THE DORE GALLERY OF BIBLE ILLUSTRATIONS
Illustrated by Gustave Dore
Isaiah (in Hebrew, Yeshayahu, "Salvation of God"), the earliest and most sublime of the four greater Hebrew prophets, was the son of Amoz (2 Kings xix, 2-20; Isaiah xxxvii, 2), and he uttered his oracles during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. The dates of his birth and death are unknown, but he lived from about 760 B.C. to about 700 B.C. He was married and had three sons--the children referred to in Isaiah viii, 18; and he appears to have resided near Jerusalem.
But by most competent critics it is now held that the last twenty-seven chapters (40-66) of the book bearing his name were the work, not of the prophet, but of a later writer who is commonly styled the second or Deutero-Isaiah. In this portion of the book, Cyrus, who was not born till after 600 B.C., is mentioned by name (Isaiah, xliv, 28; xlv, i); and events which did not take place till a century after the prophet's death are referred to as happening contemporaneously with the writer's account of them. The style of these last twenty-seven chapters, also, is different, and the tone is more elevated and spiritual.
Dore's ideal portrait is more suited to the second or pseudo-Isaiah, than to the real one.
DESTRUCTION OF SENNACHERIB'S HOST.
Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the Lord. For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake.
And it came to pass that night that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.
So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh. And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword: and they escaped into the land of Armenia. And Esar-haddon his son reigned in his stead.--2 Kings xix, 32-37
And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that this word came unto Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day. It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.
Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah: and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the Lord, which he had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book. Jeremiah xxxvi; 1-4.
The word that Jeremiah the prophet spake unto Baruch the son of Neriah, when he had written these words in a book at the mouth of Jeremiah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, saying, Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, unto thee, O Baruch; thou didst say, Woe is me now! for the Lord hath added grief to my sorrow; I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest.
Thus shalt thou say unto him, The Lord saith thus; Behold, that which I have built will I break down, and that which I have planted I will pluck up, even this whole land. And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not: for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith the Lord: but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goesth. Jeremiah xlv, 1-5.
Ezekiel, the third of the great Hebrew prophets, was the son of the priest Buzi. (Ezekiel i, 3). He was probably born about 620 or 630 years before Christ, and was consequently a contemporary of Jeremiah and Daniel, to the latter of whom he alludes in chapters xiv, 14-20 and xxviii, 3. When Jerusalem was taken by Nebuchadnezzar in 597 B.C. (2 Kings xxiv, 8-16; Jeremiah xxix, 1-2; Ezekiel xvii, 12; xix, 9), Ezekiel was carried captive along with Jehoiachin, or Jeconiah, king of Judah, and thousands of other Jewish prisoners, to Babylonia, or as he himself calls it, "the land of the Chaldeans." (Ezekiel i, 3). Here, along with his exiled fellow-countrymen, he lived on the banks of the river Chebar (Ezekiel i, 1-3), in a house of his own (viii, i). Here also he married, and here, too, his wife, "the desire of his eyes," was taken from him "with a stroke" (Ezekiel xxiv, 15-18). His prophetic career extended over twenty-two years, from about 592 B.C. to about 570 B.C.
The book bearing his name is written in a mystical and symbolical style, and abounds with visions and difficult allegories which indicate on the part of the author the possession of a vivid and sublime imagination. Ezekiel's authorship of it has been questioned. The Talmud attributes it to the Great Synagogue, of which Ezekiel was not a member. It is divisible into two portions. The first (chapters i-xxiv) was written before, and the second (chapters xxv-xlviii) after, the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C, the eleventh year of the prophet's captivity (Ezekiel xxvi, 1-2; XI, i). The present text is very imperfect, being corrupted by the interpolation of glosses and other additions by later hands.
Dore's picture represents the prophet uttering his oracles to his fellow-exiles ("them of the captivity"), or to the "elders of Judah," or "elders of Israel," on one of the occasions to which he himself alludes (viii, I; xi, 25; xiv, I; xx, I).
THE VISION OF EZEKIEL.
The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, and caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.
And he said unto me; Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest.
Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live and ye shall know that I am the Lord.
So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the, bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.
Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.
So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, and shall put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord.--Ezekiel xxxvii, 1-14.
Respecting the parentage or family of Daniel, the fourth of the great Hebrew prophets, nothing is known, though he appears to have been of noble if not of royal descent (Daniel i, 3). When, in the third year of the reign of King Jehoiakim (607, 606, 605, or 604 B.C.), Jerusalem was first taken by Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel, then a youth, was among the captives carried to Babylon. By the king's orders, he, with others of the Jewish youth, was educated for three years (Daniel i, 3-7). At this time Daniel acquired the power of interpreting dreams (i, 17), which he used with such advantage in expounding a dream of Nebuchadnezzar, that he was made ruler over the whole province of Babylon (Daniel ii, 46-48). Daniel's interpretation of Belshazzar's famous vision having been fulfilled by the capture of Babylon by Darius, that conqueror promoted Daniel to the highest office in the kingdom (Daniel vi, 1-3). The prophet also prospered greatly during the reign of Cyrus (Daniel vi, 28).
The book of Daniel is written partly in Chaldaic or Syriac (the vernacular Aramaic language spoken by the people of Palestine), and partly in sacred Hebrew. It is manifestly divisible into two portions. The first (chapters i-vi) narrating the details of the prophet's life, and the second (chapters vii-xii) setting forth his apocalyptic visions. Much doubt has been cast upon the authenticity of the work. The evident reference in the eleventh chapter to the conquest of Persia by Alexander the Great, which took place about 330 B.C., or more than two hundred years after Daniel flourished, has led many modern critics to believe that the work was composed in the time of the Maccabees.
Dore's picture appears to be intended to represent the prophet meditating over one of the many visions which came to him.
THE FIERY FURNACE.
Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews. They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live forever. There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. Then they brought these men before the king.
Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego? do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated. And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.
Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counselors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered, and said unto the king, True, O king.
He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, came forth of the midst of the fire. And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king's counselors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was a hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.--Daniel iii, 8, 9, 12-27.
Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein. Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them. They drank wine and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.
In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. Then the king's countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.
[On the failure of his astrologers and soothsayers to interpret the writing, the king, at the suggestion of his queen, sends for Daniel, who interprets it as follows:]
O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honor: and for the majesty that he gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down. But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him and he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will.
And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this; but hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified.
Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written.
And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom and finished it. TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.
In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom.--Daniel v.
DANIEL IN THE LIONS' DEN.
Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.
Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king's decree Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions.
The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.
Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day.
Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him.
Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed. Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee. And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.
Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of musick brought before him: and his sleep went from him. Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?
Then said Daniel unto the King, O king, live forever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.
Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God. And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den.--Daniel vi.
THE PROPHET AMOS.
Amos, one of the earliest of the Hebrew prophets, flourished during the reign of Uzziah, about 790 B.C., and was consequently a contemporary of Hosea and Joel. In his youth he lived at Tekoa, about six miles south of Bethlehem, in Judaea, and was a herdsman and a gatherer of sycamore fruit (Amos i, i; vii, 14). This occupation he gave up for that of prophet (vii, 15), and he came forward to denounce the idolatry then prevalent in Judah, Israel, and the surrounding kingdoms.
The first six chapters of his book contain his denunciations of idolatry; the other three, his symbolical vision of the overthrow of the people of Israel, and a promise of their restoration. The style is remarkable for clearness and strength, and for its picturesque use of images drawn from the rural and pastoral life which the prophet had led in his youth.
JONAH CALLING NINEVEH TO REPENTANCE.
And the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto to Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.
So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey. And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock taste anything: let them not feed, nor drink water: but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?
And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.--Jonah iii.
DANIEL CONFOUNDING THE PRIESTS OF BEL.
Now the Babylonians had an idol called Bel: and there were spent upon him every day, twelve great measures of fine flour, and forty sheep, and sixty vessels of wine. The king also worshipped him, and went every day to adore him: but Daniel adored his God. And the king said unto him: Why dost thou not adore Bel? And he answered, and said to him Because I do not worship idols made with hands, but the living God, that created heaven and earth, and hath power over all flesh. And the king said to him: Doth not Bel seem to thee to be a living God? Seest thou not how much he eateth and drinketh every day? Then Daniel smiled and said: O king, be not deceived: for this is but clay within, and brass without, neither hath he eaten at any time.
And the king being angry called for his priests, and said to them: If you tell me not, who it is that eateth up these expenses, you shall die. But if you can show that Bel eateth these things, Daniel shall die, because he hath blasphemed against Bel.
And Daniel said to the king: Be it done according to thy word.
Now the priests of Bel were seventy besides their wives and little ones and children. And they went with Daniel into the temple of Bel. And the priests of Bel said: Behold, we go out: and do thou, O king, set on the meats, and make ready, the wine, and shut the door fast, and seal it with thy own ring: and when thou comest in the morning, if thou findest not that Bel hath eaten all up, we will suffer death, or else Daniel that hath lied against us.
And they little regarded it, because they had made under the table a secret entrance, and they always came in by it, and consumed those things.
So it came to pass after they were gone out, the king set the meats before Bel: and Daniel commanded his servants, and they brought ashes, and he sifted them all over the temple before the king: and going forth they shut the door, and having sealed it with the king's ring, they departed.
But the priests went in by night, according to their custom, with their wives and their children: and they eat and drank all up.
And the king rose early in the morning, and Daniel with him. And the king said: Are the seals whole, Daniel? and he answered: They are whole, O king. And as soon as he had opened the door, the king looked upon the table, and cried out with a loud voice Great art thou, O Bel, and there is not any deceit with thee. And Daniel laughed: and he held the king that he should not go in: and he said: Behold the pavement, mark whose footsteps these are. And the king said: I see the footsteps of men, and women, and children. And the king was angry. Then he took the priests, and their wives, and their children: and they showed him the private doors by which they came in, and consumed the things that were on the table.
The king therefore put them to death, and delivered Bel into the power of Daniel: who destroyed him, and his temple.--Daniel xiv, I-21 (Douay Version).
HELIODORUS PUNISHED IN THE TEMPLE.
But Heliodorus executed that which he had resolved on, himself being present in the same place with his guard about the treasury.
But the spirit of the Almighty God gave a great evidence of his presence, so that all that had presumed to obey him, falling down by the power of God, were struck with fainting and dread. For there appeared to them a horse with a terrible rider upon him, adorned with a very rich covering: and he ran fiercely and struck Heliodorus with his fore-feet, and he that sat upon him seemed to have armor of gold. Moreover, there appeared two other young men, beautiful and strong, bright and glorious, and in comely apparel: who stood by him, on either side, and scourged him without ceasing with many stripes.
And Heliodorus suddenly fell to the ground, and they took him up covered with great darkness, and having put him into a litter they carried him out. So he that came with many servants, and all his guard into the aforesaid treasury, was carried out, no one being able to help him, the manifest power of God being known. And he indeed by the power of God lay speechless, and without all hope of recovery.--2 Maccabees iii, 23-29.