Science in Christian Perspective
THE SHADOW RETURNING ON THE DIAL OF AHAZ
Annie S. D. Maunder, F.R.A.S.
From: JASA 3 (March 1951):
The laws of nature are determinate In their action; a certain result must follow whether or no we demand the opposite. Therefore it is not possible to explain Or explain away. the return of the shadow through ten steps on the staircase of Ahaz, as due to sow rare (therefore misunderstood) natural happening in the heavens, and I will make no attempt to do so. I can only show You the circumstances--astronomical, geographical and historical, in which the miracle is set.
The shadow had already gone down ten steps and might go down at Isast ten steps more. The time therefore was early in the afternoon, not later than half-past three if the summer mid-summer, nor later than half-past two, If midwinter; the shadow was thrown easterly stretching towards south of east in the summer months and north of east in the winter but never further north than E. N. E. . nor south than E. S. E, We must look, then for a terrace of steps in Jerusalem and for an appropriate building which might cost such a shadow. The building was "the house of thy (Hezekiah's) father"1 (according
to the Septuagint version, but this description might apply to the Royal Palace or to Millo, both south of the Temple area; from both, steps went down to gates In the wall.
"The mountains are round about Jerusalem" so that the city to hidden from every direction except me gap towards the S.E. down which may be seen the wilderness of Tskoa, the Dead Sea, and the mountains of Moab on the distant horizon. Within the city in this direction is a spur with three elevations on which were successively, from north to south the Temple itself, the Palace and Millo the fortress this last having been strengthened after Jebusite times by David2 by Solomon,3 and by Hezekiah4 himself. Millo was originally the highest of the three, but was cut down by the Maccabees (so Josephus5 tells us), even to a slope so that the Temple might dominate the whole, Before the Temple (to use the Biblical torn for the eastern side) was the Mount- of Olives, and between the two. but close outside the city wall, was the Kidron Valley in which was the spring Gihon, and "the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field." Here Ahaz6 went to consider the water problem for the
city when threatened by Rezin and Pekahs and was met by Isaiah; here Nezeklab,7
dealt with the saw problem and made his aqueduct beneath the spur, coming out
on the vest side of the City of David for "why should the kings of Assyria, comes
and find much water?"8; here the envoys of Sennacherib8 came to speak treason and sedition to the men on the city wall, In this part of the wall were two gates the Horse-and the Water Gates and in the time of Joash of Judah we know that steps went down from the Temple to the Horse Gate, and thence up to the Kingle House, for such was the description at the slaying of Queen Athaliah.10 Joash himself was killed by his servants "in the house of Millo which goeth down to Sillav"11 and as Silla means "highway," we naturally connect this with "the highway In the fuller's field." We do not know whether this descent from Millo was rather to the N. E. to the Horse Gate. or rather to the S. E. to the Water Gate. If we know at what season of the year Hezeklah took ill, it might help to decide.
Can either of these staircases be connected specially with king Ahaz? There Is perhaps a slight balance of evidence in favour of the King's House and the Norse Gate stairway. For after Ahaz had made an altar after the pattern of me at Damacusl2 and had himself sacrificed on it and brought the brazen altar made by Bezaleel for himself "to inquire by." then he made "the Covert (Portico) for the Sabbath that they had built in the house and the king's entry without turned he from the House of the Lord for the king of Assyria.13 This is as in the Hebrew text. but the Septuagint version runes "and he made a base for the throne In the House of the Lords and he turned the king's entrame vithout in the House of the Lord after the presentment of the king of the Assyrians."14 Whichever rendering is the right onev there seems to be some obscure reference to an alteratim of the king's way to the Temple) made by Ahaz because of the king or Assyria.
Already and for a century to comes the king of Assyria was to be for Judah, "King jareb.15 the King Alverala, as lose& calls him--whether he be Tiglath-Pileser or Shalmoneser, Sargon or Sennacherib or Esarhaddon.
King and priest had distinct offices with the Hebrews. Babylonia was a theocratic nation vherein the king was subordinate to the priest, and every king over Babylon--legitimate, Assyrian or Chaldean--had to "take the hands of " Bel" in Babylon once a year on the proper day.' Assyria was a military nation; the king was the Commainder of the Assyrian army and the army was the-people; from Tiglath-Pileser to Assurbanipal, Assyria vas fighting on all sides for world dominion until the nation vas bled white. This is an inevitable result almost, Centuries earlier king David (a great general) having been successful in all his ware and having been promised that his heirs would sit on his throne.16 "for a great while to comes" sought to hasten by the sword the coming in of the kingdom of Godv so he numbered Israel and Judah for a national army. He was stopped and offered the choice of famine, defeat or pestilence.17--his own country and the countries he fought against would have suffered all three had he carried through his intention.
In Babylon the temples of the gods-were the chiefest public buildings; in Assyria the king was supreme and the temple was but a king's chapel attached to the palacV, Uzziahs also a warrior king, "was marvellously helped till he was strong."18 Then he meant to do like Jeroboam or Israel and Asurnirari of Assyrias and vent into the Temple "to burn incense upon the altar of incense" and he became a leper till his death, So too did his grandson Ahaz in the year 731s and he did It (if the Septuagint version is correct) "after the presentment of the king of the Assyrians.19
Tiglath-Pileser's first business was to save the priests and king of Babylon from the Armeans on their border. The kings Nabonassar seems to have been what Jeremiah would call "a quiet prince."20 and was always a faithful vassal of the Assyrian king. On his death in 734 BC there was an insurrection. the chief rebel being a Chaldean princes Merodach-baladan, "king of the sea-lands" and rather against his will and convenience Tiglath-Pileser "took the hands of Bel" a couple of years before his death in 727 BC. Besides Babylon, he had to guard his northeast border, through Armenia to the desert towards Elam where from 733 BC on the encroaching Medea began to be felt; he had also to control Syria. Here he conquered Damascus, put Pekah to flight but did not pillage Samariav and came into contact with Ahazs whom he met at Damascusv but "he helped him not."21
We know little of his successor Shalmanesee except from the Bible; he spoilt the fortress of Beth-Arbe,22 (probably in Galilee) and besieged Samaria,23 where Hoshea, the Assyrian viceroy, had refused him tribute.
It was Sargon who actually took Samaria. Under his the Assyrian empire came into collisions wIth nations equal in power to Its own. The newly immigrated Iranian tribes from Helmand and Xabul and Holy Merv were pressing down south of the Caspian and towards Elam with a vigour that the earlier Median tribes had lost. Into Cilicia, (whence Assyria got its metals) there was an invasion of other Indo-European tribes--the Cimmeriano from Gomerv north of the Black Sea--and it van fighting against those that Sargon lost his life in 705 BC. In the west, Egypt--albeit "a broken reed"24 to any nation that it helped--was come inv remaining an adversary till the Rqdrels end. To quote The CanbELje Ancient History (vol. ii1o P. 46): "The enemies Sargon had to meet arose from fc~-quarters: (1) Union of Chaidea and Elam in the south; (2) medley of peoples in the north and north-east; (3) Phrygla in the north-wet; (4) Syriav Palestine and Egypt in the south-vest,
Merodach-baladan got the support of all the Chaldeam tribes, which united with the Slallteso and also (perhaps later) with the Arabians. In 721 he "took the hands of Bel" at the new year's festival. In 720 Sargon took the field against him. but the result was uncertain, and it was not until 710 that the great attack was prepared which conquered him. Even then Sargon reinstated him in his princedom of the "sea-land," and Merodach-baladan seem to have remained his faithful vassal until Sargon's death. As Sennacherib spent his first two years rebuilding Nineveh, and did not go to Babylon to "take the hands of Bel" until 703, Merodach-baladan was able to make strong his claim and put out the Babylonian appointed as viceroy. In 702 BC Sennacherib put In another Babylonian, Bel-ibni, and himself vent vest against Palestine. Next year he cam back, for Bel-ibni had joined up with Merodach-baladan; he finally crushed both and made his own son viceroy.
At what time then did Merodach-baladan's envoys come to Hezekiah to "inquire of him of the wonder that was done In the land?25" Merodach-baladan was " a wretched soldier,"26 but certainly also a first-class Intriguer, and no doubt he plotted at all opportune intervals from 733 to 699 BC. He seem to have mde Tiglath-Pileoer, Sargonv end Hezeklah all do much as he wonted them. Now, Isain distinctly says that the envoys came after "those days, " namely, "the 14th28 year of Hezekiah," when "Sennacherib king of Assyria, came against all the defenced cities of Judah and took them." Col. Shortt, however (in his paper of December last), says that this "is an error" on Isaiah's part.
Isaiah was the recognized historian29 for (at Isast) Uzziah's reign, and though he was a prophet, it does not follow, necessarily, that he was vague or inaccurate as to when events took place in which he himself took so active a part. Let us then assume that Isaiah was right in his dating and test this by the other dates that he gives.
In the Book of Isaiah, five points of time are noted!--(l) "In the year that king Uzziah died"30; (2) "In the year that king Ahaz died"31; (3) "in the year that Tartan came unto Ashdod (when Sargon, the king of Assyria, sent him),. and fought against Ashdod"32; (4) "and took it"33; (5) "in the fourteenth year of king Rezekiaht Sennacherib, king of Assyria, came up.34 From Assyrian history we know the dates of (3). (4) and (5) as 714 712 and 701 BC respectively. The last date would give Hezekish's first year as 715 BC and this therefore as "the year that king Ahaz died,"35 Ahaz reigned 16 years so that he 0ame-to the throe in 731 BC, which is therefore "the year that king Uzziah died."36 -But he was regent at Isast as early as 735, since in that year the kings of Israel Damascus conspired to depose him and substitute for him "the son of Tabeal.37 Probably this meant that the regent Jotham died in 736 or 735 BC. In chapters 7-9 of his book, Isaiah relates this intrigue. Chapters 9-10 form the prologue to a series (chapters 13-30)-of "burdens" (sometimes translated as "visions," sometime as "words" by the Septuagint), concerning certain nations. and these nations are just those enemies from, the four quarters that Sargon had to meet; they are given almost in the very order in which The Cambridge Ancient History enumerates them; especially is the reliance upon Egypt emphasized, and Egypt was not a factor in Tiglath-Pileser's military problems. Also the prologue represents the Assyrian king as saying: "Is not Calno as Carchemish? Is not Hamath as Arpad? Is not Famaria as Damascus? . . . S12all I not as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols"38 But Carchemish was taken in 717 BC, Hamath was made an Assyrian province in 720 BC, and Samariawas captured in 721 BC. There seem small doubt then that all the 4burdens" were seen subsequent to 717 But the "'Burden of Babylon" was seen "in the year that king Ahaz died,"39 which accords well with the date 715 BC. The reference to t#e three-year siege (714-712) of Ashdod40 comes, in- between the "Burden of Egypt"41 and the "Burden. of the Desert of the Sea."42
It seems to me that the evidence is strong that chaPters.10-30 of the Book of Isaiah are concerned with Sargon's reign of 721-705 BC; if this Is 80v there was no confusion on Isaiah's part between Sargon's campaign in Palestine between 715 and 712 BC and Sennacherible campaign in 701 BC and later. It Is equally strong that Rezekiah's 14th year was 401 BC. This must also have been the year of his mortal sickness, for 15 years43 were added to his life and he reigned for 29 years.44 Like Merodach-baladanv Rezekiah probably took advantage of Sennacherib's tarrying at Nineveh to give up paying him the tribute he bad rendered to king Sargon. He also finished his great conduit, but there is a suggestion in "the burden of the valley of visim"45 that this was began, In 716 or 715,9 probably by Ahaz (who 20 years earlier was troubled by the city's exposed water supply),46 for the reproach there levelled is one deserved by Ahaz rather than by his son. '"Also he strengthened himself and built up all the wall that was broken down and raised up the towers and another wall without, and repaired Millo in the City of David.M7
And then he was stricken to death.
Hezekiah lay in the King's House and looked down the steps which, by the Horse Gate went up again to the Temple. In the distance, on his right band, was the Mount of Olives. above which the sun bad that morning risen; the sun (now sloping towards the west, for it was about 3 o'clock in the afternoon) had already cast the shadow of his father's house upon the upper steps of the staircase, Then Isaiah brought him the message: "Thou shalt die and not live ; and went out into the court between the King's House and the Temple precincts. Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed, and straightway Isaiah was bade return and tell the king that he would recover and go up to the House of the Lord on the third day, and that God would defend this city.40 Perhaps Hezeklah looked out to his right to the conduit of the upper pool In the highway of the fuller's field, between the city wall and Mount Olivet, where his father Ahaz-also in imminent danger of invasion--had stood and been offered a sign for safety a sign either In the depth or in the height,50 and bad refused it. Now he asked a sign and was also given a choice--between an easyy almost a natural si~pv and a hard, nayv a sign out of all nature. Should the iftM6v go forward ten ster or go back ten steps: as Amon had put it half a century earlier, making the day dark with night," or turning back "the shadow of death into the morning."51
"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, and Hezekiah grasped this substance and chose the hard sign. It was a light thing for the shadow to go down ten steps to the east; every afternoon it happened, and a mere rain cloud over the sun until its setting would extend the shadow to the horizon. But the sun must alvays go down steadily to the vest, and it could not again bathe the steps in sunlight until it rose again next morning over the Mount of Olives. Never did any light appear in the afternoon to the north or south or east that would shine on those steps and drive back the shadow.
Never? Perhaps once. For when king Solomon brought up the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord out of the City of David, which is Zion, and the singers were praising the Lord and saying "For He is good; for His mercy endureth for ever,"53 then the glory of the Lord filled the House. Twice had Isaiah seen this glory in vision; once while Uzziah was still alive: "upon every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the g7Aining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence"54 once again the year king Uzziah died, the Temple was filled with the glory.55
The "burdens" of Isaiah give us a review of this great world contest. The origins of the wars are stated and their far-reaching consequences. But these origins are not the desires for world domination, nor for the extension of trade; the theme of the "burdens" is neither strategy nor intrigue, victory or defeat, the supremacy of one nation or the breaking up of another. These are so transitory as scarcely to need mention. The origins were summed up in the words of Hosea: "For the Lord bath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land. be cause there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing and lying, and killing) and gIsaling, and committing adultery, they break out and blood touches blood."56 Because of all these vhen the Lord sends the Assyrian as the rod of his anger,57 neither Confederacyv nor Peace Conferenc4 nor Isague of Nations could avail to stop the war. They could not do it then; they cannot do It now.
Isaiah saw cIsarly the course of events In several directions. For instdwe~ in the "Burden of Babylon" he saw that God would "stir up the Medea against them Ahich shall not regard silver; and as for gold they shall not delight in it."58 Anyone who has read the Mihr Yasht will perceive how apt a description this was of Iranian integrity and what a power it gave to such a people. Again immediately after that same "burden" he warns PaIsatina not to rejoice that "the rod of him that smote thee is broken: for out of the serpent's root shall come forth a cockatrice and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent the whole Palestina, art dissolved: for there shall come from the north a smoke " "59 This gives the succession of Sargon Sennacherib and Bearhaddonv and the coming advance of the northern hordes. These may be cases of far-seeing judgment of the characters of men and nations; they may not be prophecy.
But them are other passages which cannot bear this interpretation for the contrast between the earthly circumstances and the message which the Prophet
must give Is so fierce$ that he can only speak with stammering lips. When Ahaz stood at the conduit of the upper pool, and refused a sign yet a sign was given him that a Virgin should conceive and bear a Son and call him God-With-Us.60
This was that Ahaz who burnt his own children in the fire.61 In the year that king Uzziah died, Ahaz desecrated the Temple, 62 yet it was then that Isaiah saw
the Lord high and lifted up, and the Temple was filled with His glory.63 When
Ephraim saw his sickness and Judah his wound then Ephraim went to the Assyrian
and sent to king Jareb, yet Hosea says of these repentant sinners: " After two
days will he revive us; in the third day He will raise up and we shall live in
His sight"64 and so it came to Page 750 years after this saying.
Two were signs or rather symbols. Even In his unwillingness Jorah made a type of our Lord when in the toub.65 Half a century after Jonah's reluc tant preaching to the Ninevites, the sign of Rezakiah's choice was to reveal that not for always was It to be "appointed unto man once to die,"66. As the prophet Paul said "We shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed, but for the fulfilment of this we still wait.
The CHAIRMAN (Colonel Hope Biddulph) said:
I think, however, that some here present, like myself, may feel disappointed that the writer has not attempted to offer an elucidation of the miracle. Though loth to "rush in where angels fear to tread." I venture to offer a suggestion for consideration. Some persons hold a miracle to be something that cannot be explained by natural means, and think that an occurrence ceases to be a miracle if it can be so explained. It Is a fact that we are surrounded by many marvels in our daily life) and experience so many indeed, that only events of a unique character or of rare occurrence arrest attention and excite interest. At the same time science is continually discovering processes which have hitherto been Inexplicablev and I would suggest that the Creator works by natural lave when what we term supernatural events take place.
The case of the shadow returning ten degrees on the dial of Ahaz seems, on the face of it to be akin to that of Joshua's Long Day. I am aware that the latter is explained by some in a sense totally different from that usually drawn from the text of the Authorized Version of the Bible, and I do not propose to argue the point. But, as periods of light and darkness are greatly extended In Polar regions, owing to the inclination of the earth's axis to the plans of the ecliptic, it appears reasonable to suppose that some change of the angle way have been effected causing an extension of daylight in Palestine on the occasion of Joshua's Long Day, and In the same manner also the retrogression of the shadow on the staircase of Ahaz.
If It be objected that ouch a change would be catastrophic, I would point out that Nature has safety valves In her operations which outwit purely scientific reasoning. A striking instance of this is found in the temperature of water, which contracts instead of expanding when heated between 320 and 40O Fahrenheit a provision which prevents rivers from being frozen solid and killing the fish (see Transactions, Victoria Institute, vol. lix. P. 239).
I ask you to accord a hearty vote of thanks to Mrs. Maunder for her interesting and instructive paper. Vote accorded with acclamation.
Dr. THIR LE said: The paper to which we have listened bears on the surface evidence of careful investigation conducted by a lecturer whose name occupies a place of signal honour in the proceedings of the Victoria Institute. Whether the "degrees" on the sundial of Ahaz represent movements on such an Instrument as passed for a sundial in subsequent time or whether they indicate an architectural feature of the king's palace to a point that is hardly material. Certain it is that on the day specified In the record. something happened which made a profound impression upon King Hezeklah. More than that, while the Incident gave Immediate comfort to the king it was noised abroad among peoples in distant lands, forty as we are told, ambassadors came from Babylon to Jerusalem with the express purpose of inquiring an to "the wonder that had been done in the land, and in actual history, as we also Isarn, the period of fifteen years was added to the kings life. Now, not by way of criticism, but as following upon the lecture, I wish to point out what the record makes cIsar that the king not only enjoyed the blessing of added years, but ordered his after life In the light of a great experience. While suffering from the leprous boll, which disabled his from entering the sanctuary, the king besought delivery with the express purpose that he might "Go up to the house of the Lord," and so join the pious Israelites of his time in divine worship. Being marked for death, however ("Set thy house in order, for thou shalt die wd not live"), had for him a deeper meaning. He was an unworried many and his death would mean the end of the Davidic dynasty, and what is more, it would involve a tragic violation of the divine purpose solemnly pledged In Covenantry that the throne of David should never fail of an occupant in succession to a righteous ruler (see I Kings itv4). It was in these circumstances that the king wept and prayedv and having at length been raisedv as it were from deathv he exclaimed (Ina. xxxvilip 18, 19): "Me grave cannot praise theev death cannot celebrate thee; the llving, the livingv he shall praise theev as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known t
The Revised Version is followed in the substitution of "steps" for "degree*
the Habrew word does mean "stairs" there is no certainty that it does
so here or in Ezek. vi, 4, 6, where it is translated "images" or sun-images.
The actual cause of the movement is not touched upon.
Turner of the University Observatory in Oxford, suggested to me
that It was due
to a rare phenomenon. a sun-mirage when the dun became a pikker of light which
lasted for a long time after sunset. This appears to me to be a more likely
explanation than any I have yet seen.
Miss EMIL D. JAMES B. A. wrote: I would like to suggest an explanation that might enable one to conceive a possible method of God's acting. We are told that though we now, know only in part, we shall one day have full knowledge. Though our knowledge to still very partial and only only as a finite created being can grasp, yet one or two among us have grasped a little farther then others. The great mathematician Einstein, in showing that even over short distances and short periods light can be proved to bend, suggests that possibly God bent the light rays a trifle differently from the effect produced by the unaided lave and forces of nature, and thereby produced a transitory and local result. This seems a simpler explanation than any possible slowing down and reversing & the earth's rate of rotation.
Dr. JAMES KNIGHT wrote: Permit me to offer one or two comments on the opening paragraph. This view of laws of nature is antiquated. The new teaching, really a return to Huxley's caution of fifty yews ago, declares roundly that natural laws govern nothing, are not obeyed, and do not belong to the nature of things. They are indeed "but formulae for the prediction of an observable occurrence," and that the prophets sometimes prophesy falsely is easily seen when we study the method by which a so-called "law of nature" is formulated. Modem physics has accepted Heisenberg's principle of indeterminacy. and J. W. N. Sullivan commenting upon the application of this, asks "Are we to interpret the principle as an indication that the law of strict causality does not apply to the fundamental operations of nature? At the present time scientific man are of two minds about this matter" (Outline of Modern Knowledge 1931, p. 111.
Likewise, Prof. Wolf, writing on Recent and Contemporary Philosophy, discusses 1his general Principle of Indeterminacy (or of Uncertainty), "according to which, as some would maintain there is no such thing in the physical world as that determination on which the older scientists insisted, and on which the mechanistic philosophy was based" (op. citv pp. 5900 591).
In view of these modern pronouncements in the spheres of physical and mental science respectively, it would seem that Mrs. Maunder has been too generous to the materialists, who, of course, are bound to deny, not only this miracle, but all physical miracles.
Mr. G. B. MICHEM wrote: There is only me point that I find to criticize in this more interesting paper, namely, the chronology of the reigns of Ahaz and Rezekiah. The authoress gives of the year that King Ahaz died" as 715 B. C. on the strength of this being Rezekiah's first year, since his "fourteenth" year when Sennacherib came up against him was 701BC. This is also assumed to be the year of the sickness and recovery of Hezekish. But, If so, then he died in 686, since 15 years were added to his life.
Now, it is manifestly impossible to fit in (1) the 55 years of Manasseh, (2) the 2 years of Amon, (3) the 31 years of Josiah, (4) the 11 years of Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim, and (5) the 11 years of Jeconiah and Zedekiah--110 years in all-between 6W and 586v the date of the end of the dynasty. Even If we tabe these last reigns as beginning in the same year as the last of its predecessorv the death of Ahaz must have occurred in 721 B. C, not 715,
I quite agree that the "fourteenth" year of Hezekiah when Sennacherib came up have been 701 or 702. But was this the saw "fourteenth" year when he was sick?. I maintain that it is impossible. For it was after the recovery of
Hezekiah that Merodach-baladan. King of Babalon sent his ambassadors to Hezekiah (Isa. xxxv 11. 1). This could not have been after 701, for Marodach-baladen
had been finally conquered by Sennacherib in 704, and deposed and replaced by
Bel-ibni In 703 BC. This is no "error on Isaiah's part," for the words "In those
days" of xxxv ii, l. cannot refer to the events of chapter xxxviiv for that
chapter closes with the death of Sennacherib and the accession of Bear-haddon
In 6W B. C.v the words imediately preceding "In those days."
In what days then? Evidently "at that time" of xx ixv 1v to which the following oracles of the rest of the Book refer.
Hezekiah must have had two fourteenth year so just as James I of England and VI of Scotland had two fourteenth years and so he had two first years, one in 721 BC when his father Ahaz died and he became king of Judah, and one in 715, the year of Sargon's second plantation in Samaria, when hezekiah evidently assumed the rule of all Israel. There is plenty of evidence that he did this. It was in the fourteenth year of his reign over Judah that he fell sick and the sign under discussion was given. For the whole story concerns Judah alone. But it was in the fourteenth year of his reign over the whole nation that Sennacherib came up against him. For that concerned the whole land. So other theory will fit the historical facts. But this is consistent with all.
The date 708 would suit well the embassy of Merodach-baladan, For although Sargon of Assyria became suzerain of Babylon in 709, he left Merodach-baladan,. who had been the native king of Babylon since 730, pretty much to his own devices of which this embassy would be a very natural one. Babylon, though it had no military might against Assyria possessed in the religious supremacy of its Sumerian priesthood a strong and a dangerous prestige which finally destroyed the Assyrian, and as Isaiah foresaw v the Chosen People too.
Mrs. Maunder acknowledges that Ahaz was regining at Isast as early as 735, but she makes him "regent" at that time. For this we have no evidence - whatever. As Syria was conquered by Pul and Rezin slain, in 732, a date when the child whose birth was prophesied in Isa. viiv 14, 15, would be only two years old, the events recorded in that chapter as occurring in the days of Ahaz must have been In 735 BC.
The Isarned authoress also says "Ahaz reigned 16 years, so that he came to the throne in 731, which is therefore, 'the year that king Uzziah died,'" thus eliminating Jotham altogether. But Jotham must have had an independent reign of his own after the death of his father as well as his long regency for Uzziah. For the language used of his reign in both Kings and Chronicles is explicit and precisely the same as the terms used of Ahaz, Hezekiah and the other kings, "And Azariah slept with his fathers: and they buried him with his fathers in the city Of David: and Jothem his son reigned in his stead " compare 2 Kings xv, 38; xx. 1. The death of Uzziah must, therefore, be placed at Isast two or three years before 735, Say in 739 BC. For in 741 Azariah was still alivep since in that year nineteen districts of Hameth revolted to him. See Schrader's Cuneiform Inscriptions and the Old Testament, vol. Iv p. 214. And Menahem's tribute to Pul (2 Kings W.-, 1-91 was In 738 BC.
We have, then, for Mrs. Maunder's "five points of tims" seven not five, viz. (1) "In the year that king Uzziah diedp" Say- 739; (2) "In the year that King Ahaz died," 721; (3) "in the year that Tartan came unto Ashdod,." 71.4; (4) it and took it," 712 (711); (5) the sickness and recovery of Hezekiah) 708; (6) the embassy of Merodach-baladan) say - 707; and (7) Sennacherib came up against Jerusalem, 701 (702).
These alterations of dates in no way affect the main argument of this valuable paper, with which I am in cordial accord.
I would like to emphasize two points about the returning of the shadow: it was local, not something that affected other regions; it was a large return and went back over a big extent of ground.
The Chairman has urged two points also. The Creator, he says, works by natural lava. I think each miracle should be considered on its own merits; I may instance one which was certainty accomplished by natural causes that of the piling up of the waters of the Red Sea by winds so that the people walked over dry-shod. But this miracle of the returning shadow I consider to be the case, in the Old Testament of a miracle which was not in any way due to natural causes, but to the "finger of God" alone. The Chairman's second suggestion that the return was due to a change in slope of the earth's axis comes under his own ban as being "unnatural" and under mine since this must affect the whole world and not Jerusalem only.
In reply to Col. Shortt, the Hebrew word maalah or maaleh, or its equivalent in the Septuagint, anabathmos, always means "ascent" (steps, degrees, going up etc. either physical or ethical. But the "images" (of the Sun) In Ezek. vi. 4v 6p is quite a different word, chamanim, "idols" (of Baal). If be turns to Zeph. i. 4, he will see the terms in which the Word of the Lord came concerning the kemarim the idolatrous priests who ministered in the worship of Baal and the host of heaven. Can we suppose that the Lord would use such idols--especially evil, when In the holy precincts of the Temple--as medium for this great miracle of healing? I knew Professor Turner well, and his keen interest in all accurate observation of astronomical phenomena I do not suppose that he ever read this narrative with attention; had he done sop he would not have suggested a sun-pillar which occurs after sunset as the cause of this returning shadow, which must have taken place in the early afternoon. Moreover, I put it to Col. Shortt, if this were the cause of the returning sunlight, what meaning could Hezekiah have put on the alternative choice that the shadow should go forward ton degrees: If the sun was on the horizon or below it, the shadow extended to the horizon; how could Hezekiah see it go farther?
With Miss James I agree entirely that it is possible that God should work a miracle in any way. Therefore, I have not tried to explain how this miracle was done. I have only brought to memory that there was one previous occasion when the Glory of God so covered the Temple that It would have lit up the ascent to the house of Hezekish's fatber. I do not say that this was the means actually employed.
I need not go into Dr. Knight's objection to my "Antiquated view of the laws of nature" except to assure him that "Heisenberg's principle of indeterminancy" does not mean that If the Sun on any day is high in the heavens, It is an Indeterminate thing, whether the Sun will return to sink in the east region or will continue Its course to sunset in the west.
I should like to give my thanks to Dr. Thirtle for his valuable addition to my paper, and especially for his insight into that I wanted to express but had not the ability to express in any adequate fashion.
1 Isa. xxxv 11, 8 (LXX version). 35 Isa. xiv, 28.
2 2 Sam. v. 9. 36 Isa. vi,'I.
3 1 Kings ixv .15, 24; xi, P7. 37 Isa. v:tiv 6.
4 2 Chron. xxxii, 5. 38 Isa. x. 9-10,
5 AntL2vv XIII, vi, 7; B. J, Vv iv, 1. 39 Isa. xivo 28.
6 Isa, vii, 3. 40 Isa. Xx 1.
7 2 Chron. xxxiiv 3. 41 Isa. xix,
8 2 Chron. xxxiiv 4. 42 Isa. xxi,
9 Isa. xxxvi, 11. . 43 Isa, xxxviii, 5,
10 2 Kings xi. 10; 2 Chron, xxiiiv 15, 44 2 Kings xviii, 2.
11 2 Kings xiiv 20, 45 Isa, xxii, 9-11.
12 2 Kings xvi$ 10-15. 46 Isa. vii 3.
13 2 Kings xvi, 18 A. V.). 47 2 Chron. xxxii, 5.
14 2 Kings xvi 18 iLXX), 48 Isa, xxxviiiv 1.
15 Hoe. v. 13; xs 6. 49 Isa, xxxviii, 5-6.
16 2 Sam. vIi, 19. 50 Isa. vii, 11.
17 2 Sam. xxivv 13; 1 Chron, xxiv 12. 51 Amos v 8.
18 2 Chron, xxviv 15. 52 Heb. xi, 1.
19 2 Kings xvi, 18 (LXX). 53 2 Chron. v. 13 (LXX),
20 Jer. li, 59, 54 Isa. iv, 5.
21 2 Chron. xxviii, 21. 55 Isa. vi, 1.
22 Hoe. X 14. 56 Hos., iv, 1-2,
P~ 2 Kings xvil, 3-5. 57 Isa. x. 5.
24 Isa. xxxvis 6. 58 Isa. xiii, 17.
25 2 Chron. xxxii, 31. 59,Isa, xivv 29v 31,
26 camb. Anc. Hist. vol. III, p. 46. 60 Isa. vii, 14.
27 Isa. xxxviii, 1. 61 2 Chron. xxviii,
28 Isa. xxxvi, 1, 62 2 Kings xvi, 12-15.
29 2 Chron, xxvI, 22. 63 Isa. vi, 1.
30 Isa. viv 1. 64 Hoe. vv 13; vi, 2.
31 Isa. xiv, 28. 65 Matt. xii, 4o.
32 Isa. xx, 1. 66 Reb. ix, 27.
33 Ib. 67 1 Cor. xv, 51.
34 Nea. xxxvi, 1.