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The former part of this work gave the history of the Israelites from the Call of Abraham to the Building of Solomon's Temple : the present volume continues the history to their return from the Babylonish Captivity and the rebuilding of the Walls of Jerusalem under Nehemiah, and to the last of the Prophets ; thus bringing it down to the end of the Old Testament. An account is also given of the Prophets, their lives and writings, taking them in the order of time, and following the opinion of able commentators upon questions of criticism and chronology: while to the history of the Jewish nation is added a short abstract of contemporary history, that the young reader may compare the condition of the Israelites with that of the most famous nations of antiquity, at the same period.
The object which the writer has most earnestly in view having been fully explained in the preface to the former part of this work, she has only to request the indulgence of the reader for its very imperfect attainment: the task becomes more difficult as the history proceeds, and the events to be related are necessarily more complex, and more subject to critical and chronological differences of opinion among the learned; but the design of this work being only to prepare for the young a clear and continuous history of the Israelitish nation as recorded in the books of the Old Testament, doubtful criticisms have been as far as possible avoided, and those authorities followed whose names stand high, and whose opinions upon the subjects upon which they treat have long been looked up to with respect.
In addition to the works referred to in the former part of this history, Bishop Lowth’s “ Lectures on Hebrew Poetry," and Bishop Gray's “ Key to the Old Testament,” have been consulted in the lives of the Prophets. The writer has chiefly followed Dean Prideaux's “ Connexion of the Old and New Testament in what relates to the administrations of Ezra and Nehemiah ; while she has continued to avail herself of “ Dr. Jahn's Biblical Antiquities, and of Dr. Kitto's highly instructive “ Notes to the Pictorial Bible,” which furnish many striking and important illustrations of Scripture drawn from the manners and customs of antiquity, and from the researches of modern travellers. These authorities are generally referred to where they are followed in the text, and the reader is requested to consult them on those points, which however interesting, the limited nature of the present work prevents the writer from treating more at large.
Edgbaston, Nov. 1st, 1854.
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