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PREFACE

The selections given in this edition of the Old Testament narratives center around the principal characters and events of Hebrew history from the Creation to the return from the Babylonian captivity and the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem and the Temple. Many events are necessarily omitted, but great care has been exercised to give the unbroken story of a remarkable people passing through all stages of development from the simplest life to that of a complex nation. In the evolution of the nation the growing self-consciousness of the people, and the equally significant growth in their consciousness of the God who was leading them, should be noted. The frequent lapses of the people into idolatry are also to be specially considered, since these lapses furnished the leaders the opportunities for their great work.

The text used is that of the American Revision. It has seemed best to omit the numbers of the chapters and verses and to add quotation marks, so as to designate more clearly the various speakers. Wherever there is a break in the connection between two selections, due to omissions in the text, a brief summary of intervening events has been inserted in smaller type. These “connecting links” serve two purposes: first, they enable the reader to understand the setting of the given selection ; second, they weld the entire group of narratives into an unbroken unit.

At the back of the book will be found a pronouncing glossary of proper names. The more obscure words and passages in the text have been explained in footnotes. The longer notes at the back of the book are intended, first, to suggest the significance in the Hebrew narrative of the events here given, and secondly, to show the importance of the Old Testament narratives in world literature by calling attention to later works inspired by the Bible. The map will be found useful in locating the more important places referred to in the text. The aim throughout has been to enhance the literary value of the selections to the pupils without hindering the initiative whereby they may enter into the spirit of the narratives and appreciate their value.

CHARLES ELBERT RHODES.

BUFFALO, N. Y., September, 1914.

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