The Berean Expositor
Volume 21 - Page 175 of 202
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value of these apocryphal writings, and the way their phraseology evidently influenced
men like Paul, but this has nothing to do with their inspiration, but is akin to the evident
influence of, say, Shakespeare or Bunyan upon a modern writer. Let us look at one or
two internal and external evidences.
1. With the exception of Esdras, Judith, Tobit and 1st Maccabees, the apocryphal
books were written by Alexandrian Jews in Greek:--
"It is an historical fact that the Greek language was not known to the Jews until long
after the inspiration had ceased, and the canon of the Old Testament was closed" (Horne).
2. In the prophecy of Malachi (4: 4-6) it is intimated that no prophet would arise until
the forerunner of the Messiah, and it is the unanimous testimony of the Jew that the
prophetic spirit ceased with Malachi, who is called "The seal of the prophets" in
consequence. When the author of the apocryphal book of Wisdom sought acceptance for
his work, he pretended that it was written by Solomon. He betrays himself, however, by
quoting from Isaiah's prophecy, and by speaking of Israel as being in subjection to their
enemies, and further by borrowing expressions from the Grecian games.
3. In very marked contrast with the inspired Scriptures, no writer of the Apocrypha
advances in direct terms any claim to inspiration. The son of Sirach in his prologue to
Ecclesiasticus asks pardon for any failure to correctly interpret the Hebrew of his
In Maccabees 4: 46, 9: 27 and 14: 41 is an express admission that there was no
prophet among them. II Maccabees is an abridgment of five books written by Jason of
Cyrene (II Macc. 2: 23), and at the conclusion the writer says:--
"If I have done well, and as is fitting the story, it is that which I desired; but if
slenderly and meanly, it is that which I could attain unto" (15: 38).
4. The apocryphal books contain many statements that are (a) fabulous, and
(b) unscriptural, e.g.:--
(a) FABULOUS STATEMENTS.--The story of Bel and the Dragon is a fiction,
and contradicts the plain statement of Dan. 6: The books must be read through to
sense this element in them.
(1:) Historical inaccuracy.--Baruch is said to have been carried into Babylon
at the very time Jeremiah tells us he was carried into Egypt.
The first and second Maccabees contradict one another on a great number of
points. Haman, in the apocryphal addition to Esther, is called a Macedonian as
well as an Agagite.