The Making of a Nation - The Beginnings of Israel's History
by Charles Foster Kent and Jeremiah Whipple Jenks
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Read the prophetic stories regarding Abraham (Hist. Bible I, 73, 74, 79-81, 84-87, 90-92). Are these stories to be regarded simply as chapters from the biography of the early ancestor of the Hebrews or, like the story of the Garden of Eden, do they have a deeper, a more universal moral and religious significance? Back of the story of Abraham's call and settlement in Canaan clearly lies the historic fact that the ancestors of the Hebrews as nomads migrated from the land of Aram to seek for themselves and their descendants a permanent home in the land of Canaan. Abraham, whose name in Hebrew means, "Exalted Father," or as it was later interpreted, "Father of a Multitude," naturally represents this historic movement, but the story of his call and settlement in Canaan has a larger meaning and value. It simply and vividly illustrates the eternal truths that (1) God guides those who will be guided. (2) He reveals himself alone to those who seek a revelation. (3) His revelations come along the path of duty and are confined to no place or land. (4) For those who will be led by him God has in store a noble destiny. (5) Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God. (6) Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. Thus this marvelous story presents certain of the noblest fruits of Israel's spiritual experiences. Incidentally it also deals with the relationship between the Hebrews and their neighbors, the Moabites, across the Jordan and the Dead Sea, for Lot in these earlier stories stands as the traditional ancestor of the Moabites and Ammonites. It is evident that, like the opening narratives of Genesis, this story aimed to explain existing conditions, as well as to illustrate the deeper truths of life.

Similarly the story of the expulsion of Hagar, it is thought, aims primarily to explain the origin of Israel's foes, the nomadic Ishmaelites, who lived south of Canaan. In the inscriptions of the Assyrian king Sennacherib, Hargaranu is the name of an Aramean tribe. A tribe bearing a similar name is also mentioned in the south Arabian inscriptions. The Hagar of the story is a typical daughter of the desert. When she became the mother of a child, the highest honor that could come to a Semitic woman, she could not resist the temptation to taunt Sarah. In keeping with early Semitic customs Sarah had full authority to demand the expulsion of Hagar, for in the eye of the law the slave wife was her property. The tradition of the revelation to Hagar also represented the popular explanation of the sanctity of the famous desert shrine Beer-lahal-roi. Like most of the prophetic stories, this narrative teaches deeper moral lessons. Chief among these is the broad truth that the sphere of God's care and blessing was by no means limited to Israel. To the outcast and needy he ever comes with his message of counsel and promise. Was Abraham right or wrong in yielding to Sarah's wish? Was Sarah right or wrong in her attitude toward Hagar? Was Hagar's triumphal attitude toward Sarah natural? Was it right?

In the story of the destruction of Sodom Lot appears as the central figure. His choice of the fertile plain of the Jordan had brought him into close contact with its inhabitants, the Canaanites. Abandoning his nomadic life, he had become a citizen, of the corrupt city of Sodom. When at last Jehovah had determined to destroy the city because of its wickedness, Abraham persistently interceded that it be spared. Its wickedness proved, however, too great for pardon. Lot, who, true to his nomad training, hospitably received the divine messengers, was finally persuaded to flee from the city and thus escaped the overwhelming destruction that felt upon it. What was the possible origin of this story? (Hist. Bible I, 87.) What are the important religious teachings of this story? Were great calamities in the past usually the result of wickedness? Are they to-day? Do people so interpret the destruction of San Francisco and Messina? The great epidemic of cholera in Hamburg in 1892 was clearly the result of a gross neglect of sanitary precautions in regard to the water supply. At that date the cholera germ had not been clearly identified and there was some doubt regarding the means by which the disease was spread. Was sanitary neglect then as much of a sin as it would be now? May we properly say that the pestilence was a calamity visited on that city as a punishment for its sin of neglect?

Why did the prophets preserve the story of the sacrifices of Isaac? Compare the parallel teaching in Micah 6:6-8.

With what shall I come before Jehovah, Bow myself before the God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt-offerings, With calves a year old? Will Jehovah be pleased with thousands of rams, With myriads of streams of oil? Shall I give him my first-born for my guilt, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

Which is the most important teaching of the story: the importance of an unquestioning faith and obedience, or the needlessness of human sacrifice? Does God ever command any person to do anything that the person thinks wrong?



In the so-called later priestly stories regarding Abraham (see especially Gen. 17) he is portrayed as a devoted servant of the law, chiefly intent upon observing the simple ceremonial institutions revealed to him in that primitive age. With him the later priests associated the origin of the distinctive rite of circumcision. In Genesis 14 Abraham is pictured as a valiant warrior who espoused the cause of the weak and won a great victory over the united armies of the Eastern kings. Like a knight of olden times, he restored the captured spoil to the city that had been robbed and gave a liberal portion, to the priest king Melchizedek, who appears to have been regarded in later Jewish tradition as the forerunner of the Jerusalem priesthood. In the still later Jewish traditions, of which many have been preserved, he is pictured sometimes as an invincible warrior, before whom even the great city of Damascus fell, sometimes as an ardent foe of idolatry, the incarnation of the spirit of later Judaism, or else he is thought of as having been borne to heaven on a fiery chariot, where he receives to his bosom the faithful of his race. Thus each succeeding generation or group of writers made Abraham, as the traditional father of their race, the embodiment of their highest ideals.

The Abraham of the early prophetic narratives, however, is a remarkably consistent character. He exemplifies that which is noblest in Israel's early ideals. How is Abraham's faith illustrated in the prophetic stories considered in the preceding paragraph? His unselfishness and generosity? His courtly hospitality? Was his politeness to strangers simply due to his training and the traditions of the desert or was it the expression of his natural impulses? Was Abraham's devoted interest in the future of his descendants a noble quality? How are his devotion and obedience to God illustrated? In the light of this study describe the Abraham of the prophetic narratives. Is it a perfect character that is thus portrayed? Is it the product of a primitive state of society or of a high civilization?



Is Shakespeare right in his statement that "The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones"? Why do men as a rule idealize the dead? Does the primitive tendency to ancestor worship in part explain this? Is the tendency to idealize the men of the past beneficial in its effect upon the race? What would be the effect if all the iniquity of the past were remembered? The tendency to idealize national heroes is by no means confined to the Hebrews. Greek, Roman and English history abounds in illustrations. Cite some of the more striking. Why are they often thought of as descendants of the gods? Compare the popular conception of the first president of the United States and his character as portrayed in Ford's "The Real George Washington." The portraits of national heroes, even though they are idealized, exert a powerful and wholesome influence upon the nations who honor their memory. The noblest ideals in each succeeding generation are often thus concretely embodied in the character of some national hero. Compare the great heroes of Greek mythology with the early heroes of the Old Testament. Do these differences correspond to the distinctive characteristics of the Greeks and the Hebrews? Are these differences due to the peculiar genius of each race or in part to the influence exerted by the ideals thus concretely presented upon each succeeding generation? Is it probable that in the character of Abraham the traditional father of the Hebrew race was idealized? Is it possible that teachers of Israel, consciously or unconsciously, fostered this tendency that they might in this concrete and effective way impress their great teachings upon their race? If so, does it decrease or enhance the value and authority of these stories?



In the early history of most countries there comes a pressure of population upon the productive powers of the land. As numbers increase in the hunting stage game becomes scarce and more hunting grounds are needed. Tribes migrate from season to season, as did the American Indians, and eventually some members of the tribe are likely to go forth to seek new homes. Later in the pastoral stage of society, as the wealth of flocks and herds increases, more pasturage is needed and similar results follow. Even after agriculture is well established and commerce is well begun, as in Ancient Greece, colonies have a like origin. In the England of the nineteenth century Malthus and his followers taught the tendency of population to outgrow the means of subsistence—a tendency overcome only by restraints on the growth of population, or by new inventions that enable new sources of supply to be secured or that render the old ones more efficient. Emigration and pioneering are thus a normal outgrowth of a progressive growing people in any stage of civilization. What does the statement about Abraham's wealth in cattle and silver and gold show regarding the country from which he came and the probable cause of God's direction for his removal?

Immigrants and pioneers are usually the self-reliant and courageous, who dare to endure hardships and incur risks to secure for their country and posterity the benefits of new lands and broader opportunity. The trials of new and untried experiences and often of dire peril strengthen the character already strong, so that the pioneers in all lands and ages have been heroes whose exploits recounted in song and story have stirred the hearts and molded the faith of their descendants through many generations. In the light of later history what was the profound religious significance to his race and to the world, of the migration represented by Abraham? The Biblical narrative does not state the exact way in which Jehovah spoke to Abraham. Is it possible and probable that God spoke to men in that early day as he speaks to them now, through their experiences and inner consciousness? In what sense was Abraham a pioneer?

Was it for Abraham's material interest to migrate to Canaan?



Scholars will probably never absolutely agree regarding many problems connected with Abraham. Some have gone so far as to question whether he was an historical character or not. Is the question of fundamental importance? Other writers declare it probable that a tribal sheik by the name of Abraham led one of the many nomad tribes that somewhere about the middle of the second millenium B.C. moved westward into the territory of Palestine. It is probable that popular tradition has preserved certain facts regarding his life and character. It is equally clear that the different groups of Israel's teachers have each interpreted his character and work in keeping with their distinctive ideals. Each individual narrative has an independent unity and the connection between the different accounts is far from close. Some of them aim to explain the derivation of popular names, as for example, Abraham, Isaac, and Ishmael, the sanctity of certain sacred places, as for example, Beersheba, the origin of important institutions, as for example, circumcision and the substitution of animal for human sacrifice, and the explanation of striking physical phenomena, as for example the desolate shores of the Dead Sea.

Some of these accounts, like the table of nations in Genesis 10, preserve the memory of the relationship between Israel and its neighbors. They preserve also the characteristic popular record of the early migrations which brought these peoples to Palestine, where they crystalized into the different nations that figure in the drama of Israel's history. The permanent and universal value of these stories lies, however, in the great moral principles which they vividly and effectively illustrate. The prophetic portrait of Abraham was an inspiring example to hold up before a race. The characteristics of Abraham can be traced in the ideals and character of the Israelites. They were unquestionably an important force in developing the prophet nation. He was, therefore, pre-eminently a spiritual pioneer. How far do these stories, and especially the accounts of the covenant between Jehovah and Abraham, embody the national and spiritual aspirations of the race? Are the Abraham stories of practical inspiration to the present generation? What qualities in his character are essential to the all-around man of any age? How far would the Abraham of the prophetic stories succeed, were he living in America to-day? Would he be appreciated by a majority of our citizens? Are spiritual pioneers of the type of Abraham absolutely needed in every nation and generation if the human race is to progress?

Questions for Further Consideration.

Are God's purposes often contrary to man's desires? Ever to man's best interests?

What qualities must every true pioneer possess?

What is the ultimate basis of all true politeness?

Who are some of the great pioneers of early American history? What were their chief contributions to their nation?

Is your own conscientious conception of your duty to be considered as God's command to you? Does he give any other command?

Does a high stage of civilization ennoble character or tend to degrade it?

Subjects for Further Study.

(1) Abraham in Late Jewish Tradition. Hastings, Dict. Bib. I, 16, 17, Ginsberg, The Legends of the Jews, I, pp. 185-308.

(2) The Geological History of the Dead Sea Valley. Hastings, Dict. Bib. I, 575-7; Encyc. Bib. I, 1042-6; Kent, Bib. Geog. and Hist., 45-54; Smith, Hist. Geography, 499-516.

(3) The Original Meaning of Sacrifice. St. O. T., IV, 238; Hastings, Dict. Bib. IV, 329-31; Encyc. Bib. IV, 4216-26; Smith, Relig. of the Semites, 213-43, 252-440; Gordon, Early Traditions of Genesis, 212-16.

(4) A Comparison of the Motives that Inspired the Migrations of the Ancestors of the Hebrews and our Pilgrim Fathers. Cheyney, European Background of American History; Andrews, Colonial Self-Government.



JACOB, THE PERSISTENT.—Gen. 28, 10-33, 20.

Parallel Readings.

Hist. Bible I, 101-21. Hastings, Dict. Bible II, 526-535. Prin. of Politics Ch. II.

Now as the boys grew Esau became a skilful hunter, but Jacob was a quiet man, a dweller in tents. And Isaac loved Esau—for he had a taste for game—and Rebekah loved Jacob.

Once when Jacob was preparing a stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was faint; therefore Esau said to Jacob, Let me eat quickly, I pray, some of that red food, for I am faint. (Therefore his name was called Edom, Red.) But Jacob said, Sell me first of all your birthright. And Esau replied, Alas! I am nearly dead, therefore of what use is this birthright to me? And Jacob said, Swear to me first; so he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and stewed lentils, and when he had eaten and drank, he rose up and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.—Hist. Bible.

Charles Darwin when asked for the secret of his success said, "It's dogged as does it."

Oh well for him whose will is strong! He suffers, but he will not suffer long; He suffers, but he cannot suffer wrong: For him nor moves the loud world's random mock, Nor all Calamity's hugest waves confound, Who seems a promontory of rock, That, compasst round with turbulent sound In middle ocean meets the surging shock, Tempest-buffetted but citadel-crowned. —Tennyson.

Life is comic or pitiful, as soon as the high ends of being fade out of sight and man becomes near-sighted and can only attend to what addresses the senses—Emerson.

Who rises every time he falls Will sometime rise to stay.



South of the Dead Sea, bounded by the rocky desert on the east and the hot barren Arabah on the west, extends the wild picturesque range of Mount Seir. It is a land of lofty heights and deep, almost inaccessible valleys, the home of the hunter and the nomad. From a few copious springs there issue clear, refreshing brooks, which run rippling through the deep ravines, but soon lose themselves in their hot, gravelly beds. A few miles further on they emerge and again disappear, as they approach the borders of the hot, thirsty wilderness that surrounds Mount Seir on every side. Here in early times lived the Edomites, a nomadic people who established themselves in this borderland of Palestine long before the Hebrews gained a permanent foothold in the land of Canaan. The name, Edom, is found in an inscription of a king of the eighth Egyptian Dynasty,

In the Biblical narrative, Esau evidently is the traditional ancestor of the Edomites, even as Jacob figures as the father of the twelve tribes. One of the aims of these narratives, it seems to many scholars, is to explain why the Israelites, the younger people, who settled latest in Palestine, ultimately possessed the land and conquered the Edomites.

The portraits of Esau and Jacob are remarkably true to the characteristics of these two rival nations. They are also faithful to human nature as we find it to-day. Of these two brothers which, on the whole, is the more attractive? Which resembles his father and which his mother? (Read the accounts of their lives, Gen. 24-27.) What noble virtues does Esau possess? What was his great fault? Reckless men or drifters with generous impulses but with no definite purpose, of whom gypsies and hoboes are extreme types, are found in every age and society. Why is it that men of the type of Esau so often in time become criminals?



The modern tendency to idealize the character of Jacob, simply because he was one of the famous patriarchs, is both unfortunate and misleading. Although he vividly typifies certain characteristics of his race, the Jacob of these early prophetic accounts is portrayed with absolute fidelity and realism. His faults are revealed even more clearly than his virtues. The dominant motive in his life is ambition, but it is a thoroughly selfish ambition. In the light of the stories, state in your own words what was the exact nature of Jacob's ambition. How did it differ from that of Abraham? What methods did he use to achieve his ambition? Were these methods justifiable? What is your view of the statement, "The end justifies the means"? Try to define exactly the method of determining justifiable means. May Jacob's action be excused because he was acting under the direction of his mother?

Does a man with a selfish ambition always injure others? Does he in the end injure himself most of all? How? Every type of selfishness is directly opposed to a man's highest self-interest. Jesus continually had this large truth in mind when he declared, "He that findeth his life shall lose it, but he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." Jesus himself illustrated this principle. Cite other illustrations from history. From your own observation or experience.

Was Jacob, even with his wrong ambition, a stronger and more promising character than his brother Esau? Why?

Would you rather have your son a boy of strong character with vicious tendency or a weakling with harmless, virtuous inclinations?



Jacob's experiences as a fugitive well illustrate the homely proverb, "The way of the transgressor is hard." He who deceived and cheated his brother soon became the victim of deception and fraud. Most painful of all was the ever-haunting sense of fear because of the consequences of his wrong acts that followed him even in his life as an exile and, like a spectre, confronted him as he returned again to the scenes of his boyhood. These painful experiences were probably essential to the development of Jacob's character. Are there any other ways in which men of this type can be led to appreciate that their ambitions are wrong? Was Laban any more unjust or tricky in his dealing with Jacob than Jacob had been with Esau, or than Jacob was with Laban? Note the grim humor running through these stories. They are the type of stories that would be especially appreciated when told by shepherds beside the camp fire.

The most significant point in these stories is that they declare that Jehovah's care and guidance followed the selfish deceiver even as he fled the consequences of his own misdeeds. Why should that divine care shield him from the consequences of his misdeeds? Do we find such instances to-day? How do you explain them? What is the meaning of the story of Jacob's vision at Bethel? What promising elements did Jehovah find in Jacob's character? What practical lessons did Jacob learn during his sojourn in Aram?

Was Jacob really a hypocrite, or did he in fact fail to see any inconsistency between, his trickery and meanness and his worship of Jehovah? A man may be sincere in his religious worship on Sunday and yet cheat a neighbor on Monday. Analyze carefully the nature of his religion.



History and modern life abound in illustrations of what can be accomplished by the combination of ambition and perseverance. Cyrus, the king of a little upland province, through a remarkable series of victories became the undisputed master of south-western Asia and laid the foundations of the great Persian Empire. Julius Caesar, who transformed Rome from a republic into an empire, and Napoleon the Corsican, are the classic illustrations of the power of great ambition and dauntless persistency. Far nobler is that quiet, courageous perseverance which led Livingston through the trackless swamps and forests of Africa and blazed the way for the conquest of the dark continent. Equally significant is that noble ambition, coupled with heroic perseverance, that has enabled settlement workers to bring light to the darkest parts of our great cities.

Ambition without persistency is but a dream or hope. Observe Jacob's persistency in the Biblical stories. Does persistency, which has always been a marked characteristic of the Hebrew race, largely explain the achievements of the Jews throughout the world? Note the apparently scientific knowledge regarding breeding of lambs by Jacob in his dealings with Laban. Is it a fact recognized by science to-day? If he knew this and Laban did not, can you justify his acts? Can you justify the act of the director of a corporation who uses his prior knowledge of the business of his corporation to make profit from buying or selling its stocks? Who loses? Is he a trustee for their interests?

What is the meaning of the strange story of Jacob's midnight struggle with the angel? (Hist. Bible I, 119-20.) What lessons did Jacob learn from this struggle? Would you call Jacob a truly religious man, according to his light and training, or were his religious professions only hypocritical? May he have been sincere, but have had a wrong conception of religion? What is hypocrisy? Did Jacob's faith in Jehovah, in the end prove the strongest force in his life? Is there any trace in his later years, of the selfish ambition which earlier dominated him? What are his chief interests in the latter part of his life? Did he become the strong and noble character that he might have been had he from the first been guided by a worthy ambition? Were the misfortunes that came to him in his old age due largely to his own faults reappearing in the characters of his sons?



In the ultimate analysis it is the man's motive which determines his character as well as his acts.

"As he thinketh within himself, so is he."—Prov. 23:7.

"Man looketh on the outward appearance, but Jehovah on the heart."—I Sam. 16:7.

With many men the strongest motive is the desire to surpass others. It not only leads them to perform certain acts, but in so doing shapes their habits; and character is largely the result of man's habitual way of acting. Jacob grew up narrow and crafty because of the selfish, dwarfing nature of his ambition, At first his ambition was of a low type, that of the child which desires to acquire possessions and power simply for himself. In the child this impulse is perfectly natural. In the normally developed individual, during the years of early adolescence (the years of 14 to 16) the social and altruistic impulses begin to develop and to take the place of those which are purely egoistic or selfish. When the fully developed man fails, as did Jacob, to leave behind childish things and retains the ambitions and impulses of the child, his condition is pitiable.

Men of this type of ambition often achieve great things from the economic or political point of view. Economically they are of greater value to society than the drifter. Sometimes, however, they bring ruin and disaster to society, as well as to themselves. Despots like Herod the Great and Napoleon, corrupt political bosses, who play into the hands of certain classes at the expense of the general public, and men who employ grafting methods in business or politics, belong to this class.



The desire to spare one's energies is natural to man. To gain wealth with the least expenditure of energy is said to be the chief economic motive. Most men are by nature lazy. This law of inertia applies not only in the physical world, but also in the intellectual, moral and spiritual fields. The great majority of men follow the line of least resistance. In politics and morals they accept the standards of their associates. Unconsciously they join the great army of the drifters, or followers, who preserve the traditions of the past, but contribute little to the future progress of the race. To deliver man from the control of his natural inertia he must be touched by some strong compelling power. Ambition is one great force that enables most men to overcome this inertia. The influences, therefore, which kindle ambition are among the most important which enter the life of man.

In the Orient the mother stands in especially close relation to the son. How far was Jacob's desire to surpass his brother inspired by his mother? Many of the world's greatest leaders trace the impulse which has led them to achieve directly to their parents and especially to their mothers. The mother of Charles and John Wesley is but one of the many mothers to whom the human race owes an inestimable debt. Of all the heritages which parents can leave their children none is greater than a worthy ambition. Sometimes it is the personality of a great teacher which inspires the youthful ambition and directs it in lines of worthy achievement. How much of England's greatness may be traced to the quiet influence of Arnold of Rugby! Consider the unparalleled influence of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle—all primarily teachers.

The true pastor with the spirit of a prophet is often able to guide those with whom he comes into intimate contact to great fields of service. In encouraging Sophia Smith to found Smith College that quiet New England pastor, the Reverend John M. Greene, won a high place among those in America who first appreciated the importance of education of woman. Equally great opportunities may lie before every pastor and teacher and citizen. Frequently it is the contact through literature or in life with men or women who have done heroic deeds or have won success in the face of great obstacles that kindles the youthful ambition and stirs the latent motives which in turn develop strong and noble characters. Therein lies the perennial value of the Biblical narratives.

For many men that which arouses their ambitions is the call of a great opportunity or responsibility. Note the change in General Grant's life with the outbreak of the Civil War. The unambitious tanner becomes the untiring, rigid, unconquerable soldier. Striking illustrations of this fact are many men, whose character, as well as conduct after they have been called to positions of political or judicial trust, is in marked contrast to their previous record. A corrupt lawyer has sometimes become an upright judge. The pride of office, the traditions of the bench have sustained him. It is the privilege and duty of each man, by thoughtful deliberation and study to shape and develop his own individual ambitions that they may conform to the highest ideals and thus guide him to the noblest and most worthy achievement. Of what value to a man is biography in forming his ambitions? Mention some biographies that you consider of the greatest help. In what ways are the life and teachings of Jesus of practical service in developing the ambitions of a man to-day?

Questions for Further Consideration.

Is it possible for a man without ambition to develop or to achieve anything really significant?

In your judgment, what percentage of the men in your community really think out and carefully plan their lives? What proportion drift or take the way shown them by others?

Some people consider mental or moral inertia the chief force that sustains the corrupt political boss. Is this true?

What proportion of the voters in your voting district actually study and appreciate the issues in each election?

What proportion of church members drift into their church membership, and what proportion join only after a careful study of the relative merits of the different churches?

What are the chief ambitions that stir men to action?

What was Jesus' ambition? Paul's? Florence Nightingale's? Abraham Lincoln's? Peter Cooper's? Garibaldi's? Dwight L. Moody's? Was there a common element in the ambition of each of these leaders of men?

Is the realization of the ambition to serve one's fellow-men limited to those who possess unique powers or opportunities?

Subjects for Further Study.

(1) The Law of Inheritance among the Early Semites. Hastings, Diet. Bib. II, 470-473; Kent, Student's O. T., III; Johns, Bab. and Assyr. Laws, Contracts and Letters, 161-167.

(2) The Arameans. Hastings, Dict. Bible I, 138-139; Encyc. Bib. I, 276-280; Peters, Early Heb. Story, 45-47, 115-116; 133-134; Maspero, Struggle of the Nations, 126.

(3) The Psychological Connection between Ambition, Habits, Character and Public Life. Prin. of Politics Ch. II and III. James, Talks to Teachers Ch. II.



JOSEPH'S ACHIEVEMENTS.—Gen. 37, 39-48, 50.

Parallel Readings.

Hist. Bible, I, 121-150. Hastings' Dict. Bible, II, 770-772. Emerson, Essay on Character.

Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his other children, because he was the son of his old age; and he had made him a long tunic with sleeves. And when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his other sons, they hated him, and could not speak to him.

But Jehovah was with Joseph so that he became a prosperous man, and was in the house of his master the Egyptian. When his master saw that Jehovah was with him, and that Jehovah caused everything that he did to prosper in his hands, Joseph found favor in his eyes, as he ministered to him, so that he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put in his charge.

And Jehovah was with Joseph and showed kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison, so that the keeper of the prison gave to Joseph's charge all the prisoners who were in the prison, and for whatever they did he was responsible.

And Pharaoh said to Joseph, See, I have appointed you over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his finger and put it upon Joseph's finger, and clothed him in garments of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck, and made him ride in the second chariot which he had. Then they cried before him, Bow the knee! Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt. Pharaoh also said to Joseph, I am Pharaoh, but without your consent shall no man lift up his hand or his foot in all the land of Egypt.—Hist. Bible.

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?—Matt. 16:36.

Men at some time are masters of their fates: The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.—Shakespeare (Julius Caesar, Act. I, Sc. 2, L. 139).

I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving. To reach the port of Heaven we must sail sometimes with the wind, and sometimes against it; but we must sail and not drift, nor lie at anchor.—O. W. Holmes.

He that respects himself is safe from others; He wears a coat of mail that none can pierce.

It is more important to make a life than to make a living.—Ex-Governor Russell of Massachusetts.



The late Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) advised a young man who desired to enter business to select the firm with which he wished to be associated, then ask that they give him work, without mentioning the subject of compensation. Having secured this opportunity to demonstrate his ability and willingness to work, recognition would come in due time. This advice received the approval of many prominent business men. It concretely illustrates the fact that the first essential of success is the willingness to serve. It also emphasizes the necessity of being ready to do the work in accordance with the employer's wishes. Ultimate success also requires knowledge and trained ability. These, however, come through apprenticeship and a faithful improvement of opportunities. The Hebrew sages, with true insight, emphasized the importance of knowledge; but they taught also that wisdom, which is not only knowledge, but the power to apply it practically in the various relations of life, was far more important.

What other qualities are essential to the highest success? Is it very important that a man should have the right moral standards? How do a man's habits affect his efficiency?

Is it only the genius who is able to attain the highest success to-day in business and professional life? Do you accept George Eliot's definition of genius as "the capacity for unlimited work"? To what extent does a man's faith in God and in his fellow men determine his ability to win success? How far are they essential to the attainment of the highest type of success?



The Hebrew sage who uttered the prayer:

Remove far from me falsehood and lies; Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is needful for me. —Prov. 30:8.

voiced a great economic as well as moral principle. The men who are handicapped to-day in the race for success are either those who are born in homes of extreme poverty or of extreme wealth where they are unnaturally barred or shielded from the real problems and tasks of life. Which is probably the greater handicap? To which class did Joseph belong?

In what ways did his father show his favoritism towards Joseph? The Hebrew word rendered in the older translations, "coat of many colors," means literally, "long-sleeved tunic." This garment, like those worn by wealthy Chinese when in native costume, distinguished the rich or the nobility, who were not under the necessity of engaging in manual labor.

The dreams which Joseph told to his brothers reveal his high estimate of his own importance and were probably suggested by his father's attitude toward him. They were indeed a revelation of the ambitions already stirring in the young boy's mind. But Joseph required closer contact with real life in order to transform his ambitions into actual achievements.

Joseph gave his brothers cause for hatred toward him, but their action in selling him to the Ishmaelites was by no means justifiable. Nevertheless it brought to Joseph the experiences and opportunities absolutely essential to the attainment of his ultimate success. Often what seem man's greatest misfortunes are in reality the door that opens to the new and larger opportunities. In what two ways may a man meet misfortune?



Egypt, with its marvelous natural resources, its peculiar climate, its irrigation, which usually guarantees good crops, and its versatile people, has always been pre-eminently the land of opportunity. Especially was this true during the reigns of the powerful despots of the eighteenth dynasty, when the relations between Egypt and Palestine were exceedingly close. Thus, for example, according to contemporary records, during the reign of the great reformer king, Amenhotep IV, several Semites rose to positions of great authority. A certain Dudu (David) was one of the most trusted officials of this king. He is addressed by one of the Egyptian governors as "My lord, my father." Another Semite named Yanhamu not only had control of the storehouses of grain in the eastern part of the Nile Delta, but also directed the Egyptian rule of Palestine. The local governors of Palestine refer to him in terms which suggest that his authority was almost equal to that of Pharaoh himself. This was perhaps the Joseph of the Biblical account.

Is there any evidence that Joseph complained because of the injustice of his brothers? By loyal attention to his duties he made himself indispensable to his Egyptian master. A great temptation came to him in the new home. What influences led him to resist this temptation? Analyze his probable motives in detail.

The great injustice which he suffered and the seeming misfortune proved in turn a new door of opportunity, but this would not have been the case had not Joseph forgotten his own personal wrongs and given himself to the service of his fellow-prisoners. Was the prosperity which generally attended Joseph a miraculous gift or the natural consequences of his courageous, helpful spirit and his skill in making the best of every situation?

In modern life as in the ancient story, the place usually seeks the man who is fitted to fill it. The ever recurring complaint of employers is the scarcity of good men, especially of men able to exercise discretion in positions of responsibility. Was it Joseph's skill in interpreting Pharaoh's dreams, or his wise counsel in suggesting methods of providing for the people during famine that gave him his position of high trust and authority? Was the policy which made Pharaoh practical owner of all the land first instituted by Joseph, or was it already in force in Egypt? (Hist. Bible, I, 133.) In the thought of the prophetic narrative, was Joseph's fiscal system regarded as evidence of his loyalty to his master rather than of disloyalty to the interests of the people? Was the system suited to that stage and kind of civilization? Can this be cited by Socialists to-day as a valid argument in favor of public ownership of all land? If not, why not?

Three principles, illustrated by Joseph's life, are true to all time: (1) The only successful way to forget one's own burdens is to help bear another's; (2) God makes all things work together for good to those that love him; (3) he alone who improves the small opportunities will not miss the great chances of life.



Modern life, and especially that in America to-day, is full of illustrations of the overwhelming temptations which come to the man who has had great success. Many a man has enjoyed the confidence and respect of his associates until his abilities have won for him large wealth with which apparently comes at times a misleading sense of immunity from the ordinary moral obligations. The result has been that the sterling virtues which have enabled him to win success have been quickly undermined and his public and private acts have become the theme of the public press. Instead of being an honor he has become a disgrace to his nation.

Joseph's sudden rise to power surpassed anything told in the Arabian Nights' Tales, and yet he remained the same simple, unaffected man, more thoughtful for another's interests than for his own. The supreme test came in his contact with his brothers, who had insulted and cruelly wronged him. They were completely at his mercy and he had abundant reason for ignoring the obligations of kinship. Did Joseph hide his cup in Benjamin's sack and later hold him as a hostage in order to punish his brothers or to test their honor and fidelity? Was this action wise? Did the brothers stand the test?

No class was regarded by the Egyptians with greater scorn and contempt than the shepherds to whom they entrusted their flocks, because the task of herding sheep was regarded as too menial for an Egyptian. The public recognition of his shepherd kinsmen, therefore, revealed in Joseph the noblest and most courageous qualities.

Why is such loyalty a primary obligation? Is it to-day regarded by all thoughtful men as one of the clearest evidences of a strong character? Can you give any modern illustrations, perhaps among your acquaintances? What is a snob? Did Joseph leave undone any act which loyalty to his kinsmen could prompt? Is Joseph's character as portrayed by the prophetic account practically perfect? Of the three characters, Abraham, Jacob and Joseph, which offers more practical suggestions to the man of to-day? Which has exerted the most powerful influence upon the ideals and conduct of the human race?



It is natural and inevitable that the various social classes of each succeeding generation should define their standards of success concretely, that is, by the lives and achievements of those who have done great things. In certain social groups the world's champion prize fighter is the beau ideal of success. Among the Camorrists of Italy that ideal is the successful blackmailer. In many sections of our great cities the powerful ward boss, whatever be his methods, is regarded as the embodiment of success. Too often in America to-day, both in the public press and in the public mind, the multi-millionaire is regarded as the pre-eminently successful man. Although the power to amass wealth is evidence of marked ability, the homage paid to it is one of the most sinister tendencies in American life. Ordinarily it means that the ambitions and achievements of a Jacob, rather than those of a Joseph, are set before the youth as the supreme goal for which to strive. A most hopeful element in the present situation is that many of the world's wealthiest men are proclaiming their sense of responsibility to society in ways both practical and impressive. Far more significant than their actual gifts is this public declaration that each man is indeed his brother's keeper, and that no man has a right to use his wealth simply for his own pleasure.

Leonidas and his fearless patriotic followers at Thermopylae left an impress upon Greek life and character that did not fade for centuries. The spirit of Robert Bruce still lingers among the crags and heather-clad hills of Scotland. The patriotic devotion of Garibaldi has imparted a new character to the Italian race. Two hundred million of the world's inhabitants still bear the imprint of the fiery faith and fanaticism of Mahomet.

America is rich in its memories of the achievements of such as Washington, Lincoln, Morse, Beecher and Emerson. What characters in all history seem to you the best examples of real success? What men and women in the present generation? How can the great majority of the boys and girls and the men and women of to-day be led to accept those higher ideals of success which are the lodestones drawing on the race to higher achievement?



The story is told of the late President Garfield that in the heat of a political campaign one of his lieutenants suggested that he adopt an exceedingly questionable policy. When Mr. Garfield objected, his lieutenant replied, "No one will know it." "But I shall know," was the quick reply.

—"To thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man." —Hamlet, Act I, Sc. 3.

Wealth and power are worthy goals for which to strive. One of the first duties of a political party is to capture the offices, for without them in its power it cannot carry out the principles for which it stands. The possession of wealth represents vast possibilities for service. Thousands of tragic experiments have demonstrated, however, the fallacy of the seductive doctrine that the end justifies the means. The tragedy that overshadows many of the seemingly most successful men of to-day is the memory of the iniquitous methods whereby they have acquired wealth or mounted to power. Lavish philanthropy and the beneficent use of power can never wholly blot out from the public mind or from the mind of the successful man the memory of certain questionable acts that at the time seemed essential to the realization of a great policy.

A keen, well-informed student of modern economic conditions has asserted that no man can succeed in business life today and remain true to the teachings of Jesus. Is this true? Is it true in professional life? Is it true in politics? One of our most prominent statesmen has said that he would have found it impossible to succeed and maintain his independence if he had been compelled to earn his living. He would have been compelled either to yield to the boss or quit politics. Who are some of the men in public life who are gaining success and yet maintaining Christian principles? If the ultimate ideal of real success is service, is there any other way in which men may obtain success? Is this true of every department of human effort? Does this principle make it possible for every man, however limited his ability and opportunities, to attain real success?

Questions for Further Consideration.

How would you define genius? Edison called it 2% of inspiration and 98% of perspiration. (But see James, Talks to Teachers.)

Is the chief difference between the successful and the unsuccessful man the ability to recognize and seize opportunities?

Would Joseph's policy in dealing with Pharaoh's subjects meet with public approval to-day?

Could Joseph have succeeded as well in a republic?

Does Joseph's land policy justify the single tax? Or serfdom such as Joseph countenanced?

What place does loyalty to humble friends and kinsmen take in the making of great and noble characters?

Would you say that the ultimate standard of all real success is service?

Would it be wise for the state to enforce service for the public good by a heavy, progressive inheritance tax?

What justification is there for such a modification of Joseph's land policy, as the single tax? (See George, Progress and Poverty; Seligman, Essays on Taxation, 64-94.)

Do you think that a man earning his own living can expect to-day to succeed in politics and maintain his self-respect as an independent thinker?

Subjects for Further Study.

(1) The Origin and Literary Form of the Joseph Narratives. Kent, Student's O. T. I, 126-127; Hastings, Dict. Bible II, 767-769; Smith, O. T. History, 54-55.

(2) Contemporary Parallels to the Joseph of the Biblical Narratives. Hastings' Dict. Bible II, 772-775.

(3) Compare and Contrast the Achievements of Joseph, Bismarck and Cecil Rhodes.




Parallel Readings.

Goodnow, F. J., Comparative Administrative Law. Hist. Bible I, 151-69.

And he went out on the following day and saw two men of the Hebrews striving together; and he said to the one who was doing the wrong, Why do you smite your fellow-workman? But he replied, Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian? Then Moses was afraid and said, Surely the thing is known. When, therefore, Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to him Moses. But Moses fled from the presence of Pharaoh and took up his abode in the land of Midian.

And Jehovah said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people that are in Egypt, and have heard their cry of anguish, because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows; and I am come down to deliver them out of the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a land, beautiful and broad, to a land flowing with milk and honey; Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, Jehovah, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, hath appeared to me, saying, I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt, and I have said I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to a land flowing with milk and honey. And they shall hearken to thy voice; and thou shalt come, together with the elders of Israel, to the king of Egypt, and ye shall say to him, "Jehovah, the God of the Hebrews, hath appeared to us; and now let us go, we pray thee, three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to Jehovah our God."—Hist. Bible.

Hold on; hold fast: hold out—patience is genius.

Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith let us dare to do our duty as we understand it.—Lincoln.



The one contemporary reference to Israel thus far found in the Egyptian inscriptions comes from the reign of Merneptah the son of Ramses II. It implies that at the time at least part of the Hebrews were in the land of Palestine:

Plundered is Canaan with every evil; Askalon is carried into captivity, Gezer is taken; Yenoam is annihilated, Israel is desolated, her seed is not, Palestine has become a widow for Egypt. All lands are united, they are pacified. Every one who is turbulent has been found by King Merneptah.

The testimony of the oldest Biblical narratives regarding the sojourn of the Hebrews in Egypt is, also, in perfect accord with the picture which the contemporary Egyptian inscriptions give of the period. Furthermore, the Egyptian historians never distinguished the different races in their midst, but rather designated the foreign serf class by a common name. The absence of detailed reference to the Hebrews is therefore perfectly natural. It seems probable that not all but only part of the tribes which ultimately coalesced into the Hebrew nation found their way to Egypt. The stories regarding Joseph, the traditional father of Ephraim and Manasseh, imply that these strong central tribes, possibly together with the southern tribes of Benjamin and Judah, were the chief actors in this opening scene in Israel's history.

The Biblical narratives apparently disagree regarding the duration of the sojourn in Egypt. The reference in Gen. 15:16, which, some writers think, comes from the northern Israelite group of stories, implies that it was a period of between one hundred and one hundred and fifty years. The same duration is suggested by the priestly writer in Numbers 26:57-59. The later traditions tend to extend the period. If, as seems probable, the Hebrews first found their way to Egypt during the reign of Amenhotep IV, who reigned between 1375 and 1358 B.C., the older Hebrew chronology would make Ramses II, who reigned between 1292 and 1225, the Pharaoh of the oppression. Of all the Pharaohs of this period in Egypt's history the great builder and organizer Ramses II corresponds most closely to the Biblical description. He it was who filled Egypt from one end to the other with vast temples and other buildings which could have been reared only through the services of a huge army of serfs. The excavations of the Egypt Exploration fund have identified the Biblical Pithom with certain ruins in the Wady Tumilat near the eastern terminus of the modern railroad from Cairo to the Suez Canal. This probably lay in the eastern boundary of the Biblical land of Goshen, which seems to have included the Wady Tumilat and to have extended westward to the Nile delta. Here were found several inscriptions bearing the Egyptian name of the city P-Atum, house of the god Atum. The excavations also laid bare a great square brick wall with the ruins of store chambers inside. These rectangular chambers were of various sizes and were surrounded by walls two or three yards in thickness. Contemporary inscriptions indicate that they were filled with grain from the top and were probably used for the storing of supplies to be used by the armies of Ramses II in their Asiatic campaigns. This city was founded by Ramses II, who during the first twenty years of his reign, developed and colonized the territory east of the Nile delta including the Biblical land of Goshen. A contemporary inscription also states that he founded near Pithum the house of Ramses, a city with a royal residence and temples. Thus the inferences in the first chapter of Exodus regarding the historical background are in perfect accord with the facts now known from other sources regarding the reign of Ramses II. In transforming the land of Goshen into a cultivated, agricultural region the nomadic Hebrews were naturally put to task work by the strong-handed ruler of Egypt. That the Hebrews were restive under this tyranny was natural, inevitable. Apparently their rebellious attitude also increased the burden which was placed upon them. The memory of the crushing Hyksos invasion, which meant the rule of Egypt by nomadic invaders from Asia, was still fresh in the minds of the Egyptians. They both looked down upon and feared the nomad immigrants on their eastern border. In the light of these facts it is possible to understand the motives which influenced Ramses II cruelly to oppress the Hebrews. He endeavored, by forced labor and rigorous peonage, not only to avail himself of their needed services, but also to crush their spirit and by force to hold in subjection the alarmingly large serf class which was found at this time in the land of Egypt. Was any other procedure to be expected from a despotic ruler of that land and day?



The story of Moses' birth and early childhood is one of the most interesting chapters in Biblical history. It is full of human and dramatic interest. The great crisis in Moses' early manhood came when he woke to a realization of his kinship with the despised and oppressed serfs and an appreciation of the cruel injustice of which they were the helpless victims. Was Moses justified in resisting the Egyptian taskmaster? Are numbers essential to the rightness of a cause? What right had Ramses II to demand forced labor from the immigrants within his border? Was he justified in his method of exacting tribute? Is peonage always disastrous not only to its victims but also to the government imposing it?

Did Moses show himself a coward in fleeing from the land of Egypt? Naturally he went to the land of Midian. The wilderness to the east of Egypt had for centuries been the place of refuge for Egyptian fugitives. From about 2000 B.C. there comes the Egyptian story of Sinuhit, an Egyptian prince, who, to save his life, fled eastward past the "Wall of the Princes" which guarded the northeastern frontier of Egypt. On the borders of the wilderness he found certain Bedouin herdsmen who received him hospitably. These "sand wanderers" sent him on from tribe to tribe until he reached the land of Kedem, east of the Dead Sea, where he remained for a year and a half. Later he found his way to the court of one of the local kings in central Palestine where he married and became in time a prosperous local prince.



The story of Moses is in many ways closely parallel to that of Sinuhit. Among the Midianite tribes living to the south and southeast of Palestine he found refuge and generous hospitality. The priest of the sub-tribe of the Kenites received him into his home and gave him his daughter in marriage. Note the characteristic Oriental idea of marriage. Here Moses learned the lessons that were essential for his training as the leader and deliverer of his people.

The Kenites figure in later Hebrew history as worshippers of Jehovah and are frequently associated with the Israelites. After the capture of Jericho certain of them went up with the southern tribes to conquer southern Palestine. (Judg. 1:16.) It was Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite (Judg. 5:24), who rendered the Hebrews a signal service by slaying Sisera, the fleeing king of the Canaanites, after the memorable battle beside the River Kishon. Many modern scholars draw the conclusion from the Biblical narrative that it was from the Kenites that Moses first learned of Yahweh (or, as the distinctive name of Israel's God was translated by later Jewish scribes, Jehovah). Furthermore it is suggested that gratitude to the new God, who delivered the Israelites from their bondage, was the reason why they proved on the whole so loyal to Jehovah. This conclusion is possible and in many ways attractive, but it is beset with serious difficulties. We know, in ancient history, of no other example of a people suddenly changing their religion. When there have been such sudden and wholesale conversions in later times they have been either under the compulsion of the sword, as in the history of Islam, or under the influence of a far higher religion, as when Christianity has been carried to heathen peoples on a low stage of civilization. Do the earliest Hebrew traditions imply that the ancestors of the Israelites were worshippers of Jehovah? Is it not probable that Moses fled to the nomadic Midianites not only because they were kinsmen but because they were also worshippers of Jehovah?

In any case Moses' life in Midian tended to intensify his faith in Jehovah. The title of his father-in-law implies that this priest ministered at some wilderness sanctuary. In the light of the subsequent Biblical narrative was this possibly at the sacred spring of Kadesh or on the top of the holy mountain Horeb (elsewhere called Sinai) where Kenites and Hebrews believed that Jehovah dwelt, or at least manifested himself? Moses, in the home of the Midian priest, was brought into direct and constant contact with the Jehovah worship. The cruel fate of his people and the painful experience in Egypt that had driven him into the wilderness prepared his mind to receive this training. His quest was for a just and strong God, able to deliver the oppressed. The wilderness with its lurking foes and the ever-present dread of hunger and thirst, deepened his sense of need and of dependence upon a power able to guide the destinies of men. The peasants of the vast Antolian plain in central Asia Minor still call every life-giving spring, "God hath given." The constant necessity of meeting the dangers of the wilderness and of defending the flocks entrusted to Moses' care developed his courage and power of leadership and action. What other great leaders of Israel were trained in this same school? What was the effect of their wilderness life upon the early New England pioneers?



The solitude of the wilderness gave Moses ample opportunity for profound reflection. His previous experiences made such reflection natural, indeed inevitable. Borne by the caravans over the great highway from the land of the Nile or from desert tribe to tribe came occasional reports of the cruel injustice to which his kinsmen in Egypt were subjected. In these reports he recognized the divine call to duty. When perhaps at last the report came that the mighty despot Ramses II was dead, Moses like his later successor Isaiah (Is. 6) saw that the moment had come for decision and action.

It looks to many scholars as if three originally distinct versions of Moses' call have been welded together in the narrative of Exodus 3, 4 and 6. Each differs in regard to detail (Hist. Bible I, 161-5). According to the early Judean prophetic account Jehovah spoke audibly to Moses from the flaming thorn bush. In the Northern Israelite version the moment of decision came to him as he stood with his flock on the sacred mountain Horeb. Like Isaiah in his memorable vision of Jehovah's presence, the inner consciousness of God and the compelling sense of duty led him to cry out: "Here am I." Likewise in the late priestly story God's presence and character were so deeply impressed upon him that he seemed to bear an audible voice, according to the view of those who accept this interpretation, even though the later priests believed and taught that God was a spirit, not like man clothed in flesh and blood. Thus the different groups of Hebrew narratives in their characteristic way record the essential facts in Moses' call to public service. Each has preserved certain important elements in that call, and the late editor has done well to combine them. Even as Isaiah caught his supreme vision of Jehovah and of duty in the temple, so to Moses the prophetic call probably came on the lofty heights of the mountain in which he, in common with the Kenites, believed God dwelt. The wilderness with its flaming bush spoke to him God's message. Recent writers have felt and forcibly interpreted the fascination and the message of the desert and plain, none more vividly than the Welsh writer Rhoscomyl in describing the experience of one of his rough, self-reliant cowboy heroes:

"Two days ago he was riding back, alone, in the afternoon, from an unsuccessful search after strayed horses, and suddenly, all in the lifting of a hoof, the weird prairie had gleamed into eerie life, had dropped the veil and spoken to him; while the breeze stopped, and the sun stood still for a flash in waiting for his answer. And he, his heart in a grip of ice, the frozen flesh a-crawl with terror upon his loosened bones, white-lipped and wide-eyed with frantic fear, uttered a yell of horror as he dashed the spurs into his panic-stricken horse, in a mad endeavor to escape from the Awful Presence that filled all earth and sky from edge to edge of vision.

"Then almost in the same flash, the unearthly light died out of the dim prairie, the veil swept across into place again; and he managed to check his wild flight, and look about him. His empty lips were gibbering without a sound escaping them, and his very heart shivered with cold, for all the brassy heat of the day. But the breeze was wandering on again; under the great sun the prairie spread dim to the southwest, and tawny to the northeast; only between his own loose knees the horse trembled in every limb, and mumbled the bit with dry mouth. All was as before in earth and sky, apparently, but not in his own self. It was as if his spirit stood apart from him, putting questions which he could not answer, and demanding judgment upon problems which he dare not reason out.

"Then he remembered what this thing was which had happened. The prairie had spoken to him, as sooner or later it spoke to most men that rode it. It was a something well known amongst them, but known without words, and as by a subtle instinct, for no man who had experienced it ever spoke willingly about it afterwards. Only the man would be changed; some began to be more reckless, as if a dumb blasphemy rankled hidden in their breasts. Others, coming with greater strength perhaps to the ordeal, became quieter, looking squarely at any danger as they face it, but continuing ahead as though quietly confident that nothing happened save as the gods ordained."

The motive power in all of Moses' later work was that transforming, vivid sense of Jehovah's presence that came to him on the barren mountain peak.

Also fundamental to his call was the recognition of the crying need of his disorganized, oppressed kinsmen in Egypt. This appealed to all the instincts begotten by his shepherd training; for they were a shepherdless flock in the midst of wolves. Through the ages the inhabitants of the parched, stony wilderness had looked with hungry eyes upon the tree-clad hills and green fields of Palestine. The early traditions of his ancestors also glorified this paradise of the wilderness wanderer and led Moses to look to it as the haven of refuge to which he might lead his helpless kinsmen. Vividly and concretely the ancient narrative tells of the struggle in the mind of Moses between his own diffidence and consciousness of his limitations on the one side and on the other his sense of duty and the realization of Jehovah's power to accomplish what seemed to man miraculous. Was Moses' inner experience like that of the other great Hebrew prophets? Who? Like that of Jesus? Does every man who undertakes a great service for humanity to-day pass through a somewhat similar struggle? How about Grant on leaving his home at Galena, Illinois? Lincoln at the great crisis of his life?



Like every man who catches a vision of a great need and undertakes to meet it, Moses had to educate public opinion. Whatever the form of government may be, whether monarchy or democracy, it must ultimately rest upon the will of the people, and the shaping of that will is often a statesman's task. In a democracy the expression of the people's will is readily determined at every election, although in many cases, owing to the number of issues, this result is not clearly seen.

In a despotism like Egypt there is no ready expression of a people's will. However great their sufferings, they must endure until they feel that the evils of revolt are less than the evils of oppression. Then, by means of a revolution, they carry out their will. In what ways did the Exodus resemble, in what ways differ from a revolution? Compare Moses with Washington or Samuel Adams as leader of a revolution. During the last few years in China there has been great dissatisfaction on the part of many millions of the people with the rule of the Manchu dynasty. It was, nevertheless, for many years the people's will rather to endure the evils of a corrupt government than to take the risk of war. At length, however, after years of propaganda by skilful leaders war appeared to them the lesser evil and their will was carried out by force of arms. The government, in this direct way, was forced to recognize the will of the people and to grant their requests.

A statesman considers not merely his own views regarding the best methods of governing his country or of gaining special ends, but he must carefully consider also what plans can in practice be carried out. In all free governments only those policies can be put into effect that meet the approval of the people; and one of the greatest gifts of a statesman is the ability to ascertain, with few mistakes, how far his proposed policies meet the public will and how he can so put his plans before the people as to convince them of their benefits.

In the later days of the Egyptian bondage the Israelites made frequent complaint of the oppression of the Pharaohs, bemoaning their fate as serfs, but for many years after their sufferings had become severe they had not yet been roused to a determination to throw off the yoke of the oppressor. Even when Moses first attempted to rouse them to make a struggle for freedom, he could not breathe into them his own bold spirit. What measures did Moses take to incite the Israelites to action? What measures did he take to convince Pharaoh of his duty toward the Israelites? Did he present his case truthfully? Was he justified in the measures taken?

At length, not from the acts of the Israelites, but from the plagues that afflicted the Egyptians and the insistent demand of Moses, coupled with the belief that the plagues were sent on account of divine displeasure, as a punishment for unjust oppression, the Hebrews were enabled to escape. What is the contemporary Egyptian testimony regarding the plagues? (Hist. Bible I, 176-7.) Do the earliest Hebrew records imply that these were miracles or natural calamities peculiar to the land of Egypt? The statesmanship of Moses led him to seize the opportune time for freeing his people from bondage. Only the influence of the religious sentiments among his people and their belief in Jehovah together with the religious awe felt by the Egyptian rulers, enabled him to take advantage of the circumstances so that he could rescue his people. In most countries religion is a powerful influence often made use of by rulers, sometimes for good, sometimes for ill, to direct the action of their subjects. The Greek church in Russia has for many decades been, perhaps, the most important weapon by which the Russian Czars have kept their people in peaceful submission. If China loses her Mongolian provinces, it will be because the religious leaders of Mongolia are controlling their people. Can you give in the United States an example of a people largely dominated by the religious motive which controls most of the affairs of their every-day life? How far was the religious motive responsible for the settlement and upbuilding of the New England Colonies? How far and in what ways may a statesman to-day appeal to the moral and religious feelings of the people in order to promote national and international welfare?



In training administrative officers in the leading countries of Europe and in the United States, emphasis is laid upon a knowledge of history, of constitutional, administrative and international law, politics, economics, diplomacy and any other subjects that may fall within the scope of action of the special official. When, however, a law-maker or a high administrative official deals at first hand with a great population, it is extremely important that he be so experienced and so fitted by temperament that he may know his people. He must see how far he can go without arousing too much opposition. Even in promoting good measures, it is often essential not to go too fast, if he is to succeed.

Every statesman of modern times, as well as those of bygone days, must have the interests of the people genuinely at heart if he is to be, in the best sense of the word, successful. What did Moses seek for his people? Liberty? Prosperity? Religious freedom?

Confucius, the great Chinese sage, from his study of human nature and of government five centuries before Christ, had learned that the rule of justice in the state promoted prosperity. At length a young ruler made him his prime minister. The result of his wise and just measures was to bring into his country so large a number of immigrants who preferred to live in a country where justice reigned, that the prosperity aroused the envy and hostility of the neighboring states. In consequence measures were taken to put an end to this just rule, which was felt to be so detrimental to other kings, unwilling to adopt the same just means. Finally the wise Confucius was treacherously driven from his post, not, however, until he had proved that the counsels of justice and religion were those best suited to the welfare of the state. This is a common experience in all lands and ages; but perhaps nowhere else has the lesson been so frequently and so thoroughly taught as in the history of the Hebrews, that the most essential factor in a statesman's training is the acceptance of the principles of justice and righteousness. In other words—"God is the most important factor in human progress."

Questions for Further Consideration.

Is it the duty of a government, in order to promote the welfare of its people, to set aside at times the personal convenience, even the personal welfare of individuals or of certain classes? If an inheritance tax falls heavily upon the heirs of a rich man, ought the state to collect it? On what grounds is a state justified in withholding liberty from criminals? From children?

Many of our states compel citizens to work in repairing country roads. Is this temporary peonage? How do you justify a state in compelling citizens to risk their lives in war? In what circumstances would a state be justified in compelling its citizens to labor? Did circumstances justify Pharaoh? Why were he and his kingdom punished?

Is it ever right, for an individual to raise his hand against a recognized and established authority? Or, when there is an established government, should an individual ever attempt to punish crime or avenge personal wrong? Were our revolutionary forefathers right in resisting the demands of King George? Are numbers essential to the rightness of a cause?

In what ways does God to-day call men to do an important task? Do you consider Lincoln a man raised up by God for a purpose and called by him to service? If so, how did the call come? Was Moses' call similar? Should a clergyman have a definite call to his life-work? Should every man? Does every man have such a call, if he but interprets rightly his experiences?

A working girl had seen the story of Moses at a moving picture show. Afterwards she commented as follows: "Our walking delegate is a regular Moses. He said to the factory boss, 'You let my people go.'" In what respect is the labor struggle to-day similar to that in Egypt under Moses?

Subjects for Further Study.

(1) The Egyptian System of Education. Breasted, Hist. of the Ancient Egyptians, 92-94, 395; Hist. of Egypt, 98-100; Maspero, Dawn of Civilization, 288; Erman, Life of the Ancient Egyptians, 328-368.

(2) Origin of the Jehovah Religion. Budde, Religion of Israel, 1-38; Gordon, Early Traditions of Gen., 106-110; Hastings, Dict. of the Bible, Extra Vol. 626-627.

(3) The Practical Training for Statesmanship of Augustus, Gladstone and Lincoln. Plutarch, Lives of the Emperors; Morley, Life of Gladstone; A. good Biographical Dictionary; Brown, The Message of the Modern Pulpit.

(4) Compare the government of Egypt under Pharaoh with that in China in the days of Confucius and with that of Greece in the days of the siege of Troy. Homer, Iliad and Odyssey; Life of Confucius.



MOSES' WORK AS JUDGE AND PROPHET.—Ex. 18; 1-27; 33:5-11.

Parallel References.

Hist. Bible I, 198-203. Prin. of Politics, Ch. VI. Maine, Ancient Law.

Jehovah spake to Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend—Ex. 33: 11.

And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And they judged the people at all seasons: the hard cases they brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves—Ex. 18:25, 26.

Love is the fulfilling of the law.—St. Paul.

Now this is the Law of the Jungle—as old and as true as the sky; And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die. As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk the Law runneth forward and back— For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack. Now these are the Laws of the Jungle, and many and mighty are they; But the head and the hoof of the Law and the haunch and the bump is "Obey!" —Kipling.

Nothing is that errs from law.—Tennyson.

In vain we call old notions fudge, And bend conventions to our dealing, The Ten Commandments will not budge, And stealing still continues stealing. —Lowell.

If chosen men could never be alone, In deep mid-silence, open-doored with God No greatness ever had been dreamed or done.

These roots bear up Dominion: Knowledge, Will,— These twain are strong, but stronger yet the third,— Obedience,—'tis the great tap-root that still, Knit round the rock of Duty, is not stirred, Though Heaven-loosed tempests spend their utmost skill. —Lowell (The Washers of the Shroud).



Kipling's Law of the Jungle, in which he lays down the principles by which the wolf pack secured united action in its hunting, names the rules that apply almost universally to peoples in the savage stage of society. According to the researches of the best anthropologists, savages live in very loosely organized groups, with no permanent ruler, no regular family law. Each separate group has its totem, its general rules with reference to the marriage relation, to hunting and fishing, to shelter and protection. Practically there are no regular laws. The rules fixed by custom deal primarily with the marriage relation and with the securing of food and shelter. They are largely negative. If a member of the group has met with a misfortune in a certain by-path or from eating certain food or in other ways, by the action of the leader of his group that path or that food becomes taboo, and from that time on it is forbidden. The rules seem generally to be largely the product of instinct or of experience, without any law making, and they are enforced almost as instinctively by the common consent of the people.



As this loosely associated group condenses into the tribe, all the members of which regard themselves as descended from a common ancestor, the organization becomes much more definite under a patriarchal ruler. Soon through his activities these almost instinctive habits, guided by rules, assume the nature of customs that have a sanction, often of religion, practically always of enforcement through the patriarch. No better illustration of the crystallization of customs into laws can be found than that given in Exodus 18:1-27 (Hist. Bible, I, 198-202). Moses sat all day long as judge to decide cases for the people until his practical-minded father-in-law, Jethro, seeing the waste of time and energy of the ruler upon whom the welfare of the tribe depended, proposed a wise plan. He advised that, instead of rendering decisions regarding each individual case, Moses should formulate the principles and leave their application to minor judges appointed by himself as rulers over thousands and over hundreds and fifties and tens. In modern days the law-making body is distinct from the judicial. Is there any reason why the judge should not be the maker of the law he interprets?

Doubtless many of the customs thus formulated by Moses had come down through the preceding ages from the Babylonian and common Semitic ancestors of the Hebrews. The most striking example of the pre-Mosaic formulation of custom into law under the sanction of the deity is found in the so-called code of Hammurabi, which comes from about 1900 B.C. At the top of the stele which records these laws this enlightened king depicted himself in a bas-relief as receiving them from the sun god, Shamash. Hammurabi looked upon himself as a shepherd chosen by the gods to care for his people. It was his duty to see "that the great should not oppress the weak, to counsel the widow and orphan, to render judgment and decide the decisions of the land, and to succor the injured," in order that "by the command of Shamash, the judge supreme of heaven and earth, justice might shine in the land." Many of the principles laid down by him are also found among the laws attributed to Moses which were afterward codified in the early decalogues.

At times, though rarely among the Hebrews, we may study custom in the making, as when in a new situation a ruler renders a decision which henceforth becomes a law. Thus David, dividing the spoil after his victory over the Amalekites, established a precedent that henceforth had binding force upon his followers (I Sam. 30); but in the majority of such cases the ruler, even when be establishes new precedents, represents himself as simply interpreting ancient custom.

As society becomes more and more complex and the interests of individuals and classes in society clash, besides the judges we find legislatures making new rules in the form of law. In the earlier communities practically all law relates to the preservation of life and of the tribe. Later, as the tribe enters the pastoral state, private property is established and laws for its care are made. Still later, with the development of a higher civilization and with the individual conscience stimulating men to care for the welfare not merely of their family, but of their nation, legislation considers primarily the welfare of society. Yet, as one of our great judges has lately explained, in practically all stages of society, whenever the population becomes numerous and business is so developed that we may recognize different classes in a community, legislation has been primarily in the interests of a ruling class, often at the expense of the other classes. This principle is illustrated by certain of the later Jewish ceremonial laws that brought to the priests a large income at the expense of the people. Many laws in Europe and in the United States to-day have been made clearly in the interests of certain classes in society. Can you think of some?



Back of all laws and rules, as the fundamental consideration, whether consciously expressed in laws or carried out instinctively, lies the welfare of society. Among the wolves the pack that is best disciplined by the strongest and most successful leader is the one that survives. In the earlier savage groups the rules which guided united action grew up as a result of successful experience in securing food and warding off enemies. Among them the less disciplined, the less intelligently directed groups perish.

Through his fear of the unknown, stimulated by the terrible vindications of nature's laws, when poison and pestilence and storms and floods do their deadly work, the savage feels the presence of unknown forces that he calls gods, and he thus gives to his rules of action the sanction of divinity. And as society develops through the pastoral, agricultural and industrial stages into the tribe and state, with the development of religion and the growing sense of right and of responsibility to one's fellow men, this religious sanction of the law still abides. In the earlier days the sanction was due to fear of the vengeance of the gods. In later society it is the sense of right and justice and love for one's fellow men, springing from the firm belief in the divine creation and direction of the universe and in God's care for men.

But as this sense of fear or right or justice or love, associated with a Being felt to be divine, is not universal, inasmuch as many members of society are found ready to act selfishly, taking the law into their own hands, force is needed in all stages of society to put the rules and laws into effect. With every law, as Austin says, must go a penalty. But as society grows more and more humane the sense of obligation of each individual for the welfare of his fellows grows, until in the best society laws are made and obeyed by most citizens, not from a sense of fear of punishment, but mainly out of goodwill to others. A sense of justice prevails and the sanction of law becomes not so much fear of the penalty imposed, as the moral and religious sense of the individual and of society. Why, for example, do you obey the law against stealing?



The Hebrew laws given in the Old Testament are generally known as the laws of Moses, and the assumption of many readers in earlier years has been that the different codes were practically formulated by Moses himself. The subsequent study of the Old Testament long ago suggested to many that this view may be mistaken. The oldest records of his work and the fact that, as creator of the Hebrew nation after the Exodus and as leader and prophet be rendered important judicial decisions, have well justified the belief that he was the real founder of what is called the Mosaic Law. As stated in Exodus 18, he did actually formulate the principles by which decisions were made by the rulers whom he appointed over thousands and over hundreds, fifties and tens. He may have even put into form the principles found in the earliest decalogues. Moreover, as the Israelites in their later history were led to formulate new rules of action, they based these upon the principles of justice, religion and civil equality found in the earlier decalogues. While the specific rules of living must have changed materially, as the Israelites changed their habits of living from those of wanderers in the wilderness to those adapted to their early settlements in Canaan and afterward to the settled conditions under the monarchy, they would still base their laws upon these earlier principles. Hence it was not unnatural to ascribe the origin of these laws to Moses, nor is it to-day inaccurate to speak of them as the Mosaic code, even though they may have been put into their present form at different periods remote from one another, and by rulers, prophets and priests whose occupations and attitude toward life were widely different. Back of practically all these laws are the fundamental beliefs that the Israelites are the people chosen of God, that to him they owe allegiance and that from him they derive, in principle at least, the laws under which they live.

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