Some time ago I endeavored, though with no claim to originality of treatment, to draw practical lessons for the separated people of God from the captivity and post-captivity books of the Old Testament. At the suggestion of the publishers I have now sought to trace the history to the same people through the years of waiting that elapsed from the time when the voice of inspiration ceased until the heavens resounded with the glad announcement of “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will toward men,” thus heralding Messiah’s long-promised advent.

In preparing this work, I have been greatly helped by a series of papers entitled, “From Malachi to Matthew,” which appeared a number of years ago in an English periodical now discontinued.1 Dr. Grant’s “Between the Testaments” has also been consulted, and had that volume been more in accord with a belief in the plenary inspiration of Scripture, the book now in my reader’s hand might perhaps not have been prepared. The Old Testament Apocrypha, (especially I. Maccabees), Josephus, and various Jewish his- tories of recent date, have also afforded considerable help.

It will be observed that my object has been, not merely to give a chronological outline of events, or a series of biographical sketches, but to trace throughout lessons and warnings for any who to-day, as those in the days of Nehemiah, have sought to return to and obey the word of God, in separation from the infidelity and apostasy of the times. Such are exposed to similar dangers—though of a spiritual character—as those which confronted the Jews. From their history we may therefore obtain valuable suggestions, and by carefully considering the causes of their failures, be preserved from falling into the same snares.

History repeats itself in manifold ways, and he who is wise will not despise its instruction. “Happy is the man that feareth alway;” for he who thinks he stands, is the one who is exhorted to take heed lest he fall.

H. A. Ironside
March, 1914