In his translation of the Bible into modern English, Ferrar Fenton, the English linguist and scholar, ascribes the authorship of the Books of Joshua, Judges, I Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, and 2 Kings to Isaiah. These books the translator groups together under the title, "The History of the People of Israel," and he finds authority for placing the authorship in Isaiah, among other things, in 2 Chronicles, 32:32, which he renders, differently from the old translators, as follows: "But the rest of the doings of Hezekiah, and his piety, they can be seen written in the Visions of Isaiah-ben-Amoz, the Preacher, in the History of the Kings of Judah and Israel."

Mr. Fenton refers to the fact that in the old Hebrew arrangement the six books mentioned immediately preceded the book so well known under the name of the great prophet, and suggest "that Isaiah wrote this History of the Hebrews as an introduction to his warnings to his Nation, and to explain what would be the blessings he foretold, if it repented; for had he not done so by showing its former glorious condition and subsequent crimes, those warnings would have been incomprehensible to the mass of his readers in his own day, and far more so to us."

If this theory is correct, we are taught a new lesson in our understanding of the importance of the First Commandment. We have always believed, from a perusal of the books mentioned, that the chief reason for the downfall of the Hebrew nation is found in its infraction of the Divine command, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Now we see that Isaiah, in his endeavor to awaken a sense of repentance among his people, and to impress the lesson attending the violation of the First Commandment, thought it expedient to take up the arduous labor of tracing the history of his people from prosperity and honor to decay and disgrace as an introduction to the grand book which bears his name. To write the voluminous history of a people, a work involving the labor which must have been bestowed upon the book of Isaiah itself, seems indeed a monumental task when it is undertaken for the purpose of showing the consequences arising from an infraction of a rule of action eight words in length. We cease to wonder, however, when we realize that the rule in question is the First Commandment, if we are mindful of its true import and full significance.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

September 29, 1906

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.