted by the Roman and Anglican churches, and rejected by the various Protestant churches, and that, for the rest, it must stand on its own merits.

1 It is possible that it was through the Christians that the book received its place in the Greek collection of Jewish Scriptures, but to this view there are serious objections ; it is not likely that the early Christians would adopt any non-Christian book which did not have some sort of Jewish authority (see CANON, 58).

2 In the canon of Melito (in Eus. HE 2:24) the expression Trapoifii ai cai >) ero<j>ia [paroimiai kai e sophia] should probably be read w. 17 KCU <ro<i>ia. [paroimiai e kai sophia]. In the et sapientia Salomonis of the Muratorian Fragment Credner reads ut instead of et, and Grimm doubts whether the reference is not to the canonical Book of Proverbs rather than to our Apocryphal Wisdom.


7. Ethical and religious ideas.[edit]

The book assumes the divine oneness, omnipresence (17, 12:1), omniscience (1:7, 7:16), and omnipotence (11:23), and God's providential care of the world (14:3); it calls him (13:1) 'he who is' (cp. LXX, Ex. 3:14). The world, it says, was created by God (9:9), not out of nothing, but out of formless matter (11:17). It ascribes to him wisdom (see below), justice (12:15), and kindness (1:13, 11:23-26, 12:13-16, 15:1, 16:7), and calls him Father (14:3), but, like the Pentateuch, the Prophets, and the Psalms, represents him as the especial friend and guardian of Israel (16:2, 18:18, 19:22): Israel he chastens (12:23), other nations, the enemies of his people, he punishes (12:20), yet with the design of leading them to repentance (12:2-20). But chaps, 11-12 clearly express the idea that the enemies of Israel are predestined to be cursed, and this conception is naively put by the side of the proclamation of God's universal love. The idea of an all-controlling fate, superior to God, is not found in the book. The dvdyKr [anagke] of 19:4 is the 'destiny' determined by God ; the term is Greek, the conception is Hebrew - it is the OT idea of divine predestination.

8. Word, spirit, wisdom, etc.[edit]

The word of God is simply the utterance of his will (9:1, 16:12, 16:26) and never approaches the Philonian Logos, even in the fine passage (18:15) in which the 'almighty word', a fierce warrior, leaps down from the divine throne into the doomed land of Egypt, or in 9:1, in which 'word' is indeed a parallel to 'wisdom' (v. 2), but wisdom is here not a personification, but a simple attribute of God, and the thought of 5:1 is that of Ps. 339. The conception of the spirit of the Lord is the same as that in the later (exilian and post-exilian) OT books, the term being equivalent to 'being or person of God'; it is an anthropomorphic expression, based on the assumption that God, like man, has a separate inward principle or true being. This spirit is said to fill the world, to contain all things, to be in all things (17, 12:1), and is identified with wisdom and with God (1:4-7). It is the holy spirit of God (Is. 63:10-11, Ps. 51:11, 143:10), which is sent from heaven (as a divine breath or influence) to console men (9:17), and, as a divine teacher, cannot dwell with unrighteousness (1:5). This representation does not reach hypostatisation ; but it is a very vigorous personification (cp Rom. 8). A similar remark is to be made of the conception of wisdom regarded as an attribute of God, only the description is here more elaborate, and there is a nearer approach to hypostatisation. Wisdom, it is said, was with God when he made the world (cp Prov. 8:22-31) and knew his will, sits ever by his throne, and is his intimate associate (9:49, 8:3), she is an effluence from his glory, the mirror of his power, the image of his goodness (7:25-27), she is animated by an acute, vigorous, benevolent spirit, is of perfect beauty, knows, directs, controls all things (7:22-29, 7:11, 8:1), transforming the souls of men (727), bestowing on them all virtues (8:4-8), and guiding their outward fortunes (10), coming to dwell with them as beloved friend and counsellor (8:2, 8:9), but bestowed only by God, and to be obtained from him by prayer (8:21, 9). She is thus, on the one hand, substantially identical with Philo s Logos, and, on the other hand, blends insensibly with the human quality of wisdom.

Other quasi-hypostatical intermediaries between God and the world are recognised by some modern writers (as Bois) in the terms 'power' (1:3), 'justice' (1:8), 'providence' (14:3, 17:2), 'mercy' (16:10), 'hand' (11:17), 'hypostasis' (16:21); but this seems to be reading too large a meaning into the terms in question (see WISDOM LITERATURE, 8) ; as to the 'hypostasis' or 'substance' of 16:21 it appears to be simply manna.

The conceptions of 'wisdom' and 'spirit' stand mid-way, in the line of advance toward hypostatisation, between the earlier ideas of the OT and the later ideas of Philo and of the NT.

Of other supernatural beings there is mention of only Gentile deities and the devil. The former are declared, with greater distinctness than is found in the OT, to be nonentities, invented by the folly of men (14:13-14). The existence of the devil is assumed, and he is identified (2:24) with the serpent of Gen. 3. The name for him here used (5id/3o\os [diabolos]) is probably taken from the Septuagint, which so renders the Hebrew Satan in Ps. 109:6 (108:6), Job 1:6-7, 2:1+, 1 Ch. 21:1 (BA; not L) ; the identification of the serpent with a supreme evil spirit occurs only here and in Secrets of Enoch (31:3-6) in the extant Jewish pre-Christian literature, 1 and in both books his seduction of Eve is ascribed to his envy. This identification probably sprang from a deepening sense of sin, and from a growing conviction of the necessity of separating God from the moral evil of the world. The author s silence respecting demons and angels (in which he accords with the other wisdom books) is possibly due to the philosophical nature of his thought, in which wisdom takes the place of all other good intermediary agents (see WISDOM LITERATURE, 11), and the one demon, the devil, is held to be sufficient to account for the evil of the world.

1 In the Sibylline oracles (149) the tempter of Eve is the 'serpent', and in the Enoch Similitudes (69:6) one of the evil 'angels' (see note of R. H. Charles in his ed. of Enoch).

9. Man.[edit]

The doctrine of the book concerning man is in part an expansion of the teaching of the OT. There is no trichotomy (body, soul, spirit), only the dichotomy of the inward principle of life (soul, spirit) and its outer casement (body). The soul or spirit the author represents (herein following Gen. 2:7) as breathed into the body by God (15:11), and, at death, received into the other world never to return (cp the avowal of ignorance on this point in Eccles. 3:21). The question of human freedom is not formally discussed, and probably did not present itself to the author's mind as a problem to be solved. Freewill is assumed in some passages, as in 1:16, in which it is said that bad men call down destruction on themselves, and in 56:13, in which they attribute their wretchedness to their own folly. On the other hand, man is said (12:10, 13:1) to be foolish by nature, unable of himself to know God, and yet (2:23, which gives an interpretation of Gen. 1:27) the image of God's being. Of a control by God of human thought and destiny nothing is said directly.

The work passes beyond the OT and Semitic thought in general in its adoption of the Platonic theory of the pre-existence of souls (8:20, and cp 1:5, 8:16), and this involves a sort of predestination ; Solomon says that being good he came into an undefiled body. Still, the author s practical view of moral life does not seem to be materially affected by his philosophical theories ; he holds to moral weakness, general divine control of life, and moral responsibility without troubling himself to define the limits of these facts, and he appears to adopt the OT division of men into good and bad, going beyond the later OT books, however, in recognising the possibility of passing from one class to the other. 1 But his horizon is here limited - he has in mind the flagrant sinners of his time, the apostates and the idolaters, and he cannot be said to express a general view of the ethical capacity of man. He holds, however (9:15), that the corruptible body presses down the soul (cp 2 Cor. 5:4).

1 This possibility is assumed in a simple unreflective way in Ezek. 18.

10. Sin.[edit]

Sin, disobedience to God's moral law, is represented in one passage (2:24) as having been introduced into the world by the devil (for death is the result of sin), in another passage (14:27) as the result of idolatry. This apparent discrepancy does not point to two authors, but comes from a shifting of the point of view. Following Gen. 3 the author says that sin, as an historical fact, made its first appearance in the world in the disobedience of Eve, and, like the OT, he does not think of explaining its psychological origin; but, looking at the vices of the society of his own time, he traces them all to idolatry, which is the negation of the knowledge of God; the vagueness of his thought on this point is apparent from the fact that he not only gives no chronological beginning of idolatry, but refers it to an intellectual weakness (13:1, 14:14) whose origin he does not explain. He falls back on the teaching of observation that men are by nature morally weak (5:13), and must, in order to be saved from error, be instructed and strengthened by God (15:3-4). This natural moral weakness he (like the OT) does not bring into historical connection with the transgression of Eve or of Adam. The spiritual safeguard against sin, union of heart with God, is finely expressed in 15:2-3: 'even if we sin, we are thine, knowing thy power [that is, submitting ourselves humbly to thy righteous and merciful control] ; but we will not sin, knowing that we are accounted thine, for to know thee is perfect righteousness'. Faith (only 3:14) is used in the general sense of acceptance of God's will, and trust in him for protection.

11. Future.[edit]

For the wicked, it is said (3:10-12, 3:17, 4:3), there is retribution in this life, and men are punished by means of their sins (11:16), but the real and universal recompense of moral conduct comes in the future life. Here the author passes quite beyond the OT thought, in which Sheol has no ethical character, and the resurrection (Dan. 12) is confined to Israelites. Hereafter, he declares (3-5), the position of all men will be determined by their moral character - the righteous will have peace and glory, the wicked will be in misery (4:18-20, 17:21); passages like 5:14-15 in which the transitory hope of the wicked is contrasted with the everlasting hope of the righteous, must be interpreted, from the general thought of the book, to mean not the annihilation of the ungodly, but their endless misery. Possibly the author here has in mind the denial of future retribution in Ecclesiastes, more probably he is opposing a general Sadducean opinion of his time. He makes no reference to purgatorial future punishment or to a bodily resurrection, unless the latter be involved in the 'glorious kingdom' (5:16, 6:20) and dominion over the nations (3:8) which the righteous are to receive, and this is not probable, since, if resurrection had been meant, there seems to be no reason why it should not have been distinctly mentioned. The conditions of the future life are stated in the most general way - there are no details of happiness and torment, only vague mention of light and darkness, with no clear indication of place, no distinct heaven or hell. The author contents himself with emphasising the fundamental fact of moral retribution; his reticence as to details may be due to his philosophical dislike of the crude pictures in such books as Enoch (see ESCHATOLOGY, index, s.vv. 'Heaven', 'Hell'). Man, he holds (here again following Gen. 3), was created to be immortal (in this world apparently), and would so have been, but for the entrance of death through the envy of the devil, and the folly of the first human pair. All good ethical human qualities, wisdom and righteousness, are, according to the author, the gift of God, or of God s minister, Wisdom (7:16, 8:4, 9:4, 9:12).

12. Virtue.[edit]

Besides general Tightness of conduct he particularises (8:7) the four virtues of Greek philosophy moderation, practical sense, justice, and courage or fortitude (tviH [soophrosyne], v8Ld [sphronesis], K a.ioffvv [dikaiosyne], dvSpeia [andreia]) - as things than which there is nothing more profitable in life, and these also he represents as the gift of Wisdom. His more general catalogue of virtues (7:22-23) embraces the gentler quality of 'philanthropy', and the Hebrew idea of 'holiness', and, following the OT, he represents the combination of justice and philanthropy (12:19) as something which is taught us by the example of God himself. His ethical code thus offers a happy union of Jewish and Greek elements ; of ethical philosophy proper (inquiry into the basis of moral beliefs and conduct) he has nothing. On the other hand, in his ethical attitude toward non-Israelitish peoples he is narrow ; like the prophets, he sees nothing good in other civilisations (as, for example, the Egyptian), but, from his national religious point of view, involves them in one sweeping condemnation. He was a pupil of the Greeks ; but he does not, by a single word, express sympathy with their thought and life, or betray any suspicion that they have played an important part in the divine education of humanity. He recognises only one true law of life, and this, he says (18:4), is to be given to the world by Israel; this is the view of the exilian and post-exilian prophets, but in our author we expect some modification of the old statement. There is no trace of asceticism in the book; the passage (3:13-4:6) which has been so interpreted is really a protest against what the author regarded as the undue importance attached by some to the possession of children, and a repetition of the OT declaration (Is. 56:4-5) that bodily conditions shall not determine membership in the Israelitish community. It was an old complaint of the pious in Israel that the wicked were often well provided with children (Ps. 17:14), a gift which was supposed to be a special mark of divine favour (Ps. 127:3-5 128:3). Ben Sira had already (16:1-4) protested against the exaggerated form of this view, and our author makes a special application of the protest to the case of illicit unions ; it is better, he says, to have no children than to obtain them by immoral unions ; the virtuous woman, though barren, shall be blessed in the final divine visitation, and the eunuch, if he be righteous, shall have compensating part in the temple of the Lord (so Is. 56:5), that is, shall be deemed worthy of an honourable position in the public worship. Such an opinion cannot, therefore, be regarded as springing from Therapeutist hostility to marriage. The fine thought that honourable old age is not measured by number of years (4:8-9) which is a correction or revision of Prov. 16:31, Ecclus. 26:4-6, though, according to Philo (De Vit. contempt. 8), it expresses a principle of the Therapeutae, is of too general a nature to be regarded as borrowed from them; it is found in the Stoics (cp Cic. De Fin. 3), and looks not to contempt of life, but to emphasising the better side of life.

13. Worship.[edit]

With all his strong national feeling, he, like the other Hokmah writers (see WISDOM LITERATURE, 6), lays no stress on the national ritual of worship ; he mentions, as historical facts, the offering of sacrifice by the Israelites (18:9) and of incense by Aaron (18:21), puts into Solomon's mouth (9:8) the words 'temple, altar, tabernacle', and quotes (3:14) a reference to the temple from the OT (Is. 56:5), but otherwise ignores the external cultus. He regards prayer and praise as the highest expression of religious feeling. He draws largely from the Pentateuch and somewhat from Isaiah and the Psalms, but, after the manner of the time, does not name them or other sacred books, or make allusion to the existence of a sacred canon.

14. Literary form.[edit]

The book, in spite of some glaring faults, deserves to be ranked among the masterpieces of reflective verse. If it cannot be called poetry, it is an admirable example of elevated stichometric writing, with not a few really poetical passages.

The number of its stichoi is variously stated (in Swete's ed. of the Sept.) at 1124 [B], 1121 [X [aleph]], and 1092 [A]; the Latin translation has a few lines not found in the Greek. {1} The author employs, not metre, but the Hebrew parallelism, and the Hebrew system of ictus, a certain succession of accented syllables, between which come varying numbers of unaccented syllables; in the passages (such as 10:3, 10:9, 10:21), in which there are suggestions of Greek iambic, dactylic, and asynartete metres, the combinations of syllables are probably either accidental (such as are sometimes found even in modern prose works), or the occasional imitations which a writer acquainted with Greek poetry might permit himself. 2

15. Structure.[edit]

The construction of the book is skilful. After showing men's supreme need of righteousness, the author dramatically introduces the two classes into which mankind is divided, and describes their contrasted fates. On the basis of this picture he appeals to kings to embrace wisdom, as whose exponent and laudator Solomon appears, giving his own experience, and extolling wisdom as the source of all knowledge, physical, moral, and religious, as an effluence from God and his companion and co-worker, and as the teacher and saviour of men of ancient times. In illustration of this last point he gives a sketch of the history of the patriarchs and of the deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage and their conquest of Canaan. This plan of the work was well fitted to commend it to the author's contemporaries; the philosophical praise of wisdom is justified by the exhibition of its practical value, and the whole picture conveys encouragement to the suffering righteous, and a solemn warning to all the enemies, apostate and Gentile, of the chosen people, whose special possession and guardian wisdom is.

1 See Berger, Hist. d. l. Vulgate. etc.

2 On apparent examples of Greek metrical lines see Farrar and Bois.

16. Style.[edit]

The style varies in the different parts. The first part (chaps. 1-9) approaches the evenly balanced aphoristic form of Proverbs, with the distinctive characteristics of the Hebrew parallelism; but it is made up of connected discourses, each of which aims at a definite demonstration or exposition, and the style is far more flowing than that of Proverbs and Ben Sira, in this respect rather resembling Ecclesiastes. In the second part (chaps. 10-19), whilst the stichometry is maintained, with a flavour of parallelism, the nature of the subject matter produces an approach to simple prose, with an inflation born of the desire to make the history impressive. In both parts power of imagination is conspicuous; the pictures of the final overthrow of the wicked (5:17-23) and the terrors of the Egyptians (17-18) have the cumulation and rush in which Ezekiel is a master, and many of the epithets have an Aeschylean force and majesty; it is perhaps this torrent-like movement that most impresses the reader in the author s descriptions. Nor is he lacking in something that resembles humour as, in the description of the manufacture of an idol by the carpenter (13:11-19), which is, however, only a slight expansion of an OT passage (Is. 44:12-17). He is fond of assonance, alliteration, and paronomasia, as well as of comparison and metaphor, has many instances of chiasm (as 3:15, 4:2), and in one case (6:17-20) employs the sorites. This last use is taken from Greek logic, of the others there are many examples both in the OT and in Greek writers. Throughout he shows fulness, richness, and vitality of conception, which is constantly in danger of running into exaggeration and bombast. The nature of his material does not call for direct descriptions of external nature ; but in a number of passages he shows a fine feeling for colour, form, and movement (see 5:9-12, 5:21-23, 11:18, 13:2, 17:18-21). The author's noteworthy command of Greek suggests that he was well read in Greek poetical and philosophical literature.

His vocabulary is rich and picturesque ; he uses a number of uncommon terms, is fond of compounds, and has himself originated compounds or given peculiar significations to existing forms, as <j>i\6\fivxe [philopsyche] (11:25), 'lover of souls' (so Damasc. 2:251), and perhaps TrpwroTrAaoros [prootoplastos] (7:1, 10:1). He has taken a number of expressions from the Septuagint, as TreYpas aicpoTO/iou [petras akrotomou] (11:4, see Dt. 8:15); TOV OVTO. [ton onta] (13:1, see Ex. 3:14) ; <f>iatnfipa.s ovpavov [phoosteras ouranou] (13:2, see Gen. 1:14) ; o-iroSbs 17 Kap&ia. avrov [spodos e kardia autou] (15:10, see Is. 44:20). On the other hand, his frequent Hebraisms (most of which occur in chapters 1-11) show that he was deeply imbued with the style of the OT ; thus words, as ovcoAioi [skolioi] (1:3); <ru>/JLa.Ti. [soomati] (1:4) ; aytov Tri/eu/iia [hagion pneuma] (1:5, 9:17); ta^ara [eschata] (2:16) ; e/ccTTTJa-oi Tai [ekstesontai] (5:2); i)\ov [zelon] (5:17); /ndratoi [mataioi] (13:1) ; modes of expression, such as those in 4:17, 16:8, 16;13 (cp 1 S. 2:6); and the use of the connectives KO.I [kai], Se [de], yap [gar] and the like. {1}

Signs of date.[edit]

17. Ideas.[edit]

The data for the determination of the origin of the book are found in its use of other books, the nature of its ideas, and the historical conditions which it implies.

A comparison of 4:1 (on childless virtue) with Ecclus. 16:1-4 suggests that our author was acquainted with tfle latter work. It is generally admitted that he used the Septuagint translation of the Pentateuch and Isaiah; whether he had the Septuagint Psalms is doubtful - in 3:1 he has an allusion to Ps. 31:5 [31:6], in 15:15-16 he gives rather a paraphrase than a citation of Ps. 115:4-7 (= 135:15-17), in 16:20 (from Ps. 78:25) he has dyye Awi rpo<|jc [aggeloon trophen] where LXX has ap-rov a. [arton aggeloon], and in 10:17 (from Ps. 105:39) he has e S <rxfnr\v r)ju.epa? [eis skepen emeras] where our Hebrew has simply 'covering' and the psalm in LXX (Ps. 105:39 [104:39]) els <TK. aiirois [eis skepen autois], from which, in view of his fondness for paraphrasing, it cannot be shown that he did or did not have the Psalms in Greek. There is uncertainty also about the relation of 2:24 {'the envy of the devil') to a similar statement in Secrets of Enoch 31:3 (and cp Jos. Ant. 1:1:4, Sanhedrin, 59). The conception may have been an old one, derived by Wisdom and Secrets of Enoch from a common source, though, as it is not found in Enoch, it probably arose not long before the beginning of our era. The picture of reward and punishment in the future life is similar to that given in the Enoch similitudes. There is no reason to suppose that our author quotes from Philo.

18. Legendary additions.[edit]

Legendary additions to the OT narrative, so frequent in Wisdom, do not appear in any other book earlier than 2 Macc. (1:19-36, 2:1-8) {2}. It is only necessary to compare our author's sketch of the early history (10-19) with that of Ecclus. (44-49) to see the great difference between the methods of the two writers; the latter keeps himself strictly to the OT text, the former revels in fanciful embellishments (11:15, 16:1-2, 16:9, 16:18-19, 16:21-22, 17:6, 17:9-10, 17:15-19, 18:12-13, 18:17-19, 19:11-12, 19:17, 19:21). This may be accounted for in part by the supposition that the Alexandrian Jews were very free in their dealing with the sacred books ; but, as 2 Macc. shows that there was a similar tendency in Palestine, we are led to refer it rather to a natural growth of legend, of which there are many examples in later Apocryphal books and in the Talmud. 3 The allegorising method of interpretation, if found in Wisdom, would doubtless be Alexandrian, but would not give great aid in determining its date, since this method of interpretation was in use long before Philo's time. But it does not seem to be employed by our author.

The cases cited (by Bois) are not properly allegorising; the pillar of salt (10:7) is a 'monument', not a symbol, of an unbelieving soul; the pillar of cloud and fire (10:17) is not a 'manifestation' but a creation of Wisdom; the bronze serpent (16:5-7) is not a symbol, it is an instrument and assurance of salvation; the Egyptian darkness (17:21) is an 'image', a faint physical suggestion, of the darkness of future punishment; on the high-priest's robe (18:24) was the whole cosmos, but only as the glory of the fathers was on the four rows of stones, and the divine majesty on the tiara ('holy to the Lord'). Reuss's remark, that the Egyptians are introduced throughout as a type of pagans in general, and that the history is regarded as a sort of theory, is correct; through the Egyptians the author aimed at his own contemporaries. This, however, is not allegorising; it may be called a first step toward the method so fully developed by Philo, but it has not reached the point of seeing in things and persons merely representations of religious truth.

1 For full lexicographical lists see the commentaries of Grimm and Farrar.

2 The treatment of Gen. 6:2 in Enoch is mythological expansion under Persian stimulus.

3 Cp also Gal. 3:19, 1 Cor. 10:4, 2 Tim. 3:8.

19. Eschatology.[edit]

The author's silence respecting Messianic hopes is a trait which he has in common with other sapiential writers (see WISDOM LITERATURE, 5-6) and is not an exact indication of date. His picture of the sufferings and future glory of the righteous (2-5), though it may be based on Is. 53 and has been regarded by some expositors as a prediction of the Messiah, {1} presents no individual human deliverer, but, after the manner of the prophets, simply represents pious Israel as destined to be glorified. In part of the late pre-Christian Palestinian literature also (as Dan., Sib. Or., 1 Macc. , Pss. of Sol.) it is the nation that is the centre of hope ; it is only in the later portions of Enoch (as chap. 46) that a personal Messiah plays a real role (see MESSIAH, 7 ; ESCHATOLOGY, 65-66). That Wisdom has a well-developed doctrine of ethical immortality, and yet says nothing of resurrection, may be due to its Egyptian origin. The idea of resurrection was a Palestinian growth, based on Jewish convictions, but shaped under the stimulus of Zoroastrianism, and it may well have lagged behind in Egypt. On the other hand, Alexandria was the meeting-place of old Egyptian and Greek ideas out of which the monotheistic Jews could easily fashion an elevated moral conception of the world to come. Each Jewish centre would thus work out its own favourite idea of the future, and the fusion of the two ideas would take time. This fusion had certainly occurred before the composition of the earliest NT book, and apparently also before the time of the Enoch-section chaps. 91-104, a tract which in some respects resembles our book, the date of which is, however, uncertain, though it may probably be put in the first century B.C. (cp Charles, Book of Enoch). Wisdom appears to have been written before the fusion of the two ideas was accomplished in Egypt; but, on the other hand, the author's Hellenising tendency may have led him to discard the notion of a kingdom of the righteous on earth, though such a notion may have been known to him (cp 3:7 with Dan. 12:3). It is difficult to say when the Egyptian Jews began to formulate a doctrine of ethical immortality; it may, perhaps, be surmised that, since the editor of Ben Sira, writing 132 B.C., says nothing of it, it did not appear before the first century B.C.

20. Greek conception.[edit]

An indication of date might be obtained if we could determine with exactness the relative development of Greek conceptions in our author and in Philo. It is generally admitted that Wisdom is deeply imbued with Greek philosophical thought; the conceptions of a beautiful and logically arranged cosmos, and of a wisdom which is the divine agent in creation and in the control of the world (besides the minor points referred to above) betray the influence of the Platonists and the Stoics. The same general ideas are found in Philo, as whose contemporary, accordingly, our author is regarded by some expositors. On the other hand, the differences between the two writers are obvious; {2} besides many divergencies in explanation of particular points (which, however, would not necessarily prove them not contemporaries), there is, for example, the great difference in the employment of the allegorical method of interpretation, which probably, though not certainly, points to the precedence of Wisdom in time. The main point of comparison is the conception of the divine self-manifestation through intermediate agencies, and herein Philo and Wisdom differ in two respects : first, whilst Philo names as chief agent the Logos, and has comparatively little to say of Wisdom, Wisdom gives the first place to Wisdom (not going beyond the OT in his conception of the 'word'), and thus appears to range itself along with those earlier more Hebraistic books (Proverbs and Ben Sira) in which the divine attribute plays the most important role, Philo, on the other hand, advancing to the more definitely Stoic idea ; and secondly, Philo treats the conception in a more scientific way, undertaking to state with philosophic precision the nature of the relation between God and his personified energy, whilst in Wisdom this relation is assumed without explanation. From this it may probably be inferred that our author had not grasped the Stoic doctrine of the Logos, which, seeing his fondness for Greek ideas, he would hardly have failed to do if he had lived as late as the first half of the first century of our era.

1 So Tertullian, Cyprian, Hippolytus, Origen, and many interpreters of the Church 'of Rome'; see Westcott's note in Smith. DB, art. 'Wisdom of Solomon'.

2 The two are compared by Grimm, Prummond, Menzel, Farrar, Bois, and others. Siegfried, in Hastings' DB, notes differences between the two.

21. Outward conditions.[edit]

The historical conditions to be accounted for are: the persecution of faithful Israelites by Gentiles and apostate Jews, and the author's special grudge against the Egyptians. There was a class of apostate Jews from the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, 187 B.C. (Jos. Ant. 12:5) down to the time of Philo (Philo, Confus. Ling. 2 ; Poenit. 2). The account in 3 Macc. of an Egyptian persecution in the time of Ptolemy IV. (221-217 B.C.) being generally admitted to be legendary, the periods of persecution which may come into consideration (see Jos. Cont. Ap. 2:5) are the reigns of Ptolemy VII. (145-117 B.C.), Cleopatra (47-30 B.C.), Caligula (38-40 A.D.), and (Jos. BJ, 2:18:7-8), Nero (63 A.D.). There is not much ground for choice among these periods, {1} at most it may be said that the comparatively calm tone of our book (as in 14:16-20) does not favour the seasons of bitterer distress (under Caligula and Nero). But it is not necessary to suppose that the work was composed in the midst of one of the violently hostile movements. The author, even if he lived in a relatively quiet time, would know enough of the general fortunes of his people to paint his pictures of suffering (2-5:14). Nor is his reference to the worship of the statues of kings (14:16-20) chronologically decisive, for divine worship was paid to Ptolemy I., and probably to Antiochus II., as well as to Caligula and other Roman emperors. The author is, in fact, as Grimm remarks, giving a learned account of the origin of idolatry, and it is unnecessary to assume that the deified princes to whom he refers were his contemporaries. There appears to be nothing in the historical situation depicted to prevent our following the literary indications and assigning the work to some time before that of Philo, probably to the first pre-Christian century.

22. Author.[edit]

Of the author all that is clear is that he was an Egyptian Jew. His strong Jewish feeling appears on every page of his book, and his Greek training and his hearty dislike of the Egyptians point to Alexandria as his residence. The unsuccessful attempts to identify him with some known person are detailed at length by Grimm and Farrar.

The reference of the work to Solomon, 2 found in early versions (Sept., Syr.), and in a number of Patristic, Rabbinical, Roman Catholic, and Protestant writers (as late as 1858 by the Catholic J. A. Schmid), was rejected by Augustine and Jerome, and is no longer seriously considered. Very early critics thought of Ben Sira as the author (see Aug. Doct. Chr. 2, 8 ; Retract. 2, 4), or of the famous Philo (see Jer. Praef. in Lib. Sal.), and the latter view was adopted by Luther and a number of other theologians ; but the differences between those two writers and our author are so glaring that they absolutely exclude such an identification. Other Jewish names which have been suggested are Zerubbabel (by J. M. Faber), Aristobulus, the friend of Ptolemy Philometor (by Lutterbeck), an older Philo (by Drusius and others) who is said to have written a poem on Jerusalem (cp Jos. Cont. Ap. 1:23 where a non-Jewish 'older Philo', apparently an historian, is mentioned), and Apollos, before his conversion (by Plumptre), on the ground that he wrote the Epistle to the Hebrews, and that the similarity between the epistle and Wisdom is so great as to suggest a common origin. None of these suggestions except the last has any show of probability, and it can hardly be called probable, since the two books, though not without a certain resemblance in style, still have differences, both of style and of manner of thought, too great to be explained even by a writer's change of religion. The author has been held to be a Christian (by C. H. Weisse and others) on such grounds as his supposed reference (3) to the Messiah, his designation of God as 'father' (14:3), his doctrine of future ethical retribution (3-5), and the supposed mention of his book among Christian writings in the Muratorian Fragment (but the last supposition is probably erroneous - see above, 6, n. 2), and the authorship has been assigned (by Nowack) to Apollos, after his conversion to Christianity. But a Christian book without a single distinctively Christian idea (and none of those adduced by Weisse are distinctively Christian) would be an incomprehensible anomaly; the book is intelligible only on the supposition that it was written by a non-Christian Jew. Finally, as has been pointed out above (section 12), there is no reason for supposing that the author belonged to the sect of the Therapeutae ; he has no trace of their teaching, and it does not seem probable that a member of that sect would have imbibed Greek learning as our author has done.

1 Grimm's remark that in the time of Nero the spirit of the Jews was too much broken to produce so talented a book as Wisdom is not convincing; we know too little of the times to make such a judgment.

2 [Revived by D. S. Margoliouth who holds that there are references to this book in Isaiah.]

23. Greek text.[edit]

The Greek text is given entire in the uncials A (Lond. 1879-1883), B (Rome, 1871), X[aleph] (St. Petersburg [now London], 1862), in part in C (Leipsic, 1845), entire in the cursives H. P. 23, 55, 68, 106 and 155 (not entire), 157, 248, 253, 254, 261 (not entire), 296 ; nine MSS collated by Thilo (but not published) are in some passages adduced by him (Specimen exercc. critt. in Sapient. Sal., Halle, 1125; and by Grimm. Swete gives the various readings of X[aleph]AC. The text is well preserved ; A in a number of cases offers better readings than B. That the Greek is the original text is now generally believed. Faber's argument to prove a 'Chaldee' (that is Jewish Aramaic) original is successfully rebutted by Hasse; thus in 2:22 the Syr. for Greek yepas [geras] is explained by Faber as coming from a confusion of Aramaic pa4o and j3D, but it is rather, says Hasse, a misreading of the Greek (yrpa? [geras] for ye pas [geras [epsilon not eta]]) ; in 18:16 Syriac 'command' for Greek 'death' comes, according to Faber, from a misunderstanding of 1p1 (which, however, is not Aramaic but Hebrew), but may be naturally regarded as a scribal erroneous repetition of the preceding 'command'. So also, recently, D. S. Margoliouth, {1} whose examples are not more convincing than those of Faber. In Wisd. 1:12, 14:10 the Greek is satisfactory as it stands; and the identity of the expression in 2:12 with that in Is. 3:10 LXX (noted by Schleusner) may be understood as a borrowing on the part of the former, or as a very late insertion in the latter. Greek is too free and idiomatic to be taken as a translation ; its Hebrew colouring belongs rather to the thought than to the style. 2

1 In JRAS, 1890, and in 'Lines of defence of the biblical revelation', 1900.

2 Cp J. Freudenthal in. JQR, 1891.

24. Versions.[edit]

The Old Latin Version was adopted by Jerome with slight changes; the Clementine text of 1592, with corrections from Vercellone's edition of 1861, is given in the edition of Heyse and Tischendorf (Leipsic, 1873), with the readings of the Codex Amiatinus in the margin ; the Cod. Amiatinus has been edited by Lagarde (in Mitteil. i.). It is in general a literal, faithful, and intelligent translation of the Greek. It occasionally (as in 4:17) inserts an explicitum, and has a number of words and clauses not found in our Greek, as 1:15 (one word, and in some MSS one line), 2:8 (one line), 2:17 (one line), 3:1 (one word), 4:14 (one phrase), 6:1 (one couplet), 6:20 (one word), 8:11 (one line), 10:1 (two words in the Clem, text, but not in Amiatinus), 11:5 (one and a half lines), 11:8 (one clause), 17:1 (several words). Some of these additions (as 3:1, 4:14, 17:1) are explanations of the translator, and none of them commend themselves as probably belonging to the original text ; thus in 1:15 the perpetua weakens the aJSa.varos [athanatos]; in 2:8 the line 'let there be no meadow which our jollity does not traverse', though in itself appropriate and good, mars the couplet-arrangement (three couplets in vv. 7-9) ; the aphorism of 6:1, 'wisdom is better than strength, and a sage man than a strong', interrupts the connection of thought and is obviously a gloss, as are the insertions in 8:11, 10:1, 11:5 (two glosses), and 11:8. A certain number of words also are omitted in the Latin, the translator allowing himself some freedom. On the history of the version see Berger, Hist. d. l. Vulgate, 1893, and on the MSS, Thielmann, Bericht, etc. 1900. On the vocabulary cp Grimm, Comm. KGH, pp. 5+.

The Syriac is made directly from the Greek, following a MS resembling Codex Alexandrensis. Whilst in general it renders the ideas and expressions of the original with fidelity, it diverges therefrom far more than the Latin. It adds explicita and other explanatory words, inserts the proper names (Cain, etc.) in chap. 10, transfers a number of Greek words, gives free translations, mistranslates and omits. On the attempt to refer it to an Aramaic original see Hasse. For the Arabic version cp Hasse, for the Armenian cp Welte, and F. H. Reusck, Liber Sapient, graece, etc., 1858 ; these also both come from our Greek.

25. Bibliography.[edit]

For general works on the Jewish conception of wisdom see WISDOM LITERATURE, 15. For lists of critical and expository works up to 1860 see Bretschneider and Grimm. Among these the following may be mentioned: Rabanus Maurus, (1856, the earliest extant commentator (in Migne); Grotius, Annatationes, 1664 ; Cornelius a Lapide, Comment. in libr. Sap., 1613; Cappellus, Comment. . . . in VT, 1689 (scattered observations); J. M. Faber, Prolusiones, 1776-1777 and 1786-87; J. G. Hasse, Salomo's Weisheit, 1785 ; J. G. Eichhorn, Einleitung i. d. Apocr. Schr. d. AT, 1795; C. G. Bretschneider, Lib. Sapient., 1804 ; C. L. W. Grimm (in Kurzgef. exeget. Handbuch z. d. Apokr. d. A T), 1860 (very full and judicious, supersedes his work of 1837). Since 1860 have appeared commentaries by E. C. Bissell, 1880 (in the volume on the Apocrypha added to the Lange series), F. W. Farrar, 1888 (in Wace's Apocrypha), and Siegfried (in Kautzsch's Apokr.) ; articles in Smith's DB (by B. F. Westcou) ; McClintock and Strong's Cyclopedia; Herzog-Hauck, RE (by E. Schurer, see also his GJV, etc. = Hist. of the Jewish People, etc.); Hastings DB (by Siegfried); and annotated editions by W. J. Deane (The Book Of Wisdom, 1881), W. R. Churton (in his Uncanonical and Apocryphal Scriptures, 1884), and C. J. Ball (in his Variorum Apocrypha., 1892). On the ethical ideas see Kubel, 'Die Ethischen Anschauungen d. Weisheit Salomonis', in St. Kr. (1865).

C. H. T.