human weakness, but we can profit by it, even though it expresses itself at times in imprecations. <242007>Jeremiah 20:7 ? ?O Lord, than hast deceived me? ? may possibly be thus explained.
(a) Descriptions of human experience may be embraced in Scripture, not as models for imitation, but as illustrations of the doubts, struggles, and needs of the soul. In these cases inspiration may vouch, not for the correctness of the views expressed by those who thus describe their mental history, but only for the correspondence of the description with actual fact, and for its usefulness as indirectly teaching important moral lessons.
The book of Ecclesiastes, for example, is the record of the mental struggles of a soul seeking satisfaction without God. If written by Solomon during the time of his religious declension, or near the close of it, it would constitute a most valuable commentary upon the inspired history. Yet it might be equally valuable, though composed by some later writer under divine direction and inspiration. H. P. Smith, Bib. Scholarship and Inspiration, 97 ? ?To suppose Solomon the author of Ecclesiastes is like supposing Spenser to have written In Memoriam.? Luther, Keil, Delitzsch, Ginsburg, Hengstenberg all declare it to be a production of later times (330 BC). The book shows experience of misgovernment. An earlier writer cannot write in the style of a later one, though the later can imitate the earlier. The early Latin and Greek Fathers quoted the Apocryphal Wisdom of Solomon as by Solomon; see Plumptre, Introduction to Ecclesiastes, in Cambridge Bible. Gore, in Lux Mundi, 355 ? ?Ecclesiastes, though like the book of Wisdom purporting to be by Solomon, may be by another author? ?A pious fraud? cannot be inspired; an idealizing personification, as a normal type of literature, can be inspired.? Yet Bernhard Schafer, Das Buch Koheleth, ably maintains the Solomonic authorship.
(b) Moral truth may be put by Scripture writers into parabolic or dramatic form, and the sayings of Satan and of perverse men may form parts of such a production. In such eases, inspiration may vouch, not for the historical truth, much less for the moral truth of each separate statement, but only for the correspondence of the whole with ideal fact; in other words, inspiration may guarantee that the story is true to nature, and is valuable as conveying divine instruction.
It is not necessary to suppose that the poetical speeches of Job?s friends were actually delivered in the words that have come down to us. Though
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