Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 9.djvu/626

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

the fourth book of Moses dwells with such marked emphasis, is not commanded. The order of sacrifices appointed in Ezekiel is at variance with that in the more recent code. Ezekiel nowhere mentions the ark of the covenant. According to him, the new year begins on the tenth of the seventh month, while the festival of the trumpets, ordained in Leviticus for the first of that mouth (the present new year of the Jews), is nowhere referred to. We are not to suppose, however, that the festivals, the ark, etc., did not yet exist in the time of Ezekiel. They existed, no doubt, but were still too intimately associated with pagan customs and superstitions to receive or merit the countenance of a prophetic writer. In Leviticus the process of assimilation above described had reached its climax. The new meaning had been successfully engrafted upon the rites and symbols of the olden time; and they were thenceforth freely employed. The legislation of the Levitical code exhibits the familiar features which in every instance mark the ascendency or consolidation of the hierarchical order. The lines of gradation and distinction between the members of the order among themselves are precisely drawn and strictly adhered to. The prerogatives of the whole order as against the people are fenced about with stringent laws. The revenues of the order are largely increased. In the older code of Deuteronomy, the annual tithes were set apart for a festival occasion, and given over to the enjoyment of the people. In the new code, the hierarchy claims the tithes for its own use. New taxes are invented. The best portions of the sacrificial animal are reserved for the banquets of the Temple. The first-born of men and cattle belong to the priesthood, and must be ransomed by the payment of a sum of money. In no period prior to the fifth century b. c. was the hierarchy powerful enough to design such laws. At that time, however, when in the absence of a temporal sovereign they, with the high-priest at their head, were the acknowledged rulers of the state, they were both prepared to conceive and able to carry them into effect. The language of Leviticus contributes not a little to betray its late origin.[1] The authorship of Moses attributed to the Levitical code is symbolical. The name of Moses is utterly unknown to the elder prophets. In all their manifold writings it does not occur a single time, though they make frequent reference to the past. There can now be little doubt that the composition of the book of Leviticus, and of considerable portions of the books of Numbers, Exodus, and even parts of Genesis, belongs to the epoch of the second Temple, and that the date of these writings may be approximately fixed at about one thousand years after the time of Moses. As to the story of Israel's desert wanderings, it rests upon ancient traditions

  1. To mention only a single instance, ha Shem (meaning the name, i.e., the ineffable name of God) was not employed until a very late period in the history of the Jews, when the fear of taking the name of the Lord in vain induced men to avoid, if possible, mentioning it at all. We find ha Shem in the above sense in Lev. xxiv. 11.