Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

over-refined speculation to find a particular document prior to the Elohist, whose parts appear in the Pentateuch. Gen. xx. 1-17 is given as an example of the fore-Elohistic document. It belongs, in our view, to the junior Elohist. Ewald detects too many writers. Five, in addition to the Deuteronomist, will hardly be adopted by other critics. Two historical works are supposed to have preceded that termed the book of the covenants, or the fore-Elohim document, though he calls its author the first narrator. His book of origins coincides with the commonly admitted Elohim document. The author of it is assigned to the reign of Solomon, and is his second narrator. His third narrator is put into the 10th or 9th century. He is the author of what is called the primitive histories. His fourth narrator is placed at the end of the 9th or beginning of the 8th century ; and the fifth is put in the 8th century under Uzziah or Jotham. Here the Jehovist disappears, except he be discovered in the fifth narrator. Bleek makes some pertinent observations on the hypothesis in question. The fore-Elohist is the most probable of these ; and is therefore adopted by Vaihinger, who has ingeniously undertaken to trace him in his minutenesses. We are unable to see his individuality.

VII. Let us now inquire into the respective ages of the Elohist, Jehovist, and junior Elohist, and so complete at once what we have to say about these writers.

It is plain that the primitive Elohist wrote after the Canaanites had been driven out of Palestine. In Gen. xvii. 6-16, and xxxv. 11, a promise is made to Abraham and Jacob that kings should spring from them—an idea which would not suggest itself to the mind of a Hebrew till after a king had been appointed. Edom is still spoken of as an independent kingdom (Gen. xxxvi.). The high-priest occupies a position as head of the theocracy, which does not suit the time of the powerful rulers David and Solomon, when the former was only a person walking before the king and deposable by him ; not to mention

; the fact that in David's time there were two high-priests, and two sanctuaries. In this way we are brought to the time of Israel's first king—not farther. There is no trace of Jerusalem being the place of the national sanctuary; as we should expect in the age of David and Solomon. The writer dwells upon the consecrated spots of Palestine ; which were not yet illegal for worship. The sovereignty had not passed to the tribe of Judah, as far as any hint is given. It is apparent that north and south

Geschichte des Volkes Israel, second edition, vol. i., pp. 80-175, and vol, ii., pp. 19-45. We refer to the second edition particularly, because the first differs in the assigned writers.

Einleitung, p. 256 et seqq.

[ocr errors]

were not yet separated; that Solomon's temple was not built ; for the writer never speaks of the place of worship as a house, but always as a tent. Nor are any general pilgrimages to the sanctuary mentioned ; the people worshipped Jehovah at Bethel, Shiloh, and other places, though the most holy spot was that of the tabernacle. David and his dynasty had not awakened the interest of the nation. All this coincides with the time of Saul, beyond which nothing points. The flourishing time of royalty had not yet come ; but at the commencement of the monarchical constitution, blessings might be expected from it which would suggest such a promise as Abraham and Jacob are said to have received respecting kings among their posterity ; in contrast with the unsettled period of the judges. It is certain that the tabernacle still existed in all its sanctity, and had not been displaced by the temple in the days of the writer, else he would not have finished his description of its arrangements with the remark, “It shall be a statute for ever unto their generations on the behalf of the children of Israel” (Exodus xxvii. 21). The threatening in Leviticus xxvi., respecting the scattering of the people, would reduce the date much later; but that chapter does not belong to the Elohim document. The same conclusion is corroborated by the way in which Joseph is prominent among the sons of Jacob. Had the tribe of Judah attained to the preeminence it reached under David and Solomon, it is probable that its head (Judah) would have stood forth conspicuously in the writer's narrative. The peculiar favour which Joseph obtained both from God and man is not unhistorical, as it is set forth in the Elohist ; but that is perfectly consistent with the practicability of Judah’s prominence, had the reigns of David and Solomon arrived in their splendour. The Elohist's person must always remain unknown. It is probable that he lived in the tribe of Judah, because he gives prominence to its first head; and that he was a Levite, for all matters relating to the Levites are carefully described their employment, duties, and the laws affecting them. He was well acquainted with the ancient history of his nation, especially the genealogical and ethnographical parts; as well as with the law in all its extent. For ecclesiastical law he had a particular predilection. The priest rather than the prophet appears. None but a priest possessed so much information, or had the documents which he employed.

As the Jehovist was posterior to the Elohist we are brought at once to the kingly period for his date. The Israelite was settled in Canaan, as we infer from the Jehovist's remark, “ And the Canaanite was then in the land” (Gen. xii. 6, xiii. 7). The people had experienced the blessing of an established and well

1 See Knobel, Exeget. Handbuch, xiii., p. 522 et seqq.

ordered worship. They had also attained to the enthusiastic idea that such worship was destined to unite all the nations of the earth. This fact could only consist with settled, peaceful times; not with those of David, when attention was turned mainly to externals. We are therefore led to think of the long reign of Solomon ; unless notices adduce the assumption of a later period. Saul's victory over the Amalekites (Num. xxiv. 7, 20; comp. 1 Sam. xv. 2-8) was past. David's conquests of the Moabites and Edomites (comp. Num. xxiv. 17-19 with 2 Sam. viii. 2, 14) were also past. The dependence of Esau on Jacob, put in the form of a prophecy in Gen. xxv. 23, and unknown to the Elohist, implies these conquests. But the words of Gen. xxvii. 40—" And it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck ”-refer to the time of Jehoram, when Edom first threw off the yoke of Judah, and elected a king of its own. It is true that the Edomites made several attempts to shake off the yoke before they succeeded; but none of these is sufficient to explain the prophecy put into the mouth of Isaac. Their rebellion in the last years of Solomon's reign (1 Kings xi. 14, etc.) was not a proper liberation from Judah’s dominion over them ; for Solomon retained possession of their ports ; and the Edomites continued to pay tribute after the tribes divided into two kingdoms. In this way we come down till about 890 B.C. It might be supposed, at first sight, that because the Jehovist attributes dreams and other lower forms of revelation to the patriarchs, that he belonged to the incipient stage of prophecy; before it had developed itself so far as to feel that dreams and visions might contain the element of self-deception. But this would be a hasty judgment; for Moses is described as a prophet far exalted above dreams and such inferior revelations : * If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. vant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses ?” (Numbers xii. 6–8). These words evince an advanced stage of reflection in the religious development of the nation. It is difficult to understand with exactness the historical notices in Num. xxiv. Assyria is there spoken of as a formidable power to the Kenites or southern Arabians (Num. xxiv. 21, 22). Now the Assyrians first appear in Jewish history under their monarch Phul, in the reign of Menahem king of Israel, i.e. about 772 B.C.' Thus we are brought to the first half of the eighth century as the time when the Jehovist wrote. The twenty-third and twenty-fourth yerses of Num. xxiv. appear to

ser

some to reduce the time still later; but it is not certain that they proceeded from the Jehovist at first; and the allusion of the twenty-fourth verse is ambiguous, if indeed it have a specific historical reference. We can only rely, therefore, on the twentysecond verse. During the reign of Uzziah, characterised as it was by various reforms, the Jehovah document seems to have been composed. It is true that in Gen. xxv. 18, no more is implied than that the Assyrians had already passed the Tigris and spread themselves in Mesopotamia ; and also in Gen. ii. 14, that they had crossed the Tigris westwards, and extended their dominion as far as the Euphrates; but these historical notices, though consistent with a Solomonic date, cannot control the twenty-fourth chapter of Numbers, so as to reduce all its allusions to the same point of time.

Hence we cannot agree with Tuch, who assumes that the prophecy in Num. xxiv. 22, etc., is quite general and indefinite, referring to the rising power of Assyria from the east, of which the Hebrews may have heard in the time of Solomon.1

It is unnecessary to consider the bearing of Gen, ix. 25-27 on the question; not only because the interpretation is doubtful, but because it belongs, in our opinion, to the redactor. Tuch, in putting the Jehovist in Solomon's reign, has surely had too little regard for the degree of religious development exhibited by him in comparison with the Elohist's, for which much more than a century is required. At the same time Von Lengerke seems to bring the Jehovist too late when he fixes on Hezekiah's reign.? Gen. ix. 27, even if it belonged to the Jehovist, is a precarious basis for 724 B.C., because it is not certain that the prophecy was fulfilled by the Assyrians subjugating the Phenicians. Knobel appears to make him even later than Hezekiah, for he speaks of his having lived in the last years of that king at the earliest; but the main argument on which the opinion rests—the Jehovist's acquaintance with oriental things that the Jews did not know of till the Assyrian period—is hardly decisive. The author seems to have belonged to the northern kingdom, because he uses expressions found only in writings proceeding from it. He takes a prophetic view; and therefore lived in the time of the prophets.

The Elohim document was a private writing, which attained to general acceptance, and was circulated among the people who could read, by whom its contents were made known to others. The Jehovah document was composed independently by a much later party, not without a plan. But its unity and sequence are more difficult to trace, because the redactor or editor who put the two together dealt with it freely and suppressed 1 Kommentar ueber die Genesis, pp. 97-98.

3 Kenaan, p. 595. 3 Exeget. Handbuch, xiii., p. 579.

4 Ibid., p. 579.

many parts. It appears to us that it was in a proper state to be understood by itself. Yet we are not insensible to the considerations urged by many learned men against the idea that the Jehovistic was a connected document parallel with the Elohistic, which existed at first independently, and was afterwards attached to the older. The arguments of Bleek, the ablest advocate of the view that the Jehovist was nothing but a supplementer, enlarger, and partly re-writer of the Elohim document, deserve the most respectful examination; though they have not convinced us. His rejection of a younger Elohist, and adherence to the view which he had early advocated, led to his assuming an author of the Pentateuch, instead of a mere redactor or editor.

The junior Elohist probably lived in the time of Elisha (about 880 B.C.) The redactor was not identical with the Jehovist. Some time must have elapsed between them. It is scarcely necessary to say that he was not Ezra, since he preceded the Deuteronomist. In binding together the three documents he acted with considerable independence, adding occasionally a connecting link, omitting what seemed to stand in the way of the connection, abridging in different modes, and transposing pieces according to his own view.

VIII. Let us now endeavour to bring out the historical traces of the existence of the first four books of the Pentateuch in other biblical writers. In doing so it is necessary to avoid all prophetic or poetical books whose time of composition is doubtful. Allowance must also be made for the fact, that prophets and others may have derived allusions to earlier circumstances in the national history from tradition, not from written records. Hence the manner and language of reminiscences pointing to prior portions of sacred history, should be attended to. It will also be necessary to consider whether there be a reference to the Elohist or the Jehovist; since the work of the former was known before that of the latter. Any clear allusion to Deuteronomy will testify to the existence of our present Pentateuch at the time; but the same fact does not hold good in relation to the Jehovist.

David's psalms owe much of their tone and character to a knowledge of the law. This is consistent with the date assigned to the Elohim document. Such as celebrate the works of creation may have been inspired in part by the history of creation in the Elohist; but the entire fifth book of the psalter was certainly made up after the Pentateuch had been completed ; and most of it was even composed after the redaction of the latter. Thus we admit that the literature of the Davidic and Solomonic period was largely based on the law of Moses. Without the latter, David could scarcely have been such a master of lyric song; nor could Solomon have uttered so many proverbs.

1 Einleitung, p. 252 et seqq.

« ZurückWeiter »