Theologico-Political Treatise — Part 2

Author: Benedictus de Spinoza

Chapter X.

Endnote 19. (1) "After the restoration of the Temple by Judas Maccaboeus." (2) This conjecture, if such it be, is founded on the genealogy of King Jeconiah, given in 1 Chron. iii., which finishes at the sons of Elioenai, the thirteenth in direct descent from him: whereon we must observe that Jeconiah, before his captivity, had no children; but it is probable that he had two while he was in prison, if we may draw any inference from the names he gave them. (3) As to his grandchildren, it is evident that they were born after his deliverance, if the names be any guide, for his grandson, Pedaiah (a name meaning God hath delivered me), who, according to this chapter, was the father of Zerubbabel, was born in the thirty-seventh or thirty-eighth year of Jeconiah’s life, that is thirty-three years before the restoration of liberty to the Jews by Cyrus. (4) Therefore Zerubbabel, to whom Cyrus gave the principality of Judaea, was thirteen or fourteen years old. (5) But we need not carry the inquiry so far: we need only read attentively the chapter of 1 Chron., already quoted, where (v. 17, sqq.) mention is made of all the posterity of Jeconiah, and compare it with the Septuagint version to see clearly that these books were not published, till after Maccabaeus had restored the Temple, the sceptre no longer belonging to the house of Jeconiah.

Endnote 20. (1) "Zedekiah should be taken to Babylon." (2) No one could then have suspected that the prophecy of Ezekiel contradicted that of Jeremiah, but the suspicion occurs to everyone who reads the narrative of Josephus. (3) The event proved that both prophets were in the right.

Endnote 21. (1) "And who wrote Nehemiah." (2) That the greater part of the book of Nehemiah was taken from the work composed by the prophet Nehemiah himself, follows from the testimony of its author. (See chap. i.). (3) But it is obvious that the whole of the passage contained between chap. viii. and chap. xii. verse 26, together with the two last verses of chap. xii., which form a sort of parenthesis to Nehemiah’s words, were added by the historian himself, who outlived Nehemiah.

Endnote 22. (1) "I suppose no one thinks" that Ezra was the uncle of the first high priest , named Joshua (see Ezra vii., and 1 Chron. vi:14), and went to Jerusalem from Babylon with Zerubbabel (see Nehemiah xii:1). (2) But it appears that when he saw, that the Jews were in a state of anarchy, he returned to Babylon, as also did others (Nehem. i;2), and remained there till the reign of Artaxerxes, when his requests were granted and he went a second tim to Jerusalem. (3) Nehemiah also went to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel in the time of Cyrus (Ezra ii:2 and 63, cf. x:9, and Nehemiah x:1). (4) The version given of the Hebrew word, translated "ambassador," is not supported by any authority, while it is certain that fresh names were given to those Jews who frequented the court. (5) Thus Daniel was named Balteshazzar, and Zerubbabel Sheshbazzar (Dan. i:7). (6) Nehemiah was called Atirsata, while in virtue of his office he was styled governor, or president. (Nehem. v. 24, xii:26.)

Endnote 23. (1) "Before the time of the Maccabees there was no canon of sacred books." (2) The synagogue styled "the great" did not begin before the subjugation of Asia by the Macedonians. (3) The contention of Maimonides, Rabbi Abraham, Ben-David, and others, that the presidents of this synagogue were Ezra, Daniel, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah, &c., is a pure fiction, resting only on rabbinical tradition. (4) Indeed they assert that the dominion of the Persians only lasted thirty-four years, and this is their chief reason for maintaining that the decrees of the "great synagogue," or synod (rejected by the Sadducees, but accepted by the Pharisees) were ratified by the prophets, who received them from former prophets, and so in direct succession from Moses, who received them from God Himself. (5) Such is the doctrine which the Pharisees maintain with their wonted obstinacy. (6) Enlightened persons, however, who know the reasons for the convoking of councils, or synods, and are no strangers to the differences between Pharisees and Sadducees, can easily divine the causes which led to the assembling of this great synagogue. (7) It is very certain that no prophet was there present, and that the decrees of the Pharisees, which they style their traditions, derive all their authority from it.

End of Endnotes to Part II. - Chapters VI to X.


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Chicago: Benedictus de Spinoza, "Chapter X.," Theologico-Political Treatise — Part 2, trans. Elwes, R. H. M. (Robert Harvey Monro) in Theologico-Political Treatise — Part 2 Original Sources, accessed March 20, 2023,

MLA: Spinoza, Benedictus de. "Chapter X." Theologico-Political Treatise — Part 2, translted by Elwes, R. H. M. (Robert Harvey Monro), in Theologico-Political Treatise — Part 2, Original Sources. 20 Mar. 2023.

Harvard: Spinoza, BD, 'Chapter X.' in Theologico-Political Treatise — Part 2, trans. . cited in 1883, Theologico-Political Treatise — Part 2. Original Sources, retrieved 20 March 2023, from