We have already seen that the Pentateuch, which enjoys the status of being a fundamental book of the Christian faith, cannot be proved to be authentic and believable. Let us now proceed to find out the truth about the Book of Joshua, the next book in importance.
First of all, the name of the author of this book is not known with certainty, and the period of its composition is also unknown.
The Christian scholars profess five different opinions:
1. Gerrard, Diodat Huet, Albert Patrick, Tomlin and Dr Gray believe that it was written by the Prophet Joshua himself.
2. Dr Lightfoot claims that Phineas is the author of this book.
3. Calvin says that it was written by Eleazer.
4. Moldehaur and Van Til believe it to have been written by Samuel.
5. Henry claimed that it was written by the Prophet Jeremiah.
Readers should note the contradictory opinions of these Christian scholars, especially keeping in mind the fact that Joshua and Jeremiah are separated by a period of 850 years. The presence of this great difference in opinion is, in itself, a strong evidence that the book is not believed to be authentic by them. Their opinions are generally based on their calculations supported by some vague notions indicating that a certain person might be the author of a certain book. If we make a comparison between Joshua 15: 63 and Samuel 5: 6-8, it is quite clear that this book was written before the seventh year of the ascension of the Prophet David to the throne. Joshua 15; 63 says,”As for the Jebusites the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children of Israel could not drive them out; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah at Jjuresalem unto this day”. The above statement may be compared with the statement made by the Second Book of Samuel which confirms that the Jebusites were living in Jerusalem up until the seventy year of the ascension of David to throne (5: 6-8),the author of Joshua`s statement said that the Jebusites dwelt in Jerusalem “unto this day “meaning the seventh year of David`s ascension to throne. This clearly implies that the author belonged to that period.
Similarly the same book includes this statement, “And they drove not out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer, but the Canaanites dwell among the Ephraimites unto this day.” We find another statement in I King 9:16 that the Pharaoh had driven out the Canaanites from Gezer in the time of Solomon. This leads to the conclusion that the book was written before the time of Solomon. G.T. Menley has therefore admitted that a comparison of Josh. 15:63 with 2 Samuel 5:7-9 and of Josh. 16:10, with I Kings 9:16 leads to the conclusion that this book was written before Rehobo`aam. See 2-Samuel 1:18
In view of this evidence, it is logical to conclude that the author of the book of Joshua must have lived after the Prophet David.
THE STATUS OF THE BOOK OF JUDGES
The book of Judges is the third most respected book of the Old Testament. Again we are faced by a great difference of opinion regarding the author of the book and the possible period of its compilation.
Some Christian writers claim it to be the book of Phineas, while some other believe it to have been written by Hezekiah. In neither of these cases can it be said to be a revealed book because neither Phineas nor Hezekiah are Prophets. Hezekiah was the King of Judah. (2 Kings 18 and Chr.32)
Some other writers have asserted that this book was written by Ezra. It may be noted that difference of time between Ezra and Phineas is not less than nine hundred years.
This difference of opinion could not arise if the Christians possessed any real evidence concerning it. According to the Jews all these claims and assertions are wrong. They, on the basis of conjecture, attribute it to Samuel. So there are six different opinions about it.
THE BOOK OF THE RUTH
This book, too, is the subject of great differences of opinion. Some Christians think that it was written by Hezekiah, in which case it is not a revealed book. Some others hold the opinion that the author of this book is Ezra. All other Christians and the Jews attribute it to Samuel.
It is stated in the introduction to the Bible printed in Strasbourg in 1819 that the book of Ruth is a collection of family stories and the Book of Job is only a tale.
THE BOOK OF NEHEMIAH
The same kind of difference is present regarding the author and the period of this book. The most popular opinion is that it was written by Nehemiah. Athanasius, Epiphanius and Chrysostome believe it to have been written by Ezre. According to popular opinion it cannot be accepted as a revealed book.
The first 26 verses of chapter 12 are different from the rest of the book of Nehemiah since in the first eleven chapters Nehemiah is referred to in the first person, while in this chapter the third person is used for no apparent reason. Furthermore, we find Darius, the King of Persia being mentioned in verse 22 of the same chapter, when in fact he lived one hundred years after the death of Nehemiah. The Christian commentators have to declare this anomaly as a later addition. The Arabic translator of the Bible has omitted it altogether.
THE BOOK OF JOB
The history of the book of Job is even more obscure and uncertain than the other books. There are about twenty-four contradictory opinions regarding its name and preiod. Maimonides, a celebrated scholar and Rabbi of the Jews, Michael, Leclerc, Semler, Hock, Isnak and other Christians insist that Job is a fictitious name and the book of Job is no more than a fiction. Theodore has also condemned it. Luther, the leader of the Protestant faith, holds it as purely a fictitious story.
The book has been attributed to various names on the basis of conjecture. However if we assume that the book was written by Elihu or by a certain unknown person who was a contemporary of Manasse, it is not acceptable as a prophetic and revealed text.
THE PSALMS OF DAVID
The history of this book, too, is similar to the history of the book of Job. We do not find any documentary evidence to show a particular man to be its writer. The period of collection of all the psalms is also not known. Whether the names of the Psalms are Prophetic or not is also unknown. The ancient Christians have different opinions about it. The writers, Origen, Chrysostome and Augustine believe it to have been written by the Prophet David himself. On the other hand, writers like Hilary, Athanasius, Jerome and Eusebius have strictly refuted this. Horne says:
“Undoubtedly the former statement is altogether wrong.
According to the opinion of the latter group, more than thirty psalms are from unknown authors. Ten psalms from 90 to 99 are supposed to be from Moses and a seventy-one paslms are claimed to be from David . Psalm 88 is atteibuted to Heman and 89 to Ethan, while Psalms 72 and 177 are said to be from Solomon, And three psalms are believed to be from Jeduthun and one hundred and twenty psalms from Asaph , but some Christians refute that Psalms 74 and 79 are written by him. Eleven psalms are supposed to have been written by three sons of kore.
Some writers even think that the author of these psalms to the various writers concerned, while yet others of the psalms were written by another unknown persom. Calmat says that only forty-five psalms were written by Daved, while the rest are by other people.
The ancient Jewish scholars enumerate the following names as the writers of the Psalms: the Prophets Adam, Abraham, Moses; and Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun and the three sons of Kore. David only having collected them togther. According to them David, himself is not the author of any of the Psalms; he is just the collector of them.
Horne said that the judgement of modem Christian and Jewish scholars is that this book was written by the following authors: the Prophets Moses, David and Solomon; and Asaph, Aeman, Ethan, Jeduthun and the three sons of kore.
The same contradiction and confusion is found regarding the period of its compilation. Some scholars hold them to have been written and compiled in the time of David; some believed that they were collected by some friends of Hzekiah in his period; while some others think that they were compiled in different periods. Similar differences are also expressed about the names of the Psalms. Some claim that they are revealed, while others think that someone who was not a prophet had called them with these names.
Psalm 72, verse 20 says, “the Prayers of David, the son of Jesse are ended. “This verse has been omitted in the Arabic translations apparently with the purpose of supporting the opinion of the first group that the whole Book of Psalms was written by the Prophet David. On the other hand it is also possible that this verse might have been added later to support the second group’s opinion that the Prophet David was not the author of this book. In both cases the distortion of the text is proved either by omission of this verse or by addition of it.
THE BOOK OF PROVERBS
The condition of this book, too, is not much different from the books we have discussed so for. A few writers have claimed that the author of this whole book is the Prophet Solomon himself. This claim is false because of variations in linguistic idioms and style, and repetition of several verses found in this book.
Apart from this the first verses of chapters 30 and 31 also refute this assumption.
Even if we accept that some part of this book could have been written by Solomon which is possibly true for 29 chapter, these were not collected or compiled in is his period because there is no doubt that several of them were collected by Hezekiah as is evident from 25:1:
“These are also proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah, King of Judah, copied out.“
This was done 270 years after the death of Solomon.
Some writers are of the opinion that the first nine chapters of the book were not written by Solomon. Chapters 30 and 31 are attributed to Agur and Lemuel, as cited, but strangely the nor are they sure of their being prophets.
On the basis of their usual presumptions they hold that they were Prophets. However, this kind of conjecture is not acceptable to an impartial reader. Some of them think that Lemuel is the second name of Solomon, but Henry and Scott state: “Holden has rejected the assumption that Lemuel was another name of Solomon, and he has proved that Lemuel was a separate person. Perhaps he has got sufficient proof that the book of Lemuel and the book of Agur are revealed books. Otherwise they could have not been included in the canonical books.“
Adam Clarke says in his commentary: “This claim is not supported by any evidence that Lemuel was Solomon. This chapter was written a long period after his death. The idioms of the Chaldean language that are found in the beginning of this book also refute this claim.“
And he comments on chapter 31: “Certainly this chapter could not have been written by Solomon. “
Verse 25 of this chapter says: “there are also proverbs of Solomon which the men of Hezekiah copied out. “
Verse 30 in the Persian version of the Bible printed 1838 says: “The words Agur, the son of Jakeh, even the Prophecy: the man spoken unto Ithiel and Ucal. “
And the Bible printed in the Persian language in 1845 contains this: “The word of Acur, son of Jafa, were such that the man spoke unto Ithiel, even Ithiel and Ucal. “
The majority of writers have admitted that the book was compiled by many people including Hezekiah, Isaiah and perhaps Ezra.
THE BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES
This book, too has a history of serious differences. Some writers have claimed that its author was Solomon. Rabbi kammchi, a famous Jewish scholar, said that it was written by Isaiah. The scholars of the Talmud attribute it to Hezekiah while Grotius says that this book was written by Zorobabel for his son, Ebihud. John, a Christian scholar, and some German scholars calculate it to have been written after the release of the Israelites from Babylon.
THE BOOK OF THE SONG OF SOLOMON
The history of this book is even more obscure and uncertain. Some of the writers attribute it to the Prophet Solomon or some person belonging to his time. Dr Kennicot and some writers coming after him and the opinion that the claim of its being written by Solomon was historically wrong and that it was written a long time after his death. Theodore, a missionary who lived in the fifth century AD, strictly condemned his book and the Book of Job, while Simon and Leclerc did not acknowledge it as a genuine book. Whiston said it was a foul song and should be excluded from the holy books of the Old Testament. Some others have made the same judgement about it. Semler holds it as a forged and fabricated book. The Catholic, Ward, has pointed out that Castilio declared it to be a vile song decided that it should be excluded from the books of the Old Testament.
THE BOOK OF DANIEL
The Greek Translation, the Latin translation and all the translations of the Roman Catholics include the Song of Three Children and chapter 13 and 14 of this book. The Roman Catholic faith acknowledges this song and the two chapters, but the Protestants disapprove of it and do not consider it genuine.
THE BOOK OF ESTHER
The name of the writer of this book as well as the time of its compilation is unknown. Christian scholars believe that it was written by scholars living in the period between Ezra and Simon. A Jewish Scholar Phlion claims that it was written by Jehoiachin, the son of Joshua,who had come to Jerusalem after the release from Babylon. St Augustine believed it to be a book of Ezra. Some other writers attribute it to Murdoch and Esther. Other details of this book will later be discussed in chapter 2 of this book.
THE BOOK OF JEREMIAH
We are certain that chapter 52 of this book cannot be claimed to have been written by Jeremiah. Similarly the eleventh verse of chapter 10 cannot be attributed to Jeremiah. In the former case, because verse 64 of chapter 51 of the Persian Version 1838 contains: “Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.“ While the Persian Translation of 1839 AD says: “The words of Jeremiah ended here.“
In the latter case the reason is that verse 11of chapter 10 is in the Chaldean language, while the rest of the is in Hebrew. It is impossible to trace who inserted them in the text. The commentators have made several conjectures regarding the persons making this insertion. The compilers of Henry and Scott remarked about this chapter:
“It appears that Ezra or some other person inserted it to elucidate the predictions occurring in the previous chapter.”
Horne says on the page 194 of vol. 4 :
“This chapter was added after the death of Jeremiah and the release from the captivity of Babylon, some of which we find mentioned in this chapter too.”
Further in this volume he says:
“Certainly the words of this prophet are in the Hebrew language but chapter 10:11 is in the Chaldean language.”
The Reverend Venema said:
“This verse is a later addition.”
THE BOOK OF ISAIAH
A public debate was held between Karkanar, a religious leader of the Roman Catholics, and Warren about this book. This discussion was published in 1852 in Agra (India). Karkaran writes in third letter
That Stalin, a learned German writer, had said that chapter 40 and all the chapters up to chapter 66 of the book of Isaiah were not writer by Isaiah.
This implies that twenty-seven chapters of this book are not the writings of Isaiah.
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