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The Book of Joshua, Vol. 4

Excerpt from The Book of Joshua, Vol. 4 The Book of Joshua relates the history of the conquest of Canaan under the lead of Joshua, the successor of Moses, the division of the conquered land among the tribes of Israel, and the provision for the settlement of the theocracy in that country. The Book of Judges continues the history of the theocracy from the death of Joshua to the time of Eli, under the administration of thirteen Judges, whom God raised up in special emergencies for the restoration of social order and deliverance from foreign oppression. It covers the transition period of about three hundred years from the theocratic republic to the theocratic monarchy. The Book of Ruth is a charming episode of domestic virtue and happiness, in striking contrast with the prevailing character of this period, when might was right, and "every one did that which was right in his own eyes." It teaches the sure reward of filial devotion and trust in God, the proper use of the calamities of life, the overruling providence of God in the private affairs of an humble family as well as in the palaces of priuces and the public events of nations. It also shows how God had children outside of Canaan and the Jewish theocracy. The incorporation of Ruth, the Moabitess, into the Church of the Old Testament, may be regarded as an intimation of the future call of the Gentiles to the gospel salvation. The story of Ruth is told with touching simplicity. Gothe ( Westostlicher Divan, p.8) says: "It is the loveliest thing, in the shape of an epic or idyl, which has come to us." Humboklt (Kosmos, ii. 46, Germ, ed.) calls it "a most artless and inexpressibly charming picture of nature." These three books are here brought together in one volume. The Commentary on Joshua was prepared in German, 1870, by the Rev. F .R. Fay (Dr. Lange's son-in-law), Pastor in Crefeld, Prussia, and in English by the Rev. George R. Bliss, D. D., Professor in Lewisburg University, Pennsylvania. Dr. Bliss writes: "My own impression concerning the author (Mr. Fay), derived from a close and protracted familiarity with his book, is highly favorable to his learning, his piety, his Christian catholicity and amiableness of spirit." He has made a careful use of the most recent helps even in the English language touching the questions of geography and topography of the holy land, which occupy a very prominent position in a Commentary on Joshua. The Textual and Grammatical Notes are added by the American translator, who has also materially enriched the other departments, in accordance with the general plan of the American edition. The Commentary on Judges and Ruth is by Professor Paulus Cassel, of Berlin, and appeared several years earlier (1865). The English edition was prepared by the Rev. P. H. Steenstra, Professor in the Protestant Episcopal Divinity School at Cambridge, Mass. Professor Cassel is a converted Rabbi, one of the best Talmudic scholars of Germany, a man of genius and ardent Christian spirit. His commentary is very original, fresh, suggestive, abounding in historical examples and parallels, but sometimes very fanciful, especially in bis philological efforts. Here the translator has very properly expressed his dissent from many of his views. Professor Steenstra has paid special attention to the textual department, and supplemented his author where he takes too much for granted. The grammatical notes on the Book of Ruth are quite full, because it is often read by students of Hebrew in Seminaries, owing to its simplicity and literary merit. conclude these introductory remarks with the closing sentences of Professor Cassel's face: - It will not be considered my greatest fault that, as far as possible. I have avoided polem, and have contented myself with positive exposition of the meaning as I understood it."
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