DescriptionMost histories have been histories of kings and emperors. The daily life of the common people—their joys and sorrows, their hopes, achievements, and ideals—has been buried in oblivion. The historical narratives of the Bible are, indeed, to a great extent an exception to this rule. They tell us much about the everyday life of peasants and slaves. The Bible's chief heroes were not kings nor nobles. Its supreme Hero was a peasant workingman. But we have not always studied the Bible from this point of view. In this course we shall try to reconstruct for ourselves the story of the Hebrew people as an account of Hebrew shepherds, farmers, and such like: what oppressions they endured; how they were delivered; and above all what ideals of righteousness and truth and mercy they cherished, and how they came to think and feel about God. It makes little difference to us what particular idler at any particular time sat in the palace at Jerusalem sending forth tax-collectors to raise funds for his luxuries. It is of very great interest and concern to us if there were daughters like Ruth in the barley fields of Bethlehem, if shepherds tended their flocks in that same country who were so fine in heart and simple in faith that to them or their children visions of angels might appear telling of a Saviour of the world. On such as these, in this study, let us as far as possible fix our attention.
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