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Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia


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The expectation of something desired. The Hebrew terms for "hope" are "tiḳ wah" and "seber," while "miḳ weh" and "kislah" denote "trust" and "toḥ elet" signifies "expectation."

— Biblical Data:
Hope, a characteristic element of religion in general, is fundamentally such in the Old Testament.(Lamentations 3:24-26 ). "The Lord is my portion, saith my soul therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord"(Isaiah 26:4 ). "Trust ye in the Lord forever"(Psalms 62:5 , Hebr. comp. ib. 71:5). "To God alone silently submit, O my soul for my hope depends upon him"This hope was kindled by the firm belief that the Lord, the Creator of the world, controls all things for the special happiness of man. This was especially felt in regard to Israel, God being the Redeemer ( Exodus 6:6-8 comp. Deuteronomy 7:6 Isaiah 43:4 , 65:19-25 Psalm 103:13 ). Israel was the chosen people, and God, the friend of the Patriarchs, its special guardian (Isaiah 41:8 , 48:20 ). Relying on the experiences of the past and on the promise of their God for the future, the hope of the people naturally turned to the Lord in all emergencies. "O the hope of Israel, the savior thereof in time of trouble" (Jeremiah 14:8 comp. ib. 17:13,1. 7 Psalm 46:5 , 119:116 ).

In the darkest hour of adversity the Prophets did not despair for Israel. When Jerusalem was desolate and in captivity, the voice of prophecy spoke most confidently, pointing back to the divine guidance that had watched over the race. Nor was the hope of a brighter future ever entirely lost by the people especially did it increase after the Maccabean rising. Whenever any incongruity appeared between their actual condition and the belief that the Israelites were especially favored by Providence, refuge was taken in the hope of the establishment of the kingdom of God. When Antiochus Epiphanes (175-163) assailed the religion of the Fathers, Daniel dreamed of the kingdom of Heaven. The righteous nation, being immortal, was to be delivered from thraldom and ushered into an era of peace and prosperity and from that kingdom belief in the true God was to spread over the face of the earth (see Prophecy ).

Hope was further based upon the conviction that God was the moral governor and judge of the world. Thus, the ever-recurring theme of prophecy and psalm and the basic thought of the Wisdom literature are the final vindication of virtue and the destruction of vice. "The hope of the righteous shall be gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish" (Proverbs 10:28 comp. Psalm 9:19 , 33:5 , 47:2 et seq. , xcvii.). This belief stayed the Jewish mind when face to face with the great mysteries of life. No matter what were the doubts produced by foreign doctrine, confidence in the moral government of the universe remained steadfast.(Job 4:6, Hebr.). "Is not thy fear [of God] thy confidence, and thy hope the integrity of thy ways?"(Ps. xl. 4). "Blessed is the man that maketh the Lord his trust"(ib. 46:1 comp. Job 5:16 Psalm 57:3 , 85:9 Isaiah 54:10 ). "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble"

— In the Apocrypha and the Talmud:
In the Apocrypha the following passages occur:(Ecclus. [Sirach] 2:6). "Trust in Him, and He will help thee order thy ways aright and set thy hope on Him"(ib. 2:4). "Whatsoever is brought upon thee, take cheerfully, and be patient when thou art changed to a low estate"( ib. 2:8-9). "Ye that fear the Lord, believe Him: and your reward shall not fail. Ye that fear the Lord, hope for good, and for everlasting joy and mercy"(Wisdom 3:4). "For though they be punished in the sight of men, yet is their hope full of immortality"( ib. 12:19). "But by such works hast Thou taught Thy people that the just man should be merciful, and hast made Thy children to be of a good hope"(II Esd. 7:50). "There is promised us an everlasting hope"(Baruch 4:22 comp. Ecclus. [Sirach] 13:6, 24:18, 34:13, 49:10 II Macc. 2:17 7:11,14, 20 9:20). "For my hope is in the Everlasting"The following are some of the Talmudic references to hope:(Men. 29b). "To him who puts his hope in God will the Lord be a protection in this world and in the world hereafter"(Soṭ ah 48b). "Those who have faith in God need not worry about the coming day"(Yoma 76a). "Man ought to accustom himself to say, ' All that happens, God lets happen for the best' "(Sanh. 10:1). "All Israel will inherit the future world"Hope in a brighter day, based upon ardent faith in God's justice and in His special friendship for the descendants of Jacob, has been the stay and consolation of the Jew throughout the ages. The darker the present, the brighter appears the future. Comp. Agadat Bereshit, § 42 Midrash ha-Gadol, pp. 414 et seq. K. A. G.

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Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Hope'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. 1901.

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