The Jews, a headstrong, moody, murmuring race,
As ever tried the extent and stretch of grace;
God’s pampered people whom, debauched with ease,
No king could govern, nor no God could please;
(Gods they had tried of every shape and size,
That god-smiths could produce, or priests devise:)
John Dryden’s “Absalom and Achtophel”
And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it [is] a stiffnecked people (Exodus 32:19).
Understand therefore, that the LORD thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou [art] a stiffnecked people (Deut 9:6).
You stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers [did], so [do] you (Stephen, before he was stoned; Acts 7:51).
“Stiffnecked – Hebrew qasheh קָשָׁה “hard” (hard-nosed, difficult)
The astounding fact remains: “a mystery so immense that I gave up trying to find an explanation because the whole mystery defied belief. The mystery was the survival of the Jews.”